(Stillness in the Storm Editor) Speaking as someone who had to deal with heroin and cocaine addiction for almost three years, I know how important it is to find ways to combat cravings. Detoxifying from drugs is often just the first in a long line of steps towards recovery. Addiction to any substance, even socially acceptable ones, tends to disempower the user, who feels that the only way to generate positive states of being is through their drug of choice.
In general, drugs tend to out-source sensations that would otherwise be produced by an inspired life, making users feel depressed and disillusioned without them. But physiologically, all drugs stimulate the receptors of the body, artificially producing what is normally generated by certain mental or physical activities. As a result, kicking a physical dependency leaves users feeling numb and under-stimulated. Therefore, the ultimate solution is to revitalize one’s life by taking part in activities that naturally produce emotional upliftment, usually through holistic activities that are both mentally and physically stimulating.
Inspiration is an internal drug—so to speak—that cannot only replace the desire for drugs but completely eclipse them. It requires a pro-active process of self-exploration and nurturing of creative pursuits that are holistic in nature, stimulating not only the body but the mind as well. And herein lies one of the biggest hurdles to overcoming addiction because the habits formed during the time of consumption tend to be mostly passive, as there is no physiological impetus leading one to strive for personal growth.
As an example, consider what happens to the body when engaging in sedentary and mentally passive activities like watching TV. Unless a viewer is actively engaged in what they are watching, a kind of mild boredom sets in, leading to decreased neurotransmitter releases. After about an hour or so of watching TV—in an effort to stop feeling bored—people tend to reach for food or other things that boost dopamine levels. Advertisers know this all too well and are sure to market products that entice viewers to consume foodstuffs which provide a quick boost, usually in the form of high-sugar goods. Sugar is now widely accepted as one of the most addictive substances on Earth, further underscoring the fact that lack of stimulation leads to addictive tendencies given that most people consume vast amounts of sugar on a daily basis.
Feel-good neurotransmitters flow through the body when engaging in stimulating activities that invoke a state of inspiration, providing a wellspring of emotional support, while at the same time enhancing cognitive function. In short, the body and mind system is meant to be used for producing naturally occurring states of ecstasy and bliss—nature’s primary method of making us feel good. Natural methods require the work to come first and the feeling to come last, whereas drugs make us feel good upfront, and therefore there’s no physical reason to strive for stimulation. It’s a lot easier to pop a pill, drink a beer, or smoke a joint and sit in front of the TV than it is to engage in a challenging activity that eventually produces a good feeling.
For myself, after finally conquering the physical addiction I had to heroin and cocaine in 2004, I spent a year stimulating my mind with research and writing in journals trying to figure out what life was all about. This was incredibly stimulating and I would often spend hours contemplating life, the universe, and everything. During these times, the physical sensations I felt were so uplifting and supportive that they made my drug cravings completely disappear.
Inspiration and the life purpose that comes with it is like an excellent meal at a five-star restaurant and drugs are like fast food—why eat at McDonalds when you can have a gourmet experience?
The difficulty lies in those first few days, weeks, months, and sometimes years after detoxification of the physical dependency. Habits formed during the drug addiction, by very nature of the fact that we don’t have to be proactive in inspiring ourselves, tend to be passive and under-stimulating. Therefore, the solution is to break new ground and explore anything that we need to reinvigorate and rediscover our passion in life.
For myself, it was the study of consciousness and the world, but for others it might be art, music, walking in nature, cooking—or anything is needed. And during this process, finding other ways to gain emotional support to bridge the gap can be very helpful.
Mount Everest wasn’t climbed in a day, and recovering from addiction is a long but fruitful road if we take one step at a time.
Kratom is a naturally occurring substance, providing that extra support one needs to restore balance and harmony in their lives during these initial stages of recovery and healing.
And as a final comment on this story, it’s no wonder why the powers that be want to prevent people from gaining independence. Overcoming addiction is one of life’s greatest tests, and once passed completely, it often tends to make us more empowered and autonomous. Clearly, a system which relies on dependency wouldn’t want whole populations of newly liberated addicts to discover they don’t really need the peddling of a society that is sick and diseased.
The DEA has decided to delay its announced September 30th scheduling of kratom as a Schedule I drug. The Free Thought Project reported on the first of September, kratom has now been targeted by the DEA for reclassification as a Schedule I drug along with heroin, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy, and peyote.
Currently available over the counter, at health food stores, and online, the DEA declared on August 30th, 2016 that the use of kratom constitutes an “imminent hazard to public safety” and cited over 600 calls to poison control and 15 deaths related to kratom.
But as U.S. News and World Reports noted, the DEA admitted that fourteen of those deaths were also associated with drug addiction to other drugs (like heroin), leading many to speculate about the motive behind the DEA’s decision to ban the plant.
While kratom users may be breathing a sigh of relief from the DEA’s announced delay, they shouldn’t hold their breath, because according to DEA spokesman Russ Baer, the delay is just temporary. The DEA still plans to go ahead with its kratom ban adding it will only be a “couple of days” before their decision is published and final.
Baer contends kratom is dangerous. He said, “Our review of the scientific literature,” indicates kratom’s use, “does in some cases produce psychosis, does produce hallucinations, delusions, does result in some cases in respiratory depression, physical withdrawal and in severe cases, death.”
The American Kratom Association, The United Kratom Association, The American Herbal Products Association, Botanical Education Alliance, and regular kratom users disagree with the DEA. Calling it their “darkest hour” the groups are urgently pleading for everyone to get involved to fight the DEA’s decision to ban kratom by signing a petition (click here), calling their Congressmen, and voicing their objections to a kratom ban by contacting the DEA directly.
While the delayed kratom ban may appear to be a small victory for advocates, users, distributors, and researchers alike, the move to ban the plant is quickly moving forward. And unless a greater public outcry ensues, the ban may end up being as permanent as the ban on marijuana which has now lasted almost 80 years.
After the emergency announcement in August of the DEA’s intention to classify yet another plant as a dangerous drug, a bipartisan group of 51 U.S. Congressmen drafted a letter to Charles P. Rosenburg (acting administrator of the DEA) urging the agency to reconsider its decision. The congressmen contended the emergency declaration to classify kratom as a Schedule I drug was unprecedented and lacked the regular time period allowing for public comments to be heard.
The letter also stated researchers working with the National Institutes of Health are currently researching kratom’s use as an alternative pain medicine, and is internationally recognized for its ability to mitigate withdrawal symptoms in heroin users. The statement contends a ban on kratom would “put a halt to federally funded research” of the plant which has demonstrated promise in combating the current heroin addiction sweeping the country. The letter called on Rosenburg to “engage consumers, researchers, and other stakeholders” and delay its decision.
Still, the DEA seems intent on criminalizing Kratom, which will likely, in effect, create a black market for the drug, criminalize its use, possession, and importation, and complicate efforts by researchers to use federal funds to study its potential health benefits.
Many experts and users believe the plant is able to help opioid addicts (Oxycontin, Morphine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone etc.) and heroin users kick their addictions. Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) originates from Southeast Asia, but has quickly become the go to nutritional supplement for heroin users here in the U.S. looking to kick or curb their habit.
The Free Thought Project spoke with 21-year-old James (not his real name), an admitted Heroin addict. He said he was able to kick his heroin addiction by using kratom. He was able to purchase capsules in various places throughout Phoenix, AZ and said he uses kratom pills and teas to curb his urges to get high on opiates. Without kratom, he said he’d likely be dead. Combined with meditation, James said he was able to live a full and healthy life and now has an Information Technology business.
According to Azarius, kratom has been used in East Asia, “to moderate opium addiction…gradually wean the user off narcotics (and help) stop use of the narcotic they are addicted to.” Azarius further discovered the plant, “has been used in New Zealand for methadone addiction detox.” In other words, many, including scientific researchers, believe kratom has the power to cure opioid addiction which has reached epidemic proportions here in the U.S., a result the CDC says comes from the over-prescription of prescription pain killers. Heroin addiction in the U.S. has reached epic proportions and has led to thousands of lives cut short by addiction to opiates they received through a doctor’s prescription.
As we reported to you in early September, pharmaceutical companies have been using the natural plant, kratom, to manufacture synthetic opioids. As TFTP’s Matt Agorist wrote, “since kratom can be grown in your backyard, pharmaceutical companies can’t monopolize it — unless the government outlaws it.” And that’s exactly what the DEA, who many say share too cozy a relationship with the pharmaceutical companies, seems determined to do.
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