Drawing on his long-term expertise, Jost Sauer presents readers with a powerful, practical, step-by-step recovery regime and a wealth of case studies, which deal with a whole range of drug issues including:
why drug experiences aren't wasted
what's really going on in psychotic episodes
how to handle the post drug emotional roller-coaster
why raw foods hinder recovery
what forms of exercise work
why eating regimes need to be tailored to the individual
how to achieve natural highs
Written for users and their families, Drug Repair that Works encourages users to build on their drug past, rather than bury it, to create happy, healthy, passionate lifestyles.
|Publisher:||Allen & Unwin Pty., Limited|
|Product dimensions:||6.50(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Jost Sauer is a former addict and is now a practitioner of Chinese medicine. He is the author of Higher & Higher.
Read an Excerpt
Drug Repair That Works
How to Reclaim Your Health, Happiness and Highs
By Jost Sauer
Allen & UnwinCopyright © 2009 Jost Sauer
All rights reserved.
My love affair with mood- and mind-altering substances began at fourteen. I would regularly take handfuls of my parent's tranquillisers and blissfully drift between worlds. At sixteen I discovered hashish and truly altered states. It launched me on the ride of a lifetime. LSD, magic mushrooms, mescaline, cocaine, heroin and amphetamines whipped me to the outer reaches of the universe or drew me into the depths of my soul. I thought the adventure would never end but it did, and badly. Speed addiction led to alcoholism and finally suicidal depression. Convinced that I'd done something wrong and wracked with guilt, I began working with drug-addicted youth in the social services. I thought helping others would make me feel better about myself, but eight years later I still felt just as bad.
Something needed to change. I went off to college to study traditional Chinese medicine, I became an acupuncturist and emerged with a shiny new version of myself. Determined no one was ever to find out about my drug past, I presented myself as a caring professional treating 'normal' disorders. When I opened my clinic everything went according to plan. Many of my patients were recreational drug users, but they came to me for acupuncture not drug issues, so I didn't have to go back into that anarchic territory. Then one day my past walked in the door and my life changed.
Jules was in his early twenties, very thin with heavily tattooed arms and legs, and a sore shoulder. I could tell he was a heavy drug user. He had a hunched body, too-pale skin, darkened teeth and the active but absent eyes of a speed user. Emotionally, he was highly wired and negative. Everything that was wrong in his life was someone else's fault. The speed was destroying his emotional outlook, health and spirit.
Despite my resolve to hide my past and my previous failures in helping drug addicts, I felt an overwhelming urge to do something about this so I launched into the session by talking openly of my experience with speed. I told him how much I had used, what side-effects it had and what caused them according to traditional Chinese medicine. Jules was stunned by my approach — as I was — but once he understood my past was far worse than his, he also saw that I couldn't be shocked, and the truth about his shoulder came out. He had been on a three-day binge that ended with a police chase and Jules falling off a high fence. Like the street kids I had worked with years ago, every second word was a four-letter one.
Jules was a classic example of everything I had run away from, but the strange thing was, I really enjoyed our interaction. I had never imagined this could happen. When I left youth work, I was totally disillusioned with the recovery scene. The people working in the system knew nothing about drugs or what it felt like to be without them when you were dependent. On my last project with addicted youth, the funding body expected my clients to be off drugs and back to normal within a certain period of time, but some of them had been addicts for years: they had never had a job, or even a glimpse of what society would call a normal life. They didn't want to stop drugs. Our programs were not working and no one knew why. There were no alternative programs to offer my clients either.
I had my own issues to deal with as well. Although I tried to look professional, underneath I suspected the real me was still a hopeless addict incapable of rational thought or action. All that speed, as methamphetamine is usually referred to, had shaken my confidence in my own mental processes. For years my mind had felt like a box of firecrackers which could go off at a moment's notice. Random thoughts and ideas would explode within me, leaving a burned-out shell and drifting ashes. As one firecracker can set all the others off, if I was with another crazy drug user I could easily become that way as well.
This frequently happened when I was with the street kids. I'd fall back into the drug mind-set and involuntarily behave like one of them, laughing and carrying on about drugs in an inappropriate manner. They loved it but it didn't help them and I couldn't get my professional distance back. But now here I was sitting opposite Jules, a lit firecracker, and there was no sign of the fear, confusion and weakness that would usually have hit me by now in this therapeutic situation.
It took me a moment to register that this major shift was due to my discovery of traditional Chinese medicine. When I was in youth work it was all about psychology. We were supposed to find out what went wrong to make our clients take drugs, and then talk them through solutions. They were supposed to counter their drug cravings with positive thoughts. If it was that easy, I could have saved myself years of cravings and depression just by thinking positively.
But traditional Chinese medicine had given me a new set of tools to work with that I knew would be effective for drug users. In traditional Chinese medicine, psychology and medicine are one. The focus is on the body, as it is through the body that we engage with physical reality. The body executes our dreams, desires and ideas.
If your body, or more specifically your organs, are depleted and destroyed by drugs or any other factor, you won't be able to process mental concepts. You won't believe affirmations or positive thinking. So to make change you need to start by rebuilding your depleted body.
Our organs are far more amazing than we imagine. While they have a range of physical functions, they also have spiritual and emotional functions. If the organs are operating at optimum level you will feel great physically, spiritually and emotionally. Jules was using speed because he wanted to feel good. Speed makes you feel very, very good, because it artificially enhances the ability of your organs to function. High on speed, you feel immortal, exhilarated and euphoric.
Each organ is connected with a different emotion. The lungs are connected with freedom and spontaneity. If they operate at peak level you can embrace change, let go of the past and see an exciting future. The heart generates feelings of love, inspiration and joy. The liver is connected with happiness and inner energy (chi) flow. A healthy spleen gives you a strong sense of boundaries and allows you to trust people and want to communicate with them. The kidneys provide willpower and fearlessness. If you put all this together it provides an insight into how a speed high feels. It is also an insight into how we should all feel without speed.
Unfortunately, constantly forcing the organs to work at this level with drugs is damaging, so in between the great highs you begin to feel terrible. By the time I quit drugs, my organs were no longer healthy and were not able to generate positive feelings. Due to depleted lungs I was overwhelmed with loss and grief. My heart made me feel depressed. My liver left me angry and frustrated. My spleen filled me with confusion and paranoia, and my kidneys made me feel fearful and weak. At this point you tend to take more drugs so all the bad feelings go away, but it just makes everything worse because you are depleting your organs even more. This was the emotional territory that Jules was heading into.
The healing of our organs allows resolution of emotional issues.
* * *
When you are feeling angry, bitter, frustrated, paranoid, empty and confused from drug use, you can talk to counsellors, psychologists or psychiatrists until the cows come home but unless you restore health to your organs, things will not change. I knew this from my own experience. I had been in a much worse state than Jules. He was still able to interact with people. Towards the end of my speed-taking days I couldn't talk to anyone, let alone look them in the eye. By committing to a lifestyle that would heal my organs, my emotions eventually became more positive. Gradually I found myself feeling more optimistic about life and wanting to interact with people. But I had no idea that I could achieve such emotional balance; that I would be able to speak about my drug use without turning into a psychological mess.
REIGNITING THE AFFAIR
I finished the session with Jules by giving him acupuncture to alleviate his shoulder pain. Then I wrote a program for him to develop strength and health. I suggested he have as many warm cooked meals as possible and a good amount of protein as drug users are usually protein deficient. Ideally he would add nutritional supplements as well. His exercise program included some strectching as soon as he woke, followed with endurance work and weights. I also directed him to a local tai-chi school to learn about his own inner energy (chi) flow. All of this would help him understand what the drugs were doing and how to continue the journey of discovery without drugs.
He left in an optimistic state and I did too. That night I actually went home excited and inspired. It was the first day I felt truly fulfilled since I had given up drugs. I felt alive again. Part of this was the realisation that my experiences with drugs, my recovery, and my intimate knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine could be used to help others.
The consultation with Jules reignited my unfinished affair with drugs. It made me see that I still had a passion for altered states. If I combined that with my passion for traditional Chinese medicine I could work with my two favourite things and help people. Over the next few months Jules' life improved dramatically. It was one of the most rewarding cases I had had since starting work as a therapist.CHAPTER 2
By building my organs and cultivating my inner energy (chi) my whole life changed. The gradual improvement in my lungs meant I could start to accept my past. This is important because otherwise you can get caught up in permanent regret and blame. As my heart became healthier, my depression was replaced with excitement and I felt inspired about life again. A healthier liver meant I was no longer frustrated, bitter and stuck. I now had strong direction in life, my energy flowed and I experienced happiness. Because of my improved spleen function, I had boundaries. I was clear about who I was and what my purpose in life was and I wanted to bond with people again. By healing my kidneys I had the willpower to set goals and conquer the fear of starting new projects. Healthy kidneys also provided me with a sense of having 'deep roots' in life.
My improved organ function explained my sudden desire to engage with Jules and share what I knew about drugs, even though he reminded me of my painful past. Now that my organs were healthy, I could speak about the crazy escapades of my drug past but keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.
After Jules, I started to attract more clients with drug issues. The more open I was about my past, the more open they were and the more successful the outcomes. Then I began lecturing at a college of natural medicine, and wrote my first book Higher and Higher in which I admitted my drug past. In one fell swoop I went from keeping my past buried to making it public. It was the best thing I ever did. Making sure the decent folk never found out who I really was had been exhausting. Being able to be myself was such a relief.
In body–mind medicine, therapy is considered to be a two-way process. You attract what you are to deal with. I was getting a very strong message to use my drug past, because now all my patients wanted help with drug issues.
THE DRUG-USING DEMOGRAPHIC
Initially I treated a lot of young hard-drug users. They dabbled in crime and lived outside the rules of society. In a way I picked up where I had left off years before in youth work but, as I was now getting positive results, it resolved some of my past failure issues.
Ex-hippies who had become successful business people were the next group. Now approaching middle-age, they had become part of the establishment they once fought against. Many couldn't stop smoking marijuana because it was the only way they could keep in touch with past dreams and recapture the feelings of magic and mystery they'd once had. But marijuana wasn't delivering the goods anymore. Instead they were becoming increasingly frustrated and cynical about life. You can't rely on drugs to keep delivering the dream. Drugs are temporary and you need to find a permanent method of putting the magic back into life.
I also treated many of the 'ecstasy generation' — people in their twenties and early thirties. Environmentally conscious and compassionate, they longed for spiritual fulfilment and a psychedelic element in their lives. Ecstasy provided them with instant and powerful experiences of this. I also saw professional business people who used drugs, including speed and cocaine, as performance enhancers.
My clients were all using different drugs for different reasons, so a common aspect of my treatment was identifying what the drug delivered for each individual and working out other means of meeting this need. If you are going to take a drug away, you need to replace it with something that can fulfil its role or the person will return to the drug.
Another group of clients I see are teenage drug users, fifteen- or sixteen-year-olds who have often been taking drugs since they were ten or eleven. These are normal school children from normal families trying to give up drugs at the age I discovered drugs. When asked why they use drugs they generally shrug and say, 'Everybody does it.' When we talk about what they like about drugs, they refer to fantasy computer games or books. They want to be in that world. When parents, teachers or other adults tell them it is just a dream, they use marijuana, ecstasy or other drugs to try to make it reality.
Most of these young clients have been to counsellors or doctors prior to seeing me. These professionals focused on where the child had gone wrong, but maybe our generation are the ones who 'went wrong'. We were supposed to have changed the world. In the 1960s and 70s hallucinogenic drugs showed us this was possible. We saw what a magical place the world could be. We felt brotherhood and love. We didn't follow up on what the drugs had shown us, though. We didn't make it real. Eventually our visions went but the drug-taking stayed. We contributed to an environment in which young people would turn to drugs to feed their souls.
According to biologist Rupert Sheldrake, if a lot of people start doing, thinking or practising something different, new patterns of behaviour can spread faster than would otherwise be possible. Laboratory experiments have shown that if rats of a particular breed learn a new trick in one location, rats of that breed are able to learn the same trick faster in other locations without any obvious communication between the groups. Mainstream science cannot explain this phenomenon.
In Sheldrake's theory, each individual contributes to the collective memory of their species, and modifies the group memory or morphic field. The next generation born into that modified field then adopts the new behaviour without having to learn it. These fields apply to all aspects of our lives, even intelligence. Sheldrake points out that our IQ has been steadily rising as each successive generation absorbs learning from past generations. I wonder whether the drug-taking that began in the 1960s formed a morphic field — or powerful group mind-set — that contributed to the subsequent boom in recreational drug use.
The rave phenomenon of the 1980s, fuelled by the drug ecstasy, is now considered the largest youth movement in Britain's history. As with the hippies before them, many of its followers have continued using drugs. Now the next generation of drug users, the young teenagers, have appeared. Younger again and more numerous than the ravers, they view drug use as something 'everyone does'. They also say 'drugs make sense of everything'. My friends and I rejected the values and limitations of the material world when we took drugs, but we didn't do it to make sense of anything. This is a new development.
Excerpted from Drug Repair That Works by Jost Sauer. Copyright © 2009 Jost Sauer. Excerpted by permission of Allen & Unwin.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Part I A New Approach to Drugs
1 Discovering Drugs 7
2 Using Drugs 13
3 A New Approach to Recovery 18
4 Speed, Creativity and Self-Development 24
5 Understanding Psychedelic Experiences 31
6 Your Body Type and Family Baggage 36
Part II Giving Up Drugs
7 How People Give Up Drugs 43
8 How Not to Give Up Drugs 50
9 The Unasked Questions 57
10 Marijuana, Chaos and Order 62
11 Marijuana and Addiction 68
12 Understanding Speed 75
Part III How Not To Live After Drugs
13 Saying Yes, Again 87
14 Down and Out 96
15 No Man's Land 101
Part IV How to Live After Drugs
16 Post-Drug Highs and Lows 109
17 Engaging with Cravings 113
18 Handling Post-Drug Vagueness 119
19 Ecstasy and Spirituality 124
20 Too Good Too Quick 127
Part V Recreational Drugs and the Human Spirit
21 Drugs and the Dark Side 135
22 The Lower Realms 141
23 Magic Mushrooms 147
24 Drugs and Spiritual Invasion 150
Part VI Drugs and Psychosis
25 Psychosis 157
26 Psychosis and Suppressed Issues 163
27 Psychosis, Chaos and Logic 167
28 Overcoming Psychosis 173
29 Psychosis and Violence 177
30 Ice, Sex and Violence 181
Part VII A New Take On Psychosis
31 Seeing Psychosis Differently 187
32 Turning Pain into Love 193
33 Marijuana, Psychosis and Delusions 200
34 Psychosis and Personal Growth 206
35 Processing Psychosis 210
Part VIII Post-Drug High
36 Recapturing the Dream 219
37 Other Dimensions 224
38 A Doorway to the Future 229
39 The Post-Drug High Program 236