Chi is the medium to find your cosmic self. It is limitless and, the more you work with chi, the more extraordinary your life after drugs will become. The idea is to make everything revolve around chi, the way it once revolved around substances. You can build chi and move chi, but you can also conserve chi and even download it from the cosmos.
Chi is everywhere and it flows through everything in the universe, including us, in a 24 hour rhythm. It is as regular as clockwork. This is known as the chi cycle. If you had one of those red laser dots tracing the movement of chi through your body it would move to your lungs at 3am and continue working its way around, visiting each of your 12 organs in turn. In fact, if you could see that dot moving on your skin you could throw your watch away (although you’d have to strip whenever you needed to tell the time; so maybe not).
If you harmonise yourself with this flow, by doing all your normal daily activities (eating, sleeping, having sex, etc.) at the times when specific organs are energised, you build and conserve chi. Add in chi practices at certain times and you also set yourself up to be able to access cosmic chi. This is what I call a chi cycle lifestyle, and it’s my ‘secret recovery weapon’.
Technically, of course, it is not actually a secret. Centuries ago, after spending a very long time closely observing how the universe functioned, the Daoists not only discovered chi, but also realised that chi flows in this cycle. They worked out how to align their lives with this to maximise health and happiness.
Applying these ancient insights to 21st century addiction recovery is where I come in. I’ve been using the chi cycle as a therapeutic tool for my clients for a long time now, and they all notice significant improvements. Just by changing whenthey do things, their energy levels improve; they become more productive, their skin and eyes become clearer, they lose weight (mainly a reduction in abdominal fat), cravings diminish and ‘3:30-itis’ disappears, as does emotional reactivity, insomnia and the dreaded pattern of always waking up alert at 3am. But this is just the start. Where it gets really interesting, in terms of the chi cycle as a recovery lifestyle, is that doorways to altered states can also open up again.
Chi is the secret ingredient for a happy life after drugs
Let’s get mystical
Follow the chi-cycle recovery lifestyle and pretty much every amazing state you felt on drugs, from euphoria to enhancement to bliss, can be recaptured every day without drugs.
Daoism is often called ‘the art of intoxication’ and, over time, following the chi cycle naturally delivers a series of intoxicating or altered states every day. This kicks off with a connection to the mystical on waking, followed by knowing your cosmic self, going to work in an altered state, feeling peace at lunchtime and spending the early afternoon feeling stoned. After this comes some intergalactic travelling in a mystical meditation, ‘forgetting’ via creativity or sex, and then heading off on an overnight journey into astral chi. This lifestyle has to be every drug user’s dream.
The part that is every drug user’s nightmare, however, is the routine and discipline necessary to generate all those altered states. Each 24 hour cycle has a yang part (until lunchtime), and a yin part (until midnight). The idea is to align your activities with these great cosmic cycles. Basically, this means always doing productive active things in the yang time – the morning – and always doing laid-back things in the yin time – the afternoon and evening. You follow a daily routine that never shifts. This might sound boring, but in my mind it’s nowhere near as boring as what happens if you quit drugs but keep your old random drug lifestyle.
Master the art of intoxication
The relapse cycle
A typical drug lifestyle is the opposite of aligned: you sleep in, drag yourself though the morning, come alive after lunch, then try to be productive late in the day because you got nothing done in the morning. You are being yin while the cosmos is yang, and vice versa. You are going against the flow and wasting energy. This builds the acquired self, increases your pain and misery and, if you stick with this lifestyle after drugs, it encourages cravings and relapses.
It’s perfectly understandable why people become unaligned. While you sleep you return to your cosmic self and are free from the acquired world and physical and emotional pain while you sleep. The minute you wake though, reality hits. Drifting back into sleep is very tempting, as is seeking an immediate distraction from your feelings, like listening to music, watching TV or having coffee and a cigarette, but starting the day like this puts you in a position of weakness and vulnerability. The mundane acquired world and other people’s opinions will have too much power over you. You’ll start thinking about drugs, and how they can make all that disappear. The drug parrot perches on your shoulder.
You probably won’t want breakfast, because the thought of eating (let alone eating wholesome foods) is about as appealing as the idea of gnawing on some old cardboard. So you either skip it, choose coffee and cigarettes – which temporarily create the impression of movement but increase your underlying imbalances – or detonate the ‘toxic-bomb’ of sweet processed foods. Sugar creates a temporary sense of ‘movement’ and wheat makes you feel full, seeming to counter stagnation and emptiness, but you have just fed your acquired self and your irritation, frustration and emotional fragility. You have also topped up your toxins, which intensifies your feelings of being stuck.
You won’t feel like doing anything productive; so the stagnation increases. Everything around you becomes extremely annoying. You’re missing something; you try more coffee, cigarettes and sugary snacks. That drug parrot is now squawking in your ear. The day drags towards a close, but you’re not really tired; so you stay up late, watching TV or wandering around online, and, when you finally go to bed, you sleep poorly. So the next morning it’s even harder to get up and get going. You feel heavy, lethargic and depressed, again. As the day progresses, it all gets slightly worse.
As there seems no escape from this downward cycle; you’re ripe for a relapse and the parrot is probably out scoring for you now. I’ve seen this situation over and over again – the relapses that is, not the scoring parrots (that, I’d like to see). All the clients I treat who think they are diseased or losers, because they keep relapsing, have this unrewarding, chi-depleting, unaligned lifestyle.
Reward yourself to avoid relapse
The last relapse
Relapsing is the natural outcome of following the normal Western lifestyle, but once you get the chi cycle aligned lifestyle going, relapsing is no longer an issue. Chi experiences keep getting better, making drug experiences comparatively dirtier and madder than you expected. It can take a while to make the transition to chi; so don’t be too hard on yourself if you do relapse. Most people quit via a relapse or two.I could write a whole book on my own relapses, but it would be a bit repetitive. Every chapter would start and finish the same way, except for the last one when I discovered chi.
My last relapse was a joint, although I didn’t consider it a relapse at the time as, once you’ve been a speed addict, you don’t consider marijuana to be a real drug. It was to be a reward for not doing drugs for so long and for working hard on my college studies. I’d gotten hold of a legendarily potent strain of cannabis and, as it had been a few years since I’d had hard drugs, I was fully expecting to recapture that great dreamy, chilled-out state that marijuana used to deliver in the good old pre-speed days.
But when I inhaled, nothing happened; it just felt toxic. The magic was gone. At the time I was puzzled; I had been living a really healthy lifestyle and it should have gotten me back into good shape for a drug high, but it hadn’t. After spending so many years trying to give up drugs, it seemed the drugs had now given up on me. At the time I put it down to just another weird drug thing, but it stuck in my mind, the way significant things do. I had been doing chi practices for years by then and I now see that the chi states I was achieving had cancelled out the action of the drug. I had upgraded my source of energy, consciousness and information, and it overwrote the old programming.
Cravings are not for drugs; they are for extraordinary states
Rewards vs relapse
The chi cycle lifestyle creates a sense of being constantly rewarded; so it displaces the old association of drugs with reward. Because it is a lifestyle, it also gives you something to do all day so you won’t be spending all your new drug-free time sitting around chatting to the parrot about how good drugs were, or would be again.
Additionally, aligning with the cycle allows a natural detox to occur every 24 hours.Every morning, the cosmic forces and your body can naturally work together to cleanse the toxins that make you feel stagnant, bloated, negative and emotionally weak. Moving and being productive until lunchtime also creates beneficial stress which moves stagnant energy. Being asleep by 11pm allows your liver cleansing action to get underway. Live every day like this and you’ll not only avoid those expensive relapses, but you will save on detoxes.
I’ve done the drug lifestyle and the chi lifestyle and I can tell you; aligning, feeling rewarded and being able to escape reality whenever you want is way better than being trapped in the limited acquired world. Every day on earth holds awesome unlimited possibilities. You don’t want to waste a single day bogged down in emotional minefields, watching your health deteriorate and your purpose, happiness and sense of meaning slip away. You’ll end up thinking that life sucks, and it really doesn’t. Follow the chi cycle and stay in touch with your cosmic self instead.I believe that we all want to do this. I would go so far as to say we all have to, because our real business here on earth is to evolve our souls, but more on that later.
Every day on earth holds rewarding possibilities
Recovery to discovery
On a purely practical level, this chi cycle recovery lifestyle suits the massive new drug-using demographic, which is invisible and socially integrated. Some of this demographic do drugs on occasion, and can take it or leave it. Others choose to go about their daily business; school, work or socialising, on drugs – as this is their preferred reality – but they can regularly chill out off the drugs for days or weeks without cravings.Then there are the high level, fully functioning users who work and interact effectively, but can’t get through a day without drugs. Usually no one, apart from their drug associates or dealers, knows about their drug use. I once treated two ice addicts who had worked in the same office for years and neither had any idea of the other’s drug use.
In my day, drug users looked like outsiders, behaved like outsiders and were treated as such. Generally speaking, we were part of a subculture that was disapproved of, and rejected by the mainstream population. Most of my friends remained marginalised or left town in an attempt to quit and make a new life elsewhere.
Drug users are no longer a subculture or a minority. They can’t all up and leave town – it would be a global exodus. Even if they could, the ‘leaving town’ method of quitting hinges on being able to go somewhere where you can’t get drugs, and not many places fit that description now.Even in the 1980s, when I travelled all the way from Germany to Australia, despite the fact that I knew no one in the country, it wasn’t long before I was scoring drugs again.
The chi cycle recovery lifestyle allows you to stay where you are and keep on doing what you usually do, because you don’t have to get away from drugs if you have no interest in drugs. If you are taking drugs because you prefer a more interesting reality (and I believe all drug users do), but don’t have a means of return to altered states, you’ll just crave drugs – but aligning with the chi cycle allows you to quit successfully, because you’ll have something to look forward to every day.
You will also tap into your destiny. According to the Daoists we all have a destiny, something we signed up to do here on earth. This is known as your ‘contract with heaven’. Understanding what this is makes your life feel purposeful. This is a big deal indeed in terms of drug recovery. Walking blandly through life is not a satisfactory future for the explorers of the extraordinary. You need to burn with purpose. So, health and happiness, free altered states, a natural detox, getting on track to destiny and finding your cosmic self – it’s not a bad deal in return for rearranging your daily schedule.
The chi cycle was a concept that intrigued me from the first time I came across it, particularly the references linking it with destiny, heavenly contracts and cosmic quests, but I had no idea of its true transformational potential until I lived it. I tuned into where my chi was during the day and recorded how various activities felt when aligned with different times. The results were outlined in my book The Perfect Day Plan, which revealed what to do every two hours of the day to enhance specific organ functions and create health and happiness.*
However, in the recovery context, we are focusing on the mystical, altered states aspect of the chi cycle and will be following the daily cosmic flow of yin and yang rather than two-hour segments. The goal is to initiate invisible internal processes which automatically generate altered states. You can’t see any of this happen, but, as your drug use has sensitised you to the inner workings of chi, your organs and your cosmic connection, you can feel it. The more aligned you get your life, the more ‘right’ everything feels. Follow this feeling.
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.
If you want to fast forward your life, the entire book is available for download from Amazon.
Share this post