The Self is Too Small for Perpetual Enthusiasm

What to expect in this episode:


  1. Hudson Smith Said, “The Self is Too Small for Perpetual Enthusiasm
  2. what makes us miserable and stuck as human beings, is that we’re stuck in ourselves
  3. Path to Growth is to get out of the Self


The Self is Just Too Small…


Hudson Smith has this quote, “That the self is too small for perpetual enthusiasm” It’s a lot of words, but if you think about it, he’s talking about the Path to Growth and the Path to Enlightenment, that what makes us miserable and stuck as human beings, is that we’re stuck in ourselves.


When I’m in myself, thinking about myself, you know 15 hours a day, my needs, my wants, my desires, etc., etc., I’m not happy right.  


He says that the “Path to Growth is to get out of the Self”, right.




Because I’m just too small to stay jazzed about and if I can’t get into your life, for my kid’s life, for my wife’s life, or my community or the world, well then, I’m stuck, so that little phrase, “The Self is too small for perpetual enthusiasm” always rang true with me.


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Recovery is About Living Life

What to expect in this episode:


  1. Recovery is about life, not sobriety
  2. Having trouble with life while sober
  3. The shift from ‘staying sober’ to living fully


Recovery is Not About Sobriety…


I thought getting sober was about sobriety.


It was like “I have to stay sober, I can’t use, one day at a time no matter what” and what changed for me is that I recognized that recovery is about life.


And how we live life.


And really, only a very small part of it is about drugs and alcohol.


When I’m having a hard time in recovery, what does that mean? It just means I’m having a hard time in life.


Recovery is not a thing recovery is just ‘how I’m living’. So it evolved from something that was about drugs and alcohol into something that was about life.


And that’s a massive shift.

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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

What to expect in this episode

  1. Speaking truthfully
  2. Don’t be afraid and be compassionate
  3. Take care of yourself



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.

So, the 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.




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Who Is Yeshaia?

What to expect in this episode


  1. Discovering Your True Authentic Self
  2. Who Is Yeshaia? A Father, musician, spiritual counselor
  3. Son of Psychologists, Not a Clinician
  4. Watching People Transform, Transforms Me
  5. Helping Suffering People Move Into Awakeness


Introducing Yeshaia Blakeney


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.

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.




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.

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.


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.