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Guest Warrioe-Sage


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Guest Warrioe-Sage

Opium, a powerful analgesic derived from the poppy plant has been used by humans for

thousands of years. In 1803 morphine was derived from processed opium, and in 1874

heroin from morphine. There have been continuous waves of addiction to all three

substances but, according to some sources, heroin use has recently escalated. There is no

universally accepted reason why people use these drugs, but we do know that there are

opiate receptor sites in the brain. In drug-circles, in my day at least, we assumed that this

meant drug use was natural; if we weren’t meant to take drugs ,we wouldn’t have these

receptors. But scientific research argues that the body makes its own opioids and that is

why the receptors exist. As mentioned above, heroin is a derivative of morphine and the

body produces endogenous or natural morphines, also known as endorphins, under shock

or stress (Fernandez, H. Heroin Hazelden, Minnesota 1998). Either way, the fact is that

humans have always been attracted to mood- and mind-altering substances and nothing

has been able to control or prevent this. This is why I believe that we need to start

working with drugs as opposed to working against them. This does not mean encouraging

drug-use but finding other ways to achieve those states. This will demand a new

sociological, therapeutic and philosophical framework and in my experience, Traditional

Chinese medicine - applied outside its traditional parameters and in conjunction with

Body-Mind medicine - is well-suited to this. Both consider body, mind and spirit equally

which is crucial in dealing with drug-related pathologies, imbalances and life after drugs.

In my therapeutic approach, based on TCM and Body-Mind medicine, as well as my own

experiences, the ‘platform’ for drugs are not receptor sites in the brain but the organs

themselves. If you used computer terminology, the organ would be the hardware and the

drug the software and my research indicates that the hardware for heroin is the Kidneys.

In TCM the Kidneys are considered the mother of Yin and Yang and, as heroin operates

via the Kidneys, it enhances Yin and Yang equally and synthetically rejuvenates your

Blood. This provides a solid ‘house’ for your mind creating a strong sense of emotional

space and inner peace. I had my first heroin experience in the late seventies. By then I

had experimented with a range of drugs including hashish, LSD and speed and I thought I

was familiar with drugs and drug highs, but heroin was different. Within what seemed

like seconds of taking it I felt warm, nurtured, centred and single-minded. Nothing

mattered. It was the most grounded state I had ever experienced. I had no desire to go

anywhere or do anything. I was in a state of perfect inner peace. I was complete and all

that existed was the NOW. I sat there simply blissing-out on being present.

Heroin has this effect (to a greater or lesser degree) regardless of how you feel when you

take it. For example, if you felt scattered, confused, guilty or depressed beforehand it

would all vanish on heroin. However, if you felt like that and smoked marijuana, in most

cases it would further imbalance Yin and Yang in the organs and produce a Yin Excess

condition where you could find it impossible to interact with people. This would make

you feel even more confused and frustrated. If you took speed while confused, guilty or

depressed, it would make you feel ‘up’ but without a sense of grounding because speed

doesn’t enhance the Yin. If you dropped acid while feeling scattered and confused, you

would probably have a bad trip. This is what makes heroin such a powerful but also such

a destructive drug. The more you use it, chasing those blissful states, the worse the side

effects and the more heroin you need to counter them. When I was a drug user, heroin

was considered to be a kind of final destination on the path of altered states. Once you got

to the point of regular use, return to a non-drug life became increasingly difficult. This

was one of the reasons I never progressed to regular use but I have treated many people

who have become addicted and it’s a really hard drug to stop using.

In TCM the flow of Chi is regulated by Yin and Yang but if heroin is controlling Yin and

Yang, you are preparing the ground for serious Chi stagnations and Chi blockages. Each

organ is dependant on ‘free-flowing’ Chi for deliverance of nutrients and fresh Blood.

Heroin weakens the organs and as organs create emotional, physical and spiritual reality,

it affects reality accordingly. Long term heroin users might experience pleasant or pain-

free states on the drug but off it, the real world will feel hostile, harsh, adversarial and

threatening due to the drug’s action on the organs. On heroin though, as Liver Yin and

Liver Yang are also both enhanced, the external world becomes irrelevant, you would be

able to share a small room with the most annoying people and still feel perfectly centred.

The Liver is responsible for smooth flow of Chi, and if the Liver Chi flows smoothly you

feel comfortable and ‘safe’ in your skin. But after long-term heroin use you can’t stand

being in your skin. You feel fidgety, can’t sit still and you may need to scratch

constantly. After long-term heroin use Liver function is debilitated which manifests in

emotional instabilities and sporadic, sudden emotional out-busts.

On heroin the function of the Spleen is also temporarily enhanced which is why you feel

grounded and focussed. But the Spleen is also responsible for digestion of food, and long-

term heroin use affects this important function. This is why long-term users of the drug

can’t digest food anymore and suffer from constant vomiting. The body obviously needs

food but as a long-term heroin users have serious problems with retaining food the

resulting nutritional deficiencies will lead to physical, emotional and spiritual decline.

The Kidney’s are responsible for willpower and strength, in-particular sexual strength,

but with long-term heroin use the Kidneys can’t produce these important qualities

anymore and unreasonable fears, lack of willpower and sexual weakness arise. As

Kidneys are associated with teeth, long-term heroin use also accelerates tooth decay. The

Heart enables the experience and expression of love and ‘reasoning’, but with a decline in

the Heart function selfish behaviour patterns and spiritual defeat develop. This is why

addicts can steal from friends and family or turn to prostitution. In this context, punishing

addicts for criminal activities doesn’t solve anything as the true problem isn’t the users’

personality but their organ condition.

The Lungs are the organs associated with control of destiny, but long term heroin use

‘victimizes’ you by depleting the Lung functions. You can become caught in a downward

spiral where you watch yourself ‘falling’ but due to organ imbalances and depletion you

have no means available to stop the decline. People tell you to get your act together but

you don’t know how, simply because the tool for controlling your destiny is no longer

available. In TCM the Lungs belong to the Metal Element and in the Five Element Cycle

the Metal controls Wood as the Metal is the blade to chop the Wood. The Wood Element

is associated with direction, planning and destiny, so to master your life it requires a well

developed Metal Element, however in long-term heroin use this function is not available.

Heroin use does eventually have to end as the body can only sustain the level of organ

destruction it generates for a limited time, but the withdrawal process is brutal and for

most users life afterwards seems empty. I have treated many clients who managed to get

off heroin but then became addicted to the methodone that was prescribed to assist in

managing life without heroin. Methodone, a synthetic opioid compound, was synthesised

by the Germans during World War II when supplies of morphine were running low. It is

a highly addictive analgesic like heroin but does not produce a euphoric effect once

tolerance is established (ibid136). Many mainstream drug treatment programs consider it

the solution to heroin addiction as it does counter the cravings for heroin as well as the

after effects of long term heroin use such as intense muscle tightness, muscle fatigue and

muscle pain. However, all the recovered heroin users I have treated have suffered from a

profound Liver Chi Stagnation and Yin- and Blood Deficiency, which in accord with

TCM, accounts for these conditions. The aim in these cases is to also build Blood and

Yin so that the Liver Chi can flow smoothly again, lubricating the tendons and nourishing

the muscles. Consequentially the person begins to feel more relaxed in his/her skin.

Another after-effect of heroin addiction that methodone eases, is anti-social feelings. Ex-

heroin users are often uncomfortable in the presence of other people and avoid groups

and interaction. This is because the Yin is so depleted from the heroin abuse that the

person feels constantly aggravated by other people. Methodone artificially makes the

Liver Chi flow and provides synthetic Blood and Yin and thus allows social interaction.

From the TCM perspective, methodone too is controlling Yin and Yang as heroin did

previously. TCM is derived from Taoism and in that philosophy those who control their

own Yin and Yang will enjoy a life of happiness, health and inner peace, whereas those

whose Yin and Yang is controlled by other means, may not experience this. Drugs

control Yin and Yang so eventually taking that control back ourselves is important. A

crucial component of this is focussing on the body and on building organs, Chi and

Blood. Working with drugs for over thirty years (ten years empirically and twenty years

professionally) I have come to the conclusion that to control your own Yin and Yang you

also need continue the journey that drugs initiate via the path of self-mastery.

Recreational drug use is about exploration, excitement and wonder and this is how we

experience life as young children. But these are also the qualities we lose as we meet

blockages and resistance in later life. Drugs do temporarily recapture this and I believe

that the more excitement or wonder you have experienced with drugs, the more you need

to recapture those states after you’ve stopped but by positive means. In my opinion,

heroin takes you on a profound inner journey of exploration of feelings and emotion so

seeking to continue this afterwards is part of the recovery process. This requires not only

Chinese Herbs, regular Acupuncture and Bodywork but also effective spiritual practices.

Speed’, or methamphetamine, is now the most commonly abused illicit drug after

cannabis. Like cocaine it is a stimulant but rather than being natural it is a derivative of

amphetamine, a synthetic stimulant which emerged in the 1920s. During WWII Japan,

Germany and the USA provided the drug to their armies to increase endurance and

stamina (Anglin et al 2000) and it was widely prescribed in the 1950s and 60s as a

treatment for depression and obesity. But in the context of recreational drug-taking, speed

does much more than that: it can make you feel that you are spiritually, emotionally and

physically perfect, a ‘master of the universe’ (UNODC 2004).

However, if I interpret its action using TCM, speed gets you high by exploiting your

inner energy, your Jing, which eventually makes you feel really bad. Jing is the life force

given to us during conception and later during delivery. It is partially provided by parents

and partially by the universe. Jing is the raw energy or fuel for all our physical and

emotional activities. It is a kind of advance payment or savings account for the job ahead

in the physical plane. Jing executes ‘will’, it is like material will. All recreational drugs

unleash this force prematurely, this is how they make you feel so good. The incredible

rush from a drug like speed comes from a massive freeflow of energy through your body

but this is fuelled by your own Jing not the drug.

Because speed draws energy from Jing rather than from nutritional food and drink that

has been converted via the Stomach and Spleen into energy, there is no hunger stimulus

(this is why amphetamines are used in many diet drugs) and regular speed-users rarely

eat. This accelerates the development of serious side effects. Because Jing is being

depleted, the body needs nutrient-rich food and drink more than ever, but as the signal to

eat is bypassed, more Jing is exploited. Jing is supposed to be treasured and conserved as

it is either difficult or impossible to replenish, depending on what school of thought you

subscribe to. But getting high on speed wastes your Jing and accordingly reduces the

quality of your life. As a therapist but also an ex-addict, I have both personal and

experiential knowledge of this and regardless of how good you feel initially, there will

eventually be a day of reckoning when the symptoms can no longer be suppressed.

In TCM, the Spleen, which produces Chi and Blood, is the major organ adversely

affected by speed, and after a period of speed abuse it develops a condition called Spleen

Chi deficiency. This means that all functions of the Spleen will be lessened. The Spleen

influences the capacity to think, concentrate and focus and it also processes and

‘transports’ thought and emotionality. As its function deteriorates thoughts will no longer

be transported smoothly. The Spleen is also associated with the Earth element which

enables the establishment of healthy boundaries and forms the basis for sound ego

development. With Spleen Chi deficiency and depleted Earth energies, not only can you

no longer communicate effectively but the process of cognition becomes inhibited and

the idea of ‘self’ becomes hard to grasp; just as you can’t grasp a complex mental concept

when you are exhausted. Earth energies provide reference to centre; as they decline you

start to feel that your centre has been shifted outside of yourself. Then you begin to

perceive this displacement as someone else standing behind you. This triggers the classic

speed or cocaine-fuelled paranoid belief that you are constantly being followed.

Most heavy speed-users become pale because they develop a condition which is called

‘Blood deficiency’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This is not the kind of condition that

would show up in a Western blood test as, in TCM, ‘Blood’ is an entirely different

concept. It is considered a dense and material form of Chi (Maciocia 1989 p.48), so

Blood deficiency is a kind of vital force deficiency. Trying to operate on deficient Blood

is like trying to run a car on low-grade fuel. All the engine parts will be under stress and

nothing will work properly. Continuing to take stimulants like speed or cocaine after

developing Blood deficiency seriously affects the Heart as well. Stimulants force the

Heart to work hard but the deficient Blood is unable to provide the nutrients and Chi

necessary to support this action so the Heart can suffer not only physiologically, as in the

case of drug-related heart attacks, but also emotionally. In TCM, the Heart supports the

mind, and as the functions of the Heart become affected, the pathologies of the Heart and

mind — mental restlessness, depression, anxiety and insomnia — will arise.

After a couple of years of speed use I experienced all of these symptoms. I was thin,

white, constantly fatigued and often convinced that people were following me or talking

about me. Communicating with people had become a major problem. I would know what

I wanted to say but when I started to speak my mind would suddenly feel like a void: a

threatening, blank, space. I’d lose the thread of what I was talking about and then say

something that had no relevance to the topic or conversation. The more speed I took, the

more often the void hit. People started to look at me as if I was weird and eventually I

became anxious about every interaction, particularly if there was a group of people

involved. I started to wear a wide-brimmed hat to prevent eye contact with anyone and

thus preserve some sense of identity. I should have stopped then but without speed I had

no sense of centre and I felt scattered, anxious, off-grounded, dizzy and shaky in the

limbs. I also had the frequent sensation of imminent fainting. The only thing that could

make these symptoms go away was more speed or amphetamine, but each time I came

down I felt worse and absolutely everything annoyed me. The way people looked, the

way the walls looked, the way the furniture looked, the way doors opened and closed, it

all made me want to cry or scream. These side effects became so bad that to keep them at

bay I started ‘topping myself up’ every three or four hours.

I knew that something was fundamentally wrong with me. I didn’t want to be the only

one so screwed-up though, so I desperately looked for evidence of psychological

disorders in other people. Then I didn’t feel so alone. If I came into contact with people

who seemed happy and normal I would try and trigger discomfort, anger or unease in

them, then I was in my comfort zone. Then I could relate to them. This is not only the

behaviour pattern of a speed-user of course, anyone who has serious organ imbalances

that manifest emotionally and mentally may act in a similar manner. They can’t help but

aggravate, annoy or accuse you until they can make you react emotionally: its as if they

need to get you in a similar emotional state to them so that they can somehow relax. In

the end though, it just makes people want to avoid their company.

I can see now that my long-term speed and amphetamine use ended up creating a

combination of Blood deficiency, Spleen Chi deficiency, Earth energy depletion and

Heart imbalances. This generated intense agitation and anger and instead of being a

hippie pacifist I became a reactive ‘activist’. I was angry with the society that had

rejected me, with the people who had betrayed me and with the way my life had turned

out. I could only see was what was wrong with everything. When these feelings got to the

stage where they could no longer be suppressed, I turned on society. At that time, in the

late 70s in Germany, scores of terrorist groups were active and there were constant bomb-

blasts, political demonstrations and street battles with the police. I would join in

regardless of the cause, screaming abuse and battling the armies of police.

In the midst of all this violence I discovered a surprising sensation of harmony. This was

because the external environment now perfectly reflected my internal state. From then on

anger, anarchy and violence became part of my world. My dreams were gone and my life

had become nothing more than pain and violence. I felt sick and I looked sick. I was so

far gone I took pride in the evidence of my physical destruction. Speed was the only thing

left that gave my existence meaning so I sat back, took my speed and detached myself

from the world. My own purpose and destiny were no longer relevant. When I reached

this point, I could have easily taken the next step in the gateway drug cycle which would

have been to remove all my pain, fear and guilt with a better drug, but the only drug that

can override that degree of organ dysfunction is heroin. Heroin is a totally Yin drug. It

centres you and cocoons you from the harshness of reality. On heroin I could have

continued to fool myself into thinking that I was doing something meaningful with my

life. However, fate intervened and I left Germany and started the long hard road to


I believe that speed is one of the biggest problem drugs in Australia because it can

provide a glimpse of how good you could feel naturally or even perhaps how humans are

truly destined to feel. According to Traditional Chinese medicine, powerful stimulants

such as speed intensify mental and physical experiences because they make the organs

function at peak level and this is a euphoric and exhilarating experience. Spiritual

masters, leaders and gurus devote their whole lives to achieving that kind of state without

drugs. Regardless of which practice they follow, Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu etc., they all

describe achieving similar states of bliss, of vibrating with euphoria. They feel invincible.

One spiritual leader I met even described it as being in a permanent state of orgasm. But

the masters feel like they do because they have created an organ condition and Energy

Field capable of experiencing bliss and euphoria on a permanent basis. Combined with

their commitment to attain perfection, they have built Blood, Chi and Jing through

disciplined daily practice, correct action and appropriate diet. We can all aim to do this

by following the same path.

Ecstasy (MDMA) is an unusual drug. Its chemical structure bears similarities to both the

stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. Ecstasy is sometimes

categorised as an entactogen — which means ‘touching within’ and, like all the other

recreational drugs, it was developed for therapeutic use. It is a drug that provides insight

and empathy and it was used covertly as a psychotherapeutic drug for several decades. It

was reputedly highly successful in marriage and relationship counselling. Then Ecstasy

hit the party circuit, got banned and became one of the most popular of the illicit drugs.

The majority of its use is now of course recreational. In a recent publication on Ecstasy it

was estimated that each weekend around the world nearly a million people take the drug.

The author points out that when millions of people take a legal drug such as alcohol every

week, the medical establishment sponsors thorough research and public education about

that substance but when that substance goes underground it becomes inaccessible to

researchers but readily available on the black market (Holland J. Ecstasy: the complete

guide. Park Street Press, 2001). The result is widespread abuse, little useful information

about the drug and its effects and no control over purity.

Sasha and Anne Shulgin, who were instrumental in the support of Ecstasy as a

psychotherapeutic tool in the late 70s, suggested that in the recreational context it should

not be taken more than four times in a year (ibid p60). But as a therapist I am now

treating a lot of people who have taken hundreds of Ecstasy trips. They have used it in

sufficient quantity to have significantly altered their energy field and organ condition and

many report feeling severely depressed. My approach is to work with rather than against

drugs. On one level working with drugs means understanding the process by which they

alter your state and then seeking to recapture that through beneficial means. However,

working with drugs also means working with the changes drugs bring. I use the principles

of body-mind medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to do this. In psychiatry

and psychotherapy drugs are used to create temporary change. Under the guidance of the

therapist, the therapeutic drug creates new reference points for the patient. For example a

timid or anxious person may temporarily be able to experience themselves as confident or

outgoing. This becomes a new reference point for them to work towards.

There are parallels in the recreational drug world, particularly in regards to Ecstasy. The

majority of the millions of people who take Ecstasy have positive experiences of

themselves as loving, expressive beings capable of bonding with those around them.

They identify effects including feelings of insight, empathy and forgiveness. Some claim

to have ‘found themselves’ or to have been changed for the better after taking the drug. In

Western medicine, which is based on a division between body and mind, and between

patient and ‘condition’ the effects of Ecstasy or MDMA are attributed to three main

neurochemical mechanisms: the blockade of serotonin reuptake, the induction of

serotonin release and the induction of dopamine release (ibid p.29). In Traditional

Chinese Medicine, however, the organs are the platform from which drugs operate.

Quality of life is dependent on the effective functioning of the organs. Drugs temporarily

and artificially enhance the function of organs and produce emotional, physiological and

spiritual states in accord with the true nature of the organ.

My research indicates that specific drugs target specific organs. Marijuana for example

highlights the functions of the Liver. Hence marijuana will produce states of happiness,

creativity and a heightened awareness of chi-flow (the positive attributes of the Liver),

but also the opposite states of frustration, anger and chi-stagnation (the negative attributes

of the Liver). If you use the model of Traditional Chinese Medicine to explain the action

of Ecstasy, it could be said to target the Heart and the Spleen. In TCM the Heart is the

organ responsible for excitement, joy and love and the Spleen is the organ responsible for

mental clarity. The Spleen also transforms and transports thoughts. When you take

Ecstasy, the joyful expression of loving thoughts takes top priority. All your deep-seated

emotions are transformed and transported by fluid thoughts or actions. Ecstasy shows you

the qualities of the Heart and Spleen - how loving, expressive and caring you can be - this

is why you can communicate with people in a way you couldn’t or wouldn’t without the


But unlike the therapeutic context, in which the drug is administered in a very low dose

by a professional who then guides the process, in the recreational context the dose is

much, much higher and although you may initially feel inspired or uplifted, euphoric

drug experiences are always followed by the opposite emotional states of emptiness or


After an Ecstasy weekend many people report feeling physically, spiritually

or emotionally low. In my research, based on body-mind medicine and TCM, this occurs

because the drug has made you feel good by drawing upon your inner energy stores, your

Jing. Afterwards your organs will be depleted of life-force or fuel and your sense of

wellbeing will naturally be adversely affected. In addition, once the person stops using

the drug, the great feelings and the insight and empathy generated by the drug become

stored in the body-mind as a reference point reminding the ex-user of what they are

missing. This often drives people to return to drug use but the more Ecstasy you take the

harder it is to achieve the desired blissful states and the more prominent the side effects.

In Western medicine the side effects of Ecstasy use include anxiety, paranoia, impaired

memory function but primarily depression. The latter is considered to be a ‘chemical

imbalance’ in the brain that can be redressed by administering drugs to ‘rebalance’ the

brain. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, in which psychology and medicine are one, and

body, mind and spirit are addressed equally, depression is not considered a condition but

rather a symptom, an emotional state arising from major underlying imbalances in the

organs and energy field. Depression, as well as anxiety and paranoia can be linked to

Spleen Chi deficiency and Heart imbalances. These are the organs that Ecstasy targets

and as they become deficient or depleted the negative aspects arise. Another short term

side effect of Ecstasy use is jaw tension and teeth clenching. According to Traditional

Chinese Medicine, the Spleen is also associated with the mouth, with eating, talking and

so on. Ecstasy can cause involuntary teeth clenching, grinding or chewing as a result of

what I would consider excessive Yang operating in the Stomach meridian. The Stomach

is the Yang partner of the Spleen and the upper part of the Stomach meridian runs along

the muscles of the mouth. Speed use can generate similar symptoms.

My drug recovery programs are based on the body-mind medicine premise that the body

needs to be repaired in line with the mind. Drug-highs work via the body, they originate

in your organs but on drugs you feel your mind and body as one. Psychotherapists

recognise that Ecstasy can be used to show people the ‘result of successful therapy in

advance’. In the recreational context you could say that Ecstasy has shown millions of

people a much more intense preview of successful ‘self-development in advance’. The

problem is most do not view the experience in this context. It is considered a drug high

and there is no processing of the experience. There is no connection made between the

feelings when high and the ‘normal’ person. It is not integrated into the body-mind.

Accordingly any potential for positive change that may have occurred is not exploited,

energy cannot flow and the organs are affected creating anxiety, sadness and depression


Accordingly I treat post-drug depression through the body first, through acupuncture or

bodywork to release and utilise the blocked energy positively. Improved diet, exercise

and powerful nutritional supplements are also important to boost organ function and

improve physical, emotional and spiritual outlook. Then I add Chi-gung, yoga or Tai-chi.

The body-mind needs new reference points for feeling good to displace the drug-high

references and Chi-work is the best way to do this. Everything you feel on Ecstasy you

can feel without it as these states are inherent within us all and accessed via our organs.

The final element is meditation techniques to manifest joy - a function of the Heart. This

is an important component in recovery because any drug use is on some level linked to a

desire for spiritual experiences, but particularly so in the case of Ecstasy. Ecstasy can also

be categorised as an entheogen, or a drug which gives rise to the God within. The natural

plant-based entheogens such as daytura, psilocybin mushrooms or ayahuasca have been

used for thousands of years in the religious or spiritual traditions of many cultures and

there is an academic argument that the psychedelic experience derived from entheogens

may even be the basis of religion.

I do think the recent boom in Ecstasy use is connected to a growing desire for ritual,

ceremony and meaningful experiences. I have seen a new consciousness rising driven by

an interest in spiritual experiences and the need for belief in a higher power. In his

seminal book on spirituality, Roger Walsh identifies four claims that constitute the core

of all religious or spiritual wisdom as follows: that there are two realms of reality, the

physical realm and the realm of spirit; that humans partake of both realms; that we can

recognise our divine spark; and that realising our spiritual nature is our highest goal. A

drug like Ecstasy can appear to give instant access to all this. Unsurprisingly, raves,

dance parties and clubs became the new churches, where Ecstasy and music seem to

deliver euphoric or sacred experiences on demand. So in moving on from Ecstasy use, it

is important to find another means of achieving that state. Otherwise you will never be

truly satisfied or happy, and depression can linger.

Everything about taking drugs is initially incredibly positive, otherwise no one would do

it, but afterwards everything is negative. All the media on drugs is negative. Its all about

the drug problem or drugs and crime, drugs and addiction, drugs and death. Every single

patient with a drug history comes in to see me looking glum and grim. They think they

will never be happy again, they think they are diseased, addicted and have wasted years

of their life. Part of the work I do in holistic drug recovery is identifying what can be

turned into a positive from a drug past and I believe many ex-users have the potential to

convert their pasts into an asset by becoming therapists specialising in recreational drug-


Its a way to make a living as well. According to the UN there are currently 200 million

recreational drug-users. Of course this figure is based on countries volunteering statistics

and, as this is by no means the majority of the world, the true figures would probably be

astronomically high. There are scores of countries where drug use is endemic (Yemen

and Qat use for example) who contribute no statistics. Either way, the fact is that all of

the hundreds of millions of drug-users are going to have to stop sometime. Drugs are

temporary, they only work for a certain time and every drug user knows this. What will

happen next is the big question. The answer is recreational drug recovery will also

become one of the biggest businesses in the world. As you can’t take more drugs to fix

drug-induced problems, the solution will be found in the natural therapies rather than

Western medicine.

I believe natural therapies can heal addiction. This is because an essential part of total

recovery is recapturing the states created by drugs. If this happens you don’t need drugs

and addiction doesn’t exist. In my experience, these states can be recaptured as the result

of regular bodywork, acupuncture, therapeutic herbs, nutritional supplements, medicinal

food intake, exercise, chi-work and meditation. All of these contribute to perfect health

and perfect organ function. In addition, once you follow this path I recommend finding

therapists who have used drugs and recovered holistically. It is always great to find a

therapist who has experienced what you have whether that be whiplash, Graves disease or

panic attacks, because they have real insight both experiential and academic into what

you are going through and how to help. Just the knowledge that they have been there too

and recovered is very inspiring and it can accelerate the healing process. This is

especially important in drug recovery work because many drug-users who have gained

enough confidence to seek help from a therapist (which often takes a huge effort) have

been met with judgemental attitudes, lectures or even in some cases an outright refusal to

treat them. This can be extremely devastating for the patient.

This reactive response is the outcome of the one-sided, fear-based media portrayal of

drug-users as junkies on the street (who are in fact a minority) and the war on drugs

(which is in fact a war on drug-users). I am not suggesting that drug use be encouraged or

promoted but, given the scale of the industry and the fact there are a lot of young people

suffering needlessly who really need help, I think some honesty and balance needs to

enter the drug debate. Hundreds of thousands of people are desperate for non-

judgemental help and they are not finding it because of the war on drugs. After each

workshop I do, around the country, audience members flock to me asking for

recommendations for therapists who have had recreational drug experiences or training

but I find myself struggling to suggest people. I know a lot of therapists have been drug-

users in the past but do not acknowledge it because there is a perception that drugs taint

you, and you will lose credibility or respect. I can understand this. Drug use is a complex

issue and there are legal considerations but, as it will soon be the majority of the

population who have taken drugs, we do need a shift in approach or we will be facing a

global tragedy. The damage done to the organs by drug use will not repair by itself over

time, it is essential to actively work on it. If you don’t you can be left with severe

depression, anxiety and fear and we don’t need hundreds of millions of people in this

state. To prevent this we need role models who can stand up and say I’ve done drugs and

recovered and learned about myself and gone on to achieve my goals. People need to

know that there is life and hope after addiction and depression rather than a sentence of

being permanently ‘diseased’.

The Daoists say that to help others you need worldly experience and this is one thing

drug-users have plenty of but it is undervalued. If you have dehypnotised yourself from

society, lived outside the box, dealt, scored, been in the underground, lived as an outcast,

broken all the rules and been an adventurer, instead of trying to get back into the ‘normal

box’ turn all that experience into an asset. If you really understand pleasure and pain, and

have also created pain for your family and friends and had to deal with the ramifications

of this, it might not help you become an accountant or salesman, but if you want to

become a therapist it can be priceless.

I see young people all the time who feel lost and empty after drug use and after ten years

as a lecturer I can sense that many would make great therapists. This is not an easy path

though. By the time I got to college to study TCM I hadn’t done hard drugs for years, I

rarely drank alcohol, I had quit smoking. I looked healthy and normal. But internally I

had the classic post-drug internal organ condition manifesting as low-self esteem, fear,

anxiety and paranoia. I thought I was worthless and I had no confidence in my ability to

help others. I kept expecting that at any minute someone at college would ‘out me’ as not

being a ‘real therapist’ but at the same time I knew I just had to keep going and never

give in to the doubt. Each day I focused on my studies and on building my Chi. But for a

long time I wasn’t operating from a position of strength and there were a lot of things I

didn’t agree with but I couldn’t express this because worthless people don’t express their

thoughts. For example, at college they taught ‘professional dress codes’ and really pushed

students to cut their hair, wear collared shirts and look professional. If you want to

specialise in drug recovery I think individuality is really important. Keep your

dreadlocks, tattoos and piercings. Stay true to your vision of yourself and live in accord

with your dreams. The most important thing is not your external appearance but your

inner strength. If you are grounded and strong and have lots of Chi it will emanate from

you and attract patients.

Follow the path of holistic repair, see how it impacts on you, study natural medicine and

then put it all together and you will really be able to help others. Use the colleges to learn

the techniques and get your qualifications but then draw on your own experiences as well

for insight. You need to do this because recreational drug recovery cannot be approached

purely academically, it really does require experience. This is because drug use generates

paradoxical presenting symptoms such as ‘Excess’ and ‘Deficiency‘ conditions at the

same time. This is because as well as physical symptoms, you are also dealing with

dimensions beyond the conscious mind. This is the realm of the spirit and it is well

outside the bounds of the academic world. While you are on acid for example you can

have experiences and insights that are not just from your own consciousness. I have had

scores of cases where people have taken certain recreational drugs and feel they have had

experiences of accelerated learning. I think this potential is there but you are tapping into

something that we in the Western world with its reductionist view of reality will not be

able to comprehend. But if this is not addressed and processed in recovery you are not

working with that which you received and that information / energy is laying dormant in

the subconscious. Based on my research energy needs direction otherwise it will work

against you. The energy associated with drug experiences has the potential to be used as a

creative force, the only way to achieve this though is to work with it via spiritual practice.

This is because spiritual practice transcends the conscious mind so it enters the domain

where drugs have taken you. It provides the essential tools to connect drug experiences

with a happy successful post-drug life. As this means combining both the spiritual and

academic maybe we need a new generation of what I call drug-warriors, specialised

therapists who can accept their past, find value in it by following the path of self-mastery

and then helping others. This makes your drug experiences an asset as opposed to a

liability. It also means you lose interest in drugs and alcohol and, instead of being

addicted for life and unable to recapture the experience, you can go further into bliss and

euphoria than you ever dreamed possible.


Jost Sauer 2007

Thoughts ?????

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Hi there - this is my first post in here, so Hello to Everyone!

Your post sounds very promising, but i leaves me clueless what special actions to take - maybe you can give a hint?

I had over 20 years of serious excess with several substances and i don't regret, but as replying to what you have written:

I had to stop because of some really severe side effects of the more social kind and even that i'm free of all drugs for over 10 years now (stopped the heavy stuff first and the other things step by step afterwards) i didn't recover more than, i'd say, 50-60% - even worse, there developed other after effects that make me want to return to the true stuff, but i'm almost sure it won't work. dreaming of some more moderate substance-of-choice-use i'm too almost sure that won't work either in my actual condition.

Could you give a hint where to start the "holistic repair" maybe?


(sorry for my bad english)

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welcome to the forums mindbender, poor Warrioe-Sage is banned these days, so he wont be able to reply unfortunatly.

peace and welcome!

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Hey tepa,

that's a pitty, but well - that would probabaly have been too easy anyway :)

to close i'd like to explain - i have a very worldly attitude to drugs - if i'd take any i do it to feel good and if i'm not able to feel good anymore it's a serious problem :)

So that's what i'm after.


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