Caitlyn Conville | Staff Writer
Matt Bellace, Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology and author of A Better High, used comedy and audience participation to encourage students to pursue the “natural highs” of life instead of using drugs during a presentation on Thursday, April 4 in the Pitkin Education Center.
Stand-up comedian, Deno DeMartino, provided a 15-minute opening dialogue in which he described his history with opioids and his road to rehabilitation.
DeMartino has been sober for four years now and considerers it “a victory every time [he] wake[s] up.”
Bellace listed several harmless methods in which a person could experience euphoria without substance abuse, including meditation, music, exercise and what Bellace calls the “Helper’s High.”
He recalled the time he and his friends left a $150 tip for a waitress as an example of how good it can feel to help people. Bellace believes, however, that, “laughing is the greatest natural high of all.”
Throughout the presentation, Bellace got the students of Bergen Community College actively involved. He began his speech by asking four volunteers to create a human table by having them lay in reclined positions with their heads resting on each other’s legs and then removing the chairs from underneath them. The point of the trust exercise was to prove that a person needs friends who will support them just like the volunteers supported each other.
Bellace’s goal is to help young people find safer and more positive alternatives to alcohol and drugs. Bellace left the audience with an important question to ponder about their options of outlets for negative emotions: “What are you going to do with your legitimate pain?”