Four 12-step tips that anyone can use to address the difficult subjects
Sometimes, whether or not we’d like to, we’re put in the tricky position of confronting people with their own problems. Whether it’s addiction, work performance, abusive behavior, or some combination of the above, it’s never a fun task. Informed as our company is by the 12-step experience and philosophy, we have gained equal experience with being the confronter and the confronted. An already difficult task is even further complicated by a new flock of social-media informed (or misinformed) patients, and the defensiveness and arrogance legacy health care practitioners apply to them. Finding that proper balance of resolve, humility, and compassion is crucial. A mindfulness practice, even one that judiciously utilizes plant medicine, can help you strike that balance.
Of course, problematic plant medicine usage can also cause serious problems as well. Who am I, for instance, to judge someone for abusing a substance if I am using the same substance myself? That’s why we emphasize the proper approach for handling such difficult situations. In this case, it’s a lot more about the MENTORSHIP, rather than the medicine. Striking that crucial balance can make the difference in getting your point across — not to mention providing a great stress test for one’s mindfulness practice.
The ego-free method of handling confrontation
Whether it’s a best friend or oneself, it always helps to have firsthand knowledge of the condition most who are struggling find themselves in. No matter how painful or shameful their addiction or problem, acknowledging the changes one has to make is difficult, especially if s/he has been there for a long time. No matter how dysfunctional it is, there’s no place like “home,” basically.
Those of us who’ve gone through the 12-steps have been on both sides of this equation. The chief equalizer here is ego, which can disrupt any attempt to cut through the layers of denial and scuttle the opportunity for healing. That’s where mindfulness comes in. It teaches us to listen and observe before speaking and acting, and to suppress our egoic tendencies. This comes in handy in almost any life situation, but particularly in the tender ones.
Do not judge
Again, judgment comes from a place of ego, and people’s defenses go up the minute it’s exhibited. It takes honesty and courage to say, “I don’t know” and enter into the darkness with yourself or the person you are attending to. What matters is that you will be present for yourself or the person next to you, and that you won’t abandon them.
Watch out for triggers
Especially if you’ve been in the same situation yourself – say, if you’ve also had a gambling problem, and you’re dealing with a problem gambler – it can be very triggering, so you not only have to watch for the gambler’s feelings, but your own as well. Your mindfulness practice will be put to the test in these situations. Let it wash over you, subside, then continue.
Principles over personalities
Most likely, the person on the other end of the exchange is going to lash out at you, and it may hurt a bit. You might even feel compelled to reciprocate. That’s the ego talking, padawan. Dispassionate observing of the person, the problem, and the moment can see you through these moments. You’re in service of a greater aim here, at all times.
“(Name of person) you know I have a lot of love for you? I just can’t continue watching you harm yourself, much less support it. When you are ready to get out of it, admit that you are the creator of your own problems, I will be here waiting for you, no matter what.” Once you say it, you have to practice it in deed as well as word. Some days you’ll be better at it than others, so learn how to forgive yourself when you do. By doing so, you’ll teach others how to do it as well.
Cannabis: The problem and the solution
Let’s face it: sometimes, plant medicine itself is the problem that needs confronting.
And it all comes back to Escape. In every problematic case, plant medicine, whether it’s cannabis or kratom, or any other pain reliever, became a crutch rather than a tool for assisting them in tackling their life problems. In our experience, it comes back to a lack of guidance, poor community guidance, and mentorship. Taking only as much as you need from cannabis – and no more – keeps people on the right side of that fine line.
The medicine and mentorship model Medicine Box embraces means that you’re not taking Ambien to deal with sleep issues brought on by your depression, which you take Zoloft for, and your anxiety, which you take a benzodiazepine for. Your mental, physical and spiritual health are intertwined in ways that modern medicine is only beginning to understand. Moving forward necessitates developing new relationships with the natural world. Implementing a model like this means we’re performing our own form of confrontation with the powers that be, but it’s a necessary intervention all the same. Painful as it may be to let go of past behaviors that no longer serve us, we’ll all be happier and healthier once it’s finished.