BONUS: Deep Breathing & Other Recovery Best Practices

In this bonus tip from Pure Gold, Frank shares some powerful, but very simple recovery best practices — starting with the discipline of learning deep breathing techniques. We pray that this very simple technique will help you grow in your recovery journey for years to come!


If you and your spouse are struggling and would like help on your journey, please feel free to contact us! Or, if you’re a wife and need some extra help from another wife who’s walked through what you have, head on over to the “Support for Wives” section and shoot Tracey a a message by filling out the contact form. All communication is strictly confidential.

It’s Time to Take the Dad Challenge

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There are always things we need to improve on as parents, but before I get to that I want to talk about what we’re doing right. Parents are doing a lot of things right these days, something we may not hear a lot. Fathers in particular have improved in their parenting skills in the last 50 years, and this is something to celebrate.

Dads Are Giving More Time

Before we talk about what needs improvement, it is only fair to point out how much modern fathers are doing right. Dads spend way more time with their kids than they used to, taking time out with individual children even from the time a child is born. It is a very common sight in my neighborhood to see a young father pushing a baby or toddler in a stroller, no wife in sight. When I was a kid, I never saw a father pushing a baby stroller, alone or with his wife.

Both parents give more time to their children than in recent generations, but while mothers have approximately doubled the amount of time they spend with children in the last 50 years, fathers have nearly quadrupled the amount of time they spend with their own kids.¹ Mothers still spend more time with their kids than dads, but dads would win the prize for “most improved.”

Dads Are Giving More Depth

Fathers are also willing to be much more open with their children than our own fathers or grandfathers were. Fathers are much more likely today to talk about their feelings with their children and ask their children about their feelings. Dads admit failure in front of their kids. Dads talk with their kids about all kinds of things that most dads in the past would never be open about. Except one thing, which is the problem I’m addressing today.

Read the rest here

011: The Joys of Living in Recovery

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Sometimes, the term “recovery” gets a bad rap. Some view it as some kind of impairment or flaw if you’re walking in recovery from an addiction. But the reality is that there’s MUCH joy that we can celebrate in recovery. This week, Frank encourages listeners to focus on the joys that one can experience as they walk away from the kind of lifestyles that kept us in bondage for years! Through brokenness, self-discovery, and hard work, joy can prevail as we become the men & women God has created us to be. Enjoy the podcast!


If you and your spouse are struggling and would like help on your journey, please feel free to contact us! Or, if you’re a wife and need some extra help from another wife who’s walked through what you have, head on over to the “Support for Wives” section and shoot Tracey a a message by filling out the contact form. All communication is strictly confidential.

The Opposite Of Addiction is Connection

While the following article is secular in nature, it presents some VERY interesting observations on addiction and perhaps some answers to help individuals find more freedom than they ever knew. Enjoy!


 

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Do Stronger Human Connections Immunise Us Against Emotional Distress?

Right now an exciting new perspective on addiction is emerging. Johann Harri, author of Chasing The Scream, recently captured widespread public interest with his Ted talk Everything You Know About Addiction Is Wrong, where he concluded with this powerful statement:

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. – Johann Harri

These sentiments are augmented by a growing number of experts, including addiction specialist Dr Gabor Maté, who cites ’emotional loss and trauma’ as the core of addiction. Compare this ’emotional loss’ to Johan Harri’s idea about lack of connection and it is clear they’re talking about a similar emotional condition.

Limbic Resonance

If connection is the opposite of addiction, then an examination of the neuroscience of human connection is in order. Published in 2000, A General Theory Of Love is a collaboration between three professors of psychiatry at the University of California in San Francisco. A General Theory Of Love reveals that humans require social connection for optimal brain development, and that babies cared for in a loving environment are psychological and neurologically ‘immunised’ by love. When things get difficult in adult life, the neural wiring developed from a love-filled childhood leads to increased emotional resilience in adult life. Conversely, those who grow up in an environment where loving care is unstable or absent are less likely to be resilient in the face of emotional distress.

ow does this relate to addiction? Gabor Maté observes an extremely high rate of childhood trauma in the addicts he works with and trauma is the extreme opposite of growing up in a consistently safe and loving environment. He asserts that it is extremely common for people with addictions to have a reduced capacity for dealing with emotional distress, hence an increased risk of drug-dependence.

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“Humans require social connection”

How Our Ability To Connect Is Impaired By Trauma

Trauma is well-known to cause interruption to healthy neural wiring, in both the developing and mature brain. A deeper issue here is that people who have suffered trauma, particularly children, can be left with an underlying sense that the world is no longer safe, or that people can no longer be trusted. This erosion (or complete destruction) of a sense of trust, that our family, community and society will keep us safe, results in isolation – leading to the very lack of connection Johann Harri suggests is the opposite of addiction. People who use drugs compulsively do so to avoid the pain of past trauma and to replace the absence of connection in their life.

Social Solutions To Addiction

The solution to the problem of addiction on a societal level is both simple and fairly easy to implement. If a person is born into a life that is lacking in love and support on a family level, or if due to some other trauma they have become isolated and suffer from addiction, there must be a cultural response to make sure that person knows that they are valued by their society (even if they don’t feel valued by their family). Portugal has demonstrated this with a 50% drop in addiction thanks to programs that are specifically designed to re-create connection between the addict and their community.

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“Human connection is crucial in in the immediate task of clearing trauma”

Personal Solutions To Addiction

“Ask not why the addiction, but why the pain.”
– Gabor Maté

Recreating bonds is essential in the long term, but human connection is crucial in in the immediate task of clearing trauma. When a person decides to finally face and feel the pain that they may have been avoiding for years or decades, the first steps cannot be done alone.

“You have to be with that pain, but you have to have support.”
– Gabor Maté

This support is essentially the reintroduction of the care and support which is so important in creating the neural structure of emotional-resilience in early life. By doing so, we begin to replace what was missing, and thanks to the revelations of neuroplasticity we now know that you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks; neural rewiring is possible in adult life. Though it is essential for addicts to feel supported in order to finally face and feel the pain they have been trying to avoid, this is ultimately an inner journey that must be taken by the individual.

“Whatever you do, don’t try and escape from your pain, but be with it. Because the attempt to escape from pain creates more pain.”
– The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying

The Roots Of Healing

When we are young, our parents care for us until we are able to do it for ourselves, after all they won’t be there to do it for us forever. Perhaps, on an emotional level this is also true: our parents love us so that we may learn to do it for ourselves. The programs in Portugal have demonstrated that addicts do remarkably well when they feel valued by their community. Whether they realise it or not, the Portuguese are creating positive limbic modelling by valuing the addicts so they can learn to value themselves. When people are there to provide loving support for an addict wishing to face the emotional pain they carry, they are loving them and caring for them until they can learn do love themselves. With this in mind, perhaps the neural-wiring of emotional resilience developed through the loving reflection of another, once fully developed, could simply be called self-love.

Holiday Purity Tips: Stay Rested

In what is quite possibly the most important holiday purity tip that impacts our physical and emotional health the most, getting proper rest probably tops the list. During sleep the brain performs so many incredibly helpful functions that we’re not even aware of including: reinforcing the immune system, resetting stress to zero, repairing the body physically, and even correcting traumatic moments that have occurred. That’s amazing!

So remember during the holidays the importance of rest. Even when you’re tempted to stay up late into the night with friends and family (or write an Instagram post like I’m doing right now), make sure you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep. Your brain, your body, and your recovery will thank you!