As published in the September 2013 issue of Vitality Magazine
“Still enjoying your new Honda Accord?” he inquired, following their sexual encounter in his hotel room. Rising on her elbow, Danielle peered at the stranger she had met at the bar less than two hours earlier. “How do you know I drive a Honda Accord?” she asked feeling alarmed.
“Don’t you remember being with me three weeks ago?” he continued. “You have a condo in Etobicoke and work as an IT specialist.”
Danielle had no recollection of ever meeting this man, much less being intimate with him three weeks earlier. Feeling ashamed and desperate, Danielle got dressed and left the hotel. She proceeded to drive home despite the fact that she had consumed a dozen or so gin and tonics earlier that evening.
This was the lowest Danielle had ever felt. Sobbing and pleading with God on her drive home, Danielle decided to take her hands off the steering wheel and let fate decide the outcome. Next thing she remembered was waking up in her bed the next morning with the front door of her apartment wide open. She had no recollection of her drive home, parking underground, or making her way up to the 20th floor.
This was the turning point which helped Danielle make the decision to quit drinking and call AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) for help.
Addiction is an uncontrollable urge, or compulsion, to engage in some specific activity despite being aware of the negative and harmful consequences to one’s physical and emotional health and relationships. Addictions come in many forms, with some of the common ones being recreational drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, sugar, work, caffeine, sex and food.
Addictions vary in their intensity, side effects, and degree of societal acceptance. Some are definitely slotted in the negative or conventionally unacceptable end of the spectrum, such as crack-cocaine or heroin addictions. Others, such as workaholism, are not so negative and can even receive approval and awards.
The two main factors which motivate most addictive behaviours are the desire for sensory pleasure and the avoidance of pain. At the root of all addictions is the unfulfilled need for love and acceptance, which leaves the person feeling unhappy with themselves.
Childhood traumas leave behind painful unprocessed feelings in the unconscious. These feelings cry for release, and free expression of such feelings activates the healing process. This process, however, can be so painful that few people can tackle it without external support.
While I’ve seen people overcome mild addictions successfully with homeopathic treatment alone, severe cases are more successful with the added support from a psychotherapist or counselor, Twelve Step Program, or other programs and support groups.
I met Danielle several months after she had joined AA. At first she was alcohol-free for eight weeks, then resumed drinking, although not as heavily. Danielle was stuck in a cycle of alcohol consumption and abstinence. Abstinence brought out her feelings of anger, shame and worthlessness. When these feelings became unbearable, Danielle would resume drinking which helped her cope.
I prescribed the homeopathic remedy Crotalus Horridus, which helped Danielle to gradually stop the vicious cycle of alcohol consumption. Over a period of three months, the negative feelings that drove her to drink diminished. She was able to cope with the feelings without needing to drown them with alcohol. Instead, she could discuss them in her AA group. To date, Danielle has been sober for eight years.
Heather had suffered from anxiety ever since she was a teenager. Over many years she successfully managed her symptoms with yoga, deep breathing and a number of herbal teas and remedies. At fifty one, following a stressful family situation, Heather’s anxiety increased and she could no longer control her symptoms. On a friend’s recommendation she came to my office seeking help through homeopathy.
Heather had used marijuana on a social basis in the past and was now embarrassed to be depending on it daily to cope with her anxiety. After taking the prescribed homeopathic remedy, Mercurious solubilis, Heather reported feeling much calmer. Over the next few months many of her symptoms improved, including quality of sleep, digestion and concentration.
While feeling calmer on one hand, Heather felt overwhelmed by the rush of unprocessed emotions and awareness surfacing with the use of homeopathic remedies. I suggested joining a program or support group and recommended the Women’s Wisdom Retreat (http://www.womenswisdomretreats.com/)
At the retreat, Heather had time to reflect on her feelings. With this program, and though private coaching, Heather learned to set boundaries and express herself with confidence. While marijuana had masked her pain, she clearly saw that it was adding on a layer of shame and not helping to resolve the issues. The retreat gave Heather a variety of tools to help her change her behaviours and attitudes and develop healthier relationships with her family.
The combined experience of homeopathic medicines and the retreat helped Heather see herself as strong, capable and worthy no matter what others might think. She stopped needing and using marijuana altogether.
The healing process, whether it is done with the aid of homeopathy, talk therapy or bodywork, allows unresolved feelings to surface. Homeopathy can be helpful in the quick processing of these feelings and helping the individual feel stronger emotionally.
Homeopathy is a natural healing system that helps restore balance and harmony in the organism. I believe that homeopathy can cure a wide variety of ailments, offering long-term improvement of both physical and emotional health. Treatment can also help boost your immune system, increase your energy and improve your outlook on life.
Homeopathic remedies are prescribed for the whole person, not just isolated symptoms or disease label. In a typical consultation a homeopath collects information pertaining to all your physical symptoms and emotional well being. A homeopath looks at your traumatic life events and your reactions to these events to determine where your energy or life-force has stagnated. A remedy is selected accordingly. The remedy resonates with core emotional issues and therefore can be helpful in overcoming addictions.
Whether you are addicted to heroin, cocaine, nicotine, alcohol or the compulsive desire to have the window open at 45 degrees, there is a homeopathic remedy which can help: – A person having visions of animals following drug use may need the remedy Stramonium or Opium, while someone who becomes violent after alcohol consumption may need Lachesis. – Syphillinum may diminish the predisposition to alcoholism in some individuals, while the remedy Sulphur can reduce alcohol cravings in others. – Belladonna may help with fear of darkness and visions of ghosts following the use of narcotics, while Avena Sativum can assist with weaning off morphine or heroin. – Remedies Plantago or Tabaccum have been known to help with kicking the nicotine habit. – Homeopathy can also help with symptoms of substance withdrawal, such as mood swings, excessive perspiration, anxiety and depression.
Addicts abuse alcohol, drugs and other substances to cope with and suppress overwhelming anxiety and other painful emotions.
Homeopathy is a profound medical science which can help individuals deal with these painful emotions and subsequently give up addictions.
Since homeopathic treatment can promote the surfacing of buried feelings, it is important to combine it with talk therapy with a professional or join a support group. A professional therapist can put these feelings into perspective and help develop coping mechanisms.
One great program I often recommend to my patients, one I have completed myself, is The Hoffman Quadrinity Process. (http://www.hoffmaninstitute.ca/)
In this program one examines the first 12 years of their lives and develops tools to overcome childhood pain. People who have completed this program report increased confidence, forgiveness of self and others, and feeling of greater purpose in life.
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