Yeshaia Blakeney

Overcoming Resistance to Recovery

Overcoming Resistance to Recovery

 
 

Watching a loved one struggle with addiction can be one of the most taxing and emotionally exhausting experiences. Naturally, we want to see people we care about succeeding in life, feeling happy and taking good care of themselves. Witnessing them going back to self-destructive behaviors over and over again instead is usually when we want to jump in and help.

 

You Cannot Force Someone into Rehab

 
You might already know that getting this person into recovery is the first step towards their healing and good health, but actually making this happen is where the challenge comes in. What happens when you confront someone struggling with addiction? I’ve witnessed several things. Sometimes they lash out in defense and even block the confronter out of their life for a period of time. There are often occasions when confrontation goes really well, but unfortunately, it’s not all the time. This kind of reaction can make you want to give up and feel hopeless.

 

The reality is that it’s not possible to force someone into recovery. They have to go willingly, and even if they were forced, there’s a much higher chance that they would relapse once they got home or become very bitter. There are, however, ways to encourage someone to want recovery…to desire a healthier, more present and fulfilling life.
 

Why Do People Resist Recovery?

 
Resistance to recovery happens when a person becomes dependent on a substance and has a strong aversion to giving it up. There are so many reasons why resistance can happen, but there are a couple that I see pretty often.

 

Comfort

 

An all-too-common reason why addicts resist going into recovery is this feeling of comfort. In general, people want to feel comfortable in any situation, so when someone becomes accustomed to and dependent on a drug, it becomes a comfort for them – something to fall back on when things get tough. Another similar reason is the belief that there is no need for change and that they are functioning perfectly fine. It might not be obvious to others, but there are actually well-maintained addictions that could look different than how you’d normally imagine an addict. Culture, especially in America, is a huge contributor to these types of addictions with mentalities like “work hard, play hard” or a company culture that encourages heavy drinking after work. These look like “normal” habits because they’re so ingrained in what’s “normal,” but are actually really destructive.

 

Fear

 

Another reason for resistance includes legitimate fears about the recovery process itself. Depending on the type of drug, withdrawal symptoms can range from mildly uncomfortable to dangerous. Also, the person may have had or heard stories about bad experiences with relapses, such as getting into trouble or ruining friendships. They especially don’t want to build up hope in their loved ones and then let them down.
 

They’re Just Not Ready

 

Again, you can’t and shouldn’t force anyone into recovery. A good time for an addict to seek help is when they are ready to make significant changes in their life. If this isn’t their goal at the time, there are ways to encourage them to want healing. Intervention is always a great way to go.

This is especially the case when you’ve caught your loved one at one of their low points. If they’re at a time in their life where drugs have taken them to a more negative space, then they will usually feel more receptive to change. Also, there is definitely power in numbers. Gather as many friends and members of the family as are willing to voice their feelings on the matter. If  the person sees how much support they have and how much those they love want the best for them, then they will feel much more safe, held and inspired to go into recovery.

It’s always a good idea to focus on the positive aspects of recovery. Lecturing can cause a loved-one to shut down and feel resentment, strive toward inspiring – but always speak truthfully. If you’re constantly telling a loved one that they need to change, chances are they might avoid you to prevent hearing it over and over again. A tacit approach is to try something different such as sending them entertaining videos or podcasts about “living your best life” or something similar about positive change. Either remind or show them that sober life is amazing. Go kayaking or swimming in a lake, check out a meditation class, or do sports. Life after recovery is good.

Changing how someone thinks about a rehab facility can also change their heart about it. If they’ve never been to recovery, they might have terrible thoughts about what it’s like. Look into some good programs and show them that the best rehab can actually be more like a comfortable retreat than a prison – where they can eat well, make good friends, learn and feel good. I personally have seen that addicts are much more likely to go into recovery if they’ve met a successfully recovered person. Find someone that has successfully gone through recovery and is now leading a successful life. They can share stories about their struggles as well as their successes and be an inspiration for someone who’s resisting rehab.

At the end of day, use positivity, show that family and friends are there to support, and of course emphasize that life after recovery will be much more fulfilling. Friendships will be better and long-lasting, finances will be more abundant and sustainable finances, and overall health will be much better than ever before.

 

Recover Integrity is an extended care addiction and mental health treatment center for men. We focus on providing personal attention within a community environment as well as a nurturing environment and high-level clinical support.

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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.

 

Why?

 

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.

 

 

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

What to expect in this episode

 

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

 

Recovery is Not About Not Doing Drugs…

 

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

What to expect in this episode

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

 

Being addicted to instant gratification

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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