Mindful Recovery is a podcast devoted to helping individuals who are struggling with trauma and addictions recover. Mindfulness is a research based method for dealing with anxiety and trauma. Psychological and neuroscience studies have found that it is possible to increase the growth of neuronal pathways and retrain our brains in coping with these issues. Basic techniques like learning to pay attention to our own breathing and looking honestly and non-judgmentally at our hurt places can begin to create an emotional holding space that allows us to live without reacting to the pain and begin deciding how we want to act on the world we find ourselves in. This becomes the beginning of recovery and, thus, the beginning of a new and abundant life in recovery. Whether you struggle with anxiety, mental illness, complex trauma, PTSD, addictions or a multitude of other problems, becoming mindful in the way you live is the first step along that path. I would be honored if this podcast could help you begin that journey.
The Podcast Returns. In this episode, we talk about what's in the future for the podcast, why I dropped out of sight for a while and we begin with the beginning...learning again how to relax and pay attention to the body and what it's telling us.
This Easter has me thinking a lot. I don't normally share that I am a Christian but felt that it was time to step out as we discuss connection. I want to connect with those in the Christian community still driven by fear. Fear of other, fear of war, fear of death, fear of exclusion. Fear is the real enemy that separates us from connection. The real message of Easter is to let go of fear and brave connection.
In the final chapter in our exploration of connection we actually discuss disconnection. Specifically anticipatory grief or the grief we begin experiencing knowing a disconnection is coming. Death, divorce and other forms of disconnection begin affecting us way before we actually experience them and preparing for that event can help us cross the bridge more easily. It will not save us from the pain, but it will insure we meet the loss with eyes wide open and learn what it has to offer. This episode has a personal meaning for me and we discuss how I am crossing this bridge too.
In part 2 of our series on connection we speak with author, Johann Hari. His new book, "Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions" is a deep dive into the healing power of connection. We discuss depression, grief, mental health and healing.
How trauma can change our ability to regulate emotion and connect with others and what we can do about that. Connection seems to be key, but how do we learn to connect when connection feels unsafe? We begin this series with the discussion of how the nervous system is shaped by trauma and how that affects our ability to connect.
After over half a year we are back. Working with you to study and learn to overcome trauma. The new format will focus on all aspects of trauma and the power of mindfulness to overcome it and help us regulate through is. We begin the new beginning at the beginning, with an exercise in grounding in our own breath.
Often trauma results in the loss of self esteem and even the failure of a sense of self worth to develop. In this episode we look at how important these are to setting healthy boundaries and living healthy fulfilled lives. Your worth is inherent. It has been there from the day you were born and is not dependent on external validation. It's time to start believing in it!
The Holidays can be a real challenge when we’re struggling with trauma and addictions. The constant barrage of images of what family “should” be and what “holidays” should look like just throws out there that we are not that. Avoiding expectations and choosing our family wisely are only two of the suggestions I make this week. In this episode I suggest some concrete things we need to be doing to get through the holidays without relapse.
In part 2 of my podcasts about sexual assault I interview Laura Reagan, LCSW. Laura specializes in trauma and sexual assault and is a fantastic therapist in the Annapolis area. We talk about blaming the victim and changing attitudes in this episode of Mindful Recovery.
Sexual assault is an issue much in the news lately. We cover what it is, the effects it has and hold accountable those who would excuse it in this episode of Mindful Recovery. This week's episode is a call to listeners to stand against such behavior.
Michael Weinberger tells a powerful story of trauma, mental illness, addiction and recovery which culminated in the development of his own app for recovery. Join me in my interview of Michael as we follow him through his journey to recovery and discuss the development of his app and program called "A Plan For Living".
In the last few episodes we have discussed the ways the child gets hurt and looking honestly at the places that hurt child still resides in us. Meeting that child’s needs is something we grew up unaccustomed to. Today, we look at the child within and it’s need for play and joy. Reconnecting with the joyous child inside us becomes the focus of our recovery from addictions and trauma in this episode.
Today we speak with Adena Bank Lees, PhD who specializes in the treatment of trauma and sexual abuse. She has written two books, the latest of which is a book on covert sexual abuse or the use of a child as an emotional surrogate for the missing spouse. This form of trauma can be very impacting and is often at the root of addiction.
This week we dig into those childhood places where we are broken. The ones we have been trying to numb. In this mindfulness exercise we try and show that child the compassion it has always needed in an effort to reconnect with our own healing sense of worthiness. In this way we can begin moving into healthy connection.
Trauma is at the root of all addictions. Connection drives our recovery but healthy connection requires being vulnerable and risking hurt. Learning to do this again is foundational in our recovery because connection is the key to healing.
Brokenness is part of the human experience. We don't have to run from broken spaces. We can learn to sit with the hurt and create spaces of healing from them. The poet Rumi said, "The wound is where the light enters you". In this episode we explore sitting with that broken space and allowing the healing to enter us and grow out from there.
Compassion is something we all strive for and often the last thing we show ourselves. Often this is because we were shown so little. It is a learned skill. This week we begin learning how to see ourselves through compassionate eyes and begin caring for ourselves the way we would a beloved child.
Guilt is a reasonable response to things I have done wrong. Shame is the response that says I am those bad things. We talk about the difference in this episode and how to keep our healthy guilt from becoming toxic shame. The 12 steps can be useful in leading us down that path. We create a mindful and meditative space to discern the difference between these two emotions as they arise within us.In the effort to rid ourselves of toxic shame.
Hanging on to resentment keeps us in bondage to our trauma and addictions. Through forgiveness we find freedom from that bondage. We do not excuse behavior but decide that we will no longer allow it to control us and move forward past it by finding forgiveness. Come with me in this episode on a journey through forgiveness and find the release it offers through our directed mindfulness exercise.
Children often are traumatized in the midst of others' addictions. This week I had the distinct honor of interview Jackie Flynn. Jackie is a rockstar child therapist who practices in Florida and often uses mindfulness herself in helping kids to create an emotionally safe space when coping with trauma and divorce (both issues which can arise from addiction). We talk about the ways that we can help children cope and about some of Jackie's upcoming and free trainings on these issues.
Yes we are addicts. But that's not all we are. We are also amazing, miraculous creations with some very definite value. In this episode we define those miraculous qualities our creator endowed us with and begin to redefine who we are based on these inherent qualities to begin turning away from the negatives of living in the addiction and into the positives of living in our recovery. Honoring our true selves and stepping fully into our recovery and future.
This week we focus on learning to sit with the fear and pain that can create triggers and anxiety and simply face it with courage. We talk about the real meaning of courage in trauma and addictions and learning to pull those scary places from inside of us, sit with them and learn from them. Taking the power out of our scary monsters so that we can move forward past the fear and anxiety. A mindfulness exercise to help with this skill is included this week as well.
Often recovery from addiction means we have to let go of the people and places we have known because they become triggers for poor choices and pain in our lives. If all we have known is addiction it can be difficult, even painful, to begin identifying ourselves outside of that. In this episode we explore the space between the old life full of pain we have left behind and the new being we are moving towards in the future. We begin to visualize ourselves in the cocoon stage and think about where we will go once our wings have fully formed.
This episode goes deeper into guided meditation and mindfulness experience by putting together exercises we have done in the past to bring a fuller experience to your mindfulness and recovery practice. We work here on being able to observe our anxiety and anxious thoughts without attaching to them. With the background music I think you will find this a new level of mindful experience.
This week I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Nazanin Moali who is a practitioner in the LA area and specializes in the treatment of adolescent addictions. I loved her client centered approach and how she really saw the family as a healing agent in the process. I hope you learn as much from her as I did.
Becoming the observer is the next step in our mindfulness journey. It involves non-judgementally viewing of our own emotions and places of vulnerability so that we might find where they are rooted and begin to released their hold over us. When we can look at our emotions and behaviors without judgement then we can begin to determine how we would like to act on the world around us rather than reacting to it without thought. We move from judgement and reaction to acceptance and reasoned action. This is a powerful tool for getting in touch with our triggers, traumas and cravings and removing their ability to control our lives.
This week I interview Duane Osterlind who talks about his work in the field of pornography and sexual addictions. Duane specializes in what we call process addictions where the process itself becomes the arousing and addicting behavior whether that is food addiction, gambling or sexual addictions. We discuss how deeply rooted in trauma sexual and pornography addictions are and the damage it can do to families in addition to the promise of treatment.
Opiate addictions are the fastest growing segment of addiction even among the elderly. Too often pain management can lead to relapse and/or to heroin use, which is one of the reasons underlying the increase of heroin use in the U.S. More and more research is beginning to indicate that physical pain is often related to emotional trauma and stress. The body holds on to this trauma and stress triggers pain as a way of signaling us that something is wrong. Research is also indicating that mindfulness can help us to regulate and manage pain in a way that lowers our need for opiates. We practice an exercise in mindfulness this week
In this episode we look at cravings and triggers. Feel free to download the file about how drugs actually hijack the brain and the craving mechanisms that occur from Harvard Medical school from my website as an additional informational resource. Often addiction and cravings can come on quickly and be rooted in trauma. We also look at the intensity of cravings and try to educate families and loved ones about how this feels for the addict and the amount of courage it can take to resist. Then we work on a mindfulness technique that is effective in trying to resist the cravings and simply sit with them knowing we can get through. This exercise is also designed to help the addict begin to deal with themselves from a perspective of caring and compassion instead of criticism and feelings of failure.
Often with Trauma and Addiction we can get quickly triggered and suddenly we are craving or we are back in a situation that generated trauma for us in our lives and it’s as if we are actually back there again re-experiencing everything in real time. How does that happen? Why does our brain throw us back to that place and why does it feel so real that we become anxious and panicked? Today we look at the way the brain reacts to trauma and how the part of the brain responsible for protecting us shuts down our rational decision making processes creating anxiety and even panic states. We also discover that it is possible to reverse this process. By controlling our bodies we can slow down our heartrate and allow that rational part of the brain to re-engage for us. We will go through an exercise designed to lower our day to day stress levels and look at how using the breathing exercise from last week can bring us back to a more regulated state where we can begin deciding with our wise mind how we want to be in the world.
In this episode of Mindful Recovery, I introduce you to what the general format of the podcast is going to be about. A podcast dedicated to using mindfulness techniques in our journey of recovery from trauma and addiction as well as the mental health issues that often coincide. You will be introduced to some of the topics I plan to cover in addition to an introductory mindfulness exercise to help you begin your journey into recovery and abundant living.