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    A Controversial New Way To Think About Addiction | Carrie Wilkens

    enSeptember 20, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Understanding Substance Abuse and Addiction Crisis in the USOne in ten Americans struggle with substance use disorder, with fentanyl contributing to over 100,000 deaths annually and surpassing suicide as leading cause of death for teens and young adults. Alternative recovery approaches beyond abstinence, positive communication, and meditation can aid in the recovery process.

      The issue of substance abuse and addiction in the United States is a significant and pressing one, with estimates suggesting that one in ten Americans struggle with a substance use disorder. The situation is particularly dire for certain groups, and the rise of fentanyl has led to shocking overdose rates, with over 100,000 deaths per year and 250 deaths per day. The crisis has even surpassed suicide as the leading cause of death for teens and young adults. During this episode of 10% Happier, Dan Harris interviews Carrie Wilkins, the co-founder and clinical director at the Center for Motivation and Change, who provides insights into the stigma surrounding substance abuse, the definition of addiction and substance use disorder, and the impact of substance use disorder on the brain. Wilkins also discusses alternative approaches to recovery beyond abstinence and the role of positive communication and meditation in the recovery process. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, it's important to be informed and seek help. Resources like the Center for Motivation and Change and the Beyond Addiction Workbook for Family and Friends can provide valuable information and strategies. Additionally, the 10% Happier Meditation app is offering a discount for those interested in trying meditation as a tool for overall well-being.

    • Understanding addiction as a complex behaviorRecognize addiction as a complex issue driven by various factors, shift the narrative from punishment to compassion, and empathize to offer support.

      The current discussion around addiction is more urgent due in part to the demographic shift of those affected, particularly white young men, leading to increased openness and understanding. However, substance use issues remain heavily stigmatized, and the way we talk about addiction matters. Instead of labeling individuals as morally failing or problematic, it's essential to recognize addiction as a complex behavior driven by various factors. Understanding the reasons behind substance use can help us empathize and potentially offer support. By shifting the narrative from punishment to compassion and understanding, we can make a significant impact on addressing addiction as a public health issue.

    • Understanding AddictionAddiction is complex, affects people differently, and deeply impacts lives, requiring compassionate and individualized approaches to recovery

      Addiction is a complex issue that affects people differently and can manifest in various ways, including substance use disorders. It's important to approach the topic with curiosity and understanding, rather than stigma. Addiction is not a black and white issue, and people can cycle in and out of problematic substance use. The brain's reward pathways play a role in addiction, and different substances affect the brain differently. Over time, addiction can deeply impact people's lives, affecting memory pathways and emotional regulation. When addressing addiction, it's crucial to consider the individual's unique experiences and needs, and approach recovery with compassion and understanding.

    • Overcoming substance use disorders: Physiological and emotional aspectsAssess consequences of substance use, consider personal values for decision to abstain or moderate.

      Overcoming substance use disorders involves dealing with both the physiological and emotional aspects of addiction. While abstinence may be the best choice for some individuals, others may find success in moderation. It's essential to assess the consequences of substance use for oneself and consider whether it aligns with personal values. Ultimately, the decision to abstain or moderate is a personal one that requires self-reflection and honesty. The conversation around alternatives to abstinence is complex, and while success stories from abstinence-oriented programs are important, it's also crucial to acknowledge that some individuals may find success in moderation.

    • Everyone's journey with substances is uniqueKeep conversations open and avoid shaming or labeling individuals, explore internal motivations for change through motivational interviewing, and provide a safe space for exploration during the pandemic.

      There is no one-size-fits-all approach to substance use and recovery. Some people may benefit from complete abstinence, while others may find a healthy relationship with substances through experimentation and self-reflection. The key is to keep the conversation open and avoid shaming or labeling individuals based on their choices. Motivational interviewing, a evidence-based strategy, can help individuals explore their internal motivations for change. With the rise of substance use during the pandemic, many people are questioning their relationship with substances, and it's important to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for them to explore their options.

    • Approaching Substance Use Conversations with Empathy and Non-JudgmentWhen discussing someone's relationship with a substance, use empathy and non-judgment to encourage them to explore alternative ways to achieve positive experiences, leading to healthier habits and productive conversations.

      When approaching someone about their relationship with a substance, such as alcohol, it's crucial to use a non-judgmental and empathetic approach. Instead of labeling them as an "alcoholic" or making them feel ashamed, focus on the benefits and costs of their substance use. Encourage them to explore alternative ways to achieve the positive experiences they get from the substance. By doing so, you can help them become less dependent on the substance and develop healthier ways to meet their needs. This approach can lead to more productive and effective conversations, ultimately helping them examine their relationship with the substance more closely.

    • Finding Value in Relationships and Experiences, Not SubstancesLearning to build and enjoy relationships and experiences sober, dealing with emotional issues, self-compassion, mindfulness, alternative coping strategies like therapy and self-help meetings can help manage emotions and thoughts without substances.

      While substances like alcohol and drugs can provide temporary pleasure and camaraderie, the real value comes from the relationships and experiences we have with others. The conditioning to believe that substances enhance social situations can be strong, but over time, we can learn to build and enjoy these connections sober. The speaker's personal journey shows that dealing with the underlying emotional issues can help reduce the desire for substances. Self-compassion, mindfulness, and alternative coping strategies like therapy and self-help meetings can be effective in managing emotions and thoughts without relying on substances. It's important to remember that everyone's journey is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. The goal is to find healthy and sustainable ways to cope with life's challenges.

    • Natural recovery from substance usePeople can recover from substance use disorders through personal decisions and new interests, even without formal treatment.

      Recovery from substance use problems is possible without formal treatment, and people often find alternative strategies to improve their lives. Many individuals who meet the criteria for substance use disorders naturally recover by making personal decisions to stop using and finding new interests and hobbies. This complex issue surrounding substance use is further complicated by the fact that many substances have beneficial applications. It's crucial to create a safe space for open conversations about substance use and explore what works best for individuals, rather than vilifying the substances or insisting on a one-size-fits-all approach. By fostering understanding and curiosity, we can help those willing to engage in these conversations and potentially accelerate their learning process.

    • Understanding the Complexities of Substance UseApproach substance use with compassion, understanding, and curiosity. Shift towards harm reduction, but explore positive aspects too. Nuanced discussion about pros and cons can help individuals improve their relationships with substances.

      There are various ways individuals relate to substances, and it's essential to approach each person's situation with compassion, understanding, and curiosity. Some people may have healthy relationships with substances, while others may struggle with dysfunctional ones. The conversation around substance use needs to shift towards acknowledging the nuances and complexities of each person's situation. Thankfully, the treatment field is moving towards harm reduction, which recognizes the importance of meeting people where they're at and helping them make informed decisions about their substance use. However, it's crucial to go beyond harm reduction and explore the potential positive aspects of substance use, such as its role in creativity and work. We need to create a middle ground in the conversation around substances, moving beyond the glorified version sold by the alcoholic beverage industry and the fear-mongering of the abstinence community. By having a nuanced discussion about the pros and cons of substance use, we can help individuals improve their relationships with substances and live their lives more fully.

    • Fear of judgment prevents open discussion about substance useMindfulness and self-compassion practices can help individuals stay present and kind to themselves during the challenging process of making behavior changes, allowing them to better navigate their journey towards growth and recovery.

      The shame and stigma surrounding substance use prevent many people from openly discussing their experiences and seeking help. This fear of judgment can make it difficult for individuals to explore the underlying reasons for their behavior and consider alternative ways to meet their needs. Mindfulness and self-compassion practices can help individuals stay present and kind to themselves during the challenging process of making behavior changes. By accepting ambivalence and practicing self-awareness, individuals can better navigate their own journey towards growth and recovery.

    • Self-compassion during learning and behavior changeSelf-compassion is essential for overcoming shame, addressing triggers, and persisting through setbacks during the process of learning new skills and making behavior changes.

      Self-compassion is crucial during the process of learning new skills and making behavior changes, especially when it comes to overcoming addiction. The mindfulness practice can help us get out of the negative thought patterns and fearful projections, but self-compassion is essential to prevent being paralyzed by shame. The motivation to change often comes from the realization that the old behavior is no longer working and the desire for reasons that are important to us to push us in a new direction. However, the allure of old behaviors can be strong, and they may be reinforced by our environment or emotions. Identifying and addressing these internal and external triggers is key to making lasting changes. Self-compassion allows us to be kind to ourselves during the learning process, which is necessary for persisting through setbacks and continuing to try new things.

    • Communicating Effectively with Loved Ones About Substance UseMotivational interviewing encourages open, non-judgmental conversations about substance use through asking open-ended questions and reflecting back what's said, leading to problem-solving and understanding instead of lecturing or imposing solutions.

      Effective communication is key when dealing with loved ones struggling with substance use. Motivational interviewing is a strategy that encourages open and non-judgmental conversations. By asking open-ended questions and reflecting back what they've said, individuals are more likely to share their thoughts and feelings. This approach allows for problem-solving and understanding, rather than lecturing or imposing solutions. It's important to remember that having a conversation about substance use does not condone it. Instead, it provides valuable information for finding ways to support and help the person. Common misconceptions, such as waiting for someone to hit rock bottom or believing that interventions are the only solution, may not be effective. Instead, maintaining open and empathetic communication can keep the behavior above ground and lead to positive outcomes.

    • Avoiding harmful labels and phrasesWhen supporting a loved one's substance use recovery, use positive communication, learn new skills, set clear boundaries, and avoid labels, quick-fixes, and confusing phrases like 'hit rock bottom' or 'tough love'.

      When dealing with a loved one's substance use problem, it's essential to avoid using labels, quick-fix solutions, and confusing phrases. Instead, families should learn new skills, communicate positively, and set boundaries strategically. The belief that a person must hit rock bottom before changing is a harmful myth leading to unnecessary suffering and potential death. Codependency is not a diagnostic term, and using it as a label can push people away from seeking help. The concept of tough love is confusing and can lead to more harm than good. Encouraging parents to distance themselves from their children is not a viable solution for most. Instead, families should focus on understanding the complexities of substance use disorders and employing effective communication strategies to support their loved ones through the recovery process.

    • The Craft approach empowers families to effectively support loved ones' recoveryThe Craft approach, a family training strategy, helps families get loved ones into treatment and improves mental health by teaching effective communication, allowing natural consequences, and practicing self-care.

      The Craft approach, a community reinforcement and family training strategy, has been proven effective in helping families of individuals with substance use problems get their loved ones into treatment and improve their own mental health. This method, which includes learning how to reinforce positive change, allowing natural consequences to play a role, and practicing effective communication and self-care, outperforms interventions and self-help groups in terms of getting people into treatment and improving family dynamics. The Craft approach empowers families to stay connected while effectively supporting their loved ones' recovery, rather than causing further distress and disconnection.

    • Communicating Effectively in Challenging SituationsFocus on self-care and positivity, use open-ended questions, frame requests positively, validate positive behaviors, and remember that people dealing with substance use or mental health challenges deserve understanding and compassion.

      Effective communication in challenging situations, particularly those involving substance use and mental health issues, requires a focus on self-care and positivity. The mother's anxiety and lack of sleep make it difficult for her to communicate effectively with her son. Instead of trying to force communication or confrontation, it's crucial to help her manage her stress and promote a positive environment. This includes using open-ended questions, framing requests positively, and validating positive behaviors. Communication can also act as reinforcement through compliments, affection, and practical support. It's essential to remember that people dealing with substance use issues or mental health challenges are not "crazy" but deserve understanding and curiosity. By prioritizing self-care, positivity, and validation, communication can become a powerful tool for strengthening relationships and promoting healing.

    • Balancing reinforcement and consequences for loved ones dealing with substance useEffectively support a loved one's recovery by balancing reinforcement and consequences, encouraging desired behaviors through various forms and allowing them to learn from their choices while minimizing suffering.

      Effective support for a loved one dealing with substance use involves a balance of reinforcement and consequences. Reinforcement can come in various forms, including behaviors, communications, and financial support, and should encourage desired behaviors. Consequences, on the other hand, should be natural and allow the person to experience the direct outcomes of their choices, with some exceptions, such as safety concerns. The goal is to let the person learn from their experiences while minimizing their suffering. It's essential to express feelings in a healthy way and choose the right moment for difficult conversations. The Craft model emphasizes the importance of this strategic approach in supporting a loved one's recovery journey.

    • Supporting someone through substance usePatience, self-care, and acceptance are key in supporting someone through substance use. Change is complex and slow, and families often face judgment and stigma. Acceptance and commitment therapy can help cope with discomfort and avoidance. The CMC Foundation offers resources and support for families.

      Supporting someone struggling with substance use requires patience, self-care, and acceptance. Change is a complex and slow process, and it's essential to have a support system during this journey. Families often face judgment and stigma, making it difficult to seek help. Acceptance and commitment therapy can be a useful strategy to cope with discomfort and discontinue the use of substances as a form of avoidance. The CMC Foundation for Change is a valuable resource for families and friends, offering evidence-based ideas, free materials, and a supportive community to help navigate the challenges of substance use and addiction. Remember, it's crucial to prioritize self-care, seek support, and understand that change takes time.

    • Exploring the Role of Education in Addiction TreatmentEmpower yourself by learning about different addiction treatment options and approaches to improve outcomes for those seeking help.

      The importance of education and understanding when it comes to addiction treatment. Kerry Wilkins, the founder of Beyond Addiction, discussed their workbook and subsequent book, "Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change," which provides guidance on using craft to approach behavior change and navigating the complex treatment landscape. Wilkins emphasized the need for consumers to become more informed about the various treatment options and approaches, which can ultimately lead to better outcomes for those seeking help. Listeners are encouraged to educate themselves and share their feedback on social media or the 10% Happier website. The episode was produced by a team at 10% Happier, and listeners can access early, ad-free episodes by joining Wondery Plus or using Amazon Music with a Prime membership.

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    How to Disentangle from Toxic People | Lindsay C. Gibson

    Our relationships are the most important variable in our health and happiness, but they may also be the most difficult. This is especially true when those closest to us turn out to be emotionally immature people.


    Lindsay C. Gibson is a clinical psychologist and bestselling author who specializes in helping people identify and deal with emotionally immature people, or EIP’s. Her first appearance on our show was one of our most popular episodes of 2022. Now she’s back to offer concrete strategies for handling the EIP’s in your life, wherever you may find them. Her new book is called Disentangling from Emotionally Immature People.


    In this episode we talk about:

    • A primer on the cardinal characteristics of emotionally immature people (EIP’s), how to spot them, and why you might want to
    • What Lindsay means by “disentangling” from EIP’s, and how to do it
    • What often happens to your own sense of self when you’re in relationship (or even just in conversation) with an EIP 
    • How to interact with an EIP 
    • How to prevent brain scramble when you’re talking with someone who isn’t making any attempt to understand what you’re saying  
    • How she reacts when she comes across EIP’s in her everyday life
    • Whether it’s possible to have some immature characteristics without being an EIP
    • Handling your own emotionally immature tendencies  
    • Whether or not EIP’s can change
    • The limits of estrangement
    • Why she encourages “alternatives to forgiveness”


    For tickets to TPH's live event in Boston on September 7:

    https://thewilbur.com/armory/artist/dan-harris/


    Full Shownotes:

    https://www.tenpercent.com/tph/podcast-episode/lindsay-c-gibson-617

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    Your Chance for a Do-Over| Bonus Meditation with Oren Jay Sofer

    Your Chance for a Do-Over| Bonus Meditation with Oren Jay Sofer

    In this practice you'll connect with your values and set an intention for how you want to show up today.


    About Oren Jay Sofer:


    Oren has practiced meditation in the early Buddhist tradition since 1997, beginning his studies in Bodh Gaya, India with Anagarika Munindra and Godwin Samararatne. He is a long-time student of Joseph Goldstein, Michele McDonald, and Ajahn Sucitto, and a graduate of the IMS - Spirit Rock Vipassana Teacher Training, and current member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council.

    Oren is the author of Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication, a practical guidebook for having more effective, satisfying conversations. 


    To find this meditation in the Ten Percent Happier app, you can search for “A Fresh Start,” or click here:

    "https://10percenthappier.app.link/content?meditation=b4a40731-798e-4f9e-87ac-e889dd0298e2"

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Keeping Things in Perspective | Bonus Meditation with La Sarmiento

    Keeping Things in Perspective | Bonus Meditation with La Sarmiento

    Our busy lives rarely afford us time to reflect on what’s truly important. Remembering what matters most empowers us to engage meaningfully.


    About La Sarmiento:


    La Sarmiento is the the guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington's BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ Sanghas and a mentor for the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program and for Cloud Sangha. They graduated from Spirit Rock Meditation Center's Community Dharma Leader Training Program in 2012. As an immigrant, non-binary, Filipinx-American, La is committed to expanding access to the Dharma. They live in Towson, MD with their life partner Wendy and rescue pups Annabel and Bader.


    To find this meditation in the Ten Percent Happier app, you can search for “Finding Purpose: What Matters Most?” 



    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    Meditation Party: The “Sh*t Is Fertilizer” Edition | Sebene Selassie & Jeff Warren

    Meditation Party: The “Sh*t Is Fertilizer” Edition | Sebene Selassie & Jeff Warren

    Today’s episode is the first in an experimental new series called Meditation Party. 


    Dan takes listener calls with fellow meditators Sebene Selassie and Jeff Warren and get candid about their practices and dealing with life


    Sebene Selassie is based in Brooklyn and describes herself as a “writer, teacher, and immigrant-weirdo.” She teaches meditation on the Ten Percent Happier app and is the author of a great book called, You Belong. Jeff Warren is based in Toronto and is also a writer and meditation teacher who co-wrote the book, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics with Dan Harris. Jeff also hosts the Consciousness Explorers podcast.


    Call (508) 656-0540 to have your question answered during the Meditation Party!



    Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/sebene-selassie-jef-warren-553

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    Jerks at Work | Amy Gallo

    Jerks at Work | Amy Gallo

    This is the third installment in our Work Life series. In other episodes, we cover topics like imposter syndrome, whether mindfulness really works at work, and whether you should actually bring your whole self to the office.


    Today's episode is one that many of us struggle with: interpersonal conflict at work. Our guest is a true ninja on this topic. Amy Gallo is a workplace expert who writes and speaks about interpersonal dynamics, difficult conversations, feedback, gender, and effective communication.


    Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review and the author of a new book, Getting Along, How to Work with Anyone, Even Difficult People. She's also written the The Harvard Business Review Guide to Dealing With Conflict, and she cohosts the Women at Work podcast.

      


    In this episode we talk about:


    • Why quality interactions at work are so important for our professional success and personal mental health
    • Why Gallo believes one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to dealing with difficult people in the workplace 
    • Why avoidance isn’t usually an option 
    • What the research tells us about work friendships
    • Why we have a tendency to dehumanize people who have more power than us
    • Why passive aggressive people can be the most difficult to deal with
    • The provocative question of whether we are part of the problem when work conflict crops up
    • And, a taxonomy of the eight different flavors of difficult coworkers, including the pessimist, the victim, the know-it-all, and the insecure boss — with tactics for managing each. 




    Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/amy-gallo-576

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