Category: Health and Wellness

How to Stay Young and Slow the Aging Process

The four secrets of successful aging are.

  • Appreciate your reality
  • Challenge your body
  • Stimulate your intellect
  • Nurture your spirit

While all are important, for the purpose of this blog, I’d like to focus on stimulating the intellect.

The qualities needed to stimulate the intellect.

  • Overall health
  • Clarity of intention
  • Level of attention

Attention to Our Intention

Maintaining our health both spiritually and physically is obvious, what’s not obvious is the clarity of intention, of our conscious will, and the level of attention, to the maintenance of our mental focus. Our brains are well-equipped and actually need to be challenged, no matter our age.

The Why Beneath the Why

Our intentions determine our experience. It’s the why beneath the why. There is a big difference between an intention to get rich and make a lot of money or to help people live a better life. Our intention affects the basic laws of Cause and Effect and Attraction. Eve, our intention is unknown to us it will always have the same consequence. If our intention is to make money, then we are only interested in ourselves, if our intention is to help someone live a better life then we are interested in others, One is based in fear and one is based in love.

Fear and Love

Fear is in pursuit of external power (money), it raises and crushes hopes, it exhilarates and disappoints, it succeeds or fails. Love is the pursuit of authentic power (a better life), it fulfills and uplifts, validates and empowers. If your intention is the pursuit of external power you will attract people who are only interested in making money, they only see the world as either win or lose. They are impatient, with expectations, needing instant gratification, and when success isn’t immediate they quit. If your intention is the pursuit of authentic power you’ll attract people who are empowered and fulfilled by uplifting others. There is no false agenda, therefore they can delay gratification. They are patient and get fulfillment through the incremental improvement of themselves and others.

Learning Easier The Ever

Attention to your intention, will improve the experience, when learning new skills or a body of knowledge. There are many ways to gain knowledge. In my blog, “The Future of Learning”, I wrote “Technology is making it possible now for those that can, to also teach.
The future of Learning in the 21st Century is where successful entrepreneurs will use a Mastermind approach, utilizing internet communities, workshops and groups to teach their targeted market the skills they currently use. They will either promote themselves, virtually or in person, as the expert, reporter or broker of the skills desired.”

It Takes a Community

Web sites like Wealthy Affiliates.com are examples of an internet community, created by entrepreneurs, to teach others the skills they have. To be a member of such a community and to learn a new skill set, it’s important to manage our emotions. Emotions and intellect are tightly interwoven. By becoming aware of our emotions we realize that we can control them only by being mindful of them. It’s through mindfulness that we begin to subordinate our reflexive emotional reactions.

Emotions

Doing something meaningful and having a sense of purpose, strongly influences our emotional state. The satisfaction you gain by doing something meaningful, gives you self-definition, builds self-esteem and keeps you young. Without a sense of purpose, negative emotions like worry, anxiety, depression, and loneliness can go unchecked. Having these emotions ages you.

Challenge Yourself

By challenging ourselves to learn new skills and knowledge, we better appreciate the world, and our place in it. To many allow themselves to come to a virtual intellectual standstill, by the absence of a meaningful challenge. This absence of a challenge kills the desire to know and leads to depression and an overall depreciation in mental dexterity, and we age. Learning new skills brings freedom and a challenging state of mind, that improves our ability to solve problems. When learning stops, time closes around us, and we age.

The Mind of God

In the book by Maxwell Maltz called “Psycho-Cybernetics”. He talked about identifying erroneous and restrictive programming embedded in the self-image and that we could systematically alter it to better suit our purposes. I was reminded of the mind being of two parts, psychology and skills. 20% was skill based, gathering info and 80% was psychology based, controlling behavior and emotions. He talked about the mind being an automatic success mechanism and how it was important to get the conscious mind in line with the unconscious mind. We do this by using our imagination to set the goal (picture) then letting the automatic mechanism work on it.

The Map is Not the Territory

In relating a story about a successful sales man, he explained that the salesman didn’t see failure as a blow to the ego but as a learning tool. He also said that we have a mental image of ourselves and the world and people around us, and that we behave as though these images are true. See the supposition “the map is not the territory” in my blog on Neuro Linguistic Programming.He goes into recognizing how negative self talk imprints into our subconscious mind (that doesn’t know it’s not real). I wrote a blog on how this can be the hardest habit a person can ever break. Maltz went on to talk about how failure is only an opinion and not a fact and only calls for adjustments and re calibration. You can do this through visualization.

Picture in your Mind

The mind thinks in pictures, not words. As we vividly picture in our minds what we desire, it will become a reality. Create an exciting picture of the future. Most people don’t have a clear picture of what they want. At best, it’s fuzzy. Write down the most important reasons for accomplishing your goal, and the biggest benefit you will receive upon completion. Big reasons keep you young, and are the driving force that keeps you going, when the going gets tough. We are able to stay young and slow the aging process by creating goals and having big reasons in achieving them. Successfully accomplishing your goals takes energy, effort and concentrated thinking. That’s why it’s important to be connected to what you’re working towards and it shouldn’t be only about money!

Your Goals Should Be,

  1. Yours
  2. Meaningful.
  3. Specific and measurable.
  4. Flexible.
  5. Challenging and exciting.
  6. In alignment with your core values.
  7. Well balanced.
  8. Contributing to society.
  9. Realistic.
  10. Supported

Cause and Effect

It is a wonderful experience and a great adventure to make conscious use of knowledge. To have a goal that we can plant in our mind and see it gradually take form. Taking something from our imagination and turning it into a reality, is what gives pleasure. Age is a state of mind using our imagination and creative powers keeps us young. We imagine a goal and use our intelligence to create it. It’s the Law of Cause and Effect.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

 

Dementia; The Irrational Fear of

Brain Scans Being Ignored

Why does the medical establishment promote Colonoscopy and Prostate Testing while ignoring Brain Scans? Especially when incidences of Dementia, rival and often exceed, the incidences of these other afflictions?  When you consider that a Brain Scan is less invasive then a Colonoscopy, it doesn’t make sense.

Why We Are Afraid

The reason everyone shies away from Brain scans is based on three dis-empowering beliefs. The first is a hold over from the old Cartesian Mind-Body Dualism Theory, that the Mind is not of the Body. The other belief, that’s still very prevalent is that nothing can be done, if a problem where to be found. Lastly most of us have an irrational fear and would be devastated if a brain scan found even mild brain damage, thinking it a harbinger of Dementia and even Alzheimer’s Disease.

Promote Brain Health

Medicine has long refuted the Cartesian Theory having proved that the Mind is of the Brain and thus of the Body. And with regards to not being able to do anything, recent and rapid advances in pharmacological and non-pharmacological ways of both protecting and healing the Brain have been developed. The idea that nothing can be done is both dangerous and false. Eliminating these ideas would go along way in reducing the fear people have.

It’s an Irrational Fear

Even more dis-empowering then the belief systems just mentioned, is the neurotic fear, Boomers have of Dementia. Most aging Boomers either deny the possibility that anything could be wrong or just accept as inevitable, that the brain gets weaker with age, often refusing to even consider a scan, until it’s to late. And who can blame them, when they are constantly bombarded, with the Media’s preoccupation with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.

Change the Belief

The false belief that our Brains and thus our Minds become weaker or slower as we age must be changed. The idea that decreased Brain function is not only probable but inevitable is wrong. These dis-empowering beliefs need to be replaced with more empowering and accurate beliefs. While it’s true that our Brain changes as we age, there is mounting evidence that it gets better not worse.

Cognitive Expertise

In Elkhonon Goldberg’s books “The Wisdom Paradox” and “The Executive Brain” he talks about “cognitive expertise”. He holds that as we age, we may lose some power in memory and sustained concentration, but that we gain expertise and competence in our ability to see patterns, in seemingly unrelated events. He refers to  “cognitive templates”, that once formed, are easily able to recognize new cognitive challenges, and easily assimilate them into current situations. We often refer to this ability as pattern recognition. And according to Goldberg, this is nothing to sneer about.

Better Neural Capacity

He says as we age our brains slowly transition from a “hardwired” format to a more  “open minded” format. This opens our neural capacity to better process complexities of all types and to find context. This ability to “see through things” is seemingly effortless and depending upon the context it’s recognized by observers as competence, expertise and in rare instances wisdom.

It’s Not Automatic

This ability doesn’t come as an epiphany of maturity or as an entitlement for living a long time, but rather as the result of mental activities across years and decades of life. Goldberg believes empathically, as many others do, that the real protection against the effects of aging, is to always be in forward motion, to always be challenging the intellect with new goals and new learning. We should use what Maxwell Maltz called our “automatic success mechanism” to imagine and create goals to attain. No matter what age, we must wage an unending war on stasis. As Goldberg so succinctly stated, “a life to settled is no longer a life, but an afterlife”. He believes that the scope and quality of a persons mental lifetime, will shape the quality of it’s final stages.

The Reading Crisis

Socrates said “wisdom begins in wonder”. It’s a crisis when studies show, 28% of people over fifty haven’t read a book in the past year, or that this same percentage have never been to a public library. What’s even more concerning is that the same study, stated that 33% of high school graduates, never read another book for the rest of their lives. But the most shocking finding is that 42% of college graduates never read another book after college.

The Importance of Reading

The fact that 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year, and that 70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years. Doesn’t say much about our desire to improve our mental quality. This is especially disconcerting when research shows that reading not only helps maintain fluid intelligence, but comprehension and emotional intelligence as well.

The Learning Failure

Another disturbing statistic comes from the On-Line Learning Industry, an industry that has grown from 107 billion to 255 billion in just the last two years. It’s estimated that the completion rate for on-line courses is 15%. In my blog “The Future of Learning”, I wrote how traditional Colleges and Universities are failing.   But with a 85% dropout rate, are traditional on-line courses doing any better?

Transformation not Information

In this information overload age, Boomers don’t want more information, what they are looking for is transformation. The ability to get from point A to point B, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Far to many Boomers, have allowed themselves to fall into intellectual stasis. They are either to impatient to learn new skills, using the current available means or feel it’s to late to contribute.

Show Me Don’t Teach Me.

Thankfully we are seeing a new form of Learning emerge. Entrepreneurial on-line courses created and designed by Entrepreneurs willing and able to teach what they do, not what they learned, and to show you step by step how they do it. Using a social media template, they are also able to create a vibrant on-line community interested and supportive of each others success. Technology has cut out the middle man, allowing entrepreneurs to show, not teach, what they have done to be successful.

Transform your Dream into Reality

The power to challenge the effects of aging with new learning has never been greater. As we change the paradigms of learning, both on-line and off-line, real transformation becomes possible, especially for Boomers. What once took years to learn now takes months. Instances of dementia will decrease as more Boomers transform their dreams into reality.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

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Lack of Power was my Dilemma.

Something was Missing

I had been sober for eight years, stuck in Step 11, for the last three. Stuck in the belief held by many in AA, that good actions will bring about good thoughts. At the time, I was convinced, that I would only ever experience a spiritual experience, of the “intellectual variety”, if I ever had one at all. And while my life continued to slowly improve, I never had the feeling of being happy, joyous and free. Something was missing.

It takes a Community

Healing from Alcoholism, in my opinion is ultimately a spiritual act. You can not heal yourself, you need a community of friends, fellow travelers and an organized framework, 12 Step programs provide this. A support group, following a basic 12 Step format as opposed to a treatment center, provides the time a person needs, in some cases years, to really discover themselves, to really get inside themselves.

Improve the Steps

The 12-STEPS are a spiritual approach to recovery, the key is finding a “sponsor” who has recovered, and you can do business with. Don’t think that just going to meetings for the rest of your life is going to do the trick. Meetings evolved because of the program, they were never intended to be the program. But I believe that my spiritual experience would have come about much quicker if the !2-Steps had utilized some of the techniques found in modern Humanistic Psychology and in Neural Linguistic Programming. And I’m going to attempt to tell you why.

The Steps

I would have been better served, if someone had explained to me in Step 1, that an unmanageable life, was the cause and effect of holding dis-empowering beliefs.The beliefs I held caused my thoughts, which caused my life experience and that perception is not reality. People respond to their experience not to reality itself. The map is not the territory and we don’t know what we don’t know.

Step 2 that a power greater then myself could restore my sanity.. That we have the mind of the creator and we have the resources we need to change or create.. We are spiritual beings having human experiences.

Step 3 should not be all about God, but instead the difference between being, willful and willing should be examined. Willful being unreasonably stubborn,and inflexible as opposed to being willing to be open, flexible  with cheerful readiness. How willing was I to change my life, the results of my thoughts and beliefs.

In Step 4 and 5, I realized that every thing, both good and bad, that had happened to me, was my fault, that I had pulled all the strings. I entered these steps feeling like a victim and came out as the cause. Locus of control, did life happen to me or did I happen to life.

Steps 6 and 7 are about character defects. It’s in walking the defects back, that you find the beliefs behind them. Impatience is due to the fact that I believed it solved a problem quicker. A superiority complex because I believed I was entitled. Identify and put distance between, to remove.

Steps 8 and 9, Drop the rock. Every behavior has a positive intention. Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available. Hurt people, hurt people. It’s important to forgive yourself before asking for forgiveness.

Steps 10 and 11 be aware of slipping back into old behaviors and thinking. Be present not a day at a time but 5 minutes at a time. Prayer and meditation where you talk to your higher power and listen for an answer. This is a action step were real transformation is possible if your willing to work.

Step 12 help others.

The Addiction is a Symptom

Most people are surprised when they learn that their medicine is only a symptom, to deep psychological issues. To start living I needed to stop condemning, fearing and hating. Recovery from this disease was dependent on my willingness to explore new ways at looking at both myself and the world, while enduring the fear of changing old belief patterns.

Treatment Centers

Treatment Centers and IOP programs fill a necessary step, in the recovery process, by educating the individual that they are suffering from a progressive illness, and that in order to get to the root cause of the problem, a person needs to stop self medicating themselves.

Not the Solution

Treatment Centers because of their expense structures are not equipped to do this and even Intensive Outpatient Programs, can’t for the same reason. What these programs can do is lay the ground work for the individual, educating them that they are suffering from a mental disease.They Think Addiction is the Problem

Most people come to treatment centers and IOP’s for problems they have developed with their medicine of choice, usually Alcohol or Drugs, Food, Gambling and Sex to a lesser degree.They are concerned that their medicine is not only not working, but has become THE problem, which of course is true on one level but misses the point on the other.

What held me back from having a spiritual experience.? The simple fact is that I was suffering from NPD. It’s my opinion that ALL addictions are rooted in NPD.

NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER.

  • This is a mental condition in which people have a inflated sense of their own importance
  • A deep need for excessive attention and admiration.
  • An inability to form healthy relationships coupled with a lack of empathy for others.
  • Hidden behind a mask of confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Symptoms include but are not limited to,

  • Exaggerated self importance and sense of entitlement.
  • A need to be recognized and a preoccupation with success power and beauty.
  • A superiority complex and a propensity to take advantage of others, to get what they want.
  • They don’t recognize the needs of others and are often seen as arrogant and haughty.They are very impatient and anger easily.
  • They suffer from significant interpersonal problems and struggle handling stress and change.
  • They are often depressed and moody.
  • They hold in feelings of shame and humiliation.
  • Easily addicted to anything that changes the way they fell

Denial

A person suffering from NPD often can’t see any of these symptoms and will deny it to themselves and others if challenged. Often manipulating it in such a way that  accusers back off in frustration.  The causes of NPD are family environment, genetic predisposition and neurobiology problems due to trauma. These symptoms work together or separately to form a belief system that runs against nature and causes a craving for anything that will alleviate the mental anguish.

The most common dis-empowering beliefs are,

  • I must be perfect in all I do.
  • I must be liked and admired by everyone.
  • I need others to tell me I am OK to be OK.
  • People don’t change.
  • People need to make me happy.
  • People are inherently lazy and bad.
  • Problems are a sign of weakness.
  • Fear of the future and an inability to live in the present.
  • Life is a struggle and the universe is a scary place.
  • Complaining works to solve problems.
  • Deny your true feelings, wear a mask. Manipulating people works.
  • Distrust intuition and an inability to make or trust decisions.
  • Don’t trust anybody they will let you down.
  • Blame others for your mistakes.
  • It’s better to be right  then happy.
  • God is judgemental and life is hard full of self-sacrifice.
  • Put your own needs first and win at any cost.
  • Fear of intimacy and the belief that  external things will satisfy internal longings
  • An inability to deal with and a resentment  to authority.
  • Never surrender and debate everything.
  • It’s our addiction that makes us miserable.

Problems with the Truth

A person with NPD, has created so many dis-empowering beliefs, about how the world operates, that it’s hard to pin down, which one in particular, is really holding them back. They are master manipulators and have real problems with the truth. Initially professionals are looking to get this individual past Denial and into Willingness, to at least consider that something is wrong. It starts there.  Acceptance that they have a problem is the first step of the 12- Steps. To quote Martin Luther King Jr. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”

A Spiritual Act

I started by saying that healing from Alcoholism was ultimately a spiritual act and the 12-STEPS have a spiritual approach to recovery. What I have realized after thirty years in and around AA is that the addict has to want to recover. Only when I was physically sober did I start to comprehend that the Alcohol was only the symptom to serious psychological problems. The evidence  that something is amiss in the mind doesn’t correct  the origin of the problem in the heart.

Satori

It’s possible for a lifelong affliction to heal rapidly with a mere shift of attitude, but even though the shift may seem to occur in a split second, it may in actuality take years of inner preparation. Then it happened, while sitting on a park bench, looking at nothing in particular, I was suddenly stuck. Loud over and over the thought, Our Habitual Mind, the mind of God, works 24/7 to manifest the beliefs we hold. Our universe, designed to grow man has no choice, but to bring to fruition what the mind manifests. A man is what he believes.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Habitual Mind.

Trust Faith and Alcoholism

Who Do You Trust

Who would you trust, someone who has studied painting for thirty years, or          someone who has painted for thirty years? Someone who has studied digging ditches, or someone who has dug ditches? Someone who has studied alcoholism for thirty years, or someone who has been an alcoholic for thirty years? Someone  who has studied recovery, or someone who has recovered?

 Levels of Belief

There are people out there, who believe something because they have studied  it,  then there are people, who believe something because they know it. While  belief is good, there are levels of belief. The belief gained through experience will  always trump the belief gained through education. You can trust the belief gained by education. You can have faith in the belief gained by experience.

 Which is stronger trust or faith?

If you have lived with dis-empowering beliefs for thirty years, you can have faith, that you know for fact, they are dis-empowering. As opposed to the person that has studied dis-empowering beliefs for thirty years, he may trust he knows, but he doesn’t have faith he knows. The arrogance of people with education, and a lot of letters following their names, never ceases to astound me.

Beware Experts

The EGO of these people is only surpassed, by how wrong they have been, about so many things. We will laugh when we look back fifty years from now, about what some of the experts believed was true. History has shown us this, over and over. Yet these experts, never stop pontificating, about something they trust to be true, simply because they have studied the problem, only to be proven wrong, by someone who has lived the problem.

Disinformation is Dangerous

I recently came across a blog written by a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, who holds a PHD and is supposedly a recovered Alcoholic. To give you an example on how much disinformation is out there about Alcoholism, I’d like to comment on some of the assertions  this “expert” made in her blog.

Claims Alcohol is Addictive

  • Claims that Alcohol is scientifically known to be addictive.

If you type this question in to a search bar the first sites that come up are treatment center paid Ads. Dig a little deeper and at WebMD.com they talk about how Alcohol causes the brain to release feel good opioids known as endorphins and that “heavy drinkers released more endorphins in response to alcohol, and they reported feeling more intoxicated then the lighter drinker after drinking the same amount of alcohol.”

It’s hard to find any site willing to say alcohol is addictive. I say after prolonged abuse of alcohol the brain eventually develops cravings for the endorphins released when they drink. As far as a heavy drinker feeling more intoxicated then a light drinker after drinking the same amount of alcohol is categorically false. Heavy drinkers develop a tolerance to alcohol and usually have a high tolerance to it’s effects until very late in the diseases progression.

Three Months Sober

  • She is writing this blog after being sober three months, and never considered herself Alcoholic because the term places the problem with the person and not within the nature of the drug. She claims that thinking she was the problem is what kept her “hooked” on alcohol.

My experience has been that for most people trying to recover, it takes 3 to 6 months for the static in the brain to quiet enough to even begin to think straight. Not considering yourself responsible for your addiction is very dangerous. And it’s totally wrong to blame the alcohol for your addiction. This is victimization at it’s most obvious.

Two Drinks a Day

  • 37 year old female PHD claimed she was alcoholic because she needed to use the substance. 2 drinks on week nites, more on weekends. This was hurting her her life, sleep, health, energy, creativity, clarity, and her connection with herself and others. She wanted to stop but found it nearly impossible to do so.

While I’m the first to acknowledge that you don’t have to ride the elevator all the way down to the basement before finding recovery. I find it ludicrous that this person can even call herself alcoholic. Having been in and around AA for thirty years, and having met 100’s of Alcoholics, all the stories are similar. The progression takes years, it starts out being nothing but fun and pleasure, then slowly becomes pleasure mixed with some pain, and finally it’s nothing but pain. It’s unfortunate but AA is usually the last house on the block, and it’s either find recovery or end up in the hospital, Jail or dead.

Considers Recovering Alcoholic a Deficient Term

  • She states she didn’t like the deficient term of recovering alcoholic. While she tried AA it wasn’t for her, because she didn’t want to organize her life around the fact that she “use to be addicted” (remember she has three month sober). She wanted to leave the endless drinking chapter behind and move forward.

A licensed mental health councilor with an inability to even do the basic group therapy of AA or find a sponsor, strikes me as odd. Obviously the ego is still very much in play and she probably finds herself condemning as opposed to comparing. Typical stinking thinking.

Her Therapist Invalidated Her Concerns

  • This PHD with an LMHC says she just stopped cold turkey. She saw the “dark deceptive forest for the trees, and walked the hell away from there”. But not before doing a lot of reading and  starting a journal and writing a shame riddled anonymous blog. She tried sober chat rooms and followed “sober bloggers”. She even shared her concerns with “trusted” people and her therapist, who only invalidated her concerns.

Stopping cold turkey might result in your life getting better on a material level, but you don’t get better mentally or spiritual level. Having been a white knuckle drunk for ten years I can speak from experience that it’s one of the biggest regrets I have. Because of not doing the mental or spiritual work necessary for true recovery, I eventually convinced myself that it had all been a mistake and I probably wasn’t even alcoholic. It took blowing up my life a second time to convince me otherwise.

Searching For the Source of the Problem

  • She searched high and low for the source of the problem. Because being a therapist herself she knows how important it is to ask the right questions. She tried AA again, “kind souls but not for me”. She even made a list on how everything bad that had happened to her was somehow her responsibility. She begged a God she didn’t believe in to help her.

There is no elevator to recovery, everyone has to use the Steps. While she insinuates here that she may have attempted the steps it’s obvious that she didn’t get past Step 4. But it’s in Steps 6 and 7 that we look at our character defects, (our dis-empowering beliefs) and ask for them to be removed. It’s Steps 8 and 9 that we make amends for the wrongs we have done to others. And Steps 10,11,and 12 where we put what we’ve learned into action.

Blames Alcohol

  • She goes on to state that it was the self-blame model that she had to reject. She had to completely reject the notion that alcohol addiction was her fault. She blames alcohol and the industry for her addiction. She thinks that people in recovery are sad they are different.

We learn denial, the ability to distract ourselves and shut down what we need and want. We deny what we observe or know to be true with others. We create fantasies of how we wish things could be, at the same time making excuses, to do nothing that would change the situation. The more we deny the less we heal, the more we lie to ourselves, the further we get from our true selves. Honesty becomes our biggest challenge.

Conclusion

While it’s natural for us to want to trust educated professionals.When it comes to the Disease of Alcoholism, being educated is often not enough, sometimes it can even be dangerous. Faith in a Higher Power and in someone who has actually recovered, is what is needed.Nothing can replace experience.

I continue to assert, that AA recovery rates would be much higher, if they would incorporate modern scientific advancements into their program. In the last 100 years we have seen advances in our understanding of Mental Illness. We have seen the Science of Psychology evolve in it’s understanding of the power of the unconscious. Incorporating these advances would improve AA’s methods of recovery, which they have allowed to become dated and thus unscientific.

The only way to break the “bonds of Self” is to examine the dis-empowering beliefs, we have formed about ourselves and the world. AA’s insistence that it’s through good action that good thinking emerges. runs counter to what both Ancient Philosophers and Modern Scientists have theorized. That’s it our Beliefs (Cause) that creates the life we experience (Effect).

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

 

 

 

 

Alcoholism is a Mental Illness

Stinking Thinking

I bought into the disease theory that Alcoholism is a progressive disease and while that provided relief initially, it also prevented me from confronting my real problem, my thinking. After sitting through thousands of meetings, listening to people struggle with their ongoing issues and personal problems, it started to become evident to me that problems do not go away simply because one halts the addiction. But the focus on character defects and shortcomings kept me from recognizing
and working on the dis-empowering beliefs that I had adopted and continued to hold, and re-enforce, even though I had stopped drinking. I bought into the fallacy that good actions will led to good thinking and that’s simply not true. It was my beliefs and the power I gave them that was causing my problems. I could act good for years but if I still felt, deep inside, that I was inherently bad, then I was just whistling in the dark, and would keep bringing into my life, situations where I would feel I was bad.

Why We Medicate

We drink to help us forget, even for a little while, this feeling, of irritability and discontent. We are Narcissistic, always thinking about me, me, me. We believe that the world revolves around us, this creates an endless need to be accepted and cared for by others. In more severe cases it can cause us to feel that we are not lovable or valuable and that we don’t really belong. We don’t feel safe being our authentic self, so we create a false self, and the fear of this false self being found out, leads to more and more elaborate lies and myth building about who we really are.

Cause and Effect

We judge because we are angry. We are angry because we are afraid. We are afraid because sub-consciously we believe we aren’t enough. We complain because sub-consciously we believe that complaining helps solve problems. We criticize because sub-consciously we believe it makes us feel better about yourselves. We are impatient because sub-consciously we believe that being impatient resolves issues quicker. Our dis-empowering beliefs are the cause, an unmanageable life is the effect. We are irritable and discontent because of this feeling of unmanageability and we seek relief, most commonly in drugs and alcohol.

Addiction is an Allergy

Where for years we drank for relief slowly becomes a habit. Slowly we lose the ability to tell the difference between sobriety and intoxication. Our drinking has become an allergy of mind and body. As we work harder to sustain the myth that we are OK, we become neurotic about being found out. This neurosis further helps establish the dis-empowering beliefs systems with regard to how we interact with the world. So in addition to being a critical, impatient, complainer, we now become arrogant, bossy, and aggressive. We know the innate truth and it makes us even more angry, and discontent.

Bondage of Self

NarcissisticPersonalityDisorder is one of a group of conditions known as dramatic personality disorders. All Narcissists have unstable and intense emotions and a distorted self-image of themselves. Trapped in the bondage of self, we have an excessive sense of importance and superiority, and a preoccupation with success and power, this can also indicate a lack of self-confidence. NPD often involves a deep sense of insecurity and a lack of self-esteem, coupled with a feeling of victimization. Some even exhibit unstable and intense emotions when their self-image is challenged. NPD is one of a group of conditions known in the medical community, as dramatic personality disorders.

NPD is the Root Cause of All Addictions

A study carried out by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that 7.7 percent of all men and 4.8 percent of all women develop NPD during their lives. I think the number is much higher, and it directly correlates with the percentage of addictions in the general population. I believe that NPD is the root cause for all addictions. With over thirty years experience in AA, I’ve never meet an alcoholic who wasn’t a Narcissist.

Causes

It is unclear what causes NPD. It may be associated with circumstances during childhood, such as very high parental expectations, over-pampering, neglect, or abuse. An individual may have learned manipulative behaviors from their parents or household members while growing up. If a child learns that vulnerability is not acceptable, this may undermine their ability to tune into other people’s feelings and needs. The NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital points to recent evidence that a genetic predisposition and other biological or biochemical factors may be linked to NPD.

Untreated NPD

A person with untreated NPD has a greater chance of abusing drugs and alcohol, of having depression, relationship problems, difficulties at work or school, and suicidal behaviors or thoughts. A study published in PLoS One found that males with NPD have higher levels of cortisol in their blood. Cortisol is a stress hormone. A person with NPD may have higher levels even when stress levels are low. High blood cortisol is linked to a greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems.

Living with somebody who has NPD

Living with someone who has NPD can be challenging.

Family members have described their loved one as:

  • controlling
  • egotistical
  • frequently dissatisfied with the actions of others
  • prone to blaming others and making them feel guilty for all their problems
  • losing their temper at the slightest provocation
  • turning their back and giving people the “silent treatment”
  • being physically and sexually abusive

Traits

Below are the most common traits found in people with NPD:

  • An insatiable appetite for the attention of others
  • Extreme feelings of jealousy
  • An expectation of special treatment
  • Exaggerating achievements, talents, and importance
  • Extreme sensitivity and a tendency to be easily hurt and to feel rejected with little provocation
  • Difficulty maintaining healthful relationships
  • Fantasizing about their own intelligence, success, power, and appearance
  • An ability to take advantage of others to achieve a goal, without regret or conscience
  • A lack empathy, or ability to understand and share the feelings of others, and a tendency to disregard others’ feelings
  • A belief that only certain people can understand their uniqueness
  • A tendency to consider themselves as skilled in romance
  • Responding to criticism with anger, humiliation, and shame
  • Seeking out praise and positive reinforcement from others
  • An expectation that others will agree with them and go along with what they want
  • Whatever they crave or yearn for must be “the best”

Other Traits

Others may see narcissists as selfish. They may describe the person as self-obsessed, arrogant, tough-minded, and lacking emotion. As we live with these dis-empowering beliefs, as we continue to dishonorourselves, and permit others to dishonor us, our unexpressed anger grows. As this anger grows, eventually it explodes, usually over minor things, and we lash out, hurting our loved ones, and causing remorse. Or we implode, getting angry with ourselves, which causes depression. We lie in order to belong. We pretend, to be different from who we actually are, to fit in, belong, to feel safe, to survive, it’s all a lie. People talk about being honest, and we see them lie all the time.

Dishonesty

We learn denial, the ability to distract ourselves and shut down what we need and want. We deny what we observe or know to be true with others. We create fantasies of how we wish things could be, at the same time making excuses, to do nothing that would change the situation. The more we deny the less we heal, the more we lie to ourselves, the further we get from our true selves. Honesty becomes our biggest challenge.

Diagnosis

No specific lab tests exist that can diagnose NPD, but X-rays and blood tests may help rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms. There are several types of personality disorders, some of them overlap, and it is possible to be diagnosed with more than one type. Most people coming into AA don’t realize they may be suffering from the progressive disease of Alcoholism, much less having having a mental illness, we are master manipulators, and we deny even the most obvious symptoms, from ourselves and others.

An NPD diagnosis must follow the criteria written in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the APA (American Psychiatric Association). While the following must be present for a diagnosis of NPD to be made.

All Alcoholics display some if not all these symptoms.

  • The patient’s idea and importance of self is exaggerated.
  • Fantasies about beauty, success, and power dominate the individual’s thoughts.
  • The person thinks they are special, and relate only to other “special” people.
  • They need to be admired all the time.
  • They believe they are entitled to most things.
  • They manipulate and take advantage of others.
  • They lack empathy, the ability to feel and recognize the feelings and needs of others.
  • They envy other people.
  • Their behavior appears haughty or arrogant.

Treatment

Traditionally, addiction was considered to be a moral failing and a question of choice on the part of the drinker, and treatment was in line with that school of thought and included, imprisonment, sentencing to a mental asylum, or religious based intervention involving prayer. Two years after the failure of Prohibition, AA was founded by Bill W. and Dr. Bob, it was based on 12-Steps, a series of principles that used spiritual and moral laws, that if followed offed addicts mental, emotional, and societal rehabilitation. Due primarily to the efforts of Marty Mann (one of the first women to complete the 12-Step program), the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism was formed. They advocated what where at the time radical notions about alcoholism and alcoholics.

Recovery becomes Big Business

In 1956 the American Medical Association declared Alcoholism as an illness, and the modern treatment centers where born. The ability to charge insurance companies for treatment has seen an explosion of the treatment center Industry. Some of which incorporate the latest theories in Psychotherapy and Neural Lingusitics Programming and Aftercare Modalities, some who just offer a high priced 12-Step program. For profit treatment centers have led to many abuses in the name of recovery. (hence the joke that a big book can cost $30,000).

It has to be Your Idea

It is my contention that the reason for the continued poor recovery rates in traditional 12-Step programs, is due to a number of issues. The first being that it’s rarely the addicts idea to attend AA or any other 12-Step program, for that matter, and it’s usually the Law, our your family, that push you into recovery. In 1989, America’s first drug courts began sentencing“nonviolent drug offenders” to 12-step programs, at the time seen as an affordable alternative, in the effort to reduce drunk driving nationwide. A majority of people attending AA for the first time, don’t even want to be there

Unwilling to Change.

Secondly is that AA still focuses primarily on the symptoms of (addiction), and not the cause, the grave psychological problems that underlie them. According to Dr. Lance Dodes, in his book The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry (co-written with Zachary Dodes),” when the Big Book was first published in 1939, it was met with wide skepticism in the medical community. The AMA called it a curious combination of organizing propaganda and religious exhortation. A year later, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases described it as a rambling sort of camp-meeting confession of experiences … Of the inner meaning of alcoholism there is hardly a word. It is all surface material.” To think that a lasting recovery can be achieved by going to nightly meetings with a group of similarly afflicted individuals, and a set of 12 non-medical guidelines for recovery, half of which require direct appeals to God.is to ignore the last 90 years of Medical and Psychological advances.Simply being open to the mental illness aspect of addiction would improve recovery rates.

To quote Charlotte Kasl, “While the emergence of 12-Step programs and Alcoholics Anonymous where highly significant occasions that did at one time shed new light on alcoholism, without substantial updating this institution falls into the category of Vaclav Havel’s words (the leader of Czechoslovakia): “It no longer provides new, spontaneous, and effective evidence of things hitherto only guessed at.” The 12-Step approach purports to be for all people, but it’s literature lacks
knowledge of most people.”

How To Improve 12-Step Programs

. Combining Psychotherapy, and Neural Linguistic Programming techniques with traditional 12-Step programs would help individuals come to understand what causes their problems and learn how to relate more positively to others. This simple change would result in more constructive discussion about what lies beneath the addiction. How beliefs are the cause and behavior the effect. They could more quickly help a person build up their self-esteem and acquire realistic expectations of themselves and others. Even combining Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with traditional 12-Step group therapy would be an improvement. CBT helps the patient identify negative beliefs and behaviors, in order to replace them with healthful, positive ones. Medication may help with some of the more distressing aspects of NPD

Recovery

Recovery can still follow the 12-steps format, with guidance by those who have found recovery, from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. .Basic Psychotherapy and Neural-Linguistic Programming techniques should be incorporated in the program or at least utilized by those who have recovered. This would be useful in helping people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder relate to others in a healthier and more compassionate way.

Thinking caused the Drinking

Ever wonder why your alcoholic? Well it’s our stinking thinking that leads to our drinking. And until we understand our thinking, we will continue to drink. To understand our thinking, we must focus on the behavior and walk it back. All external events go through a mental filter of beliefs, values, and memories, before reaching our inner perception of ourselves, (our story), and based on our emotional state at the time of the event, a response will be arrived at. The more we respond to opinions and feelings, the more dis-empowering the beliefs we hold. Beliefs we might not even realize we have. All beliefs are limited by nature, we don’t know what we don’t know.

In Conclusion

Acting and doing good, only acted as a displacement mechanism. It only shifted my attention but did not reach, my deep held beliefs, that I was not only not good enough or smart enough, but not deserving enough, to be truly happy. As long as I held on to these beliefs, real recovery would be out of reach, and that the best I could hope for, would be a stalemate between me and my addictions, doomed to forever be in recovery but never recovered. Lucky for me I had a psychic change sufficient to change these deep-seated beliefs and to know what God’s will is for me and the power to carry them out. I want to share my experiences with you, in order that you might find true recovery a lot faster than I did.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

 

Alcohol Anonymous

The Five Ways We Experience Life

  1. Physical; Body symptoms
  2. Emotional; Behaviors
  3. Rational; Realm of thought
  4. Volitional; Decision making
  5. Spiritual; Freedom and independence

The Four Basic Steps of a Life Event or Experience

  1. External Stimuli; We experience some sort of stimulus from the outside world, we experience through our senses. The stimulus doesn’t even have to be in the present moment, it could be a memory or a reminder of an event in the past or the future.
  2. Interpretation/Meaning; Once we sense something, the mind assigns meaning to it. We perceive based on our mental filters. The event goes through a filtering process (see Norm Chomsky) of deletions, generalizations, distortions and personalizations. The mind deletes approximately 80% of the data it receives. It’s a deleting machine and keeps only the data it agrees with or has feelings for. It then groups and generalizes the stimuli into blocks. Distortions occur when we put stimuli into the wrong blocks.  Personalizations are what the stimuli means to the individual. All these filters are also influenced by our beliefs, values and memories. What you believe and value in life is influenced in many ways based on your upbringing, your daily environment and your inner perception (your story) of yourself.. This is why two people can have the exact same experience, but have completely different perspectives, opinions or feelings about it.
  3. Feeling/Emotion; The meaning you assign to the stimuli, dictates the emotional response. They can either be positive or negative based on the filter. These meanings can be perceived as opinions, feelings, thoughts, beliefs and truths. It was Plato that said opinions are nothing more then the medium between truth and complete ignorance. In 1933  Alfred Korzybski in his theory of general semantics, concluded that all conclusions, are based on information we think is true.
  4. Reaction/Behavior; Instantaneously our internal representation triggers a corresponding state or reaction, you experience this feeling and you react towards it either positively or negatively. This cycle repeats itself constantly and ultimately dictates our actions in life and therefore, the results.

Neuro Linguistic Programing

Neuro Linguistic Programing shows people how to be less affected (unconsciously reacting) to external circumstances, and becoming more aware of the internal processes, thus becoming better able to control (consciously creating) external circumstances. Maturity comes in controlling our lives through thought and action, and learning how to control our interpretations and perceptions. There are many situations and experiences that we can’t control. What we can control is the meaning we assign to these experiences.

Locus of Control

This principal was originated by Julian Rotter in 1954. It is the degree to which people believe they have control over events in their lives. The concept involves whether Life events emanate internally and externally.

If Internal

  • We determine our future
  • We are empowered, unlimited, and giving
  • We are self-responsible
  • Less influenced by the opinions of others
  • Work hard to achieve the things they want.
  • Do your best with no worry
  • Have confidence, believe in yourself

If External

  • We constantly feel victimized
  • We are dis-empowered, limited, and a taker
  • Feel we are not good enough
  • Often lack self confidence
  • Hold no strong beliefs
  • Often irresponsible, prone to learned helplessness
  • Blames emotions on outside factors

If You Have A Problem

If your not happy with your life, it’s because you perceive a problem. You either don’t have something you want or you don’t know how to get what you want. All problems are emotionally based and originate from the beliefs you hold. To find the answer to your problem, Neuro Linguistic Programing shows ways to understand and have greater control and freedom over your state of mind. They focus on the how and why people do what they do.

Why Psychology Can’t Accept Neuro Linguistic Programing


Psychology
believes that NLP lacks not only the empirical data but an overall sense of connection and is too oriented toward techniques and “programing’. While they feel some  NLP techniques were quite effective, they are not the final answer. They hold it’s people and their inter connectedness that is the answer. We are all on the path to self Actualization, whether we know it or not. All paths lead to the same place. To end the confrontation and competition from NLP, they came up with their own form of NLP, they call it Humanistic Psychology.

Humanistic Psychology

Humanistic Psychology is a perspective that helps a person gain a more accurate belief about themselves. It encourages viewing the whole person and encourages self exploration, self awareness, and mindfulness. It’s goal is to change a persons state of mind and behaviors from negative self defeating reactions to healthier more productive ones. Early influences came from Otto Rank and Carl Rogers who coined the phrase “actualizing tendency”,which was the concept expanded upon by Maslow in his “Hierarchy of Self Actualization”, that all behaviors are purpose driven, by different sets of needs.

The Humanistic Psychology Perspective

  1. Human beings, as humans, supersede the sum of their parts, They cannot be reduced to components
  2. Human beings have their existence in a uniquely human context, as well as in a cosmic ecology.
  3. Human beings are aware and are aware of being aware, ie. they are conscious. Human consciousness always includes an awareness of oneself in the context of other people
  4. Human beings have the ability to make choices and therefore have responsibility.
  5. Human beings are intentional, aim at goals, are aware that they cause future events, and seek meaning, value, and creativity.

They Recognize Their Own Form of NLP

Today Humanistic Psychology is a discipline within Psychology with a perspective on the human condition. Like NLP it doesn’t believe that we can understand human consciousness through Cartesian-Newtonian scientific research, and is not appropriate to studying the complexities and nuances of human meaning-making. Unlike NLP it was recognized by the APA in 1971 and given it’s own division (32).

A New Reality

Humanistic  Psychology goes beyond classic NLP, and has shown to be very effective in treating addictions. Much of what is taught in traditional treatment approaches (12-Step) and even in alternative healing methods, is based on premises, about reality which physicists abandoned roughly 30 years ago. Recent research and advances in quantum physics support what ancient wisdom has taught for thousands of years, we are more than our bodies, we are more than our brains, we are part of an interconnected whole.

HP’s Presuppositions

  1. No matter what you think you are, you are always more than that
  2. We have all the resources we need.
  3. Reality is a construction.
  4. The map is not the territory.
  5. You get what you focus on.
  6. Living is learning
  7. You can’t not learn.
  8. All behavior is motivated by a positive, well adaptive intention
  9. Everything and everyone is interconnected.
  10. The material universe is a dynamic web of interrelated events.

It’s Internal not External

A major premise of both traditional NLP and HP is that people are capable of more then they think.This is based on the knowledge that our perceptions are limited to how our neurology filters information. It’s our internal representations and states that determine our behaviors much more than the world outside of us. Both have developed therapy models that treat phobia, trauma, habit and addiction cessation.

Change the Belief and the Behavior Changes

They both identify, how the language of others, whether verbal or non-verbal, as well as their behaviors, have influenced and formed a map of reality, that has lead to the forming of limiting beliefs, unwanted habits, negative reactions and destructive behaviors. Simply put, recovery can be more readily found, by identifying these dis-empowering beliefs and connecting them to the “character defects” (the behaviors),then visa versa.

Incorporate the Science into Traditional Treatment

If either NLP or HP were intellectually incorporated into a 12-Step program, addicts would more quickly learn that all behaviors are motivated by unconscious impulses which are known as neurological triggers. These triggers are the catalysts which are responsible for everything that we do. Once you know what they are, these triggers can be transformed into catalysts for positive results.

Our Perception is not Reality

12 step programs have a tendency, to put responsibility for our addiction outside us by blaming the disease of Alcoholism. And to achieve recovery all we need to do is simply turn our life and will over to the care of God, is to ignore the models of human spiritual growth, as explored by Fromm, Maslow, Erickson and Fowler. For long term recovery and sobriety we need to look within. As long as we believe we are powerless and look outside ourselves, we are stuck in the dilemma.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Addiction is very complex and goes far beyond a Self Will run riot. For many it’s the feelings of inferiority and low self esteem of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, that is behind the addiction. It’s by focusing on the reasons for the feelings, of irritability and discontent, that recovery can be found. We remain depressed and angry as long as we continue to look outside ourselves. As long as we continue blaming others, we cannot heal.

!2-Step Programs Would be More Successful

Experts are in agreement, that Alcohol Anonymous offers an important support system, through out the world, for no cost. But that addicts would be better served if they used it in conjunction with evidence based therapies. Nowhere in Medicine is treatment less grounded in modern science then in Alcohol Anonymous. With little change since it’s establishment in 1935, Alcohol Anonymous offers a single path to recovery, the 12-Steps.

The Only Constant is Change

The history of Alcohol Anonymous is the story of how one approach to treatment took root before other options existed , inscribing itself on the national consciousness and refusing to change or adapt. While attending Alcohol Anonymous meetings may offer some cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing, it’s not at a professional level. The Big Book is famously difficult to study, but could be modified along with the 12-Steps to incorporate up to date science.

You Have To Want Recovery

People with alcohol problems suffer from a higher then normal rate of mental health issues. Alcohol Anonymous is not equipped to address these issues, it is simply a support group whose leaders lack professional training. Using the latest classification from the American Psychiatric Associations DSM-5 for alcohol-use disorder only 15 percent of individuals are at the severe end of the spectrum, and yet our legal system has been sentencing any DUI offender to attend mandatory AA meetings, since 1985.

Designed for the Hopeless

Alcohol Anonymous was designed for the hopeless alcoholic who realizes they have no other recourse but to stop drinking or end up in a hospital, institution or death. And even with this motivation if the alcoholic doesn’t seek recovery himself he’ll fail. If he can’t find a sponsor, he can do business with, he’ll fail. And if he doesn’t do the 12- Steps, like his life depends on it, he’ll fail.

Lack of Power

12-step programs want us to abdicate our power, admit powerlessness and to surrender. In reality, the thing we need to do, is surrender blame. When we let go of seeing ourselves as victims and recognize that we create, promote and allow everything that we experience in life. When we finally take responsibility for the beliefs we hold.and understand how these beliefs are the cause of the effects of our lives, we become powerful, only then will we start to find true recovery.

The Goal

Incorporating modern Psychology into traditional 12-Step Programs, and focusing on changing the dis-empowering beliefs we hold will empower more to heal. The goal should be to improve the rate of recovery for the still suffering alcoholic. As long as we are unwilling to change and be flexible to new ideas and approaches, we are cheating millions of people who could be helped, before they take the elevator all the way to the basement.

Conclusion

It’s taken me thirty years to get ten years twice. As I approach my eleventh year of sobriety, I’ve thought long and hard how I could help others, from making the mistakes I’ve made. It starts with understanding that the addiction is only a symptom to deep emotional and psychological problems, caused by what we believe. It’s the struggle between what we consciously believe and what we unconsciously believe, that makes us irritable and discontent. Constantly searching for anything that will change the way we feel.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

Alcoholism is a Mental Illness

Thinking caused the Drinking

Ever wonder why your alcoholic? Well it’s our stinking thinking that leads to our drinking. And until we understand our thinking, we will continue to drink. To understand our thinking, we must focus on the behavior and walk it back. All external events go through a mental filter of beliefs, values, and memories, before reaching our inner perception of ourselves, (our story), and based on our emotional state at the time of the event, a response will be arrived at. The more we respond to opinions and feelings, the more dis-empowering the beliefs we hold. Beliefs we might not even realize we have. All beliefs are limited by nature, we don’t know what we don’t know.

Addiction is only a Symptom

Addiction is very complex and goes far beyond a Self Will run riot. For many it’s feelings of inferiority and low self esteem, that are behind the addiction. It’s by focusing on the feelings that cause the irritability and discontent, that recovery can be found. It’s my contention that beneath every addiction lies a mental illness, It’s called Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

 Thinking is the Problem

You can not even begin to deal with a disease until you can identify it, by it’s proper name. Treatment begins with a diagnosis, AA’s problem is it only focuses on a symptom of the disease. We must look beyond the limited views of AA, to see the true cause, of our suffering.. We are responsible for the beliefs we hold. We must focus on the beliefs that make us feel so unworthy, depressed and angry, searching for relief. As long as we continue to look outside ourselves, we cannot heal.

Quality of Sobriety

When first I started attending AA, I was told I had a disease called  Alcoholism, both chronic and  progressive, mental illness was never mentioned. While focusing on sobriety provided relief initially, it also prevented me from confronting my real problem, my thinking. After sitting through thousands of meetings, listening to people struggle with their ongoing issues and personal problems, it started to become evident to me that the problems I had, were much deeper then just the drinking, and that they wouldn’t go away simply because I stopped drinking.

Focused on Character Defects

The focus on abstention, character defects, and shortcomings kept me from recognizing and working on my dis-empowering beliefs. Beliefs adopted  unknowingly as a child, which I continued to hold, and re-enforce, even though I had stopped drinking. For years in recovery, I was convinced that my perceptions where reality.

Actions Don’t Change Beliefs

I bought into the fallacy, that good actions led to good thinking, and that’s simply not true. It was my beliefs and the power I gave them that was causing my problems. I could act good for years but if I still believed, deep inside, that I was inherently bad, then I was just whistling in the dark. These beliefs would keep bringing into my life, situations where I would feel I was bad. For years  I had no concept of cause and effect.

The Bondage of Self

We drink to help us forget, even for a little while, this feeling, of
irritability and discontent. We are Narcissistic, always thinking about
me, me, me. We believe that the world revolves around us, this creates
an endless need to be accepted and cared for by others. In more severe
cases it can cause us to feel that we are not lovable or valuable and
that we don’t really belong. We don’t feel safe being our authentic
self, so we create a false self, and the fear of this false self being
found out, leads to more and more elaborate lies and myth building about
who we really are, and more drinking.

Cause and Effect

We judge because we are angry. We are angry because we are afraid. We
are afraid because sub-consciously we fear we aren’t enough. We
complain, because sub-consciously we believe that complaining helps
solve problems. We criticize because sub-consciously we believe it makes
us feel better about ourselves. We are impatient because
sub-consciously we believe that being impatient resolves issues quicker.
Our dis-empowering beliefs are the cause, an unmanageable life is the
effect. We are irritable and discontent because of this feeling of
unmanageability and we seek relief, most commonly in drugs and alcohol.

Addiction is an Allergy

We drank for relief, it slowly becomes a habit. Slowly we prefer being intoxicated as opposed to sober. We eventually lose the ability to tell the difference between sobriety and intoxication. We develop an allergy of mind and body, once we start drinking we can’t stop. As we work harder to sustain the myth that we are OK, we become neurotic about being found out. This neurosis further helps establish the dis-empowering beliefs systems with regard to how we interact with the world. So in addition to being a critical, impatient, complainer, we now become arrogant, bossy, and aggressive. We know the innate truth but we lie, to ourselves and others. The drinking obscures the real problem.

Bondage of Self

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is one of a group of conditions known as dramatic personality disorders. All Narcissists have unstable and intense emotions and a distorted self-image of themselves. Trapped in the bondage of self, we have an excessive sense of importance and superiority, and a preoccupation with success and power, this can also indicate a lack of self-confidence. NPD often involves a deep sense of insecurity and a lack of self-esteem, coupled with a feeling of victimization. Some even exhibit unstable and intense emotions when their self-image is challenged.

NPD is the Root Cause of All Addictions

A study carried out by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found that 7.7 percent of all men and 4.8 percent of all women develop Alcoholism during their lives. I think the number is much higher, and it directly correlates with the percentage of addictions in the general population. I believe that NPD is the root cause for all addictions. One of the central defects of a Narcissist is there inability to acknowledge it. With over thirty years experience in AA, I’ve never meet an alcoholic who wasn’t a Narcissist.

Causes

It is unclear what causes NPD. It may be associated with
circumstances during childhood, such as very high parental expectations,
over-pampering, neglect, or abuse. An individual may have learned
manipulative behaviors from their parents or household members Whenever there is a major deficit in parental love, the child will in all likelihood, respond to that deficit by assuming itself to be the cause of the deficit, they develop an unrealistic negative self image, this may undermine their ability to tune into other people’s feelings and needs. The NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital points to recent evidence that a genetic predisposition and other biological or biochemical factors may also be linked to NPD.

Untreated NPD

A person with untreated NPD has a greater chance of abusing drugs and alcohol, and of having depression, relationship problems, difficulties at work or school, and suicidal behaviors or thoughts. A study published in PLoS One found that males with NPD have higher levels of cortisol in their blood. Cortisol is a stress hormone. A person with NPD may have higher levels even when stress levels are low. High blood cortisol is linked to a greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems.

Living with somebody who has NPD

Living with someone who has NPD can be challenging. Family members have described their loved one as:

  • controlling
  • egotistical
  • frequently dissatisfied with the actions of others
  • prone to blaming others and making them feel guilty for all their problems
  • losing their temper at the slightest provocation
  • turning their back and giving people the “silent treatment”
  • being physically and sexually abusive

Traits

Below are the most common traits found in people with NPD:

  • An insatiable appetite for the attention of others
  • Extreme feelings of jealousy
  • An expectation of special treatment
  • Exaggerating achievements, talents, and importance
  • Extreme sensitivity and a tendency to be easily hurt and to feel rejected with little provocation
  • Difficulty maintaining healthful relationships
  • Fantasizing about their own intelligence, success, power, and appearance
  • An ability to take advantage of others to achieve a goal, without regret or conscience
  • A lack empathy, or ability to understand and share the feelings of others, and a tendency to disregard others’ feelings
  • A belief that only certain people can understand their uniqueness
  • A tendency to consider themselves as skilled in romance
  • Responding to criticism with denial, anger, humiliation, and shame
  • Seeking out praise and positive reinforcement from others
  • An expectation that others will agree with them and go along with what they want
  • Whatever they crave or yearn for must be “the best”

Other Traits

Many see narcissists as selfish, though they never see this themselves. They may describe the person as self-obsessed, arrogant, tough-minded, and lacking emotion. As we live with dis-empowering beliefs, we continue to dishonor and lie to ourselves. Our unexpressed fear grows. As this fear grows, it turns to anger, eventually it explodes, usually over minor things, we either lash out, hurting our loved ones,.or we implode, getting angry with ourselves, which causes depression. We lie in order to belong. We pretend, to be different from who we actually are, to fit in, belong, to feel safe, to survive, it’s all a lie. People talk about being honest, and we see them lie all the time.

Dishonesty

We learn denial, the ability to distract ourselves and shut down what
we need and want. We deny what we observe or know to be true with
others. We create fantasies of how we wish things could be, at the same
time making excuses, to do nothing that would change the situation. The
more we deny the less we heal, the more we lie to ourselves, the further
we get from our true selves. Honesty becomes our biggest challenge.

Diagnosis

No specific lab tests exist that can diagnose NPD, but X-rays and blood tests may help rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms. There are several types of personality disorders, some of them overlap, and it is possible to be diagnosed with more than one type. Most people coming into AA don’t realize they are suffering from the progressive disease of Alcoholism, in addition to having a mental illness. The most significant reason Medicine knows so little about the Narcissist is because they are extremely reluctant to be studied. Narcissists are master manipulators, and we deny even the most obvious symptoms, from ourselves and others.

An NPD diagnosis must follow the criteria written in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the APA (American Psychiatric Association). While the following must be present for a diagnosis of NPD to be made.

All Alcoholics display some if not all these symptoms.

  • The patient’s idea and importance of self is exaggerated.
  • Fantasies about beauty, success, and power dominate the individual’s thoughts.
  • The person thinks they are special, and relate only to other “special” people.
  • They need to be admired all the time.
  • They believe they are entitled to most things.
  • They manipulate and take advantage of others.
  • They lack empathy, the ability to feel and recognize the feelings and needs of others.
  • They envy other people.
  • Their behavior appears haughty or arrogant.

Treatment

Traditionally, addiction was considered to be a moral failing and a question of choice on the part of the drinker. Treatment was in line with that school of thought and included, imprisonment, sentencing to a mental asylum, or religious based intervention involving prayer. Two years after the failure of Prohibition, AA was founded by Bill W. and Dr. Bob, it was based on 12-Steps, a series of principles that used spiritual and moral laws,which when followed offed addicts mental, emotional, and societal rehabilitation. Due primarily to the efforts of Marty Mann (one of the first women to complete the 12-Step program), the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism was formed. They advocated radical notions about alcoholism and alcoholics..

Recovery becomes Big Business

In 1956 the American Medical Association declared Alcoholism as an illness, and the modern treatment centers where born. The ability to charge insurance companies for treatment has seen an explosion of the treatment center Industry. Some of which incorporate the latest theories in Psychotherapy and Neural Linguistics Programming and Aftercare Modalities, some who just offer a high priced 12-Step program. For profit treatment centers have led to many abuses in the name of recovery. (hence the joke that a big book can cost $30,000).

It has to be Your Idea

It is my contention that the reason for the continued poor recovery rates in traditional 12-Step programs, is due to a number of issues. The first being that it’s rarely the addicts idea to attend AA or any other 12-Step program, it’s usually the Law, our your family, that push you into recovery. In 1989, America’s first drug courts began sentencing“nonviolent drug offenders” to 12-step programs, in the effort to reduce drunk driving nationwide, it was also seen as an affordable alternative,to medical treatment.  A majority of people attending AA for the first time, don’t want to be there.

Unwilling to Change.

Secondly, AA still focuses primarily on the symptoms of (addiction), and not the causes, the grave psychological problems that underlie them. According to Dr. Lance Dodes, in his book The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry (co-written with Zachary Dodes),” when the Big Book was first published in 1939, it was met with wide skepticism in the medical community. The AMA called it a curious combination of organizing propaganda and religious exhortation. A year later, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases described it as a rambling sort of camp-meeting confession of experiences … Of the inner meaning of alcoholism there is hardly a word. It is all surface material.” To think that a lasting recovery can be achieved by going to nightly meetings with a group of similarly afflicted individuals, and a set of 12 non-medical guidelines for recovery, half of which require direct appeals to God.is to ignore the last 90 years of Medical and Psychological advances. Simply being open to the mental illness aspect of addiction would improve recovery rates.

To quote Charlotte Kasl, “While the emergence of 12-Step programs and Alcoholics Anonymous where highly significant occasions that did at one time shed new light on alcoholism, without substantial updating this institution falls into the category of Vaclav Havel’s words, “It no longer provides new, spontaneous, and effective evidence of things hitherto only guessed at.” The 12-Step approach purports to be for all people, but it’s literature lacks knowledge of most people.”

How To Improve 12-Step Programs

Combining Psychotherapy, and Neural Linguistic Programming techniques with traditional 12-Step programs would help individuals come to understand what causes their problems and help them learn how to relate more positively to others. This simple change would result in more constructive discussion about what lies beneath the addiction. How beliefs are the cause and behavior the effect. Using modern techniques, they could more quickly help a person build up their self-esteem and acquire realistic expectations of themselves and others. Even combining Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), with traditional 12-Step group therapy would be an improvement. CBT helps the patient identify negative beliefs and behaviors, in order to replace them with healthful, positive ones. Medication may help with some of the more distressing aspects of NPD

Recovery

Recovery can still follow the 12-steps format, with guidance by those who have found recovery, from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. .Basic Psychotherapy and Neural-Linguistic Programming techniques should be incorporated in the program or at least utilized by those who have recovered. This would be useful in helping people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder relate to others in a healthier and more compassionate way.

In Conclusion

Acting and doing good, only acted as a displacement mechanism. It only shifted my attention and did not reach, the deep held beliefs, that I held. That not only was I not good enough or smart enough, but I was not deserving enough, to be truly happy. As long as I held on to these beliefs, real recovery would be out of reach, and that the best I could hope for, would be a stalemate between me and my addictions, doomed to forever be in recovery, but never recovered. Lucky for me I had a psychic change, sufficient to change these deep-seated beliefs. To know God’s will, and the power to carry it out. I want to share my thirty years of experience, in order that you might find true recovery, a lot faster than I did.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

 

 

 

 

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If You Believe Your Not Loved?

Most beliefs are formed in early childhood, many  we are not even aware of. There is a big difference between the power of beliefs, based on whether they are fundamental or ancillary.

A fundamental belief would be that you are not loved or worthy of love.  Developing this belief causes a disconnection with the world, and the people around you. Ancillary belief is if you believed a certain group of people were not worthy of love.

This disconnection with people sets us adrift in the world, with no connection to society or our place in it. We start to experience the world from the external in as opposed to the internal out. We are the passenger, not the driver, set up to become a victim, we feel powerless.

Life just happens, we don’t believe in anything and we don’t take responsibility for anything. We become dependent on the world and others to take care of us. We develop  addictive personalities, easily addicted to anything that changes the way we feel.

In this situation, we you set ourselves up for constant frustration. Life doesn’t deliver what we want. We want to be made happy, by getting a particular thing or having a particular experience, and until we get it, we live in expectation. Happiness is just around the corner, but never here and now.

As we wait there is a constant gnawing, a sense of irritation, because life is failing to deliver. Unconsciously we feel cheated, everybody seems to be getting what they want. Perversely we judge, criticize, and complain. We push people away without being aware of it. We start to pursue external power by attempting to manipulate and control people. We lie to get what we want it.

Our expectations have been swollen to impossible proportions, to which life can never satisfy. The desires get fiercer and harder then ever to satisfy, this results in a mounting sense of frustration and isolation.

We establish a pattern of a background of anger, fed by the feeling that our deep desires are not being fulfilled. This anger is always just beneath the surface of consciousness. This leaves a very low level of tolerance, so that even a small irrelevant irritation, is enough to make us miserable and depressed.

The search for value and self worth is always desperate, because the pain of wanting to be loved and feeling unlovable, wanting to love and feeling incapable of loving, needing to belong and feeling excluded is unbearable. This is the pain of powerlessness. It lies at the core of the our experience.

Powerlessness is the experience of feeling intrinsically defective, inherently ugly, and without value. It is the fear if others could see us as we really are, they would not want to be with us. It is self hatred, it is desperation.

Avoiding the pain of powerlessness continually determines our perceptions, intentions and actions. We flee them by attempting to manipulate and control circumstances. This is the pursuit of external power. We respond to our perceptions not reality.

Our perceptions are composed of opinions, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. If we respond to opinion, feelings, and thoughts it’s because of limiting beliefs. All beliefs are limited by nature. We don’t know what we don’t know. How can you identify whats true versus an opinion, feeling or thought.

Our intentions determine our experiences whether or not we are aware of them. We must look for the why beneath the why to find the actual intention. It’s this intention that creates the consequences.

We believe that actions create consequences, and are unaware that it’s the intention behind the action that creates the consequences of the action. When we are aware of our intention (cause), we can predict the consequences that they will create (effect). When we are not aware of our intentions, the experiences that they create are often surprising and most often painful.

These experiences have four things in common.

  1. They express fear.
  2. They are painful to experience.
  3. They create painful destructive consequences.
  4. They are central to our spiritual development.

It’s only through admitting our powerlessness that we can heal. As long as our feelings of powerlessness, remain outside our awareness, we will continue to live in a “sea of suffering”. With out an intervention, our lives unfold robotically from one painful experience to another. We remain victims in the game of life, unaware that we hold the keys to the kingdom.

Only through surrender to a power greater then ourselves can we locate and challenge the dis-empowering beliefs we hold. Even though we want others to remove the pain and emptiness from our lives, we slowly learn that we are  responsible for were we are.  What is behind our eyes becomes more important than what is in front of them.

It’s only by becoming aware of the seeds we are planting (our intentions)  that we can know in advance what crop we will harvest (the consequences of our intentions). To maintain this  awareness, it’s not enough to live one day at a time, we need to live 5 minutes at a time. Our impact on the world is significant whether or not we are aware of it, and even whether or not we desire it.

As always thanks for visiting. Dave

Neuro Linguistic Programing; In Support Of

A Humanist Approach

Neuro Linguistic Programing is a Humanist approach to solving problems. It goes against the paradigm of Modernist Scientific thought, which is Newtonian based. This Empirical, Mechanistic, and Reductionist approach to problem solving focuses on the, Linear, Objective and Rational components to problem solving.

The Empirical Fallacy

From an Empirical perspective, the only way truth can be approached is through measurement and numbers. Pushed to its extreme, anything that cannot be measured or documented by numbers, does not exist and therefore by definition is not true. NLP believes that only through studying the same phenomenon from different perspectives, trying to explain what is going on, and through inter-disciplinary research, can the truth be found. Empirical research can never tell us whats going on, but only what we were able to record at a certain moment or time period.

Mechanistic Model is to Simplistic

A Mechanistic model of science limits us to a simplistic cause and effect approach to problems. Simply put if you push here you will see the effect repeatedly and predictably over there.NLP has a more Dynamism or to use a new term vitalism belief which maintains that vital activities cannot be explained and never will be explained, by the laws which govern lifeless matter. Just because you have a certain gene doesn’t mean you will be an alcoholic or if you suffer abuse, as a child, you will show A,B and C, as an adult. Neuro Linguistic Programing postulates that humans are not that predictable.

Problem with the Reductionist Approach

A Reductionist approach suggests that an analysis of the parts is sufficient for understanding.  For a reductionist “the simple is the source of the complex”. In order to explain human behavior one needs to reduce it to its constituent elements. NLP believes this creates a cascade of errors in method and logic, creates a confusion of statistical artifact with biological reality. The mind and the body affect each other.

Linear Science Assumes to Much

A Linear science assumes X causes Y which causes Z. It assumes that casual relationships are linear, geometric and explained in mathematical terms. Linear thinking does not understand multi-variant thinking and that problems are often spherical and multi-directional. NLP believes that science is a process of constant refinement and that we don’t know what we don’t know until we know it.

Objective Observation of Subjective Occurances

To be Objective, to have an unbiased view, you must be apart from. Objectivity is almost always the opposite of feeling or emotion, and is considered superior to subjectivity by Modernists. NLP recognizes that experience, feelings and emotions are all subjective therefore not measurable, or amenable to the rigors of Modernist science,

Doesn’t fit into a Rationalist Ideology.

The Rational approach in a modernist scientific world has evolved into the need to deny experience, in order to fit into an ideology. Thus Modernist Science refuses to accept many of the Neuro Linguistic Programing suppositions. How can you prove empirically, “that people aren’t broken”, or that “the past doesn’t equal the future”.

NLP Based on Ancient Beliefs

Humanist psychologists look at human behavior not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person doing the behaving.. They believe that an individual’s behavior is connected to his inner feelings and self image. These ideas go back as far as the traditions of the Advaita Vedanta, the ancient Hindu philosophy based on the highest wisdom of the Upanishads, The self is outside time and beyond the limited walled off ego.

Modernist Science is Very Arrogant

Trying to apply Empirical reasoning to the pre-suppositions of NLP as listed below is the epitome of arrogance. To call it a pseudo-science is to ignore the fact that there is a big difference between disagreeing with a hypothesis and proving it wrong. Modernist Science has not been able to categorically prove that any of these suppositions are wrong.

These are the Presuppositions of NLP:

  1. Respect for the other persons model of the world.
  2. The meaning of the communication is not simply what you intend, but also the response that you get.
  3. The mind and body affect each other.
  4. People respond to their experience, not to reality itself. The map is not the territory.
  5. Every behavior has a positive intention. Everyone is doing the best that they can with the resources they have available. People make the best choice they can at the time.
  6. Behavior is geared towards adaptation.
  7. Accept the person; change the behavior.
  8. Behavior and change are to be evaluated in terms of context and ecology.
  9. People have all the resources that they need to make the changes that they want. We already have all the resources we need or we can create them. There are no un-resourceful people, only un-resourceful states.
  10. Possible in the world and possible for me is only a matter of how.
  11. The system (person) with the most flexibility (choices) of behavior will have the most influence on the system.
  12. This is the Law of Requisite Variety
  13. There is no failure, only feedback.
  14. There are no resistant clients, only inflexible communicators.
  15. Having choice is better than not having choice. All procedures should be designed to increase choice and develop greater personal flexibility.
  16. All procedures should increase wholeness.

Only Through Congruence

For the holist “the whole is more then the sum of the parts”. In other words human behavior has its own properties that are not explicable in terms of the properties of the elements from which it is derived. NLP believes that only through understanding the wholeness and congruence of all elements can the mind be understood.

The Goal is to Help People

NLP offers another approach to correcting  the the general neurosis of our time, as stated by Carl Jung, “about a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. This can be described as the general neurosis of our time”. Just like Psychotherapy it has had it’s successes and failures. The system with the most flexibility will have the most influence.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

Alcoholism; It’s a Symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The Problem

The reason recovery rates are so low in AA is because,

  1. AA only recognizes the symptom not the underlying disease

Underlying Disease Not Known at the Time

According to Dr. Lance Dodes, in his book The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry (co-written with Zachary Dodes),” when the Big Book was first published in 1939, it was met with wide skepticism in the medical community. The AMA called it a curious combination of organizing propaganda and religious exhortation. A year later, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases described it as a rambling sort of camp-meeting confession of experiences … Of the inner meaning of alcoholism there is hardly a word. It is all surface material.”

Bill Wilson Was a Marketer

So how did AA gain such a place of privilege in American health-culture? How did a regimen so overtly religious in nature, with a 31 percent success rate at best, a five to 10 percent success rate at worst, and a five percent overall retention rate become the most trusted method of addiction-treatment in the country, and arguably the world? It’s a central question Dodes seeks to answer in The Sober Truth. And he begins at the very beginning.

Public Relations Genius

In 1951, based on what Dodes calls “the strength of self-reported success and popular articles” (The Saturday Evening Post was a major supporter), AA received a Lasker Award, which is “given by the American Public Health Association for outstanding achievement in medical research or public health administration.” This despite “no mention of any scientific study that might prove or disprove the organization’s efficacy,” writes Dodes. But it was nevertheless a marked moment AA’s history; the moment it entered the medical establishment, and by proxy, gained implicit trust from the American.

Supported by Judicial System

In 1989, America’s first drug court began sentencing “nonviolent drug offenders” to 12-step programs.You’ve been found to have a serious, Drug or Alcohol problem. In lieu of medication, psychotherapy, or a combination thereof, the Judge prescribes nightly meetings with a group of similarly afflicted individuals, and a set of 12 non-medical guidelines for recovery, half of which require direct appeals to God.

Your Medicine has become a Problem

Why is it usually a  Judge who recommends  treatment? Because you suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a grave and serious emotional and psychological problem, and you deny having any problems, not only to yourself, but to your family, doctors, and employers. Addiction is one of the most obvious symptoms of NPD.

They See Themselves As the Answer

This brings us to the present: an addiction-treatment landscape envisioned and engineered almost entirely by AA. The 12-Step Program is the law of the land. If you have a drinking problem in 2014, or a drug problem, or a gambling problem, your medically, socially, culturally, and politically mandated solution is a set of 12 steps. The only other options, as asserted by the Big Book, are “jails, institutions, and death.”

But Not the Solution

A report published by Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly in 2000 analyzed AA membership surveys taken from 1968 through 1996. On average, 81 percent of newcomers stopped attending meetings within the first month. After 90 days, only 10 percent remained. That figure was halved after a full year.

The Real Problem

The reason for this is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The Narcissist has a great deal of grandiosity and defensiveness, which makes it difficult if not impossible for them to acknowledge problems and vulnerabilities.

Tell Them the Truth

From their first day in treatment, the focus should be, that the Addiction is just a symptom of the disease of Narcissism. Being honest and telling people that they suffer from a mental condition, that has been classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, gives people a concrete framework of their condition, instead of propaganda and religious exhortation. Only with a diagnosis can an Addict start evaluating the cause and effects, Narcissism has had on their lives.

Diagnosis Leads To Recovery

Recovery can still follow the 12-steps format, with  guidance by those who have found recovery, from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. .Basic Psychotherapy and Neural-Linguistic Programing techniques should be incorporated in the program or at least utilized by those who have recovered. They would be useful in helping people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder relate to others in a healthier and more compassionate way.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave

 

 

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