Think of your recovery as a road trip in which you can’t see your final destination, only the stretch of road ahead.
One mainstream recovery concept I do like is living one day at a time. Make it a day aligned with the chi cycle and then repeat it as many times as possible for the rest of your life. As you’ve probably noticed by now, alignment will entail major change from a day in the old drug lifestyle. So don’t jump up at the crack of dawn the day after quitting drugs and then try to align your entire life with the chi-cycle.
Just getting out of bed might be a major challenge, so focus on nutrient therapy first and work towards having three nutritious meals a day. Take little steps towards establishing parts of the routine when you can. For example, you could begin doing some gentle exercises or tai-chi later in the day when you feel more up to it, rather than early in the morning. Once you get a rhythm established, then move towards alignment.
Have a no-rule day once a week, so that you don’t feel trapped by routine. Sleep in, eat whatever you want, break the routine, but always in a way in which you are able to ‘return’ the following morning (so no forty-eight hour drug or booze benders). Over time your no-rule day activities will become milder (6 am is a sleep-in for me now). The more chi you build, the more your sense of purpose and happiness increases. You’ll start wanting more of that and will naturally avoid activities that have a negative impact on this.
Live one mystical chi-cycle day at a time.
Stick with the program
Your mind will probably still be in ‘enemy of Dao’ mode when you begin your lifestyle shift. You won’t believe how many excuses it will come up with for staying in bed or skipping breakfast or generally avoiding the process of finding your cosmic self. Time and time again I see people quit drugs, take up the chi cycle, begin to feel change and then suddenly reject it. They tell me it’s not for them or the tai-chi teacher was a loser, the gym sucked or everyone in the health food store was a weirdo, or they find some other reason to give in to the old acquired habits. This is a normal part of the process, and every time you make yourself get back on path you build your willpower and chi.
People around you are not going to be living with the chi cycle either, so keep in mind that you’ll have to overcome not only your own resistance, but also social pressure. Long before I knew about chi, I’d realised that I needed a tightly scheduled health-focused lifestyle just to stay sane and functional. So I refused to ever shift from my routine for anything. This created ongoing friction with family and friends. I was accused of being a fitness freak, of being antisocial or difficult. Unbelievably, one close relative who’d spent years telling me what a drugged-out loser I was, actually told me that I was more fun on drugs.
But after I quit drugs I simply couldn’t afford to follow the random lifestyle of the normal world. No ex-user can – ever. We need to live in a very different way. I wasn’t able to explain any of that back then though, so all I could do was say ‘no’. Turns out I got that right. Even back in ancient times, the Daoist sages saw how damaging trying to fit in with social expectations could be to an individual’s health and happiness. Their solution was to say ‘no’. This is considered to be one of the most powerful ways to build chi. Since you’ve broken all the rules already, you are in a great position to say ‘no’ to social expectations that will make it impossible or difficult for you to stick to your chi- building lifestyle.
While you’re at it, say ‘no’ to the things that make you want to do drugs too. Try not to watch movies or listen to music that makes drug use look cool and fun. This is tricky, as popular culture is saturated with drug references, but do your best. Don’t hang out with your drug-using partying friends, or let them crash at your place, while you are fragile and prone to relapse.
Try saying ‘no’ to negative thoughts too. It will be tempting to become fixated on what is wrong with everything and everyone around you after you quit, but this is due to internal organ imbalances; it’s not an accurate reading of the world. Counter this negative pull by seeking positive input of any sort that reinforces the idea of achievement through movement. Read or watch inspiring stories about people – sports stars, artists, activists – who achieve against the odds. Don’t underestimate the power of this material and go for anything that works for you.
When I was going through the worst of my post-drug depression I used to watch the early Rocky movies. Rocky lived in a world of physical and emotional pain, and he faced resistance on every front, but he kept fighting. His drive to keep moving forward helped me hang on to that attitude in the face of my own overwhelming desire to give in. No one could understand why I kept watching those movies, but they didn’t wake up each morning and immediately think of dying.
Everyone will have opinions on how you should be living and what you should be doing after drugs. But the more you align with the chi cycle and the more chi practice you do, the less influence this will have on you. In the Dao De Ching, Lao-tzu states that you don’t need governance if you know the way from within. Chi-cycle alignment provides a set of guidelines to live by. It harmonises you with natural rather than man-made laws and, as a result, you will always act in a manner that is beneficial to yourself and others.
Saying ‘no’ is one of the most powerful ways to build chi.
Everyone’s a winner
An aligned chi-building lifestyle is a win-win solution for everyone. It is well worth the relatively small discomforts of rising early and repeating a routine. And really, if you ever want to feel more than normal again, there are no other viable post-drug lifestyle options. The fun drugs have run their course; we’ve established that you can’t go ‘back to normal’; just being healthy and fit isn’t enough and the other option, of being medicated for the rest of your life on non-fun drugs, is just as bad as being on recreational drugs (and you don’t even get the highs).
But if everything you do, from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night, contributes to building chi, then everything feels a little more extraordinary every day. You will eventually start looking forward to the next day to continue this long slow high. So take it day by day.
Think of your recovery as a road trip in which you can’t see your final destination, only the stretch of road ahead. Just as each section you travel reveals the next, each time you take the cosmic option to build chi – regardless of how small or insignificant it might seem – it will introduce a possibility, evoke a feeling, and connect you to something or someone. Every movement creates another, and all sorts of possibilities open up.
Extraordinary lives unfold one day at a time
Happily ever after drugs
Begin this journey by rethinking your past from the perspective of everything you got right, including: prioritising your inner state, wanting to escape reality, exploring the mystical, rejecting social falseness, transcending limits, feeling enhanced and chasing your dreams. Then use chi as the medium to find your cosmic self.
Start your revision of your past from the second time you took drugs. My theory is that no one knows what’s going to happen the first time; it’s when you deliberately attempt to recapture what did happen, that it gets interesting. You might think you repeated drugs just for fun or ‘for laughs’, but when clients tell me that, I always point out that there are amusement parks for fun.
These are much cheaper than drugs and remove the possibility of getting addicted and ruining people’s weddings (yep, did that) or participating in illegal fundraising activities (yes again). For laughs, there are jokes or the option of chuckling away with your friends in front of sitcoms. But it’s not quite the same, is it? If it was, you wouldn’t be reading this book.
After decades in this business, I believe that the desire to repeat drug experiences comes from a longing for mystical connection. Accordingly, the term ‘recreational’ is misleading; contrary to popular opinion this is serious business that you have been engaged in. We are all familiar with that clichéd movie scene in which a character takes a mind-altering substance and, suddenly seeing the non-ordinary world open up in front of them, gazes around with an awestruck expression saying, ‘Unreal, man’.
This is supposed to be comedy, but when you are high and see the universe expand, or love everyone unconditionally, or are able to listen to someone rambling on about nothing
and be present, saying ‘real, man’ would be more appropriate, because something about your true cosmic nature has been revealed.
What everyone thinks of as unreal – the mystical world, the one concerned with destiny and spirit and soul – is the permanent one. What everyone accepts as being real – the material world – is, in fact, temporary. It is when we find ourselves believing that the acquired world and our jobs and endless emotional dramas constitute the full extent of reality, that we should look around and say, ‘Unreal, man’.
Jost’s 24 hour chi cycle was published in its entirety in the LivingNow annual, 2009. They were completely sold out, but we recently found a box of annuals in a cupboard. So we are very pleased to be able to offer them at $25 each, including postage. There are several left. Please email [email protected] or ring 1300 730 326.
This article is part of a series of articles excerpted with permission from The Rebel’s Guide to Recovery by Jost Sauer and published by Centre of Dao, Maleny, Australia.
The last segment will be published in the next LivingNow. If you want to fast forward your life, the entire book is available for download from Amazon.
Born in Germany in 1958, and living in Australia since 1981, Jost is an ex speed addict, dealer and deserter, turned drug and alcohol counsellor who then became an acupuncturist. After lecturing in traditional Chinese medicine for a decade and running numerous health centres, he developed his revolutionary recovery programs and his rehab program is now available on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.
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