It was when I was working in Northern California as a social worker that my beliefs and skills in magic and healing were greatly tested. One of the main responsibilities of my position was to make sure children were safe in their families. The main problem, in most of the families I worked with, was one form or another of substances abuse. Alcoholism, heroin addiction, crack cocaine addiction were all big problems which often resulted in children being seriously neglected or abused to the degree that they had to be removed from their homes to guarantee their well being. However meth addiction is a plague which has ruined many families and even whole communities in the U.S.A.
I worked with many families where one or both of the parents were meth addicts and sadly this usually resulted in them losing their parental rights and all future contact with their children. The children were either adopted into other families or placed in long term foster homes. The government agency I was employed by allows a grace period, from six months to eighteen months, after children are removed from their parent care. This is a time where the parents are given support to break their addictions and begin to reenter society and be able to properly care for their children. Meth addiction is insidious. The body and mind of those addicted usually have such an over powering need for the drug, that no matter how much they love their children or desire to stop using the drug, they are unable to stop using for very long.
Portions of my job were to agree with the parents on what actions they plan to take to terminate their addiction and then to maintain their sobriety. I was responsible to encourage them to take these actions and to begin lives which supported them in not using drugs. I also had to monitor if they were attending the programs and classes and staying away from meth use.
Previous to becoming a social worker in this capacity, I worked extensively with shamanism and many occult, magical and healing practices. This knowledge and techniques were frown on by the government agency I was employed by. A social worker was not seen by the government as a healer or a magic worker. I was soundly instructed not to use any of this “Foo Foo stuff” at work. However I took the position partially to test if my magical, occult and alternative healing knowledge and skills would work and help extremely needy low functioning people. After many years of juggling being a government bureaucrat and a clandestine magic worker and healer I can report that these skills and knowledge increased the success of many of my client families but were far short of one hundred percent successful.
If a person had a very low self image and did not like themselves and did not feel they deserved a good life, than there was little l could do effectively to help them heal or give up their addictions. Desire and deservingness are large components of healing. However if someone had just stumbled and had become a substance abuser because they fell in love with the wrong person or were spending time with other addicts or for any reason but did like themselves and did feel they and their children deserved a good life, then I was often able to act as an effective catalyst for their becoming drug free and having their children returned and building a healthy high functioning family.
Belinda was such a person. Her husband and she had three of the sweetest children I ever met. But both parents were addicted to meth and prescription pain killers and were alcoholics. Were in their thirties and had been addicted to drugs and alcohol since they began dating in their teen years. Due to their substance abuse they fought often, loudly and violently in front of the children. Neighbors called my agency to file concerns of the children being abused. I was sent out to investigate. I had to remove the children, to keep them from being abused. This resulted in the couple separating. The husband said he wanted his kids back but then he refused to attend any rehab programs or classes and usually would come to arrange visits with the children high and drunk.
Belinda on the other hand attended a two month residential rehab program and quit all her substance use. However when she was on her own again she initially experienced repeated relapsing. Yet each time, she would go to a therapist, and a counselor and Narcotic Anonymous meetings and stop her substance use again. The relapsing episodes eventually began to slow and have more time in-between. Then it seemed she finally got it an stop relapsing she fully embraced her life of sobriety. She began a full time job and found a stable place to live.
Belinda and I had countless meeting in which I would suggest alternative ways she could strengthen her resolve and heal and build a better life. I suggested to her ways she could pray for help, ways she could meditate, exercises she could do both physically and mentally, changes she could make towards a healthier diet, ways to alter how she thought about her past and visualized her future. I stressed the importance of not focusing on her fears, worries, doubts and the negative but rather to focus on her hopes, and dreams and the positive. We would often talk at length of things she wanted to do with her children once she was completely substance free and her children were back in her care full time. I suggested different ways she could deal with the weak moments when she felt the need to return to substance use. We would weekly review her short term and long term goals and monitor her progress towards them. We even did little Native American ceremonies in my office to call in energies to strengthen her, heal her and assist her in her goals. I asked if she was alright with me doing some ceremonies and rituals on my own for her and her children and she was so thankful. So I did those on weekends. As she had longer periods of high functioning I arranged for first overnight visits and went a few of those went well weekend visits and eventually Belinda was allowed to take the children camping for a three day weekend.
After eighteen months Belinda’s children were returned to her. In another six months the case was officially closed and declared a success. Belinda also became a leader of a Narcotics Anonymous group and a mentor for other women working to quit drugs and have their children returned. I bumped into Belinda and her kids in a grocery store a year later and they all seemed great and she told me how good life had become for them.
The moral of the story might be that magic and alternative healing can work in the most hostel unsupportive environments against all odds and improve people’s lives and help heal highly dysfunctional families.
Michael Peter Langevin is the author of “Secrets of the Ancient Incas”, “Spiritual Business”, and “Secrets of the Amazon Shamans”. He was the former Publisher/Editor of Magical Blend Magazine, Natural Health and Beauty Magazine and Transitions Magazine. Michael Peter offers workshops, talks and tours to South America. For more info email him at email@example.com