Ayurveda for Addiction Recovery
Not why the addiction, but why the pain?
Re-framing our understanding of addiction in this way can begin to shed light on how we view and treat the addicted human, and most importantly, in how we can begin to move forward with providing a compassionate and dignified space for healing. In short, we can understand addictions as a coping mechanism for an over-taxed stress-response.
When we are constantly striving to keep up and get ahead, we are in a hyper-active state of “fight or flight”, an activation of the sympathetic nervous system which produces chemicals including cortisol and adrenalin. These chemicals are useful when we are actually under severe, life-threatening conditions, but when we are not, and our bodies are still continuing to produce these chemicals in high doses, it creates an imbalance in our systems, altering the natural homeostasis that exists to keep our body-mind connection in balance. This imbalance leads us to find something, an external source to lean on: alcohol and cigarettes to “calm the nerves”, coffee and cocaine for a “pick-me-up”, television for a “distraction” from feeling and observing our emotions, and so on.
So how does the ancient healing wisdom of Ayurveda and yoga fit in with this modern re-frame of addiction? Ayurveda and yoga, often referred to as “Sister Sciences”, are based upon ancient teachings of creating balance within the body, mind and spirit, encouraging a harmonious existence with our Anamaya kosha(physical “sheath”) and the sophisticated intelligence of the natural world with our spiritual selves.
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