Continuing with our AddictNoMore theme that we need to move beyond terms and concepts such as “addiction” and move closer into the heart of the matter. We need to be always governed by unconditionality and non-judgment, and we can then become more aware that the suffering around substance use is more to do with relational and experiential disconnections of hearts, souls, and minds. With this awareness, we find the central and pivotal point to changing our conditions of suffering is connection. This is to connect with our more genuine and authentic self (not our false self), connect with each other, and connect with the bigger universe. It is important that these connections occur within a context of experiential unconditionality of being (i.e., a natural state of love), mindful awareness and within a context of our own agentic-re-creation of meanings and stories of meaning (a sort of co-creation). To do all this we propose the venue of small support meetings within our respective communities. These meetings can be shaped around people’s problems with using drugs and or expanded to any sort of experience of suffering (i.e., family conflict, socio-economics, other sorts of psychological distresses and “diagnoses”).
Central to the aim of these meetings is to hold space for the paradoxes (dialectic truths) around healing. (Borrowing these paradoxes from the book “The complexity of Connections” by Judith V. Jordon and colleagues) these paradoxes are:
- Vulnerability leads to growth
- Pain can be experienced in safety
- Talking about disconnection leads to connection
- Conflict between people can be tolerated in their connection.
- Group identity requires both conflict and cohesion
- In order to stay connected many people feel the need to keep part of themselves out of connection (this is a big stumbling block in our relationships and how we feel)
And also paradoxes as discussed by others such as Carl Rogers:
7. It is only after I accept myself, that I am then able to change.
What the Meeting Can Look Like.
INTRO: Group co-ordinator introduces and explains the following concepts to set guidelines for group interactions;
a) What is safe
b) What is listen
c) What is empathy, non-judgement and authenticity
PART 1. A PLACE TO EXPERIENCE PAIN IN SAFETY
Co-ordinator asks someone to begin with sharing/speaking of an experience of vulnerability, grief, and or suffering in their present moment (or recent past).
PART 2. COLLECTIVE EMOTIONAL REFLECTION
Co-ordinator begins with saying, “I hear your ____________ and I accept it, we all accept it and are with you, beside you, in it in this moment”. Co-ordinator invites other group members to reflect how the person’s story has touched them and maybe how hearing this story has shed perspective on their own life and journeys (if genuinely so).
PART 3. INVITE THE ORIGINAL TELLER TO CONTINUE
Now the person who first shared has the opportunity to expand on how they are feeling in the moment. What was most significant in what you heard in others reflections about your story?
PART 4. OPEN QUESTIONS FOR AN OPEN FUTURE
Questions open to everyone in the group to answer;
a) How has our now changed during this meeting?
b) How has our new now, how can our new now change tomorrow? the rest of our day?
PART 5. CONCLUDING WITH SILENCE
This is a final moment of silence for people to quietly in themselves to allow for a moment of gratitude that only we together could have arrived at.