This week Susan and Kendall check in and discuss alcohol and recovery themed articles.
“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”
― Henry David Thoreau
I used to watch a show called Charmed about three sisters who were witches with different powers. Alyssa Milano’s character “Phoebe” becomes an empath, meaning she could feel other people’s feelings. Being empathetic is not just a magical power. It’s something most humans are capable of. Well, perhaps sociopaths are incapable of being empathetic. Alcoholics and addicts can have a difficult time feeling empathy. We are generally self-centered during the time when this deadly disease is consuming our lives. A theory I’ve been looking at is that perhaps alcoholics and addicts are highly empathetic. We’re certainly a sensitive lot! I wonder if experiencing other’s feelings is too much for us. Just like pain and joy can be difficult to feel, we medicate all of the feelings, including empathy. In my quest to be more empathetic, I’ve begun a research project to better understand how empathy works. I imagine it could take years, perhaps decades, to complete this work but for now it’s a beginning.
This week we interview Emily Deans, M.D. aka the “Evolutionary Psychiatrist” to get a medical perspective on recovery and detox. Emily is a board certified adult psychiatrist practicing in Massachusetts. The overarching theory she explores is that our bodies and brains do best in conditions for which they are evolved. She digs up scientific information and presents it in that context. She feels that by studying evolutionary medicine, we come closer to the answers for optimal conditions for health and vitality. You can find Dr. Emily Deans on Psychology Today.
A few months ago our friend and Evolved Recovery Show guest, Allison Hudson (It’s A Lush Life,) shared that the folks from I Am Not Anonymous would be in Charlotte hosting a photo shoot. Seeing as how I never pass up the opportunity for a fancy photo session, I signed right up! Kate and Tom were so wonderful and kind at the shoot. The energy in the room was spectacular. I met people in the recovery community in my city that I hadn’t met before and one woman has become a great friend since. (My story is posted below.)
Kate is an incredibly talented photographer and she has this way of making people who’ve probably spent most of their lives in shame and self-loathing due to addiction, suddenly feel like the most beautiful person on the planet when they see themselves through her lens. The work Kate and Tom are traveling around the country doing is crucial to helping people recovery. The I Am Not Anonymous mission is to bring the SOLUTION into the conversation in hopes of helping the millions of people who remain untreated and help the world understand that addiction is not a moral failing. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be part of this project. If they make it through your town, I highly recommend this experience!
Daniel Pardi, CEO of Dan’s Plan, is an entrepreneur and researcher whose life’s work is centered on how to facilitate health behaviors in others. He is the developer of Loop Model to Sustain Health Behaviors to help people live a healthy lifestyle in a modern world. He does research with the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department at Stanford, and the Departments of Neurology and Endocrinology at Leiden University in the Netherlands. His current research looks at how sleep influences decision making. Follow him @dansplanhealth.
I need to let you in on a little secret…I’ve been in kind of a funk lately. Yep, even those of us long-term sobriety folks sometimes wake up not feeling it, with the urge to stay in bed and pull the covers over our head. It all started with a darn head cold that I just couldn’t shake off which left me tired and listless – combine that with some financial insecurity and the result is me feeling like a turtle just wanting to put her head inside her shell and do absolutely nothing. Or better yet, a turtle with her head inside her shell with enough of a view of the TV to binge watch Netflix all day long! Continue reading Help Yourself by Helping Others
Today we’re celebrating Kendall’s one year sober anniversary and interviewing Nicholas Knutzen. Nick found optimal health while recovering in treatment. He loves to travel, crossfit and tennis. He is also a nutrition authority and an accomplished, experienced cook. He is currently developing a new program that he calls ReScovery, which is intended to extend current and well known recovery traditions and programs, focusing on those aspects that help create balance – transforming sobriety into joy-filled, contributing, fulfilling and productive lifestyles.
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”
It has been an emotional roller coaster the last few days leading up to this momentous occasion. One year ago I couldn’t imagine what this day would be like, or fathom the person I could become in 365 days. Thankfully I didn’t have to imagine any of that. I just had to stay in the day, at times just in the moment. I had to not drink and I had to do some big work on myself.
What It Was Like
A year ago, I was a broken soul seeking pain and running from pleasure. I’m not talking about the kind of pleasure that two glasses of wine, a donut, or a good-looking man bring you. This is the kind of pleasure and joy that is derived from being loved by the right kind of people or the pleasure of knowing that you’re being a productive, contributing, and stable human being. Nothing overtly bad happened to make me desire sobriety. I was just tired of running. I was tired of making excuses for why I had become the person that I was. Mostly I was tired of not being the person I pretended to be and truly desired to be like.
Dain Sandoval is originally from San Diego, but has called Chico home since 1998. He has had an illustrious past in radio as the Program Director of 106.7 ZRock. He handles websites and technical work for Everyday Paleo‘s Sarah Fragoso. He began experimenting with Paleo while training with Robb Wolf in 2006. Dain was 220 pounds and wearing size 44 pants. He was also in a deep battle with alcoholism. He realized he had to change his lifestyle or likely be dead 30. Through practical application of Paleo living in addition to physical training and a program of recovery he says he now wears size 31 pants and is generally a nicer person to be around. He has been clean and sober since Feb 19, 2007.
Susan and Kendall catch up on their family happenings over the holiday weekend. Then they welcome this week’s guest, Leonard Lee Buschel, founder of Writers In Treatment (W.I.T.), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization grounded in the arts and recovery. W.I.T.’s primary purpose is to save lives through promoting and providing ‘treatment’ as the best first step solution for addiction, alcoholism and other self-destructive behaviors. W.I.T. also offers educational, prevention and awareness programs through their nationally acclaimed REEL RECOVERY FILM FESTIVAL and SYMPOSIUM presented in Los Angeles, New York, Ft. Lauderdale, Las Vegas, San Francisco,, Houston and Vancouver BC.
He also is the editor and publisher of the weekly Addiction/Recovery eBulletin that reaches an audience of over 17,000 individuals. Mr. Buschel is a California Certified Substance Abuse Counselor with years of experience working directly with people struggling with addiction. He believes strongly in exercising the mind and continues to develop himself as counselor, psychological thinker, non-profit executive and writer. He does this through his own personal work in 12-step programs and has attended seminars by the most influential thinkers of our time.