Last week, in this already somewhat controversial article, I gave you a thorough explanation and argument behind my conviction that when it comes to the ever-expanding and increasingly popular world of plant medicines, not only do the “cons outweigh the pros,” but when you're recreationally partaking of these type of compounds and chemicals that significantly alter your state of consciousness (particularly in a casual setting with plant medicines traditionally used for witchcraft, the occult, spiritual divination, etc, usually without medical oversight), or “divining” with the spirit world via the use of such compounds, you are opening yourself up to influence from a spiritual world that threatens to land you in a very dark place indeed.
In other words, when it comes to plant medicines, we aren't just talking about the equivalent of drinking too much coffee or having a bit too much pre-workout kratom or chomping on an extra piece of nicotine gum or socially lubricating an evening with an extra glass of wine. Instead, substances such as LSD, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, or any other highly effective and typically hallucinogenic or psychedelic consciousness-altering compound that I named in Part 1 have great potential to open you up to a deep, dark, spiritual world in which there is a battle for your very soul.
So if you didn't yet read Part 1, please, please do.
Of course, there are several unanswered questions and considerations that I need to address here in Part 2, namely: microdosing with plant medicines, the “responsible” use of marijuana, the bigger, glaring issue that many of these types of vices bring up, and a special project I'll be working on that I'd like to invite you to be a part of.
So, let's dive in.
What About Microdosing?
Microdosing, which I discuss in detail in this podcast interview with James Fadiman, involves taking a very small, “sub-perceptual” dose of a psychedelic hallucinogen.
I've done it, lots, and it works fantastically.
For example, 1/10th of a “trip dose” of LSD can give you 6-8 hours of clean focus with zero crash and incredible amounts of positive energy for work, workouts, etc.
A tiny dose of psilocybin (e.g. an eighth of a gram or so) can amplify the senses, make colors more bright, enhance visual, auditory, olfactory, and sensory perception, and notably increase creativity for art, writing, music, etc.
A small capsule of wachuma cactus extract can produce a “heart-opening” effect that increases sociability, empathy, confidence, etc., without the toxic side effects of the alcohol that many people would normally use to achieve the same effect.
Microdosing continues to show great potential for cognitive and executive performance, as demonstrated in impressive research published as recently as last week (at the time of this writing).
So yeah, microdosing is pretty nifty.
But here's the problem, and here's what I've been thinking a lot about lately…
…if we all decide that microdosing is efficacious, relatively harmless, and—most notably—does not shift one's state of consciousness to an extent that one is journeying, hallucinating, or in any other state of psychedelic “enlightenment” or stupor, then that means we would also tend to agree that these compounds should be available to the masses and widely accessible due to their purported benefits.
Problem is, if you make widely available and endorse the usage of minuscule doses of any compound that has traditionally been used in sorcery, witchcraft, occult magic, or any other pharmakia-esque activities I described in Part 1 of this series, then, in my opinion, you risk opening the door quite wide for abuse potential.
Someone can very easily “accidentally” (or perhaps, simply for the sake of “curiosity”) take just a touch too much LSD, psilocybin, ketamine, wachuma, and find themselves thrust into a state in which they are susceptible to dark spiritual influences. There's also great potential that frequent use of such compounds could result in a “gateway effect,” leading the user to experiment with a wider variety of microdosing compounds in increasingly higher dosages until they suddenly find themselves signing up for an Ayahuasca retreat in Peru.
So just because you and I might be responsible enough to have a pantry full of tiny doses of hallucinogens that we use with great care, there's a very great risk that these compounds can get into the wrong hands or lead to drug abuse. Yes, yes, yes, I know that one could kill themselves with the caffeine in coffee too, and possibly even experience a psychotropic effect from coffee, but it's far, far more difficult to do this with coffee than with, say, LSD. A few extra coffee beans in my morning french brew won't leave me laid out on the floor with my tongue lagging out my mouth.
As my friend Paul Risse notes in his book The Psychedelic Christian, there is certainly a possibility that God's original intent for such compounds is indeed for enhanced sensory perception, sex, hunting, creativity, productivity, focus, etc., but I'm personally wrestling with the idea that whether—similar to heftier use of plant medicines—the cons of endorsing microdosing compounds and encouraging unfettered and eventually legal access to them outweigh the pros.
Even the traditional use of popular microdosing drugs for, say, the organic and ancestral activity of hunting, also traditionally involves taking enough of a dose to be able to “divine with the gods” about when and where exactly to hunt or what to hunt for, which seems to present the same problems I brought up in Part 1 of this article: a great potential for negative spiritual influences, which should be especially concerning to a Christian or to anyone else who doesn't want to be subjected to potential for demonic influence or idolatry. To hear or see what I mean, listen to Glenn Shepard's lecture The Harpy's Gift and the Jaguar, or read a similar summary of his thoughts here. Now, in the past, I've (while hunting) taken microdoses of psilocybin and used traditional hunting medicines such as hapé and sananga, and found that they do indeed result in a notable increase in sensory perception. But I'm struggling with the idea that they also have been used by many cultures to commune with the gods, so now I'm on the fence about even these seemingly “harmless” compounds. There's definitely something that seems spiritually edgy about them.
To be frank, I haven't yet decided if I'm going to “swear off” microdosing.
But I'm certainly questioning—especially with all the other productivity, creativity, or sensory-enhancing compounds that are available out there, such as coffee, kratom, ketones, “done-for-you” blends (like Qualia, Alpha Brain, or Nootopia), or nicotine—whether microdosing with traditional psychedelics is worth the risk. Just because I might be able to get away with responsible usage doesn't mean everybody will, which reminds me of the Bible passage in Romans 14:13-23 about being careful not to cause others to “stumble”:
“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
So since there is indeed potential that my use and endorsement of microdosing might cause others to “stumble” in this fashion, I'm praying about this one and I'd also welcome your own comments and feedback about microdosing in the comments section below. I'm currently in information gathering, feedback, and counsel mode on this. I am not necessarily opposed to a touch of psilocybin, hapé, and sananga before a hunt, or a light snort of ketamine or pull on a THC vape pen before, say, a deep tissue massage or a lovemaking session—so long as such practices don't lead to misuse and abuse of the compounds that you keep on hand for such activities.
But, in the meantime, I'm proceeding with great caution around any kind of “recreational” microdosing with any compound that has traditionally been used as a psychedelic or hallucinogen, while continuing to ask myself the question, “What if everybody had this in their pantry?”. For that reason, any plant medicines that I have not thrown out that still remain under the roof of my house for the purposes of microdosing, sex, etc. have been relocated to a locked safe, very similar to guns, ammunition, weapons, etc., and I think that we do need to approach these type of compounds with a great deal more respect than we traditionally have.
What About Marijuana?
Next, there's marijuana, and when it comes to marijuana, I'm increasingly beginning to agree with my previous podcast guest Doug Wilson, author of Devoured by Cannabis: Weed, Liberty, and Legalization, who joined me for the episode “Devoured By Cannabis: Weed, Liberty, Legalization (& Whether Christians Should Smoke Marijuana) With Pastor Doug Wilson”…
…meaning that like microdosing, despite there being ways to use marijuana quite responsibly, there is also great potential for abuse. Despite cannabis not strictly being something that has been used originally and historically for, say, witchcraft or sorcery or occult magic, it still troubles my spirit that I can't swing a dead cat by the tail here in Washington state without hitting some cannabis clinic where just about anybody can waltz in and buy enough weed to quite quickly and effectively shifting them into a psychotic, hallucinogenic state.
Like microdosing, I'm questioning whether the cons outweigh the pros.
See, if we decide marijuana is OK because it can be used responsibly, and we decide to give everyone unfettered access, there are a lot of people who will misuse it. For example, Washington and Colorado approved recreational marijuana use in 2012, and proof of the negative impact of legalization has consistently been pouring in ever since. These states are experiencing more marijuana use, more youth marijuana use, more illegal marijuana trafficking, more crime, more homelessness, more traffic fatalities, more ER admissions, and more addiction to pot since they legalized it. They are also spending four times the amount of revenue that pot sales have generated to deal with these consequences of legalization, not to mention risking many young folks experiencing brain damage, memory and cognitive impairment, and psychosis that arises when a human brain is exposed to chronic cannabis use.
At the same time, I'm a bit torn on this issue because I think cannabis is absolutely wonderful for purposes such as relaxation, creativity, sleep, massage therapy, mobility work, and acute or chronic pain. I've used it responsibly and effectively for all those purposes. But despite me benefitting from and enjoying cannabis responsibly myself, I'm not convinced widespread legality and access is such a good idea. The modern, high-TCH variants of weed found in most cannabis shops are very, very difficult to use responsibly. Like microdosing, I'm now considering whether the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to marijuana.
Look, if you want to grow normal cannabis in your backyard or basement—a natural plant that is a far cry from the ultra-concentrated THC cookies, candies, and vape pens at the average cannabis shop—I think that's probably fine, just as long as you can use responsibly, are hyper-aware of any exposure to children or teens, and are not causing others to “stumble” by getting high. But I don't think it's good for society to have a recreational cannabis dispensary on every corner. People just don't seem to be responsible enough. For example, I can sit around a campfire smoking a cigar with my buddies, and remain in a fully lucid state. The same can't be said if we're passing a joint around the campfire. There's bound to be a least one person in that campfire group who winds up getting high, dissociated, psychotic, addicted, or dependent and in a state that is a far cry from the sober and alert state that a responsible, Christlike human being should be in.
So similar to getting a prescription for, say, pain meds, I think you should probably have a prescription to freely buy marijuana—or grow your own and use it responsibly. Furthermore, I think if you grow it, it shouldn't be grown for average, everyday, recreational use, but rather as something you might use small amounts of at night for relaxation or sleep or small amounts of during the day for pain management if you've been injured or have some kind of disease that causes chronic pain or perhaps before a lovemaking session as it does notably enhance a sexual experience.
Ultimately, now that I've reoriented my perspective on compounds that can alter your state of consciousness to the extent that you're entering a deep and dark spiritual world (marijuana doesn't have to, but it can), I'm just not convinced that endorsing unfettered access to weed is something I can get behind.
And of course, similar to microdosing, there is great potential for weed to serve as a gateway drug to other, more problematic compounds, such as when the recreational cannabis user hears about combining it with just a *touch* of acid, or ketamine, or ecstasy. Just a little bit won't hurt, and it'll make the experience better, right? But we all know what can happen next.
So in addition to welcoming your thoughts on microdosing, I also fully welcome your thoughts on marijuana in the comments section below, because frankly, I'm still wrestling with and praying about the proper decision on this one. In the meantime, like microdosing, I've stopped using marijuana (aside from pure CBD), not necessarily because I'm convinced it's evil, but rather because I view it as a vice, an attachment, and a potential item I could be “in bondage” to. I just want to check myself and make sure I'm not dependent on it, and the best way to do that is to simply stop using it, in my opinion. I'll expound on that shortly below.
Finally, when it comes to “responsible use of plant medicine,” I realize that I've said before, as Genesis 1:31 also says, God made all things good. But God also lays out clear guidelines in the Bible for how to interact with elements of His creation. God made men and women beautiful and attractive to each other. But that doesn't mean we should sleep with as many partners as possible so that we can experience all of God's goodness. Instead, God clearly implies (as I describe in great detail here) that we should be in a loving, committed relationship with one partner. God made honey, too—and then warned us that consuming too much of it was a sin of gluttony that would leave us sick and vomiting. God made ergot (rich in LSD-like chemicals), magic mushrooms, psychedelic cacti, and “intelligent” plant stems and vines like ayahuasca too. But He also commanded us to avoid any pharmakia, witchcraft, sorcery, occult activities, divination, and anything that these compounds have traditionally been used for.
The fact that there's a great big warning sign from God on this stuff tells me that we need to be very, very careful indeed with promoting and extolling the virtues of these plants for recreational and spiritual activity. What do you think?
Didn't Early Christians Use Entheogens?
If you have read my friend Brian Muraresku's book The Immortality Key, then you're no doubt familiar with the now popular idea that that the sacraments used in the early Church for Eucharist, and the wine used for other religious gatherings and celebrations, was “not just wine”, but rather, a psychedelic brew of a variety of spices, herbs and entheogens. The idea here is that even before the birth of Jesus, the Ancient Greeks found salvation through their sacraments, with sacred beverages routinely consumed as part of the so-called Ancient Mysteries, which were elaborate rites that led initiates who engaged with plant medicines to the brink of death. People from Athens and Rome often flocked to the spiritual capital of Eleusis, where a holy beer promised to unleash heavenly visions for two thousand years. Others drank the holy wine of Dionysus to become “one with the god”. Beginning in the 1970s, renegade scholars claimed this beer and wine – which were the original sacraments of Western civilization – were indeed spiked with mind-altering drugs. The constantly advancing fields of archaeobotany and archaeochemistry have hinted at the enduring use of hallucinogenic drinks in antiquity, and in Brian's book he describes how the Eucharist of the earliest Christians could have been, in fact, a psychedelic Eucharist.
Look, I think Brian's research does support the idea that pagan worship rituals that included hallucinogens were a bigger part of the Greek culture than we perhaps realize. There was a lot of the type of pharmakia I discuss in Part 1 of this series going on in the context of idolatry and worship.
It's also possible that, even amongst the forefathers of the early Christians, that wine wasn't just our modern day fermented grape juice. For example, have you ever wondered how, in Genesis 19, Lot’s daughters were able to give him “wine” that was powerful enough to cause him to blackout and have sex with his own daughters two nights in a row. Fact is, ancient fermentation processes typically didn’t yield wine as potent as we have today, and Lot and his daughters had just fled Sodom, so it’s doubtful they had an entire barrel of vino with them in voluminous enough amounts to get Lot that drunk. So, if Lot didn’t drink a half-gallon of wine two nights in a row, there certainly could have been something else in it.
In The Immortality Key, it is also described how the early Christians written to in 1 Corinthians 11:30 had “fallen asleep” and “died” because they drank too much from a communion cup that had hallucinogens. I have always thought that Paul was implying they died because of their irreverence toward God and the holy communion ceremony, because Paul makes references to intentionally handing believers over to physical death due to their sins in passages such as 1 Corinthians 5:3. However, that said, it is possible that Paul was chiding the Corinthians because they were experimenting with forbidden pharmakia. But that obviously doesn't mean it's cool for people to take drugs at church, and instead means just the opposite: Paul was pointing out that this is a very dangerous practice indeed. As a matter of fact, if any early church did begin to mix pharmakia with their worship of Jesus, it would have been the Corinthians! They were an absolute mess!
Paul's statement that “the sacrifices of the pagans are offered to demons and not to God” in 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 is another section where Paul is talking about Communion, this time contrasting it with the pagan feasts. In this passage, Paul mentions the “cup” of the Lord vs. the cup of demons, which is the cup used to worship pagan gods. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if there were mind-altering substances in the “cup of demons.” Paul could have been very well aware of the ancient use of drugs in both Christian and pagan practices. But as you can hopefully see, what I'm getting at is this: just because early Christians used drugs (and it appears the more mischievous ones like the Corinthians may have), that doesn't green-light pharmakia for all Christians for the rest of all time. All it means is that early Christians were sinful, just like us modern day Christians.
One other thing to consider here: if the wine given to Jesus as he was being led to the Cross contained “gall,” which some have argued is a narcotic, then you should notice that Jesus refused to drink it (Matthew 27:34). Considering Jesus didn't seem to frown upon wine, it's quite interesting that he turned down this particular variety. Just food for thought.
The “Bigger Issue”
Now all of this needs to be considered in the light of a bigger issue: namely, the glaring fact that any of these so-called “vices“—whether helpful, harmful, or neutral; whether safe for the soul because of their inherent difficulty of achieving an altered state of consciousness; or whether dangerous and sinful for the soul due to their ease of achieving an altered state of consciousness—reflect an attachment in life that we may have chosen to place more trust in than God.
Here's what I mean: drinking coffee is not a sin.
But waking up in the morning and feeling as though you cannot achieve any objective that God has called you to without a hefty dose of your precious caffeine reflects a deeper underlying issue: an attachment (or, possibly an addiction) that is displaying you cannot fully trust God for all that you need. You cannot do all things through Christ who strengthens you. You need the help of coffee. If that's your current relationship with coffee, you likely need to “reset” that relationship until you get to the point where you drink coffee because you enjoy it, but you can ultimately take it or leave it.
Or, for example, if you're responsible and not causing others to fall into addiction or sin, then eating a marijuana edible or taking a hit on a cannabis vape pen to help get you through a bout of insomnia and sleepless nights may not be a moral downfall per se. But, for example, there was a period of time during which I personally convinced myself that I couldn't get a good night of sleep without such a strategy. I wasn't trusting God to deal with my racing thoughts and worries, and I wasn't asking Him to give me a good night of sleep. I was simply dosing, escaping, and “passing out” asleep, without ever asking myself why I would need to sledgehammer myself to sleep at night, nor whether God was keeping me awake so that He could speak clearly to me in the still, small silence, or keeping me awake so that I could use that time to do a much-needed bout of soul-seeking, self-examination, and prayer.
See, as I've written many times elsewhere, you must constantly question yourself and examine your day to determine if any attachments in life are weighing you down, keeping you chained in bondage to a compound, chemical, tool, or toy, and distracting you from listening to God, trusting God and growing your relationship with Him.
Drugs and supplements and microdoses.
Knowledge. Podcasts. Books.
The social media feed and email and direct messages hourly check-in.
Your precious calendar you do such a good job staying on top of.
I'm not saying you must give any of these things up. But I am saying that you must be willing to do so, and furthermore, you must do so, if you have grown so dependent on that vice or attachment that you place more trust in it than you do God, and it has, therefore, become your idol.
“I really do not need you to be happy. I’m only deluding myself in the belief that without you I will not be happy. But I really don’t need you for my happiness; I can be happy without you. You are not my happiness, you are not my joy.”
Or, especially if your attachments are focused upon achievement, power, fame, money, etc., which in highly driven people can inevitably create FOMO, stress, and distraction from more impactful activities, you can say, as author Arthur Brooks writes in his excellent book From Strength to Strength:
“This is not evil, but it will not bring me the happiness and peace I seek, and I simply don't have the time to make it my goal. I choose to detach myself from this desire.”
In Buddhism, a practical guide exists for dealing with such troublesome attachments, and it is based on four “noble truths”: 1) Life is suffering, due to chronic dissatisfaction; 2) The cause of this suffering is craving, desire, and attachment for worldly things; 3) Suffering can be defeated by eliminating this craving, desire, and attachment; 4) The way to eliminate craving, desire and attachment is by following the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism.
While I do agree that the suffering we all experience in life, and our subsequent addiction to attachments, often begins with cravings and desires, I beg to differ with the solution presented in point #4 above. Instead, I firmly believe that the only way to permanently release attachments is to fill that eternal craving and desire in your soul with the only thing eternal that exists—namely, God. I tell you more about how to do that here.
As C.S. Lewis says in The Weight Of Glory,
“…the things in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them, it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things are good images of what we desire, but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself.”
This is why I've said in the past that when a man goes to porn, he is looking for something to fill that eternal, gnawing hole in his soul. He is looking for God, and only God can fill a God-shaped hole in a soul. The porn might temporarily do that job of fulfillment, but only God can do it permanently.
The same can be said for a late-night trip to the refrigerator to binge on ice cream, a never-ending quest to achieve the perfect body or a return after return to seeking the “wisdom” of plant medicine. When engaged in such activities, we are seeking to soothe our souls with some kind of idol that has great potential to scar our souls. Other far less morally awful activities, such as climbing a beautiful, epic peak; making hot, sweet love with your spouse; or plunging into an icy cold lake, don't necessarily scar our soul, and they carry with them far less spiritual risk, but yet, apart from God, even these noble pursuits will ultimately be unfulfilling or become attachments and idols. But with God, they became all the more magical and fulfilling because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him, particularly when we are engaged in pleasurable activities that follow God's law and allow us to love God and love others.
I can tell you for a fact that once I made the decision to forego plant medicines, God opened the door to a whole lot of other stuff that I hadn't realized had become idols. I was in bondage to a lot of vices. So I began asking myself constantly…
…do I need that morning stretch session or workout so much my day gets crappy without it?
…am I reaching for a piece of nicotine gum because I need true energy, or because I've become a slave in bondage to nicotine?
…am I grabbing an energy drink because I've become dependent on it, and why can't I just have a glass of water instead?
Indeed, after that one “big” decision about plant medicine, addiction after addiction, attachment after attachment, and vice after vice slowly began to become revealed to me by God, and I began to target and tackle them one by one.
It wasn't pleasant, and at the same time, it was so, so fulfilling.
For example, I had a string of six nights during which I only slept three to four hours because I decided to take no sleep supplements because I realized I was in bondage to popping pills in order to fall asleep at night. But I can tell you that there was nothing quite so satisfying as that seventh night, on which I finally realized that I could pray myself to sleep. Will I go back to taking sleep supplements? Sure, they have their time and place, but they must be paired with trusting God and having a relationship with God.
For a solid week, after stopping coffee and nicotine gum, I craved caffeine and nicotine all day long so much that I couldn't even walk by the coffeemaker or pantry without getting supremely annoyed. Then, one day, I decided that every time I felt like I “needed” those compounds, I should simply recite the Bible verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This simple saying quieted the longing quite effectively. Now, coming back to caffeine and nicotine after a few weeks off, one small cup of coffee makes me feel like I've jumped into an ice bath, and the nicotine tastes kind of weird and chemically. I don't feel remotely attached to either, though it's unlikely I'll swear either off forever.
Before dinner, for a bit of post-work relaxation, I'd grown dependent on taking an oh-so-tiny hit on a cannabis vape pen. When I realized that, too, was a vice I had become enslaved to, it took nearly two weeks for me to not reach for that imaginary vape pen in my back pocket (which I'd instead locked away in the gun safe in my bedroom closet). Turns out, grabbing the guitar and playing a song was just as fulfilling. When—once I no longer craved it or felt like I needed it—I did come back and take a hit on a vape pen, the tiniest, tiniest hit left me reeling and dizzy, and I realized that this stuff is dangerous and needs to be treated with great respect and responsibility, or simply avoided.
And while there are plenty of amazing resources out there for strategies like those I've described above for breaking attachments, stopping vices, and beating addiction, including B.J. Fogg's book Tiny Habits, Charles Duhigg's book The Power of Habit, Benjamin Hardy's book Willpower Doesn't Work, James Clear's book Atomic Habits, and Ronnie Landis's book The Addiction Free Lifestyle, I truly don't think that any habit-breaking activity will be permanent, fulfilling, or effective…
…until each and every last vice has been replaced by an all-sufficient relationship with Jesus Christ that makes you more whole, fulfilled, and free than you've ever felt in your life.
Finally for a powerful true story example of what astounding things actually occur when the great spirit “big G” God and the message of true, lasting salvation through Jesus Christ enters into a region or population of people rife with shamanism, plant medicine and “little g” gods, you should read the book Spirit of the Rainforest: A Yanomamo Shaman's Story, in which barbaric Amazonian tribes go from raping, pillaging and hacking each other to pieces to loving, giving, sharing, trading violence for forgiveness and repentance, and setting aside drug-induced spirit-seeking for a peace and comfort that comes through the only truly benevolent spirit of Jesus. It's an interesting book.
Summary & What Comes Next: “Viceless”
I've shared with you my current quest to become, in a word, “Viceless,” especially when it comes to plant medicines and any chemicals or compounds that can alter one's state of consciousness while rendering one subject to dark spiritual influences, but also when it comes to just about anything with addictive potential, such as caffeine, nicotine, kratom, nootropics, smart drugs, natural sleep aids, and even pharmaceutical drugs (mostly if they're being used off-label for things like energy or on-label for things like sleep) or even food.
Endocannabinoids, plant medicines, opioids, and the like can easily numb you and make you forget your pain. That's why they're so attractive. They're an easy escape from “the real world”. But God made us to feel both pain and pleasure. He made us to gain in character, resilience, and fortitude from fully experiencing an intense ice bath, a robust sauna session, a stubbed toe, a sleepless night, a broken relationship, or a lost job. You can embrace such experiences and become a better person from them, or you can run away and numb with drugs. But the intense beauty of a natural forest scene as you hike in a fully sober state is far more beautiful than any dissociated shroomy-trip in our heads can provide.
So embrace the pleasure and embrace the pain. Also, think about how the rapid surge and popularity of plant medicines, opioids, marijuana, and the like seem to be occurring at just about the same time and in rough correlation to the surge in disconnecting ourselves from the beauty and hardship of the analog world so that we can escape into a digital, metaverse world.
The article “On Psychedelics and/or Entheogens: Drug-Induced Mysticism Revisited” (worth a full read!) highlights this issue when the interviewee quotes:
“We probably could never have produced a society where millions spend hours a day alone before computer screens—while imagining that, via Twitter or whatever, they actually have thousands of “friends”!—if LSD hadn’t softened us up first; the isolation and excess introversion produced in part by psychedelics has effectively broken down the kind of social solidarity we need if we are to maintain our political freedoms and human rights; we are all too happy in our cubicles, or at least afraid to leave them. A friend of mine once said to me, back in the 60’s: “Acid would be great if you could have all that incredible imagery without those feelings”. Bill Gates must have heard his plea; cyberspace reproduces in many ways the hallucinatory content of psychedelics without the accompanying insights…”
So I don't know about you, but I'd rather experience life with my senses fully on board, and not feel as though I need drugs as a crutch to get through life.
My friend Dr. Zach Bush spoke about this problematic and growing dependency on plant medicines at about the six-minute mark of this recent conversation with Luke Storey, in which he described how we believe we need these exogenous inputs for personal growth, but they’re just showing us something that’s already there if we had only taken the time in the still, small silence to sit with our thoughts—even the painful ones—and to sit with God. Like me, those of us who have made the fatal error of going to plant medicine as the route to enlightenment can come back to others with the cautionary tale that it definitely isn’t the way, and is ultimately as unfulfilling as any other method we might turn to feel good (exercise, diet, supplements, alcohol, golf, food, etc.). There is nothing as fulfilling as the simplicity and freedom found in a belief in Jesus Christ. Sure, plant medicines offer a momentary, temporal escape from the pain, but you don’t need it. The actual solution is permanent and free, and as I said earlier, involves embracing both the pain and the beauty.
So you can pop pills.
Or you can do the work. You can chop wood, carry water, savor the fruits of your labor, and experience life as fully as possible.
So now I have a special challenge for you.
Yes, go ahead, just try it.
Try giving it all up and placing your trust in God. Try questioning each and every habit—both positive and negative—that's rooted in your daily existence, and asking yourself whether you've grown so dependent on it that it's taken your attention off the strength, stamina, peace, love, and joy derived from a deeper relationship with your Creator.
Now here's what's important: you don't have to do it all at once. Heck, if you're really dug yourself into a habit hole, then quitting a whole bunch of stuff cold turkey can leave you completely nuked and unable to function at all.
For example, here's a timeline of what you can implement to eventually, via the grace and power derived from God, become viceless.