A Message to Mom

What to expect in this episode:


  1. Deciding to Send them to Rehab
  2. Getting Aligned | Treatment’s Sacred Pact
  3. What is My Role in His Recovery?


What can a mother do if her child is suffering with addiction



The first thing that I would say to a mom who’s saying,


“I’m sending my son to your treatment program, what do you have to tell me?”


Right.  Something like that, like somebody who’s right for our Treatment Program.


I would say,


“You need to come in and we need to sit down. And we’ve got to make sure that all parties are aligned in this agreement.



“We’ve got to make sure that you’re looking at me in the eyes, that your son is there, and I’m there and when we make this sacred little pact, everybody’s clear, not everybody has to agree completely, people can have different opinions, but that beginning step everybody’s really clear and onboard with what’s happening.”


And I would say,


I’m available. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what’s going to happen six months from now.



 I can tell you that I’ll communicate to you very clearly what I see. I can tell you here’s where I think he’s going.  I can tell you here’s what I think he needs. I can tell you here’s where I think he’s stuck.


I can tell you what I think your role needs to be and the most that I could offer you is honest experience in the relationship as well as, the best well-worn techniques to help people transform in this kind of environment.  That’s all anybody can offer by the way and open-mindedness.


I will see your son as your son, not as somebody else, not as a number, not as a patient, I will see your son for who your son is, and I will work with him accordingly.




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Speaking Truthfully to an Addict

Speaking Truthfully to an Addict


Be courageous and speak the truth

So, I talked to parents and spouse and brothers and sisters all the time who’s loved ones are suffering from addiction and they’re afraid and they’re also really afraid to speak truthfully to the person who’s suffering, and I would say, obviously to get some help, if you need help doing that, but that it’s about speaking truthfully to people and telling them how it impacts you.

Now if somebody’s deep in addiction they might or might not be able to hear that and you might need a professional to come in and work with that person, but just like I was talking to a mom yesterday, and what I told her was, you can’t be afraid to go away for the holidays and tell your son that you’re not going to bring him, because he almost died from an alcohol overdose and you’re afraid to bring him.

So, you have to tell him, “I love you very much, but I’m afraid to bring you. You know because of your alcoholism.”  So, I think being able to be truthful, compassionate if possible, not losing your temper if possible, I think that’s nice, but being courageous and speaking truth.  And it’s a really painful job that loved ones have because sometimes these addictions span on for years and years, you know.

Get the help that you need

The other thing I would say, is to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, like you’re – you know, you are – you’re engaged with somebody in addiction with this child or something like that, like you’re getting hurt day in and day out, and so you really have to take care of yourself in order just to have the strength that you can be, let alone have those conversations.

The final thing that I would say, is to make sure you’re getting the help that you need and speak compassionate truth to the person that you love.


speak compassionate truth to the person that you love

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Who Is Yeshaia?

A lot of people come for treatment and they get – they feel lost and they say things like, you know, “I want to discover my authentic self”.  And I always tell people, not to worry about that, you know. Don’t worry about discovering your authentic self, discover who you want to be in the world, you know, and you’ll be yourself.

Introducing Yeshaia Blakeney


So, maybe that’s a good intro into who am I?  I have no idea. My background, my name is Yeshaia.  I’m a Spiritual Counselor. I’ve been a Drug and Alcohol Counselor for 14 years now.  I’m also an Assistant Rabbi at a Temple in Los Angeles, called Ohr Hatorah, various roles.


I’m a father of three.  My first passion, my first way that I identified as a young man, was as a Hip Hop MC, so I still have a lot of music that’s living in me.  So, I have a lot of different roles. So, I you know, I don’t identify as you know, kind of one thing. I identify as a person in recovery.  I’ve been in recovery for about 15 years and identify as a teacher, but most importantly, I identify as a human being that has a soul.

You know, that’s most important.  My background, people often ask me if I am a Clinician, cause I’ve worked in treatment this long and I have a decent looking office.  And I go no, I’m not a Clinician, both my parents were psychologists, there’s just no way that I could become a psychologist, cause I had to rebel against what they did, I became a rapper, a poet.


And, but somehow you sometimes get pulled back into the things that your parents do, so I got, you know, life brought me to getting pulled back into the healing arts, which is nothing romantic.  It’s actually quite a challenge to do. It’s – when you care about people, it’s difficult to hold, you know, but at the same time, you grow from it emotionally and spiritually, in working with people, and sitting with people, and creating spaces of intimacy and safety and connection. 

And watching people transform, you know, every time I see somebody transform, it transforms me, you know.  I just like, anybody suffering from addiction, or anybody walking out on the street, I wrestle with my own hopelessness, you know.


When I see the transformation of the human spirit, it gives me hope for my own transformation, right. Because I also fall asleep in my life. I also need to continually wake up. I also need to grow. I also need to learn to love and be loved.

So, that work for me, grounds me and who I want to be in the world.  One of the most important things to me in an individual life, I would say there’s two immediate things. Experience itself, having the experience of life, if I’m living right now, feeling that and being as awake and present in that as I can and love.


And then what else is there beyond that, those are the currencies that I attempt to cultivate in my life and a beautiful way to do that, is to work with other people who are suffering and to try to bring them into awakeness, trying to bring them into their experience, bring them into their spirit and to love them and to be loved in return.

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Narcissism & Addiction

What to Expect in This Episode:


  • Selfishness VS Narcissism
  • Narcissism in Children
  • Our Narcissistic Society
  • Disconnection from Self
  • Equating Mental Health with Minimal Narcissism
  • The Scientific Endeavor
  • “I Hold My Beliefs in Suspense to Find Truth”
  • The Process of Recovery 
  • Feeling Better When Becoming Less Narcissistic
  • Narcissistic State Without Drugs & Alcohol
  • Frustration


Narcissism is a very interesting term, you know.  A lot of people confuse selfishness with narcissism, but they’re not the same thing, right. Selfishness is, I know you exist I just don’t care about you.  Narcissism is, I actually don’t hold you and your reality as real and that what’s happening inside of me is more real than objective reality.


So, as an example, very young kids are extremely narcissistic.  Right. Even if they might be fun and smile, etc., etc., they’re living inside the world of their own mind, which is perfectly healthy and perfectly normal as a very young kid, what does not come so healthy as we get older.


And so we live in a really self-reflecting narcissistic society where we’re disconnected from ourselves and hold our realities as truth and one could even say that you could equate mental health with minimal narcissism.  What does it mean to be mentally healthy?  It means to live out in reality, right so science is a great example of that, you know.


The scientific endeavor is the endeavor of attempting to discover objective truth, right.  I hold all of my beliefs in suspense, so I can get in touch with reality, so the process of Recovery is exactly the same way.  I can’t trust my own mind and my own ideas and desires and I’m trying to get out of my own mind ideas and desires out into the world, so I can learn, change and grow.


The other beautiful thing about becoming less narcissistic is to begin to feel better because a narcissistic state, especially without drugs and alcohol is not a pleasant state to be in because life can be very irritating and if you put a lot of attention into that and onto yourself, you’re going to be constantly frustrated.





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A Lack of Trust

What to Expect in this Episode:

  • Feeling Isolated & Alone
  • Communication Difficulties
  • Disengagement When You Don’t Understand Yourself
  • The Wall Between You and Other People
  • Coping & Self Medicating
  • Lack of Trust Going to Others for Help

Isolation is a Lack of Trust


So, when I was younger, I always had a sneaking sense that something was going wrong with me and in my life.

I felt isolated and alone and from that place of feeling isolated and alone

“I don’t understand myself and other people don’t understand me”

It’s hard to communicate.

It’s hard to engage in a conversation that can help you change because you feel like there’s a wall between you and other people.  

And so, you find other ways of coping with your problems – it’s a lack of trust.  

You don’t know how to trust, and you don’t know how to go and let somebody help you, or I didn’t and, so I found other ways to cope, and distract myself.



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Recovery Is Not About Abstinence. It’s About Becoming Alive Again.

What to expect in this episode


  1. It’s always darkest before the dawn
  2. Addiction keeps us disconnected from the beauty of Life
  3. Recovery is about coming back alive


Recovery is Not About Not Doing Drugs…


It’s always darkest before the dawn breaks. We have to remember that so we don’t lose hope.
The thing about addiction is it’s a state of intrapersonal and interpersonal disconnection. We’re disconnected from ourselves, and we’re disconnected from those around us, and we’re disconnected from the world! The truth is, we’re asleep in our own lives! Recovery is about awakening to higher states of awakeness.
It’s about being alive to the music of the world the music of your soul the music of your friends your family all of this to stay awake to the symphony of life Recovery’s not about not doing drugs it’s about living to your highest potential and becoming part of the harmony of the entire universe.
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Instant Gratification vs Gratitude

What to expect in this episode

  1. Addicted to instant gratification
  2. Becoming attuned
  3. A sense of belonging


Being addicted to instant gratification


Definitely, technology is an example of being addicted to instant gratification and to attempt to be gratified by making more accessible to you, more and more instant gratification, is like trying to put out a fire by pouring oil on it.  


You have to change.  So, you have to switch from the basis of my life is my ego desires in the moment, what I want, to something much broader. Maybe I can become gratified if I can become the person who I want to be.  


Well, who is that person that I want to be?  Well, I want to be a person that is in harmony with myself.  I want to be a person that’s in harmony with my environment, and what is the result of becoming attuned and being more in harmony with yourself and environment?


A beautiful resonance,  that we tend to call gratitude.  A sense that I belong and really an actual feeling that we have inside of ourselves of being in the same song with the world,  so to speak.


But that has to do with like getting out from these sort of narcissistic and isolated activities, whether that be drug addiction or technology addiction pulling out of that and being much broader – really seeing – and there’s a pain, there’s a pain in that transition, we call it detox.


One way or the other, right.  If we wean ourselves off of some small narrow focus that worked for a while, but no longer is working to satiate our lives and we’re no longer growing from it, when we first pull off of that thing, there’s a painful detox.  In the case of drugs and alcohol, it’s a physical detox. In the case of other behaviors, it’s like a moral spiritual detox.


What’s it like for me to disconnect, step away, and then reconnect to the larger whole, there’s a pain involved in that, but then there’s a freedom and a relief involved in that, and suddenly I’m not in myself anymore on my phone.  And a funny thing to me is like when you’re walking to a Starbucks and you see 30 people at their tables, on their laptops, clicking away.


I totally get what’s going on, at the same time, you wonder like wow, if this is your daily routine, what’s it like to kind of pull off of that?  What would you see if you pulled off of that screen for a little bit noise and question, well what am I doing? What’s going on?


At first, it would be scary and frightening and painful, and then you’d go, wait a minute, hum, there’s a rich and diverse world in here and I’ve been so locked into this activity that I can’t see it.  


One story that I had or an experience that I had, it was super weird for me, I was not a happy person and in fact, I didn’t know what happiness was.  I remember somebody asked me, “Are you happy?” and I literally looked at them and I go, “What the fuck does that mean?” I just had no idea what that even meant, because I had never experienced happiness.


I’d experienced fun.  I had experienced excitement.  I’d experienced hyper-frustrated, angry, but never happiness.  And my first moment of happiness was a deep moment of gratitude and I was driving with my daughter, I think she was probably five at the time.  I was in a Cadillac, on Venice Boulevard going to Gloria’s Mexican Restaurant, (shout out to Gloria’s) and it was raining, it was nine at night.  I was going to meet some of my friends and I decided I was going to bring my daughter along.


She was going to come hang with the boys.  And I remember, I put my hand back on her head and all of a sudden, tears welled up in my eyes.  I mean, nothing was going on. I was on Venice Boulevard driving to a Mexican Restaurant and all of a sudden, like these tears start coming and it went from “why am I crying” – right into my heart.


My heart opened up and I thought, what is that?  I had my hand back here and I’m crying and there’s rain on the windows and I went, I’m grateful.  It was love. It was happiness. It was gratitude, it… wasn’t words. I’m putting words to it now, but it was an overwhelming feeling of being filled up with love and care.


“It was an overwhelming feeling of being filled up with love and care”


And it was a really spiritual moment for me, in that my ego-mind says, “What the hell is going on here!” Then, “Oh, oh, oh, You’re grateful, you’re grateful…”


And I think, “what am I grateful for?” This is all in my mind and at first. You’re grateful for your daughter, you’re grateful to be a dad, to be with her and connected to her.  And then it was – but my daughter didn’t birth herself, oh you’re grateful for your wife, the mother of your child.


But then I go, but wait, she didn’t come out of nowhere, and I thought, “oh you’re grateful for her parents, my parents…” and it just kept going out and out, in sort of concentric circles.


I realized I’m grateful for the orchestrator of this moment,  the orchestrator of all of this that allows for moments of love and gratitude.  And that for me, was a spiritual moment, it was a moment where I was connected to God, or whatever you would care to call that.


And it was a real shift in my recovery from like seeking and competing and wanting to do that – stuff, to – oh no, I need more of this. So that became a different kind of a drug for me.

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Dictionary definition of word psychotherapy | up close

What is Psychotherapy

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, also known as Talk Therapy, is the treatment of disorders using psychological techniques rather than medical intervention. The general intention of psychotherapy is the promotion of communication to aid in recovery from a variety of ailments. PT is used to improve conditions of emotional stress, anxiety, and substance abuse. By communicating with trained psychotherapy professionals, the patient can work towards a solution to their problems, usually by learning how to modify their thinking and behavior. The wide variety of approaches used in PT means it can prove successful for those of any age, gender, and personality type.


Types of Psychotherapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, often referred to as just CBT, falls under the category of a psychotherapy. The psychotherapist’s aim with CBT is to aid the patient in altering their own behavior and thought. Commonly used for anxiety and depression, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of talk therapy where the therapist focuses on specific solutions to the patient’s problems. The Purpose of CBT is to get the patient thinking and acting more appropriately for their situation.



Psychodynamic Therapy is sometimes known as Relational Therapy and involves in-depth psychoanalysis conducted by a specifically trained psychotherapist. This unique technique in psychotherapy attempts to help both the therapist and the patient understand where their problems are coming from. Be it from emotional distress or deeply rooted fears or behaviors, the goal of the therapist is to develop the establish and enrich the patient’s self-awareness. Psychodynamic Therapy hopes to connect previous experiences to current behaviors.


Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing is a psychotherapy approach concerned directly with body awareness. Its principal intent is to heal trauma that is often the result from what has become known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The focus of the treatment is on the patient’s somatic sensations; their perceived body sensations. The theory behind SE is that negative symptoms of trauma, like shame, anxiety, and embarrassment occur because we do not fully process the trauma. During treatment, the therapist will introduce minute amounts of stressful trauma and make observations on the patient’s response. From this, the Somatic Experiencing therapist can begin developing with the patient, strategies to regulate their stress responses.SE is one of the more recently developed psychotherapy treatments and has been successful for a variety of stress disorders.



It’s a long one! EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. What could that possibly entail? This psychotherapy approach has been very well researched and has consistently shown to produce positive results with respect to trauma recovery. During the treatment, the therapist will dig into the patient’s history to determine the root-cause of the trauma. The patient will then be trained in a few stress reduction techniques to be used during the therapy sessions. Visualization of the trauma, identification of self-negativity, and emotional responses and body sensations are all key aspects of the treatment. The actual EMDR techniques are a bit difficult to envision but include eye movements, taps, and tones. The inclusion of these stimuli is what has shown in research to bring success to the therapy.


The goal of this psychotherapy approach is for the patient to be able to manage their nervous system by controlling the sensations they experience with respect to their traumas. Our bodies have automatic responses to perceived threats; think fight, flight, and freeze. Trauma Resiliency Model uses several approaches to help the patient understand their natural responses to trauma and stress. Titration, tracking, and pendulation are some of the technique you’ll come across if you choose to undergo this psychotherapy. The uniqueness of TRM is that the body’s innate responses provide the foundation to work from. In other words, the patient already has everything needed to be successful in this approach to psychotherapy.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is a fairly straightforward psychotherapy approach that works on facilitating and engaging intrinsic motivation within the client by focusing counseling session more on specific goals rather than self-expression from the patient. In MI the aim of the therapist is to influence the patient directly in hopes of accomplishing specific goals geared towards improving the patient’s state of mind and behavior. The presence of ambivalence is commonly very high in those suffering from addictions and trauma. The focused and direct approach of motivational interviewing sessions is designed to help the patient omit conflicting and contradictory feelings and thoughts which impede progress and eventual success in psychotherapy.


Group Therapy

This is one of the more well-known types of psychotherapy. Most often involving 6-12 patients and a single therapist, group therapy is a very open strategy that can integrate other psychotherapy techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing, in a group format. In this approach, the group itself is the key strategy. Group therapy leverages the group setting as an instrument for change by relying on the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. In groups, patients can lean on each other for support while learning from one another’s strengths and skillsets. For this reason, group therapy is one of the more command preferred psychotherapy approaches.



Interpersonal psychotherapy is as the name implies, personal. Differing from group therapy as a one on one approach, IPT is highly structured and follows a strict timeframe usually of 12-16 weeks. Originally developed to treat depression, this psychotherapy approach is now utilized to treat many more types of issues, including substance abuse. There are 2 principal techniques in IPT, attachment theory, and interpersonal theory. The ultimate goal of interpersonal psychotherapy is to develop the patient’s communication abilities and therefore improve their ability to enter and maintain relationships with others.

What to Expect


There is no general expectation one could have for psychotherapy. The variety of approaches means the patient won’t know what to expect until they speak with a professional. Also varying is the length of treatment. Again, until the patient meets with a psychotherapy provider it is hard to say exactly how frequently and for how long they will receive treatment. When deciding to contact a PT provider it is key to keep in mind that these types of treatments for addiction have a long-standing record of success. Discuss your goals and define key indicators of successful psychotherapy with your provider.


Who Can Benefit


So, who can benefit from psychotherapy? In a nutshell, everyone. While psychotherapy comes in many different approaches and strategies there is more or less something for everyone. The benefits of PT to those suffering from addiction are well documented and widely utilized. However, it should be noted that a patient undergoing psychotherapy for addition can frequently make improvements in other aspects of life including mood, anxiety, and personality disorders.


How to Find a Provider


Google, of course! When searching for a provider in your area consider all the traits you would for most services. A local, well-established psychotherapy provider will have a better understanding of the local community and the common issues with substance abuse and addiction in that area. Ensure your providers is certified with reviews and has long-standing experience with your specific needs.


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The Secret Agreement To Treatment

What to expect in this episode


  1. It’s hard to give up your freedoms
  2. You need to trust others before you can trust yourself again
  3. Recognize what capital F freedom is



The whole crazy interesting dynamics of treatment


You know, treatment’s nothing like the marketing on the website, you go on the website and there’s a picture of two people sitting by a swimming pool and it’s like, “Oh, a romantic, safe place, where all of your needs will be taken care of, with a chef!” Maybe there are Treatment Programs like that, but they’re not very effective.

Treatment has a whole crazy interesting dynamic that’s not good to market on your web site, which is part therapy, part jail. What do we mean when we say that? Well, people come into treatment because, you know, they don’t trust themselves.

Basically, they’ve been engaging in a behavior that’s harming themselves, they’ve made multiple commitments to stop themselves from harming themselves and they’ve continually betrayed themselves and don’t trust themselves anymore.

So, then they come into treatment and you do your Intake, you have your conversation, you come to see if they’re appropriate, and then you shake hands and you say, “Okay, you’re coming in here”.

But, underneath that handshake — there’s a secret deal. What’s the deal? The deal is the client comes in and says, “I don’t trust myself, so I’m going to give you some of my freedom, because I can’t make my own healthy choices and I’m going to let you make decisions for me, okay?” and now, it’s like any easy deal, if you’re a decent person like I am.

“You’re like great. I’ll take a little bit of your freedom for a short period of time until you can begin to trust yourself and then you know, onward and upward”.

But, the secret part of that is, “I’m going to give you my freedom because I need you to take it, because I don’t trust myself, but in three weeks, I’m going to be fighting tooth and nail for my freedom back, even though I still don’t trust myself”.


Giving up your “freedoms”


This is the interesting dynamic of treatment — where people are willingly giving up some of their so-called freedoms to be able to walk to Starbucks when they want or make a phone call when they want, because they don’t trust themselves, but they’re so addicted to those so-called freedoms the non-capital F for freedoms, lower cast freedoms, that they fight you tooth and nail later.

And the process of holding somebody through that, holding somebody through until they come to a place of higher recognition, until they come to a place of recognizing what capital F freedom is, what real freedom is, freedom from their self, you know, freedom from the ego-self, freedom from my addiction, the freedom to say yes, the freedom to say no, right.


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Hitting Rock Bottom

What to expect in this episode

  1. Yeshaia’s Rock Bottom Moment
  2. Incarceration & Panic
  3. When the Darkness in Your Life is Exposed
  4. The Need for Something “Good”


Yeshaia tells the story of his own “intervention”. The day he went to jail and the weight of his life and his decisions came into sharp focus.

Finding Rock Bottom in Jail

I went to jail I remember I was in the county jail, and I had a panic attack – because I was so frightened and I was scared of the trouble I was in, and I was also really ashamed.

Because suddenly the darkness that I have been living in was really palpable to me and I couldn’t find anything in my life that felt good.

That was a bottom for me, yeah, it was, it was an eye-opener – Oh my god there’s nothing good and me and in my life! – and so as soon as I realized that I knew what I needed I needed good something good – you know – that really began the journey of recovery for me.

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