When visiting the American Holistic Nursing Association’s annual conference in California this past summer, I attended a very special seminar on holistic healing for addiction.
I have held many persons' hand in their walk back to consciousness from life-threatening overdoses and substance abuse accidents, as well as stood beside patients through their journey to the “other-side” from disheartening cancers and organ failures from lifelong addictions. I have witnessed a patient pull his breathing tube out of his throat, only to tell us he needed a beer. I have been kicked in the face by a drug induced patient who was full of shame and embarrassment after hearing what happened when she regained consciousness.
Strangely, I still stand here today to say that these people have always been my favorite patients, for I am passionate about allowing people the freedom and acceptance to be seen in what may seem like the darkest ugliest parts of themselves. This life is not always pretty, but it ultimately will expand you. Wherever your experience, mind, and actions have taken you in this lifetime does not make you any less or more of person that is deserving of love, or define a right or wrong spiritual path.
When it comes to addiction, MaryAnne Murray (who led the addiction seminar) states, “We simply are dealing with the most creative people in the universe.” After hearing this statement and being someone who respects the process of creativity, my ego was instantly turned on by the fact that my addiction struggles and eating disorder behaviors could all be the result of a creative mind space. Also being someone who loves making beauty out of things that may otherwise feel shameful, I thought this concept was beautiful.
When you think of addiction and the many ways diseased thoughts warp in and out of our brains while manifesting themselves into creviced patterns, you then can understand the creative power of people suffering from addiction.
Within my group therapy, we do what's called psychodramatic role playing, where other women in the group role-play parts of someone's life, so that it can be clearly visualized from an external perspective. When going around the circle one night, one friend pointed to a very creative woman in the group stating, "I would choose you to play my disease, because you are the most creative person I know, and my eating disorder truly has a mind of its own, planning and manifesting things you would never imagine possible." I mean let's be honest, our egos are pretty uniquely qualified for discovering ways to avoid sorrow, pain, or messes in life, and untangling the damage can take years to undo it's interlaced wirings.
Aside from creativity, here are some very real facts on addiction: The Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (as cited in Eliopoulos, 2018), states, “Over 27 million Americans over the age of 12 are illicit drug users,” and each person affected may experience pain, fear, shame, and guilt that ultimately affects many other people in this person’s life (p. 287). Addiction is also not specific to only drugs and alcohol, for other scenarios could include needing to vomit after eating, compulsive eating, constantly seeking sexual encounters, working extensive hours and depriving other areas of life, the extensive need to over-exercise, gambling despite the cost, or the inability to throw away hoarded items (Eliopoulos, 2018).
A very summed up definition of addiction is simply partaking in a behavior repeatedly, even though the result of the behavior brings distress and problem’s to one’s life (Eliopoulos, 2018). It is a sense of feeling controlled, or the inability to break free from something that continues to cause harm. The very basis of addiction exists from the need or attempt to escape uncomfortable feelings, as well as resulting from traumas that have affected one’s self-esteem and DNA factors linked to impulse control (as seen in ADHD) (Eliopoulos, 2018).
It is important to remember that everyone is at risk for addiction, it does not discriminate against specific classes of society. The following quote by Eliopoulos (2018) sums this up well: “Persons with addictions are corporate executives, teenagers, nuns, homeless individuals, grandmothers, rabbis, doctors, nurses, accountants, pilots, school dropouts, valedictorians, and celebrities (p. 290).”
Having experienced my own struggles with eating disorder behaviors for most of young-adult years, addiction has been a very special area of healing that I have felt drawn to. It can be easy to feel helpless when trying care for individuals suffering from addiction, because it may seem that they are not taking any actions to make changes in their life. This can put strain on friendships, families, and relationships, although after being introduced to my therapist, I now have a very strong belief in the potential for people to heal from addiction.
I once was so controlled by my bulimic behaviors, that I felt that this disorder was placed in my life as a life-long spiritual lesson that I would be battling forever. I now know that while its essence may always be in the back of my mind, it will not always control me. The process of therapy has helped me to identify its presence and purpose in my mind, so that I may make a more conscious decision to a choose a healthier coping mechanism or address any feelings I may be avoiding. It is a continuous conscious process to battle the disordered wiring that occupied my mind space for many many years, but it is something that will always be worth it to me.
Struggling from emotional issues is often times stigmatized, but I will certainly tell anyone that my therapy process has truly been one of my favorite parts of life. Therapy allows one to connect intimately with one’s true self, while learning how to cope, grow, and shift throughout this life with more ease and self-love. I would not change any of my experience (per usual), for it has divinely orchestrated an opening for me to reach a hand into the depths of so many taken aback souls. Within any therapeutic relationship, one may only take you as far as they themselves have evolved, therefore explaining my unique journey of evolution and cravings for expansion thus far in my life.
I think sometimes, people feel a lack of empathy for many addicted individuals, because it can seem that much of their disease was created from their own wrong doings in life, and while this is many times true, this is also simply where addiction thrives. It is the master of trickery and people many times need professional help to truly get themselves to a healthier re-programed place.
I have experienced my own instances of trying to support people out of their darkness, only to watch them fall back in repeatedly, as well as witnessed this within my own behavioral patterns. It can be quite frustrating and saddening, but luckily therapeutic professionals understand this process and are able to continuously provide the empathy and support that is needed to help these types of individuals.
Self-doubt can start to sink in on individuals suffering from addictive behaviors, because they may feel that they are continuously letting people down or may have experienced people giving up on them multiple times. Addicts may even successfully control some of their unwanted behavior through making promises and trying to make changes, although this is usually short term, and the issues will begin to surface again until the real emotional problem is addressed. It is also important to note that whatever feeling one may be running from is, more times than not, not on the conscious level (Eliopoulos, 2018). This is where I have found conscious intuitive support to offer the most significant healing.
Many intuitives or spiritual healers and mediums are able to connect with your spiritual truths, as well as talk to your spirit guides on the “other side” so that life-changing guidance can be offered to remove any conscious blocks. Now, I have only had experience with truly gifted psychics and people within spiritual communities or expositions. I am not saying to go stop at the nearest interstate exit with a psychic sign on a billboard. But hey, that might offer you something you needed also, for the universe is always working in mysterious ways. I would suggest following your intuition to see where you may be guided or what feels right.
If you talk to different intuitives, you will find that the "other side" is described in a similar manner, suggesting that we all have a set of spirit guides that are usually souls we have experienced previous lifetimes with or a soul that feels connected to your specific purpose. It is also important to remember that we are all naturally intuitive and able to connect to God, we just forget this through our social conditioning and detachment with self. Like I’ve said in previous posts, it does not matter how or through which religion or philosophy you choose to connect, for you can even simply focus on love. Some people come into this physical world with certain growth purposes that don’t necessarily require them to believe in a certain religion or God at all, and these people may better connect or meditate simply on the self. Any way that feels right is usually the way that is right for each person.
Take time to connect with yourself. If you’re feeling lavish, you can even try to connect with your spirit guides, angels, any religious figure, or God’s energy as a whole. Our spirit guides and angels are many times anxiously waiting for us to ask them for help, although because of their respect for our free-will, we must simply ask for their help first. This actually can be pretty fun in the beginning, especially when trying to manifest little things, such as parking spots at a busy event.
Any way you do it, prayer is always beautiful and opens your heart up to what you want and need in this life. If there are any emotional blocks causing you to repeat destructive patterns and behaviors that you haven’t quite figured out, pray for expansion, pray for things to be revealed to you, and pray for healing all around you. Self-care is also a very important practice for recovery, as well as energy/body healing to align energy centers that may be unbalanced.
As always...If none of this jives with you, don’t worry, just do you! Your path is special and unique to you.
Sammie Jo is an international known psychic medium, has been featured on MTV, and can connect with any passed loved ones or guiding spirits that may offer you support on your journey. She’s also my Go-To girl for any emotional issues/blocks, life-plan questions, and just a pick-me-up if I am struggling. She’s pretty much my spiritual therapist! You can never have too many therapists right? 😉 She’s out of South Carolina, so we mostly do phone calls when needed.
Cosmic Connections’s is my favorite holistic metaphysical shop in Nashville right across from Belmont University. They have literally everything from crystals, to angel cards, herbs, sage, palo santo, and many spiritual and holistic healers that offer all kinds of treatments, as well as spiritual events and groups!
Stonekeepers is another metaphysical spiritual shop in Murfreesboro, TN. They are perfect for any spiritual living needs, as well as providing many fun crystals, books, incense, and more. They partake in a Crystal Grid Project that seeks to raise the emotional and spiritual vibration around the world by burying intention filled crystals.
Eliopoulos, C. (2018). Addiction: Diseases of fear, shame, and guilt. In Invitation to Holistic Health: A Guide To Living a Balanced Life. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.