As a therapist specialising in holistic drug repair, I find I am now working with two distinct groups: drug-users and the parents of drug-users. Often the latter are much more distraught and desperate than the former. Particularly those parents who never used drugs themselves but, following government advice to ‘talk to their children about drugs’, initiated conversations that, due to the powerful emotions involved, became increasingly more confrontational until their relationship with their children broke down.
These parents initially tried to be understanding (like the parents on the anti-drug television campaigns) but driven by the raw anguish of seeing their children destroy themselves and the agony of their own powerlessness to change the situation, ended up blaming, criticising and verbally attacking their children. This is not the way the scenario plays out on TV but unfortunately it is all too common in real life.
The ancient Chinese sages understood that newer times render old formulas useless; they said that contemporary problems require contemporary formulas. I believe that global consciousness is significantly different now than it was thirty years ago and confrontation, argument and even the idea of a ‘war’ on drugs belongs in the past. I suggest, given the rise of the New Age and linked ideas about harmony, that we take a ‘higher consciousness’ approach and make ‘peace’ on drugs instead.
To do this we need to take out the aggressive idea of opposing sides and look at our own role in the development of the current drug epidemic. According to the morphogenetic field theory, as proposed by Rupert Sheldrake in The Rebirth of Nature, every repeated or learned behaviour pattern modifies the morphic field. Souls born into that modified field then adopt the new behaviour patterns without actually ‘learning’ them.
Based on this idea, it might be the case that children aren’t to ‘blame’ for their drug use, maybe we are. Perhaps the hippie generation’s fight for freedom, its anti-authoritarian ideas but most importantly its desire to ‘expand consciousness’ through widespread use of hallucinogenic drugs, formed a morphic field that is contributing to the current boom in drug use. In my practice I am now seeing school children – 14 year-olds – who are regularly using large quantities of drugs such as speed and ecstasy. But they don’t want to change the world, fight for freedom or expand their consciousness and this is because they don’t have to – we already did all that in the 60s.
The drugs we took back then did play a role in the major social changes that followed and the development of the New Age, but the problem is we didn’t stop then. We went on through the following decades aimlessly taking ‘party drugs’ like cocaine and speed. I think this behaviour has also affected the morphic field. The school children I speak to now have no idea why they take drugs, they shrug and say ‘everyone does it’. I am seeing more and more clients like this, and if this is the result of our own past actions and our impact on the morphic field, to change this situation we will need to shift the responsibility from ‘youth’ back to ourselves. We will need to learn and repeat new behaviour patterns and shape the future by living now the way we want our children to live. We can’t impact on their drug use by telling them not to take drugs.
The ancient Chinese understood that verbal commands are not an effective way to change the world, ‘silent teaching’ is. This is the highest form of education and in the West is called living by example. In this context I often suggest to parents that instead of focussing purely on their children, that they also focus on becoming spiritual and on living ‘correctly’ (as the great sage Maoshing Ni termed it) themselves. This means building their own Chi and light, getting involved with spiritual practices, studying the laws of energy as described in Buddhist, Hindu or Taoist texts.
Drugs open doorways to invisible worlds and I also suggest having protection charms and books about spiritual matters around the house. Engaging with yoga or spiritually orientated martial arts is also a great way to build your own strength and power. Basically, living by example is about showing your child how you would like him/her to be, without using words.
Verbally confronting your child about drugs often leads to judgemental and critical comments and criticising adolescent drug users is the worst thing you can do. I know myself that phrases such as ‘you are a liar, you are screwed-up, you are useless’ linger long after you stop using drugs. The fact is that hard drug-use destroys self-worth. The drug user knows that he/she is ‘fucked up’, they don’t need an adult confirming this for them. After they recover these self-worth issues come forward and can dominate or even dictate future behaviour. As they feel they don’t deserve anything good, they will reject or give away what makes them feel strong and well.
This lack of self-worth can also force the recovered user into a pathological Yang mode that can be equally destructive to drug use. I have experienced this myself. Hard drugs took away my ability to accept myself and I compensated for this by working frantically 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in order to feel somehow accepted. I kept hitting the wall but continued to give away all my own energy because I felt I had no worth myself. I am still struggling with these feelings twenty years after taking my last drug.
Of course there are parents who can speak in a non-confrontational and helpful manner to their children about drugs. However these are not my patients and they are generally the parents of marijuana–users. I am referring here to the increasing numbers of parents of regular hard drug-using children. In these cases the emotional stakes are higher on both sides and it becomes much more difficult to communicate, even for a professional such as myself. Drugs allow communication via lateral and abstract non-verbal means, and adolescent drug users usually resist the spoken word.
If I can’t apply formal interview methods with these clients, I often ‘just sit’ with them and ‘feel’ their consciousness; get a glimpse of their soul. Bizarrely this is a technique I partially learned from being on drugs myself. Drug users can ‘sit’ for hours without speaking yet still have a profound interaction with each other. The more you experience this form of communication, the more difficult it becomes to talk in a normal manner particularly to your parents or teachers.
Parents often complain to me that their drug-using children are anti-social and rude, that they don’t want to participate in conversations during family meal times or when visitors arrive. I don’t think this is rudeness. I hated talking to people when I was a heavy drug- user but this was because it was too complicated, too hard to do. I was more comfortable in the invisible realms and it was much easier to just sit and immerse myself in feeling. In fact, if you have taken drugs long enough, you can almost forget how to talk. I have a colleague, Rick Young, who when working with recovering drug-users (including those who have been long-term SSRI anti-depressant users), has come up with an innovative strategy in which he also teaches the art of conversation.
Drug users develop a unique form of interaction which has its own rules and just as they have difficulty communicating with the straight world, the straight world has problems communicating with them. The only way to communicate on their level without taking drugs yourself, is to follow the path of spiritual development. Spiritual Masters and Yogis communicate on a similar level. I remember meeting my spiritual master and being immediately attracted to what I perceived as his off-beat sense of humour, yet he had never taken a drug in his life. The Dalai Lama too seems to find many things highly amusing.
Giving your children mainstream drug education material is often not helpful either. This material is generally produced by non-drug users for non-drug users and, in drug culture, has absolutely no credibility. Instead I would educate yourself about drugs from a body- mind-spirit point of view. I would try to understand the desire for drugs. If you are the parent of a young drug-user I would also recommend seeking help yourself as well. It is devastating to watch your child getting caught in the drug world.
I can only imagine the pain my parents must have felt seeing their child slowly self-destruct in front of them, but at the time I had no concept of their feelings. If you commit to working on your own self-development you will also be less and less likely to react to your child and argue with them about their drug use. Hostility, discord and anger feed negative forces. If you build your inner light such negative forces will have no power over you or your home, the morphic fields will change and future generations will become more and more attracted to the spiritual path.
Recommended reading is my book The Rebel’s Guide to Recovery. This is probably the only noon-judgemental recovery book out there, written by a drug-user (ex) for drug-users and readers have said it has enabled them to speak to their children about drugs in a productive way.