This is an awesome, fascinating and vitally important subject which I will be writing about in a series of blogs starting with this one.

I’ve begun to wonder why there is so much talk about mental illness these days. The disability is blamed for the high number of teen suicides and escalating crime rates. Then there is the growing issue of drug abuse. Why would a young person in a free, developed country want to end their lives or be so unhappy that they turn to drugs to make things only worse for themselves?

I will endeavour to shed some light on the above as I outline my experiences and beliefs in spirituality.


For many years, I was a keen consumer of alcohol. My girlfriend at the time and I organized our days around glasses of wine. Unfortunately, we both began to look forward to the next glass of wine just a little too much. Even on Sundays when alcohol wasn’t available, we would find a pub who would sell a bottle to us ‘under the counter’. We were desperate! In fact, our daily schedule revolved around consuming booze. I have to admit it was great to meet up at cafes or bars and share a bottle of wine together. We had to make sure any restaurant we went to was licensed so we could drink with our meal. They were pleasant social times and friends we knew were also keen drinkers. We used to spend many summer days at the beach with a couple of bottles of wine. One bottle was never enough for the pair of us. When alone at home, I would open a bottle at lunch time and drink it while working on the book I was writing at the time. Before long, I was off to the supermarket for another bottle. I would have this finished before I had dinner. My girlfriend and I didn’t realize it but we were each consuming two bottles of wine every day. There were even days when we had three bottles of wine each.

I was an alcoholic!

I tried to cut back, as I was having trouble sleeping. I had blotchy skin and a red nose. I even looked like a drinker and didn’t like it. My girlfriend moved to Australia but that didn’t help me cut back on my drinking.


I was watching a video on shamans and found the concept interesting. I did some research and found one practicing in Auckland. Elizabeth booked me in for a session. I explained my reason for seeing her and she suggested a ‘soul retrieval’ session. I lay on a bed while she chanted, waved feathers over me and swirled smoke from smouldering clusters of something. I felt amazingly relaxed as I kept an open mind through the 90 minute ceremony. At the end of the session I was given a glass of water and told to take the rest of the day quietly. As I drove home, I checked my watch. It was the time I usually opened the second bottle of wine for the day. I got home and went to the fridge. I grabbed the bottle of wine I made sure was there to have when I got home.

I uncorked it.

I took a sniff.

The alcohol smell made me shiver.

I poured the contents down the sink.

That was 14 years ago and I’ve not had so much as a sip of any alcohol since then.

Elizabeth explained that part of our soul can leave us after a trauma. I had had a serious car accident 20 years earlier and suffered a broken hip causing reduced flexibility. Checking my drinking history I realized it was also about this time, I began to drink more enthusiastically. Elizabeth’s explanation made some sense to me. The percentage of soul we bring with us when we are born was intact again after the retrieval and I had no desire to harm my physical body with alcohol or any other drug. My soul, or spiritual partner, as I like to think of it as, was again looking after my wellbeing.

I was now aware of having a soul and that I could communicate with it through consciousness. That is what changed me from an alcoholic to a relaxed non-drinker.

Since the soul retrieval I have taken a more serious look into spiritual matters. Before I go on, I want to make it clear that there is no connection between religion and spirituality as I am describing it. We are all spiritual beings having a physical experience.


If we are spiritual beings with souls to guide us, why is there so much so called mental illness? Why do so many young men (they are usually male) want to end their own lives? What drives them to such a tragic decision? Why did I drink so heavily? I can speak from personal experience. As I just outlined, my mind was opened to the power of the spiritual with my miraculous change of heart over drinking. It was so sudden and was not something my ego self would’ve been able to achieve. After all it was the ego that told me to have another drink. It didn’t care if my health suffered or I became grumpy with people when I was full of booze. I will talk about the reason we need an ego in future blogs but right now I want to finish this introduction to spiritual matters by saying the answer to the above questions is simple.

I firmly believe people with so called ‘mental illness’ have not been made aware they are spiritual beings who have access to the awesome power of the spirit within them. It’s all about awareness.

To be continued……………………..

Ceidrik Heward

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