God in a Bottle? The Spirituality of Intoxication.

Why are we here? Is there anything beyond this? What started it all?

We all exist somewhat on our spiritual planes, whether consciously or not, and finding peace through a personal acceptance and understanding of individual spirituality is one of life’s more important tasks – a task less frequently attended to in the here-and-now age we live in.

But even though we do not necessarily devote time or conscious energy to our spiritual growth (as we perhaps should) we cannot fight our deepest impulses, and whether consciously or not, we do seek out answers. I’m not the first to say this, nor close to the wisest, but I believe that intoxication (and too often addiction) emerges in part out of a misdirected search for spiritual enlightenment – finding God in a bottle.

From the time we figured out eons ago that eating or smoking things changed our perceptions, human beings have been getting high, and more often than not getting high got intermingled with spirituality…and finding answers through hallucinogenic drugs was/is a pretty common source of spiritual enlightenment. We grow up as kids and young teens on a journey of subdued exploration, and then one day we get drunk, or we get high. And WOW, all of a sudden, things look pretty different – and although we probably don’t put words to it and we are probably more interested in the fun of it all, it feels as though there are answers to be had through altered consciousness.

Most people seem to be able to take it as it is, just a transient and ultimately meaningless shift of perceptions; but some of us seem to take more-or need more-from the experience. And it’s fun too, we go on merrily getting high and getting drunk, bouncing around, seeing what’s out there…and it feels important. We have deep talks about meaningful things while high, and that feels important too. Not that you’d ever say "Hey, I’m on a spiritual journey here…" but that vague sense is there, an undercurrent of meaning lending importance to the otherwise frivolous and indulgent experience.

And some of us, the foolish seekers, we just keep on at it, sort of searching, until one day it’s sort of all we know. And one day, usually more than a bit too late, we realize that it was all a sham.

Maybe there is truth and wisdom to be found through intoxication, maybe not…but any cosmic truth intertwined with intoxication probably reveals itself after the first few sessions or so, and certainly by the first few dozens of experiences, and after a hundred-a thousand-or more times getting drunk or high, well; we’re not getting much out of it – other than high. Fools that we are, we keep at it, and at it for way too long. Spiritual understanding doesn’t come served in a bottle or a pipe. It takes work and growth, and a searching for meaning through hard-fought experience. When we rely on the easy and cheap spiritually of intoxication, there is no growth – no real searching, just an endless and blind stumbling.

There are no answers at the bottom of that bottle, and so that bottle can never provide any of the spiritual peace that we crave, whether consciously or not. I see it now, in hindsight only. It took getting sober, and a long while after that, to even start figuring things out for real.

Why are we here? Is there anything beyond this? What started it all?

We all exist somewhat on our spiritual planes, whether consciously or not, and finding peace through a personal acceptance and understanding of individual spirituality is one of life’s more important tasks – a task less frequently attended to in the here-and-now age we live in.

But even though we do not necessarily devote time or conscious energy to our spiritual growth (as we perhaps should) we cannot fight our deepest impulses, and whether consciously or not, we do seek out answers. I’m not the first to say this, nor close to the wisest, but I believe that intoxication (and too often addiction) emerges in part out of a misdirected search for spiritual enlightenment – finding God in a bottle.

From the time we figured out eons ago that eating or smoking things changed our perceptions, human beings have been getting high, and more often than not getting high got intermingled with spirituality…and finding answers through hallucinogenic drugs was/is a pretty common source of spiritual enlightenment. We grow up as kids and young teens on a journey of subdued exploration, and then one day we get drunk, or we get high. And WOW, all of a sudden, things look pretty different – and although we probably don’t put words to it and we are probably more interested in the fun of it all, it feels as though there are answers to be had through altered consciousness.

Most people seem to be able to take it as it is, just a transient and ultimately meaningless shift of perceptions; but some of us seem to take more-or need more-from the experience. And it’s fun too, we go on merrily getting high and getting drunk, bouncing around, seeing what’s out there…and it feels important. We have deep talks about meaningful things while high, and that feels important too. Not that you’d ever say "Hey, I’m on a spiritual journey here…" but that vague sense is there, an undercurrent of meaning lending importance to the otherwise frivolous and indulgent experience.

And some of us, the foolish seekers, we just keep on at it, sort of searching, until one day it’s sort of all we know. And one day, usually more than a bit too late, we realize that it was all a sham.

Maybe there is truth and wisdom to be found through intoxication, maybe not…but any cosmic truth intertwined with intoxication probably reveals itself after the first few sessions or so, and certainly by the first few dozens of experiences, and after a hundred-a thousand-or more times getting drunk or high, well; we’re not getting much out of it – other than high. Fools that we are, we keep at it, and at it for way too long. Spiritual understanding doesn’t come served in a bottle or a pipe. It takes work and growth, and a searching for meaning through hard-fought experience. When we rely on the easy and cheap spiritually of intoxication, there is no growth – no real searching, just an endless and blind stumbling.

There are no answers at the bottom of that bottle, and so that bottle can never provide any of the spiritual peace that we crave, whether consciously or not. I see it now, in hindsight only. It took getting sober, and a long while after that, to even start figuring things out for real.

No More Rock Bottom!

A survey done by Hazeldean (One of the nation’s most respected drug and alcohol rehabs and source of addictions research) reveals that 70% of all alcoholics in recovery got help initially at the urging or intervention of a friend, family member or employer.

So much for the theory of rock bottom…

No one ever needs to hit rock bottom, and really, where’s the bottom anyways? Alcoholism and addiction are progressive and ultimately fatal diseases, and for too many the only bottom is death.

There’s no need for it and it’s a tragedy that this myth of rock bottom continues to pervade our pop culture consciousness.

There are few easy answers, and fewer guarantees. Addiction is powerful, cunning and baffling (to borrow an old AA phrase) and what works for one may not work for another. Yet amongst all this uncertainty, one facet of treatment has been shown over and over again to have incredible efficacy, at getting people into treatment at the very least.

The Intervention

Interventions work; they work wonders, and a well run, non confrontational and caring intervention almost always breaks down the walls of denial, and gets a loved one into treatment.

Addiction is rarely intuitive or logical, and as such it makes perverse sense then that research shows that a person’s motivation at the outset for seeking help has no bearing whatsoever on eventual success and sobriety rates. Walking through that treatment center front door, or pushed in kicking and screaming…the only thing that matters is that you get into treatment, and start learning how to do better.

Never wait for rock bottom, by then it may be too late. Why waste years of precious life, why let the disease entrench ever further?

The sooner an addict or alcoholic gets help, the better the treatment prognosis. Family can make a difference, family can save a life. Learn about what works, learn about interventions, and take a stand against addiction and pain.

A survey done by Hazeldean (One of the nation’s most respected drug and alcohol rehabs and source of addictions research) reveals that 70% of all alcoholics in recovery got help initially at the urging or intervention of a friend, family member or employer.

So much for the theory of rock bottom…

No one ever needs to hit rock bottom, and really, where’s the bottom anyways? Alcoholism and addiction are progressive and ultimately fatal diseases, and for too many the only bottom is death.

There’s no need for it and it’s a tragedy that this myth of rock bottom continues to pervade our pop culture consciousness.

There are few easy answers, and fewer guarantees. Addiction is powerful, cunning and baffling (to borrow an old AA phrase) and what works for one may not work for another. Yet amongst all this uncertainty, one facet of treatment has been shown over and over again to have incredible efficacy, at getting people into treatment at the very least.

The Intervention

Interventions work; they work wonders, and a well run, non confrontational and caring intervention almost always breaks down the walls of denial, and gets a loved one into treatment.

Addiction is rarely intuitive or logical, and as such it makes perverse sense then that research shows that a person’s motivation at the outset for seeking help has no bearing whatsoever on eventual success and sobriety rates. Walking through that treatment center front door, or pushed in kicking and screaming…the only thing that matters is that you get into treatment, and start learning how to do better.

Never wait for rock bottom, by then it may be too late. Why waste years of precious life, why let the disease entrench ever further?

The sooner an addict or alcoholic gets help, the better the treatment prognosis. Family can make a difference, family can save a life. Learn about what works, learn about interventions, and take a stand against addiction and pain.

Addiction Recovery…Don’t Do It Alone

We, as humans, are social animals.

From birth we learn from our family; as children, friends take on a bigger role until when in our teens, the collective wisdom of our peers exerts a primal influence. As adults we tend to think it all past us, but in reality our peer environment still influences our actions and perceptions, and the people we choose to associate with tend to have a profound impact on our lives.

And this is why although recovery alone is possible, recovery in a group is far more possible, and for the best likelihood of success recovery should harness the power of the group.

As using addicts or alcoholics, we tend to associate socially with others who share our life-focus for intoxication; it’s a natural byproduct of the disease! We take our social cues from our group of peers, and in a big way what we perceive to be acceptable standards of behaviors are derived from what others around us are also doing.

If I drink 12 beers a day but my friend drinks 24 beers a day, well, I’m a moderate drinker!

Getting into rehab offers a lot. It offers a period of enforced sobriety, which can transform a life on its own. It offers the wisdom and guidance of addictions professionals, and it offers classes in relapse avoidance and life skills that impart the tools we’ll need to succeed. But more, much more than this, it also offers us the inspiration of others also in recovery.

We learn through the process of group recovery that although we are unique as individuals, our problems with drugs and alcohol share an incredible similarity. We also see that if others, who have it just as bad as we do, can recover – then there is no reason why we can’t too. There is a real sense of inspiration that comes from working together towards a common goal with others who share the same troubles; and it can work a real magic on even the most reluctant and hard-headed of addicts.

Rehab is supposed to be a place of transformation, and there is true power in this collective effort of recovery. You might be able to do it alone, but it’s easier and far more likely done in a group setting.

Find a place of healing where you can find your inspiration. Find a group of fellow alcoholics or addicts who understand you as you understand them, and start your journey towards recovery together. It helps.

We, as humans, are social animals.

From birth we learn from our family; as children, friends take on a bigger role until when in our teens, the collective wisdom of our peers exerts a primal influence. As adults we tend to think it all past us, but in reality our peer environment still influences our actions and perceptions, and the people we choose to associate with tend to have a profound impact on our lives.

And this is why although recovery alone is possible, recovery in a group is far more possible, and for the best likelihood of success recovery should harness the power of the group.

As using addicts or alcoholics, we tend to associate socially with others who share our life-focus for intoxication; it’s a natural byproduct of the disease! We take our social cues from our group of peers, and in a big way what we perceive to be acceptable standards of behaviors are derived from what others around us are also doing.

If I drink 12 beers a day but my friend drinks 24 beers a day, well, I’m a moderate drinker!

Getting into rehab offers a lot. It offers a period of enforced sobriety, which can transform a life on its own. It offers the wisdom and guidance of addictions professionals, and it offers classes in relapse avoidance and life skills that impart the tools we’ll need to succeed. But more, much more than this, it also offers us the inspiration of others also in recovery.

We learn through the process of group recovery that although we are unique as individuals, our problems with drugs and alcohol share an incredible similarity. We also see that if others, who have it just as bad as we do, can recover – then there is no reason why we can’t too. There is a real sense of inspiration that comes from working together towards a common goal with others who share the same troubles; and it can work a real magic on even the most reluctant and hard-headed of addicts.

Rehab is supposed to be a place of transformation, and there is true power in this collective effort of recovery. You might be able to do it alone, but it’s easier and far more likely done in a group setting.

Find a place of healing where you can find your inspiration. Find a group of fellow alcoholics or addicts who understand you as you understand them, and start your journey towards recovery together. It helps.