We need more imaginative ways to look at the whole issue of addictions and how addicts are to be healed, for as I see it, the addict embodies an aspect of the sickness of our society, which is why I think that the whole idea of a ‘war against drugs’ and the criminalising of the addict is sopernicious.
We must understand that the addict suffers from a spiritual malady, a wound to the soul which only the injection of soul can truly heal. I believe we all have a need to bond intimately with someone or something – it makes us feel whole – and our not having a society around us enabling us to do this with or conversely, being ourselves wounded in this capacity and so not able to do so, makes us feel empty and therefore liable to fall prey to something we can more easily bond with.
Framed another way, many of us have chains encircling our hearts that make it hard for us to connect with the essence of things or to go deep into something or someone, to break through certain barriers and so be intimate in some way with our world, and because this desire is so great, we will bond with something that is easier for us to be close with, such as a bottle of wine or a syringe or sex or whatever (For example, we talk of someone being ‘married’ to their drug habit!).
Hence, an addiction is born. In other words, what we all really want is to experience the ecstasy and joy of genuine bonding – be it with others, nature, ideas, the universe, or whatever – and so allow the spiritual or more unitive dimension of ourselves to come alive, to be born inside us.
Being unable to do this makes us feel empty. So we look for substitute forms of bonding, stepped down approximations of the real thing. For example, the drug MDMA or Ecstasy, mimics how the mystic feels when his or her heart is open to the cosmos, in the same way that the sozzled alcoholic who drinks spirit from the bottle because he cannot savour his true spiritual nature also experiences some degree of diminishing of many of the boundaries separating him or herself from the rest of the world.
Thus the addict is really after a mystical experience, the blurring of the boundaries between self and other or self and the cosmos. Our ‘habit’ (whatever it is) is in essence a ‘substitute behaviour’, an approximation or a ‘stepped down’ version of the real thing, a kind of false intimacy and while it may temporarily alleviate our emptiness and so appear to ‘fill the gap’, in practice this is never the case and often creates conditions or habit patterns that we become habituated to and make us feel even worse or more cut off.
While many treatment programmes may help the addict kick their habit, ultimately the only true healing is to find our own way back to our source, to bond with our soul and live out of this identification. When we can savour the real nectar, there is no longer the desire for ersatz versions of it.