Everybody’s Got Something

Neuroscience of Spirituality

To many who start the recovery process and lifestyle, the news that it involves a spiritual awakening is bad news.  There is an assumption that the beloved relationship with science and facts must be forsaken for the healing of self-destructive addiction.  For these people, the neuroscience of spirituality is wonderful news!

The neuroscience of spirituality, also named Spiritual Intelligence (SI), is a powerful framework for the recovering person’s process of awakening.  SI is the journey of deepening consciousness or awareness of self.  This transcendence is rooted in the science of the brain.   3 types of spiritual intelligence can be defined:

  • Emotional intelligence (EI) which lives on the right side of the brain
  • Intellectual intelligence (IQ) which lives on the left side of the brain and
  • Spiritual intelligence (SQ) which is a layer of matter circling the right and left sides of the brain

This is exciting news as people are usually identified as either “right-brained” indicating a more creative person or “left-brained” indicating a more logical or scientific-minded person.

Recovery is the journey of ceasing physical addiction, changing daily life behaviors and the evolving consciousness that stems from the integration of those changes.  While this journey of raised consciousness has been accepted in recovery circles for decades, the neuroscience of spirituality is now scientific evidence that this is occurring.  

The primary theory validating this experience is called Integrated Information Theory (IIT).  IIT is the explanation that our brain takes information inputs from the external world via all three intelligence pathways and brings them together in one holistic experience.  The inputs are received and integrated.  It is the interpretation of these streams of information as one unified experience that generates consciousness.  

Since the information being gathered is a mix of objective, clearly defined information and subjective, undefined information that is cooked into one integrated spiritual experience, the outputs generated by varied people with unique life experiences will vary greatly.  It is this reason that the wisdom of AA’s original teaching, A God of His Own Understanding, continues to save lives today.  The effectiveness of allowing each person have their own conception of a higher power is validated by this scientific theory.  

 

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.


8 Ways Addiction Hurts The Body

8 Ways Addiction Hurts The Body

Addiction is known to be a complex medical issue which causes suffering on the physical, emotional and spiritual planes.  There are many different types of addiction and they all have an impact on all three of these aspects of the human life.  It is valuable to recognize that while the forms of addiction may have different consequences on the body, they all require that the physical healing occur before the internal resources become available for the depth recovery that is necessary on the emotional and spiritual planes.  

The following are some possible harms that the body may experience as an outcome of addictive behaviors.  There is some variance according to substance but these impacts are generally present in the early stages of recovery.  .  

  1. Brain: there are many impacts by addiction, including memory, the natural chemical balances and communications of the brain with the rest of the body, and the brain's role in motivating the person to healthy self-preservation activities.  
  2. Central Nervous system: the addictive ingestion of toxins causes a continuous state of fight-or-flight, causing the rest of the body to operate as if it is in a continuous state of danger.
  3. Weight fluctuations: fluctuations may be up or down, but both changes can have serious long-term effects on the quality of health and life expectancy.  
  4. Liver: the role of this organ is to filter and metabolize toxins.  When an excessive amount of toxins are present, it becomes over-used and susceptible to disease. It also plays a role with digestion and impacts to its optimal function also impact nutrient intake.
  5. Kidneys: play a critical role in removing toxins from the body and the cleansing of blood.  These functions are impacted by addictive substances.
  6. Mental health issues: sometimes people are using addiction as a coping for existing mental health issues and other times, the use of substances actives mental health issues that they were predisposed to.
  7. Accelerated aging: in many cases, addiction of all kinds simply accelerates the aging process by speeding up the process of cell death.  This process is a natural process yet, our addiction will speed up the timeline and take our vitality sooner than would naturally occur.   
  8. Digestion issues: addictions impact the ability of this system to uptake nutrients and can result in malnutrition.   

 

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.


Sugar On The Brain

There is a curious mental phenomena, a “peculiar mental twist” as The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous puts it, when it comes to alcoholism. It is nearly impossible for an alcoholic, a true alcoholic, to have just one drink. Due to the physical allergy nature of alcoholism, when an alcoholic takes that first drink, their body (and their mind) responds through craving. Not only does the body and mind crave alcohol, it obsesses. The reason alcoholism is so curious is because there are clearly millions of people who can stop drinking when they want to. If they want to have one drink, they can have just one drink. If they happen to have more than just one drink, they are capable of stopping themselves at some point, even if it gets bad. An alcoholic is unable to control their drinking. In fact, in The Big Book, they define an alcoholic by asking them realize the delusion that they can drink like other people “has to be smashed”.

Science has been yearning to discover what it is that differentiates the alcoholic brain from the non-alcoholic brain. Some blame genetics and predisposition while others blame peer pressure and mental illness. Either way, alcoholism simply happens to some and doesn’t happen to others. The same seems to be true with how the brain and body responds to sugar. Sugar and addiction are getting coupled up. Numerous studies are indicating that the brain responds to sugar in a very similar manner to addictive substances like drugs and alcohol.

One scientist in particular things addiction to sugar has more to do with biochemistry than will. Similarly, the industry as a whole has agreed that addiction is a disease of the body and mind, a public health crisis of mental illness, more than it is a matter of will. Monica Dus, reports NPR, “believes a diet in high sugar actually changes the brain, so it no longer does a good job of knowing how many calories the body is taking in.” Overtime, the brain makes consistent incremental changes which leads to the inability to eat just one cupcake or piece of candy.

Addiction and alcoholism are the result of incremental brain changes in which the brain is no longer able to produce it’s own dopamine or source of pleasure. Additionally, other systems in the brain change like areas where control or limitation is regulated.

Treating sugar like a substance which is harmful to the brain is more than dietary. For people in recovery it is important to support the brain from repeating addictive behaviors. Enlightened Solutions offers nutritional and dietary support including a sugar free diet and weekly lessons on cooking. A certified dual diagnosis treatment center, Enlightened provides recovery for addiction, alcoholism, and co-occurring mental health disorders. Call us today for more information, 833-801-5483.


What that “Ah-ha!” Moment Looks Like in Your Brain

“Burning Bush” is a description used to communicate a sudden and profound spiritual experience, usually leading to an awakening or deeper understanding. In early recovery, the recovering brain is still impaired in its cognitive capabilities. Cognitive function is critical to creating knowledge. The ability to grasp big ideas, vague topics, and intangible concepts can be challenging to the recovering brain. Spirituality is unchartered waters to many entering recovery for the first time. Grasping and developing a spiritual manner of living without the ability to grasp and develop spiritual ideas can be frustrating. While others are experiencing mind-blowing “ah-ha” moments, others are struggling to remember what day it is.

Thankfully, as The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous points out in its Appendix titled “Spiritual Experience”, having a sudden and profound realization is not required. Most people’s experiences, the authors explain, “develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone.”

Much of that change does happen on it’s own in the brain, however stimulated by spiritual experience. Some call profound moments creativity, or “flow”. Spiritually minded people might regard such moments as when we allow our Higher Power to flow freely through us. Catching onto the constant current of the Universe, we witness just a small moment of it’s mystery. Director of Research for the Flow Genome Project, Steve Kotler, says that “flow” happens in a third brain wave state.

Specifically, being in the spiritual flow has to do with neuroelectricity. A daydream-like state is considered being “alpha”. Hanging between daydreaming and sleeping is “theta”. Alpha and theta refer to the oscillation of brain waves. Kotler found that in between those two states is the “gamma” state where flow and profound realizations happen.

In a gamma state, the brain is producing brainwaves at the fastest rate it possibly can, between 38 to 42 times per second. Staying in gamma all the time is unsustainable. That is why our “burning bush” moments are short-lasting. The brain can only connect in short bursts. Since the quick spike is so powerful, that is why spiritual experiences and profound moments feel so profound. At the climax of that moment, the brain is working at it’s highest possible capacity.

Enlightened Solutions sees the transformational power of the spiritual experience occur in our patients. Utilizing twelve step philosophy with spiritual practices and evidence-based treatment brings our patients to heightened states. Transcending the clutches of drugs and alcohol, along with co-occurring disorders, they learn to live new lives. For more information on our programs of treatment for addiction, alcoholism, and dual-diagnosis, call 833-801-5483.