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Welcome to My Therapist Sez, an interactive experience enriching your most important relationships. I’m Dr. Don Welch, your host and moderator. Let’s face it, each and every one of us just challenged in at least one or more relationships at work, around home, in marriage with children and friendships, we all desire healthy relationships. Why then do some interactions ignite intensely negative emotions while other relationships nurture the more meaningful moments in life?
During this next segment, relationship specialists will respond to questions from a live audience while offering practical solutions. It’s like having your very own psychotherapist in your living room. I hope you will sit back, relax, and take in these life-changing insights. Please, join me as we now connect with a live audience and My Therapist Sez.
We welcome you to My Therapist Sez and I would like to do just a brief introduction. You may have seen on the slides, the PowerPoint slides, the introduction of our speaker this evening, Dr. Julie Hayden and also Jim Coil giving their background. You can see that and read that about them. We’re just so pleased to have them with us here this evening.
Dr. Hayden is a licensed clinical psychologist. She’s also the dean of Behavioral Sciences at Southern California Seminary. That’s really close to us here at Skyline Church. We’re so glad Dr. Hayden has been with us before. She’s a specialist in this area. You’re really in for a treat as she talks very carefully. If you noticed her background, she has a strong interest in bible.
In fact, she has a master’s degree in that area as well and loves to collect and also integrate both bible and mental health ideas, concepts, and theories, research, so we’re thankful for Dr. Hayden being with us this evening. So, welcome. She will be conducting about a 20-minute presentation in just a moment.
Jim Coil, a very dear friend and colleague of mine. We work together at Family Counseling Services here in San Diego. It’s considered one of the first and oldest Christian counseling centers in San Diego. Jim has an enormous background in dealing with anxiety and addictions.
He actually is a specialist in this area and has done a lot of training way beyond his license. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of California. We happen two years ago be in the same male corral at Point Loma Nazarene University. This was a couple years ago. I guess it was a few decades ago or so. Jim is very humorous and we’re so glad that he is joining us once again. He’s been with us before.
I’m always very proud to introduce our speakers, our panel members this evening. So without any further introduction, it looks like we do have some questions. If you do have a question, please raise that in the air with your three-by-five card, and we will move into those questions just immediately following Dr. Hayden’s presentation. Dr. Hayden.
Dr. Julie Hayden:
Thank you, everyone. I’m going to go ahead and stand because I tend to use my hands and walk around a little bit. So, before I get started on the actual presentation on addiction and how to live an addiction-free life, I wanted to set up a context and I think it’s an important context because of where we’re at in our society today. I think anytime you start you need to start at the beginning of time in Genesis in creation.
I just want to look at the beginning of time when God created the heavens and the earth and all that was within the solar system, our land, plants, animals, of all of his creation, scripture zooms in and focuses on man and woman. God’s special creation, created in his image to procreate and have dominion over the earth.
Satan also recognizes God’s love and attention and focus on humans and comes to sabotage and destroy what God plans for humans, his original design. If you think of creation with Adam and Eve, you have man and woman and offspring and the commission to multiply and subdue the earth. God’s chosen plan for humans in our world. As you look at that system, it’s genetic, it’s biological and it’s sexual.
It makes sense that the attacks, the strategic attacks of Satan against family units and humans is genetic, biological and sexual. If you look at our society today at the difficulties we’re having, you’ll see domestic violence, you’ll see addictions, you’ll see addictions to pornography, you see infidelity, affairs within our church as much as anywhere else. You’ll see abortions at an increase, sex trafficking, human trafficking is raised. It’s raised higher than profits of drugs how they used to be, it’s taking over our country.
All these topics have a theme and that’s a very strategic attack at the core of family units. Satan’s plan was genius. If you look at family units in God’s design, they were also, families are the foundation for the rest of society. Foundation for churches, foundation for communities, and if you can eat away at the core of the family unit and destroy families in a society, you destroy churches and you destroy societies and nations. That’s what we see.
The reason I bring that broad perspective is because the struggles of addiction and affairs and pornography and all these topics that might be there and we’ll look at the broad range of addictions that could possibly be out there, what I want you to remember is it’s not an accident. This is not an accident that you are struggling with addictions or the people you care about are struggling with addictions. They are meant to keep you ineffective, disengaged from your family, disengaged from your church family. They’re meant to keep you ineffective from being used by God in a powerful way in his plan for your life.
It’s not a joke and Satan’s not a cartoon on your shoulder. I like to start with that so that I hope you have a passion and a diligence and whatever is talked about today and a bravery in asking your questions. It may be for you, but it may be for those you care about, that you’ll learn as much as you can from the setting so that you have tools to fight against the attack and to wake up in the morning with an energy and a passion to fight with everything that’s in you, for you and your family, okay?
Now, we’ll get started on our actual presentation for addiction-free behavior. To begin, I’d like to look at addiction and how it’s defined. I think I’m going to kind of skim some stuff because I think we’ll get in it when we go further into our discussion. I’m also going to pull what I think is most important, not everything. I think you understand addiction in a broad sense.
What I like to use to define addiction is continuing a behavior despite negative consequences. You keep doing it even though you don’t want to do it. It’s more than just drugs or alcohol. Those are powerful addictions that we see, but also it could be addiction to food, addiction to sex, addiction to gambling, exercise, pornography, social media, sports, and many more. If you think of it as something that’s separating you from your relationships, disengaging you, keeping all your attention so you’re not focused on what might be most important, you might be struggling with an addiction.
That’s just a broad definition of addiction. In looking further with addiction, I’d like to kind of build a context. I’m just going to give it a moment. If you think of addictions in the sense of sin, that’s probably the most common reason that people say addictions occur. Unfortunately, there might be a lot of shame and guilt that come with this. Well, the person’s in sin, obviously, maybe they don’t have enough faith, they’re obviously not right with God. It’s true that there’s a core factor of sin. It’s not just because they’re sinning in that moment because something has control over them, but also it’s in the sense that the reason we have addictions in the first place is back in Genesis when Adam sinned and sin enter the world.
We have evil. We have pain. We have suffering, all of these things exist as well as we have a sin nature, and just left to ourselves, we’re going to naturally go to do bad things. That’s going to be a part of our struggle. In Paul’s description, we are wrestling, we don’t want to do it and we do it anyways. This is a part of being human is dealing with a sin nature.
So, at its core, it actually is true. Addiction is probably caused by sin, but it may not be as simple as just having more faith or praying and having it disappear. There may be a lot of work involved in living an addiction-free life. I want to look at a couple other reasons or factors that impact addiction, because they’re powerful and they’re part of who we are as humans and that’ll give us tools to use to be in an addiction-free lifestyle.
One is the idea of addiction being a brain disease. There’s controversy over this if you are an alcoholic, are you always an alcoholic? Is it something physical within your body and your brain? So not to look too much at the controversy, but there is something biologically happening when there’s an addiction. What I want to focus on is the power of one neurotransmitter in our body that’s extremely powerful called dopamine.
Dopamine is powerful. Dopamine is a chemical in our body that has a message that says, “Hmm. Yum. Do it again.” Okay? That is my professional definition of dopamine. Hmm. Yum. Do it again. If you want to know how powerful it is. It’s the chemical being released during orgasm. It’s an extremely powerful chemical. If you do something you really enjoy, you might be flooded with dopamine and everything in your body and brain is going to say, “Hmm. Yum. Do it again.”
When you think of drugs and alcohol, there’s something physically happening in your body in your brain that actually is creating an addiction, but you’re also addicted to your own chemical. It is why you can be addicted as a gambler to a gambling, whether it’s adrenaline, another powerful hormone or whether it’s this neurotransmitter dopamine that your body could crave it just as much as it could crave a drug. That’s why we have these behavioral type addictions like sex addiction or addiction to pornography.
It’s extremely powerful. So, even if a drug is taken away, you might still be struggling with an addiction because of this biological component. I think that’s important. I want to go back a little bit to a couple more causes that come as part of being addicted. One theory out there is learned behavior. I do think that this has a play. This might be considered environment.
You can have a learned behavioral type of addiction by watching your parents, your family of origin that you had family members that were addicted and you repeat that behavior. You can also have just the idea of costs and payoffs and rewards you could say. If you’re looking at addictions, there’s some fantastic drugs out there. Alcohol is wonderful. Feels great. There’s rewards that come from both the drugs, alcohol, and any of these behaviors that we ended up being addicted to.
They’re fantastic. There are rewards. The idea of learned behavior a lot of times is that if we are enjoying it, we’re more likely to continue it. It’s not just that initial enjoyment of it, but if it’s something our body has been used to and we take it away, we’re going to feel punishment. It’s going to feel like a punishment to our body to experience the lack of that drug or that behavior.
It’s a powerful reward system that set up that we will have this learned behavior of addiction as well. The other cause that is along the lines of learned is an escape from negative feelings. This is powerful because this could be a factor in increasing the powerful effect of the addiction. If you’re using a behavior or drug or alcohol to decrease the feelings of negative, that are negative within you, whether it’s looking at your background.
If there’s a background in your childhood of abuse or whether it’s sexual, physical or emotional or just stress from childhood, you went through a divorce, whatever the case was the early you start kind of masking those emotions and trying to get them to go away through drugs or alcohol or anything, the more likely that’s going to turn into an addiction and be more difficult to get out of, because the younger you start you’re stopping that emotional maturity of an adult to be able to regulate and handle some of these strong emotions.
You’re just numbing them, so at the time that we come back and we say, “Okay. I’m going to go off this drug or alcohol,” not only are we dealing with the physical aspects, the biology of addiction, but we’re also dealing with now I have to deal with all these emotions that I got to avoid for so long. It’s also a powerful factor is if we were using these drugs or behaviors or alcohol to numb strong emotions, it’s going to be a huge factor in keeping us trapped in that addiction. Those are kind of broad concepts of the causes of addiction.
The interesting factor because there’s debate a lot of times of what really causes it. I think all of these work together to keep us trapped in addiction. There’s never a time our biology is separated from our environment. There’s never time where in our environment without our biology they impact each other. There’s also never a time that our physical body is separated from our spiritual self. These are connected on earth so these influence each other.
Our walk with God in our spiritual life is going to actually be impacted in our physical body. So, when you’re looking at the causes, all of these factors play a huge piece in keeping us in an addicted life versus being free from addiction.
I’m going to continue on here with risk factors. The reason why I want to talk a little bit about risk factors before we go into some of the tools to stay in an addiction-free life is it will help us with prevention. So, some of you maybe you or maybe your family members are already in an addiction, but our hope is to catch it before this starts. So if we can understand the risk factors and there’s many others besides what I’ll address tonight, but if we understand the risk factors that’s our chance for preventing it, working with our kids, working with other family members before the addiction even begins.
So, we do see family history as a huge impact in addiction. We see it passed down generation from generation. Again, who’s to really say it’s biology and hereditary? There’s some evidence for that obviously, but also we live with our parents. We live with our family. It also could be learned and watched from our generations to generations. That is a huge risk factor and that hopefully will help you identify what not to try if you will come, if you’re younger and you come from a long history of alcoholics, you might just avoid alcohol.
You may not have to, you may want to, because it’s going to be that much more likely you will also follow within that lifestyle. It might be more difficult for you drinking alcohol to not become addicted. So, if you have a family history of addiction that is something to consider as high risk and hopefully implement in your life or the next generation’s life to avoid these and understand the risks involved.
Again, we talked about the strong emotions. If you are using drugs, alcohol or behaviors to numb strong emotions, it’s going to be that much more powerful to keep you addicted. It should be a red flag, a red. If you want to escape a strong emotion and you’re using something to do that, that’s a red flag that you’re headed down a road toward addiction. That hopefully, you can catch it before it turns in to something that your body is biologically craving and needing.
I want to look at some tangible tools that you can take with you and I’m sure we’ll talk about more and answer some questions with these addictions, but in scripture two verses I put up there. I’m not going to read them because I didn’t come up here with my notes, but first John is the one if you confess your sins, he is faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Talks about confessing our sins to God.
Then, James is the one that says, “Confess your sins one to another and forgiving each other.” Within that verse the emphasis is confessing your sins to others. Shame, guilt, those are extremely powerful factors to keep you addicted. If you have shame about something you’re doing, I guarantee you, you’re either addicted or you’re going to be soon. It’s extremely powerful.
So, sometimes just telling one other person, just one other person can break you free beyond what you felt before. This has been a common thing within the Christian community, because who are you going to tell you’re addicted to pornography, especially if you’re a pastor, you’re in leadership? It’s actually extremely common over 50% of pastors are addicted to pornography. It’s an extremely ridiculous statistic, but it’s also true. So, if that’s the case, who are they supposed to tell that they’re struggling with this because they’re so much at risk?
At the same time, if they could tell one person, it would actually decrease the power that addiction has over them. So, if you are able to at least tell one other person, admit that you have a problem and ask for help, you are on a road to an addiction-free life. That is a huge step toward actually breaking free from that addiction. Unfortunately, it’s not the only step. We’ll get to that and have a proper perspective in just a moment.
The other important tool to take with you, and this is actually both for you and if you’re in an addiction or for those that you care about that are an addiction. That’s the idea of weighing costs and payoffs. Looking at what does it cost me to have this addiction? Does it cost my family? Have I lost my family? Does it cost my child? I lost child custody. Did I get a DUI? Is it affecting my relationship with God? Did I lose my position in my church and my ministry? Am I ineffective? Am I a numb, disengaged, ineffective person?
That’s a huge cost. What is it costing me? But it’s just as important to recognize the payoffs. So, when you’re looking at addictions, there are payoffs. It’s foolish for us not to recognize how wonderful aspects are. If we aren’t honest about the payoffs, we won’t have a chance to break free and recognize how powerful the costs are and to weigh these appropriately.
Payoffs for using drugs and drinking and sexual addictions, they’re fantastic feelings. It could be escaping negative feelings, you could have a sense of power and control, you can have a sense of belonging, you can have a sense of reward as far as the dopamine and the physical feelings that you’re experiencing. There’s a lot of payoffs that come so be very honest and recognize what you get out of that addiction. What good’s coming to you?
Then, you put these on a balance scale. Okay? What are the payoffs and what are the costs? Which one’s heavy? If the payoffs are outweighing the cost, you’re likely to stay stuck in that addiction. It’s not always the case, but it’s powerful. If the costs are so extreme, that’s the time you wake up, you recognize this is a problem and I need to get help.
So, sometimes it’s the actual cost, sometimes as you’re recognizing the cost and that’s where family members can help in a gentle way, not in a mean way, but if you can identify and help them see the costs, that’s going to be powerful. If you in your conversation help them recognize and connect what they’re losing because of the addiction, that’s powerful. What’s fun is to put the two up, they might say in one sentence, “I can stop any time. If I wanted to I could stop. No problem. I’m not having any negative consequences, why would I stop?”
Then, in the next breath, they’re telling you, “Well, my wife’s leaving me. I lost child custody.” Something negative and they’re not connecting those two. For you to say, “I have to stop you. I’m not trying to be mean, but I’m really confused. You just said there’s no negative consequences, and then you said you’re losing your family, either you don’t care about your family or I’ve missed something. Help me understand this.”
When you put those two contradictions in front of them, their brain will naturally wrestle. They’ll be stuck. They can’t sleep. They’re thinking about it. It makes them uncomfortable and even if they continue in the addiction, you have momentum to use. You have energy coming from them rather than apathy that will keep them stuck. It’s something powerful to keep in your mind if you’re a family member of somebody who’s addicted.
The next one actually comes from more of the AA traditional model of recovery. That’s to change person, places and things. If you continue to connect and be in contact with the people that you were involved with, with drinking or drugs or anything else or you go to the same type of places and you have the same routine, everything’s going to be a trigger. It’s going to be that much more difficult to stay clean and sober.
So, anything that’s within your power, if you’re addicted to food, you have to have food. It’s a little bit more tricky. So, anything that is within your power to avoid, to keep out of your life, person, places or things, that’s going to help you. That’s going to make a difference in staying free from addiction. We’ll move on and look a little bit more at tools if you want to help others.
I hope you gain all this if you need it, but share it with other people, give them this information. Don’t add shame. It will make everything worse. You can communicate your concern without attacking who they are as a person. Also, don’t protect them by taking away their consequences. Remember the costs need to outweigh the payoffs. There’s costs to addictions. If you continue to protect them and to rescue them, then it’s that much more likely they will continue in the addiction.
They’d have to feel the true cost before they’re ready a lot of times to be out of that. Also, in love, use the contradictions. Find ways to show them how two things are saying don’t make sense and let that wrestling begin. Clarify love and support for the person. We all have addictions. I do believe that. Sometimes to help build compassion, take something you love and do away with it for a month and see how that feels.
There’s some stronger addictions than others, but all of us love our patterns. It’s uncomfortable when we are stopping habits that we have or addictions that we have. So, have compassion. Don’t have judgment. If all of us are struggling with this in some more than others, I hope that we can be very supportive. You don’t want to put more effort in helping somebody than what they’re putting in, but if they’re right, they’re putting in the effort, jump on board, be there and be supportive, because it is one factor that’s huge and that’s support system.
If somebody’s going through something and they want to live an addiction-free lifestyle and that’s a difficulty, if they have a support system, it’s highly likely they will succeed, without a support system, it’s very difficult. Hopefully, you can be that support. This is just a very broad look at addiction and what keeps us trapped, and then as we go through, I hope that you’ll gain more tools from the panel discussion, but remember two things.
One up here I’d like you to see relapse happens, so remember shame is going to be our enemy. So, if you relapse, no big deal, jump back on board fast. Don’t let it take you out. Don’t let it be all or nothing thinking, “Well, I relapse so that’s it. I’m a failure. I can’t do this.” Jump right back into whatever you can do to stay addiction-free.
Also, remember there’s a reason. You are being attacked every day. Satan is seeking whom it may destroy. He wants you to be ineffective. He wants you to be disengaged from your family. He wants you to be distracted. It could be social media, it could be sports, it’s a variety of addictions. If you are distracted and out of the Christian community and not engaged, Satan has won. So use these tools to fight back. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Dr. Hayden. Thank you. Well done. Very articulate. I’d like to jump back into that concept of the shame and the guilt, because both of you actually are specialist. Jim Coil had been here to present in just a variance of this idea of addiction, gave us a very, very captivating presentation, of course, yours tonight, very practical.
You said in a way that we can all so understand and apply. Let’s talk real quickly. We have several questions. If you do have a question, please raise it in the air. One of our hosts will come by, bring that to me to the front, but let’s talk just briefly about that concept of the guilt and shame. Shame and guilt, because you talked about in… I think it was James 5:16 that says… Well, first of all, we want First John 1:9. If we confess our sins, he’s faithful and just, will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We would not feel shame unless we put it on ourselves. First John 1:9. So, we confess it to God, and then we confess it to others, which was I believe James 5:16 if I’m not mistaken.
Very powerful concept to look at those two. First to God, and then to someone else or to others, appropriate relationships where it’s confidential and someone’s going to be a true friend or a true professional, of course, what are those two elements? The idea of shame and guilt. Let’s talk for just a moment about that you gave a wonderful introduction related to how the bible describes it. How do we experience this? Why is it guilt and shame? I believe those were the two that you were indicating. I know Jim, you’ll have some ideas as well as we talk about this. Let’s talk for just a moment about those two if we may.
Addiction is often referred to as a shame-based disease. That shame is integral to the process of addiction or what eventually gets incorporated into their lifestyle. The way that I work with, the difference between shame and guilt with those folks who are struggling, sometimes they’ve struggled with shame-based parenting. The way that looks is, guilt is I did something bad. You hear that? I did something wrong.
Shame is I am something bad. I am something wrong. So, oftentimes they’re really struggling deep within. It’s really feeling like they are deeply flawed and deeply wrong. Does that make sense? The other thing that I and I credit this to my work in 12-step recovery type programs where I heard this and think about this little slogan and says, “You’re as sick as your secret.”
It’s very, very common as part of the recovery that they are sometimes holding either things that were done to them or something that actually oftentimes was a result of their addiction, some behaviors that happen as a result of their addiction that they’re carrying around that they need to let go of, because if they don’t, that’s the very thing that they’ll go back out and use and drink over. That’s the way I kind of look at the way shame and guilt kind of play a role in their recovery, but it can also be a role, have a role into getting the thing rolling as well.
Dr. Hayden, as you’re talking, Jim, thank you for that, because as you were talking about masking like maybe there’s a feeling of shame that comes up, like how did you say that again? Guilt is I’ve done something wrong, shame is-
I am something wrong.
Go ahead. I’m sorry.
Also, a part of that is that sense I’m never ever good enough and sometimes that can be the result of their own temperament or personality and sometimes that can be a result of that’s how they were raised, nothing was ever, ever good enough, and so oftentimes they do have black and white thinking, they can go from zero to hero or hero to zero in 4.5 seconds. Does that make sense? That’s a very common component of shame-based type of thinking is that they one fleck of imperfection means I’m no good whatsoever. That’s part of that shame type of concept as well.
Okay. So, I would be susceptible to that if somehow I’m working my job and I’m there and maybe my boss or a colleague says, “Oh, you should have done it this way.” Why would you do that? That can trigger a feeling of shame that maybe I had in my family of origin, and then I might… I’m hearing you say mask. I might mask that feeling or try to do away with that feeling by behaving in some sort of addictive way. Is that sort of what we were talking about?
Absolutely. It works.
We just said that. Yeah.
That’s the point and when you’re discussing a little bit about shame and guilt, I think of the other side of the people that care about those who are addicted. A lot of times that’s how they attack back. They take it personal. Addictions really are negative within a family and if you take a stereotypical wife that might be angry at some addiction that her husband has, it’s frustrating. They’ll lash out by attacking him as a person.
It works absolutely against anything productive, but at that moment it feels like what you should do, you should make sure he knows how bad he is and how he has… How terrible all the consequences are that are coming and yet that shame just, that leads them to use, drink or the behavior more. Of course, it could be the opposite as well.
I think for those who are addicted, to hear the message that they can be free from this, they don’t have to be trapped and it’s not about them being this magically terrible person, they’re the one that was so terrible to be addicted. It’s common. It happens all the time. It’s very easy to become addicted and to let them be off the hook for that shame of them as a bad person. Then, for the spouses or the other family members to recognize how damaging it is to attack them as a person for that behavior rather than recognizing why it might be there and understanding it a little bit more.
Yeah. Just like to build on what Julie just shared and that is that when you’re attacking them as a person, they’re hearing, “I’m no good.” That just reinforces what they already believe about themselves. What I think what works more effectively and you see this in intervention is you’re describing your specific behavior and how that makes you feel and how you see that behavior affecting them and how it’s affecting your relationship with them and perhaps even if other people are involved in that they can hear that, “This isn’t about you being bad or good, this is about how your behavior is affecting you and how it’s affecting your relationship.” That is a much different approach that gets underneath the shame.
You’re professionals and you role play all the time. Could we role play that?
Would the two of you mind role playing that? I know you’ve done this many times at the university level, and then in your own clinical offices, but let’s role play that. Let’s place… Could we have Jim be the alcoholic? Would that be okay? I thought I would hear some clapping on that, but anyway. We’ll have Jim play… Thank you. We’ll have him play the alcoholic, and then you’re playing his wife. Would that be okay?
Sure. Am I playing, I’m placing shame on him or I’m understanding?
Yes. How about if we do the first, placing shame, and then we’ll try to change that to invert it to actually moving toward the behavior of Jim. Should we do that? Yes.
Are you drinking another beer?
Is that your 12th tonight?
Yeah. Who’s counting?
I just don’t like it how you act when you’re drinking.
You’ve always got a problem with my drinking.
I do have a problem because if you really loved us and your children, look at your children. This is what you want to get for them? If you really love them, you would stop. My dad said, “Any real man would not be drinking [crosstalk 00:34:40]-
So, I’m not a real man because I drink?
… in front of his family.”
Great. Great. So now, I’m not a real man because I drink. I can enjoy beer once in a while.
I don’t understand why you don’t just stop.
What’s the big deal?
If you really loved me, I’m asking you to stop, if you really loved me you would stop. What’s the problem?
Why would I stop?
Why is it so difficult?
I mean I enjoy a beer. I mean watch the ball game and I enjoy a beer, what’s the big deal?
Okay. So how much shame are you? Well, you guys are too good. This is… They did a great job, didn’t they? I was feeling tense over that. I was not feeling pretty good. I’m not an alcoholic, but I was feeling the shame a bit. What were you feeling, Jim?
Anybody have PTSD yet?
Yes. What I was feeling is, it’s a little harder work for me to be in that role, so I mean it’s like I’d imagine just that defensiveness that you wouldn’t be and the defensiveness around the drinking. You’re going to protect the drinking at all costs, because it’s, at that point, it’s a governing principle. It’s what makes them feel good. It’s what they… It’s basically they’re drinking to live and survive, because if they don’t drink, they’re going to feel terrible. That’s what the withdrawal is.
Yeah. That’s masking the pain. If I can go back to, and we’re going to invert this, okay, in the sense of speaking toward the behavior, but let’s go back to Genesis, back to what you shared with us earlier, Julie. When we’re looking at Genesis, remember Adam and Eve, they were fully naked before God and each other and it was beautiful. God made it beautiful.
When they disobeyed God, they sinned, they then began to recognize that they were naked and there was an element of shame, so they hid from each other and from God in essence. Really from God, but in essence, they really hid from each other because they clothed themselves, and so they’re now not transparent between each other. This was the concept I think you were thinking.
Shame has this biological, emotional, spiritual piece that you mentioned earlier this evening. Then, that can carry over into a relationship. So if you’re… We could back this off from maybe I eat too much, maybe I’m on my iPhone too much, by the way, I just published… Well, send it to my publisher book back in September and it was on helping parents in a media frenzied world. What I found I was only looking at adolescents and younger, but I found that adults were more adept to in a sense moving into an addictive behavior with their iPhone, with their media issues.
It’s very interesting that we can actually move into that very quickly. It could be media. It could be, I think you mentioned exercise, various forms. So, when we look at this, that bit of shame, you felt shame, right? Is that what you were feeling or what were you experiencing? What does shame feel like for you?
Well, I think where it goes to is that I’m defective in some way. I’m no good. You’re going to… If you feel like you’re being personally attacked, you’re going to defend your personhood. You’re going to defend anything and everything about you. I think that where I think I would not have been prepared for is when you say, “Honey, it scares me when you drink. I’m afraid when you drink this is what happens. You pass out or when you drink this is what happens and it scares me and it scares your kids. I’ll let them speak for themselves if you want to hear it.”
When you use I statements and you can specifically address the specific behavior, the drinking and how it affects them, it gets underneath that. Now, it doesn’t mean they’re not going to be defensive, but they’re going to hear it much better than when you use you statements. If you think about a you statement, even if you were experiencing a you statement, you or when you hear always or never, you never do this, you always do that, when you hear a you statement, it’s like somebody taking a finger and just poking you in the chest, right?
The other way around getting underneath that and that’s how interventions are usually done, but you don’t have to have a formal intervention, you can have an intervention, it’s just one person saying, “I feel scared. I see this. This is how this makes me feel. I really hope… I’m wanting you to get some help at some point. I’m really frightened.” When you use I statements, it’s a much, it gets underneath the shame much more effectively.
Okay. Let’s use I statements and I did have a text from someone I believe either live streaming that says, “Can they role play the scenarios also with sexual addiction, both shame and not shameful approach, pretty, please?” It said. That was a nice way to say that, but could we do that? Could we first actually use the I statements that you just mentioned.
So, Dr. Hayden, Julie, you would be using the I statements if you don’t mind and going directly to your addicted husband here.
Okay. Before I get you another beer, I just have to be honest and I am not trying to attack you, but when you drink this much, you become another person and I, it makes me afraid and uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do about it. I want to be honest with you and let how you know how I feel. I don’t want to attack you, but I do want you to know, it makes me so uncomfortable.
What do you mean I become another person?
Your personality is different and how you act, how you look. Sometimes I’m scared. I know you love me and care about me, but I’m frightened in that moment. I just, I need you to know about that. I want you to know how it feels to me when you have drank this much.
Well, I mean like what are you seeing? I mean what am I doing? How am I different? I don’t get it.
Well, can I interject? Because timing is really important. So, if while he’s drunk you’re trying to tell him that he’s acting a certain way, he’s not going to care yet.
That is a good point.
You need to get sober, Jim. Come back later.
It is later… Yeah. Come back sober. It is later…
I’ll just say, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”
… I think that you might say something. I think it’s more important that you have healthy boundaries and you don’t put yourself in jeopardy and you don’t put your kid in jeopardy. That means at that moment that person may be very angry, but you do what you can to be safe. If you’re safe, then it’s just annoying, but if you’re not safe, get safe, and then wait for the right timing and many, many times the right timing, that person will care what you have to say and they will be much more likely to believe what you’re saying.
Yeah. That’s a great point. You don’t want to confront them when they’ve been drinking. You want to wait until they’re sober. There’s an old saying that nothing made sense to a nonsensical person except nonsense. When they’re in that nonsensical place, it’s not going to make any sense to them at all. They’re going to twist it around. That’s an important thing. You don’t want to intervene, you never have an intervention or talk to them in the moment when they’re intoxicated, because they’re under the influence.
We don’t do therapy when someone’s intoxicated. We stop and say we cannot continue if we recognize that. Okay. You said frightened and scared. Those were I statements, correct? You said I’m frightened when this happens. I’m scared. What happens to your shame at that point? Jim, what did you experience when you heard Julie say that she’s frightened and scared? That’s an I statement. That’s saying this is what I’m experiencing by your behavior. This is speaking to the behavior.
But typically I want to know what behavior is scary. I want to know what I’m doing that scares her. It kind of hooks me into going, what’s happening that scares me? Because at some level the person who is drinking if they’re hearing that, at some level they usually are aware that there’s something about when they’re drinking that’s changing, but they really don’t have the ability to see exactly what’s happening to them. Typically, they don’t have the ability because they’ve been enabled.
We all learn from cause and effect, right? We’ve learned not to do certain things because our experience of that is we had a consequence. What happens sadly in an alcoholic situation or systems is that somebody steps in the middle and they can’t see the effect. They can’t see the consequence. That’s what allows them to continue doing it because somebody’s always rescuing them from the consequences of their choices.
I mean when you’re actually describing the behavior to them when they’re lucid and they’re not drinking, they’re able to see how and especially if you’re not rescuing them from the consequence of it.
Okay. Can we do this? I think you displayed it very well. It was actually a text that asked a question. We’re responding to their question, the audience, and those who are live streaming. Could we approach this, it’s the sexual addiction? I think that would be confronting, if we could stay with your confronting your husband, can they role play the scenarios also with sexual addiction, both shame and not shameful approach? Pretty, please is what they said.
So, maybe addiction to porn?
Okay. All right.
This is rather stereotypical.
Why don’t you say I have to tell you something that’s been on my mind.
I think it’s important to note that the addiction to porn is actually increasing amongst our female population as well.
Are you trying to reverse it?
No I’m not. I just want to make sure that we don’t acknowledge that, we tend to see that-
Why don’t we switch?
… in the framework that we oftentimes have with sexual addiction is that it’s a male issue, but Patrick Carnes’ research is showing that it’s actually increasing amongst our female population as well.
Yes. Let’s do what Julie had suggested. You’re speaking to her. Let’s invert it. Let’s switch it and you would be confronting your wife in this situation.
I’m way outside of my comfort zone.
Are you way-
Jim, are you okay? Well, they didn’t know we were going to do this. Is it okay?
All right. No. We’re good. The shame approach?
I don’t know why you think it’s such a big deal. I like pornography. I enjoy it.
You’re looking at it all the time.
Yeah. It’s enjoyable to me. Don’t you want me sexually happy and I’m-
Well, I’m not seeing… It seems like you’re enjoying that more than our relationship.
I’m not. It’s just something I enjoy. I have a lot of stress. It’s a relief for me. You know the life [crosstalk 00:45:04]
What do you get out of looking at those images all the time?
It’s just, it feels good. It is something I can control.
How does that make you feel about yourself? I mean-
It makes me feel great. I don’t know. Why do you think it’s that big of a deal?
Well, I think there’s a problem if you have to hide it all the time.
I wasn’t trying to hide it. I was afraid you’re going to freak out like you are.
Well, what if the kids walk in and see you looking at that stuff?
They wouldn’t. I would not do that.
You weren’t so careful this time because I found you.
Yeah. I will be more careful.
You’re just going to be more careful about it. You don’t think it’s a problem-
I don’t think there’s a problem.
… because you are in a relationship or anything like that?
No. I don’t know why it’s such a big deal.
Well, that’s just, that’s just wrong. That’s just wrong everywhere.
I bet you if this was reversed, you’d be fine with it.
Well, maybe. I don’t know. I don’t know how to respond to that. Sorry. I broke character.
Oh I know you broke character. You couldn’t stay with it. You were doing very well. Real quickly, I don’t think Jim can… I think even as a father and a husband, he’s still a therapist, isn’t he? He’s so gentle and kind. It was hard for you to get aggressive with this. It’s okay.
The question I want to ask for you, Julie, at one point, he was saying some things that were shame driven, of course, based. What did you experience with that?
Well, it’s funny, you know it, but to experience it, the you statements, they are just attacking-
… you are bad. It’s the message that comes-
Even his facial expression. He was kind of like, “Ooh.” Like, “Ooh. You’re gross.”
You gross. What’s wrong with you? Yeah. Definitely. No. Not enjoyable. Definitely got the fight out of me.
Okay. Well, let’s use I statements for you, Jim, to talk about what is happening to you like Julie said when she was speaking to you when we were role… We’re playing, of course. We have this on video. This is role playing. So, we’re role playing here and what is happening at that point, you said you had fear and you… What was it? You were fearful and scared and you were able to say a very, very transparent feeling.
If we can use the imagery, when Adam and Eve were naked before each other and God there was transparency. They could almost see each other’s heartbeat. There was a transparency. A transparency place is when you say when this happens, I feel this way. Your mate can see, see the pain and you’re vulnerable and when you’re vulnerable, usually someone doesn’t attack. Let’s go there if we can.
Honey, I have a hard time saying this, but I don’t really know what to make of you looking at pornography. I’m scared about it and I see it kind of interfering with our relationship. I’m just afraid that it seems like it’s happening more and more often. I understand like I know that I do things that makes me feel better to comfort myself or to soothe myself, but I see you doing it more and more and we’re not connected.
I don’t want to be disconnected. I was recognizing. I am looking at porn more often, but it’s not against you. It’s just something I enjoy. I just use it as something enjoyable in life. It helps me with the rest of the day.
It scares me to think about what if the kids were to find out, what they would conclude about you. Right or wrong, I just… I don’t know. I just… That worries me too.
It’s a good point. I will be very careful. Stop it.
Okay. Yes. She’s good. She’s good. She’s got me stumped and I don’t know what to do. Here we go.
Okay. I felt scared. I was so concerned. This is awful.
There you go.
It worried me.
Because he said he was worried and that was a vulnerable place. He was making himself vulnerable rather than condescending or pointing the finger and that caused you then, Julie, you were feeling worried also because of this empathetic response that we tend to have as humans, because we’re born in the image of God and we have this empathetic response typically with our conscience.
Okay. There’s a question and I want to make mention because we have this on DVD. I want to mention this was a role play. We were doing a role play here. I just want to mention that once again. Thank you for that. The question that is another question that was asked is, what is the best approach to communicate with an addict when they manipulate?
Now, you were not doing that then, but when you manipulate, when they manipulate the conversation to confuse you. The example they gave was this. You said you’d call at 7:00. No. You said call between 7:00 and 9:00. No. It was 7:00. No. Are you following the conversation that it’s kind of manipulative? Here’s the question from the audience. What is the best approach to communicate with an addict when they manipulate the conversation to confuse you? It’s a very good question.
I have an approach and it is for probably even broader than addiction, but anybody that might have power and control and kind of attack and bombard in their style of communication is focus on what’s true and say it in a very simple way and only say that. So, don’t be distracted by any other part of the conversation. Say the exact same thing over and over again very clearly.
When you do this, I am frightened, I needed to stop. When you do this, I’m frightened. Whatever it is that you come up that’s really, really important, the core without trying to stab him in the back or add guilt and shame, with all the extras, just the core truth, say it and don’t be distracted by anything else.
That’s very well said.
It’s called the broken record technique. You can say it the same way over and over again or you can nuance the same thing and say it the same thing several different ways. You’ve probably seen politicians do that, right? They say the same thing, but they find about 15 different ways to say it, but it’s very effective.
The other thing is when they’re doing that, sometimes they are under the influence. Actually, it’s a paradoxical thing. We’re not going to talk about this right now. We’ll talk about this later. You don’t have to say, “We’ll talk about this when you’re sober.” Because that’s another way to poke at them. We’re not going to talk about this right now, because what they’re trying to do is engage you in a fight, so that you then overreact and you become the issue.
Have you ever been there before?
You respond, and then you become the issue and they go, “Man, you’re crazy.” They love that. It’s called crazy making. They don’t even know they’re doing it sometimes when they’re doing it, but oftentimes it’s the way for them to defend their behavior and deflect it onto you. You react in such a way that makes you the issue and problem solve. It’s your problem. So, what you want to do is you actually want to walk away and say, “We’ll talk about this later.”
Can we pause right there, Julie? I want to go and emphasize what Jim and you just said. Would you say that again? Then, I’m going to ask the audience just to verbalize it, so they could just practice it just a bit. Can you say what you said again? How you say it succinctly just say one thing.
Focus on what is the core truth and say it and only it again and again. Don’t be distracted by any other topics that are brought up.
Okay. Then, what would be a phrase that a person could say? We’ll just practice it just real quickly.
I always remember the verse say the truth and love, and then when you say truth, in your mind think the simple truth and nothing else. I think that could be a trigger, say the truth in love, and then it’s scripture. So it’s powerful.
You could say, say the truth in love?
So, could we practice that just real quickly? Could we all say that on three? One, two, three. Say the truth in love.
Say the truth in love.
Okay. That may sound real simple-
… but practicing can be… Let’s say it one more time on three. One, two, three. Say the truth in love.
Then, stop there. There’s a tendency to want to go on, right? Okay. The next question. Thank you for this great work. The next question is my daughter’s an addict. She knows Jesus. Satan has taken her captive. My prayers for her are ongoing. How can I help her besides prayer?
I’m really sorry. That’s a painful, painful question, but let me read the question once again. Let’s try to respond to this. My daughter is an addict. She knows Jesus. Satan has taken her captive. My prayers for her are ongoing. How can I help her besides prayer? How would you respond to that?
In my experience, I’ve dealt with the opposite where I’ve worked with a lot of young women and young men whose parents are alcoholics or addicts and sometimes they begin to recognize this in their college years. They desperately want to see, want to work through some of the impact that their fathers or parent’s alcoholism and drug addiction had on them, but they also desperately want to see if they can somehow salvage a relationship with them.
So, sometimes what I’ve had folks do is actually write a letter. It’s basically the same type of thing like an intervention where they use, dear dad. In this case, would be dear daughter and insert name. There’s some things I want to share with you that are really difficult. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I’m praying about it and I’m not really sure what to do. I just want to let I love you. I’m scared because then…
Then, they go through and they list several different examples of how their drinking or their drug use, they’ve seen the effect on them and how it’s affected their relationship and they end up by saying, “I’m here and I want to see you get help and when you’re ready to come home or when you’re ready to go get help, I’m there for you.” Then, they end it.
I’ve had college students leave that letter to their father at the Thanksgiving when they’ve gone back to college at Thanksgiving time, they’ve left it on their dad’s desk and they’ve seen responses. Now, I also prepare the family or the client to be ready to let go of any response. They have to be prepared that they don’t have a condition on it. They have to prepared that they’ve cleaned that side of the street and to let go, because one of the things they have to, you have to begin to work with them on is grieving the parent that they may never have. That’s another part of it, but that’s the approach I usually take.
So notice that was talking about the core feeling, if this child was writing to a parent, a father, I think you were saying or suggesting, was saying, “Dad, I’m scared.”
You’re basically saying the same thing in the letter and what I would suggest that she do, that’s one way of communicating to them the same thing is a letter that uses the same kind of thing we just talked about.
Okay. Yes. Now, in talking about the person who’s enabling this or we’ve used the word co-dependency up here and this next question leads us into that. So, we’re moving just a bit away from the addict, the addicted person and to the more co-dependent person. This question is what can you explain about the symptoms of co-dependency? There are some other questions here. Do you agree these symptoms can be considered addictions such as the ones listed when you research the meaning of co-dependency like eating problems, anger, sleep issues, sleep disorders, anxiety, et cetera?
So, really the question is what can you explain about the symptoms of co-dependency? You actually both showed the co-dependence person and the addict here in just a moment ago. What can you say to us about that, the co-dependent person?
I’d like to share something that really made an impact with me and you might remember, it’s actually from years and years ago, but it’s called the drama triangle. In a family, a lot of times you see people play different roles. You have the role, the victim, always something going wrong where they’re getting persecuted against, you have the role of the persecutor, who’s the bad guy, always being blamed for everything. You have the role of the rescuer who’s rescuing the victim from the persecutor.
You can think in your family of these different roles, but what’s interesting is the rescuer, a lot of times you feel like that’s a great role to play, but the message of the rescuer is you’re weak, stay weak. I’ll deal with this. It’s a very cruel message. You just stay weak and I’ll handle it.
The idea of a co-dependency is sometimes when you are that person that’s rescuing people, I do believe it could be an addiction, but it also is a cruel method of being in a relationship, because your message keeps that person where they’re at. I think if you can change your perception on what it means to rescue that could help when it comes to being co-dependent in these types of relationships.
When we think about addiction, it’s basically someone trying to control a substance or an activity that they can’t control. When you think about co-dependency, they’re trying to control someone who they can’t control. They become powerless. There’s aspects of their own life that there’s powerlessness and unmanageability. They have symptoms. I mean it can manifest itself in anxiety, loss of sleep.
They’re preoccupied with that person just like the alcoholics preoccupied about their use of drugs or alcohol. Right? That makes sense? One of the things I think is important to realize is that the bio, we always talk about the biological consequences of alcohol and drug addiction, right? Gastrointestinal problems which are all issues, all kind of liver issues, falls, right? They’re going to fall more often, going to have head injuries. They’re more prone to motor vehicle accidents.
The research shows that co-dependents their symptoms parallel the alcoholic or the addict. They’re more vulnerable to falls. They’re more vulnerable to accidents because of the preoccupation they have with what that person is doing. They’re more vulnerable to gastrointestinal issues and sleep disorders. The same symptoms. There’s a powerful video on it that we used to show our clients and they go, “Oh my goodness. That’s exactly right. I have the same mental and emotional consequences of my co-dependency as they do with that person with alcoholism.”
Wow. Powerful. The co-dependent, let’s talk about how does that person move away from that? Those kind of behaviors, those reactions or reactivity, what are some things you would suggest for the person? There maybe someone here listening or live streaming in tonight or listening to the DVD later and they’re saying, “Okay. But how do I not do that, because I do have those behaviors or I’m seeing those symptoms within me?” What would you suggest?
I would say definitely you have to recognize that you are in control of how you respond. So, if you take responsibility for that first, then we talked about how you have to allow the negative consequences to play out. It’s a very powerful tool to help somebody stop an addiction. So, anytime you see the opportunity to jump in and keep them from their consequence, don’t do it.
That will be extremely difficult, but to take responsibility that you have the ability to control that behavior and not rescue and not stop the consequence and allow that to play out, that’s one tool I would say to commit yourself to doing. That’s something tangible you can do.
The knee-jerk reaction that alcoholics and addicts have to use substance to deal with their pain, it’s the same process that the co-dependent goes into responding to rescuing the alcoholic from the consequence of their behavior. It is about not doing those things, but I also think it’s very difficult, because it’s become so ingrained that it’s really important they have support. They have support from people around them who understand what that’s like and they’re going to reinforce them not enabling.
You can find support groups like that like [inaudible 01:01:59] and things like that. People who’ve been there, done that and they understand what it’s like to set boundaries. The other thing that’s really helpful for them if they’re seeing a therapist or a counselor who understands this is especially within the church, because we forget that boundaries are evident in scripture. Jesus had boundaries when he talked the rich young ruler, right? He tells him what he needs to do to inherit eternal life.
The rich young ruler walks away sadly. Jesus doesn’t walk after him and say, “You know what? That was kind of a harsh deal. Let me renegotiate that.” When the prodigal son happened, the father had to know nothing good is going to happen from this, but he doesn’t run after him. He experiences the consequences of his choices and after he has that happened for him, the father not enabling, he realizes, “Okay. I’m not in a good place here and I need to change my environment. I need to change my experiences.” Then, he returns home.
There’s countless examples of that in scripture. I think the important thing is that they learn what those boundaries are, but also they have support to do the thing that actually has been contrary to their nature, because then co-dependency starts out of a genuine place of wanting to help somebody not experience pain, but it actually is now allowing the addiction to continue.
So as we begin to wrap this up a bit here and we’re talking about the behaviors of the addict with the behaviors of say the co-dependent. I know there’s other behaviors and other issues here that we could discuss, this question asks, can a person truly be free of a behavior without professional help? I think this is a very good question. We’re all therapists here and licensed mental health providers and we do believe in our work or we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing, but a very, very good question. Can a person truly be free of a behavior, and they may be asking a little more broadly than that, but be free of a behavior without professional help? How do you respond to that?
I do believe that it’s possible because God can do anything he wants. I have seen people that have prayed and been delivered from it immediately, but I have to say out of many, many people, that’s probably two. I do believe that could happen and I have seen it, but most of the time there’s going to have to be some strategic support built around them to have the tools to keep it up long-term. I’ve seen many people stop and relapse over and over again. It is more common without some form of professional help.
Because isn’t it true with addictive behaviors, we tend to isolate? A person isolates. God meant us to be in relationship, not to isolate. We should pray and have our time alone with God, but on the other hand of that or the other side of that, we will tend to isolate with addiction, which goes contrary to the way in which God created us and put DNA within us.
Well, I also agree with Julie. I don’t think it requires a professional to help someone stop an addictive behavior. I mean obviously there weren’t professionals around until recent times actually and I still like my job and I want to have my job, but I don’t necessarily think I’m absolutely essential for somebody to stop an addictive behavior.
I had a point I was going to make and I’m trying to remember what it was exactly, but it’ll come to me.
Okay. Wonderful. These are wonderful responses. I know we’re running just short of time and would you join me in thanking our illustrious panel for their presentation and interaction with your questions. Thank you both so very much. I wanted to mention that our next My Therapist Sez is pornography and mate’s pain.
You may see this on the big screen. That will be on Tuesday April 7th. We do have Aaron Reinicke coming back and Treina Nash who were with us last year. They presented on pornography and those issues and this time, they’re going to be focusing on pornography and mate’s pain. That will actually segue very nicely from addiction-free living tonight as we’re talking about this. I hope that you’ll invite your friends and if they’re not able to be here, that they would live stream.
I do want to thank you for being here this evening and joining us on addiction-free living. Again, thank you both so much. Jim, you had-
I just want to add this. It came back to me. Thank you. Galatians 6 says, “Bear one another’s burdens.” Right? I’m a big believer that in AA it says, “No human power could relieve us of our alcoholism, but God could and would if he were sought and sometimes God uses other people. I’m a big believer in that the fellowship of AA or the fellowship people can find in church, having other people bear ourselves up.
We’ve got to remember AA started with two men. It was just two men who were helping each other stay clean and sober and now it’s international. You can find a meeting just about anywhere. I really believe, it’s not necessarily that they can have [inaudible 01:07:03]. The number one way people get in recovery these days is by going to meetings and getting support.
They call it a fellowship for a reason, but that can be found in our churches, that can be found anywhere. I really think that’s the point I wanted to make is Galatians 6 says, “Bear one another’s burdens.” If we’re doing that well, even with folks that struggle with addiction, they don’t need to see either one of us.
Thank you. That was well worth saying here at the very end. It really brought everything together. Let’s have a word of prayer, and then we will be dismissing for the evening. Father, thank you so much for the gift of your presence that makes all the difference. You really meant for us to be in relationship that’s why you sought us first.
You asserted yourself toward us and that while we were yet sinners, Christ, you died for us. You without sin became sent on our behalf and made a way that we can have a right relationship with the God of this universe. The only God of this universe. So, we thank you, we bless you, and may this evening be honoring of you and that you go with us, you protect us, you guide us, you give us tremendous hope and a future that you promised for each and every one. In Jesus’ name, amen. God bless. I hope you have a great evening. Thank you for coming to My Therapist Sez.
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