Is it possible that hallucinogenic drugs may one day be used to treat alcoholism and drug addiction?
Brain Blogger says that “Psychedelic drugs may help to cure addiction when they are used under controlled conditions and at the right dose. This is precisely what many researchers are trying to do.”
While many drug addicts seek out hallucinogenic drugs in order to get high and “trip” with them, apparently these kinds of drugs can produce a very profound change in a person. Specifically, researchers are finding that people who take psychedelic substances have sort of a “brain reset” that allows them to completely change their thinking.
Often times users of these drugs will report a change in their level of consciousness and an expansion of their mind. They can gain perspective that was not possible when they were stuck in their addiction, and this new perspective can allow them to see just how futile their addiction really is. It is as if they can clearly see, for the first time ever, that they will just always be chasing after happiness and never quite reaching it if they continue to pursue their alcoholism or drug addiction. But this level of realization is not normally available to them unless they have that moment where their consciousness expands and they can see the real truth for what it is.
Now keep in mind that we are not encouraging anyone to go experiment with any type of drug without the direction and supervision of medical professionals. What we are saying is that the research into using psychedelics to treat addiction is very promising, and the technique may become much more mainstream in the near future.
It would not be shocking to see, for example, a prescription patch that looks like a transdermal nicotine patch, but instead it delivers a very minuscule dose of some psychedelic drug that is designed to treat addiction and reduce cravings. Or a clinic or rehab that is set up to guide people through this “consciousness expansion” project where they would check in, go through the detoxification process, and then be given a small dose of a psychedelic drug that allows them to have this sort of “thinking reset.” If the effectiveness of using psychedelic drugs continues to be proven over and over again by study after study, then we can expect to see this becoming much more mainstream in the future.
Again, this is not something that you should experiment with outside of a clinical setting. Taking these types of substances is certain to be risky in the current environment because they are not regulated and properly dosed, so there is no way to really know what you are taking, purity, and so on. Nor do you have any idea currently what the research is indicating for the optimal dosage amounts or schedules. So until more is learned about this technique it is best to simply follow it in terms of journals and studies that are being trickled out over time.
In the meantime, what can you do if your hope is to one day shift your thinking pattern using hallucinogenic substances?
In my experience there are a few interesting alternatives that, while they may not pack the same punch as taking LSD or magic mushrooms, can still offer some amount of paradigm-shifting thinking for you.
First of all is the idea of writing in a daily journal. Now again, I realize that this seems to be very low impact compared to dropping acid! However, if you are honest with yourself and you are willing to write down your thoughts, feelings, and emotions every single day, then you can cause your mind to get closer and closer to that “aha moment” in which your brain realizes that addiction is actually causing the misery in your life. In other words, if you force yourself to be honest and to write down your feelings every day then it will force your mind to work through the denial much quicker than if you are were not logging your emotions.
Much of what we do in our addiction is we medicate our feelings and emotions away so that we don’t have to feel the uncomfortable stuff. We teach ourselves how to do this as we evolved with our drug or alcohol usage, because while we were self medicating every day we were–whether we realized it or not–medicating all of our negative emotions away. So we got used to not having to feel any discomfort, because we always covered it up with our addiction.
So part of breaking through denial is to realize that have those negative emotions. If we continue to ignore them and suppress them then we will never reach a point in which we are ready to face sobriety, because then we have to deal with all of the raw emotion completely unfiltered.
So my first suggestion is to write in a daily journal. This can help to shift your thinking out of denial.
Second of all I would recommend daily exercise. I know that probably sounds weird and unrelated, but that is the kind of approach that has a chance at breaking through. If you try to go direct with a problem this difficult then you hit a wall: Telling someone “don’t do drugs” is not very effective. Neither is begging your spouse to quit drinking so heavily. The direct ideas rarely work and we need to find a tangential way to sneak some recovery into our lives. Getting into shape and exercising every day is another way to create the sort of mindset shift we are looking for. It is yet another way to force our minds out of denial in a sort of indirect way.
Another idea that is almost as extreme as taking hallucinogenic drugs is to do a juice fast for a few days. If you want to create a mindset shift and increase your consciousness then just stop eating solid food (consult with your doctor first of course). If you can go about 3 or 4 days with only drinking juice then your digestive system will “turn off” and you will experience this lightness of being that creates a sort of consciousness expansion. I am sure this won’t work for everyone but it might just be the kind of alternative idea that could kick start the right person out of their denial.
Not everyone can just check into treatment and magically change their thinking overnight. In fact, very few of us find recovery that way–our thinking has to shift first, and we break through denial, and only then do we check into treatment. So be aware that there are many different ways to shift our thinking and “kick start” our recovery by breaking us out of denial. Be open to the possibilities and the hope for a new life in recovery.