While pondering the question of which essential oils would support someone recovering from a drug addiction, I realized that almost anyone, including me, sometimes engages in behaviors that are “against my better judgment”. It is when these choices begin to dominate your life, and cause problems in your relationship, your job or your health that you have become addicted. Wouldn’t it be great to recognize these behaviors for what they are before they get to the addiction stage? The question was also a chance to look at the situation as aromatherapists always look at physical or emotional issues…what are the underlying causes? If you don’t address those, you are just putting a bandaid on the situation instead of truly addressing it.
So I answered her question with some essential oils that would not only address the drug rehabilitation aspect (e.g., physical withdrawal, toxicity, anxiety, to name a few), but also some typical underlying causes (feelings of emotional and/or physical pain, feelings of isolation, fear, anger, a need for comfort…again, to name a few).
The initial question also posed whether Sandalwood would be helpful in addiction recovery. It was not an essence that immediately came to my mind, but upon reflection, I felt very positive about it. Sandalwood is very grounding and centering…calming without being sedating. When you feel that you are out of control, these are properties that could be very beneficial to bringing you back to yourself. Sandalwood is also gently analgesic…she addresses PAIN. While that initially means physical pain, to most people, we always tell our students to look at the physical and apply it to the emotional and spiritual. So…Sandalwood also helps to assuage emotional or spiritual pain…pain that we may not even be aware of on a conscious level that is driving our addictive behavior. Sandalwood also helps to align our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies…an integration that is critical to someone who is addicted to a substance or feeling. When we are truly “in” our bodies, feeling our feelings, experiencing a level of grounded awareness of our physical sensations, not sugar-coating anything, but honestly being fully in the moment — good or bad –we are much more able to withstand the allure of the things we are addicted to.
The other essence I suggested was Laurel Leaf…her ability to help us find our strength, our courage, when the going is tough, is something that will benefit the person going through rehab, or the person individually confronting an addiction. Laurel Leaf’s detoxifying properties will also help the body flush out the toxins associated with substance and food addictions…and as we just discussed…flush out the energetic toxins associated with emotional addictions. Laurel Leaf is also hugely about being our authentic self…and so many times, the addicted version of ourselves is not our authentic self, and may be the result of not knowing who we truly are or not accepting or loving who we truly are. Coming to that place of self-acceptance and self-love can represent years of inner work for some people, and Laurel Leaf can be a guide and an mentor on that journey to self.
Citrus essences are wonderfully helpful to address addiction or “pre-addiction” choices: Tangerine helps clear the drug residue from the energy field; this powerful essence also helps clear anger and trauma to your Inner Child. Lemon helps you move through your pain to a deeper spiritual connection. Orange supports renewal and purification…physically and emotionally. Grapefruit gives you hope when you have felt hopeless, and direction when you have felt lost. She is an incredible comfort to us, renewing our optimism and helping us to see the silver lining in the cloud.
So, these are some thoughts on essences to support behavioral & cognitive change…essences that facilitate making different choices, even when old patterns are deeply established; essences that deal with the physical challenges of making that change; and essences that address the underlying emotional and physical issues. There are, of course, many, many more essences for this purpose; years back, we put together a list of essences that address dependence issues for a conference in Flagstaff, AZ. If you would like a copy of that list, please just email me, and I would be happy to send it to you.
I will close with a story about a student of mine who, after decades of substance abuse, told me that the final step in her recovery process had been to get off of prescription anti-depressants. She had accomplished this formidable process with the help of our essences, the Twelve Step Program and yoga. I will never forget her words: “For the first time as an adult, I will be looking at life through my own eyes…not the chemical filter of alcohol or of pharmaceutical drugs. I have not done that since I was 14 years old.” It was truly like she was being re-born. It gave me chills to hear her say that, and an incredible sense of gratitude that we have the support of the unseen world and the natural world to aid those on this difficult, but transformative, journey.
Level 1 Wisdom of the Earth Certification Class in Medicinal Aromatherapy – September 6-7, 2014 at my Shining Sun Aromatherapy Studio in Nambe, NM (just north of Santa Fe) $475 (early registration $450) PLEASE NOTE: The early registration cut-off has been extended due to my extensive travel this summer and the resultant lack of communication about the class :). If you register and pay your 50% deposit by AUGUST 15th, you will receive the $25 early registration discount.
It is our belief at Wisdom of the Earth that the connection between human beings and the natural world is an ancient, vitally important one, and that separation or isolation from nature has a deleterious effect on the human psyche and health. The use of pure essential oils for health and well‐being is an important component of natural health remedies and aids us in deepening our relationship to the natural world.
The Level 1 Certification Seminar addresses topics related to the production of pure essential oils; their use for common ailments and for maintaining physical and emotional well‐being; an in‐depth discussion of over 35 foundational essential oils; the production and use of hydrolats; discussion and demonstration of numerous application methods; toxicity issues; and a “hands‐on”, closing exercise where students work on each other using the essences and hydrosols, and incorporating the essence information and application methods introduced in the class. It is truly a life changing experience that opens you to a whole new way of thinking about and experiencing the plants and trees, and empowers you to take greater responsibility for your health.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-438-0855/928-300-5090 for information or to register.