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Understanding Addiction Holistically (Part 1 of a Zillion!)

Addiction is a very complex topic for many reasons, all of which add to it’s complexity.  But as with everything complex in life, it always boils down to very simple components, and to tackle something as volatile as addiction, keeping it simple is best.  Sometimes stirring the pot too much is not good; particularly a poisonous pot.

Addiction is, as everything else in life and also reflected in illness, three-pronged, or holistic.  WE are three parts in one, expressing as spirit, mind and body, all three.  Everything about us exists in some manifestation in all three aspects of being and everything which is exhibiting itself as a disease is evidence of blocked or misdirected energy which can be corrected by bringing the system (spirit, mind, body) into balance again.  Therefore, all illness is a reflection of the condition of our whole (wholistic) self, not just this piece or that, and is best addressed through holistic means.  This writing today is focused on the application of this principle in cases of addiction recovery.

Addiction is clearly recognized as an affliction of spirit, mind and body in many circles, but there still seems to be quite a bit of confusion (and denial) regarding the implications of this.  All three areas require attention or else it’s like sawing one leg off of a three legged stool and then trying to sit down and not fall.  Some people only address addiction through spiritual means.  This seldom works because God created us with a mind and a body, too!  But let’s begin with the spiritual part of recovery, for without it, there is absolutely no hope at all of relief.

AA is a spiritual program of recovery designed for alcoholics wishing to recover from the addiction to alcohol. The program consists of twelve steps and promises, and is based on spiritual principles of honesty, unselfishness, purity and love.  I have the utmost respect for this program, and it has helped millions of people all over the world.  Many other programs of recovery from various forms of addiction have been based on this program and have proven to be extremely successful, as well.  No other treatment approach has had nearly the success in treating alcoholism than Alcoholics Anonymous has.

AA is a spiritual program, but there are mental and physical components embedded into the program, such as retraining the mind to become more open-minded, to toss stinking-thinking and to develop an attitude of gratitude one day at a time.  On the physical plane, abstinence from the substance alcohol is imperative to living a sober life, and not taking the first drink is paramount to this.

Let’s take it a little bit further, though.  There is quite a bit more which can be done to help on the physical plane.  For instance, in the case of alcoholism, there are nutritional deficiencies which should be addressed.  Whole, plant-based nutrition, of course, is best.  Alcohol not only drains a person nutritionally, but the cravings actually come from a body not having what it is that it needs, and it mistakenly thinks it’s in the alcohol.  There is also a process at play which involves sugar, with most alcoholics having a family history of blood sugar problems, and they often develop similar problems themselves.  Another issue is yeast overgrowth, with sugar and yeast both feeding a systemic fungal infection.  This causes intense cravings, as well.  As if this weren’t enough, there are the secondary and tertiary effects of malnutrition, and also there is a problem of toxic overload on the liver and kidneys, and a dehydrating effect on all the organs, including the heart and brain.  Alcohol crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes impairment in function, as well as physical damage to the organ itself.  The disease begins with a physical predisposition and ends with physical death if left untreated.

Alcoholism is at a rate of 10%.  That’s pretty high stats, don’t you think?  Nicotine, though, is addictive at a rate of 95%.  That’s why most people who start are hooked pretty quick.  With alcohol it’s just 10%.  Still, though, at 10%, that’s someone in at least every few houses or so.  It’s not always the ones you’d suspect.

What about other addictions?  Let’s talk about drugs just a bit.  Most drug addicts do not start out on street drugs.  Most drug addicts start with a little piece of paper handed to them at the doctor’s office and it goes from there.  Actually, no.  It starts much earlier than that.  Most drug addiction starts with the idea that children’s tylenol is needed for wellness.  Even earlier…How about when sugar is put into the baby’s bottle of water at the hospital right after birth?

Sugar.  There’s an addiction for you.  How many people are addicted to sugar?  Is it just the physical taste?  No!  It’s the chemical reaction of refined sugar upon the body!  In the refining process it’s changed literally into a drug by stripping the rest of the nutrients away from what is considered to be the active component.  The body needs sugar in its pure state, just the same as it needs fat.  So when sugar doesn’t have the original nutrients it ought to, then the body keeps looking for them.  It recognizes sugar, so it’s looking for what’s missing from it that it needs.  Chromium usually will take sugar cravings away, but why strip it out to begin with?  There are other nutrients stripped from it, too.

I mentioned fat.  Fatty foods are extremely addicting.  The body needs fat.  The brain and nervous system in particular need good healthy fat.  If we supply our body with what it needs, such as a diet rich in avocados,  raw nuts, coconut oil and other good sources of healthy omegas such as a good flax seed supplement each day…then we don’t crave potato chips, because a superior source has already satisfied the body’s needs.  So instead of denying our body, we give it what it needs from the get-go and then the cravings don’t even start.

Coffee is an addiction, as well.  I think most people know that.  Coffee is extremely addicting!  It’s also extremely hard on the adrenal glands, which is ironic, because most people use it in the morning to calm their nerves.  “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee,” is often their chant.  Well, coffee makes it harder in the long run to deal with stress.  It’s much better to ditch it and learn other ways of dealing with stress, such as feeding the adrenal glands instead of depleting them.  Licorice root is a good herb for accomplishing this and reducing caffeine withdrawal.  Meditation, raw chocolate, and music will also help, too.  Coffee is also highly addicting to the mind, as it is a cultural habit reinforced by our friends.  It’s spiritually inhibiting also, as it often serves as a “false god.”

Nicotine, too, is a common addiction.  Lobelia can help with that.  It’s an herb that gives the body what it needs that it thinks it’s getting out of a cigarette but is not.  Lobelia is a natural herb that mimics the effects of nicotine but it nourishes the body instead, especially the lungs.  It also works to clean tar from the lungs.  Nature is full of wonderful cures!

Flax seed oil is good, too, for withdrawal of any kind because it gives the nervous system the healthy pliability it needs to go through changes as these.  It can be stressful to break an addiction, and again, spiritual, mental and physical assistance is needed.  NATURAL assistance is what we’re talking about.  Nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, fake foods, drugs, are all unnatural substances and this is why the anomaly of addiction occurs.  To break the cycle one has to get off of the same track and routine to a natural route.  Good health, free from addiction, is natural to us.  That is God’s will for us all.

It’s when we start changing things and they are no longer natural that we get into trouble.  That’s where addiction begins.  My favorite working definition of a drug is any substance that is altered from its natural state and has an unnatural effect on the body, forcing it to act in a particular way.

This is where side effect come from.  Side effects come from force, and nothing is truly healed.  Symptoms are merely diverted with drugs.  The body becomes addicted to the idea that this is not correct and it is looking for the correct substance it needs to bring balance back.  Artificial does not work in a natural way and this further confuses the body, keeping it out of it’s natural state of self-regulation and balance.  Drugs may seem to work because they force a reaction, but until the body can work on its own without drugs it is not in natural working order and healed.

So, I promised to try and keep this simple, and I’m not sure if I have or not!  Let’s back this up just a bit.  Holistic recovery from any addiction is the only way to recover, so here is a quick guide to recovery of spirit, mind and body from whatever monkey is on your back!

Spirit – Make HONESTY…rigorous honesty…your guide, along with UNSELFISHNESS, PURITY and unconditional LOVE.  Make these your four absolutes!

Mind – Train your mind to be grateful by looking for what’s good in your life instead of always talking and thinking about perceived wrongs.  Honesty, Open-mindedness, Willingess = HOW.  Develop tactics to stop your denial in its own tracks, such as talking your problems over with someone wiser than you.  Flower remedies can also help release deeper mental blockages to healing from addiction, and help in restoring emotional balance.

Body – Pure water…lots…whole unprocessed natural organic foods…fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, fresh juices….exercise, rest, prayer, meditation, laughter, tears, natural aromas…aromatherapy works very well in releasing addiction.  Try lemon for starters.  Also touch healing is good!  The two spots just below the breastbone are the Jin Shin Jyutsu areas to hold for addiction relief.

There are so many natural things which can help!  And it really does take them all.

Read my book, “God’s Gifts of Healing:  The Essentials of Life.”

We can’t expect to live healthy and not get any exercise, or not drink water, or if we only eat food which does not nourish us.  We also cannot expect to be healthy if we hold onto negative judgements and resentments in life. We cannot overcome addictions with these old attitudes, and therefore we have to change if we want to change.  We have to change in spirit, body and mind.

We are all addicted to something.  Maybe it’s not even a substance, but maybe it’s something like negative thinking or gossiping.  These addictions can be broken as well, and yes there is also a physical part of the puzzle in those cases, as well. For instance, negative thinking will impact your health, as we all know, gossiping is negative, too.  Relax, get a massage, write down what you’re thinking and recognize that it’s your own mind telling you something is wrong.  There is not.  Don’t make a problem when there is none!  But don’t neglect to address problems, either.  Perhaps your body is just telling you it feels tired.  Maybe it’s jealous because someone else is getting a massage and not you.  Why don’t you get one, too?  Sometimes you can treat yourself so well that you forget how badly you feel!  Go on and give it a try!

Massage is one of the best ways to relieve old thinking patterns in a physical way because emotional pain is stored in the muscles.  Wash it away with plenty of water when you are done.  Aromatherapy, flower essences and healing music will help speed the process along, as always does also prayer and healing intent.  You can even give yourself a great massage.  Don’t believe me?  Come to one of my classes sometime or look for the video I’ll be making sometime!

In the meanwhile, just go at it one day at a time.  Stop what’s not working and replace it with as many positive tools as you have.  Join a support group if that is appropriate for you.  I know that’s been a lifesaver for me.  Be willing to do whatever it takes to regain your health, for truly that’s what we’re talking about when we speak of addiction.  Addiction rips lives apart. It’s only coffee, you say?  I could go on for hours about just only that.  Trust me, it can definitely have a negative impact on health at the addictive level.

When addiction is in the driver’s seat, that’s just it…it’s in total control.  God has to go into the driver’s seat, but only you can take back the keyss and give them to God.  That’s what free-will is about  Not a friendly user of the term “God?’  Use the word “Good,” instead.  Turn your life back over to what’s truly Good.  Good for you, your family, your health, anyone else whom your problems may be having a negative impact upon.  That’s what we’re talking about.  (I know, again, it’s only coffee!  Right?  Well, okay, but don’t take it out on anyone else when you have a headache before your first cup!) Be honest with yourself about the effect your addictions may have.

We are warned not to worship false Gods.  This is one reason we’re talking about this.  That’s on a spiritual level. That’s the spiritual part of the equation.  We need to put God, or Good, or Love, or Life…whichever term you prefer…ahead of everything else and take care of yourself.  Stop making excuses, that’s the next part, the art involving the mind.  The mind has to be willing in order for any efforts you may make to work.  Then comes the actual effort, this is the physical part.  Do the work.  Cleanse, nourish, balance your body through the proper use of food, herbs and other healing gifts in God’s natural world for you to receive.

I’ve been in recovery from alcoholism for almost 29 years myself.  In my professional life, addiction studies, prevention and treatment was my major focus in college and in practice for many years.  I have worked in treatment centers, schools, nursing homes, community agencies, counseling offices and churches designing, implementing and assisting in various programs over the years.  I’ve served on numerous committees, as well, and held office in professional associations upholding standards and providing continuing education.  This topic is of intense interest to me, and I will definitely be writing more.

I’ve personally seen hundreds recover and I’ve also seen hundreds die from addiction, some extremely close up.  I don’t want to die from something as preventable as this.  It takes a lot more than willpower, however, and anyone who thinks it doesn’t is quite mistaken.  It takes a person’s entire spirit, mind and body to recover from addiction so strong as what kills many otherwise intelligent, soft-hearted people who really don’t wish to die.

Addiction wreaks havoc on a person’s spirit, mind and body, and a complete turn around of all three and a retreat to what’s natural and good is what’s called for.  Addiction can swallow a person up whole.  That’s why absolute abstinence is called for.  That’s why it is said that half measures are of no avail.  That’s why rigorous honesty is absolute along with complete unselfishness, unconditional love and total purity of intent.  That’s what cures addiction, and measures along all these lines in all areas of life and all aspects  of being.  That’s what cures the incurable.  All that’s required is that a person change their life completely!  Addiction is to get stuck in a pattern if destruction, out of our own realm of control.

Mimicking the image of our perfect self as created in spirit, mind and body to be, will bring us back into balance again.  Image yourself the way you wish to be and give thanks for the Power of Good active in and through all of your life.  Recognize that you have a choice.  You don’t have to do this or that thing, but it is only due to the choices you make.  Act the way we wish to be.  Fake it until you make it.  Act as if it’s already true.  A sober person doesn’t drink and hang out in bars.  A healthy eater doesn’t even buy processed and artificial foods at the grocery store.  A person who is focusing on improving their health will follow a healthy lifestyle and this becomes the new thought.  A person who is ready to accept  the gifts available to them from God will open their heart and their mind to receive and be willing to act according to God’s natural laws.  This will bring relief from the woes of us all.

And give thanks before you even see it is done, for it already is.

Realize, too, that Divine Spirit is within each of us at our core.  It is important that we each seek out and follow our own guidance from deep within.  Recognize we are all One.  We all breathe the same air; take in and emit the same Life.  We draw strength from each other in Love.

Seek help from those who have already walked on the path and are closer to where you want to be.  Why take advice from those going in the other direction from where you wish to be?  Watch whose lead you follow, and don’t try to lead anyone else until you’ve found you’re own way onto the path.  You have to get there first before that.

With imbalance allowed to continue, a person will repeat the same mistake again and again, and the pattern will become more engrained, as will the consequences, thereof.  It’s like a record needle stuck on an LP, or a CD that’s got a big scratch; it’ll just keep playing the same thing again and again unless you intervene in some way.  It won’t just “fix” itself!  Eventually, if left unattended, it can absolutely drive one insane.

Even without any big glaring addictions, don’t you have any small ones you’d like to heal before they get out of control?  Gossiping can be very harmful to relationships, as can holding resentments.  Holding resentments can in fact bring on physical disease in ourselves.  What about anger?  Self-pity?  Gluttony?  Sloth?  Hoarding?  Junk food?  Procrastination?  Perfectionism?  Gambling?  Having affairs?  Screaming or just being plain nasty and mean?  Not wanting sex or wanting too much?  Are any of these problems for you?  What about the need to control someone else, or the need to have everyone approve of your viewpoint?

Everyone has something they’re dealing with…or not dealing with.  If you are not dealing with yours, trust me, it will be dealing with you.  Deal with it in spirit, mind and body, whatever it is.  (Hint…if nothing else comes to mind for how to deal physically with what seems completely to be emotional, start with massage and aromatherapy and go from there, and flower essences, too.  Also, you’d be surprised what diet and herbs can do for the emotional self.  As to the spirit, always, always focus on Love.)

In today’s world, many things are addictive because people are living so far outside of what is intended for us.  It has been with us since the free will of man first diverted from the perfect model set forth in the beginning, and lately it’s really gotten out of control, with artificial ingredients in foods, genetic engineering of seeds, chemical drugs, artificial fragrances, and so much in our world that is unnatural and toxic to us.  What else could we expect but disease?  Get back to the Garden.  That’s why these messages are called Genesis 1.

In relation to addition, there’s no simpler way than to simply start over again.  Step one is admitting WE have a problem and it’s out of control and then the next step is believing OUR sanity (peace, balance,  health) could be restored.  Then WE decide to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understand him…to me, this means to turn it back over to the will of Goodness and Love and Life.  The will of God is reflected in Original Design as in the beginning.  (And OUR Original Design is in the image and likeness of God!!)

This brings FREEDOM to us.  We are provided with all that we need inside ourselves and in our surroundings to be happy, healthy and whole!  But we have to use it.  If we continue to rely on false ideas of wellness, which is all that artificial stimulants, suppressants, depressants and other synthetic drug medications, artificial foods, synthetic fragrances, quick fixes, superficial and high stress living, well, it’s simply not going to work out for us very well.  It’s not according to our Design!  Giving our will to God means to be willing to live according to God’s will.  There’s no simpler way to state it.  Your WHOLE life…MY whole life, too…needs to change completely around if we’re addicted to anything, something is wrong.  We need to live according to our Design.

Don’t be discouraged.  It’s a lifelong process that never ends!  Progress is what we’re striving for, but if we’re painstaking, we are promised such wonderful gifts!

May You Be Happy, Joyous and Free, as you were created to be!

Vibraceous, ND

Rev. Dr. Jody Evans, ND, CTN, CNHP, D.D.

Founding Minister and Director of Essentials of Life Holistic Enrichment Center




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