Altered States of Consciousness
Updated: Dec 3, 2022
A personal view of how psychedelics and recovery can work together.
In recovery settings, the phrase “altered state of consciousness” is one that triggers alarm-bells and flashing lights. Ears perk up, hearts beat faster, thoughts start spinning. This is understandable. It is, after-all, the reckless pursuit of altered states that ultimately causes addicts a great deal of trouble and suffering. I take a nuanced view of this subject and treat it with the utmost care, prayer, and attention.
I believe in the potential value of carefully guided, transformative states of consciousness.
Entheogenic rituals and psychedelic therapy have the ability to induce peak, non-ordinary states of consciousness. When approached and integrated with clear intention, these special experiences can be extremely valuable to the recovery process.
In fact, altered states such as these were foundational to my own recovery as well as to that of many people with whom I have worked. Some of us simply would not be here without visionary help. I don’t directly offer these experiences but I am fully able to help those who have had them to maximize the possible therapeutic outcomes.
“The goal of the spiritual life in not altered states but altered traits." - Huston Smith, philosopher of religion.
This is where I stand. A given peak experience should lead to greater sensitivity, creativity, and effectiveness. It should help to liberate from dependency and attachment. When utilized within a carefully crafted therapeutic framework, non-ordinary states of consciousness can greatly assist those seeking enduring sobriety and serenity.
For further reading on this topic please see my article: https://chacruna.net/ayahuasca-and-the-twelve-steps-an-anonymous-friendship/