From my involvement as a Counselor in local drug/alcohol groups and as I think back to my high school days knowing students who used drugs, their quest seemed to aim at getting high. They were bored and they wanted to move beyond more than ok and the booze and drugs gave them that immediate high, euphoric feeling that took them away from the dullness of their existence.
Back in high school as a Christian, I could never figure out drug users and those who drank. Even my oldest brother who was an alcoholic, as I observed him drunk, I did not see what the enticement was. Once in senior high school chemistry I remember two students at my table were laughing about how they got smashed at a party saying how fun it was. One said he drank 12 beers. Out of curiosity how one person could drink that much I asked how could he drink 12 cans of beer? His buddy laughed saying he threw up 3 or 4 times. They were laughing but I did not say anything. I just thought “what fun?!”. I never enjoyed having the stomach flu and throwing up! It sounded like the party experience was that!
In reading books and research articles on boredom I do know that one reason why people do alcohol and drugs is they want that high. They want the feeling of something beyond boring okness. The problems are the crash after the high are headaches, grogginess, forgetting what they were doing while high, (which is often very foolish things). There is also the creation of an addiction to the alcohol or drugs creating anxiety, depression, paranoia, and criminal acts to feed the addiction. I remember always thinking to myself in high school as I considered the foolishness of drugs, that I would rather enjoy myself being in control of my full faculties and knowing what I enjoyed so I can do it again. Instead the chemical high places people in a mental stupor to do foolish and even deadly things to themselves and others all for the sake of fun?? I will take a natural high any day.
What is a natural high? From the website www.naturalhigh.orgthey say a natural high is “ is an activity, art form, or sport that you LOVE to do and makes you feel good inside; A Natural High does not involve drugs and alcohol”. So it is doing a hobby or activity that you really enjoy and brings pleasure to you, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of Flow which I have spoken of before fits well with the going for natural highs. In his book Beyond Boredom and Anxiety he presents the elements of flow. He states that the person is aware of their actions but you are not thinking about how to do the actions. Awareness and action merge into a oneness. Flow happens when a person’s ability is of a level where they can move through the activity be it, playing an instrument, painting, sports activity, or any other favorite activity and not have to think through the steps. They can flow through the activity. There is a timelessness and being in the moment during the feeling of flow. So being in the state of flow is a natural high as a person is feeling a oneness with the activity and not consciously aware. His book reveals how Flow moves us beyond boredom and what I call more than ok..
So what are some ways you can go for a natural high in your life. One important thing to realize is we do not need to be high all the time. As Lars Svendsen, a philosopher in Norway, says in the Philosophy of Boredom -- boredom is. We all experience it. Life is not a Hollywood action movie. So much of our life is in the ok zone and can feel boring. Yet to have a full life and make the most of having joy in our journey and living more than ok overall, we need those high times. We need to realize though that natural highs are the way to go. If everyone is enjoying a life of natural highs there will be no need for the illegal drugs. Going for Natural highs will help lower crime rates and stop the senseless killings as we see presently in the drug wars in Mexico. For the addict they need to see what times and what feelings trigger the use of their substances in the desire to get high and replace them with activities, hobbies, and other alternatives to drugs and then go for the natural highs. For the non addict as wel, l to enjoy more of life they can find flow activities that can bring natural highs into their life experiences.
A good place to go for new ideas on natural highs are websites like the previous one mentioned or another website I discovered that focuses on natural highs – www.naturalhighs.ning.com
At those websites you can view testimonials on the personal enjoyment of natural highs. Also there are videos and blogs on the topics as well. With these websites and personal brainstorming on natural highs that fit your likes and desires, there is no need for anyone to go for the false, damaging highs of drugs and alcohol. And I strongly say damaging for the individual addict, their friends, and family not to mention the cost to employers and society. That goes for marijuana too, the darling drug of Hollywood and rockers. I remember working with a student once who told me, “Sir they say marijuana is not addictive but they lie. It is” He had started smoking it at age 12 and by the time he was in college he was hooked. He told me his addiction to marijuana had dulled his learning ability. It had also sapped him of passion for a career. Instead the addiction tempted him to just hang around, do nothing, and be high. The best way to combat the drug problem is to give young people and everyone alternatives to drug induced highs and that is by supporting and promoting natural highs.
Take some time to explore the websites below on natural highs. Tell others about them as well. Then take 15 minutes to brainstorm natural highs you wish to go for in your life.
Websites on natural highs.