Understanding the Causes of the Opioid/Suicide Epidemic and Its Cures (Part III-2)
A New Therapeutic Paradigm: Restoring the Individual Soul, With Love, Virtue, and Regaining Our Freedom
How We Restore Our Souls and Save Ourselves by Reclaiming Our Liberty
If you ever question what love it, it’s simple. Just read 1 Corinthians 13:4–8. Incorporating those principles into a logical paradigm for recovery, helping people to feel and know that you have something to cling to that you can have no matter who is around you — is Love. Love for yourself, love for your life, love for others, and love for the hope that the future can bring, and the possibilities of what you can be in those. Everybody wants something to believe in, and faith and love are the greatest ideals to cling to.
~ Jenny, from Saving Jenny
We begin with our belief in a higher power of love, human values, and morality. We shut out noxious messages. We proceed as Gandhi did, with our mass non-cooperation. We rebuild our families and protect our sons and daughters; we demand the reinvigoration of our medical and mental health care systems and our institutions of learning. We affirm our founding declaration of faith and endeavor to achieve the virtues it necessitates while claiming the preservation and assertion of our constitutional freedoms. We must love enough to demand what needs to be done to save our children, revive our nation, and to take right action.
We start by being more considerate, loving, and helpful toward people, because good will and good deeds have the power to connect us all.
We should reach out to those who are sad, isolated, or who we sense are distressed — in person, by phone, and by text. Let them know that we care about them and are here for them, “be with” them, and help them in all the ways they need to be helped. This can make the difference between survival or fatality, and sometimes ensures that if one passes away, they do not die alone and bereft of love.
As I explain in depth in Saving Jenny, the 4 essential healing personal acts of spirituality are:
(1) Compassionate feeling and action: The Curative Connection,
(2) Faith: Acquiring Strength and Identity,
(3) Prayer: The Way to Healing Energy, and
(4) Forgiveness and Self-Forgiveness: Bursting Out of Hate.
We need to recognize that a belief in God and in the immortality of the soul is necessary for people and society to combat addiction and depression, and essential to mental health.
It is a belief in a Higher Power that gives one hope. When you are abandoned, surrounded by darkness, if you know that God is with you and loves you, then you can go on. Physicians must also solicit and see the beneficial healing aspects of patients’ spiritual beliefs.
Rather than merely employ the mechanical, genetic-diagnosis/pills/discussion groups/quick-in-and-out current psychiatric approach, psychotherapy should instead follow a paradigm of “soul therapy.” And by the soul I mean the immortal, spiritual, animating kernel of life that I understand to be the center of one’s self-identity and authenticity.
When we say, “with my heart and soul,” everyone knows that we mean with the innermost part of the self, the container of love and one’s essence. And loving relationships and a belief in a God who is the spirit of love are life to the soul.
The primary focus of therapy should be one-on-one treatment, conducted by clinicians trained in PTSD, trauma, and sexual abuse, and who concord with the existence of the soul, and the importance of love for its integration, authenticity, and self-determination. A dedicated and skilled healer is holding the patient’s soul in their hands, and this is an awesome responsibility. The therapist must love each patient, with altruistic love, and should take the stance of a staunch and sympathetic ally, who has compassion for their suffering and seeks to relieve it. The practitioner should listen, with acceptance, consolation, and reassurance. Also, the patient must be told that others who suffer from PTSD, abuse, and neglect have been healed and cured — and they can too. This will enable the anguished person to see a future for themselves, and to develop a core of self-love.
We need to promote and re-establish both the nuclear and extended family, and the practice of stay-at-home parenthood as not only the prerogative of the wealthy.
We should honor the roles of motherhood and fatherhood and provide personal and community supports for single parents. There is no task on this earth that should be more highly valued by society than to raise a healthy, happy, and good human being. And in this respect, children require ample amounts of non-stressed, devoted time and attention, in order to from deep loving and healthy parental attachments.
We need the return of the extended family, to augment this in a wonderful and human way and to provide additional child care and protection.
And what do we teach our children? We teach them to believe in a Higher Power of love, in the immortal soul, in their own authentic selves, true calling and passion, free of any need to “prove themselves.” This is vital as various reports attest that faith and spirituality protect against depression and suicide in children and lower the experience of life stressors.
We model and impart the virtues: faith, hope, charity, honesty, truth, temperance, prudence, justice, self-sacrifice, caring for others, courage, chastity, modesty, goodness, loyalty, and compassion.
We instruct young men and women that they should treat themselves, each other, and all persons with kindness and respect, and that true love and monogamy are the way to fulfilling, supportive, and happy partnerships that sustain us through the challenges of the decades, including illness and financial adversity, and enable us to responsibly build loving families and joyful lives.
We engage in wholesome face-to-face activities and take loving care of all family members — including the very young, the very old, and the family pet. We ensure that all children and parents sit for meals together and employ critical thinking in discussing the events of the day and the world — TV off, cell phones away.
We read and analyze the meaning of the philosophical, political, and literary classics, and the moral lessons of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the Quran, the sacred texts of Hinduism, etc., in accordance with our own beliefs and interest.
We educate our children on the dangers of drug and alcohol use, and we never consume these either alone (except perhaps one drink or two out with friends, but we never get drunk), or in front of our child. If we have any painkillers that we must use for some reason, we keep them locked in a safe or a non-movable filing cabinet with a key. If we, or any member of our family, need therapy, then we are sure to get it. Our well-being as parents is vital to the mental health and optimism of our children.
We must insist that our government make the political/economic changes required to effect excellence in education, including the arts, in every locale in the country, and to both encourage and enable at-home parenthood and extended families, along with much needed assistance for single parents. This is the only way to protect our children from all kinds of usury, and to let them know that we love and value them enough to provide for their optimum development so that they may achieve their inherent potential.
Let us finally realize, that all the money, fame, career “success,” and power that ever existed in the world is nothing when compared to one single second of time spent in selfless, caring love from our hearts, with another human being, especially the very young, the ill, and the most vulnerable.
The crux of spirituality is simple: love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Just reach out with love.
As Jenny said to me, in a moment of life and death:
Yes, mom, Love is the answer. It knows no boundaries and no bounds, and it goes through everything and anything. Love is the answer.
~ Saving Jenny
Vivian Percy, Esq. is the author of Saving Jenny: How to Rescue Our Youth from America’s Opioid and Suicide Epidemic