By Scott Kiloby
If you peruse the latest scientific research, you will find that most scientists are poking around in the brain for the answer to addiction. Certainly, the brain plays a major role. But eastern practices, such as the ones we use at the Kiloby Center, focus more on the mind/body connection. And the body holds the ultimate key to addiction recovery in my view.
How do I know this? Do I have scientific studies backing it up? No. Generally scientists do not seem to be interested in blockages of energy or “contractions” as I call them. But they have everything to do with addiction. I know this mainly from my own experience and my work with thousands of people.
Here’s my experience . . .
My initial abstinence from drugs and alcohol was a big key to recovery. I highly encourage abstinence while doing any spiritual practices. But abstinence only went so far. It’s a good start and that’s about all. Like so many others, I was just “holding back the dam.” I use that phrase to describe what happens for many people when they first enter recovery. At any moment, if they use drugs or alcohol, they could easily spiral down into addiction again, finding themselves back in the vicious cycle of heavy use. They are holding back the dam. Luckily, by remaining abstinent, that never happened to me. I didn’t relapse. But again, abstinence is not enough. And I would even submit that many forms of recovery (even many spiritual practices) do not go deep enough. This is because even once someone has quit using drugs or alcohol, they often begin substituting the drugs/alcohol with some other addiction (sex, caffeine, food, shopping, spiritual seeking, gambling, internet, sugar, etc). This is what happened to me – substitution.
It wasn’t until I did deep body work, dissolving blockages of energy in the pelvis, stomach, chest and throat, that I saw a true liberation from addiction. And this liberation is very different than “holding back the dam” or substitution. When one is holding back the dam or substituting, the body is still screaming out for relief. It is practically longing for medication. Those blocked energies (or repressed emotions) have to be dealt with and released for this kind of liberation to happen. It is not enough just to observe thoughts or rest in the present moment or sit with emotions. These blocked energies are often dense and buried underneath thoughts and emotions, often resulting from earlier trauma. They are hidden from view to most people until they begin doing deep somatic work. Even once deep somatic work begins, it takes skillful means to truly dissolve these contractions.
Working with these contractions has been a process of trial and error for me. Through the years, however, I have found very effective ways of dissolving these blockages. I have blogged about this a lot. Go to www.naturalrestforaddiction.com, click on “Resources” at the top. Then go to “blog” and search for “contraction.” You should see my various writings on the subject.
Here is one of the most effective ways to dissolve blockages. First, find out the area of the body that your cravings tend to emanate from – pelvis, stomach, chest, throat, face. Trigger yourself into having the craving and then bring attention into the body. You should be able to spot the area. Once you locate the area, take a tennis ball and lie on your back with the ball under the area of the body where you feel the contraction. Make sure you do not put the ball on the spinal column itself. The ball should be about 1/2 inch or slightly less to either side of the spinal column. You’ll want to lie down on the ball, with the ball on exactly the area where you feel tenderness or pain. The tenderness or pain is different than just pressure from the ball. That tenderness or pain is showing you the area of the spinal column which carries the repressed energy or emotion. Let your weight come down on the ball right on that tender or painful area. Then move your body so that the ball makes very small movements left and right and then up and down in that area. It will hurt at first. But keep doing it. Do it until you feel the tenderness or pain turn into just pressure.
As soon as the tenderness or pain goes away, take the ball out from under you. Begin the following breathing exercise while still lying on your back. Take a deep breath in, as if pulling air from down in your groin and stomach. Then push the air out very hard with your mouth making a quarter sized hole where the air comes out. Forcefully push the air out. Do this only once and see how dizzy you feel. If you feel dizzy, rest for a couple of minutes before you start the breathing up again. If you feel ok, continue taking deep breaths in and pushing the air out forcefully. I recommend doing this five or six times in a row (not more). If after two or three breaths, you feel very dizzy, stop and rest for a few minutes before you start up again. Make sure when you are taking the deep breath in, you are filling that part of the body where the contraction is with air, before you blow out. Once you are done with the breath exercise, you should feel somewhat dizzy. Rest, letting everything be as it is. Let the dizziness settle down. See how the blockage feels. Is it still there? If so, lie back down on the ball and repeat the whole process a few times. If the blockage is gone, then you are done, for now.
The key is to do this on a regular basis for a while, every day. Make sure there is someone in your home with you while doing this in case you pass out. I’ve yet to have a client pass out because clients follow these instructions and are guided by me. However, everyone is different. And doing this alone does create the potential that you will not follow the instructions. Please follow them. Listen to your body. Do not overdo it. Never stand up while doing the breathing exercises. Always remain lying on your back. And always do this during a time while you are working with a facilitator or teacher who can help you if any strong emotions come up. If you experience strong emotions, just watch your breath slowly coming in through the nose. Breathe down into the stomach area and just feel into the emotions without thoughts on them or use the Living Inquiries on the thoughts that feel stuck to the emotions. Emotions tend to relax when you are resting in this way or inquiring properly. The uprising of emotion is usually a good sign. Those energy blockages are dissolving, releasing emotion.
Dissolving these blockages makes recovery look very different. Once a blockage has dissolved, the physical or bodily compulsion for the addictive substance or activity is not there. There still may be the habit of thinking about using, but the energy won’t be fueling it. Simply watch those thoughts of wanting to use come and go. Rest in presence in between each thought.
This is very different than holding back the dam or substitution. This goes to the root of the issue instead of merely being on a program of abstinence or substituting one substance for another. Most addictions associated with a particular blockage will simply fade away at this point.