In order to answer that question first we need to know the root of the problem by asking.
What leads to addiction?
The key question is what motivates the human being to seek to modify his state of consciousness through a psychoactive substance? Why is there a difference between a person who consumes a psychotropic in a religious context, curative or therapeutic and another that consumes in an evasive, playful, recreational context? Why does the former feel healthier and more balanced and the other more degenerate?.
The addict is in a social environment that does not seem to provide satisfying answers to his existential spiritual concerns. He feels a deep inner emptiness and a lack of sense of his own existence. Faced with an altered state of consciousness induced by a psychoactive substance, he is immersed in a world of fascinating perceptions and unable to master his fundamental attraction, he returns to consuming the drug, trying to return to the pleasurable fascination, escaping from a world of dissatisfaction , rational problems and anxieties, being trapped in an evasive context of what constitutes their reality.
Then it loses the thread of its existence until its consciousness is caught in a continuous present where there is no longer the possibility of a project, where finally the only thing that counts is the compulsion to consume. In general, compulsions are given toward substances with a certain brutalizing potential. No one knows of compulsive behaviours towards the fungi, the peyote, the San Pedro or the Ayahuasca, all psychotropic of entheogenic character.
The term entheogen derives from the Greek root “theus” and means “god within us”. It is important not to use the word “hallucinogens” when we refer to the ancestral use of a psychotropic since it is a word that has been charged with a negative content. Depending on the context of its use and the substance used, there are induced states that lead us to an external orientation of the consciousness with ludic – recreational character and others that activate a state in which the mind sees itself, generating a self representation.
So to eliminate this existential vacuum that is intended to compensate with the compulsion to consume by directing the consciousness out, the addict must be able to self-observe. Self-observation occurs in various ways through the induction into inwardly directed states of consciousness as are the meditative states achieved in different Oriental practices, through analytical psychology, dream analysis, Gestalt techniques, and through alteration under the use of a powerful entheogen or psychotropic plant.
The testimony of a patient at the Takiwasi Rehabilitation Center is perfect to understand this position: “Heroin alters your perception, makes you think that everything is fine. The information that is accessed does not serve you since you do nothing with it, there is only the process of evasion through drug and self-destruction. With Ayahuasca, the plant changes your perception, it shows you something that you can use in your own life to help you grow and not destroy you. “(An autobiographical article published on the Internet (currently removed from the server that published it).
Ayahuasca poses the challenge to the addict to face a true initiation that allows him to integrate, rearrange and metabolize his inner universe, reaching a deep sense of his own life. If we understand that drug addiction has at heart an aspiration to an authentic spiritual life, to find a deep meaning of life, then therapy that seeks to transform it must take into consideration the spiritual dimension, otherwise, it will not be reaching the core of the problem. Unfortunately, many modern therapies are limited to detoxifying the physical body and working the spiritual dimension from the outside, operating on the mental plane. There are currently around the world various therapies aimed at curing contemporary addictions, which use psychotropic plants as the basis of their treatment based on the controlled induction of states of consciousness.
- In Argentina the Ayllu Center led by the psychologist Sacha Domenech has shown very encouraging results in the treatment of drug addiction using the ancestral Wachuma cactus (San Pedro).
- The Takiwasi Center in the city of Tarapoto led by Dr. Jacques Mabit aims to treat addicts to the basic paste of cocaine, associating contemporary psychology and Amazonian shamanic knowledge, bringing together modern and indigenous therapists in the healing rituals of Ayahuasca.
- In Thailand, in the Buddhist Monastery of Tham Krabok, for more than 30 years, monk-healers treat heroin addicts. The results are impressive (more than 70,000 cases in 30 years). (“Addiction and Buddhist Shamanism: the Monastery of the Bamboo Caves”, Jacques Mabit TAKIWASI Magazine, No.2, Tarapoto 1994).
These therapies using psychotropic plants within a controlled ritual context induce the patient to alternate states of consciousness that allow the self-exploration of his inner universe. The temporary dissolution of rational censorship authorizes direct access to the deep strata of the unconscious. This produces the emergence of repressed memories, forgotten traumas, and ancient memories that come back to the surface. These master plants possess a high vibratory level producing a catalytic effect, which allows to trigger certain latent processes, which were paralyzed within the patient. At the same time the patient experiences an increase in dream production, producing more frequent and intense dreams, sharper and easier to remember.
During the process the patient experiences cathartic states, sometimes accompanied by intense vomiting and deep cries whose function is to disrupt and clear the emotional level. This appears in some cases as a necessary step to achieve openness and allow the flowering of the spiritual level. In the words of Sacha Doménech, a senior psychologist at the Ayllu Center, … the high vibratory potential of these ‘master plants’ reaches remote places where it is often so difficult to arrive by conventional methods of therapy. Plants help us ‘put the body’ to the internal processes. The merely evocative and rational question does not help to produce the changes, instead when we put the body to the purge, it is possible to metabolize situations and circumstances and only from there a transformation is possible. (Treatment with master plants in immunodeficiency disorders “, Sacha Doménech – Argentine Psychologist, unpublished article).