The following article was originally published on KellyBroganMD.com

 

Do you struggle with your relationship to alcohol?

Have you been told you’re an addict?

My family is rife with “alcoholics”, most of whom are “recovered”. The dominant narrative is that alcohol made them sick and sobriety has offered them their lives back. To my eyes, however, there’s something important missing from this all-or-nothing approach that, for some, leaves, the Drink ever dancing in their peripheral vision. Is taking alcohol out of the equation enough? Is abstinence always necessary? To what end?

I didn’t drink alcohol through college and medical school. Not one drink. I was a straight-edge control freak, and I went dancing and partied sober, and enjoyed every minute of it. I owned it, but the notion of my genetic inheritance certainly weighed heavy on my mind – that long line of genetic codes spelling out ADDICT potential. But somehow I also knew that there was more to the story.

Recently, I received an email from a colleague in the field of sobriety support. She wanted to know how it is that I drink on social occasions while criticizing pharmaceuticals. Aren’t they all drugs? Here’s what I said:

Thanks so much for your support and your words. I think we may have a different perspective on this issue, and perspectives evolve, so I’m just speaking now from my current purview. I don’t believe alcoholism to be a disease any more than I believe depression is. I believe that, over the course of history, alcohol has been regarded as a ritual, a sacrament, and an informational complement to many foods. It is a fermented beverage that is recognized molecularly by the body as are hallucinogenic mushrooms, cannabis, and plant medicines like ayahuasca. To compare it to a pharmaceutical is reductionist, in my opinion. But we have strayed from the Continuum, and alcohol has, for some, become the symptom of our soul disconnection. For some. For some it has come to represent a tool of self-invalidation, distraction, and mindlessness. As I’ve written here, research has proven that healing the deeper wounds can eliminate this so called “problem”. Therefore, the context is everything.

To learn about one’s personal context requires a reset. I’m not sure if you’ve done my program, but if you have, you would know that I ask for total cessation of alcohol for the month. If there is a choice to reintroduce it, then the participant would learn about THEIR relationship to alcohol. This is enlightening and empowering for many women as they begin to understand where they have unknowingly given their power. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the book MindBody Code but Martinez speaks to the critical importance of this concept as well.

I know what works for me because I have traveled this path. I have tremendous joy, abundance, and a growing contact with deep feminine power in my life. I have fun, I work hard. I am hoping to light this path for others to join me. But my path is not their path, necessarily. And that’s where the reset becomes a tool for self-exploration. Only through this deep inner process – which you admit rarely has been positioned before pharmaceutical initiation in these women struggling with alcohol and other substances – can we align with our highest consciousness and power. Only then will women be truly dispossessed of dogma and alienating judgment of one another.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Kelly

Let’s break this down a bit.

Is alcoholism (or any substance abuse, or behavioral addiction, or eating disorder) a disease?

We are told a story about illness, and that story serves a mindset that underlies the darkness that we feel all around us and within us. The mindset is that we are flesh robots, floating on a dead rock, in the middle of nowhere. Since everything is random and purposeless, and since it is a survivorship game of every man for himself, then thank goodness we have science and technology to help deal with the cards we’ve been dealt. Help to fix things, make them easier.

The dark underbelly of this belief system is that you are powerless to heal yourself. What you eat doesn’t matter, never mind the fluoride in the water, and the Roundup on your potatoes.

McDonald’s never really hurt anyone, and gluten free is a fad.

The only thing that really matters is your genes.

This is why women remove their female parts. Why we believe that diabetes is an inevitability. And why we relinquish ourselves to a lifetime of mental illness.

But we are in the midst of a paradigm shift.

We are learning that beliefs, cultural conditioning, and our interaction with our environments are the true determinants of health and illness.

And, in fact, genes are merely a suggested template.

The trouble is that we are in deep pain.

We are struggling and we are suffering. Our irritability, righteousness, and even fatigue belie a deep reservoir of sadness and of grief. Part of the reason is that we have strayed from the Continuum. Our very births send a signal of danger to our systems. A signal of missingness. And set us on a lifelong path of running from the pain.

The pain is the wound that addictive and compulsive behaviors attempt to distract us from, bandage up, and temporarily ease.

The pain is the diagnosis and we must ask, why the pain? as Dr. Gabor Mate has invited us to do.

From addict to psych patient

Dual diagnosis is what we call them.

This is the label slapped on the labels slapped on the human struggling with what is perceived to be the separate problems of addiction and mood disorders. Of course, we can put many hats on this multi-headed dragon, but we still haven’t even begun to engage the process of taming it, slaying it, or befriending it. And everyone’s dragons are different.

If we look at addiction as a genetically driven disease, then it makes sense that alcohol is the problem. It also makes sense that the residual struggles – the untended wound – would then be labeled neatly as a discrete and separate mental illness. And since mental illnesses are chronic problems that reflect inherited chemical imbalances, well, then we are back to the magic pill solution!

Where in this rubrik have we even attempted to address the root cause driver of pain and trauma?

This is why women remove their female parts. Why we believe that diabetes is an inevitability. And why we relinquish ourselves to a lifetime of mental illness.

But we are in the midst of a paradigm shift.

We are learning that beliefs, cultural conditioning, and our interaction with our environments are the true determinants of health and illness.

And, in fact, genes are merely a suggested template.

The trouble is that we are in deep pain.

We are struggling and we are suffering. Our irritability, righteousness, and even fatigue belie a deep reservoir of sadness and of grief. Part of the reason is that we have strayed from the Continuum. Our very births send a signal of danger to our systems. A signal of missingness. And set us on a lifelong path of running from the pain.

The pain is the wound that addictive and compulsive behaviors attempt to distract us from, bandage up, and temporarily ease.

The pain is the diagnosis and we must ask, why the pain? as Dr. Gabor Mate has invited us to do.

From addict to psych patient

Dual diagnosis is what we call them.

This is the label slapped on the labels slapped on the human struggling with what is perceived to be the separate problems of addiction and mood disorders. Of course, we can put many hats on this multi-headed dragon, but we still haven’t even begun to engage the process of taming it, slaying it, or befriending it. And everyone’s dragons are different.

If we look at addiction as a genetically driven disease, then it makes sense that alcohol is the problem. It also makes sense that the residual struggles – the untended wound – would then be labeled neatly as a discrete and separate mental illness. And since mental illnesses are chronic problems that reflect inherited chemical imbalances, well, then we are back to the magic pill solution!

Where in this rubrik have we even attempted to address the root cause driver of pain and trauma?

Stop running from yourself

Spirituality also involves radical responsibility. You make choices. Your genes don’t. This is the nature of mindful living. When you stop running, distracting yourself, and making excuses, then you look at all of it and you engage with open eyes. 

Hands down, the mantra of my practice, my online program, and my personal journey is this:

I am coming home to myself.

Over and over and over again, I hear this phrase. I am becoming more and more myself. I am being liberated into my own truth and beingness. And in doing so, we come home to each other, and to Mother earth, and to the fabric of our connectedness.

Only you can divine the path of self-realization, and you’ll know when you’re on it because you will feel the terrible pain and the glorious beauty of this life all at once, and you will feel, finally feel, free.