Who needs drugs? The highs and lows of the menstrual cycle

Rachael CrowGuest Writings, Menstrual Health, Musings

Tune in and Go with the Flow!

Who needs drugs? The highs and lows of the menstrual cycle

You get 2 ex addicts together and the conversation will inevitably go back to those years of excess- but get 2 ex addicts who consciously work with their cycles and you get a whole new conversation going….

We are also 2 highly sensitive women who in the past used drugs and alcohol to numb out from the world and our emotions, but with a combination of over 30 years sobriety and over 30 years of conscious charting we have learned to ride the highs and lows of our cycles and use them to guide us through life.

We both also happen to be “Via Negativa” women so our reflections here come from a place of being more comfortable in the autumn and winter phases of our cycles….for those of you who love your spring and summer, you may have a different sense to all of this than us!

So for both of us, our inner spring can be a tricky time. For me (Rachael) it’s my ‘come down’ time from the bliss of my bleed and being in my Moon Temple. I’m gentle and tender with myself at this point, upping my self care practices as I tentatively recover from the ‘spiritual hangover’ and allow my energy to gently rise into my ovulation, inner summer time.

Then bang…surges of energy and love! The highs of summer, likened to our days of cocaine and speed taking, we can keep going and going, feeling invincible but keeping an awareness that if we keep going for too long, riding the wave of the hormones then the crash will come.


And there it is, the come down in to inner autumn, now for many this is a tricky time, but I just love it. I consciously slow down, spending more time in nature, just sitting, connecting to the earth….I would perhaps liken this phase to my “stoner days” when life was almost in slow motion and I need the world to slow down too!

Then…I sink into the void…I used to really struggle with the ‘nothingness’ of the void- this was the point in my cycle where I would act out self sabotage- binging on drugs, alcohol, food, shopping….this point is a big red light when relapses tend to happen for women in recovery. But now I can enjoy the stillness of the void, finding my groove in the ‘comfortably numb’ place….similar to the effect of opiates…allowing it to take you over as you slip in to the bliss of your bleed. At this point I am raw and wide open, acutely sensitive so need to really protect myself! As a body therapist I used to LOVE giving treatments during my moon time, I could literally merge with my clients and work much deeper with them than at any other time in my cycle, but boy did I come home drained and feeling energetically “icky”. Then I had to work super hard to cleanse myself and come back to Me.

These days I know I need time alone at this point, if I can let go of the outside world and the day to day tasks, I can drop into an altered state, not dissimilar to the experiences I’ve had on hallucinogens, and even drugs like ecstasy. I am open to receive clear guidance from the earth, spirit animals and guides and fall into a state of bliss for a few days!

And so we’ve cycled around our inner seasons without the use of mind and body altering substances….we’ve had the highs of amphetamines, the slowed down states of cannabis and opiates, moved into the loved up bliss and visions of hallucinogens and ecstasy! Our holy hormones take us on an amazing ride if we choose to take the time to tune in and go with the flow.

I can remember a time, camping with friends in my late teens, sitting watching the sun set- whilst high on magic mushrooms and having a conversation about how we knew- we just knew- that our bodies had the ability to reach these altered states without the use of drugs…and I know one of those friends became a meditator and teacher of mindfulness and meditation, and one of them is still locked in the addiction of drugs…and me…well I’m just using the power of my cycle!


Like Rachael I also have a history of drug and alcohol addiction in my teens and early 20’s. It wasn’t until my 30’s I came into the awareness that my body was flowing in a natural cycle and rhythm each month. At the time this realisation, and the fact that it had been hidden from me for so many years, was like the world had been opened up in a whole new way.

As I began to create space, allow and honour the different energies I was moving through naturally each month, I began to recognise the echoes of the drugs I used to reach for in my life. The feeling of timelessness and expansion where I could do and be it all at ovulation, the feeling of love and ecstasy inherent in my body just before I bled or under a full moon, and the beautiful power of oxytocin as though being held in a Mothers arms if I created space and rested when I bled. My truly embodied experience so much more powerful and fulfilling than those synthetic echoes.

I slowly came to understand that all along there was a deeper truth calling to me. To experience feelings of bliss, expanded consciousness and ecstasy were part of my birthrite as a woman, along with so much more available to us when we chose to honour our deep feminine wisdom. It had just never been explained or modelled for me, so I was searching for this connection in the way I had learned from my culture…seeking it from outside of myself as I hadn’t been given the tools or initiation I needed to connect with it from within.

And like Rachael shares, coming to understand this wonderful container of our menstruality we are held within is such an empowering tool to work with on the path of recovery. When you are in your menstruating years it can support you to understand, have compassion, and prepare for those those times in your month when you know you are going to be more vulnerable to reaching for something to numb the pain.

For girls the restoration of mentoring and initiation to create a strong foundation as they move through menarche can make all the difference as the sense of being held may just keep them from acting out destructively during this powerful and confusing time.

I haven’t even touched in these paragraphs on the ‘acceptable’ medicating of birth, death, menopause and menstruation so inherently creating addictive patterns in our culture. It’s a reality almost too huge to contemplate. So for today I will offer thanks for my own recovery from drugs and alcohol. I also offer deep gratitude for the beauty and holding of my own womanhood, and trust that this little drop will become part of the ocean of change we are creating.

© Rachael Crow and Amber Bates, all rights reserved.

To work deeper with Rachael and Amber see their websites