A TRUE FOUNDATION: Defending The Gospel Against Cults
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Clash of altars, clash of cults: the foundation of Christianity in apocryphal and liturgical texts
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Month January February March April May June July August September October November December Day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Year Social Facebook Twitter. Welcome to Lulu! We notice you are using a browser version that we do not support. For you to have the best experience on Lulu. His black, square-framed glasses and furrowed forehead gave him a hawkish look. It came in the form of two sandwich bags full of greenish powder — and a big, warm hug.
O ren Levy found a new identity as John Dee, a sort of shadowy do-gooder who helps opiate addicts kick drugs.
He does it by using a largely unregulated plant called kratom, a coffee-relative that can grow up to feet high in the jungles of Indonesia, where much of the kratom sold in the U. Kratom has long been used in Southeast Asia for its pain-killing and mood-boosting properties, but the plant has only become popular in the U. Addicts are turning to it as a non-narcotic alternative to classic opiate-replacement drugs like methadone or buprenorphine, in the hopes that it is safer and less addictive.
The main alkaloids in kratom reach the mu-opiate receptors, quieting the withdrawal symptoms that make opioids so hard to quit. Chronic pain patients and recreational users also take kratom for the subtle euphoric effects it provides. Between 3 and 5 million people in the U. But Kratom is having something of an identity crisis. Overpriced, low-quality commercial stuff is silently marketed as a legal high in gas stations and smoke shops, where it often sits next to things such as glass pipes and amyl nitrites poppers.
Online vendors like Dee, however, import high-quality kratom straight from Indonesia and sell it at a lower price than store-bought brands. Kratom is in the crosshairs of regulation and may not be legal for long. Critics who want kratom banned say teenagers can easily get their hands on it. Legislation is under review elsewhere. For the last six years, Dee has been running a one-man kratom operation out of his three-room Brooklyn apartment.
He has improvised a makeshift packaging center inside, with each room serving a dedicated purpose for his business, Red Devil Kratom.
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Scales, bags, and various-sized scoops caked with kratom soot sit upon a worktable in the middle of a spare room, where Dee handles packaging. A nearby storage unit houses several hundred pounds more. Dee organizes his supply by color. An earthy smell not unlike green tea escapes when Dee opens the bins and scoops up some powder to weigh on the scale.
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He also sells cannabidiol CBD , an unregulated, nonpsychoactive hemp compound that has been heralded as a cure for everything from epilepsy to overly active pets. Dee came to the kratom industry after years of abusing opiates himself. At the time, he owned a nightclub where he worked full-time, and drugs and alcohol remained a constant during his early recovery. The party scene wore him down.
In , Dee quit the nightclub business to figure out his next career step. He had always wanted to work in the recovery sphere. A friend who directed a rehabilitation center suggested he try recovery coaching. Unlike therapy or counseling, which is clinical in nature, a recovery coach acts more as a motivator, confidant, and role model — helping clients focus on their future, rather than on their past.
This apocalyptic Korean Christian group goes by different names. Critics say it's just a cult.
Dee went to school and became a certified recovery coach in But like the nightclubs, Dee soon found recovery coaching toxic. The job required him to live among those he coached, with their families, at their homes, and many of his clients still used drugs. While he was already off of opiates himself, Dee wanted to help others kick the habit, and he pursued a growing interest in alternatives to mainstream treatments for opioid dependence. He received glowing reviews from recovering addicts.
He gave most of it away again, but this time he sold a little bit to make his money back. Dee still juggled several part-time jobs while building his kratom business, working security at big nightclubs and doing recovery coaching. He says he never mixed kratom with his coaching, despite a growing belief in the power of the plant.
Recovery coaches are strictly forbidden from offering their own diagnoses or recommendations, although they can provide feedback and research on different holistic treatments if the clients bring up the idea first. He boasts of a seemingly endless list of mothers, sons, friends, and relatives — all of whom, he claims, owe their sobriety to him and Red Devil Kratom. Dee nodded as James told of a year pill addiction, hard drinking, and a growing distance from his boyfriend, who thought that he had kicked the habit.
Dee told James to wait for mild withdrawals before taking the first dose. To supplement the kratom, Dee stressed the importance of step programs. James headed home with several ounces of kratom in his pocket. The following morning, he started the regimen, gulping down the kratom with a glass of juice. Just a bit of cold sweats and some gastrointestinal discomfort. By Thursday, James had shattered his record of pill abstinence. James began composing a message to his dealer while looking up Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, his heart hammering in his chest.
Somehow, the step meeting won out. James went to his first later that night and found comfort in the support network.
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Fellow addicts texted and called him to check up on his recovery. James had several numbers to call when cravings struck. Dee, who regularly attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings, was one of them. Having passed the acute phase of withdrawal, James found that kratom relieved the back pain caused by years of working at a desk. The mood boost and relaxing warmth of kratom tempts James to redose more often than he thinks he should.
James views kratom as a step-down substance: something strong enough to keep cravings in check but not strong enough to provide a true high. Some within the recovery community frown upon kratom, believing that true sobriety requires abstinence from all mind-altering substances. Whether kratom is such a substance is hotly debated.
Anything is better than that. K ratom is a murky business. Because it is relatively new to the American market, there is little scientific information about the effects of long-term kratom use for the treatment of opioid-use disorder. Much of the information online has been produced by those who have skin in the game — vendors, users, pro-kratom groups — or by government organizations and lawmakers that tend to portray kratom as a dangerous drug with potential for abuse. While kratom remains legal in most of the country, the Food and Drug Administration warns consumers that the plant carries a risk of addiction, and in , the Department of Health and Human Services recommended a ban on the chemicals in kratom, which would make it as illegal as heroin and LSD.
Ultimately, the power to make a final decision about the scheduling of drugs lies with the Drug Enforcement Agency, which planned to place a temporary ban on kratom in but backpedaled after an outcry from kratom supporters. Online forums such as Reddit, whose kratom community includes over 75, members, contain a wealth of user reports. Some people claim to have used kratom for years and then stopped without significant withdrawal; others report withdrawal symptoms on par with opioids: sweating, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, depression and intense cravings.
Many users say a lack of information led them to believe that kratom was benign. Addiction specialist Dr. Mohamed Elsamra, who runs a medical detox in Westport, Connecticut, says that he has seen a slight increase in the number of patients using the plant over the last few years.
Although he notes the similarities between opiate and kratom withdrawals, he says that few people have come to him to detox from kratom. Ultimately, Elsamra is open to the idea of it as an opioid replacement. Erik Fisher, an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. He makes an analogy to CBD, referencing a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association , which reported on labeling inaccuracies in products containing CBD, suggesting that the same could happen to kratom.