“Without knowing it, man is always concerned with God.” – Carl Jung.

Not a week goes by that someone in a twelve step program doesn’t contact me to discuss what the therapeutic use of psychedelics would mean to their sobriety. The first thing I say is that I have worked with many people who are involved in twelve step programs who value their sobriety. I have never had someone return to using or drinking after our work together. So many hours of rigorous psychological and emotional preparation work must be done to prepare for the psychedelic experience, there is no resemblance to the habitual use of addictive substances. My work with people with addiction histories is purposely designed to not resemble their historical use of intoxicants, whatever they may have been. This insulates them from reactivating old patterns. I have had several sober clients refer to psychedelic therapy as an “anti slip technology.”

Bill W’s(AA’s founder) had his own psychedelic history. In the mid 1950’s Bill W. had two guided LSD sessions. These experiences alleviated the depression that he had been struggling with for his entire life and most likely had contained the roots of his alcoholism. In my experience with working with people with psychedelics, this is not an unusual outcome. Scratch at the surface of any addict and you will find depression. Whether that depression is a result of neglect, abuse, or trauma is immaterial. The psychedelic experience is capable of pulling out addiction at its roots. It has a history of success with these matters that goes back seven decades in western culture, and thousands of years in indigenous use.

The psychedelic experience grants access to states beyond normal conditioned egoic awareness. This conditioned state is often the source of depression and the subsequent addictions that are strategies to cope with it. The ego itself is a consequence of its formative environment, both good and bad. Psychedelics offer a new perspective on this state and in a best case scenario, a restructuring of the state from the influence of new information. That is the gift that psychedelics offer to those suffering mental afflictions, addictions, and a limited experience of self. Used properly, they are not to be feared, but seen as mechanisms of profound transformation.

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