Empathy and The Addict

“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.

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I Am Not Anonymous

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!

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Podcast Episode 25: Daniel Pardi, Researcher

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.

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Podcast Episode 24: Nicholas Knutzen

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.

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One Year Sober

“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.

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Podcast Episode 23: Dain Sandoval

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.

We welcome your questions and topics by email at info@evolvedrecovery.com. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, download the MP3, or use the player featured below.

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10 Reasons to Support Farmer’s Markets All Year Long

I live in North Carolina and we definitely have all four seasons here. Mildish winters and summers. Breathtaking falls and springs. We are so fortunate but even with winters that rarely experience a blizzard, our local farmers markets tend to be ghost towns from November through March.

Summer however is a different story. You roll up in the parking lot around 9am. Cars are backed up down the street, and you circle for 10 minutes to find a parking space. People and strollers are everywhere. I’ve been coming to this market for years. Out of the 52 weeks a year, between my husband and I we might miss 4 Saturdays a year. In December you can roll right up, grab a space, and walk anywhere without bumping into another person.

So I ask myself where are all of these people during Winter?? It’s my duty as an “agtivist” to make sure folks understand that many cities have year round markets. Maybe the massive sign when you pull into mine that says open year round isn’t enough of an indicator. To encourage people to visit more often and not just when the weather is lovely I came up with these 10 reasons:

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Chasing The High

The summer before I started high school, I watched the movie Top Gun at least 200 times. It was one of two VHS tapes that didn’t bore me at my dad’s house, where I was spending the summer. I lived vicariously through Maverick and Goose. I wanted to fly those planes because I knew even back then that there had to be a high in that. I will fill you in on a small, but possibly important detail. At that point in my life, I had never even been on a commercial plane. But I was addicted to the idea of a thrill and I wanted it.

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Podcast Episode 19: Orleatha Smith-Weight Loss Surgery & Addiction

This week we welcome wife and home schooling mother to two elementary school children, Orleatha Smith. She is a C.H.E.K trained Holistic Lifestyle Coach and holds a degree in secondary science education, a biology teaching credential, Master’s degree in Education. She’s been featured in popular magazines such as First For Women and in The Paleo Miracle: 50 Real Stories of Health Transformation as well as a variety of health and wellness related blogs.

Orleatha had bypass surgery and now councils others to change their lives after they’ve had weight loss surgery. We talk about the relationship between weight loss surgery and increased rates of addiction and alcoholism and how to prevent it.

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Podcast Episode 18: Health Conference Tips

Susan returns from Austin, Texas where she spent last weekend at the Paleo FX conference. In this week’s show she shares her experiences at the conference and tells us her favorite take aways.

We welcome your questions and topics by email at info@evolvedrecovery.com. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, download the MP3, or use the player featured below.

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