THE FIX CHALLENGE: Join These Former Addicts in Seeking A Natural State

By Doug Heyes and Alesha Carlander 05/21/14

It's deep clean time - alcohol, caffeine, sex, processed foods, the works - now that Ayahuasca helped get us get past addiction. It's time to seek a total natural state.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: What follows is a challenge to readers, whether in recovery or not or just going about your life with your normal bad habits and ups and downs. We invite you to join these two writers in striving for - and reporting back on - what they call a 33-day "total cleanse." Both have been in recovery, one from bulimia, the other from drugs and alcohol, for many years and tell their dramatic stories here.They will be detailing in the comment section their 33-day detox adventure, which starts Monday, May 26th (Memorial Day). We challenge you to start your own detox along the way and share the ongoing experience in the same space. Whoever we judge as best contributor gets a $200 writer fee. You don't have to be a hard substance abuser to join in - anyone can participate and report back on the results on your life, mindset, emotions and general sense of well-being.


Okay, here’s the deal: We’re taking on a total cleanse, clear, detox vortex immersion - 33 days, complete abstinence from all consciousness-altering substances and habits - alcohol, drugs, caffeine, tobacco, sugar, sex (alone or with someone), gambling, animal foods, processed foods, preservatives, chemicals, the works.  

We’ve both earned our street cred with addiction and recovery - Doug with drugs and alcohol, Alesha with food. We believe it’s time for a new paradigm in recovery, an expanded model that combines conscious step-work with transforming technologies from science, medicine, psychotherapy, nutrition, meditation, community, ancient knowledge.  

We hold a vision of a widespread shift in the consciousness of recovery from stigmatized disease theory to celebrated spiritual opportunity. We believe the challenges we face and the issues we address in recovery are portals to growth, learning and Self-awakening. We theorize that there is an undeniable connection between the sacramental use of certain entheogenic plant medicines and an experience of Self-revelation of sufficient magnitude to drive recovery.

At the moment, both of us seem to have our demons under reasonable restraint - at least to where behaviors once associated with our primary destructive addictions are simply not present. Nobody’s flipping cars at 3 AM. Nobody’s locked up in the ladies’ room. We’re happy, loving, creative, successful people. Despite these measures of balance we may have achieved with our former behaviors, neither one of us really knows what it feels like to be – well – natural.   

What is our true, clear, conscious Organic State, unsurpressed, unaided? How will we change physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? How will it influence our vision for a new age in recovery?  How will it affect our own healing consciousness? Will we be more creative, productive, proactive, prosperous? Will we finally get rock star bodies and the energetic vibration of ascended masters? Or will we just feel like shit and want to kill for a spliff and a grande Americano?

We both currently use tobacco, marijuana and caffeine, as well as Ayahuasca and certain other sacramental entheogens. Doug is nobody’s vegan by a long shot, though he's very big on stir-fried veggies and quinoa. He's also a bit of a sugar junkie. Alesha’s much more conscious about the whole food thing. But hey, she’s a professional.

It is our shared view that human beings are powerful beyond measure, not the weak, sick, diseased wretches the addiction industry says we are. We’re profoundly capable of change, and the process is accelerated through focused practice, retraining and remapping the brain. Current neuropsychology puts the time frame for changing an entrenched habit or behavior at about 33 days – exactly the time frame of our great Natural State experiment. Let the good times roll!

Through this intensive personal process, we hope to bring forward a new understanding, to implement our learning into a new model for transformational recovery, drawing from a wide variety of approaches and disciplines. We’ll be bringing in masters from related fields to share their wisdom and guide us on our journey. We challenge you to join us – for the whole trip or any part of it. We ask for your solidarity, strength and support. We seek here to open a dialogue, to invite you to share your own tales from the trail, your own experiences and perspectives about recovery, health and healing.

Here are our stories:

ALESHA: The bulimia really started when I was about 13, though I’d been obsessed with food for as long as I can remember. I was just getting into high school. My body was going through radical changes. I was the heaviest I’ve ever been in my entire life. Everywhere I looked I would see these beautiful, sparkling, perfectly put together girls with unimaginably wonderful lives. I would feel so small, alone insignificant, thinking about all the ways I fell short of perfection.  There was always someone smarter, funnier, prettier or more talented. 

The roots of my alienation had found fertile soil in the rigidly constrained Christianity of my childhood. For as long as I could remember, I’d been talking to God. Problem was the messages of unconditional love and compassion I was getting straight from the Source flew directly in the face of the harsh dogma of sin, retribution and damnation I was being force-fed at church.

I badgered my parents and pastor with questions about their beliefs, about God and Jesus. If we’re all God’s children, then why is Jesus His “only begotten Son?” Why is God a “He” anyway? Where does God live? In Heaven? Everywhere? Is Heaven everywhere? If Heaven is everywhere, aren’t we already there? And if we are, why is there so much suffering? If God is Love, why is there so much hate? If we’re all guilty of Original Sin, aren’t we already doomed to the pit of fire? What’s the point of living righteously if we’re damned before we even start? Their answers rang false and hollow. I was branded a troublemaker, unwelcome in our church by the time I was 10 years old.

Alone and adrift on a sea of lies and pretense, I turned for comfort and control to my old friend, food. I’d shut myself away and gorge on candy, sweets, pastries, yummy delicious things till the world went away. And then I would hate myself.

By the time I was 13, my world had closed down to a small, dark corner, my dreams of love and happiness had devolved into a nightmare of self-loathing and misery. This girl I knew handed me a wild card. I could have anything I wanted, be anything I wanted, eat anything I wanted. All I had to do was make a deal with the devil. I was never a big fan of Satan, or even heavy metal, but I found myself in my heart of darkness thinking about it, wondering about it, wrestling with it. In the end, I never did sign the contract in blood by the light of the full moon. But just the fact that I would consider such a course was evidence of my treachery, proof of my absolute moral and spiritual bankruptcy, my unworthiness in the eyes of God. I was already the walking dead.

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