Tag Archives: alcoholism

The challenge of alcohol now

It has now been ten years since I last drank alcohol and I don’t miss it even a little. I have absolutely zero craving because nothing in me wants to return to the unconscious blur of alcohol. Being in the presence of alcohol is however no real problem for me since it is no challenge to stay clear of drinking.

But there are a couple of things that still cause discomfort and they all have to do with a deep disgust that I feel towards alcohol and more specifically towards myself on alcohol. I have no problem with people having a few drinks. Many people can handle a couple without losing control, but far more people THINK they can handle it but really can’t.

For example, I had a date with a woman once and beforehand told her that I did not appreciate alcohol. She assured me that she did not have any problems with alcohol and wondered if it was ok for her to have one glass of wine. Since I have no problem with people having a few I said ok. Unfortunately she was one of the many who had no idea that she is actually an alcoholic. Within the hour she had drunk the entire bottle of wine, her speech was slurred and she kept going on about how she could handle her alcohol. She obviously couldn’t. At all.

What disgusts me the most with alcohol are all the people who have no control. The people who go cross eyed, slur, puke, stumble around, are found laying in heaps all over, scream at people, are intrusive, threatening or violent. Other than with the last two things I mentioned my problem is however not with them, but rather with myself. When I see people act like that I am deeply ashamed of myself, as I used to be. That was me once and now I can see what I looked like from a sober perspective. I can see myself in the woman who downs a bottle of wine and thinks she doesn’t have a problem. I can see myself hurling, being obnoxious and not giving a fuck about others. That hurts and brings forth a deep disgust toward the drunkard I used to be. That is my challenge with alcohol now.

Photo: P1010497.JPG by Gwen on Flickr

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10 questions about drugs

1. Which is the most common rape drug?

2. Which drug is associated with the most violence?

3. Which drug kills most people?

4. What kind of drugs are responsible for the most overdose deaths?

5. Name two drugs that have never killed anyone.

6. Name two drugs that have no or very little addictive properties.

7. Name two drugs that break addiction.

8. Name two drugs that are used to cure depression, trauma and abuse.

9. Which drugs are legal?

10. Which drugs are the most illegal?

 

You’ll find the correct answers below the picture.

Photo: Drug questions by Ano Lobb on Flickr.
Photo: Drug questions by Ano Lobb on Flickr

 

There are obviously legal, country and time specific variations to these answers, but this is the general picture.

1. Which is the most common rape drug?
Alcohol is the most common rape drug. Many think that they need to be wary of people who want to spike their drinks with other drugs, but in the overwhelming majority of cases it is the alcoholic drink itself that is the rape drug. Victims and offenders are often drunk and even when there are other drugs in the mix, alcohol is almost always the main drug.

2. Which drug is associated with the most violence?
Alcohol is involved in most cases of violence. 70 to 90 percent of all violence (wars excluded) is directly linked to alcohol. This is as true for domestic violence as it is for violent encounters between strangers. There are a few other drugs (mainly ego enhancing and consciousness decreasing drugs) that are also associated with violence, but even in cases when other drugs are present alcohol is usually the main drug.

This diagram gives you a hint at how many deaths are attributed to different drugs in the UK 2011. It is however misleading since the tobacco part of the diagram only shows England, while the other circles include all of the UK. In other words, the tobacco circle should be far much bigger than it is in this picture.
This diagram shows you how many deaths were attributed to different drugs in the UK 2011. The very large circle represent deaths due to tobacco and the next biggest one is alcohol. In third place we find opiates and opiate substitutes, which are mostly found in legal medications. In fourth place are legal anti-depressants and in fifth are legal benzodiazepines. In other words, all the big killer drugs except for heroin are legal.

3. Which drug kills most people?
Tobacco is by far the most lethal drug. Tobacco kills more people than all other legal and illegal drugs combined. Alcohol is the second most deadly drug and in third place we find prescription medications. Science is having a hard time putting these in relation to each other, but estimates are that tobacco takes somewhere between two and fifteen times as many lives as alcohol.

4. What kind of drugs are responsible for the most overdose deaths?
Pharmaceutical drugs/prescription medicines are the most commonly overdosed with a deadly outcome. One reason is of course the availability but another very important reason is that medications often are highly toxic.

5. Name two drugs that have never killed anyone.
LSD, cannabis and magic mushrooms are a few non-lethal drugs, but there are certainly more. The doses needed to die from them are simply so ridiculously high that it is physically impossible to consume such quantities of cannabis or mushrooms. In the case of LSD it is probably possible to take that much, but you would need to take thousands of doses and as far as I know that still hasn’t happened. It is of course possible to die in an accident or such while on these drugs, but even so these are not drugs that typically make users accident prone. Science rather suggests that people using these drugs are usually more careful and considerate.

6. Name two drugs that have no or very little addictive properties.

Photo: Hícuri by Mierdamian Rondana on Flickr
Photo: Hícuri by Mierdamian Rondana on Flickr

Psychedelics generally have strong anti-addictive properties and are therefore fantastic for breaking addiction. Some such drugs are LSD, magic mushrooms (psilocybin), San Pedro/Peyote (mescaline), Ayahuasca, DMT, Iboga (ibogaine) and Salvia Divinorum. Another thing that several of the psychedelics have in common is that the user’s tolerance towards them increases rapidly, so even if a user would want to use it several days in a row it would quickly become meaningless to do so because the effects would vanish.

7. Name two drugs that break addiction.
LSD, magic mushrooms and Iboga are all well known in the treatment of addicts, but psychedelics of all kinds can be helpful. Before being made illegal LSD was among other things used to cure alcoholism. AA co-founder Bill Wilson was an advocate of using it specifically to treat cynical alcoholics by giving them a spiritual experience. Ironically LSD had a higher success rate of curing alcoholics than AA or any other program has ever had.

8. Name two drugs that are used to cure depression, trauma and abuse.
Again, psychedelics are fantastic tools for curing depression, trauma and abuse, especially LSD, magic mushrooms, Ayahuasca and San Pedro/Peyote. They make the user more aware of his/her situation and give insights and experiences that help the user deal with past trauma. Within a spiritual context the plants are especially helpful since they actually speak to the user in a way that an isolated substance cannot do.

Western chemical based medicine often uses medications such as anti-depressants but these medicines most often only put a lid on things and sedate the person. These medicines are also highly addictive and toxic, which makes them very dangerous in comparison.

9. Which drugs are legal?
Alcohol and tobacco are legal, although you need to be of a certain age to buy them. Prescription medications are legal as long as you have a prescription.

10. Which drugs are the most illegal?

Contrary to what many think today's drug laws are not based on science but on politics. For example, did you know that the push to make cannabis illegal was mostly based on racism?
Contrary to what many think today’s drug laws are not based on science but on politics. For example, did you know that the push to make cannabis illegal was greatly based on racism?

Class A drugs are defined as drugs that are especially harmful, have a high abuse potential and that have no medical value. Among these you will find heroin, crack, cocaine, cannabis, LSD, magic mushrooms and mescaline. Which class a drug is placed in is however a political decision, not a scientific one. From a strictly scientific point of view this classification is utterly absurd. Heroin and crack would definitely fall within the definition of a class A drug, but so would the legal drugs alcohol and tobacco since they obviously are extremely addictive, harmful and lack all medical value. The psychedelics and cannabis on the other hand are proven to have huge medical value and do very little harm, so they would be stricken if the list was based on science. It appears however that drug policies are among the least scientifically based policies today.

Main photo: fififififiesta! by Adriano Agulló on Flickr

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Naysha: Kambo or Sapo

Kambo is an ancestral medicine that is used by indigenous tribes from the Amazon. It comes from a kind of frog that lives in the Amazon which contains substances that acts as a powerful natural energizer and helps eliminate health problems in the person by increasing the immune systems efficiency. The natives especially use it for hunting, because it sharpens the senses: vision, smell, hearing and taste.

Kambo not only works in the physical body, but also revitalizes and cleans the chakras.

How is the kambo collected?

The frog is never hurt during the process of taking the mucus from its back. Shamans pray to the kambo spirit and then the frog starts to release the substances that are then collected with a stick. The frog is then returned unharmed to the forest where they live in the trees.

How is it used?

kambo2The person should drink at least 2 litres of warm water before the kambo is applied in order to help the detox.

The shaman or person with experience of kambo uses a stick to burns dots in the skin where the kambo is then applied. As far as I know the numbers of dots can go from 3 to 15, but I am not sure about this. Normally the burning points for women are on the legs and for men on the arms. There is no mysterious reason to why. It just looks better that way. The burn marks can leave small scars.

What are the effects?

The kambo medicine works for 15 minutes. During this time the body experiences a lot of physical, energetic, spiritual and emotional changes. To be honest, you might feel as if you will die, since your heartbeat increases and most of the times you will also vomit.

The kambo works in the liver and it’s like squeezing a lemon. The kambo takes out all the toxins from your liver by tricking the body that it is being poisoned. The liver then begins working immediately to expel everything which is harmful.

Kambo treatment is good for people that drink too much alcohol or have taken too much medication. It also detoxes the blood and can help with chronic disorders. It is also great for revitalizing the immune system.

Kambo is also a medicine for the spirit, because perception generally increases, which helps with intuition, dreams and stimulates the third eye. It also unblocks that which is stopping the energy flow that is vital for our bodies.

Naysha Silva Romero

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Why we need more than 12 steps

Step 1 of the 12-step program goes like this:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol
— that our lives had become unmanageable.

My very first step to recovery began with just the opposite.

I realized that I ultimately had the power over my life and with that understanding I chose to retake conscious control and responsibility for my life.

The 12-step program was founded in 1935 and is a product of its time and of the American Christian context in which it was born. In it the process to quit drinking is intimately linked to the belief in something greater than oneself that one needs to surrender to. The steps to recovery are detailed and follow each other in a way that easily reminds you of a machine or assembly line. The machine metaphor is easily available because the program was created in an industrial time when many thought models used the machine image.

In the 12-step program the person appears to be broken, and therefore needs to turn to the great mechanic in the sky to be repaired. The machine helps him/her to diagnose the problems that the mechanic needs to remove, but the main responsibility still lies with the mechanic.

The program has helped many people, but is surrounded by a belief to be able to help everyone, which is of course fundamentally wrong. No program, no action or intervention can help all people, because we are basically on different journeys, exploring different aspects of life and living in different realities.

People who do not believe in God, for example, often find it hard to embrace the 12-step program. Today many try to dechristianize the program to make it more accessible to non-believers, but the fact remains that the program is steeped in its history. Six of the twelve steps include direct reference to God, which is said to be a male entity.

The program also becomes problematic if the person finds it hard to work with the image that s/he is a machine that needs fixing, or if you like I have the understanding that the power to change is something internal. I do not recognize myself as powerless. I need quite the opposite – to remember that all power originates from me.

It’s good that the 12-step program is available, because there are people who feel the need to externalize power, who need to admit themselves powerless, who need to surrender and who furthermore need a detailed description of their recovery work beforehand. This does however become very problematic when participants believe that it is the only way, in the same way that many religions believe that they represent the only truth.

It becomes even more problematic that the 12-step program is so dominant that it is many times the only option, which is sometimes even forced upon people. Recently an American man was given a hefty settlement after a court forced him into a confessional sobriety program. In Sweden the alternatives to the 12-step program are hindered by authorities contributing to the 12-step program’s dominance. For example it is not uncommon that social assistance is conditioned with participation in the 12-step program, or that the only treatment available is based on the 12-step model.

At present there is an immense void when it comes to substance abuse treatment in Sweden, which leads to the majority not getting the help they need. There is a growing need for programs based on other belief systems, just as there is a growing need for programs that cater to atheists. We need programs that see people as organic beings, rather than machines. Or for that matter programs which liken the process to a journey, a release from a mental prison or a power struggle. The images we use for our recovery are extremely powerful tools. There is a need for programs that places the power to change within myself (all power in my life is based on me), just as there is a need for programs that place power outside of myself (I am powerless. God help me!).

This all stems from the fact that we need to help people based on their own beliefs about life – not from ours. To impose alien concepts on people in order to assimilate them in treatment is free of insight and thoroughly disrespectful. But above all, it is not good treatment, since it will be less effective.

Photo: So far by Stephen Cummings on Flickr

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Daniel tries legal psychedelics

Press Release 2014-12-31:

In 2015 the Swedish/English blogger and shaman Daniel Wilby will try legal drugs to investigate their therapeutic and spiritual potential.
– It is my hope to be able to offer legal psychedelic therapy and healing in the near future, he explains.

Nine years ago he himself recovered from long-term alcohol abuse and a deep depression when he came in contact with the illegal psychedelic substance LSD. Since then he has worked intensely to learn how to use psychedelics for healing and growing, both for himself and with others.
– I see the criminalization of psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms as a violation of every person’s inherent right to heal and practice their spiritual beliefs. For me, these substances saved my life and I can never be grateful enough for the help I received through them.

Daniel works in the shamanic tradition, but has also recently begun studying social work at the university of Malmö with the hope of being able to work with legal psychedelic therapy in the future.
– At first I imagined that I would have to open a center abroad to bring clients to, but this fall we had a big discussion in Sweden about the harmful yet legal Spice blends. That made me think of all these substances that are not yet classified as illegal. I want to examine them to see if there are some that are good to work with in the same manner as I have previously worked with LSD and mushrooms.

The Internet-based smartshop Azarius in Holland sponsors Daniel with products from their selection, and he will continuously report his and others’ experiences on his blog.
– Two things have been particularly important when we have selected which substances to try. The first is that the substance must be safe. There cannot be the slightest risk for my health. The second is that the substance must be legal in Sweden.

Psychedelic plants have in shamanic traditions been used for many thousands of years to heal and help people grow, and to get in contact with the spirit world. During a short period leading up to the 1960s, they were used extensively in Western therapeutic contexts and generally showed great results, but all such research was suppressed when the war on drugs began.
– The reason that psychedelics were banned in the 1960s was not that they were dangerous, but because they were perceived as subversive. Suddenly people let their hair grow, they listened to strange music and refused to go to war. For militaristic-minded nations who expected a certain conformity and obedience, this was very scary. Compared to other drugs and medications psychedelics are very safe, but as with anything you obviously need to know what you are doing.
– In a therapeutic context psychedelics allow us to quickly go very deep. They strip away unnecessary walls and help us to dive into the subconscious, which means that we can often go further in one single psychedelic session than you would in months or even several years of regular therapy.

Photo: Daniel Wilby by Jamin Pirnia

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In love with a younger woman

I was asked today why I am interested in younger women.

It’s obviously something I have asked myself too. My relationships in recent years have been with women who are 10 to 20 years younger than me. Depending on the perspective one of course sees different things, but here are three things that I feel are relevant.

My alcoholism has delayed me

An active addiction will stop your personal development on many levels. This is particularly true in the case of a substance such as alcohol, which is a powerful anesthetic and poison. I drank for 13 years. That was 13 years where my emotional and social development almost stood still. When I ended my alcoholism at the age of 31, I was therefore in many ways no older than 18, if even that old. When I looked at other people my biological age I felt that they were indeed very, very old. That feeling has lingered, but has also changed a lot.

OLD MEN AND YOUNG WOMEN by Bill Strain on Flickr
OLD MEN AND YOUNG WOMEN by Bill Strain on Flickr

However, there are two things that counter this effect significantly. The first is my intensive work with psychedelics. A trip can be the equivalent of many years of therapy, compressed into one evening. It is no exaggeration to say that psychedelics have given me a couple of lifetimes worth of therapy by now. I find that I have on many levels caught up with and gone far beyond my biological age. But having said that, there are parts where I find that I am still trying to catch up.

The second is this. As I become better at seeing where people are, I realize that most of them are stuck in similar ways as I was. These times we live in are incredibly childish and collectively we try to avoid taking responsibility. At the individual level that is because many are stuck in their 14-year-old, even though they are 30 or 50 or 70. The most childish among us often wear a suit.
– But shouldn’t that make it easier for you to find a partner your own age, some might wonder.
No, quite the opposite. Someone who is 40 but behaves like 14 is stuck and has been so for a while. The only way I could find any romantic interest in such a person is if she would be dedicated to healing herself and growing beyond what she has been. A 40-year-old who is happy to act like 14 is a real turn off for me, just as I assume that 30-year-old Daniel must have been very uninteresting for sensible peers when I drank like an 18-year-old .

Rigor mortis has not yet set in

I often prefer being around young people, because their thinking has not yet stagnated and their sense of discovery is still there. I am of course generalizing, but I often meet people my own age who don’t seem to be able to talk about anything other than television, sports, news, gossip or politics.

Ascidian (Rhopalaea Crassa) (4 cm)by Samuel Chow on Flickr
Ascidian (Rhopalaea Crassa) (4 cm)by Samuel Chow on Flickr

Contemplate the Sea squirt. When it is young it swims about in the sea, discovering and playing with other Sea squirts. When it gets older it sets outside a sewage treatment plant or such and devours its own brain. Humans, as far as I can see, have much in common with the Sea squirt. When they are young they travel around, playing and exploring their visions. Then they sit down in front of the TV and devour their own brain.

I do of course understand that there are young people who have already devoured their brain, just as there are older people who have theirs intact. But I feel that there are far more brainless people the older people get. Then there are also many young who have not yet connected their brains, but that’s another matter.

Kindred spirits attract each other

Although my girlfriends have all been younger than me, it must be obvious to all who met them that I have always attracted very strong, talented and special women. So even though the age difference has in some cases given a thrilling dynamic, we have also been able to meet as equals.

364. by Deb Stgo on Flickr
364. by Deb Stgo on Flickr

We live hundreds or thousands of lives. Through these lives we form communities and friendships with other souls that we feel comfortable with. We meet again and again to play out different roles in relation to each other. The physical body is just a vessel, which people that get hung up on the biological age tend to miss.

There are many young people now who are much older than what they look to be on the outside. They are old, wise souls in young bodies. There has been a steady increase of these people since the early 80s. They are our indigo and crystal children. I am one of them, but an early one, who was born when they were still uncommon. I’m attracted to old, beautiful souls that I have met in past lives and they are attracted to me, because we are travelling in the same direction.

Main photo: Hampton Court Bridge – June 1971 – My First Love by Gareth Williams on Flickr

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The six hour meditation

I had been sober from alcohol for about a year. It was all so very easy. When I no longer drank life shifted and I soon felt restored.

Then one night I took a high dose mushroom trip. I put on some music, lit a candle and sat down to meditate. Six hours later I was lying in the fetal position, crying uncontrollably. I cried with sorrow, but also out of gratefulness for the insight I had received.

When I sobered up from the alcohol I took all the crap that I had been through, all the trauma that I had caused myself, and crammed it into my backpack. Then I looked forward and started working on how to get where I wanted to be. It was necessary for me to do so, because I didn’t have the energy nor the distance to process my trauma at the time.

But now, a year later and with help from the mushroom, it loosened. After six hours of meditation I understood that although I was cured of my alcohol addiction, I had a lot of work ahead to resolve the blockages and traumas that I had caused myself when I drank. I was free, but far from restored.

It was time to start unpacking my backpack.

Photo: Crying.. by Anders Ljungberg on Flickr

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For ever grateful

My first LSD trip pretty much cured my alcoholism. The second and third put me well on my way to working through my four year long depression. I was utterly astounded by the miraculous effects, so of course I had to google it.

A few clicks and I had, among other things, learnt that:
* LSD had, before being criminalized, been used with fantastic results to cure addiction problems, such as alcoholism, where it often took only one trip to cure the person.
* One of the founders of AA was a strong advocate of LSD and was actually well on his way to start a program to distribute it throughout AA.
* LSD had a far greater success rate in curing alcoholism, than the AA 12 step program has ever had.
* LSD has also been used with great success to cure depression.
* Albert Hofmann’s 100th birthday was right around the corner and he was alive and kicking.
* In his honour there was a LSD conference being arranged in Basel, Switzerland, and everyone who was somebody in the psychedelic community would be there, along with the guest of honour, Albert Hofmann himself.

Albert Hofmann at the LSD symposium in Basel 2006. Photo: Daniel Wilby
Albert Hofmann at the LSD symposium in Basel 2006. Photo: Daniel Wilby

I had to go.

I was flat broke, but there are moments in life that are just too important to miss. This was one of them. I was probably the most inexperienced of the whole crowd, having taken LSD four or five times by then. The lectures were absolutely amazing and confirmed scientifically the effects and experiences that I was trying to describe to friends and family.

On the final night, after having listened to Albert Hofmann tell about his first experience, there was a wonderful party on a boat. It was full of psychedelic explorers, psychonauts of all generations. There were academics and hippies mixed up with ravers and artists. And of course the best LSD I have ever encountered.

I had never been to a rave before. My first encounter was on two drops of LSD and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Everyone on the dance floor was dancing in the same direction and they were rediscovering and reinventing what dance, body language and social interaction was. It was as if they had taken out social programming A, and were busy programming social programming B. People were friendly and caring, not at all the type of interaction that I was used to from night clubs.

I had no idea that this was what the ravers were up to.
– I have to find these raves, I told myself. They seem to have LSD.
They sure did, I soon found out. They sure did.

Hofmann on his bicycle.

Today is the 19th of April. It is Bicycle day. Today it is 71 years ago (1943) that Albert Hofmann first took his first intentional LSD trip to try to determine the effects of the peculiar substance that he had synthesized, while looking for a migraine cure. He took 250 micrograms, which he thought would be a threshold dose. It turned out that LSD was really potent. A threshold dose is approximately 20 micrograms. 250 micrograms is a powerful trip and feeling uneasy Hofmann early on decided to go home. Due to war time restrictions he took his bike and it was under that bike trip that the LSD really came to full effect.

Thank you, Albert Hofmann, for this truly miraculous substance. Thank you LSD for saving my life. In honour of you I have named my son Albert. I am forever grateful.

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My first LSD trip

Daniel drunk by Marit Lasson
“Daniel drunk” by Marit Lasson

At the age of 31 I was in bad shape. I was an alcoholic for 13 years, depressed for four, I hadn’t had a job in ages and I lived with my grandmother. I went through life in a haze where I constantly blamed all my failures and shortcomings on others.

By pure chance I was one day offered to buy ten hits of LSD. I had tried LSD once when I was 17 and remembered it as a strange and twisted experience, so I bought the acid thinking that it would offer yet another way for me to escape.

That weekend my friends and I drove out to an isolated farm. None of us really knew what to expect. At that time I had no idea what a chakra was. I did not even know the word.

A couple of hours after we took the acid my throat chakra opened up wide and from my neck a beam of energy shot straight out into the universe and connected me to everything. That allowed me to move outside myself, up the beam and observe.

When I saw myself from the outside, I saw that all the pain, all the sorrow, all the failures that I carried around and projected on other people, were in fact my own creations. The realization was that I truly created my own life. And just as I can create fog and pain and anger, I can choose to create clarity, liberation and harmony.

Some call it by the name Alaya or the basis of everything by Wonderlane at Flickr
“Some call it by the name Alaya or the basis of everything” by Wonderlane at Flickr

In that moment, I chose a different path. It required no effort, it was like turning on a light. Once I did so I no longer needed to think about it, because the light was lit. I chose to take control of my life again. I chose to take responsibility for my life and for my choices. I decided to sober up and begin to clear out the fog and the pain that blinded and enslaved me.

Then and there a new chapter of my life began.

Three months later I was sober, on the road to recovery from my depression, I had a job and an apartment.

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