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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.

 

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Ayahuasca: An Opportunity for Healing?

One of the most popular plant medicine experiences–and it’s just kind of out–is Ayahuasca. It’s a South American brew, a tea, that has hallucinogenic properties largely coming from DMT–a compound produced in certain plants. The Ayahuasca vine allows the DMT to pass the blood-brain barrier. 

 

Using Ayahuasca is a seven-hour experience. They call it psychedelic, but these are loose categories. 

 

Ayahuasca vs. Other Psychedelics 

 

I mean, there’s a difference in the psychedelic experience of psilocybin and Ayahuasca. I would say that the Ayahuasca experience can be a lot more metaphysical. It’s a lot less predictable, deeper, and stronger in ways that aren’t easy to articulate. We’re talking about complicated complex phenomenological experiences, but people have been using Ayahuasca for healing for a long time.

 

Traditionally shamans used Ayahuasca to be able to diagnose the diseases and problems of people in the tribes so that the tribe’s people wouldn’t drink it. The shamans would drink it, so they could see in the spiritual realm where others were broken. Then the shamans help them heal–usually with song and medicine rattles, sometimes potions, and things like that. 

 

As of late, people have been drinking Ayahuasca to see…maybe for a lot of reasons. 

 

But, you know, the healing context to experience the brokenness for themselves and begin to heal in those spaces while actively on Ayahuasca, as well as do the integration work afterwards, is complicated. 

 

So, it’s an interesting thing to think about like I’ve talked about in previous videos, the sort of realms, like the realm of the imaginary or the archetypal realm, and even an angelic realm–who knows what these realms are and where they are. 

 

But when you drink Ayahuasca, you get access to those dimensions of being whether they’re being produced by the brain or they actually exist somewhere…You’re there. 

 

Ayahuasca and the Psyche

 

And so, if you think about that, Ayahuasca is giving you access to what we call the realm of the psyche. I don’t limit that to the brain. 

 

I call the realm of the psyche like, “What’s going on in there?” 

 

And you can also maneuver in there, change things, ask for things, and get clarity about what’s in there. And so what Ayahuasca is doing is giving you a kind of access to yourself and maybe to other realms that you normally don’t have. 

 

In that sense, anything can happen. People have reported cancer being cured. Others say their PTSD, depression, and anxiety were cured. In addition, people go from being atheists to believers. 

 

When you get that kind of access anything can happen and that’s what’s phenomenal about Ayahuasca.

 

Dangers of Ayahuasca

 

It’s also what’s dangerous about Ayahuasca…Anything can happen. 

 

You might get access to something that further traumatizes you–that means you might get stuck. It could be painful; you could get PTSD. 

 

So it’s a very deep, powerful experience but it’s one that we should approach with reverence and caution, which is, you know, not the American way.

 

I like to be kind of a voice that says, “Hey, let’s take this slow, let’s figure out what this is. Let’s figure out how to integrate this into our culture in a healthy, reverential way.” 

 

As opposed to: “Hey let’s just go drink this as tea…it’s going to cure everybody.” 

 

Ayahuasca…Moving Forward

 

So it’s a fascinating subject. It breaks into many domains. It’s interesting to think about it in terms of recovery–that you could use this powerful, hallucinogenic brew to heal from a lifelong addiction. 

 

It’s happened many times. I know plenty of people personally that have done that. It’s not addictive. So, there is absolutely no risk in terms of being addicted to Ayahuasca. It’s not an experience a person is going to want to have every day and you know, build a tolerance to it. 

 

So the risk factors are more around PTSD. The benefits are unpredictable but there is certainly a potential.

 

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When Do We Acquire the Knowledge of Self?

So when it comes to the notion of authenticity, RZA is like “He is my guy.” 

 

RZA is a producer and also a hip-hop MC of a group called Wu-Tang from Long Island. I grew up listening to him.

 

And I remember being 13 years old smoking weed in my cousin’s bedroom, listening to an album called Liquid Swords. And it was like an alien had landed and delivered an album from another planet. 

 

We were like, “Who are these guys?” 

 

And it is because their hip-hop lineage–like where they got their sound from–actually was not other hip-hop artists. They got their sound from Kung Fu movies. So it is a mix of hip-hop, boom-bap drums from the East Coast, Kung Fu sounds, and the Soul samples. It was really amazing.

 

Anyway, I heard this interview with Rick Rubin and RZA, and, basically, Rick was like, “Man…” (kind of like me) “Hey man, you are like an alien, but you are making–you started making this kind of music at like fifteen years old. Like who are you? How did you create Wu-Tang?” 

 

And RZA goes…He has his phrase. I will never forget it. He says in the interview, “Rick, I had knowledge of myself at a very young age…like 11 years old.” 

 

And just the way that he said it…I am familiar with Wu-Tang, RZA, and hip-hop. The way he said, “I had knowledge of myself at a very young age.” For me, it was like a theory about how human beings develop in a way that I had never thought about it. 

 

So I give a lot of credit to RZA for this because I think about human development and psychological development. I actually know about stage development from Kohlberg and Piaget. I know about how humans grow, learn, and transform. I know the great thinkers on the subject. 

 

But for me, my favorite right now is RZA…because there is not a category in developmental psychology that says, “When do we get knowledge of self in the way that he is talking about?” 

 

Because he is implying that he knew who he was supposed to be and what he was supposed to be doing at 11 years old.

 

This idea is so crucial. I am raising kids and I have expectations about how they are behaving in the world but they are also individual and unique souls. One of the things I want to understand is: when does this kid have knowledge of self? 

 

Because at that point, I have to trust what they are doing. I mean, I do not know if RZA’s mom, when he was smoking weed and watching Kung Fu movies was like, “Well, he knows himself and he knows exactly what he was supposed to be doing. So let me let him do his thing.” 

 

The other thing that struck me when he said that…For me that experience happened much later. I got sober at 21 years old. But if you were to ask me in the way that RZA was implying–or at least my interpretation of what RZA was implying–when I had knowledge of self, I would probably say not until my 30s. 

 

It was very interesting. So it is interesting to think about that as a category of being and how it relates to a notion of authenticity. How can you be authentic without having knowledge of self? Without knowing who you are? 

 

And I do not mean that in some complete sense. I just mean that in some sense where you wake up and you kind of just know who you are and you know generally what you are supposed to be doing and how you are supposed to be. 

 

It is not some fancy academic concept, but I think it points to something so important and so real about the human journey and the human soul.

 

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The Potential Fallout of Suboxone Treatment

 

What to Expect:

 

  1. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) uses prescribed drugs to help individuals struggling with opioid addiction manage their withdrawal symptoms and stay engaged in treatment.
  2. Suboxone (or Subutex) is popularly prescribed to save lives and reduce the harm of opioid addiction.
  3. What are the potential long-term effects of Suboxone in an individual’s overall quality of life?

 

Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

 

Opiate use in the United States is at a crisis level–too many people are dying from abusing and overdosing on these powerful drugs. Opiates are highly addictive and a single overdose can prove fatal. 

As a result of the opiate epidemic, lives are needlessly lost or destroyed, families devastated, and the socio-economic impacts widespread.

In an effort to save lives, medications have been developed as a means of harm reduction. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) gives an individual struggling with opiate addiction a fighting chance to recover and return to a normal life. That being said, a simple medication is not going to solve all of one’s problems–it is often a starting point where extensive counseling and therapy is necessary.

But is MAT just substituting one drug for another?

Not necessarily.

Drugs like heroin are unregulated and dangerous. Even prescription opiates are very dangerous when not taken as directed. 

MAT offers those struggling with opiate addiction safer, FDA-approved medications. MAT medications–like Suboxone–help reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms without producing that euphoric high.

 

Using Suboxone to Treat Opiate Addiction  

Suboxone is one commonly prescribed medication to treat opiate addiction. It is actually a combination of two different drugs–buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that blocks the brain’s opiate receptors to reduce urges. The effects are similar to an opioid, but weaker.

 

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. It counters the effects of opioids in the system. In fact, Naloxone is a commonly used medication by first responders encountering an individual experiencing an opioid overdose. 

 

Suboxone is usually self-administered once a day as a film or tablet placed under the tongue to dissolve. 

 

Potential Future Challenges for Suboxone Users

 

As a result of the opiate crisis, we have a percentage of young people that are on some sort of opiate blocker or opiate substitute–the most common being Suboxone. 

 

The first crisis we may face in the future of addiction is the vast number of individuals taking Suboxone or Subutex for up to 10 years. We don’t really understand the long-term effects of these drugs. 

 

We don’t know how these medications affect people’s development. What happens when an 18-year-old is put on Suboxone. How will it affect their development as they reach the mid-20s? Maybe it’s hardly at all. Maybe it’s a big deal. BUT…we don’t know for sure.

 

Will it be a future challenge?

 

Will people start having mental health challenges as they reach their 30s, 40s, or beyond? Can it be related to Suboxone?

 

And then there is the issue of getting off Suboxone. It’s well known coming off Suboxone is harder than kicking heroin. So, Suboxone may be saving an individual’s life, but the detox and resulting depression can last months if not years.

 

So, in a nutshell, we are putting a band-aid on a gaping wound to help save a life. If we don’t tend to that “wound” with counseling, treatment, and teaching life skills, that “band-aid” may save lives, but not QUALITY of lives. 

 

Will we have the capability to deal with these issues? If we think proactively, there certainly is a potential. 

 

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Awareness: Know When You Check Out and Need to Check In “Being Present”

There is a term you will hear in yoga, in therapy, therapy groups, in the transformational arenas, in recovery, in treatment–it is this idea of “being present.” 

 

It is not something that was a common phrase twenty years ago–when I first started out in the arena of recovery. But it is something that has become more and more popular. And so has notions of disassociation. 

 

So people, being aware that they check out–people are more aware of that, generally. In the population now–and people are more aware that–you might need to check in which we call “being present”.

 

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Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

One of the things you will commonly hear with people that are working in the domain of spirituality or working on transforming and recovery is you might hear the term, “Everything happens for a reason.”

 

For me, working in a treatment setting, it is something I usually hear from somebody. And when I hear it, I actually think it is a good sign. 

 

The story will go something like this

 

Somebody comes in and there is almost always some difficulty that has happened. Some challenge that has happened that brought them into treatment–a DUI, an issue with a spouse, an issue at work. Something has coerced them to go. Okay. Okay. Okay. I need to get some help

 

It is very rare when somebody just comes in because they had a revelation. So I will be working with somebody in treatment and, you know, essentially they have a lot of wreckage in their life. Something has been devastated.[/vc_column_text]

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“I think that everything happened for a reason”

 

So they are depressed and they are having a difficult time. They do not want to be there and [wonder] what the hell happened to my life and all this stuff. Then you will see the mood start to shift and you might hear something after a couple of weeks when you are sitting in a group

 

I am facilitating a group and somebody will say, “You know, this has been really difficult. This has been one of the hardest things that I have ever had to go through…But now looking back at what happened and having found myself here, I think that everything happened for a reason.” 

 

So for me, that is where the phrase came from. I think when you have those kinds of phrases when they stick and they are passed down, it is because they are pointing to a certain kind of experience that people have.

 

That is not just people in recovery.  Anybody can have that kind of experience. [/vc_column_text]

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Revelation or spiritual awakening

 

The experience is: I am going through a difficult time, but somehow the way I am seeing it and understanding it has changed. 

 

I mean, from a spiritual point of view, we would call that a revelation or spiritual awakening. Suddenly, I look at my history and I see a consolidated cohesive story that I did not see before… And I look back and I go, “everything that has happened brought me to this moment”. 

 

It is all for a reason. So for me that phrase–that is the truth of it. The truth of it is that experience. The phrase itself is not completely true. Some people make the mistake of allowing that phrase to become an ideology, to become a philosophy that they live by.

 

But it is a limited philosophy. It is limited in a couple of areas. 

 

I will give an example, in my mind, you are sort of a fundamentalist spiritual or religious person if you have a young child, God forbid, that gets sick. Let us say terminally sick. Let us say a kid that has cancer and you are living by the philosophy everything happens for a reason. 

 

What reason is that? I mean, you could give some religious reason, God has a plan. I do not understand. Okay, that is great. But if you were that God, you probably would not plan that. I do not know if I jive with that completely in the way I understand religion and spirituality.

 

The other way that it does not work is all of the mundane and randomness of our reality. The garbage bag breaking. I got a toothache.

Is that happening for a reason? 

 

Yeah, I did not brush my teeth well, or I did not take care of this cavity but is it happening for a cosmic reason? Not one that I am interested in. 

 

One of the ways that I approach the spirituality period is being able to draw a line as to where I am applying a spiritual lens and where I am not. If I know somebody who has a sick child, I do not go to the hospital and say, “Hey, this is happening for a reason.” I keep my mouth shut and say, how can I support you? Right? 

 

So that term points to a very important, I would say, spiritual reality of: Wow, there is something here that has allowed me to be in this harmonic moment coming from a really difficult period. 

 

There is something very essential, important, and spiritual about the experience, but it is not a life philosophy.

 

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What does it mean to be vulnerable?

Being Vulnerable in Recovery

If you come to treatment or you are coming to recovery, one word you will definitely hear is vulnerability. The importance of being vulnerable in the therapeutic relationship–particularly in treatment–is something you might hear from a spouse as well. 

 

On the one hand, I think it is a word a lot of people have heard–definitely in California. On the other hand, it is a word that is often misunderstood. I think the way people automatically take the idea of being more vulnerable is allowing people to see and feel a certain domain of my emotional life, allowing people to see my sensitivity, allowing people to see my compassion, allowing people to see my sadness. It is what we think about when we hear the word vulnerability.

 

What is Vulnerability?

One definition I like that a friend of mine–Mordecai Finley–uses is: vulnerability actually is not about letting people see your softer emotions, it is allowing yourself to affect and be affected by other people. 

 

Vulnerability is on some level a certain amount of emotional openness that is not appropriate for every area of your life. For instance, when I am walking into Wells Fargo going cash a check, there is just no need for me to be vulnerable. 

 

Why is it Important to be Vulnerable?

 

In my home life with my wife, with my children, in a therapeutic process, in a transformational process, in an intimate moment with a friend or lover–in those moments being able to allow what is going on with that person to affect me. Often we will call that empathy, and also knowing that I am affecting another person.

 

That interpersonal exchange, that is the essence of what vulnerability is about. I think it is important–not just for a recovery process–but I do not think you can have a healthy life or healthy meaningful relationships without vulnerability. 

 

 

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Transparency in Treatment: What Does it Mean?

When you are entering into recovery there are a few terms or words, ideas that you will hear over and over again. And they are outlining the contours of the space we are inhabiting when we are working on ourselves to transform–when we are engaging in recovery, when we are looking at optimal well-being. 

 

Transparency in Treatment

In treatment in particular, one of the terms that they will use is “transparency”. And I will talk about the value of therapeutic transparency. What they mean when they say that is being able to talk about what is happening internally. 

 

First of all–this piece is really crucial–be clear. Understand what is happening inside of yourself. When you understand what is happening inside of yourself and being able to articulate it out loud so that you can be supportable or get the kind of support you need. 

 

Transparency as a Metaphor

They use transparency, obviously, as a metaphor. Meaning make yourself see through, so that I can understand what is going on, so I can come in and help you. 

 

I mean, on the one hand, that is an essential and completely valuable way of approaching transformation especially with outside support. On the other hand, you cannot take it completely literally, because we all actually have a right to privacy. 

 

What does Transparency Really Mean?

Really what we mean when we say “be transparent”, is share about the important therapeutic processes and things I need to know, the information that I need to help you. But those things that are private, that you are not comfortable sharing, or that maybe do not fit in this domain that you are working on, you can keep those to yourself.

 

 

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Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication assisted treatment (including Suboxone and vivitrol)

 

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is using pharmaceutical medications, prescribed medications to help treat active addiction. 

 

It’s different than just the psychiatric medication that you use to treat underlying conditions of depression and anxiety. MAT treatment is a specific classification of drugs that are used to affect the addiction directly. And so there are agonists and antagonists drugs that provide an effect similar to the drug you were using, but allow you to be more functional and reduce the harm around the habit. You don’t break the habit you use something that’s like a derivative of that substance that would be like subtext for opiates or methadone. 

 

It’s a similar molecular structure and has similar effects but you can manage it better and you don’t deal with all of the negative repercussions or most of the negative repercussions of using heroin. 

 

Then there are the blockers that stop the effect or deter people from using certain substances and abuse of a trial. That’s that classes of drugs. And basically, that’s it’s come into treatment in recovery very strong.

 

It started with methadone a few decades ago, and then Suboxone a couple decades ago has become very popular. 

 

And it’s understandable. Basically, we’ve been in the midst of a pretty serious opiate epidemic and people are dying. You have city officials, county officials, government officials, parents, loved ones and society as a whole having a conversation about what we do about this. 

 

There are lots of research studies that show that people have a better chance of achieving recovery if they use medication-assisted treatment. 

 

Those studies are complex and I want to get too into that. They’re complicated questions to ask about those studies and their different opinions. It’s not univocal, and everybody has the same opinion. But I want to look at it in general. So what’s going on here? How do we think about this? 

 

You deal with different perspectives on MAT.

 

So if I’m a government official, and there are thousands of people dying in my district, or in my state, or in my city. I’m thinking, “How do I stop people from dying?” I’m gonna take 100 million dollars, and I’m going to put it into what statistically is the most beneficial thing, medication-assisted treatment, people have to stop dying. And it’s really all the government can do.

 

The government can’t assign an individual therapist, a psychiatrist, long term treatment, isolate people on an island, the government doesn’t have the ability to do nuanced individualized care. 

 

For each and every person who suffers from addiction, the government can’t assign treatment to even 5% of the people who need it. 

 

So I think, how do we stop an epidemic?  On that level, it makes perfect sense and I get it. On the individual level, it’s much more complex. I’ll give an easy example. If somebody is a poly substance abuser, let’s say somebody is 23 years old, they use and this is not uncommon. opiates or methamphetamine or cocaine or alcohol or marijuana. 

 

That’s a lot of young people, they use all kinds of stuff, whatever they get their hands on. They also lack discipline, and they lack a lot of structure and maturity. So they actually don’t know how to do basic things like make their bed. That’s something like 60% of the population and people in treatment right now. They don’t know how to live well. 

One of the things I’ve concerned about with Suboxone is the difficulty in getting off of Suboxone.

 

If you go look up, get off of Suboxone and go read the personal forums. You will see how incredibly hard it is. It’s kind of scary. It takes about 45 days, let’s say you’ve been on Suboxone and you started at a 12-milligram dosage, which is normal. And you’ve gotten all the way down to one milligram after three years. 

 

Then you decide, this is getting in the way of my growth, my psychological well being, and I don’t want to be dependent on this anymore. It’s been years. I’ve seen people want to get off one milligram of Suboxone, that it was a 45-day taper meaning take a little tiny bit just less than one milligram, little less over 45 days, and then another month without the substance to get through we call the acute and then sub-acute detox phases. 

 

Then you’re no longer having the physiological symptoms, but you’ve got months and sometimes even a year to deal with the underlying issues and depression that comes up after having been on this substance for so long. 

 

I’m really concerned about putting thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of people on Suboxone medication over long periods of time. 

 

What that looks like if there are negative psychological effects down the road. I don’t think we know. Some experts say to never take people off Suboxone. Once they’re on for two or three years. You leave them on it forever. But there’s nobody that’s been on Suboxone for 50 years. It hasn’t been around that long. We don’t know what that means and what that looks like. We still use Suboxone individually. 

 

It’s up to the treatment providers to figure out how to effectively administer Suboxone in smart ways.

 

Then to compile that data and share it with the rest of the community.  

 

Vivitrol is another option. 

 

I’m a huge fan of Vivitrol, Vivitrol is a blocker, and what Vivitrol does is two things, it stops you from being able to get high immediately from opiates. You can do it in an injectable form, which is a little frightening, but it lasts a month. 

 

On the one hand, it physically stops you from being able to do your substance of choice. On the other hand, it’s psychologically really helpful if I’m obsessive, but I know I can’t get high. And I’m willing to get into recovery, it’s a great message to send to myself. You could do Vivitrol with very little side effects for a year and a half, or six months.

 

Even with Vivitrol, we don’t know the long term psychological effects.

 

It’s been around 20 years, but they’re not great research and study on this stuff. And everybody’s very different with how they respond to the medication. I’m in favor, in general, of anything that helps people recover and get better, and of course, in favor of people not dying. But we also have to weigh these different claims. And figure out how we use medications in a way that’s effective for individual situations. That’s not an easy task. It’s going to be everybody working together and having conversations like this about medication-assisted treatment.

 

 

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The Need to Control and Addiction

One of the common things that I come across with people that are trying to recover. So I sort of look at more universal elements that mean the thing about addiction, is it’s not really appropriate, it’s not accurate. To say… oh addicts do this, addicts do that. Because there’s a huge amount of personality, and… diversity, in the addicted population. Right? I mean, people– people are not the same, at all. 

 

One of the things you want to understand is what are the characteristics, that you do seem to cross boundaries.

 

you can say, okay, those– these would definitely want to get to, and I’ve talked about in another piece, around people-pleasing which I see you know, something like 75%, of people over accommodated people-please. And they don’t have healthy boundaries and they don’t know how to assert themselves, to create a sense of self in their lives. [/vc_column_text]

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The other thing I see is issues around control.

 

 Human beings in general, addicts in particular, are people suffering from addiction, in particular, tend to be control freaks. And there are lots of ways that– that manifests.

Somebody who’s a control freak isn’t necessarily an overt control freak. 

 

Like if I look at myself, and I say, what are the ways that I defended against the world and attempted to predict and control outcomes so that I could feel safe? I was– I was never overtly controlling. As you can imagine, I did it with words… and rationale. Right, if you hear me speak… my biggest defense mechanism, the way to keep people away from me, was to understand what was happening around me, try to be predictive and to use a language, as a barrier.

I could hypnotize people with my speech, that was one of the ways that I maintain control. 

 

It’s why for me, it took me a long time to figure out how to do individual therapy, talk therapy because I’m good with words. And so I can… talk and talk and talk and talk and I’m not necess– you know, once I had worked on a lot of the shame, I can even talk about the issues but it wasn’t having a transformative impact.

The talk therapy, group therapy was really good for me. 

 

Group therapy I had so many eyes on me, that I couldn’t control… each person, because I got some you’re looking at me over here, and over here and this and it was too much. And so it made me more vulnerable, which is what I’m trying to do and try to let go of control.

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