individualized recovery care Tag

0 comments

Focusing on Wellness…Are We Missing Something?

Living in Los Angeles in 2020, one of the things that I am really aware of was that we live in a time where there is a lot of focus on individual wellness. There are whole sections of Los Angeles that are all juice bars, yoga, spinning classes, and Pilates. 

I was like, “What are people doing? Do they have jobs? They are just drinking juice and running all day.” Oh, it is beautiful, I like both juice and running, I have nothing against it.

LA is very health-conscious…but I do not think it is just LA. I actually think the United States in general is more focused on health. There has been more consciousness around nutrition, physicality, and working out. 

The Shift Towards Healthier Living

It was not like that even fifteen years ago. I mean, just as an example, I got sober seventeen years ago. At that time, there was a gym in the Tribute program where I got sober and only 2 or 3 people actually worked out in the gym. There are a hundred people in the Tribute program, but very few people went to the gym. It just was not that popular thing back then.

Same thing with eating. The food was fried chicken patties, rice, and beans. There was no vegan or special menus. But that rapidly changed. 

The clients that we get now say, “When am I going to the gym? When will I work out?” Almost all of them ask for this. I’d say, 80% percent of clients are very health-conscious. Whether they are struggling with it or whether they have a good routine, they are really conscious of health and that is just the reflection of what is happening in the larger society. 

Why are We Obsessed with Diet and Nutrition?

I sort of think back whenever I see something has changed at a social level I am like, “What is going on?”

I have talked about it in some previous videos. They kind of break down tradition and cultural containers and that we live in a time where everything is up for grabs. Meaning, we got to interpret things how we want and kind of do what we want. You cannot really decide how to be in the future based on how people were in the past because everything has changed so rapidly.

I think one of the responses that people had to the insecurity of our reality is to look at different places–new places–for salvation. 

Is Wellness the New Salvation?

Salvation is a religious word. Generally, ‘salve’ means they kind of heal. Salvation also means to be safe in some sense. Religiously, the salve came from service, salvation came from giving yourself to God. It came from a certain way of living. 

We no longer have the same kind of religious consciousness, at least not nearly as powerfully as we used to. We look for salvation in different areas. I think a lot of people look for salvation in the gym.

They think, “If I can just get my body to a certain place, if I could just eat the perfect food, if I can just get everything clean and pure inside, if I can become a pure vessel then I will be safe.” 

They may not be consciously thinking that way but their behavior is speaking in that language. 

On the one hand, I am a fan of being healthy, I am a post-modern man living in Los Angeles in 2020, I ride my bike, swim, wake up to green juice. I do all of this stuff. At the same time, I have this double consciousness where I am like this and I am just still going to die. Still, I got to be a good person, it is just this kind of obsession that we all live with. And there are worse obsessions to have.

What’s Missing in this Equation?

When it comes to how that interfaces with the recovery, I think we have got to be wise. I think we need to know that not all problems can be solved in the gym or what we eat. Exercise and diet can solve some problems and sometimes those things are connected to how we sleep, feel, and cope. 

But there’s more. Some of the stuff we are working on in treatment is in the domains of morality. Some of the stuff we are working on is in the domain of character and integrity.

You can be a really fit person that eats really healthy and have no integrity. You can also be a really fit person who eats in a very healthy manner but has a tremendous amount of shame. Often, sometimes, I actually think that we are also ashamed about how selfish and narcissistic we are these days. That we are working doubly hard for salvation, to walk around guilty saying, “Something is not right here.” There is some kind of different way of being.

On the one hand, I am pro-health because I would be insane not to be pro-health. On the other hand, I think we have to be wise and make distinctions about what is actually happening with us and what is motivating what we are doing. And is this the actual way to meet the need, the existential need that we have as humans for salvation and to heal?

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

Schedule Free ConsultationSchedule Free Consultation

 

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

Read MoreRead More
0 comments

Addiction, Health Care, and Corruption in Treatment

It is no big secret that there is a lot of corruption that has happened in drug and alcohol treatment. I worked in the nonprofit treatment industry for twelve or thirteen years. I was not really that exposed to the wider trends of what was happening in drug and alcohol treatment and in mental health treatment. But as I founded my own place I started to be exposed more to the treatment industry as a whole. I do not even like the term.

Changes to Health Insurance

One of the things that happened was in 2009, Obama passed the Affordable Care Act. There were a couple of small but really important facts around Obamacare. One was, insurance companies were no longer allowed to exclude for preconditions. Before that, if you had cancer or if you had a history of “fill-in-the-blank”, an insurance company said, “We will not give you health insurance because of this.” They could no longer do that. 

The other was Parity Laws which meant anything that government healthcare decided to cover private insurance, on Parity, had to cover as well. So suddenly every insurance policy had to cover mental health and substance abuse. Prior to that period, most insurance did not really pay for treatment. You were either getting treatment at the community level or you had money or some really great insurance. 

The vast majority of people actually could not even get mental health and substance abuse treatment except at the community level…until Obamacare. And suddenly if you had a PPO plan  from Blue Cross Blue Shield or whoever, you could go to residential treatment. 

And because of the Parity Laws, at least in the beginning, it would cover full treatment. So suddenly, you could be a middle-class person from Ohio and you can get drug and alcohol treatment in Malibu on the beach. Unbelievable. You would not pay attention to it if you were not working in it. 

Enter Corruption, Greed, and Shady Treatment Practices

And it did a few things. Lots of people suddenly had access to treatment. But we live in a capitalistic society…so what happened was suddenly there is a lot of potential money in the system because now you have a couple of hundred million people who have these insurance cards in their wallet that now could be exchanged for money for treatment. 

Wow…that set off a very interesting chain reaction. So you have entrepreneurial-minded, generally narcissistic, people that somehow get this information. Maybe a very narcissistic client goes through treatment and instead of focusing on his recovery, he is counting how much money the treatment program is making. Then he goes to his narcissistic wealthy father and says, ‘I think we should open a treatment program’. At six months sober, an individual opens a treatment program. 

Then shockingly, because he is shady and he does shady marketing practices, it is successful and lots of people are going there even though the treatment is probably not very good. 

Then private equity and venture capitalists think: wow there is a lot of money in this treatment thing and they partner with the narcissistic owners of treatment programs. 

Next thing you know, you have five thousand treatment programs open up in Los Angeles between 2009 and 2020. Is it a surprise that a lot of them are not offering good treatment and are somewhat corrupt? 

For me, it is a very interesting story because I was supportive of Obamacare. If and when you asked me: Would you like people to be able to get insurance whether they had a precondition or not? I say, yes, I would. 

If you said: Would you like drug and alcohol treatment to be covered? I would say, yes that is great, and kind of calculate the full fallout of that kind of choice. 

Incentives Creating Barriers to Recovery: The Sad Truth

On the patient’s side, you have patients who have no money but possess an insurance card. They could live in the kind of house they never could live in without that insurance card, on the beach in Malibu. But they actually had to be pretty close to being loaded to be able to qualify to live in that house in Malibu. 

So you could imagine that there is a handful–and by a handful, I mean hundreds of thousands of people–who have gone in and out of treatment and continually relapse. They return to these residential and outpatient treatment programs. They have no money, they do not work, they just have this insurance card. 

I am sure some of them are doing it consciously–some unconsciously. It really is a story of bad incentives. It is a bad incentive for treatment providers that treat for profit–making money on people’s suffering. 

It is a bad incentive on the relapse end that if a client relapses, insurance pays more. Not for the insurance companies but for the treatment providers. 

And then it is a bad incentive for clients. I could just live in treatment, go to some groups, and do that for a few years. Then I just relapse. I can go back. I do not have to get a job. I do not have to go through the really arduous task of growing, learning, changing, and recovering. I can take an easy way out as long as I have an insurance card.

It is really problematic. It started to change, the government started to crack down and the treatment community. Obviously, it is not all treatment programs, but it is a really important lesson at the policy level that affects everybody in their daily lives, particularly those people seeking recovery and suffering from addiction.

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

Schedule Free ConsultationSchedule Free Consultation

 

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

Read MoreRead More
0 comments

Mental Health: The Next Global Crisis

A while ago, I was having a conversation with a friend. We were looking at–this was pre-Covid–at the future. What do we think of the big crises that are going to happen? 

He talked about a possible war with China and kind of what we saw down the line for society. 

I said, “You know, I do not think it is any of that. I think that the world is so interconnected that it will not be some kind of us-against-them type of thing…I think it will actually be a global mental health crisis.

Mental Health Issues Are on the Rise 

If you look at the rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide–particularly in the US, but globally, too–they keep rising. 

And I actually do not have to look at the rates. I can watch my own mental health and well-being, as time passes and then go, am I okay? I know the amount of effort, work, and consciousness that it takes for me to feel whole and good every day. And I have support, privilege, and a lot of different things in my life going for me. 

And so there is this kind of huge question, why are people suffering so much with issues around mental health, substance abuse, and at its extreme… suicide? What is going on? 

Is Technology Taking Its Toll on Our Mental Health?

Very simple question. And I think that technology is a big component of it. 

We are probably taking somewhere between twenty to thirty-five percent of our conscious energy absorbed on our phones, computers, and televisions. That is a lot of energy and attention on moving pictures and content consumption. 

All different kinds of colorful information. Manipulated information to keep you on there. 

So there is the whole addiction aspect of technology. There is also the unknown of what it does to the nervous system…but I think we are starting to find out. 

We become addicted to instant gratification. We become addicted to looking at something. We do not know how to just be. We always need to be doing something.

So we create turning to technology as an option to fill in the gaps when we used to just simply be. What kind of energy and attention are we putting on our phones and our computers, etc.? And what is that doing over the long term to our nervous system? We have no idea. 

Smartphones have only existed for like 15 years. Maybe a little less, right? So it means we have no idea what that means but we are getting a taste of it.

So technology is one huge component that everybody focuses on. It is like to me technology is nested in this larger context of the age that we live in.

Is Our Lack of Consciousness Contributing to Mental Health Issues? 

I come from a kind of philosophical background, a historical background. And so I could tell a story about there was a period of time in the West when everybody had religious consciousness. People then were thinking about being a good or bad person. 

I don’t even know if people think about that anymore. Now, we are thinking, “Do I feel good or not,” or whatever we think. 

People used to think about am I good or am I a bad person in relationship to God. In relationship, if you are Christian, to heaven and hell, right? And in relationships as the idea of being saintly or God-like or Jesus-like, right? So for eight hundred years that is the way people walked around constructing their existence. 

It seems kind of foreign to us now, but that was quite recently.

It was up until, I think the 1600s, and then continues to transition. Back then you had the enlightenment come along in the 1600s with modern science. The beginning of nation-states, the idea of the self. Out of that enlightenment came an idea of psychology. 

We started to think about what is happening. Who am I? What is going on in here? It was not so cosmically God, religious focused. It was more about, who am I? 

Descartes said,I think therefore I am. And he opened up this Pandora’s Box about who are we and where we are from and maybe there is no God. And we entered into the secular age, right?

A New Era of “Enlightenment”?

There was a pretty solid religious tradition that we came from. Prior to that, it was more of a tribal and agricultural existence. It was pretty predictable. Each generation, the same as the one before, generally, not a lot of “progress”. 

Then suddenly you have rapid progress, you have the throwing off of religion and then eventually you have the enlightenment. Which says through rationale and reason, if we all can be reasonable, we all could figure out how to create a utopian world.

 It is not about God. It is about reason, universal reason. What is the truth? If we all know what the truth is: scientifically speaking, philosophically speaking, we all agree on it. Then we can all agree and we can have built a utopian society that we all agree upon. Everybody in the world. 

Then the huge backlash…postmodernism comes. What about black people, what about women, what about that? The biggest deal was World War One and World War Two. Wait a minute; I thought we are all reasonable. Suddenly, we just killed a hundred million people in the most reasonable society we ever had. And it started in the most reasonable culture, the German culture, which was the most “advanced” culture of the time. 

But yet that culture, at least in World War II, decided they were going to try to kill twenty million people. And so it just destroyed this dream of building the foundations of society on reason.

Cultural Containers Are Dissolving

So I am telling the stories but it is really to understand that throughout all of human history there has been what I would just call cultural containers. I understand who I am supposed to be based on what my parents pass on to me from the culture, from their parents and from the environment. And that that culture has been rapidly changing and no period has been faster than the last hundred years. 

And so the most basic things that were fundamental of our society like, I am a man you are a woman, we now question. Well, is gender even real you know. What does it mean to be sane? What does it mean to be insane? What does it mean to be good? Who can be president? What are the job qualifications there? I mean the most basic notions have fallen by the wayside or have been questioned and deconstructed and torn apart.

Now, if you are born into the world, you really have no idea exactly how you are supposed to be. You are very distant from ideas of morality and religion. You are very distant from when psychology was a living, breathing, brand new way of being in the world.

Now, it is more of a marketing everyday thing that everybody is doing and so where is the moral authority? Where is the ground of being? Where is the moral authority that exists in society right now?

Technology is Just a Product of Changing Times

So in my mind, technology is actually nested in the fact that everything has changed. And there is so much change so fast that there is no stability. And so everybody, of course, is going to be on their phones because we want to be distracted from the fact that we have no idea what the f— we are doing. 

We had an idea when we knew that we were going to go to heaven. We had an idea when we knew we are trying to build a utopian society, be good American citizens and do good for our country. All of that got wiped away.

What are we doing now? We are posting YouTube videos and trying to make a buck and hope that I can find somebody I care about.

 So I think there is a larger story here about mental health. I tend to be an optimist against my better judgment. Which is to say, I do view this time period as a transition. I do think it is going to get worse before it gets better. But I think it is a transition into something else. I could not possibly say what that something else is but we are living in a very rapid time of transition.

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

Schedule Free ConsultationSchedule Free Consultation

 

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

Read MoreRead More
0 comments

The Stigma of Addiction: Pros and Cons

One of the things that has been a great concern to the population at large when it comes to addiction–definitely the media, definitely the progressive end–is how we think about the world of addiction and the people going through the suffering involved with addiction. It is this stigma that comes along with the word “addict” or “alcoholic.” 

There are a lot of campaigns I see online like End the Stigma and people talking about their sobriety and what they have been through. Generally, I do not know if I would say I am a fan of that…but I definitely like people to do what they feel is right, whatever makes you feel good about yourself.

What Actually Creates the Stigma of Addiction?

I think that there is a misunderstanding of where the stigma from addiction comes from. 

What I would say is that the stigma from addiction does not come from the word “addict.” The stigma comes from when your brother steals your car battery out of your car because he has an addiction problem, and it pisses you off. 

So, the reason why there is a stigma around addiction is because the behaviors that come along, not all the time, for all eternity, but a lot of the behaviors that come along with a lot of people that have addictions are horrid. You cannot trust people. They steal from you. They lie to you. 

You try to have an authentic relationship, but they are incapable of having an authentic relationship. It is a giant pain in the ass to have a relationship with somebody that has an active addiction. 

That is where the stigma comes from. It is not the word “addict.” You can change the words all you want, but the reality of it is until addiction is not a pain in the ass, there is going to be a stigma associated with it.

Can the “Addiction Stigma” Be Useful?

Now, on the other hand, I understand what people mean because you want people to be able to overcome their shame of having addiction by being able to say, “I have this problem,” so they can get better. 

I agree with that, but on the other hand, you do kind of want some stigma against addiction. 

I am raising children in this world, and is it the worst thing if my kids think that to be addicted is not that great? 

I want my children to know addiction is not that great. So, I think we have a lot of confusion about what we mean when we talk about stigma, and even what exactly our goals are when we say “Bring down the stigma.” 

Does Changing Terminology Make a Difference?

Clearly, the goals are to be able to help people get better. I mean, that is simple, but I do not think we are going to do that by playing with language. 

I will give my funny example of this, “housekeeper.” It is an interesting word. To keep the house, I guess, is what it means. It is somewhat old-fashioned. It is not as old as “maid.” I very rarely hear people say, “Oh, this is my maid.” They say, “This is my housekeeper.” Now, the word changed somewhere from the ’80s and ’90s to now from “maid” to “housekeeper.” Prior to that, there was another word people used to use, it was called “servant,” right? Or the “help.” 

So, these words changed, but the reality of other people cleaning up other people’s shit for their whole lives is still the same. Do you want to reduce the stigma of the word “housekeeper”? Well, I do not know. Maybe we should take a look at whether it is cool that we have a society where a certain class of people, often of a certain race, spend their entire lives serving another class of people often of another race, if we really want to deal with the problem.

Is Language Distancing Us from What’s Really Happening?

I feel the same way about addiction. Addiction is a human phenomenon. People have been addicts and alcoholics for as long as people have been. 

So, yes, we want to acknowledge this is not a normal human part of life. We also want to acknowledge when it becomes a destructive addiction, it is not a good thing, and it should be somewhat stigmatized. 

There is another reason why I would not be so quick to get rid of the terms “addict” or “alcoholic”. 

We are in a time now with trigger warnings and people being very afraid of offending people with words–which is strange because we are in the most offensive times, in my opinion, that one could live in, but that is the hypocrisy of the time. 

So, people have a hard time identifying as: “Hi, my name is Shy. I am an alcoholic.” or “Hi, my name is Shy. I am an addict.” 

Whatever that is, and they go, “I do not want to identify because I am more than just an addict.” Of course, you are more than just an addict. I think everybody knows that, but what is the importance of identifying?

Well, in my mind, people are distancing themselves through language from the reality of what is actually happening. 

When I was in active addiction, it was not a thing that I suffered from, meaning it actually was in the realm of the anti-logical, of the being of me, not the just doing of me. 

I will give an example of this. My cousin Jason has been playing baseball since he was 5 years old. People that play baseball, people that really love baseball, could spot a baseball player even when they are not playing baseball. They go, “You are a baseball player.” Then he will go, “You are someone who often plays baseball.” “No, you are actually a baseball player. I see the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you wear your hat, in the ‘being’ sense of it is like a baseball player.”

I would say if you have ever met somebody who is a really bad junkie, it has invaded more than just their activity. It has to do with their being. There is something kind of almost essential there where you go like, “Man, the way this person’s posture is and the way he kind of looks up at me It is like, he is kind of an archetypal junkie.” 

I am not saying that is great, and I realize that is probably somewhat offensive to go, “No, actually you are a junkie.” But I think it is that realization that you have, “Oh my God, I am a drug addict,” or at least “I am becoming a drug addict. I do not want to be that.” 

Not: “I do not want to do that anymore.” 

I do not want to BE that. I want to be someone else or something better.” 

So, I think when we get rid of those words, we are sort of white-washing the situation. 

I have sat with people with sleeve tattoos, out of the penitentiary, and in addiction programs, and I am like, “Hey, what are you here for? What is your drug of choice?” 

They go, “I am opiate-dependent.” 

I am like, “Opiate-dependent? Okay, doctor. What does that mean, you shoot heroin? You shoot dope? You do opium, right?” 

 I am not saying that to be offensive, I am saying it to get that person to connect to the reality of where they are at, and what they are becoming.

Being Comfortable with BEING

So, I think that… Because we live as a psychological society, we think about everything psychologically. We think about everything in kind of this far distance. We actually move away from the actuality of the being. 

Like, “No, I am an addict.”

And: “Guess what? Right now, I am not an addict. I have been sober 17 years. My ways of being who I am in the fibers, over time working on myself…I have not used for a long time.”

“I am no longer an addict. I can identify as I am an addict in recovery.” 

Or, “I am Shy. I am in recovery.” 

That is part of my being, too. I am a person in recovery. I am not doing recovery.

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

Schedule Free ConsultationSchedule Free Consultation

 

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

Read MoreRead More
0 comments

Is Recovery Abstinence?

What to expect in this episode:

 

  1. Is recovery (just) abstinence?
  2. You won’t be protected from relapse unless you learn to change and grow through the underlying issues
  3. The fastest way to learn, grow, and change is to be in an immersive environment. That’s why the recovery community is so important.

 

Is Recovery Abstinence?

 

The fundamental question is: What is Recovery?

 

People don’t ask it because they think they know the answer, but answering that question wrong leads to heartache and tragedy for millions of families.

Recovery is not abstinence. It’s not NOT using the substance you were addicted to. If recovery was just abstinence, it would be like taking a picture of a person 3 weeks a month after they were actively using and that person if you look at them is the exact same person they were when they were using, minus the substances.

Well, that person is going to use again. WHY? Because they are the exact same person they were when they were using. As soon as you remove whatever the block is, whether its environment, commitment, things going well, anything really, they’re going to respond and behave in the same way they did before because they haven’t changed.

The way to understand recovery is to understand that it is abstinence PLUS. Not using the substance I am addicted to and perhaps even all substances PLUS learning, changing and growing. It’s the learning, changing and growing that protects me from relapse. I no longer have the same thoughts, feelings and responses that I did before; therefore I can navigate life, environment, relationships, success, lack of success, and all the stuff that comes along in life in new ways because I am continually growing. The real work of recovery is about that growth.

A deep question is: How do I do that? How do I engage in recovery and learn, change and grow?

Anybody who knows me knows that I do not think that therapy is the fastest or the most direct path to change. It’s a part of the puzzle but not the whole puzzle. I’m not a fundamentalist, I like the 12 steps program a lot, but I’m quite open-minded about how transformation happens.

I will say that an immersive experience is the fastest way to learn and grow. An easy analogy would be like learning a language. If I want to learn Spanish (I’m in California so it makes sense), how much studying am I going to have to do from a book to be able to speak Spanish? I personally took about 9 classes and I can order a burrito, taco, say hello, say goodbye, but if you drop me in the middle of Mexico I will not be able to ask how to leave.

 

If you drop me in Mexico and I have to live there for 3, 4, 5, 6 months, a year… through necessity I am going to immerse myself in the culture and with those people and then I am going to have to learn the language to get by, unless I actively stop myself.

I think recovery actually happens the same way, it’s learning through culture. It’s why I’m a huge fan of recovery support systems; it’s why I’m a big backer of treatment communities, group treatment. There’s something about being immersed in the culture of recovery where people are speaking the same language and we are picking up on all kinds of stimulus, not just one person working on themselves, which allows us to change and grow faster.

 

 

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia 

 

Schedule Free ConsultationSchedule Free Consultation

 

We Can Help You or Your Loved One Move Beyond Abstinence into True Freedom from Addiction

 

 

Read MoreRead More
0 comments

Developmental Disturbances within Addiction Populations

What to expect in this episode:

  1. Understanding areas of identity, emotion regulation, emotional awareness, cognitive ability
  2. Jean Piaget was interested in was how human beings transform, that’s what growth is: growth is transformation.
  3. There are developmental disturbances in every single person coming into treatment.

 

Developmental Disturbances in Addiction Populations

 

We have got these areas of identity, emotion regulation, emotional awareness, cognitive ability (my ability to think in more complex ways) that’s actually worth understanding.

There was a guy named Jean Piaget, who was one of the founders of Developmental Psychology, he was also a revolutionary biologist, a mathematician… a deep brilliant man, study Jean Piaget.

Jean Piaget spent huge parts of his life watching kids play. What he was interested in was how human beings transform, that’s what growth is: growth is transformation.

He was particularly interested in the uniform, universal ways that human beings grow, learn, change and transform in predictable periods under predictable circumstances. What he discovered was that human beings cross-culturally, and cross-gender, grow in particular ways.

For example, if you ask a 3-year-old to do multiplication, it’s not going to happen. Around 4-5 years old kids can start to add up oranges.  One orange plus two oranges makes 3, 2+2 is 4, they can do addition. If you ask them to do mathematics, they actually do not have the structure of the mind, the capacity in that moment, manifested to be able to do abstract math. It doesn’t operate as easily in things that you can grab and do, in more complex abstract, mathematical terms.

That’s in every area of our life, so development is having more complex and nuanced ways of interacting and thinking about the world as we grow older. That’s cognitive development, and we have all these areas of cognitive development, emotional awareness, emotion regulation, identity… and then one that’s very rarely talked about by psychologists because it’s very controversial.

 

It’s at the core of being human, which is moral development. How I think about issues of right and wrong and my understanding and ability to articulate to myself why I think something is right, and why I think something is wrong. In all of these areas, we can develop uniformly, and in all of these areas, we can become disordered.   

 

What you’ll find if you do some psychometric testing on people in the addiction population, or you do developmental testing in all of these areas, you’ll find that there are disturbances in every single person coming into treatment. My parents actually who are developmental psychologists did a longitudinal study of 700 people coming into treatment, and all 700 people had an identifiable developmental disturbance outside of the norm of the population. It’s the same kind of developmental disturbances that you see in a mentally ill population, and also the criminal population, and as we know there is a great overlap between those populations.

 

Part of recovery, if that’s part and parcel of addiction and developmental disorders, then part and parcel of recovery is treating those developmental disorders. First, we have to be able to identify them, people will say when somebody comes in (to recovery), clearly you’re stuck and you can almost feel people when they’re having issues and coming into treatment beyond addiction. But understanding what areas they’re stuck in is much more complex and it’s one of the areas that’s going to have massive development in treatment.

 

Guess what, you’re not stuck cognitively, you’re stuck emotionally, ok how do we deal with that? Guess what, you aren’t stuck cognitively or emotionally, you’re stuck in your identity and your vision of seeing yourself. These areas are well researched in the field of psychology and we even have therapeutic approaches to deal with them. What we haven’t developed well is a method to identify and then treat that in the addiction population. That’s what’s happening right now and one of the things we do in our treatment program.

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia or Adam

 

Schedule Free ConsultationSchedule Free Consultation

 

Treatment for co-occurring disorders is vital to successful addiction recovery

 

 

Read MoreRead More
0 comments

Developmental Splits & Boundaries

What to expect in this episode:

  1. A major developmental split we see is the split between self and other.
  2. Really Good Boundaries equate to really good mental health. Psychosis is an extreme example of this imbalance
  3. If you ever stumble upon a person on the street of LA experiencing psychosis, you notice they might cuss

 

Developmental Splits in the Psyche

 

One of the things that we work with in recovery are called splits, and splits are part of the psyche, part of the self that split off from each other and are not communicating well with each other. A common example would be my cognitive capacity, my ability to think and reason, and my emotional capacity. Those two capacities should grow together relatively close.

 

A split is where one area of the self or structure of the mind continues to grow, and the other one gets stuck. So let’s say I continue to grow cognitively; I go to college, I am able to reason and think well. But for some reason, usually some kind of trauma or traumatic dynamic or drug use, I don’t grow in the area of emotion regulation. There you have somebody who is very reasonable and under stress is 7 years old. Throws tantrums, we all know people like that who we can say the tail wags the dog. They are very reasonable, they’re smart, sophisticated, and mature when it comes to their thoughts, but emotionally they’re tyrants. That is a split, between emotion regulation and cognitive capacity.

 

One of the major splits we deal with is the split between self and other. I have to negotiate and navigate the interpersonal sphere and I have to constantly understand where I stop and start, both in my field of existence and in my boundaries. In fact, you can equate mental health directly to how good my boundaries are. Really good boundaries basically equal really good mental health.

 

An example of bad mental health, meaning mental health that has really gone chaotic or awry is psychosis, someone who is clinically detached from reality, someone who is psychotic. If you have ever walked the streets of San Francisco or downtown LA and you see a psychotic person, one of the things you’ll see is they have terrible boundaries. They will cuss you out right in your face and you’re like wait a minute here.

 

Mental health and boundaries are pretty much equated and one of the areas where people need a lot of work when they come into recovery is figuring out how to navigate and negotiate Self and Other. It’s easy to pull back into myself, it’s easy to accommodate into the other, figuring out how to navigate that in the complexity of our lives. For some people that’s really easy with friends and family, well I don’t think for anyone it’s easy, but they’ve adapted to it and know how to do it, but they don’t know how to do it in multiple roles. It’s a certain level of development. How can I be a husband, a father, a worker, an employer, an employee, a friend?

 

These are different roles with different boundaries and different demands and different competing claims.  Part of mental health and maturity, and part of recovery is becoming attuned to those fields and figuring out my general boundaries and my specific boundaries in each moment and each role. It’s a tremendous amount of work, and it’s why recovery is so hard. You’re not just treating your drug addiction, you’re also figuring out how to live well. Living well means figuring out how to navigate what it means to be a self, and what it means to care about the other.

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia or Adam

 

Schedule Free ConsultationSchedule Free Consultation

 

We can help you begin to heal the splits in the psyche

 

 

Read MoreRead More
0 comments

The Relationship Between Development and Addiction

What to expect in this episode:

  1. The relationship between development and addiction
  2. The Unbroken Brain Looks at addiction as a developmental disorder
  3. You’d be shocked if you actually sat with someone who was in some sort of distress and said, “what do you feel right now”? And they could not answer.

 

The Relationship Between Development & Addiction

 

One of the ways to understand addiction, that recently became popular, that I’ve been engaged in, in this blog or this conversation for 8-10 years, is the relationship between development and addiction.

 

There was actually a popular book called “The Unbroken Brain” which was looking at addiction as a kind of learning disorder. That’s complicated and there are parts of it that I like, parts of it that I don’t. Putting that aside, I think to look at addiction as a part of the developmental process and when addiction becomes full-blown addiction as somebody being stuck in their development is a really insightful way to understand what’s happening with people in their addiction.

 

I have never met somebody who is coming into recovery from addiction that is not stunted in some particular areas of the self. That is not stuck or split in a particular area of growth in a statistically identifiable way.

 

So the most common example, that makes a lot of sense to people, is when people stop growing in the realm of emotional awareness and emotional regulation but grow in other areas. That makes sense, right?

 

Addiction could be categorized as an impulse disorder, in some ways. I can’t stop myself from impulsively engaging in this behavior over and over again.

 

What is an impulse disorder? It is the inability to regulate my cravings and emotions. On top of that, there is another area, which is around emotional awareness; actually not being aware of what’s happening inside of me.

 

You’d be shocked if you actually sat with someone who was in some sort of distress and said, “what do you feel right now”?

 

To have them label their feeling, and for huge parts of the population both in the recovery population and otherwise actually aren’t very good at identifying and being aware of their feelings. Being aware of your feelings is somewhat of a prerequisite to being able to work with them or regulate them.

 

If you don’t know you’re having them in any real way, cognitively, it’s hard to step back from them and do something about them. And just telling someone to relax usually isn’t helpful.

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia or Adam

 

Schedule Free ConsultationSchedule Free Consultation

 

We can help you find a way to bridge the gap between belonging and autonomy

 

 

Read MoreRead More
0 comments

The Battle Between Autonomy & Belonging

What to expect in this episode:

  1. one of the most complex realms to navigate when were in recovery is the social, is the  interpersonal, is the areas that we get connected and disconnected
  2. One of the things we are working on within recovery, and it’s deeper work, is we’re working on these internal developmental splits
  3. How do you bridge these two conflicting desires? How do we stop leaning too hard into one or the other? Strength through compassion. Compassionate strength. A place where people feel the most whole. 

 

The tension between autonomy and belonging

 

There is a common meme that was floating around in recovery, I think it was in a ted talk based on this study, It said the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection

 

And people love that, they love it because it holds truth. It holds a lot of truth.

 

Probably one of the most complex realms to navigate when were in recovery is the social, is the  interpersonal, is the areas that we get connected and disconnected, intrapersonally inside of ourselves, and interpersonally with each other.

 

What you see with people coming into recovery is you’ll see what I call splits. And splits are…. Dis-Integrated. They are areas of the self in the way that we interact that are not in communication with each other.

 

It’s often why when were talking about human beings we talked about our different parts. Our yin and our yang, our shadow, those kinds of things – the little devil on my shoulder, the angel on my shoulder,

 

You think about the start of these different… subpersonalities, these archetypal characters that exists inside of us often though subpersonalities are split

 

So, the person who is really mature and articulate – I can be very mature and articulate – and then one of my children spills the milk, then suddenly I’m my nine-year-old self. It kind of comes out. Or I have a trickster part of me. Different parts of myself.

 

So one of the things we are working on within recovery, and it’s deeper work, is we’re working on these internal developmental splits. These areas that are unintegrated because we’re shooting for some kind of Integrity.

 

One area were people are split, they are unintegrated that’s a really common and people struggle with it deeply, they’re in deep conflict when they come into recovery is…

 

The tension between autonomy and belonging

 

What that means is, as I’m growing and developing in my adolescence I’m trying to figure out how to become more autonomous.

 

More self-contained, more in myself. Especially as I’m moving away from my family system and then eventually I’m figuring out how to navigate the relationships in my friendship system in a way that doesn’t take too much for me.

 

So I can still have some sense of autonomy and self. So there is this tension that exists in being human between the pull of autonomy – living life as an embodied creature on my own – and belonging. We’re tribal familial creatures that crave deep connection.

 

But if I’m too much on either end I’m lost, right? If I belong too much I get swallowed up and lose my autonomy in my sense of self. We’ve seen that historically with great tragedy.

 

And if I’m too isolated, I’m disconnected from my environment, my Wi-Fi is not working – I don’t know what the hell is happening around me.

 

so what we see people coming into recovery is a split they’re usually afraid of connection because I don’t want to get swallowed up by belonging and they kind of lean heavy towards autonomy.

 

What does that look like?

 

Well, what it looks like psychologically is on the belonging end is over-accommodation. Which we commonly referred to as a people-pleasing, or co-dependence. I’m giving more and more to the people around me at a great cost to myself. I’m over accommodating.

 

It’s one of the most common traits you see addictive personalities. They over-accommodate more and more and more to their family system, to their work, socially. They’re social they’re smiley. They say,

 

“no problem, I love to do that all of this stuff, oh you want a cigarette – oh take two!”

 

They’re not connected with a part of them that gets resentful and frustrated at the cost to themselves when they choose to belong, so they get high. Getting high almost gives them the courage, so to say, to move in the other direction.

 

NO! They get drunk and say, “no – I’m not doing that! How dare you disrespect me”

 

So you see that very often, and then sometimes, I think it’s more rare honestly, maybe 10% of people, are so afraid of belonging that they’ve weighted deep on this other end of autonomy.

 

They’ve completely disconnected from everybody around them their self contained systems all on their own and you can feel that when it walks in the room.

 

And so one of the splits you are trying to navigate is becoming whole in that area. Recognizing the necessity to belong and the necessity to have some sense of autonomy while belonging

 

How that manifest inside the self, often, I think in the psyche is… the sort of… the strength and compassion poles

 

and so often in a conflict and I’m not sure how to be – where something has rubbed up against my ego defenses, I’ll my immediate reaction is “I need to be strong here” if I’m not a very deferential person

 

If I push back too hard and then feeling guilty and ashamed at having like pushed back too hard so I have this other mode

 

Which is compassion and understanding.

 

Which is: people are having their feelings and emotions and I’m compassionate understanding

 

If I’m too compassionate and understanding I end up feeling weak and deferential. Like I accommodated too much of this person’s being, thoughts, ideas, whatever it was. Behaviors.

 

So what’s the solution for that internally?

 

This is high-level work, this isn’t day-one work, this is 10 year 20 year work. And this is for everybody not just addicts. But for addicts, I think it’s crucial point.

 

Strength through compassion, I call it.

 

That there’s actually a space that exists inside human beings that is incredibly compassionate and incredibly strong at the same time.

 

Meaning, I go all it in compassion but not in a differential way.

 

I fight for compassion, reasonably inside of myself inside the world.

 

It’s really high-level work but when you find that space of strength through compassion. Strength AND compassion, all in one let’s call it frequency,  that’s when humans feel the most whole.

 

Strength through compassion.

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia or Adam

 

Schedule Free ConsultationSchedule Free Consultation

 

We can help you find a way to bridge the gap between belonging and autonomy

 

 

Read MoreRead More
0 comments

Therapy and the Subconscious

What to expect in this episode:

  1. Therapy is built on a particular premise: I don’t understand myself
  2. A lot of times, people don’t know how to do therapy, I think there are certain modalities of therapy where of instructing the client is helpful
  3. Approaching what’s happening in the background (unconsciously), a little more actively than people often do, you see much more profound effects.

 

Therapy can be aided by identifying unconscious thoughts

 

Therapy is built on a particular premise which is:

 

“I don’t understand myself”

 

and there are forces and drives inside of me that manifest in my feelings, my emotions, my behaviors, the thoughts and images inside of my mind that I’m not aware of.

 

That there is a hidden realm to the consciousness and Freud and Jung and the founders of analysis came along and that was a discovery.

 

Now everybody gets that and knows that, it’s seeped into modern culture and nomenclature. I think often people don’t give, this is a tricky thing to say – it’s actually not accurate, but worth thinking about

 

A lot of times, people don’t know how to do therapy right. Now sometimes that’s good, because the therapist wants to work with whatever is in the room, they don’t want to instruct the client.

 

But I think there are certain modalities of therapy where of instructing the client on the most helpful way to approach the therapeutic process is actually helpful. But I had to discover that on my own.

 

I never had a therapist say, “Hey it might be more helpful if you do this” – ever! Which is kind of incredible considering the variety of therapeutic approaches that exist

 

I’ve found that in therapy, for me at this phase of my life, that being conscious of the things that aren’t in the front of my mind but in the back of my mind and speaking them out loud is helpful.

 

I’ll give an example.

 

I’m sitting in the room with the therapist picks up on some hesitation or some resistance that I have and then says “what’s going on” and I say “I’m feeling frustrated right now”

 

  • “okay what’s that about”

 

and I say “I’m feeling helpless in this process of therapy.”

 

And she goes “oh. Are you concerned that I can’t help you? Is that what’s coming up in the room right now?”

 

I say something but actually, in the back of my mind, I have an image of myself picking up the chair this to the right of us and breaking it in front of her and just raging 🔥

 

So instead of just saying what I say, in the midst of therapy, I’ll say – “wait a minute, I just had an image flash in my mind of me breaking a chair right in front of you and raging” – and then we work with that

 

If one of the points of certain types of therapy is to gain access to the parts of ourselves that we’re not really conscious of then I think approaching what’s happening in the background, maybe a little more actively than people often do, you see much more profound effects. In terms of your own understanding, biases, belief systems that are buried real deep in the bottom of the mind.

 

There are plenty of therapists that will disagree with that and they are 100% correct and I’m just putting that out there for the one person who goes, “oh wow you know I have those images in my mind that I don’t share that with my therapist and I’ve had them for months or years”

 

Schedule a 30-min consultation with Yeshaia

 

Schedule Free ConsultationSchedule Free Consultation

 

Find out if we can help you raise the bottom 

 

 

Read MoreRead More