I once met a guy at a party who was in a lot of pain and he didn’t even know it. He was drinking more than anyone else at the party, and didn’t know when enough was enough. Even at one in the morning, with the party over and his wife ready to go home, he was looking for more liquor to drink.
Both he and his wife are young, and they have an infant child. I don’t know what he does for a living. He looks like he hasn’t been an alcoholic for long – his face isn’t red and flushed. His wife seems exasperated but not yet resigned. It looks like this is a new thing, but it is still a thing. This behavior isn’t a one-time dallying with excess, judging from his comments and his wife’s concern.
Perhaps having access to so much alcohol all in one place is what made it worse. These parties usually have people who bring enough alcohol for themselves as well as to share. The host has decanters full of hard liquor too. This much alcohol simply isn’t usually available at home – it costs too much.
He’d said earlier to anyone who was listening that he didn’t have a drinking problem – he only drank a box of wine a night. He was aware that equaled about four bottles of wine. He kept drinking after most people had stopped. He wasn’t falling down drunk or slurring his words, but he wasn’t by any means sober for any of the evening either.
I thought about him later, and prayed for him. In my prayers for him, I visualized asking him if I could put my hand over his heart. In the same way a doctor listens to your heart to determine your health, I was listening as well, but with a different instrument. My hand provided the connection with his center, his core.
I don’t know if he would have been ok with this if I had asked for real, and I’d never thought about doing this before. I can only imagine this is a new tool that God is giving me to help people. I’d just met this guy, and our society has pretty firm rules about physical boundaries. He might have been creeped out by me asking to touch him at all, especially over his heart. Strangely, I’ve found that my being married and female takes away some of the awkwardness of some interactions, however. I get some of the side associations of the wife role which are “nurse” and “mother” even though I’m not.
In the vision I sat with him for a bit, “hearing” his heart, seeking out the source of his pain. What was he trying to anesthetize? What was he trying to not face? What trauma or malformed part of him was hiding, covered up by years of not dealing with it head on?
All addictions are just symptoms. They are the result of the soul trying to get away from pain, but doing it in an indirect and not helpful way. They are bad reflexes.
Now I’m building on the idea of this new tool. Where to go from there? Like a doctor, we must diagnose and then heal. But this kind of healing doesn’t involve pills. Good questions to ask – Who first abandoned you? Who first made you feel that you had no power? When did you first feel alone?
We must find the source of the pain. The infection won’t get better if the wound isn’t addressed. People won’t want to look at it – the soul wants to avoid pain at all costs. But a little pain is necessary to get the result of healing in the future. Sometimes people have to “lean in” to their pain, to look at it sideways.
Then, transition to the source of the healing, which is always inside. We have our own strengths within us. We have the tools we need – the healer doesn’t heal, so much as reconnect the person with their own power. What was the first time you felt powerful? Remember the first time you felt capable. Remember the first time you figured something out for yourself. What awards have you gotten? What recognitions have you achieved?
Our job is to help people re-member, re-unite. We join them back to themselves first. Then they are re-joined to the community. Like the story of the mustard seed, even a little bit of faith can grow into something mighty. A tiny flame can become something huge. Our job as healers is to find that little spark, that little seed and nourish and nurture it. We have to help the person see their own inner goodness and give them the tools to help it grow.
Getting people to volunteer is a good step. When people volunteer, they get outside of themselves and stop focusing on their own problems. They feel like they are useful and a part of the solution. Often what separates people from their true selves is feeling separated from the community. They don’t feel connected or valuable. The most healing thing you can do is to help someone feel included.