-Cover work in progress.
The following is a chapter somewhere the middle of this book in the making. The chapter gives an idea of what the book is about. Because this is in the middle, I should mention I am an ex Pawn Shop owner, The Chapter also mentions about my brother, who overdosed due to heroin.
“Addiction is A spiritual disease.”
― Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)
Lauren’s dad dropped me off at the rehab. We hugged, kissed and said our goodbyes then I entered. The first couple of nights in detox, having a sober mind and laying in my hotel like room, bored I began to reflect on how I got there. I was a motivated individual and intelligent. I never would have thought I could let my addiction get the better of me. I never thought I could let drugs take over my life. In fact I used to think that people who let drugs destroy their lives and take over were weak minded and not goal orientated, though looking at my current position, my brother and dealings at the pawn shop over the years knew that this was not the case. Before letting my addiction get to this point, I had tried quitting frequently with short term successes, though always with some sort of relapse. I had tried using brute force and determination/willpower but through rehab will find out these alone are not enough.
At this point and even within the past couple of years, I grew to hate drugs with a passion – for I saw what they did to me, my brother, people’s lives and hard earned business. I was kicking myself in the ass daily to the point I contemplated suicide upon waking up in the mornings. Rehab for me was my last hope and I was in need of a miracle.
Soon after detox I started attending many meetings and classes throughout the day. I would meet the people, learn the steps and program as well as listen to speakers. In every meeting I attended, people would refer to their addiction as a disease, which I had heard many times before, but did not fully understand. I did however associate the concept to the paper my old drug and alcohol counselor gave me to read on how neuropathways in the brain had changed over time of using, and when drug dependence was achieved, the subconscious mind/ primitive area of the brain, changed from kill-eat-sex to drugs-kill-eat-sex, which could make sense associated to a disease concept but I was missing the whole picture.
I learned some of this in rehab but did not find most of the following information until I dug deeper with extensive research later in life. In 1933 Dr Bob founded AA, and he believed that addiction was a disease of the brain. It wasn’t until 1956 however that the national medical association, declared and recognizes addiction as a disease. Later still in the century scientists started to have some kind of physical picture of what was happening in the brain. Over time and duration of drug use, drugs which stimulate feel good neurotransmitters (Dopamine) and (serotonin) – interactions with primitive regions – subconscious reward center, changes the brains architecture or neuropathways. This in turn changes subconscious unconscious decision making and drug cravings. The region is in a sense “High jacked” and unconsciously fights with and may overpower the conscious reasoning/decision making area in the frontal lobe, the newer area in relation to the brains evolution. There is also a certain population more susceptible to this in the population.
Also interesting and relevant to this is the famous Psychiatrist, Doctor and worker at the US office of strategic services, Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) believed that addiction was a spiritual disease.
In the program at rehab, while getting to know the people in meetings, I listened to their story and started to see a common pain in their eyes and their faces. When I heard them talk, and their stories, I saw the addiction and a commonality, hardly any of them were bad people – if any at all. I noticed a change in my perspective, I had started to care about the people, if it makes sense I cared about the disease and saw the disease that I was afraid of. I saw behind the faces the hurt that was in me – the addiction that destroyed lives and brought people to the bottom or end of the road. Not only did I get to know these strangers, since I had lost everything – my assets and back accounts, I humbled myself in order to allow these people to help me with cigarettes and such – A small but drastic change, for the first time in many years, I was in need of support of stranger – that were generous and caring – rather than strangers in need of my help at the pawn shop. A new light shined on people that I had not seen in a long time.
One day, getting off the elevator on the third floor of the building, I remember a distinct feeling, A time and feeling I remember vividly for I remember trying to describe to myself what was going on, when I got there I felt like a lost and drifting soul, however multiple times including this instant felt that maybe it was the miracle I was looking for. This feeling was something like that of the sun coming out on a very nice summer day and warming my soul after countless years. Was it God? It sure did feel like god or a spiritual awakening, though being a man that believed in facts and logic, business and statistics, thinking all there is to man is body and mind, dismissed this thought of god as an adjustment in my brain chemistry. I kept asking myself though, is it God? Why was I using the word god to try and describe this feeling of awakening? The program, involves God, spirituality and “Higher Power” throughout the text and of the steps. Speakers at meetings also advertised the vital importance of a higher power in order to succeed in recovery.
As I stepped off the elevator, on my way to speak to my counselor I was feeling very conflicted about the whole thing – According to the program, I needed to find a higher power to succeed. I passed a sign in the hallway with an arrow labeled “spirituality office”, on the way opened the door and I sat down in his office.
“Hey Nick, how is it going” he asked.
“Well.” I said “I’m having a problem with finding a higher power, I’m taking the program seriously, but as I said before I do not believe in god.”
He explained to me that a higher power does not need to be god that it just needs to be a power greater than yourself, something to take you out of yourself. “A lot of people that have had this problem, have used AA and NA meetings – Their home group as their higher power, but I recommend praying – as the power of prayer is important.”
We did some paperwork that I came there to do and looking at the star wars memorabilia around his office and on his desk, decided he might have some interest in theoretical physics and decided it was a safe question to ask “are you familiar with the observer effect in quantum mechanics”? He looked at me for a second before he replied and said “I’ve heard a little about it why?” “ well” I continue “There is something going on with consciousness or a person that makes me think we’re made of more than just body and mind, that maybe there is something to spirituality”.
Then I went on to explain that there is a relationship going on with an observer – or consciousness and the physical world. That is consciousness effects matter, shown by proven experiments. You see at the end of the 19th century physicists thought they had a pretty good grasp on the world, though incomplete. Then along came max plank the father of quantum mechanics, he and other giants in physics found that energy – which makes up the entire universe, all matter comes in the form of packets or quanta at the subatomic or (quantum level) which seems to be effected by consciousness. Quantum mechanics not only showed that our understanding of reality was not only incorrect, it shook physics to it’s core. To name a few minds at the for front of this new, bizarre and strange world was Max Plank, Edward Schrodinger and Einstein.