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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Synchronicity and Addiction

Synchronicity is a term that is frequently used to represent the process of experiences coming together and forming some sort of meaning. Synchronicity was one of psychologist Carl Jung's most complex and misunderstood concepts, partially because it is an experience that forces people to question their notions of what is rational and scientific. Jung's concept of a synchronistic world was a complex intertwining of linear causality forming a balance with the unseen energies of the universe. In this conception, a playful relationship exists between what is seen and unseen. Jung hypothesized that synchronistic events were manifestations of a specific desire deriving from the humanistic need to heal and grow. He also believed they were elements of a universal, archetypal pattern. I believe that there is truth to this theory as human beings have a natural tendency to transform physically and psychologically from their first breath to their last.

Synchronistic occurrences do not happen all the time. They are rare and should be treated with reverence. They are numinous in nature which means that they fill us with a sense of awe and wonder. If you have been thinking about someone you haven't seen in several years and he/she appears in front to of you at the grocery store -- this is a synchronicity. It leaves us with a sense that we must pay attention. Synchronicities happen when our inner world of thought and feeling connect with the outer world of people, places and things. If we think about something and then it appears there is a mystery involved that is both fascinating and enigmatic. What does this mean?

I have heard the word synchronicity used to describe events that are both commonplace and divine. These spiritual occurrences provide us with an opportunity to awaken. Often, these occurrences are vital moments that begin our journey towards healing.

In a world where so many people suffer from the disease of addiction it is important to combine our efforts in the therapeutic community to find solutions. In 2014, the governor of Massachusetts declared that the commonwealth was in a state of emergency because of the number of opiate related deaths in a 90-day period. An unprecedented number of overdoses in the U.S. has sparked a national discussion about how to deal with this critical issue. There is an epidemic of people turning to medication for relief from their ailments. The question still remains: How can we best address this problem?

I am a licensed psychotherapist who works with addicts in my private practice. I am also sober from drugs and alcohol for nearly a decade. I am open and willing to consider any information or research that offers alternative ways to understand addiction. It is my belief that we have exhausted many of the traditional methods of treatment and still have an extremely low success rate for long term recovery. I have become aware that synchronistic events may help create a spark of hope for those who are suffering. It was a synchronistic event that helped foster my transition from active addiction to sobriety. It is not uncommon to hear recovering addicts speak about an unexplainable sequence of occurrences that pushed them towards finding treatment.

I recall an incident when a resistant addict was in a church praying for help from his alcoholism. Soon after, an A.A. meeting began to form around him. This was a weekly meeting scheduled at exactly that time. The addict was ashamed about his drinking and had kept it a secret, but the others assumed he was there for help with his alcoholism. One could say that this synchronicity helped to save his life. The addict was praying for help and the help appeared as a 12-step group that formed around him.

Many addicts feel as though they are set apart from others. Theirs is a character marked by inflation and grandiosity that infuses them with feelings of superiority. This aggrandized sense of self is often contradicted by low self-esteem and self-loathing. A duality plagues addicts, much like the delicate balance between the dark and the light elements in our psyche. Addicts are full of contradictions and often lost in the self-centered complexities of their own nature. Addicts have a sense that an overwrought intelligence is a blessing but also a curse that facilitates their decent into insanity through addiction referred to the archetype of the genius in correlation to synchronicity. I have heard the concept of synchronistic transformation referred to as "soul making." Synchronistic experiences grant people access to a higher vibration and realignment with their authentic selves.

There is much evidence to support that synchronicities tend to occur during major shifts in the life cycle, including the beginning and end. This also includes the transition from addiction to recovery. When addicts hit bottom they are more available to allow the energy of change into their lives. If you are struggling with alcohol and drug addiction and have had enough, be open and willing to accept the mystery of synchronicity as it may be the energy that fuels your turning point. I have heard so may inspiring stories that support this theory, and I believe that synchronicities are signposts to assist us on our road to newfound health.

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Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.

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