High: 6 Principles for Guilt-Free Pleasure and Escape by Jodie GouldHigh: 6 Principles for Guilt-Free Pleasure and Escape by Jodie Gould

High: 6 Principles for Guilt-Free Pleasure and Escape

byJodie Gould

Paperback | March 24, 2015

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Explore our universal human need to feel good, to escape, or to feel high, and examine what these altered states look like in the brain. Plus discover the six pleasure principles that can provide you the most natural and long-lasting highs.

Explore our universal human need to feel good, to escape, or to feel high, and examine what these altered states look like in the brain. Plus discover the six pleasure principles that can provide you the most natural and long-lasting highs.All creatures naturally seek pleasure and avoid pain. And when just feeling okay isn’t enough, people (and many animals as well) often seek or even crave something more—to feel high. For millions of years, humans have used alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs to help them feel better, elephants have sought out fermented fruit, and cats have rolled ecstatically in catnip. At the same time, people have found alternative highs without mood-altering substances, through the joy of natural activities such as play, creative expression, and bonding with others.Drawing on current research and interviews with experts and everyday people, award-winning journalist Jodie Gould explores the universal need to feel good in High: The Guilt-Free Guide to Healthy Pleasure and Escape. Through this engaging read, we explore the history of how and why people have continued to find ways to expand their consciousness and the biology of getting high, including what these altered states look like in the brain. From there we learn why some people can use mood-altering chemicals with few consequences while others struggle with addiction.At the heart of Gould’s provocative findings, she identifies six pleasure principles that show how anyone can experience the best and most lasting natural highs through the joy of:• moving and playing• connecting with other people• finding purpose and meaning• creative self-expression• celebrating milestones• and giving to othersHigh is your guide to experiencing the greatest high of all: Life itself!
Jodie Gould is an award-winning journalist and author of eight books, including Date Like a Man and Beautiful Brain, Beautiful You .She has been a frequent contributor to Woman’s Day and Family Circle, and she wrote a monthly column for Showtime.com. Gould has been interviewed on numerous TV and radio shows, such as Oprah, ABC World Ne...
Title:High: 6 Principles for Guilt-Free Pleasure and EscapeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8.4 × 5.4 × 0.6 inPublished:March 24, 2015Publisher:Hazelden PublishingLanguage:English

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ISBN - 10:1616495731

ISBN - 13:9781616495732

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INTRODUCTIONSeeds of Destiny(Author Unknown)Hope is the seed of faithFaith is the seed of desireDesire is the seed of driveDrive is the seed of seekSeek is the seed of knowledgeKnowledge is the seed of awarenessAwareness is the seed of powerPower is the seed of choiceChoice is the seed of abundanceAbundance is the seed of dreamDream is the seed of happinessHappiness is the seed of pleasurePleasure is the seed of desireDesire is the seed of destinyAs I write this, the world, especially New York City, where I live, is still reeling from the death- by-heroin-overdose of 46-year-old actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the suicide of comedian actor, Robin Williams, happening within months of each other. Hoffman had fallen off the wagon after two decades of sobriety, and was found dead in his Greenwich Village apartment with the needle still in his arm—packets of snowy white powder within reach. Williams had only recently gone to a treatment facility for a “recharge” and appeared to be sober and stable when his body was found by his personal assistant with a belt around his neck. Sadly, Hoffman and Williams are just two of the far too many gifted artists whose lives have been devastated by alcohol and other drugs—not to mention the tens of thousands of regular folks who succumb to the siren call of addiction every year. But this book is not about people like Hoffman—addicts who use in spite of the dangers to their health and the collateral damage to family and friends. HIGH is primarily for and about people who might have experimented with drugs in the past (me), or those who are doing so now (perhaps you or someone you know). It is for those who enjoy a glass or two of wine with dinner or with friends (again like me); those who might like a puff of pot to relax or to flex their creative muscles, or people who pop the occasional prescription anti-anxiety pill to help take the edge off an uncomfortable situation—none of which necessarily makes you (us) candidates for intervention. This book is about the healthier choices that we can make to achieve the same results— to relax, have fun, relieve pain, and de-stress—we’re usually seeking when we turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place. Yes, I drink wine with dinner, but I also practice yoga regularly, meditate (okay, not as often as I should, but I try); spin (indoor cycle) three days a week; take breaks from endless hours staring at this blasted computer screen to walk in the park or around my neighborhood; dance with abandon with my teen-aged daughter to some ear-wormy pop music in the privacy of our living room so not to mortify her); regularly stay in touch with or visit my family; and make lunch or dinner dates with friends. Although my clubbing days are over (and, yes, they were fun,) I can honestly say that as a middle-aged mom, I am far healthier than I was when I was a cigarette-smoking, bar-hopping, youth. While my cares have increased through the years (financial concerns, failing health of friends and family members, worries about the safety, education and well-being of my child), I’ve found better ways to cope with life’s inevitable pain and anxiety.It is important to acknowledge that our never-ending quest for pleasure and escape, which, by the way, should not be equated with happiness, is an indelible part of our nature. Knowing this, our walks on the wild side do not have to cause us shame or self-loathing. In fact, as you will learn, this natural craving is something that we share with our fellow creatures, including cats, dogs, birds, horses, elephants, and dolphins. But what we also share with many animals is the pleasure we get from food, family, play, and companionship. Elephants, for example, live in tight-knit unit. They have been observed exhibiting emotions like joy, compassion, and grief, and even appear to get pleasure from listening to music and painting.You will see how the need to pursue an altered state of consciousness is also deeply rooted in human history, dating back millions of years, from prehistoric times when cave dwellers first discovered fermented drinks to the meth labs and painkiller pill mills of today. By taking a look at our biological, psychological and historical desire to get high, we might better understand (as studies of human and animal behavior have shown), that these desires are yet another drive, much like hunger, thirst, or sex. As the poem says, “Desire is the seed of drive.”Clearly, our desire to get high is not necessary to our survival, and, in the case of addiction, can actually threaten it; but it is natural urge nonetheless. And like other drives, the desire for intoxication has no social or economic boundaries, coursing as liberally through slums and trailer parks, through the suburbs and gated communities, as well as the halls of government, business and higher education. In fact, some our greatest minds, including philosophers, writers, artists and innovators have been active users of drugs and alcohol. They include Sigmund Freud, who was a compulsive cigar smoker and had a taste for cocaine; the poet John Keats, whose musings were said to be influenced by opium; and Paul-Michel Foucault, the French social theorist who wrote about a spectacular acid trip in Death Valley, California, which he described as “the greatest experience of his life.” All this begs the question that is an underlying theme of this book: What is behind this universal need to engage in mind-altering pleasure? One explanation is really quite simple—getting high usually makes us feel better than we do when we aren’t. Whether it’s purely recreational, or an attempt to relieve physical pain, depression, or hardship, the use of alcohol and other drugs has been and always will be a go-to option. A second, vitally important question is what else can we do to escape the boredom and inevitable pain and sadness that we all sometimes feel during our lives and find pleasure and escape or simply experience the joy in living? And as tragedies like Hoffman’s and Williams’ will continue to occur it is important to keep in mind that besides the drugs smuggled, injected, snorted, or bought from the neighborhood dealer that make dramatic news stories, there are mood altering substances so pervasive in our lives that many of us are not even aware of how dependent we are on them.. Do you crave that cup of coffee when you wake up in the morning? Do you take hourly cigarette breaks? Do you knock back pints of beers or take a few tokes of pot with your buddies after work? Do you “relax” with a cocktail after the kids are safely tucked away in bed, or are you a fan of Momtini playdates, where alcoholic beverages are as ubiquitous as juice boxes? Can you go to a social function without popping a valium first? Are you able to drift off to sleep without an Ambien? However it is you choose to alter your mood, I invite you to explore what getting high is all about and hopefully find out how you can fulfill this natural desire to transcend everyday life in ways that expand your consciousness naturally without harming your mind, body, and spirit. Read on and you will discover:• The history of the human pursuit of an altered state of consciousness—from the Stone Age and the Age of Aquarius—to today’s club drugs and 4:20 festivals, and how our attitude toward drugs and pleasure-seeking has evolved over the years. Whether legal or not, the substances we use change with the times—new ones are added, old ones make comebacks, and some, like alcohol, have been around since the dawn of time. Whatever the drug or drink du jour, history tells us our quest for pleasure and escape will never cease.• The part our brain plays in our desire to relieve pain and depression; how its function as a sophisticated processor of chemicals is part our drive to self-medicate; and ways that we can change our brain to give us pleasure.• What some animals do to get high and how they also find similar pleasure and comfort in the natural activities of eating, playing, bonding and nurturing.• How philosophers have defined pleasure and its pursuit• The Six Pleasure Principles, which are:Move (inhabiting the body through physical activity),Restore (revitalizing mind, body, spirit) ,Connect (bonding with family, friends, community),Create (expressing and expanding the inner self),Celebrate (affirming life, experiencing joy)Give (being of service, finding purpose).These Pleasure Principles, which include proven methods for reducing depression and anxiety and enhancing well-being, will help you find that the best highs are found in being fully present and alive. Studies have shown a correlation between these Principles and longevity, so not only will you feel better by engaging in these life-affirming behaviors (not to mention avoiding the hangovers and other side effects of drugs), you might even live longer.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction


Part One: Getting High
Chapter One: Doing It Old School—the History of Getting High
Chapter Two: The Craving Brain—“I Need, I Need!”
Chapter Three: Birds Do It, Bees Do It—the Biology of Buzz
Chapter Four: The Philosophy of Pleasure Seeking

Part Two: The Six Pleasure Principles
Pleasure Principle #1: Move!—Inhabiting the Body through Physical Activity
Pleasure Principle #2: Restore—Revitalizing Body, Mind, and Spirit)
Pleasure Principle #3: Connect—Bonding with Family, Friends, and Community
Pleasure Principle #4: Create—Expressing and Expanding the Inner Self
Pleasure Principle #5: Celebrate—Affirming Life, Experiencing Joy
Pleasure Principle #6: Give—Being of Service, Finding Purpose

Postscript

References