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Understanding Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Outpatient addiction treatment allows an individual in recovery to attend therapy sessions and then return to their daily lives. This level of care requires a certain level of commitment and, ideally, a supportive home environment.

 

To better understand outpatient addiction therapy, it’s important to be aware of all levels of care.

Continuum of Care for Addiction Treatment

Recovering from addiction is a process. An individual struggling with addiction gets placed in the least restrictive environment based on the type and history of substance abuse. 

 

The levels of care include:

  • Detox/Intensive Inpatient: Medically managed care for those with chemical dependency and intense withdrawal symptoms. Individuals in this setting receive 24-hour medical care, medications, and extensive counseling.
  • Residential Treatment: After detox, individuals live on-site with 24-hour supervision in a residential facility. Their withdrawal symptoms are monitored, and they have a highly structured environment with scheduled therapy, activities, and medical care. 
  • Intensive Outpatient (IOP): Addiction treatment that takes place in non-residential settings like hospitals, day treatment programs, or behavioral health treatment centers during the day. Depending on an individual’s circumstances, an IOP program can be a step up or step down in their recovery process. Then, an individual goes home–or to sober living–when it’s complete. 
  • Outpatient (OP): Outpatient addiction rehab is also held in hospitals and behavioral health treatment centers. OP care is similar to IOP but not as extensive. This level of care may be for someone finishing IOP. OP is also for someone with less severe substance use disorder symptoms.
  • Sober Living: Individuals in sober living environments often do not have a stable support network at home. They choose to enter a sober living home to gradually develop the skills to support their recovery in a safe, nurturing environment.  
  • Aftercare & Alumni: Those successfully progressing through the addiction treatment continuum of care find aftercare programs an opportunity to reinforce what they’ve experienced on their recovery journey. 
  • Early Intervention: Services that focus on education and resources for those at risk for substance use disorder. 

What Happens During Outpatient Treatment?

An intake coordinator determines if outpatient treatment is the best option for an individual struggling with addiction. Then the treatment team creates a customized care plan and outpatient schedule. 

 

Outpatient treatment offers services including:

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Group therapy sessions
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Family therapy
  • Life skills training
  • Vocational training
  • Psychiatric care
  • Case management
  • Restorative justice
  • Drug testing and monitoring
  • Anger management and other social skills classes.
  • Reviewing and revising the treatment plan based on progress

 

As you can see, this is a very carefully-planned process that involves the coordination of many skilled addiction treatment professionals. To succeed in the program, an individual must follow the prescribed schedule outlined.

 

Outpatient programs also offer new opportunities to enjoy recovery by exposing an individual to sober leisure activities, holistic health experiences like yoga and meditation, and team-building challenges.

Outpatient (OP) vs. Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

The main difference between outpatient and intensive outpatient addiction treatment is the amount of time spent in the program. Outpatient treatment is less than 9 hours per week for adults. An individual in the intensive outpatient level may attend treatment programming for up to 6 hours daily.

 

Intensive outpatient rehab requires an individual to spend more time in structured therapy, groups, and activities. Successful intensive outpatient programs require near full-time treatment using a variety of evidence-based approaches. 

 

IOP signifies a critical transition period. Those successfully completing residential care graduate to an IOP program. Conversely, those struggling in regular outpatient care may find a more structured IOP environment helpful for their recovery.

Some individuals in intensive outpatient programs also choose to spend their free time in sober living homes for extra recovery support.  

Benefits of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

When deemed an appropriate care level, outpatient addiction drug rehab can be a valuable experience for those struggling with substance abuse. The benefits of outpatient addiction treatment can include:

 

Flexibility to Tend to Personal & Family Obligations

In IOP or OP programs, you can go home once the day’s treatment is complete. This flexibility allows you to be with your family, work, and take care of errands and other obligations. 

 

More Privacy

Entering residential treatment could mean people like coworkers, colleagues, and acquaintances discovering you are in drug rehab. It may not be something you want to share with those you casually encounter.   

 

Since outpatient programs have more flexibility in scheduling and don’t require you to stay at a facility for 24 hours, you can continue more of your everyday activities while receiving treatment.

 

Learn Skills & Practice Them In Real Life Settings

Outpatient treatment allows you to practice the skills you learn during groups, therapy, and education sessions in real life. After your treatment is over for the day, you get to practice communication, anger management, social, and sober living skills with friends and family.

 

Build on Skills Developed in Higher Levels of Care

If you’ve completed residential treatment, outpatient programs are an extension of what you already learned. You get the opportunity to continue your personal development and focus on being in recovery.

 

Get Extra Support From Loved Ones

Being away from a loving, supportive family could be very difficult. Individuals in residential treatment struggle with this often. Outpatient care allows you to be with and supported by your family while still attending treatment.

Finding Outpatient Addiction Treatment in Santa Monica

In all honesty, the Santa Monica area has a lot of outpatient programs available. Finding the one to suit you or a loved one’s needs may seem overwhelming. 

 

Finding an outpatient treatment that will make a difference requires you to feel comfortable, supported, and motivated during therapy. You have to resonate with the program and believe it will help you make the desired changes. 

 

Addiction treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s a good idea to find outpatient treatment with various opportunities and services. The more services you have available, the more likely you’ll find what resonates and encourages you to stay with treatment. 

 

Recover Integrity is a men’s only luxury intensive outpatient program in Santa Monica. In addition to the services mentioned previously in this article, we also provide cognitive testing for more effective assessments and treatment planning. Also, our exclusive person-centered V.E.G.A. program is designed to help individuals stay motivated through unique assessment, action, and achievement phases. 

 

Recover Integrity is a boutique, luxury men’s intensive outpatient program in West Los Angeles. You could get in touch with us by calling 310.294.9030.

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Developing A Recovery Identity

What to expect:

 

 

One of the places where people really get stuck in their recovery process is in their identity.

My Struggles with a Mixed-Raced Identity

Super easy example: I’m mixed black and Jewish. I used to keep my hair really short–like a little tight fade–because I wanted to fit in with the black crowd that I was hanging with. 

 

When I first got sober. I was like, oh, I’m gonna grow my hair out. But my hair…I have these Jewish curly locks. I would start to grow my hair out, and I would feel less black, less tough. And then I would immediately cut it.

 

I was really stuck between who I thought I should be and how I thought about myself. My hair was like a metaphor for that. So, for years of my early recovery, I would try to grow my hair out. Then I would feel softer, feel different, or wouldn’t feel like me, and I would cut it again. 

 

Then I remember really setting myself free at around four or five years sober. I was like, I have to break out of this identity. I’m trapped in this hip-hop cool, tough way of being. If I really want to be free, I have to let go of that.

 

I started growing my hair longer and longer until it is just like how it is now. For me, it was really a symbol of letting go of one identity and embracing whatever I was becoming.

Letting Go of Old Identities During Recovery

Letting go and changing identities is a huge struggle in recovery. One of the ways that it’s challenged right up front is at a 12-Step meeting. 

 

You’re sitting there and people are identifying. Somebody will nudge you with their elbow as they’re identifying and say, “Are there any alcoholics in the room?” 

 

You’re supposed to kind of raise your hand–you don’t have to, but it’s culturally normative–and say, “Hi, my name is Shai. I’m an alcoholic.”

 

If you haven’t seen yourself in that way, it really kind of puts you off. You’re like, God, I don’t want to, is this me? I’m not sure, etc. 

 

There are all kinds of problems with labeling yourself. But one of the things it does do is cause you to question the identity that you’re trapped in. Part of the reason why people feel stuck in addiction–and even in early sobriety–is because they’re trapped in the idea of who they think they should be as opposed to allowing themselves to become who they are.

The Recovery Identity and Transformation

Becoming who you are has to do with letting go of ideas. It doesn’t mean you have to take on the label of alcoholic. That’s a personal choice that depends on how you relate to that idea, but it does mean that your identity has to change. 

 

Think about it. If my identity doesn’t change, how am I going to make the deep kind of transformation that I need to sustain recovery and live a fulfilling life? How can I go from being a pessimist to an optimist? How can I go from being depressed to being happy? How can I go from being anxious to being calm without letting go of how I see myself? 

 

That’s a sacred process that needs to be held. It’s not something that happens in 30 days. It’s not even something that happens in a couple months. It’s something that we work at; it’s a developmental shift that happens over the course of years.

 

I call it developing a recovery identity. It doesn’t have to be somebody else’s definition of what it means to be a person in recovery, but you do have to have some definition of what it means for you to be in recovery. You have to identify that with who you are. 

 

So when I think about myself, I think about myself as a husband, hip-hop MC, leader in an organization, father, and as a person in recovery.

 

What that all means…I could talk about that forever. But I identify as a person in recovery, because that’s part of who I am…It’s part of my story. 

 

It’s part of why I’m here right now.

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Celebrating Women’s History Month

 

March is Women’s History Month

 

It’s a time to honor the women that helped change history and shape the future. Their dedication, passion, and commitment lead to contributions leaving an indelible mark on American–and world–history.

 

President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8th, 1980 National Women’s History Week, “Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.”

 

Seven years later, Congress expanded Women’s History Week to Women’s History Month.[/vc_column_text]

Changing the Landscape of Addiction Treatment

 

One woman’s brave openness with her own struggles paved the way to help countless others struggling with addiction.

 

Betty Ford became the first lady of the United States when her husband, Gerald, assumed the office following President Nixon’s resignation. She was well known for her openness about important–and sometimes controversial–subjects.

 

Betty understood the impact her position could make on influencing policy and creating change. She bravely spoke her mind about topics like equal rights for women, abortion, and divorce. Her efforts resulted in Time magazine awarding her Woman of the Year in 1975.

 

Betty also shared her struggles with addiction after being released from treatment in 1978. The experience had a profound effect on her. She also realized, at the time, there wasn’t an established recovery facility to meet the unique needs of women’s addiction.

 

In 1982, she helped establish the Betty Ford Center dedicated to helping all people–especially women–recover from chemical dependency. Throughout the years, the Betty Ford Center has become a beacon of hope for many struggling with addiction.

Recover Integrity Honors Today’s Women Impacting the Future

 

Recover Integrity is an intensive outpatient program that also offers sober living accommodations for men struggling with addiction. We are grateful for the huge impact these women on our team have made to our client’s and our community. Their commitment, care, and expertise play an invaluable role in supporting the recovery journeys of our clients and their families.

 

This month we want to celebrate the women of Recover Integrity! It’s not easy work. Their compassion and willingness to see others through to better days is an integral part of the success of our program.

 

 

With great pride, we want to give a shout out to:

 

 

Over the course of this month, we will honor each woman individually on social media. Keep an eye out! 
And we thank all the women who create the spaces to help heal and transform the world.
We encourage you to show gratitude for the women around you who often create unseen ripples that turn into waves of positive change.   

“If you truly pour your heart into what you believe in, even if it makes you vulnerable, amazing things can and will happen.”

–Emma Watson

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Seeking Help for Addiction: Where to Begin?

Are you questioning your relationship to drugs or alcohol? Do you think you might have addiction or alcoholism? Has the problem passed some kind of threshold where you believe something needs to change? 

 

How do you know if that’s happened? Well, first of all, I would say…you know it’s happened when you’re asking yourself these questions.

 

Does that mean it’s happened permanently? Does that mean it is exactly the same as your uncle? Maybe not. But you know, when you’re asking that question, the vast majority of the time…you know. 

 

And so it’s not really the right question to ask.

 

Take Action By Asking Yourself…

What do I do about this? 

 

The hardest part is to be vulnerable enough to pick up the phone and reach out to a friend or relative who’s been through something and say, “Here’s what’s going on. I need help.” 

 

That is by far the hardest part…And there’s a reason why that’s so hard.

 

Fearing the Next Step…and It’s Okay

It’s not just the vulnerability of being seen in a weak moment. It’s also that some part of you knows that this problem is going to take a lot of work. Fearing taking the first step on a journey that is going to be pretty long and really tough..but it may be the best life decision you ever made. 

 

Of course, you’re not necessarily thrilled about it. You may not even feel like you chose it yourself if family and friends intervened.  

 

…But asking for help is the first step. 

 

Finding Addiction Treatment: What You Should Know

The second piece of that is, how do I find good help? 

 

Nowadays, that’s very difficult. You go on the internet and type keywords in Google…

 

….Suddenly you have everybody and their mother marketing towards you. They can solve your problems. They’ve got all the solutions. 

 

So I never recommend using the internet–not reviews, not any of this–for choosing the beginning of your recovery.

The Better Way to Find Addiction Treatment

It may take a little more work, but the results can save you a lot of time, money, and disappointment. 

 

You need to look around and see who’s in your community. Start talking to people. Find somebody you trust and then maybe that person knows somebody that they trust. Eventually you can get a firm word on an addiction treatment program that is actually making a difference in people’s lives.

 

Sure, all this asking around may be uncomfortable…even embarrassing. 

 

Consider attending some AA or NA meetings. The individuals at these meetings know what you are going through–they’re not judging you–they can give you some valuable insights.  

 

Persistence pays off. You’ll connect with someone who’s been to a good treatment program. Or maybe somebody who knows a great addiction therapist, counselor, mentor, case manager, or interventionist…whatever it is you’re looking for. 

 

Now more than ever, I think it is important to seek treatment with a personal recommendation from somebody in your community. 

 

And, of course, always reach out to me and Recover Integrity.

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

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We are Rooted in the Foundation of the  12-Steps and Believe in Long-Term Care

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The Power of Framing

In therapy, there’s a term we use…Framing. 

 

I actually believe that the term originated, and the way they use it in therapy, is from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). 

 

Even though a lot of therapists don’t respect NLP, a lot was stolen from it. And one of those notions, I could be wrong about this, is the notion of framing and reframing.

 

What is Framing and Reframing? 

 

Framing and reframing has to do with the interpretive structure of consciousness of what reality is or is not given. 

 

So I’m sitting in this room with the light and the microphone and the camera. Several people here…But that’s not given to me. 

 

That’s actually kind of a complex interpretation of what’s going on, you know. I mean, first of all, I’m inferring that there’s a thing called people, there’s a thing called light, there’s a thing called camera, and there’s a thing called room.

 

I mean, if we try to define all of these things–like what exactly is a room and what’s not a room– does it have to have four walls, only three? Does it have to have a ceiling, or no ceiling? Does it have to be built by man or can it be a natural room…or is it a cave?

 

It’s a lot to consider. 

 

Interpreting Our Reality

 

There’s a certain interpretive structure that goes into how we interface, understand, and cognize our reality, that’s called framing. We frame things in a certain way. The way that we generally think about that in therapeutic terms has to do with what we emphasize in any given experience. 

 

So I can have a very scary experience. What I’m thinking about that experience may be in order to communicate it to somebody else later. How I frame that experience is how I hold it. You know, that was very scary.

 

Let’s say I was on an airplane and there was terrible turbulence. That was very scary and I never want to do that again. You know, that plane could have crashed. 

 

I can frame that completely differently. It’s unbelievable that human beings were able to build these flying machines that take us from one island to another. You know, now and then, there’s turbulence. It’s very scary, but it’s much safer than even driving in a car or possibly riding a bicycle, right? It has to do with how I frame my reality.

 

So I think that the term and the deep understanding of the term is super important. 

 

Feelings Are Choices

 

Rabbi Mordecai Finley, who’s a great teacher of mine, says something very controversial. I don’t think it’s an original thought of his, but he says, “At a deep level, feelings are choices.” 

 

What does that mean? Feelings are the one thing we don’t have a choice over, right?

 

I don’t wake up and choose how I feel. And I think what he’s saying is that we have a deep pre-linguistic, emotional framing structure that we have a say in every day.

 

I’ll say that again because it’s a complicated notion. At a deep level, feelings are choices. We have a deep pre-linguistic–underneath language–framing mechanism that relates to our experiences

 

It’s so deep it relates to the part of us that we would call primitive and emotional. The deep brain. And I actually have a say in how that interpretation happens.

 

Posture and Your Reality

 

Jordan Peterson is a controversial figure. I should probably do a video about his journey with Xanax or, at least, what they’re reporting about it. It makes no sense to me as an expert in that field. 

 

He talks in his book,12 Rules for Life, about making your back straight. On one hand he has kind of a silly piece of advice: ”Okay Grandma, thank you for telling me to sit up straight.”

 

On the other hand, what he’s saying is, how you hold your body changes how you interpret and interface with your reality. It changes how you frame yourself. 

 

Do I think about myself as somebody who’s low confidence and has no backbone? Or is my pushing–my framing–who I am in such a way as to be assertive and to matter in the world? And my posture says a lot about that, right? About how I’m oriented…Framing orientation.

 

And so, that notion, however true it is, is a helpful notion. It’s empowering because it means I have the power in some ways–and at most moments–to frame what’s happening with me.

 

Framing and Grief

 

I’ll give one really deep story about this. I was having lunch with a friend of a friend. He’s an older gentleman and we were just kind of chit-chatting. 

 

As we were chit-chatting, it came up that he had a child that died when she was about 12 years old. He kept talking so I couldn’t say, “Oh, my condolences.” The normal decorum when somebody says that. 

 

He just kind of kept talking. 

 

So when he finally finished talking, I said, “By the way, you know, I wanted to offer, you know, my condolences. That’s just terrible and tragic.” 

 

We were having a deep spiritual conversation, so he kind of pulled me aside and said, “You know, I wouldn’t say this to most people, but I think you’d understand the fact that she passed is not a bad thing. Well, most people, if I say that, they’d think I’m crazy, but I think you get it.” 

 

And he walked me through the experience of her sickness and how she held it and how he held it. He shared what the experience of her actually passing was like. He didn’t see it as bad…he didn’t frame it as bad. 

 

And I don’t know that I could do that. I definitely wouldn’t want to find out. 

 

It struck me at a deep level. For this man, it was kind of like, at some soul level, this man is in touch with something where he’s able to frame a tragedy and hold it in such a powerful and good way that if we all could do…Well, the whole world would be in a better place.

 

So that’s the power of framing…it reaches down in the past turns the therapeutic into the spiritual.

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

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We are Rooted in the Foundation of the  12-Steps and Believe in Long-Term Care

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Using MDMA to Treat Trauma

We’re at an interesting time in the treatment of mental health and substance abuse. We’re trying things that many haven’t even considered in the past–and they’re showing promising results. 

 

Specifically, I’m talking about the use of plant medicine psychedelics–what used to be illicit drugs–in the treatment of mental health and substance abuse conditions. 

Can Ecstasy Help with Mental Health?

I find it so ironic, MDMA, which is commonly known as ecstasy or molly, is being recognized as therapy. 

 

Kids, including me, prior to getting sober, are running around and dancing on this stuff. Man, I felt bad about it, like I shouldn’t be taking this stuff, it’s bad for me. But, man, it just felt so good because when you take ecstasy or molly or whatever it would feel like love. It’s just you feel loved.  

 

On one end it’s a drug. But on the other hand, it feels like love. 

 

So it’s an interesting time now, they’re bringing what used to be a street drug to give people the experience of feeling loved as a way to heal…and that’s all MDMA does.

MDMA and PTSD 

MAPS right now, I think they’re in their third clinical trial. Currently, you can legally use MDMA in the United States for the treatment of trauma. The study they did was on veterans with PTSD. MDMA was by far the most powerful treatment that they found for treating complex PTSD for veterans. 

 

I don’t recall the exact statistics, you can look them up, but it was something like 70% of people that did the pre-therapy sessions, MDMA sessions, and the follow-up sessions no longer met the criteria for PTSD. 

 

I think it’s a total of five sessions totaling 10 hours. The MDMA sessions, I think, are four to six hours. 

 

Ten hours. Do you know how hard it is to treat PTSD with other methods? 

 

I’ve tried to help people, I have a treatment program for PTSD. It’s incredibly difficult. It takes years. But MDMA could, within a couple of weeks or so, be effective enough where you don’t meet the criteria for PTSD anymore. 

 

What’s happening in that experience? There’s some technical interesting stuff happening with the brain and the amygdala so you don’t feel so defensive and you’re able to be in your body and feel comfortable and safe…so that’s interesting. 

 

I was a kid and I took ecstasy when I was 15 years old. I remember the feeling. It was love. I could produce a feeling of love that heals my PTSD with another person that’s there holding the container for me in a therapeutic way. So I find that very exciting. 

Drawbacks of MDMA as Therapy?

I’m conservative about all of this stuff because I know human beings find great ways to fuck things up. We can take a good thing and fuck it up. 

 

So, on the one hand, I’m involved in the discourse and the conversation about these medicines coming into recovery, which is tricky. What does it mean to be in recovery by possibly using MDMA for trauma treatment? I don’t think it’ll be as complicated as it sounds, but it will be a little bit complicated. 

 

MDMA can be addictive, although it’s not many people’s drug of choice. You can definitely overdo it and there are risk factors to doing too much MDMA. It’s largely around serotonin or serotonin syndrome and probably other issues that we’re not even aware of. 

 

I’m excited about combining a drug like MDMA with therapy. Because recently–I’d say in the last 60 years–those two fields have been kind of split. 

Integrating Medications and Therapy

You go to see a psychiatrist and ask for medication. They give you a prescription, and, hopefully, you’re on your way. 

 

You go to a therapist and they’re doing therapy with you. They don’t prescribe medications, just more therapy.

 

So something people are talking about with this plant medicine MDMA stuff is bringing medications and therapy together. You do the medication. You do the therapy on the medication. That’s kind of cool. It’s a new way of integrating medications and therapy.

 

It’s bringing two somewhat distinct fields together in a particular act, for the sake of healing, which I think is worth investigating. 

 

I’m excited about it. I’m always conservative. I’m always like, “Hey, slow down, let’s be careful. Who can this work for? Who can’t this work for?” There’s a lot to talk about with MDMA. 

 

But, in general, I think it’s worth people knowing because these are experiences that can help people heal and transform.

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

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We are Rooted in the Foundation of the  12-Steps and Believe in Long-Term Care

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Why “God” Is Such an Important Word

Probably the simplest, most difficult, complicated, controversial, and important concept in spirituality–and I’d probably say reality–is God. 

 

Sometimes it doesn’t feel right to even talk about God. Who are we to talk about God? Who am I to talk about God? 

 

If I’m being more honest and vulnerable–I guess in a moment like you ask God to talk through you–we could see that the reality of God is the most important phenomenon, the most important expression for humanity and for our survival.

 

Revelations about God

In Judaism, there’s a story about a man named Abraham who had a revelation that there was a Creator of the Universe. This Creator cared about the universe and particularly cared about every individual human. 

 

Imagine being Abraham, having that Revelation and that Truth. Imagine having the experience of God at a time where people didn’t think about God in that way. 

 

People thought about local gods; the god of the wind, the god of this, and the god of that…not about the Creator of the Universe–one that cared about people. 

 

Imagine you had kids, brothers, sisters, friends, and you knew this was truer than anything you ever knew. Imagine how important it would be for you to want to transmit that to your kids, family, and community–you just got to share there’s a God. 

 

Origins of Religion

When we think about it that way, to me, it becomes very obvious how religion started. 

 

How do I encode this and make sure my kids know and their kids know? 

 

I’m gonna write a song or story about it. Let me write a prayer or make sure I write it down. I’ll create a dance. I got to make sure that we all know that we’re here for a reason and that we’re scared about. It’s also our job to care about each other.

 

Martin Buber is a famous philosopher and Jewish thinker who passed away a long time ago. In his book, Eclipse of God, he talks about the importance of not abandoning the word “God”. 

 

He didn’t talk about whether God exists or not because he’s probably too smart to talk about whether God exists–unlike me. 

 

But he says, we must not abandon the word because you can’t find a word like it. He says, in the inner treasure chamber of the smartest philosophers with the most crystalline, pure, pristine, diamond, shining ideas, you will never find a word like God. 

 

It’s a word that’s been consecrated on many tongues for all time. A word that represents people dying and people living and people’s worst moments and people’s best moments that’s been in the mouths of men since the beginning of the beginning. 

 

He said, “Where can you find a word like that?” I think he’s smart, he doesn’t talk about God, he talks about the word because the word points at reality.

 

The Shared Soul We Call “God”

It’s like a soul. Some people don’t think they have a soul. That’s weird to me. Really, you don’t think you have a soul? 

 

Because I can feel your soul…because it’s you. You don’t think the world has a soul? What about the cosmos? What about the universe? Just us that has a soul? 

 

You can’t see the soul in your pet dog? The pet dog has a soul and you have a soul, but the world doesn’t have a soul

 

We all don’t have a shared soul that we call God? A source that cares, that’s deep, that’s transformative, loves, knows that order will conquer chaos, love will conquer evil, and that this whole drama that we all live in is actually about something? 

 

You don’t think so? 

 

That’s HaShem which in Hebrew translates, Ha just means The, and Shem means Name. There is no name, it’s just The Name.

 

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

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We are Rooted in the Foundation of the  12-Steps and Believe in Long-Term Care

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Are‌ ‌We‌ ‌Dreaming‌ ‌Reality?‌

There are two more ideas in the domain of spirituality that I think are helpful. And maybe I’ll paint the picture this way: There is a group of new-age thinkers–and I think I fall along these lines–I don’t know if it’s true or not, but just as a different way of understanding reality. 

 

This theory states that the brain is not an organ that produces consciousness. But in fact, consciousness is the fundamental nature of reality. 

 

Our Brains: A Fabrication?

So let’s further do it. Reality is a dream. The brain is an organ that’s being dreamt of by the “Great Dreamer in the Sky”. That creates the dream of the universe. That dream… It dreams of a thing called the brain which we have in our heads.

 

The function of that “dream brain thing” is to filter out the vast majority of reality. But also to tune in so that we can function. 

 

And so they talk about the brain as like a radio receiver — not an organ that filters and receives; not something that produces. 

 

And so if you think about that model, which I like, I think it accounts actually for more of what I’ve experienced than more of a materialistic model where we build the brain up and out. I think we build in.

 

All Part of One

If we think about reality in that way, then what we understand is that we’re all part of one whole, completely connected organism. And that the experience that we’re having as an individual is just an experience we get to have for a period of time–before we are brought back into some different form of being connected to this organism or somewhere else. 

 

So when you think about spirituality from that perspective, it’s just changed the sort of fundamental orientation of how I think about reality altogether. Then a term like the Collective Unconscious or Cosmic Consciousness makes a lot of sense. 

 

It means that at certain moments, the filter might come down a little more. And you get a glimpse–in a dream of revelation or a moment of clarity–about the larger conscious field that you are always a part of but usually not aware of. 

 

And Cosmic Consciousness has to do with consciousness beyond the human species. And, in fact, beyond all species. It’s like more than a glimpse. It’s a mystical experience of the point, reason, and being of the Cosmos. 

 

Which is something you could never put into language, but you might be able to experience it. 

 

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What’s Sacred? How Does It Become Sacred?

I went to school to study to be a Rabbi–which was a trippy experience. I kind of recommend it for some people, if you’re interested. 

 

I had a professor who asked an interesting question about the Old Testament, which we call the Torah. Namely, the five books of Moses–or a piece of the Old Testament. And he said, “Is this book sacred?” 

 

I’m not Orthodox, you know? So I’m not an incredibly traditional Jew. As you can see, I’m not wearing the kippah or stuff like that. It was an interesting question for a non-fundamentalist, non-traditionalist Jew to say, “Is this book sacred?”

 

Very tough question to answer. 

What Makes Something Sacred?

And if it’s sacred, why? I could ask a different question: What is sacred in your life? Here we go…A family. 

 

And anything else that’s sacred in your life? And what makes it sacred? What gives something the kind of authority that it transcends what we would call the ordinary to the level of sacred?

 

Wow. And I would say there is a lot that’s sacred. 

 

The place that I start with people who have a hard time with that notion–like the metaphysical notion of the sacred, is ancestors. 

 

If we study anthropology and go back historically to look at tribal peoples long before organized religion–before Judaism, Christianity, and Hinduism. I think about most of those older shamanic tribal traditions or ancestor traditions. Even in Judaism when we pray, we pray to our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, etc. Those are our ancestors. 

 

There’s something about our ancestors–those who have passed–that’s sacred. It’s just somebody who’s an atheist and is wrestling with entering into spiritual domains…that’s an interesting conversation.

Atheism, Sacred Meaning, and Cemeteries

How would you feel about pissing on a grave? 

 

Are you desecrating something? What if nobody ever knew about it? Like nobody saw you do it. You peed on a grave. Well, if there’s no metaphysical reality, nothing sacred, who cares? The person’s dead. Why wouldn’t you pee on the grave? 

 

If there was some good incentive on the other side, if I’m peeing on the grave, I would want to pee on the grave. Because we have a sense that it’s a taboo or something about desecrating the dead. 

 

Well, why is that? They’re dead, who cares? You know you’re an atheist. They’re fucking worms and fertilizer. Who gives a shit?

 

But for most people still, there’s something there. It’s a boundary they don’t want to cross. They say, “Well, there’s actually something about that, that’s wrong.” 

 

I’m like, in a relative way? Just like wrong for some people, or is it wrong for everybody? And you know people…push them hard enough and they are thinking and honest enough, there is something there that feels like it should not be violated. 

Identifying the Sacred During Modern Times

And for me, that is so important, especially in these times. We live in this hypermodernity with hyper-information and hyper-reality. You know, these slogan-y terms. 

 

But if my kids aren’t in touch with the fact that there are elements of life that are sacred and in fact, if my kids aren’t in touch with the fact that they are sacred–their being and their soul is sacred–I have a big problem with that.

 

The recognition of the sacred as part and parcel of the spiritual tradition that’s been handed down to us as a fundamental creates the kind of boundaries that allow a society to not only thrive, but probably just exist at all, is crucial.

 

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The Soul, Higher Self, and Ego-Self: Understanding the Differences

We’re trying to map out spirituality. I like to kind of place it within the realm of a person. 

 

How do I interface with spirit? Where’s my spirit? What was going on with me? 

 

There are a few terms that are helpful. Some I talked about in previous videos. 

The Higher Self and Ego Self: Part of the Psyche

There’s a higher self that’s more of a rational observer mind. The part that knows and seeks the good. 

 

And there is the ego-self which is kind of my everyday operation. The ego-self is very helpful, it protects me. When I get in a car and drive, I’m operating from the sort of habitual nature of the ego-self. A lot of my daily, more utilitarian interactions, are operated by the ego-self. 

 

But it’s only when I’m trying to figure out how to be a better husband, father, friend, human, soul, I’m thinking…

 

Okay, I got to find that higher self and work through this. 

 

So you have a higher self, you have the ego-self, I think that’s in the place of the psyche. 

What is the Soul?

Then there is an interesting term called, the soul. And you might think about the soul as also having many dimensions. And the soul is a little bit different than the higher self.  

 

The higher self is rational and logical, in some sense. The soul, to me, is the realm of poetry. It’s the realm of art. It involves the archetypes that I spoke about in a recent video. 

 

And it’s also sort of the seat of meaning. Meaning is not a rational concept. Meaning is the faculty. When something is meaningful, it has nothing to do with whether it’s irrational or not. Meaning is happening somewhere else. 

 

When I’m cognizing or thinking about something important or good? For me, that’s the higher self in action. 

 

But when I see something, have a great moment of watching my children and tears come to my eyes…It’s a meaningful moment. To me, that’s happening in the soul. 

 

So the soul is separate from that higher self. And the soul is sensitive. The soul is subtle. 

 

I have certain colors and textures I associate with the realm of the soul. The realm of the soul is universal. It’s not personal, it’s not particularly individualized. It would make a lot of sense to me if we all shared a species soul. If we all shared in a world soul, and I just experienced my bit of that in this incarnation of my existence. 

 

I think that’s what happens when you know somebody.

The Soul During Times of Trouble

I can use an example of somebody in addiction, but it could be anybody when they hit a bottom in their life. It’s like something in their soul can’t take it anymore. Something in that realm of meaning, in that more transcendent, deep space. 

 

But we don’t think about the soul as happening in the head. We think about it like somewhere between the heart and the gut–not because the soul has a physical place–but we feel it at the core. 

 

And that’s where that feeling of demoralization can happen. And that’s where you go, “Man, I need to change something.” 

 

So you have that experience–sometimes it’s very dark. But the meaningful experience of the soul that generates it motivates this different kind of experience. That turns into actionable choices and then starts operating from the higher self. 

 

And the soul is beyond our control, the soul is happening. I can bullshit my head all day long, but it is very difficult to bullshit my soul.

 

I think what we’re talking about spirituality–at its core–is the realm of the soul.

 

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