The Nowak Society is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit whose mission is to support people and communities in developing safe, informed, empowering relationships with self, others, and the medicines and drugs we interact with.
Our work is guided by commitment to the following values:
Relationship: Good relationships are the cornerstone of a good life. We are in relationship to all people and things around us. Understanding this, we value building and maintaining expansive relationships with all things we interact with, internal and external to our organization.
Empowerment: Authentic empowerment happens when we are aligned with our internal sources of power or knowing, enabling us to make choices that most reflect our true desires and preferences for a fulfilling life. We value authentic empowerment of ourselves and others, and support one another in our individual and collective efforts to achieving it.
Showing up: Community can only exist when we show up for each other. We value witnessing each other with compassion, empathy, and respect, and showing up in support of community.
Autonomy and Consent: We honor interactions based on consent and shared agreement. We value and respect the autonomy of individuals to have their own experiences and to decide what is best for them at any given time. With this, we hold one another accountable for following through on consent-based interactions and shared agreements.
Anti-oppression: We acknowledge that our liberation is tied to others' individual and collective liberation from the myriad forms of obvious and hidden oppression that exist. We aspire to identify and dissolve oppression towards ourselves, our community, and beyond, beginning with our personal interactions and extending to public action and alliances with other anti-oppression movements.
We believe in the power of grassroots community to support individuals to grow, heal, and expand beyond what's possible in our isolated, disconnected worlds. When informed and supported, communities can hold the healing potential of psychoactive substances with and for themselves. Healing does not only happen in clinical spaces guided by health professionals; myriad contexts exist within which growth and healing using the tools of psychedelic medicines can occur. The Nowak Society strives to make its education and outreach accessible to all, offering information and skill sets as open source, belonging to everyone, and held in community.
Harm reduction is a tried and true public health model for responding to the simple reality that people like taking drugs. Harm reduction adopts the practical perspective, "How can we make this less harmful for people?" At the Nowak Society, we're pushing this edge because we believe in the potential of right relationship with medicines and drugs to elevate ourselves to lead intentional, connected lives. Therefore, we ask "How can we support ourselves and our community in maximizing the benefit of this medicine/drug?"
The Nowak Society believes that psychoactive drugs are not inherently “good” or “bad,” but rather it’s the nature of our relationships with drugs that can open up or repress aspects of our lives. Right relationship encompasses all psychoactive drugs and medicines, whether prescribed or illicit, or clinical, ceremonial or recreational. For some, this means adopting a critical perspective toward prescribed psychopharmaceuticals often given to suppress or shut down unwanted thoughts, feelings, or extreme states. For others, this involves letting go of shame and guilt around their exploration with politically or culturally stigmatized drugs. We strive to unpack the socio-cultural baggage and coercive practices around how and why we use drugs to alter ourselves. We believe in empowering people to connect deeply with their own sense of right relationship with medicines and drugs that are used to change, remedy, explore, open up, or repress different aspects of our lives.
Social Justice in Psychedelics
Our liberation is bound, our healing is bound, and all of us must be active contributors to advancing justice. The Nowak Society recognizes how colonialist legacies of white supremacy, patriarchy, and exploitation are replicated in psychedelic spaces. We seek to continuously refine our relationships to the earth, each other, and our collective healing. Showing up for social justice in psychedelics requires leveraging our positions of privilege, critical self-awareness, allyship, and cultural respect.
We strive to create energetically inviting spaces for dialogue, self-reflection, activism and reform, and information-sharing. In bringing people together, our intention is to build and strengthen community that can take concrete actions toward meeting our collective needs and reform goals.
We value diversity and know that it is a necessary ingredient in any healthy system. This is one reason why we work to redefine mental health care through anti-oppressive models. Peer support groups, embodiment techniques, grounding practices – each of these is a step in an alternate direction, away from disempowering models and towards models that emphasize autonomy and consent. The Nowak Society aims to support those who willingly entered or who have been coerced into tumultuous relationships with drugs, medicines and substances. We try to help slow down this process, to bring awareness to the relationships we have, and to purposefully create new ways for us to encounter the world.