I recently heard an interview with medical doctors about using psychedelics (iboga, ayahusca) to overcome drug addiction. Sounds appealing, fast-tracking and short-cutting the whole process of recovery. Clean in 7 days, or your money back!
And yet… I took years, almost a decade, to truly overcome my own addiction. And I don’t know if the shortcut is necessarily the best option.
I lost a lot to this process. Beyond the night in jail, the time in the hospital, the protracted out-patient rehab… I lost the irreplaceable formative years and my young education and skipped the chance to build a quality physical base to support the movement-obsession I later developed. I missed out on time with family and friends, stunted my growth and blinded myself to beautiful experiences.
Despite this, the recovery process taught me so much about humanity and about myself. I saw, in the mirror, how desperate and pathetic the human condition can get. I witnessed the depths we can bury ourselves through a commitment to self-destruction. I acquired first-hand evidence of the delusions we can convince ourselves of, of what it’s like to face a demon and lose. And while that might not sound entirely appealing, it gave me a solidarity with the hopeless, a realistic assessment of how weak and/or strong we can be, and how complicated are the notions of “will” and “self”, how unreliable our desires truly are. These perspectives I don’t imagine couldn’t have acquired elsewhere.
Weakness is always an opportunity for true painful growth. You can play chutes and ladders and skip your way to the top, or take the long road difficult road and grow from the experience. It doesn’t need to be as serious as drug addiction… Anything is an opportunity for growth. At the same time, there’s probably a shortcut to circumvent the entire process. But at the end of the journey, all you have is the transformation you went through. And if you change, but you’re still the same person, I don’t know if that’s really a victory.