We are two brothers from Vermont, that have struggled with mental illness and addiction most of our lives. With the help of plant medicines, we came to realize disconnection was at the core of our problems.
We created Cultivating Connections as an attempt to try and foster deeper connections in every aspect of our lives. A deeper connection with ourselves, our intuition, and emotions. A deeper connection as brothers, as sons, as husbands, and as fathers. And a deeper connection with the present moment and all that this moment has to offer.
Our current focus is on reforming drug policy. Our experience has shown us that the way we deal with drugs in our society is completely fucked up. And we are actually perpetuating the thing we are trying to prevent. We are contributing to drug abuse and addictions.
We believe that by overhauling drug education we can prevent more children from falling into abusive relationships with drugs. We also believe that, as a society, we can help people overcome their addictions by developing novel treatments. Treatments that focus on connection.
My brother and I use group rituals to combat mental illness and addiction. Since starting our rituals I have overcome my addiction to heroin and crack and got off methadone treatment that I was on for 7 years. We want people to know the potential of rituals to promote deeper connection and positive life change.
We started this group ritual 31 weeks ago. In the first week, I was in active addiction, using heroin every day. I’ve struggled with addiction for 10 years, on methadone replacement therapy for the past 7, and still using crack and heroin. After our second group session, I overdosed. The next day I checked myself into rehab voluntarily and decided to stop taking methadone.
Today I’m clean. I credit the group and its structure for providing me what I need to succeed.
At 23 I was convinced there was something wrong with my brain. My only desire in life was a desire to escape. I didn’t work, I was a college dropout, I hated whom I had become and I didn’t see any path for my life.
I was seeing doctors and neurologists, searching for a biological source of my problems, if I could just find it everything would get better. But that didn’t happen. The more doctors I saw the more hopeless I became.
I realized that the medical model could not solve my problems, no amount of prescription medications could heal my feelings of worthlessness, shame, and self-hatred. With this realization came the even more terrifying realization that it was all on me. If I was going to overcome my depression, it would be through my choices and actions. I saw how my hopelessness was projecting onto everyone and everything in my life and how that was fueling my self-hatred.
Slowly I began climbing out of my destructive belief system. Three years later my life has transformed. Although it came down to my choice, I could not have done it alone. Over the past three years, I have deepened my connection with my friends, family, and myself. These connections have empowered me to keep going, and they continue to empower me every day. The rituals that are a part of my life today have forged connections that I never imagine. For the first time in my life I feel I am truly living, rather than simply surviving.
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
“No tree...can grow to heaven unless it’s roots reach down to hell.” — Carl Jung