Many people have a strong desire to make a “Change for Life.” This need is driven by either an emotional, physical or mental situation for which they believe that change is absolutely necessary. Despite the fact that they know that change is necessary, there can be many things inhibiting them from making those necessary changes. These could include: if the shift or change is perceived to be painful or at least uncomfortable, if changing is believed to be a waste of time or not possible, or if the changes are blocked by their emotional or mental state, causing them to experience anxiety or depression.
As confusing as this may be, even though a positive change could result in good things or even great things, the person can still be blocked from changing by their emotional or mental state. It is very important to recognize that when there is a desire to make a necessary change that it is not necessary to feel strongly toward following through with that change.
It is therefore necessary for a person to completely accept and recognize that, even though they know what is in their best interest to do to change a specific situation such as addiction, they still fail to follow through due to the perceived pain and discomfort that they perceive as associated to making that change.
In the case of the addict or alcoholic, that discomfort and pain is connected to their belief that to leave home, leave their family or to interrupt their current employment is unacceptable at the present time. Many times they lie to themselves or convince themselves that the present time is not the right time to make the decision to make a “Change for Life.”
Simply stated, once a person or a significant other recognizes that a problem such as addiction has reached the point of absolute pain, suffering and intolerance, the person must follow through with that desire and make the decision to change, regardless of how they feel or what they believe.
Herbal remedies can be used as source for addiction treatment. Ayurvedic medicine, which has a 10,000 year old history in the use of medicinal plants, is one of the oldest codified systems in existence. Herbs for healing wounds, spiritual and psychological trauma, restoring sexual health, and addiction recovery, were all part of the pharmacopoeia.
Because of the psychological and spiritual basis for herbology in traditional cultures, both ancient and modern, issues such as addiction were treated with the understanding that diagnostic and healing mechanisms transcended physical pathological functions. Hence, we have the Ayurvedic elemental system such as earth, air, water, fire, and ether that corresponded to various organ activity, seasonal change, temperature, color, and taste. Chinese medicine has a similar elemental system based on wood, earth, metal, fire, and water. It is in the use of these parameters that the herbalists, acupuncturists, and nutritionists have revealed the direction the practitioner should go in treating the patient.
The medical system used in the United States stands in sharp contrast to Eastern methods. Western pharmaceutical drugs are designed in laboratories to mimic the chemistry of herbs. Most pharmaceuticals, in fact, are no longer created using natural plant materials. Natural herbs can be dried, compounded by hand, boiled, steeped, or taken raw. More modern methods allow one to take herbal medicine in capsule, pill, or powder form for easier ingestion.
Whether or not herbal remedies are used depends on the options available to the patient as well as personal choice.
Addiction recovery requires a great deal of personal desire, willpower, and outside support from family and friends. It is vital that recovery originates from within, but sometimes outside environmental forces can slow down the process.
The visual effects of television, for instance, can be detrimental to one’s health, especially while recovering from addiction. The various colors displayed on a high definition or LED screen actually trigger brain activity that lulls the watcher into a zombie like state. This explains the dull, sleepy feeling one has after watching a movie, sporting event, or other program for long periods of time.
It has been shown that a decrease in brain activity occurs even during shorter watching periods. This can be problematic for the recovering individual as it is necessary to maintain consistent brain activity during treatment.
Watching television brings the experiences of others, both real and imagined, into the mind of the watcher. The subconscious mind may be unable to filter what it receives through the senses, leading to a blurring of the real and the unreal.
Watching television can also expose the watcher to electromagnetic radiation which can affect them from 20 or more feet away. This radiation has been shown to break down the genetic structure as well as brain tissue and function.
For these reasons, it is best to have your own experiences: Read a book, or write you own. Journal, begin a new exercise regimen that includes proper breathing, like Taijiquan or Qi Gong, and enjoy time with family and friends who support you in treatment.
In recovery, it is best to read books that promote a peaceful lifestyle, health, and wellness. Novels can also be a great tool in the recovery process. Reading engages the mind and jogs the imagination. Even better, is to journal one’s experiences, which assist in communicating thoughts and ideas about life. This can help the individual to bring those experiences together to understand one’s life journey, and to move forward.
In an earlier post, we saw the ear as the focus for both diagnostic and healing techniques via massage and reflexology. When the NADA protocols were initiated by Dr. Michael Smith to assist heroin addicts in their recovery, the protocol lasted a much shorter time than a full acupuncture treatment. Fewer points were used, and it was seen by supporters as a viable alternative to allopathic methods.
Critics argued there weren’t enough clinical studies to confirm its effectiveness on patients. Much of the criticism stemmed from the use of Qi energy that is transferred from the practitioner’s body, through the needle, and into the patient to assist in the healing process. Qi is unseen by the naked eye and therefore, cannot be measured by some laboratory instruments. This has posed a problem for many researchers who claim that anything used in a medical setting must have the ability to be measured.
Nevertheless, acupuncture in general has had great success since its use began to spread in the US in the 1970s, and the NADA protocol has also experienced much growth and development on its own, with branches in the United States, India, and nearly a dozen European countries. One can find an NADA certified practitioner in many hospitals and stand alone clinics, treating patients on a daily basis.
Today I would like to take a moment to discuss some interesting concepts that need to be understood when a person is making the decision to enter into a treatment program. Due to the enormity of the decision to leave home and enter into a treatment facility, many people will experience strong second thoughts once they arrive.
They develop a sense of confidence that they can leave treatment way ahead of schedule, but their confidence is a false confidence. Their inclination to disregard the fact that they need treatment is replaced by a strong belief that they have the ability to stay sober without having to complete their treatment objectives. Only by demonstrating their ability to complete the objectives will they gain the competency needed to achieve long term sobriety. Just because somebody feels they have knowledge and ability does not mean that they can apply it.
Anyone can develop a sense of false confidence and convince their families that they are ready to return home, but in reality, they have not had enough time or enough practice to develop the competency skills necessary for recovery. It is therefore essential that when a person makes the decision to enter into treatment, that they make a strong commitment to their family that they are going to stay and follow it through until completion.
In the end, it is only a commitment that will stop a person from acting impulsively due to their false self confidence. False self confidence is a major obstacle in early recovery because people believe something that is absolutely not true. Confidence is only a feeling while Demonstrated Competency is the only real proof that a person is ready to return back home to their families and to their work environment.
Gerard J. Egan, LMHC, CAP
Palm Partners Treatment Center