I'm just gonna say it: I love to get high.
My favorite drugs were the uppers, the ones that produced a euphoric effect and made me feel higher than life. The line(s) of coke, the double shots of Patron tequila, that kind of thing. I was not the kind of drug abuser who liked to relax and chill out. I was a hedonist, out for what would make me feel on top of the world.
Since consuming true intoxicants would really mess up my long-term sobriety, I have found other ways to tap into the higher energy current that is a natural part of our Universe.
Because after all, like Salvador Dali said, "I don't take drugs, I am drugs." It sounds trippy, but hear me out.
We have an internal drugstore that is stocked with dopamine, adrenaline, norepinephrine, oxytocin, serotonin, and others. It's sort of like our own little pharmacy. We all have varying levels of these hormones, which operate like drugs in our body. But when we are accustomed to feeling shitty and our brain chemicals are out of whack from the manufactured highs and lows produced by drugs and alcohol, we have no way to know how spectacular our bodies (and brains) are designed to feel.
There is practically no limit to how good the body can feel when we take impeccable care of it and tap into the natural sources of "internal highs" that the world provides us.
Let me count some of the ways:
1. EXERCISE/MOVE YOUR BODY
The term "runners high" exists for a reason. I was a long-distance runner in my teen years and there is nothing quite like that high feeling after a long run. Now I practice a lot of hot power yoga. I feel high after a sweaty yoga practice.
Any strenuous exercise that gets blood flowing and muscles moving will pump your body with endorphins, the bodies' natural morphine.
2. WELL-BALANCED WHOLE MEALS
Ya know how when you eat junk food you feel junky? The opposite is also true. Good food makes you feel good. It's that simple. For ex., I know that if I really want a 2nd piece of gluten-free cake, I will suffer the consequences of too much sugar by feeling lethargic and irritable. The effect is immediate.
If I keep my meals nutritious and well-balanced -- not too much and not too little -- I will feel adequately fueled with balanced energy.
The sunshine. Sunrises and sunsets. The woods. Hiking trails. Mountains. Flower gardens. The beach. The salt-watered ocean. Breathing in fresh air is mildly intoxicating in itself. Nature is everywhere we go, just waiting for us to take it in and be filled with euphoric delight.
I am instantly catapulted into a state of total well-being when I listen to my favorite songs or attend a music show, or view a brilliant movie, or read a captivating novel. Art in it's many forms is all around us. We are works of art ourselves.
It seems too Pollyanna-ish to say, "be positive" so I want to talk about gratitude. Gratitude, I feel, is just noticing what's going well. It's like, you know you could focus on what's going shitty and what you don't have, but you take the spiritual high road and decide to appreciate whatever is abundant instead.
The practice of gratitude has a real chemical effect on the brain as it restructures the neural pathways of the brain causing more feel-good neurons to fire and the result is that we feel good.
Being where your feet are. A place where general anxiety and depression do not exist is right in the present moment.
The present is where true connection takes place, where we feel one with life, one with the moment, and one with others.
Think about how it feels when someone is giving you their 100% undivided attention. They are giving you their presence. Think about how good that feels. Or when you are giving your own self 100% undivided attention. That sense of connection. We can give that to ourselves and we can give that to others.
Presence. Intimacy. Authentic connection. Better than any drug on the market.
**This list is not exhaustive. Some other really high highs include: hugs, kisses, laughter, dancing, volunteering, time spent with babies & pets & loved ones, stimulating conversation, long meditations, thrills like extreme sports and amusement parks, etc.
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.