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Episode 31
waking up to what?
spiritual practice and finding your purpose

“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” – Abraham Maslow

In the depths of addiction, there’s never enough. Almost by definition, addiction is the attempt to fill a craving that’s impossible to satisfy. The addict is a hungry ghost, starving for nourishment, unable to receive it.

But what is it that we crave? What is it that we lack?

My descent into the hell of addiction paralleled my growing feelings of separateness and disconnection. I didn’t necessarily recognize them as such. But I was keenly aware of the vague unease and the sense that something wasn’t right. Something was missing, and I didn’t know what. So I escaped the discomfort by changing the way I felt. Anything to avoid facing the growing sense of emptiness; the growing hole inside me.

Maybe you can relate. Most addicts have a version of this story.

Being an introvert, it’s not so much that I craved the company of others, but I certainly craved a sense of wholeness and purpose. I used drugs and alcohol to change the way I felt because the way I felt was unbearable, empty, and incomplete.

Even those who who’ve never suffered from alcoholism and addiction are prone to this emptiness, this sense of disconnection, though they attempt to fill it by binge-watching Netflix, scrolling endlessly through social media, developing unhealthy sexual relationships, or any number of other behaviors and process addictions.

Our addictions were an attempt to put a band-aid on a fundamental human problem: the need for meaning, purpose, and connection; a knowledge of who we are and why we’re here.

To their great credit, the founders of AA recognized that this need was a spiritual one. Unfortunately, hearing that we “have to find god” is enough to send some people running out the door, never to return. And it’s killing us.

Twenty-first century culture has made incredible strides in the fields of science and technology, psychology, biology, sociology, and a number of other critical disciplines. But in our reliance on the scientific paradigm, which has been an incredibly valuable framework, large swaths of the population relegated ideas like religion and spirituality to the dungeon of superstition. And with it, we lost our connection with the fundamental truths that spirituality offers and the deep human needs that it fulfills.

Despite the widespread perception, spirituality doesn’t mean dogmatic adherence to and unwavering belief in a mythic-literal narrative. True spirituality, in whatever context you choose to approach it, is about developing an inner contemplative practice gives us a first-hand experience of the divine. It’s an opportunity to find meaning and connection. A spiritual practice shows us, through direct experience, why we’re here. More importantly, it shows us who we truly are, which is none other than divine infinite spirit experiencing itself.

If that last paragraph didn’t resonate, don’t worry. It turns out that when we open up the aperture on what constitutes spiritual practice, we discover that there are many paths to wholeness. From making music, to gardening, to writing, to snowboarding, to fixing cars, to washing the dishes, or caring for our children, almost any practice can be approached from a spiritual perspective.

A simple willingness to surrender to the practice unlocks the path. Through action, we change our state. We act as if our lives matter, and before long, we discover just how deeply they do. Through spiritual practice, we’ve done what Maslow recognized as the key to change: we’ve changed our awareness of ourselves. We’ve moved toward wholeness. We’ve begun to wake up.

In this episode:

[1:25] We all suffer from something – why the practices and the ideas of Integral Recovery are broadly applicable to everyone. Why waking up, growing up, cleaning up, and showing can transform our lives, and a brief explanation of what the four broad practice areas entail
[3:56] Why finding our purpose is critical to recovery and to living a meaningful life in general. How is our purpose tied to the practice of showing up, and what happens along multiple developmental lines without a firm sense of meaning and direction in our lives?
[5:00] Why all four lines are essential and interconnected, and how putting any of these areas at risk jeopardizes and weakens our development in the other three.
[5:42] Development and evolution in all four lines is an ongoing journey; the practice of a lifetime. Avoiding pathology and continuing our growth depends on our ability to continually strengthen and correct imbalances in all four essential dimensions, and why this matters now more than ever.
[6:47] How despite its enormous depth and scope, the lack of spirituality in the current psychological paradigm paints an incomplete picture of the human experience. Why the cartography of human consciousness is incomplete without the spiritual dimension
[8:02] The dangers of ignoring our desire to explore spirituality when we “throw the baby out with the bathwater” of traditional fundamentalist religions of the amber/blue level of the AQAL map, and why continuing our spiritual exploration from higher developmental levels is essential to our continued evolution.
[9:26] The thirst for wholeness that is addiction, and why developing a personal relationship and understanding of spirit through inner contemplative practice is integral to our recovery.
[10:47] The longing to accomplish, achieve, and feel good about ourselves, and how the rush of addictive substances short-circuits or reward system and stunts our maturation and growth even while it explodes our sense of disconnected isolation
[12:55] The “spiritual but not religious” movement, and what spirituality actual means when people, especially (though far from exclusively) millennials use this phrase.
[13:15] What are the fundamental questions that spirituality and spiritual practice seek to answer?
[14:35] Why an academic understanding of spirituality is insufficient, and why our apprehension of spirituality, and the answers to its questions, must come from direct experience.
[15:50] Why exploring the answers to these fundamental questions through a reductionist, materialistic philosophical ontology is inherently unable to convey the first-hand experience of spiritual realization (hint: see the four AQAL quadrants)
[18:23] How our interpretation of spiritual or mystical experience depends on our current level of development, and why the revelations and answers that spirituality provides continue to evolve as we do.
[19:00] How having a direct spiritual experience can change your relationships with others and with yourself – infusing you with a sense of purpose and meaning and catalyzing development and growth in the other dimensions of the Integral map.
[19:46] The parallel of spiritual experience to the experience of being in love – why we have to taste it to really know it.
[20:47] How peak experiences we’ve all had, like playing sports, hearing great music, or falling in love, can clue us in to what spiritual practice can give us when we drop the religiosity and seek out direct personal experience.
[21:15] Abraham Maslow’s contributions to secularizing and democratizing spiritual peak experiences, and his recognition in the genesis of positive psychology that these experiences are an essential evolutionary nutrient to our well-being, happiness, and life-satisfaction
[23:10] Opening up the aperture on what constitutes meditation: The wide variety of practices and pursuits that can catalyze spiritual experience and our direct realization of spirit and oneness
[24:50] Why the study of spirituality, regardless of our path to direct experience, gives us the language and the framework to understand the profound nature of our experiences
[26:10] The many paths of yoga in the Vedic and Hindu traditions, and how a number of paths and practices can catalyze our realization of the divine, the deepest part of who we are. From Karma Yoga – the yoga of service, to Bhakti Yoga – the yoga of devotion, to Raja Yoga – the “king” yoga – and many others, and how finding the right combination based on our own unique typology and current Integral Psychograph can propel us along the path.
[28:36] Cultivating your artform – whether it’s through athletics, mechanical work, programming, snowboarding, writing, or anything else you feel called to do, and how this practice expands the entry point for people, enabling them to gain the immense benefits that the pursuit of mastery, commitment, and sustained effort can have on rebuilding us in recovery
[30:03] What to do when you’re don’t’ know your purpose – how showing up for the journey of discovery, with full presence and open-mindedness allows this to unfold
[31:40] Following your curiosity and allowing serendipity – the practice of “living as if it were so”
[32:42] The James-Lange theory of emotion – We don’t have to “feel” a certain way in order to do something. Rather, we do things in order to feel a certain way. In Alcoholics Anonymous, we often hear “act our way to right thinking”, and the James-Lange theory posits that we can act our way to right feeling. When we “act as if” our lives will make a difference, we take the actions that create that reality.
[34:00] Why is spiritual development so important to our psychological well-being, and especially to our recovery from addiction? The primary goal of much of traditional therapy is to root out our original trauma at the core of our addiction, but spirituality and purpose can lead us to consider what we’re forestalling; what we’re giving up and missing out on, in terms of connection, purpose, and meaning, by continuing in our addictions
[35:53] How do we find the good that’s mixed into all our experiences, including our struggles with depression, alcoholism, and addiction? We look at what it catalyzed in terms of our growth, and how it allowed to us to develop a more intimate relationship with our own darkness and shadow.
[38:14] Are we interpreting our experiences personalistically, or transpersonally?
[38:50] How losing our innocence and making mistakes allows us to develop compassion, and how we can transform our suffering into an asset
[40:22] In transmuting the darkness, we also release the “light dragons”, and realize what we have to give
[40:50] Our purpose and our meaning can show in in large ways or small ways, but the compass that guides us to find that purpose and live in alignment with it comes directly from our inner contemplative practice.
[41:50] Showing up is the grand humbler and the ultimate practice. When we show up in every area of our lives, from washing the dishes to being a better father (and son), to any other action we’re engaged in, we can change the world in small and meaningful ways. Chop wood, carry water.
[43:00] The interconnection between prayer and meditation, how the insight and spiritual guidance we receive can come in the form of large-scale orientation or small-scale daily “next actions” that move us into alignment with purpose as the journey unfolds – and all of this comes from a different place than our ordinary rational-linear consciousness
[44:04] Tapping into the wisdom voice that’s beyond ego and allowing it to emerge organically through our practice. This is the daily practice and the deeper meaning of 11th step in Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step groups.

Episode 30:
Sometimes Life Sucks
(and that’s okay)
Embracing Challenges in Recovery

I have a confession: I was always bothered by the word “surrender”. Every time I heard it in a twelve-step meeting, I winced. Doesn’t struggle mean that we care enough to keep fighting? Doesn’t releasing our control mean we’ve given up?

Not at all. Understanding the power of surrender and release may be the key to recovery, personal development, peak performance, and life satisfaction.

Despite our efforts to control it, life throws us curve balls. Situations and circumstances arise that waylay our plans and stir our painful emotions. From the traffic jam that makes us late for a date to the passing of loved ones, from feelings of hunger to the specter of trauma, we’re constantly bombarded by experiences we’d rather avoid.

And in our addictions, we did. We went to great lengths to avoid facing uncomfortable situations. And despite the illusory relief, our problems remained. And even if the circumstances abated on the surface, we certainly pushed a great deal of pain into our shadows to reemerge at the most inconvenient times.

The desire to control our lives, our circumstances, and our feelings is natural; even healthy. Beginning and committing to an Integral Recovery practice requires us to exercise a great deal of control. But the refusal to accept what’s outside of our control gets us into plenty of trouble. It creates a great deal of suffering for ourselves and others.

Learning to recognize that line and surrendering to the reality of our circumstances empowers us. By accepting the reality of a difficult situation, we can change our relationship with, interpretation of, and reaction to it. When we let go of the struggle, we can act more resourcefully.

The research on flow states shows that peak performance, whether in creative endeavors, sports, relationships with others, or any other area of life (or line of development) occurs as part of a cycle:


The flow state, where we’re performing our best, is enabled by releasing our attachment to the outcomes and being fully present in the moment. We let go of our expectations and surrender to the moment. The neurochemical release and physiological shift that follows this release allows us to tap into a surprisingly deep well of inner resources and access the most skillful parts of ourselves.

And while we discovered this cycle through research on flow states, the lesson, the pattern, and the results are the same for dealing with life’s challenges and setbacks. Even the drawn-out, painful, and difficult ones.

I propose that the first four stages of grief in the Kübler-Ross model — denial, anger, bargaining, and depression – are all sub-components of the “struggle phase”, and the fifth stage of grief, acceptance, is the “release phase” of the flow cycle. What comes after acceptance? Integration. Flow. Healing and skillfully moving forward.

One way or another, release will come. It’s inevitable. We are physically incapable of remaining in the struggle phase forever. The danger, for those in recovery, is the temptation to release through indulging our addictions and slipping back into unconsciousness.

Challenges, difficulties and suffering are part of life. It’s the Buddha’s first noble truth. Rather than clinging to struggles or trying to numb them out, we can learn to let go in a healthy and life-affirming way.

That’s what surrender means in recovery. Releasing our control doesn’t mean we’ve given up. It means we care enough to allow.

In this episode:

[1:22] Meditating “like a rock” when life brings us challenges, which it always does. Rocks can be rained on, snowed on, baked by the sun, but they’re always solid and still.
[2:37] Meditating like a submarine as we dive deep into our stuff, reaching far below the surface. There can be waves on the surface, but as we sink deeper, the water calms.
[3:47] No matter our metaphor, we develop a rootedness in the depths of conscious that allows us to both hold and resolve the pain, the hardship.
[5:05] When the challenges of life, and what we have to do seems overwhelming. What to do when it feels like we can’t win.
[6:37] Allowing ourselves to “let go” and surrender when we’re up against our limitations, and the release of fear of attachment that happens when we embrace the circumstances
[8:10] Moving into effortlessness when we release into the moment and embrace being fully present regardless of what’s happening around us and how we feel about it
[10:55] When we allow, we can succeed in spite of ourselves. This may not always please everyone, in fact it will anger some. And no one else may recognize our accomplishments, either. We learn to be content with ourselves and giving our best performance regardless of the external circumstances.
[11:30] Allowing our experience of those moment to become a touchtone that we can return to over and over again, both in our meditation and in our daily lives
[11:55] The cycle of flow, and allowing ourselves to recognize the struggle phase, and then release, so we can drop into the magic of the flow state. Without the release, we remain in the struggle. Without letting go, we never reach the effortlessness and presence of the flow state, and how this applies to every domain of life.
[13:21] A different definition of the “fuck-its”. In his book, Integral Recovery, John Dupuy says that every relapse begins with a case of the “fuck-its”, but when we dig deeper into that term, we discover that we can use that same surrender in a way that lifts us up instead of sabotaging us.
[14:35] What happens when we neglect our Integral Practice and fail to take care of our essential lines of development? How does this effect the other areas of our lives, and how can we learn from the examples of athletes and others in our own lives?
[16:45] Using sports as a prayer and a practice to teach ourselves to let go and push ourselves to the edge of our capabilities.
[17:45] The yoga of winning and losing and learning how to deal with both get access the deeper meaning and the deeper heart of sports
[19:00] How many hundreds or thousands of hours do we need to commit to our work or our game become we can play at our highest level?
[19:20] When we know we’re in over our heads, we can lower our standards and change the definition of what a success or a victory in any situation means
[20:45] Allowing “showing up” to be a victory in and of itself as a gateway to doing bigger things
[22:00] Competing only against yesterday’s self, and how comparing ourselves only to our former selves frees us to grow and change and make progress without the comparisons to others and all that associated baggage.
[22:30] The necessity of the release phase: It’s not negotiable. The release will happen, one way or another, and for the recovering addict, learning how to release in a positive way is the key to our ongoing sobriety. We release into an acceptance of our difficult emotions instead of a release into escape and oblivion
[23:35] Accepting that we’re not in control of the outcomes, only our efforts
[24:15] Getting passionate and finding something we care about more than drugs and alcohol so that we’re willing to do whatever it takes on a day to day basis to keep ourselves at our best – and this can be our families, our physical endeavors, our art, or anything else that moves us out of apathy and nihilism
[25:22] The emerging of non-duality and beauty as we deepen into our chosen practices and spend more time in the yoga of flow, competition, and growth
[26:14] Who does this “fuck it” serve? Why need to enquire more deeply within ourselves to see if we’re indulging our small selves or serving our higher selves
[27:37] Experiences of anticipatory nostalgia that occur when we’re on the right track and know we’re doing important and meaningful work – even if the physical evidence of that work and that process are abandoned or destroyed. When we know we’re going to look back at an experience, we can deepen its power to be transformative
[29:35] The freedom that comes through an annihilation of the old, and the absolute liberation that occurs when we reach the place where we’re willing to let it all go. The complete and total release of the rock-bottom “fuck it” and the emptying of ego attachment that accompanies it
[30:50] Continuing the work of our larger releases through an ongoing daily practice and giving ourselves the opportunity to maintain, continue, and deepen the initial work
[32:15] The classical mystical experience that occurs when we can, at our lowest point, embrace the willingness to wipe the slate clean and start over. It’s a preview of the stable deepening that occurs through ongoing practice and continued Integral development
[33:30] Why having guidance and support can are a necessary piece of the puzzle as we continue our journey and deal with the challenges that come up along the way
[34:57] An example of why theory alone is not sufficient we have to dive deeply into doing the work if want our recovery and our transformations to continue
[37:22] Recovery is cumulative, and everything that we learn along the way sticks with us, even in those moments when we’re backsliding and not our best.
[38:23] How the Integral model provides a powerful antidote to bypassing and why it’s important to work with our shadows and acknowledge what’s going on in the unconscious
[40:28] Embracing the suck – the power of acknowledging that things aren’t perfect and that’s okay. Learning to accept the pain, the regret, the uncomfortable feelings, and allow them so that we can transcend and move past them instead of relegating them to the shadow and triggering a relapse
[42:15] Why suffering can be a more important tool for growth and transformation than the positive, powerful, non-dual states
[43:12] When we embrace our suffering at a deeper level, we can move into the release
[44:12] Creativity theory and the homospatial process – learning to embrace the unknown and trust what emerges when we “show up” with others. Sometimes we need a push into our own abyss, and that’s what good coaches and good therapists can do.


Episode 29:
When Others Don’t Want us to Change
The Dynamic Self, The Addict Self,
and the infinite self

Recovery changes us. Thank God.

Our ways of being the world, our coping mechanisms, and our relationship strategies were killing us, and we needed to make some radical shifts. So with the best of intentions and a heavy dose of grit, we set about the deep transformational work of Integral Recovery practice. And we began to heal our bodies, minds, emotions, and spirits. We developed new relationships with ourselves and with the world. We got healthier, we evolved, and we grew. And as long as we continue our practices, we’ll continue to do so.

But all the growth and transformation we’ve worked so hard to embrace carries an unexpected (and often high) cost: the emergence of our healthier selves doesn’t always sit well with the others in our lives.

Our growing sense of self-respect and newfound ability to draw healthy boundaries can destabilize our relationships. Our families, partners, and friends can feel threatened when they’re no longer sure what to expect from us, particularly if we had adopted the relational strategy of pathological accommodation as many addicts (and non-addicts) do.

When we gain the courage to embrace (or discover) who we are, it presents a real challenge to everyone involved, and if we’re not prepared, the resultant turbulence can wreak havoc on our resolve, halting or even reversing our transformation and recovery. If we don’t handle our shifting relationships with awareness and grace, we risk relapse and a return to the darkness of addiction. Our lives depend on our ability to skillfully, compassionately, and self-compassionately navigate the waters of the lower-left “we” quadrant.

It sounds challenging. And, well, it is. And unfortunately, there’s no way out but through. The good news, though, is that our daily Integral Recovery practice of meditation strengthens our ability to approach ourselves and our relationships from the perspective of “witness consciousness”, where we can observe ourselves and our reactions as objects (rather than hidden subjects).

With compassionate awareness, we can be present in a supportive way to the effect our transformation has on others, as well. Simply changing our relationship to the experience allows us to engage more skillfully with ourselves and others. From the place of observation, the “controlling self” is no longer the reactive, addict self. Moment by moment, we make new choices. And we inch ever closer to discovering that the truth of we are, both relatively and absolutely, is even more profound than we conceived.

In this episode:

[1:51] How do we navigate relationships with family and friends in recovery when, contrary to what we’d expect, not everyone is happy with the changes in our lives, our behaviors, and our character? How do we manage negative reactions to our positive recovery?
[3:02] The complexity of family relationships, from the toxic to the well-adjusted and functional, and everything in between, and why there is no one-size-fits-all perfect solution to manage family dynamics (or any other group dynamics)
[4:51] Using substances as a way to manage the feelings the feelings and stresses our relationships produce, as a way to protect ourselves from feelings of abandonment or other uncomfortable emotional reactions
[5:36] Pathological accommodation in relationships and protecting ourselves from feelings of abandonment
[7:22] Using the “witness perspective” and “witness consciousness” in recovery to observe, understand, confront, and reshape our reactions and tendencies in the way we relate to others and ourselves
[8:00] How the shift from pathological accommodation to a grounded self can produce negative reactions in others who had grown accustomed to our tendencies
[8:55] On recovering our true selves, and why recovering this sense of self is necessary to sustained recovery
[9:50] The tendency to drink and use to reclaim the sense of self lost through pathological accommodation, and learning to show up as ourselves in healthier ways
[10:51] Allowing ourselves to feel like we belong in the world – why discovering the sense of our right to be here – our inherent and inborn worthiness – leads to a stable recovery
[11:50] Our struggles to identify shame in our lives, and how the messages we received can lead us to unhealthy expressions of accommodation and the disowning of the self
[14:00] How the discovery of self-compassion and self-forgiveness, first by becoming aware of ourselves, can transform our lives as we learn to transcend our shame and show up with authenticity and vulnerability
[16:02] The practice of showing up as ourselves in the world, and why we must continue to exercise those muscles to build strength and resilience to the discomfort of expressing our needs. How something as simple as standing up for our feelings and our views can be both terrifying and profoundly healing
[17:20] Coming back to a new and healthier center after we’ve extended ourselves, and why emotional growth and transcending accommodation requires grit
[19:20] The courage required to work with and confront our emotional wounds in the lower-left “we” quadrant, and why this is different than our work in the upper-left subjective interior quadrant
[20:00] Addiction, almost by definition, means that we need help. We can’t do it alone. And this means that our relationships are bound to be affected as we learn to set boundaries in a healthy way.
[21:43] Courage and the romantic language root for heart – why heart-centered living and drawing boundaries requires courage in the lower-left quadrant
[23:29] Setting boundaries for ourselves in what we’ll allow ourselves to be exposed to, and why this can challenge our relationships with friends and family members who we used to accommodate
[24:12] Different styles of dealing with our lower-left quadrant conflicts, and why accommodation and withdrawal into isolation are equally problematic in addiction and depression
[25:00] How the idea of selflessness that often shows up in spirituality and spiritual circles can be easily misinterpreted in unhealthy ways, and the importance of creating a healthy and balanced self
[26:20] Developing a sense of ego-identity in order for the deeper states of non-dual awareness to show up in non-pathological ways
[27:50] The “transcend and include” of Integral Theory brings the inclusion component to the fore, as transcend and disavow creates shadow material
[28:36] How the subject of one developmental level becomes the object of the subject of the next – as elucidated in Ken Wilber’s The Religion of Tomorrow – and how this applies to the evolution of the controlling self as we shift perspective from the “addict self” to the healthy self.
[29:06] Fixations (addictions) and allergies becoming hidden subjects if we fail to go back and own certain aspects of ourselves through our development
[31:12] The demonic possession of the hidden subject and how healthy inclusion and integration leads to evolving health and developmental growth, and why shadow work must be an integral part our interior practice
[32:26] Our histories with those who’ve seen our addiction and the complications that arise in healing, and how this differs from the relationships we form after recovery takes hold
[35:07] The concept of “earned security” in relationships, and how this can allow room for growth
[35:38] The dangers of “dispositional attribution” and the tendency to blame the mistakes and slips of others as fixed, unchangeable attributes of character – and how this dispositional attribution, as opposed to situational attribution, is closely related to the internalization of shame
[37:05] How cultivating a practice of situational attribution leads to the development of grit and resilience, allowing the possibility for change
[38:21] Encouraging behavior change and personal development by praising behaviors instead of traits
[39:00] How dispositional attribution robs us of our agency, and thus, our power to transform our lives, and how this relates to the difference between guilt and shame
[39:46] Masculine and feminine love, mother love and father love – the difference between them and why both are necessary for the cultivation of our character and our continued growth and development
[42:15] The wisdom involved in knowing which dynamic to invoke as we transition to parenting and coaching ourselves, and how invoking the witness consciousness – and also the outside perspective granted and gifted in relationship, can bring wisdom and insight to our blind spots
[43:10] Namaste – the divine in you, in me, and in all of us. Holding namaste consciousness in the absolute dimension while still offering behavior corrections in the relative dimension. How the acknowledgement of divine perfection can empower transformation in the relative domain
[45:15] A short poem on Namaste
[46:30] Completing the “aesthetic arc” in our communications as a gift to ourselves, and how extending lovingkindness through our communications brings beauty to the world.

Episode 28:
Going Home
Resentments, Challenges, and Opportunities

All our relationships are complex and nuanced, but perhaps none more so than our relationships with our family. And unless we learn how to navigate this inherently thorny terrain, we jeopardize our continued sobriety and unfolding evolutionary growth in every dimension of the AQAL map.

No matter our stage of recovery, personal growth, and spiritual development, going home to visit our families can be like dropping a bolder in the pond. It’s more than the gentle ripples of a breeze: it’s chaotic crash as the stone penetrates the water’s calm surface and sinks deeply to the ground, where it stirs up all the muck that had settled there.

But why? Why are our familial relationships so challenging and so impactful?

As Dr. Bob Weathers so eloquently put it: “Family is the strange attractor for the deepest templates in our experience.”

For the curious, Wikipedia tells us that “in the mathematical field of dynamical systems, an attractor is a set of numerical values toward which a system tends to evolve, for a wide variety of starting conditions of the system.[1] System values that get close enough to the attractor values remain close even if slightly disturbed.”

Our relationships with our families defined and shaped our experience of the world, and when we re-enter their orbit, we feel their gravity’s pull again. And for most of us, and addicts in particular, this is accompanied by a return of the fear, shame, self-judgment, resentment, anger, and trauma that we’ve worked so hard to transcend.

It’s the ultimate test of our enlightenment, growth and recovery: Will we allow ourselves to unconsciously return to our unhealthy patterns, (chemical relief, disconnection, and a return to the egocentric 1st person perspective), or will we rise to the opportunity to deepen our practice?

On the Integral Recovery path, life itself, with all its samsaric suffering, is our initiation. It’s the wood for our growing spiritual fire. But we have to show up.

Showing up means, among other things, staying present with our challenges. It means opening our hearts with compassion and being fully present with situations and people that once caused us to contract. By allowing ourselves to enter fully into this space of shared perspective, even (and especially) when we disagree or have lingering, unresolved material, we receive the gift of a potent transformative catalyst.

When we practice in context, entering “witness consciousness” as the muck is stirred by the crashing bolder of our family (a state of high emotional arousal), we have a rare neuropsychological opportunity to reconsolidate our memories and feelings in a more loving and compassionate light.

It’s not an easy thing to do. But it’s a profound opportunity for deep healing and growth – one that’s worth meeting with integrity and resilience. Let’s all show up with courage and compassion.

In this episode:

[1:05] How the stress of going home can be an issue in sobriety, and this affects both those in early recover and later in the recovery process. How the family’s behavior around drinking and drug use, conflicting political or religious viewpoints, and more can pose significant obstacles to ongoing sobriety.
[2:00] The importance of continued practice during family visits, and other strategies to keep ourselves healthy
[2:35] The disposition of grace that comes through when we allow ourselves to fully be with others, specifically our family members at a different developmental level, with full presence, empathy, and compassion
[4:50] How inhabiting the world of another through committed presence and empathy creates an opportunity for growth through discomfort
[6:30] The opening of hope and possibility for increased understanding when we use the taking of perspectives as a practice for development
[7:47] The challenges of continuing our Integral Practice when we’re away and with family, removed from our routines and environments – and why maintaining or increasing our practice in those circumstances is helpful
[9:17] Dealing with the challenges of outdated perceptions and memories that our family and friends may hold despite the changes we’ve made in our recovery.
[10:45] Confronting the challenge of our discomfort and memories of past mistakes and ways of being through deliberate shifts into witness consciousness.
[12:30] Owning our past mistakes and using family visits as an opportunity to acknowledge and come to terms with our own growth and transformation, and learning to accept and integrate those changes in ourselves to transcend the shame and regret of our former lives.
[15:02] “The amygdala has no time stamp”: The “time-machine” effect of visiting with our families and its powerful triggering effect at a biological level, and how this can retrigger our traumas and our shame.[17:25] Why family visitation and the retriggering of shame and judgement is such a powerful trigger to relapse, and the strategies we can use to work with those emotions to prevent a backslide into addictive and unhealthy patterns
[18:00] Using the witness conscious to sit with our experience of loneliness and the other uncomfortable feelings that arise, and how this differs from the behaviors and unhealthy coping mechanisms of active addiction
[18:56] The Beekeeper’s Memories: Freedom from the chains of our past
[20:31] Using compassionate presence in moments of heightened arousal and emotional retriggers to uncouple the connection between memory and trauma so we can form new associations that allow us to heal
[21:30] Allowing our meditation practice to be a tool for sitting in self-compassion with our memories and our shame
[22:52] Giving ourselves permission, in spite of our cultural tendencies, to dive into the deep end of the pool and sit with our experiences instead of brushing them off or sweeping them under the rug
[23:09] Stepping outside of ourselves by reminding ourselves that we’re not alone through the practice of exploratory perspective taking with photographs and portraits, and why this practice provides a safe space to bridge into the world as a stepping stone to the more direct practice of sitting in empathy with family members
[25:18] Trauma blocks our capacity to take perspectives, drawing us deeply into a limited, first-person survival mode, and how meditation works against this tendency by strengthening our capacity to shift our viewpoint and see ourselves and our own suffering, as well as that of others, in a different light.
[26:35] How tools like Profound Releasing and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) aid in the healing process through their ability to stimulate move us through the process of memory reconsolidation to change our associations through compassionate witnessing
[27:27] The practice of deep listening and sitting with another in compassionate listening as a healing tool, and why this so effective in therapy and friendship
[28:20] Drumming in service of the music – how Steve Gadd’s approach to music can influence our practice of showing up
[29:43] How showing up with full presence and sensitivity to the “music” of others can help us navigate conversations and relationships with others of differing views and beliefs, and why this presence is essential to our shifting relationships in recovery
[31:35] What to do when we slip with presence and perspective taking, and how owning our mistakes with integrity can prevent further rifts and damaging self-condemnation
[32:27] Our tendency towards environmental isolation and grouping with others of the same “value meme”, and how we can deepen our Integral Practice and understanding of the world by stepping outside of our comfort zones and engaging mindfully with others
[33:30] How our non-stop exposure to trauma via our 21st century media-saturated lifestyles can injure and wound our psyches in powerful ways, with dire consequences to our well-being, our recovery, and our ability to fully engage with the world – especially due to the feelings of helplessness engendered by situations we cannot influence or control
[35:15] How over-indulengence in news media can lead to relapse, and the practice of bracketing our consumption in a way that allows us to stay informed about the world of which we’re all a part while diminishing the power of (and obsession that stems from) our amygdala’s response to the news
[36:52] The sense of powerlessness that accompanies our overindulgence in news media, and what we need to do make a meaningful difference in the world. How our typology can influence of behavioral tendencies around consumption of and reaction to current events and reporting
[37:35] Decoupling and disconnecting our ingrained habits of media consumption and news gathering by deliberately making different decisions; and why this process requires discipline, commitment, and self-awareness
[39:03] A call to responsible action and the importance of noticing and remembering the good in the world in opposition to our innate negativity bias.
[40:34] Recognizing the goodness in others in our day-to-day affairs and interactions with others – and why, too, we must also remember to look for the goodness and the beauty in ourselves
[40:55] How addiction prevents us from facing and owning up to both our demons and struggles and our goodness, and why integrating both is necessary for recovery and growth
[41:27] The practice of helping someone – in a big way or a small way – every single day
[42:34] The power of AA in allowing us to look at ourselves and our darkness, lies in its promotion and philosophy and practices of altruism

Episode 27:
A Catalyst for Growth and Recovery

Here’s a theory to consider:

The modern-day salute was adapted from the practice of medieval knights who, as a gesture of mutual respect when passing one another on the battlefield, would lift the visors of their helmets in greeting.

It’s a romantic notion. It may or may not be true, and it’s almost certainly partial. Regardless, the symbolism is rich: they removed their armor and allowed themselves to be seen.

The armor most of us wear today is of the psychological sort, but we wear it for the same reason: We’re protecting ourselves. We don’t want our soft, squishy hearts to be vulnerable. We don’t allow ourselves to be seen. It’s a lonely way to live.

Our relationships with others can be a powerful healing force, and they can be one of the most rewarding (and yes, challenging) aspects of our lives. In fact, even for the introverts among us, our ability to navigate our relationships is one of the most potent factors in measures of happiness and life satisfaction.

For me, and for many addicts, the lower-left quadrant of relationship and “we space” is one of the hardest. The deep-seated shame that accompanies addiction (or depression, or trauma) causes us to contract, lest others see our truth and judge us unworthy and unlovable, just as we have already judged ourselves.

And yet, it’s only through visibility and vulnerability that we heal. The antidote to shame is acceptance, and it’s impossible for others to accept us if we’re not revealing ourselves to anyone. No matter how uncomfortable it makes us, cultivating guileless vulnerability and authenticity is essential.

Not every relationship needs to be a crucible for growth and transformation. The overwhelming majority of our relationships—even primary relationships—are developed and chosen for harmony, peace, and comfort. And truth be told, that’s perfectly healthy.

But we do need a space to be seen and to be vulnerable. Whether we find it in our friends, a support group, or with a therapist, the open integrity of sacred relationship keeps us honest and helps us grow. And in every case, this type of relationship can only flourish with an undercurrent of compassion, safety, care, and respect.

When others truly know us, when they’re seen all of us, they can shine the light on our blind spots and illuminate our shadows. And any enlightenment experience, in the absence of shadow work, is inherently incomplete.

This week, let’s lift our visors. Let’s remove our armor. Let’s allow ourselves to be seen.

In this episode:

[1:55] How do we get the courage to face our Shadow? And then once we get the courage, what do we do?
[2:20] The practice of transparent openness in our relationships and how, through those relationships, we can work on our shadow in real-time.
[2:40] How our relationships can provide the incentive to reach deep within ourselves and find the courage to face our shadows, as well as accountability and penetrating insight.
[3:57] With whom can we participate in the transparent openness and shadow work of sacred relationship? Is it possible to engage in this kind of soul-bearing with our partners? Our friends? Our families? Everyone? What qualities do our relationships require for this level of intimacy and honesty?
[4:55] How our ability to navigate our closest relationship determines our overall levels of happiness and life satisfaction in a very real and impactful way, and why the depth afforded by our closest relationships, including the strife and hurt as well as the joy, grounds us in connection and meaning.
[5:45] The importance of mutual trust, understanding, and compassion to engender the safety that sacred relationship requires
[7:00] Harmony and Peace or individuation and growth – which is the goal of the vast majority of relationships and friendships?
[9:35] Imbuing our conflicts in our individuation relationships with heart and compassion
[9:55] The challenge of expressing the truth of who we are, with honesty and authenticity in our relationships instead of disappearing into the unhealthy facade of pretending to be who we think others want us to be, and why sharing that truth is essential for our growth and evolution
[11:25] The fear of vulnerability and the impulse to hide – returning to humility through baring our souls, and how this leads to authentic intimacy – not only in our relationships with others, but with ourselves
[13:10] Why this level of honesty and authenticity is especially critical to those in recovery
[13:47] The cost of withdrawal as a conflict-management style, and why we must face our fear of vulnerability in our relationships
[15:32] The divide between secure and insecure attachment styles, and how both “moving towards” and “moving away” are rooted in the same insecurity
[17:35] The roots of attachment theory and the development of our attachment styles – how our intimacy and connection styles, developed in childhood, continue to show themselves in our adult lives unless we consciously intervene and cultivate a different attachment style
[20:50] The prevalence of insecure attachment styles among addicted populations, and how this compares to the population at large
[22:20] How our desire to drink and use is influenced in a profound way by our ability to form secure attachments or lack thereof – changing our neurochemistry to assuage the feeling of loneliness and rejection
[23:20] What does healthy attachment look like? Emotional responsiveness and affect attunement. The importance of responding to others with care and concern as well as accuracy, and how the way others respond to us impacts our attachment style
[24:30] How a skillfully attuned therapist can often act as a surrogate for the emotional responsiveness and affect attunement we missed in childhood
[25:08] The ego-dystonic reaction that occurs when people who’ve never experienced it are skillfully heard, why it can be so uncomfortable, and how a measured approach can help acclimatize us to vulnerability
[26:58] The skills of an effective therapist and tuning into the uncomfortable self-contractions that follow displays of authenticity and truth
[28:28] The effects of different meditation practices on our feelings of isolation and loneliness, and how we can adopt a more integral approach to cultivate different aspects of healing and growth through compassion, metta, and forgiveness practices that increase our feelings of connection
[30:30] The neurobiological effects of vividly imagining the presence of others in our compassion and forgiveness practices, and why the method can be so powerfully healing
[31:35] Removing the shame around our needs and having them met, and how our wounds can lead us to invalidate ourselves and our emotional needs
[33:43] Bridging the gap between acknowledging a complement and truly letting it in; how we develop the capacity to heal our perceptions of ourselves
[35:44] How leaning into our fear and leaning into our discomfort is necessary when it comes to our golden shadows
[37:00] How intimate knowledge of another adds weight and believability to the expression and belief of positive traits, and why we can be dismissive of complements when they come from people who haven’t seen the totality of our truth
[40:14] How framing the complements we receive through a larger non-dual perspective and seeing ourselves as vessels for the expression of the divine can allow us to integrate the possibility of our potential and our goodness

Episode 26:
Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D.
Shadow Work: Exploration, Integration, and Turning Towards our Pain

Can you be intimate with all you are?

There’s a saying, in Alcoholics Anonymous, that we’re only as sick as our secrets. And most of us who’ve done the deep and challenging work of opening up, whether to a sponsor, a therapist, a close friend, or our partners, know that through allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, we can heal. We’ve exposed our shadow to the light of awareness, and through this work, we can begin to transform our lives.

Dr. Robert Augustus Masters, author of Transformation through Intimacy, Spiritual Bypassing, To Be a Man, Knowing your Shadow, and more, is one of the foremost experts on Shadow. In this week’s interview, he shares his wisdom on shadow work, relationship, masculinity, and spiritual growth.

Robert Augustus Masters, PhD, is a relationship expert and psychospiritual therapist and trainer, with a doctorate in psychology. He is the cofounder, with his wife Diane, of the Masters Center for Transformation, a school featuring relationally-rooted psychospiritual work devoted to deep healing and fully embodied awakening. He’s also the author of many books (including Transformation Through Intimacy, Spiritual Bypassing, Emotional Intimacy, and To Be a Man) and the audio program Knowing Your Shadow.

His uniquely integral, intuitive work, which he developed over the past four decades, dynamically blends the psychological and physical with the emotional and spiritual, emphasizing full-blooded embodiment and awakening, emotional openness and literacy, deep shadow work, and the develop¬ment of relational maturity.

At essence his work is about becoming more intimate with all that we are, in the service of the deepest possible healing, awakening, and integration.

Website http://robertmasters.com

Men only groups: http://robertmasters.com/masters-mens-work/

Women only groupshttp://robertmasters.com/groupwork/

Professional training: http://robertmasters.com/training/

What is the shadow?

All of us have aspects of ourselves that we’d rather keep in the dark. Parts of ourselves that we’re ashamed of. Emotions, experiences, reactions, and traumas that we’d rather not reveal to the world. Often, discretion in revealing ourselves to others is essential. The danger comes, though, when our shame runs so deep that we dissociate and disown aspects of ourselves, turning a blind eye to their presence within us.

Hidden from the light of awareness, these aspects of ourselves are known as “the shadow”. Learning to discover, recognize, and integrate this shadow material is essential not only to our recovery, but to our growth and evolution as conscious human beings.

Our shadow consists of everything within us that we, often unknowingly, dislike or reject about ourselves. We distance ourselves and disconnect from those facets of our lives, our characters, and our very humanity that are too difficult or too painful to face. Consequently, we see our shadow material everywhere and in everyone through our own projections. “That’s not me,” we say. But until we recognize and integrate that material, it will control our lives in profoundly damaging ways.

The shadow is our not-yet-explored conditioning. And courageously entering (and persistently continuing) that exploration is not a sideline pursuit. It’s the path to wholeness. And for those in recovery, it’s a matter of life and death.

With an open-heart and tremendous self-compassion, we explore those hidden parts within us. We find our hurt, our pain, our suffering, and we enter it. It’s not an intellectual process, either: It’s an emotional, visceral, somatic journey. And it’s (surprise!) not always fun or pleasant to come face to face with those rejected and disowned parts of ourselves. With commitment and continued practice, when we’ve entered our pain deeply enough, we emerge from it. But before that can happen, we must face it. We must turn towards the pain.

Why would anyone put themselves through the uncomfortable hell of confronting our shadow-selves? Because what’s waiting for us on the other side is worth it.

On the Integral path, any awakening that doesn’t include deep knowledge of one’s shadow is going to be only a partial awakening. Without addressing our shadow material, we can slide into the trap of using our spiritual practices as a way to bypass and retreat from the areas of our lives that we’d rather not face. And in doing so, we turn our backs to the truth of what is. Not a very awakened thing to do.

But more immediately, and perhaps more importantly, integrating our shadow brings out the best in us. For all that we projected our “negative” traits onto others, we dissociated from and projected our gifts, as well. And when we rediscover that golden shadow, allowing it into the light, our lives can take on a new sense of purpose and meaning.

Turning toward the shadow takes an incredible amount of courage and self-compassion. It also brings out the warrior in us. Every time we face the darkness, we build faith in our ability to handle life’s challenges. We become more grounded and stable. We learn that anger and love can coexist.

On the path of being intimate with all that we are, the muck of our shadow fertilizes our growth.

In this episode:

[1:25] Who is Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D.?
[2:45] The concept of Spiritual Bypassing, and what it means to be a man in the 21st century. The dearth of men’s literature on healthy masculinity, and why the lack of healthy role-models for integrated and functional maleness is having a detrimental effect on the lives of men of all ages – and the women in their lives, too. How does healthy masculinity, or the lack thereof, contribute to the plague of alcoholism and addiction, and how does this knowledge and exploration help us in recovery?
[4:37] Bringing the head, the heart, and the guts into full-blooded alignment, and why more and more people, both men and women, are embracing the approach with increased interest
[5:32] Personal experiences of trauma and sexual abuse, and their prevalence in addicted populations
[6:10] Why it can be important to have separate men’s groups and women’s groups when working with deep emotional healing and the shadow, particularly as it applies to our experiences with masculinity and femininity and how these ideas, in both their healthy and unhealthy expression, have affected our life experiences.
[7:12] What does it mean to be a healthy man? When are that we are is working together and functional, including heart, guts, spine, and clarity of mind. Further, facing what’s unhealthy in ourselves – promiscuous urges, pornographic pulls, anger addictions (or allergies) and more, and why it’s important to pull these hidden elements into the open
[9:22] Why confronting our shadow material, in direct opposition to spiritual bypassing, is critical for the completeness of our awakening and spiritual growth
[10:34] Self-compassion in relationship to our shame, and why that vulnerability can be so difficult for men in particular
[11:52] Using numbness as a coping mechanism: What happens when we allow ourselves to feel grief, and how do we find the entry point into the work?
[13:10] Considering our own deaths, and the softening and growth that comes through in our brushes with our mortality
[14:15] The high degree of correlation between Elaine Aron’s work on the highly sensitive person and the addicted population.
[15:30] Stripping away the negative connotations and cultural associations around the word “sensitive”, and why, on a personal level, this is critical to recovery from addiction
[17:15] The anger allergy – where does it come from, and what is the work involved with transcendence. How does learning how to be angry in a healthy way help us step into our manhood
[18:50] The false equivalence of anger and aggression, particularly in Buddhism and other spiritual traditions, and why it’s important to bring anger out of the closet and into the light.
[19:40] What are the gifts of sensitivity and empathy for a man in recovery, and how does developing these traits in a healthy way, with healthy boundaries, help us to do the work of recovery?
[21:15] What does healthy anger look like, and how do we work with it? The importance of maintaining heart through our anger – the care and safety that comes along with the heat of anger
[23:10] The distinction between working “enraged” and “outraged”, and the responsibility required of ourselves
[24:28] The coexistence of anger and love, and how, for many of us, “heart” was left out of the equation in the process of growing up
[24:45] Using artistic practices, particularly music, to transmute our emotions. The deep soul expression of creativity and how working with our uncomfortable emotions and shadow material through artistic endeavors can help us integrate our emotional experiences in a healthy way that ultimately leads to growth and evolution
[26:22] Shadow work as a daily practice: “The Conscious Rant” as a means of emotional expression, and how to deepen our shadow work and knowledge of our hidden dynamics through deep inner exploration
[28:08] Somatic anchoring, and how feelings, cogitation, and social factors are all tied into our experience of an emotions, and why this complex and intricate menagerie must be explored on a deep level for healing to occur
[28:52] The storage of past experiences, hurt, trauma, and damage deep within our bodies, how these hidden, repressed elements continue to influence us, and how we can use those somatic clues as guideposts for self-healing. Why area therapy that bypasses the body is inherently incomplete
[30:30] The importance of body work, like massage and Rolfing, as a means to reconnect with our forgotten embodied cognition
[31:12] The bigness and the beauty of the “light shadow”, and how working with the dark shadow can lead to a sense of who and what we really are, our purpose in life, and the hidden and repressed gifts that we have to give the world
[32:45] The path of being intimate with all that we are
[33:33] The re-emergence of our gifts and our passions as we grow comfortable with vulnerability, courage, and self-expression
[34:44] Shadow – that dimension of us where we store, often unknowingly, what we’ve disowned in ourselves, rejected in ourselves, and attempt to distance ourselves from. Moving towards our unilluminated conditioning, and how this can reveal the collective shadows of our culture. Making shadow work an adventure and turning toward our pain, our suffering, and our discomfort to enter and explore it. To enter it, you have to face it.
[37:12] The dangers of spiritual bypassing, and meditating through our addictions and our pain – using meditation as an escape and a distraction from the real and pressing issues that are occurring in our lives.
[39:02] How are we dealing with the addict inside all of us? Are we facing our truth with shame or compassion? It’s easy to demonize the addict within, which only assures that this part of ourselves remains unhealed, lurking in our shadows.
[40:20] Working with our shadow material by inviting our subpersonalities into the living room for a conversation: a difficult guest is still a guest, and we treat them with compassion while keeping our boundaries intact.
[41:15] On developing a light touch and a sense of humor with ourselves to encourage self-compassion and remove the charge from our negative self-talk
[41:40] The courage required for vulnerability and the vow to turn our attention toward our pain instead of turning our feelings into aggression or withdrawal
[43:15] When practice is painful: Transmuting our shit into “holy shit”. Our shadows are the compost of our growth
[45:00] The compassion, humor, honesty, and love that emerge when we share ourselves honestly and allow ourselves, through vulnerability, to grow

Episode 25:
habit formation and goal setting
recovery, discipline, and the way to mastery

Our habits are powerful. But an addict in recovery hardly needs convincing of that. Our habits shaped our experience for years; an unrelenting force that caused considerable damage in our lives.

As you undoubtedly know by now, practice is the core of the Integral Recovery model. But beginning and sustaining the four-fold practice can be a difficult transition unless we engage the very force that once held us back: our habits.

The cultivation of positive habits takes a lot of work, at least in the beginning. Getting ourselves to wake up early, to take a break from our over-packed schedules for meditation, or to voluntarily engage in the sweat-drenched exertion of intense physical exercise takes a great deal of willpower. It’s easier to hit the snooze button, stay on the sofa, and scroll through our phones, where the immediate effort required is low, and the rewards are (seemingly) high.

Fortunately, the science of habit formation has made tremendous strides in the past several years, and we can use this research to help us on our journey as we build our Integral cross-training practice. With a little bit of grit, we can use our limited supply of willpower to form new habits.

The simple formula that governs our habits, as outlined by Charles Duhigg in his excellent book, The Power of Habit, is:

1) Cue
2) Routine
3) Reward

This process, even if we didn’t always know it by name, will be intimately familiar to the addict. Our cues or triggers, whether events, times of day, people, sights, sounds, or feelings, exerted a powerful pull that drove us toward our behavior. Why? Because we knew that engaging that behavior would trigger a reward – the rush of neurochemicals offering stimulation or relief, relaxation, or whatever state experience we craved.

Using this knowledge in recovery, we can craft a different series of cues, routines, and rewards that enable us to build a robust Integral cross-training practice that develops our bodies, minds, emotions, and spirits.

And once these habits are successfully installed, they become nearly automatic. And over the years, though we hardly recognize the day-today changes within ourselves, we continue to make progress, eventually reaching new heights and levels of performance, health, and self-mastery that we had previously believed were impossible.

Designing an Integral practice can feel formidable, but we don’t have to do it alone. By studying the work of those who’ve come before, we stand on the shoulders of giants who can inspire us and help us avoid the pitfalls that would derail us from our path.

But the masters aren’t our only guides. We learn just as much from one another as the Integral Recovery community boldly blazes this new trail. Moving forward together, with accountability, encouragement, and support, we can use our past struggles as a profound opportunity for growth and transformation.

In today’s episode of the Journey of Integral Recovery, the team shares their own strategies for habit formation, as well as a few unique and unexpected twists including gamification and classical conditioning to motivate behavior change and have fun in the process. Perhaps most importantly of all, we discuss learning to allow some flexibility, grace, and intuitive guidance into the process as we continue our ascent to higher levels of being, greater states of awareness, and more profound connection with ourselves and the world.

In this episode:

[1:39] A brief review of the integral map – what are the four quadrants?
[2:55] What are “lines” in Integral theory, and how do the multiple intelligences relate to practice, recovery, development, and growth? What are the four essential lines, and why do we need to include practices for the body, the mind, the spirit, and the emotions/shadow?
[3:55] What are states, and how are they relevant to integral theory and integral recovery practice? How does an experiential knowledge of states and our familiarity with state-chasing lead us to freedom from addiction? How can learning to manage our states help us prevent relapse?
[4:55] What are the stages of development? Are stages of recovery different than stages of development?
[5:29] What are “types” in the AQAL model, and why does an understanding of various typologies, like the enneagram, Myers Briggs, masculine/feminine, and others need to be included as a part of the Integral Recovery model?
[7:27] How we bring Integral cross-training from theory into practice, and why this shift is critical to our continued evolution
[8:52] Why an intellectual understanding is valuable in addition to practice, and how our evolution through the developmental levels can inadvertently cut us off from intellectual knowledge when we reach the post-modern level
[9:41] How using the map helps us transcend our natural limitations, inclinations, and tendencies to focus on a holistic system for self-growth
[10:22] What does a practice look like? The use of a calendar and schedule to track our progress – when this is valuable, and when it’s a limitation. How to keep ourselves accountable for the dimensions of practice we’re neglecting.
[12:17] What’s involved with creative practice, and how does creative practice integrate the other dimensions of practice
[15:05] How the consistency of practice helps us solidify our memories and improve our skills. Finding freedom through discipline, and how tracking our habits and behaviors keeps us moving in the right direction to guild mastery. Gamification and habit tracking, and the feeling of satisfaction and rebuilding damaged self-esteem that comes with regular practice.
[17:38] The connection between willpower and habits, and why it’s important to use our finite supply of willpower to build the right habits
[18:38] How mindfulness helps us become aware of what we’re avoiding and why we’re avoiding it.
[19:12] The “habit strength” build through repetition and routine, why iAwake and brainwave entrainment help build a solid ritual around meditation practice.
[21:02] The habit loop of cue, routine, and reward – how to make our habits automatic and create powerful long-term behavioral change
[23:53] The importance of flexibility and the freedom to follow our intuitions, and why allowing ourselves to go in a different direction can be a pathway to grace with our practice as we pay attention to the muse
[25:23] How Angela Duckworth’s research on grit – the heroic stick-to-it-iveness of staying with something long enough for long-term results, factors into the development of habits and the benefits we get from them
[26:46] Rolling with the punches, recovering from setbacks, and having the passion and commitment to stay focused on our goals when things get difficult
[27:37] Using gamification and small reinforcements to motivate us on our path. How Bob and Doug have implemented gamification into their practices, and the importance of breaking large tasks into small, manageable steps
[30:15] A comical use of classical conditioning and using rewards to encourage the pursuit of challenging behavioral tasks
[31:15] The accidental Pomodoro, and the importance of the alternating periods of intense work with periods of rest and enjoyable activities
[32:00] Stealing Flow and the Pomodoro method, and how the program was designed to naturally promote and work with our natural cycles of intense work and rest
[33:30] The wisdom of William James regarding the continued discipline and pursuit of mastery in any endeavor. How continued practice and “doing the work” can lead us to the top of any field.
[35:21] The power of imitation and studying the masters of anything we wish to master and improve in
[36:38] How providing examples through sharing our stories can motivate and inspire others, as well as helping us work through our own blocks.
[37:10] Why learning from, studying, and imitating those have succeeded allows us to improve faster and reach further by standing on the shoulders of giants.
[39:49] How blazing the trail for others through our pursuit of Integral cross-training can benefit the world and the next generation

Episode 24:
Finding Hope in Recovery
The Integral Journey of Doug Prater

Before Integral Practice can lift us from the darkness of addiction, we need a compelling reason to start. To take the first step. Hope is, at its core, is the belief that a better future is possible. Without that belief, without hope, we won’t have any compelling reason to do what’s required to escape the darkness of our addictions. How can we move toward the guiding light if we can’t see it?

Our addictions all began at different times, with different substances, and for different reasons. For some of us, drugs and alcohol were a way to celebrate and connect, which eventually spiraled out of control. For others, substances were a way to relax, or to energize, or to feel more creative. For me, and for many others like me, drugs and alcohol were a means to escape the suffering of our lives; a coping mechanism to numb the sting of internalized shame and self-rejection.

It worked…until it didn’t. Eventually, the devastation wrought by drug abuse, alcoholism, and many complex forms of behavioral addiction outweighed the benefits as our lives fell apart in every quadrant. And the deeper we fell, the more difficult it became to climb back out of the hole. I fell so deep that I couldn’t see the light.

Hopeless and helplessness, for me, went hand in hand. When my efforts to turn my life around reinforced the fact that, (or so I believed), the world didn’t want me, I began a self-reinforcing cycle of disconnection, learned helplessness, and deep-seated self-loathing.

Beliefs that I’d internalized from a young age – like the belief that I didn’t belong, had nothing to offer, and the world would be better off without me – grew with a furious intensity.

The moment we begin the journey of recovery and growth, we begin to see ourselves differently. We come to understand our values. It’s a critical step, but there’s an often unacknowledged and hidden danger to that self-illumination: once we know what we stand for, failure to live in alignment with those values can lead to further self-rejection, entrenching the belief of our inherent unworthiness even more deeply than ever.

Breaking that cycle requires connection with others. And the more deeply held our negative self-belief, the harder is to open oneself to connection with others in any kind of meaningful way. This becomes even more true when our issues in the lower-right hand quadrant, which can be slow to change, show clear evidence of our failures. And with our bodies and brains ravaged by the disease, we often lack the physiological capacity to make the necessary adjustments and sustain them over time.

The Integral Recovery model provides a crucial framework for us to recover from alcoholism and addiction because it’s the only system that addresses the complexities and interconnections of all four quadrants. Factors in each of the four quadrants contribute to our descent into addiction. And in the depths of the disease, all four quadrants are damaged by our addiction. Without this kind of holistic and systematic approach to treatment, we can’t address the totality of the problem.

But we can’t recover unless we believe that it’s worth it to try. And when we’ve learned, again and again, that our efforts are futile, we become even less likely to make the attempt.

Hope is essential. It’s required. From the darkness, though, hope can be hard to find.

And that’s why Integral Recovery Practice is critical. When we can take even the first small steps, we begin to accumulate a series of small wins. The evidence begins to mount that maybe, just maybe, we’re not so helpless after all. And so, we keep showing up.

Over time, the effects of practice begin to accumulate. We feel better physically and mentally, which helps us as we rebuild our psychological framework and our beliefs about the world. As our beliefs begin to change, we can begin to repair (or build anew) our connections and relationships with others. And through our relationships, we can move back into the world of systems, which in turn, enable our continued progress throughout the other three quadrants.

But a distant, future benefit…a vague and nebulous idea that “this practice is an important part of recovery” isn’t enough. No, the will to practice comes from the knowledge that practice (whether of body, mind, shadow, or spirit) will help me feel better now. That association, that certainty, is built through experience. We have to build those references for ourselves through practice – which is why I strongly advocate the practice of starting small. If you can’t find the willpower to practice, start smaller. Make it too easy to fail. Any action, no matter how small, that is properly aligned with our intentions and values, begins to rebuild our sense of self-efficacy. Take a tiny step, feel better now. It’s worth remembering.

Each new step, each new opportunity, each new challenge, will give us a new opportunity to grow. Using our fear, our discomfort, and our resistance as a compass, we can lean into practices, relationships, and situations that help us grow. With continued growth, we reach terminal recovery velocity and free ourselves from the gravity of addiction.

In today’s Journey of Integral Recovery, I tell my personal story. It’s not something I’ve ever done before. And it scared me to be so vulnerable. That’s a huge part of why I had to do it. Courage is a part of my practice.

Perhaps more importantly, though, I shared my story so that anyone reading, listening, or watching this might find a bit of hope. If you’re having trouble finding your own, borrow some of mine. In recovery, miracles are possible. Together, we’ll be the proof.

In this episode:
[1:11] How did Doug Prater connect with John Dupuy and the Integral Recovery movement?
[2:54] Doug’s introduction to the episode and his story, along with having the courage to share it. Leaning into our imperfections as a part of the growth process.
[4:06] How long has Doug been clean and sober, and when did he start down the path of addiction? How does the combination of typology, lines, and quadrants factor into seeking comfort through substance, and what was Doug seeking solace from?
[5:44] The need for safety and its importance to our well-being and development. How bullying, rejection, and social isolation create hoplessness
[6:00] A note of forgiveness and the acknowledgement of the possibility for growth, evolution, and redemption through living amends
[7:40] Why connection matters – the dangers of not being able to share our struggles, hardships, and traumas. The roots of shame and self-rejection.
[9:00] The deep-seated and lasting psychological damage of bullying, and why our parents, peers, educators, and communities must be vigilant and supportive.
[9:29] When tragedy comes, how do we cope? Why it’s important to seek out help, and to explore your reactions, grieving, and processing in a safe and supportive place. Dealing with survivor’s guilt. The trouble with suppressing and denying our need to heal, and why it’s important to reach out to others who appear to be suffering.
[10:45] Learned helplessness: How the lasting damage of entrenched negative self-beliefs formed by our early interactions can follow us in life, even when removed from the negative situation.
[11:41] Using alcohol to numb the pain and escape the thoughts and feelings that we’re unable to handle, and why this is particularly dangerous in a culture where it’s socially acceptable.
[13:43] Moments of clarity amidst self-delusion, and how to recognize the signs that drinking, drug use, or life are out of control
[14:44] The cycle of relapse, and why the knowledge that something has to change can further fuel self-loathing when the change fails to be made.
[15:55] When the shame of alcoholism and addiction push us further into isolation
[16:12] Patterns of alcoholism and the Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde Syndrome.
[16:45] Pushing anger into the shadows, and why it’s important to resolve and integrate our shadow material, lest we turn that anger inward and reject ourselves
[18:08] How do the lower-right quadrant issues of employment, finance, and social systems impact the upper-left quadrant issues of psychology, particularly as it relates to self-belief? Hopelessness is personal, pervasive, and permanent
[19:48] When rehab doesn’t stick? What needs to be in place for appropriate self-care when formal treatment is over?
[20:32] The problem of powerlessness in AA, and why the concept of powerlessness can be problematic
[21:33] How do we find hope when all four quadrants are in disarray? What can we hold onto? What could possibly impel us to action?
[23:30] How typology can influence our path to recovery, in terms of leaning into our strengths to find a compatible path – and why focusing on our strengths isn’t always enough. (It’s hard to think yourself into right action.)
[23:51] The level and stage regression that occurs into addiction, and how we can fall into the tendency of magical thinking as we search for solutions in recovery.
[24:15] How different experiences, backgrounds, and beliefs can impact our acceptance of the tenants and focus of the twelve step programs, and why a more integral approach, inclusive of the whole AQAL model, is necessary so we don’t let anyone slip through the cracks
[26:46] The appeal of Buddhism to those at the orange rational level, and why not being asked to take anything on faith, but to explore and verify for ourselves, works very well for motivated the rationally-oriented to seek the truth.
[27:25] How the study of Buddhism can be a powerful catalyst for growth into the higher stages of development.
[27:40] When the values of the leading-edge stage/level permeate the culture so thoroughly that we can embrace them without having reached the stage, and why we must continue our journey of personal evolution to fully understand the values, beliefs, and paradigm of a given stage or level of development
[28:36] On the development of compassion and opening of the heart through our own experiences of suffering in addiction as we learn to take wider and wider perspectives.
[30:18] The dark night of the soul and the call of the void: when suicide begins to feel like the only viable option…how do we continue? What is there to hope for?
[31:15] Opening to accept the helping hands of another as the beginning of recovery, and why it’s important to continue to make ourselves available to those who need us, even if they’re not yet ready or able to accept our help.
[31:30] The beginnings of a physical practice, and how exercise, nutrition, and sunlight can begin the repair the damage wrought the disease. Why taking care of ourselves physically and caring for the upper-right quadrant can be an important precursor to recovery in all four quadrants
[32:40] Learning to accept the rejected self through small acts of courage and personal alignment with purpose plants the seeds of hope necessary for recovery. How our own acts of courage can inspire and empower others, and how this reinforces a growing sense of value and self-esteem
[35:15] How small wins become a snowball that builds momentum, and why embracing the process and moving forward in spite of fear is essential for recovery and our growth and development as people
[35:33] Using acting classes as a tool for shadow work, social connection, and perspective taking
[35:54] When all four quadrants begin to heal simultaneously through a period of consistent Integral practice: Miracles of transformation and growth, and the transcendence of shame as hope emerges
[36:44] Reaching terminal velocity and breaking the gravity of addiction
[37:42] A life of possibility: miracles of a successful recovery, and why we must address recovery and healing from an AQAL perspective
[38:02] Building hope, courage, and self-esteem through integral practice, grit, consistency learning to give the whole of our effort to practice
[39:34] Transcending shame by allowing ourselves to be seen; sharing and showing who we truly are as a pathway to self-acceptance and healing
[40:45] Addiction is about disconnection. Recovery, and life, are about expansion.
[41:05] The golden scarab: rising above our crap to emerge into the light
[42:50] The tragedy of addiction – this disease doesn’t discriminate. Recovery matters.
[43:30] The practice of Showing Up, and continuing to do so, especially when it scares us.

Episode 23:
getting started
creating a sustainable integral practice
for body, mind, shadow, and spirit

To change our habits, we have to interrupt our patterns. To build new habits, we need new, healthy patterns. In recovery, nothing matters more.

For the recovering addict, an inpatient treatment program or wilderness program breaks us out of our familiar behaviors by changing our surroundings and our routines. It can be a powerful catalyst for starting down a new path, and many people experience profound shifts as a life of sobriety, possibility, and hope emerges during the early stages of treatment.

The shift of behavior and perspective is encouraging both to the recovering addict and to the practitioners facilitating their recovery. Change is possible; we’ve glimpsed it. Inevitably, though, the treatment ends, and the addict must return to their former life – and all the triggering people, places, and things that life entails.

How, then, do we make the long-term behavioral changes necessary to sustain our recovery? And beyond recovery, how do we continue to develop into the best versions of ourselves so that we can live lives of joy, contribution, and fulfillment?

The key is to build a sustainable daily practice that addresses the four essential development lines of Body, Mind, Emotion/Shadow, and Spirit.

Heavily informed and inspired by the groundbreaking work of philosopher Ken Wilber, the Integral Recovery movement is practice-centric. At its core, Integral Recovery is a diverse community of people “doing the work” to sustain our recoveries, (not only from alcoholism and addiction, but from depression, trauma, anxiety, self-limitation, and more) and then to transform our lives as we begin to align with and live our highest purpose.

It’s a noble goal; a worthwhile and rewarding pursuit. But it’s not always easy. In fact, creating and maintaining an Integral Practice for life can be a monumental challenge, especially in the beginning.

For the recovering addict, the beginning stage is the most critical. But no matter how many days, months, or years we’ve been clean, we need a sustainable strategy for dealing with challenges as our lives are rebuilt, our past is healed, and our bodies, minds, emotions, shadows, and spirits are healed.

There isn’t a “one size fits all” solution to implementing Integral Practice. But John Dupuy, Dr. Bob Weathers, and Doug Prater have all been in the trenches for years, studying, experimenting, and fine-tuning their own strategies for creating and sustaining a transformative practice in the four key dimensions of body, mind, spirit and shadow.

In this episode of the Journey of Integral Recovery, the trio dives deep into the nuances of their own practices and routines, sharing their tips, tricks, techniques, and strategies for overcoming resistance, working with fear, keeping ourselves accountable, and maintaining balance.

When we commit ourselves to a life of growth, practice, and continued development, the life we create becomes its own reward.

No matter what challenges and struggles we face, the journey begins from where we stand. And we walk forward, together, one step at a time.

In this episode:

[1:15] How do we sustain our recovery when we leave treatment? The origins of Integral Practice and how it became an essential part of Integral Recovery.
[4:45] What are the four components of practice? Why is keeping our bodies strong and flexible, our minds sharp, our emotions healthy, and our connection with spirit growing so critical not only to our sobriety but to our continued growth and evolution?
[6:54] Why is it critical to bring out our essential goodness and give our gifts to the world?
[7:44] How is an interior contemplative practice different than religion, and why is it a necessary component of recovery and growth?
[9:08] How do we approach our practice and narrow down what specific dimensions and practices to focus on? Does our typology factor into which practices we choose?
[10:01] What are some examples of a strong mental practice and how can we work with our minds for optimal development? What are some practices we can engage in and how do they ingrate and strengthen the other Integral Recovery practices?
[12:00] Doug’s shadow and emotional practice of Profound Releasing, Journaling, Gratitude Journaling, and reflection – and how this is used to repair a damaged self-image and heal trauma and limiting beliefs.
[12:37] Overcoming the traps of spiritual practice, and our limitations and preconceptions that frequently accompany our understanding of what spiritual practice entails, what it means, and what it can do for us.
[14:10] Conversation and connection as an important component of spiritual practice. Why connecting with the right people and avoiding toxic conversations is critical.
[15:38] Tracking our behaviors and using a system to keep up with the components of our Integral Recovery practice. How to set appropriate goals for each dimension of practice. The importance of knowing ourselves through observing tendencies and trends in our behaviors.
[18:04] What to do when parts of our practice become difficult and we begin to develop resistance
[19:43] The subtle ego battle of tracking and other associated pitfalls of measuring and monitoring our behaviors
[20:30] Dr. Bob’s “soul practice” and how tending to the creative and expressive dimensions integrate and combine the other dimensions of recovery practice
[21:40] Carl Jung’s theory of the two types of shadow, and why becoming aware of and then tending to both is necessary for successful, holistic shadow work
[22:35] Resistance to doing the work we care most about and why we repress our emergent creativity and the practices that bring us the most joy.
[23:40] Nature favors the status quo: why novelty is a threat, and how we can recognize and transcend our procrastination, hesitation, and fear to overcome negatively bias
[25:45] Why the small distractions, like checking the news, email, and social media can derail an entire day and keep us from doing the work that requires willpower and attunement to our higher selves.
[26:43] The fear that arises when doing creative work – fear of judgment, of unworthiness, and more – and how to work with it and move through it by leaning in with courage and heart.
[27:31] Thinking of our creative practices like a meditation practice and returning again and again when our minds want to wander. The importance of creating rituals and making creativity a formal practice. Using “Stealing Flow” as a tool to ritualize and empower our creative work.
[28:47] Habitica: The fun, engaging web-based tool that Doug uses for gamification of habits and Integral Recovery practice.
[29:56] Why accountability can help us overcome resistance and borrowing courage from the support of our peers, coaches, and guides
[30:35] The sand-timer trick to “just start” and using mini-habits to overcome the hurdle of procrastination and fear
[31:40] Why it’s important for our coaches to be there “in the trenches” with us
[32:41] The power of grit, resilience, and a vision of what our lives could be like
[34:01] The emergence of hope and the stages of change – how we move from unbearable to uncomfortable to unstoppable in our daily integral practice
[35:08] Rigidness and flexibility – when to stay the course and when to adjust our practices and our requirements. How can change and adapt the shape our practice to fit our current goals and levels of growth
[36:00] Mini-Habits: setting a behavior that’s so “stupidly small” that it’s just as easy to do as not to do…and how this chain of positive behavior works with our willpower and natural tendencies by overcoming fear and resistance.
[38:07] The flip side: “Boot Camp” – throwing yourself into the deep end to create radical change quickly.
[40:01] The connection of mini-habits and boot camp: balancing compassion and grace with boot camp through the accountability and support of your community
[41:52] Why the willingness to be a beginner is an essential step on the path to greatness in any dimension of practice or life

Episode 22:
The Art of Practice
Returning Again and Again
Anonymity and the Stigma of Addiction

The map is not the territory. A theoretical understanding will only get us so far.

Integral Recovery, much like our lives, and our addictions, is about what we do. Waking up, growing up, cleaning up, and showing up are practices. This is where the rubber meets the road and we begin to dig deep and do the work.

By cultivating the right mindset, approaching the challenges of our daily practice as an opportunity to grow, to strengthen characters, our minds, our bodies, our spirits, and our hearts, we lean into our recovery and our lives with newfound zeal. We rediscover our freedom. We find self-reinforcing joy in stretching ourselves and reaching ever-higher vistas on the unfolding spiral of evolution. And we begin to gain a sense of purpose and fulfillment that previously eluded us as do the work of healing and transformation and discover (or rediscover) what each of us can bring to the world.

No, practice isn’t always easy. Practice isn’t always fun. There will days when you can’t seem to muster up the energy to do what you’ve told yourself you’d do…And besides, Netflix is autoplaying the next episode…

There will days, too, when you stretch yourself and fall short…days when your best doesn’t seem good enough and you begin to question your resolve. You slip into old patterns; worn-out emotional tapes and thought loops that are no longer serving you.

These are the days when practice matters most.

So we learn to practice self-compassion and self-forgiveness. And we learn when and how to give ourselves a firm nudge and get into action, even when we’re afraid, tired, angry, or depressed.

Showing up means acting despite our resistance. Even when we’re not at our best, we learn to give ourselves permission to be imperfect as we reach toward increasing levels of wholeness, contribution, and growth. And in doing so, we see that taking even an imperfect action, a small step forward, begins to shift our hearts and minds.

When we show up day after day, week after week, year after year, practice become its own reward – an end in and of itself; an essential component of our character. Our unfolding growth, cultivated through daily practice, helps us transcend our internalized shame.

But we have to stick with it. We have to do the work.

The way we show up in the world – the people we are, not the people we were – begins to shift the societal conversation and lift the stigma of addiction. By continuing to show up in our own lives, we can play an integral role in alleviating suffering – our society’s, our world’s, and not least of all, our own.

In this episode:

[2:30] The importance of continuing to review the AQAL map as our understanding of ourselves and our world, and therefore our interpretation of the map, continue to unfold and develop. Integral Recovery, in a nutshell, is the map and the practice
[4:25] The practice-oriented approach of the community and its importance to ongoing recovery practice, finding accountability partners, coaching, and more
[6:49] Anonymity and the shame and stigma surrounding recovery. We have to take responsibility for ourselves, because we all have issues and we all have to work on ourselves.
[9:31] Dr. Bob’s public ownership of his journey and his past as a means to overcome shame and stigma. Turning shame and stigma on their heads by embracing the truth of our experience and learning to own our pain, our guilt, and our shortcomings
[14:37] You don’t have to be in addiction recovery to be in recovery in your life
[15:22] The importance of hope and a tale of swimming rats
[17:46] Changing the culture around going public with our addictions, sexual identities, or any other parts of ourselves that we may have fear around revealing. The courageous few who step forward begin to impact people’s perceptions and lead to a change in the conversation
[21:15] Checking in with yourself and your circumstances to do a net good to the world before revealing intimate details about your addiction. Though attitudes about addiction are changing, it’s a very personal choice that’s not right for everyone. Understanding and respecting people’s choices and respecting anonymity remains an important priority in the recovery movement
[24:40] The importance of sharing ourselves and our shadows with other human beings, even within the anonymous context of a recovery group or therapeutic relationship
[26:30] Dampening the charge of our trauma and taking away its power by getting our stories out of the shadows
[28:02] On the dangers of perfectionism and the growth mindset necessary for practice. The difference between “perfect” and “skillful” and the willingness to make mistakes as part of the growth process.
[31:07] Gently returning, over and over again. The return is the practice, whether in meditation or exercise, or any other area of life. Giving ourselves the freedom to stretch and then returning to center by recognizing the growth potential
[34:33] The importance of balancing our physical and spiritual practice in terms of time and intensity. Though both practices require a commitment of our time, the creation of vitality, energy, health, and happiness far exceed the cost of time of discipline
[35:57] Flow, like practice, are autotelic. Though difficult in the beginning, they become rewards in and of themselves, as well as being the ways that we serve the world.
[38:08] Giving ourselves permission and time and space to engage in the healthy activities that we enjoy – the importance of refilling the tank and charging our spirits.
[40:01] Our creative practices inform and infuse the other ways we show up in life – in our jobs, in our families, in our relationships

Episode 21:
Understanding Enneagram Types part 3 –
The Challenger, The Peacemaker
Introversion, Extroversion, and the Highly Sensitive Person

Why study typology? What do Enneagram types have to do with recovery from addiction?

The richness of the Enneagram helps us understand our strengths and challenges. It provides a window into the behavior of our partners, our friends, our families, our colleagues, and even the behavior of public figures and world leaders.

Understanding the unique characteristics of each of our types shows us our challenges and our hidden strengths. The Enneagram illuminates our shadow material and shows us the path to continued growth. By working with our innate typology instead of struggling against it, we have the opportunity to embrace each aspect of ourselves and to transcend any lingering internalized shame, whether that shame was the cause of our addiction, a result of our addiction, or (for most of us) both.

The final two types in our Enneagram series, the Challenger and the Peacemaker, appear to be polar opposites. Their strategies for dealing with life couldn’t be more different. And yet, both of these types are rooted in the instinctive center, and both, (underneath the 8’s bravado), share the same and vulnerable core.

Our typologies played a role in our reasons for substance use and even the type of drugs we were drawn to. Understanding why can help us learn to fulfill our unmet needs in healthy ways that lead to the growth and development of our characters, and ultimately, a life of self-actualization.

During our addictions, though, and in early recovery, is it possible that we assume the behaviors of other types as a strategy for coping with shame, regret, unworthiness, or fear?

Beyond the Enneagram, the emerging science behind the “highly sensitive person” provides a fascinating new lens through which to understand our experiences and the behaviors and orientations of others in our lives. This fascinatingly rich field of study offers tremendous potential for understanding and working with HSP’s in recovery from addiction, depression, and more.

The Enneagram, and typology in general, especially in relation to addiction and recovery, are ongoing fields of study and enquiry, and we’re learning new things every day as we continue to pose new questions, form new hypotheses, and seek the answers through research and self-examination.

One thing is certain, though: the better we understand ourselves and the others in our lives, the better prepared we’ll be to meet our challenges and continue to ascend the spiral of development. As long as we continue to do the work, we’ll continue to grow.

In this episode:
[1:28] Enneagram type 8 – what are the strengths and challenges of the challenger type? How the eight overcome their tendency to be an angry victim and learn to use their power for good?
[4:26] An Ennegram 8 challenger has the power to change the world if they can get through their shell to the center of who they are.
[6:00] Our Enneagram types show us the path to development and what we need to do. Self-Awareness is the beginning of wisdom.
[8:19] The pathological narcissism of president Donald Trump – working with others with pathological narcissism is challenging because the narcissistic ego recognizes no fault.
[10:49] Meeting strength with strength to get through to difficult people
[12:04] The correlation of stage development and egocentrism and the path of transcending and including.
[13:44] On power, responsibility, and changing the world: why developing to our highest self-capacity matters
[14:44] When the type eight unites communities in a powerful and evolutionary way to make a meaningful difference
[15:57] Enneagram type 9: The peacemaker – how do the wings affect a nine?
[16:27] Permeable and diffuse boundaries – the peacemaker’s capacity for empathy, compassion, and understanding
[17:33] When a nine avoids conflict – sensitivity and external threats
[19:17] Can we adopt the behaviors and strategies of another type as a coping mechanism to deal with shame?
[21:50] The way we grew up, our childhood friends, families, teachers, and environments directly affect our vulnerability to addiction and behaviors that surround it
[24:02] The relationship between addiction and shame for each of the nine types – the shame of imperfection, the shame of codependence, the shame of underachievement, the shame of feeling misunderstood and criticized, the shame of not knowing and feeling incapable or dissociated, the shame of fear and underlying anxiety, the spiritual bypassing of the seven, the shame of pain or powerlessness, the shame of oversensitivity and the desire to numb out
[29:44] The Highly Sensitive Person and the research of Dr. Elaine Aron
[30:52] The four characteristics of the HSP — Depth of processing, tendency to feel overstimulated, emotionally attuned and empathic, sensitive to subtlety and nuance – and the challenges these characteristics pose – and the incredible richness of gifts they offer
[33:25] Turning the characteristics of the HSP from a liability into a superpower
[35:02] The highly sensitive person and gender stereotypes – 30% of HSPs are biologically male
[35:25] Gender stereotypes of the Enneagram type 2 Helper and the intuitive gifts of the phobic six
[36:58] Introversion, social anxiety, and the HSP – misunderstood and often confused. Social anxiety as an unhealthy manifestation of internalized shame and the methods of transcending it
[39:54] When an introvert has extrovert gifts – making peace with our strengths and our challenges as we strive to become the best versions of ourselves.
[43:02] Sensitivity as a strength and gift and the importance of courage in the face of the things that scare us the most

Episode 20:
Dr. Adam Gorman, Psy.D
Envisioning a Better Future Though
Integral Recovery Practice

We’re losing the war on addiction.

The statistics are in; the problem is growing. Addiction is devastating our lives, our families, and our communities. Traditional models of recovery and treatment for addiction were a necessary step in the right direction, but we’re still losing ground. And it’s killing us. It’s time for a new approach.

Dr. Adam Gorman believes Integral Recovery is the answer.

A pioneering clinical psychologist specializing in early recovery and addiction treatment, Dr. Gorman focuses on teaching his clients a practice-centric Integral approach to help free them from the clutches of addiction in all four quadrants.

Meditation (using iAwake Technologies’ Profound Meditation Program) not only rebalances the brainwaves of an addict in early recovery, but it also shakes loose trauma and insight, opening the door for deeper therapeutic discussion and lasting permanent change. Practice is the key to building character and repairing our damaged perception of ourselves.

Change can be difficult in any area of life, but recovering from addiction is notoriously difficult, due in part to the addict’s inability to envision a better future. Recognizing this obstacle, Dr. Gorman insightful approach helps recovering addicts rediscover joy, laughter, purpose, and hope.

We can’t do it alone. Community, friendship, and support – both received and given – are a powerful force in reshaping our self-perception. The Integral Recovery movement needs to continue to grow, strengthening the bonds of friendship, the shared wisdom, and the commitment to practice.

As we continue to work together co-creating the Integral Recovery movement, Dr. Adam Gorman’s experiential insights and guiding voice will play a key role in shaping the program, spreading the message, and training therapists and coaches to adopt an Integral approach to treatment.

Yes, we’re losing ground in the war with addiction. But, as Dr. Gorman teaches us in today’s episode, we can envision a better future. We can hope. Integral Recovery gives us the map. It’s our responsibility, infused with purpose and meaning, to “Show Up” and follow it.

In this episode:

[0:42] An introduction to Dr. Adam Gorman, Psy.D
[2:22] Why are courage and grittiness often more important than experience?
[5:18] Why are Integral Theory and binaural brainwave entrainment meditation such a powerful tool for recovery?
[6:30] How important is addiction, recovery and treatment? How bad is the problem, really, what are the effects on individuals, families, and communities, and what can we do about it?
[9:03] What unforeseen obstacle stands in the way of addiction treatment, and how is Integral Recovery poised to make a positive impact?
[10:03] Shifting our paradigm on addiction and recovery through the four quadrants of Integral Theory.
[12:06] A clinical psychologist’s perspective on why the Journey of Integral Recovery Podcast is such an effective tool for clients in treatment and early sobriety.
[13:30] What is Dr. Gorman’s approach to treatment when working with addicts? The value of practice and using our addictive neurochemistry to serve us positively in recovery.
[15:40] What could be worth the sacrifice of giving up drugs and alcohol?
[16:50] Why a practice-centric approach to recovery including fitness and binaural beats meditation is crucial in early recovery and beyond.
[20:14] The devastation of hopelessness and the importance of envisioning a better future
[21:10] Solidify hope through first-hand experiences of joy, growth, and possibility, and how practice catalyzes and reinforces these experiences to give leverage in recovery
[23:35] Using practice as a device to lead to deeper therapeutic conversations for healing and transformation as it exposes our wounds and opens our hearts
[25:12] What is it about brainwave entrainment meditation that is so powerful and transformative in a therapeutic context?
[26:57] What is the neurochemical reason that substance use and abuse block us from success?
[29:17] What makes Integral Recovery practice such a powerful antidote to the neural restructuring caused by addiction?
[31:00] How to integrate laughter and fun to solidify the hope of recovery
[33:36] ‘Optimal Frustration’ and the counterfeit satisfaction of addiction
[35:34] Why the social connections made in recovery and the strength of the peer group are such a powerful, positive force to reinforce sobriety?
[37:52] Quality of life and deathbed regrets – what are we sacrificing through substance use, whether we’re addicted or not?
[40:33] How throwing yourself wholeheartedly into a challenging situation can force insight and new ways of thinking about old problems
[42:10] Why finding new solutions and trying new approaches is critical for the treatment of addiction
[44:02] The question that’s more important than whether or not you’re an addict
[45:58] Why helping others, and the knowledge that can give back, changes the recovering addict’s sense of self-worth and self-concept almost immediately
[49:02] Using the tiers of iAwake’s Profound Meditation Program for recovery practice, and the use of a bioenergetic therapy to help addicts

Episode 19:
Understanding Enneagram Types pt. 2
Using Typology for Transformation

How well do you know yourself?

Have you ever wondered why you do what you do? Or why the actions and behaviors of others seem so hard to understand?

Most of us think we know ourselves pretty well. We believe our thoughts and actions are perfectly reasonable. Yet others, presented with similar external realities, respond in a very different way – a way that makes no sense to us. Our own thoughts and behaviors can be equally baffling to people who see our reactions, our choices, and our patterns.

This is particularly true for the addict.

If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves falling into the trap of self-justification for the way we feel and the things we do.

But what drives those thoughts and behaviors? What are the deeper motivations, drivers, and patterns that spur us to act and think as we do?

Typology, the AQAL model’s fifth dimension, gives us unique insight into why we are the way we are. It shows us the unique challenges and strengths that motivate and inform our behaviors.

More importantly, our typological profile can be a powerful tool to guide us on our journey.

Understanding ourselves and others through Enneagram study helps us develop compassion – both for ourselves and for the others around us. Self-knowledge cuts through our shame. It gives us insight into our challenges, our gifts, our issues, and our strengths, showing us the work we need to do to bring forth the best versions of ourselves.

In this week’s episode of the Journey of Integral Recovery, we continue our exploration of the Enneagram to understand how our typologies can both influence our addictions and illuminate the pathway to self-actualization, transformation, and recovery.

In this episode:

[2:33] What is the Enneagram type system and how does it fit into the AQAL map as a tool for recovery and becoming the best versions of ourselves?
[3:50] How the 12 step emphasis on our character defects can contribute to an addict’s shame, and the Integral reframing of our flaws as blockages in the stream of our highest selves
[6:43] How’s practice? Why our practice is essential to recovery and how accountability keeps us on track. Find your accountability partner at http://integralrecoveryinstitute.com/community or contact us at http://integralrecoveryinstitute.com/contact for personalized coaching.
[9:35] A review of the first four Enneagram types: The Reformer, the Helper, the Achiever, the Individualist
[10:35] Enneagram Type 5: The thinker, the observer – Who are some well-known type fives and what are their gifts and pathologies?
[11:43] Overcoming the five’s tendency toward dissociation by working with the body and the heart. The importance of exercise, nutrition, and emotional work. Practice and consistency are the keys to growth.
[16:25] The Strasberg acting method as a practice method for connection to the body and the part for somatic releasing and shadow work
[18:35] It’s an ongoing practice; we’re never done. There’s always room to grow
[19:20] What are the gifts of a five? What can a healthy five contribute to the world? [20:52] An insight into different spiritual teachers, spiritual paths, and recovery programs and how their Enneagram typologies influence their lessons, insights, goals, and methods
[22:12] How studying typology leads to increased compassion for others and for ourselves
[24:21] Enneagram type 6: The loyalist – what is the key driver of the six and what are the strategies for meeting this challenge? How meeting fear as a phobic or a counter-phobic influences our behaviors and the ways we show up in the world, the way we respond to authority, and the defense mechanisms we default to.
[28:04] What are the gifts and strengths that a healthy six brings to the world?
[28:54] Enneagram Type 7: The Enthusiast – What are the gifts and challenges of the seven as they search for pleasure and joy in the world?
[30:41] The seven’s deep commitment to experiential experience to verify every claim instead of accepting things on faith
[33:03] Dionysian tendencies and the archetype most related to the enthusiast
[34:15] The shadow side of the seven and the tendency for spiritual bypassing. How addiction is a particularly insidious danger for those of enthusiast disposition. How can a type 7 integrate their shadow side for recovery?
[37:26] Ecstasis as a positive transformational force in our lives and finding safe and healthy ways to enter the flow state
[39:22] How the specifics of our addictions show up as a crutch to deal with the hurdles and challenges of our Enneagram types

Episode 18:
Understanding Enneagram Types pt. 1
Your Personal Road to Recovery and Growth

There’s only one you. You’re unique. You have unique gifts, talents, insights, and potentials…hopes and dreams…fears and traumas…and no one else is, or will be ever be, exactly like you.

Most of us have known others like us. Kindred spirits, whether friends, teachers, or fictional characters, who seem to understand and process the world in a way we understand. Yet some, even those who share the same interests and values, don’t resonate with us in the same way. Others, still, are downright baffling. And when these people are our friends, family members, our partners, our coworkers, the lack of understanding and mismatch of communication styles, values, needs, and drives, can cause a significant amount of turbulence.


How can we understand, empathize, lead, help, appreciate, or guide them…and ourselves?

The fifth and final major dimension of the AQAL map, typology, offers a clue.

The study of personality types, or typology, offers a particularly useful lens to view and gain insight into our behavior, our relationships, and our challenges. Understanding our typography can illuminate our desires and fears, making it a powerful tool for our personal and spiritual development. By shining a light on what drives us, we can gain some insight into the deeper psychological reasons for our addiction, and more importantly, the unique path that leads to growth and recovery.

In this week’s episode of the Journey of Integral Recovery, we begin our exploration of one of the richest psychoactive dimensions of Integral Recovery: The Enneagram.

In this episode:

[1:28] Why is it important to focus on all five components of the AQAL map for our recovery and personal growth?
[3:06] The systems of personality types, including Myers-Briggs, Enneagram, Ocean, and more
[3:33] The origins and applications of the Ennegram system, and why focusing on the spiritual challenges of our types is critical to successful recovery from addiction and creating our best selves
[8:30] Type 1 – the reformer, the perfectionist, the judge and their tendencies and obstacles. What are the characteristics of an unhealthy enneagram type 1 and what are the gifts of a healthy type 1
[10:30] Adopting the enneagram types of our parents, often as unconscious shadow material
[11:14] How using different typologies can inform our understanding of ourselves and the world
[12:34] Adopting the expectations and habits of other types, and why leaning in towards our natural modes and strengths, as well as understanding the modes, strengths, and needs of others can harmonize our lives and our relationships
[14:48] Masculine and Feminine as an aspect of typology
[16:40] Integrating our Jungian “contrasexual opposite”, whether thinking/feeling or masculine/feminine for wholeness and healing
[18:45] Using substances as a means to access our inferior function and why integration is essential to recovery to ease the psychic pain of non-integration
[21:02] Introduction to Enneagram Type 2 – the Helper – what are their strengths, gifts, and pathologies?
[23:02] The helper’s path of integration and balancing agency and communion through the integration of opposites and balancing polarities
[25:31] Are we born with our typologies, or are they influenced by our culture and upbringing?
[26:45] Introduction to Enneagram Type 3 – The Achiever – What are their strengths, gifts, challenges, and pathologies?
[28:42] The psychoactive nature of studying the Enneagram, and how understanding the shorthand can help us make sense of our lives, our addictions, our relationships, and our recovery, as well as healing our shame and helping us develop self-compassion
[30:30] The type-A personality, compulsion, workaholism, and the realization of existential emptiness in an unhealthy three. How our typology influences and informs our substance use and our path to recovery.
[32:17] Introduction to Enneagram Type 4 – The Individualist, The Romantic – what are the challenges and gifts of the four? How can the four’s greatest strength and emotional depth become their greatest weakness?
[36:00] The myth of Narcissis – thinking too much of ourselves, or not thinking enough of ourselves?
[38:02] Developing a healthy sense of self and the balancing of masculine and feminine energies
[42:10] The gifts of the different typology systems, and how they illuminate different aspects of ourselves and path. The non-overlapping intersection of Myers-Briggs and the Ennegram
[43:24] The difference between healthy narcissism, which is important to personal development, and pathological narcissism, which is an inability to take perspectives
[47:10] We offer coaching and counseling – contact us to learn more.

Episode 17:
States of Consciousness Part 2
Waking Up to our True Nature

What does it mean to “wake up”? Have you ever thought about it?

For those in recovery, the more pressing question is usually: “How does insight into the true nature of “the self” and “the kosmos” help keep me sober?”

It’s a fair question. The answer lies in the second part of our exploration of states of consciousness.

We’re all familiar with the states of conscious that commonly appear in our day to day lives. These states of joy, sadness, energy, fatigue, anger, gratitude, and more, both affect and are affected by our brains and our bodies. The interactions of electrical firing of neurons, hormones, neurotransmitters – not to mention the incoming data from our senses and its interaction with our memories and our habitual thoughts patterns – profoundly shapes our experience of the world. And as any addict (or any human with a pulse) will tell you, it’s not always a pretty picture.

The Integral Recovery practice of meditation gives us a tool to observe our experiences with mindful awareness. This simple act of nonjudgmental observation shifts our perspective, allowing us to look “at” our thoughts, emotions, memories, and traumas, instead of “through” them. This “witnessing” perspective is a shifted state of consciousness – a step on the path to awakening. And in a very real and immediate way, this witnessing perspective, cultivated through meditation, helps relieve our suffering. It helps us make better choices. It helps us prevent relapse into addiction and depression. It helps us create better lives for ourselves, our people, and our world.

Daily meditation confers countless benefits to the recovering addict: on a physical level, it lowers our blood pressure, strengthens our immune systems, and improves our heartrate variability. Meditation allows us to work skillfully with our difficult emotions, traumas, and shadow material, as we move toward healing and growth.

But most importantly, meditation is the practice that leads to waking up. Through meditative states of awareness, we transcend the “controlling I” of the “small self” or “addict self” and accelerate our growth through the developmental stages of spiral dynamics. (The complex relationship between states and stages would take a book to explain. Fortunately, Ken Wilber wrote one.)

The good news is that we don’t need to fully grok “enlightenment” for meditation to be effective in recovery and in life. We must, however continue to practice. As long as we continue to show up daily, practicing with proper guidance and strong intention, we are on the path. Every step changes our understanding of what came before, and we continue to evolve, grow, and live in the infinite possibility of our expanding potential.

In this episode:

[1:35] Is there a relationship between stages, states, and structural development theory?
[3:48] How can we manage our feelings of “disequalibriation” as we move from one stage to the next? Are there any tools, exercises, or mediation practices to help improve our affect tolerance (ability to manage unpleasant states)?
[6:35] The two things we need to establish a solid recovery practice (this is worth memorizing)
[8:35] An introduction to Ken Wilber’s take on the relationship of stages and stages as they relate to integral theory and integral practice
[9:30] Why affect tolerance the ability to manage our unpleasant states is essential to our recovery and continued growth as we begin to access the insights and self-knowledge of deeper meditative state work
[12:27] What is the deeper purpose of meditation? Why does meditation need a deeper purpose than seeking states of non-dual bliss?
[14:48] A vivid image of having the persistence to stay on the path and sticking with our practice
[16:16] A brief tour of meditative states in Waking Up and Integral Recovery practice:
Gross, Subtle, Causal, Witnessing (Turiya), and Non-dual Unity (Turiyatita)
[19:26] Nagarjuna’s teaching on non-duality and the unity of samsara and nirvana
[22:02] Can the states serve as an impediment to growth and recovery? What if the “monkey mind” and unresolved trauma creates anxiety and depression?
[25:43] Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and the final dimension he added towards the end of his life
[26:09] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and the flow state – how we can enter a felt sense of nonduality and transcendence through our meditation, music, and art. The repressed emergent unconscious that can only be accessed through discipline
[28:18] Killing butterflies – the evanescent beauty of our states is given, not taken.
[29:45] Unpacking stages and states on the unfolding journey of self-transcendence and evolution, and how to honor the wisdom, work and contributions from different traditions of thought as we add to, not diminish, by transcending and including
[31:52] Leaping into a flash of Satori, and the pitfalls of attempting a description of the ineffable
[34:43] What does it mean? (A metaphorical description of enlightenment)
[36:35] “Scruting” the inscrutable; a glimpse of enlightenment
[37:56] What truly makes us happy isn’t what we think: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow and flow states as a method of self-transcendence and living non-duality
[40:00] Peeking into a “peak” experience, and developing our ability to reach them more frequently through the daily practice of meditation
[42:01] Arjuna Ardagh’s cycle of experience, and the cycle of work, flow, and recovery, and learning to utilize our “fertilizer” for growth by viewing it with mindfulness
[44:04] How does learning to view the natural cycle of growth, on our journey of evolution, with mindfulness help to ease the discordant pain of transition?
[46:25] Ascending through the stages of recovery and the importance of a supportive community to help you on your journey
[47:27] Escaping the tyranny of the “controlling subject” as we learn to transcend and include, viewing the integrated parts of our ever-expanding self-identity with love, compassion, and often, humor.

Episode 16:
States of Consciousness Part 1
Pleasure, Pain, Addiction, and Recovery

Hey you. Yes, you.

How are you feeling today?

Are you happy, sad, lethargic, energetic? Are you enthusiastic or optimistic? Bored? Lustful? Calm? Curious, perhaps? Wondering where on Earth I’m going with this?

Any addict will tell you, when they peel back the layers, that they use for one reason and one reason alone: To change the way they feel. Put another way, we use to change our state of consciousness.

Ah, states. An essential component of the AQAL map. As recovering addicts, we know them well. Few others have experienced such heights of euphoria, and bottomless despair.

Drugs and alcohol are powerful neurobiological agents. The first time we use, we feel that we’ve found a magic bullet — a way to hack the most fundamental drive of all living beings as we move toward pleasure and away from pain. The moment that surge of pleasurable neurochemicals floods our systems, a love affair begins.

When this artificial push depletes our natural supply of neurotransmitters, we’re left feeling less than whole. We want more euphoria, and we want it now. The craving overwhelms our prefrontal cortices. Rationality goes out the window. We need the pain to end. And so, we begin our descent into the hell of addiction.

Yet, every feeling, from transcendental bliss to existential despair, is temporary. States of consciousness, by their very definition, come and go. It’s natural to seek pleasure, beauty, and joy. In recovery, we must learn to create that pleasure, beauty, and joy in authentic and meaningful ways that add depth and purpose to our lives.

The Integral Daily Practices teach us to shift our states of consciousness in ways that contribute to wholeness and growth. We discover purpose and meaning. And as we ascend to higher stages of development, we learn to appreciate the entire cycle, honoring the necessity and the role of every state and experience. We acknowledge that the peak moments, and the troughs, are all a part of the human experience, to be ultimately transcended and included in our ever-evolving kosmic consciousness.

Episode 15:
Guy du Plessis
Existential Integral Recovery:
Beyond the 12 Steps

What are you searching for?

That deep, existential feeling of longing is the common denominator of human experience. It hums in the background, permeating our lives. A hole inside, longing to be filled.

Addicts have a deep, experiential knowledge of longing and craving. And for many of us, the road to addiction began with the search to fill the existential void. To satisfy our unmet needs. And for a time, it may have worked. But as the disease progressed, we began to conflate our unmet existential needs with our craving for drugs and alcohol; a fundamental misalignment of intentions and outcomes in what often began as a search for joy, freedom, and meaning.

In this episode of the Journey of Integral Recovery, Guy du Plessis, author of An Integral Guide to Recovery: Twelve Steps and Beyond and Mind-Body Workbook for Addiction: Effective Tools for Substance-Abuse Recovery and Relapse Prevention takes us through the importance of the phenomenological and experiential aspects of addiction and the road to recovery.

Guy du Plessis brings a strong academic pedigree, intellectual depth, and heartfelt personal experience to this teaching, elucidating how the road to recovery from addiction is about learning to satisfy our needs in healthy ways, through the adoption of a lifestyle and Integral daily practice that leads to growth, transformation, and evolution in all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, and all types.

Learn more about Guy du Plessis and his work at: GuyDuPlessis.com

In this episode:
[1:10] Guy du Plessis’s pedigree and contributions to the field of Integral Recovery through intellectual depth, personal experience, and seminal books and articles on the subject.
[5:15] What is an existential or phenomenological perspective, and how does studying and understanding our experience in the upper-left hand quadrant teach us about addiction and recovery?
[9:35] What is the bridge between existential philosophy and recovery, and why is an integral approach to recovery necessary? How do we use Integral Recovery to develop not only a roadmap, but a set of headlights?
[13:57] Addicts are the experts on the phenomenology of addiction, making AA and the twelve steps, at their core, a phenomological approach as we share our experiences in meetings
[16:26] What makes sustainable recovery through an existential lens, and how does this help us as we deal with existence, search for meaning, find freedom, and confront the inevitability of death?
[17:56] How does confronting our existential challenges contribute to addiction, and how do we deal with satisfying our existential needs on a personal and societal level?
[20:02] What happens when our attempts to meet our needs becomes pathological?
[24:11] How does considering our “destiny” and the search for meaning, by turning our focus to the future, work as a tool for recovery?
[27:08] The distinction between substance use and addiction, and how the need for ritual influences our behavior.
[29:02] Associating the rituals of drug use with an existential need and how our cravings to meet these needs get neurologically cross-wired with substance use
[31:42] Guy’s personal story and the wisdom of common sense in bringing the first person perspective to the third person perspective of academic study, and why the study of addiction and recovery is about learning how to satisfy our needs through a lifestyle of growth and transformation
[36:03] Insight into the stages of recovery and why the integral approach is fundamentally a developmental one as we address the needs and challenges of each level or stage and at each stage of recovery
[40:06] How bringing a developmental approach to the fellowship of traditional recovery programs can improve their relevance and efficacy in treatment as we progress through the stages of recovery and development

Episode 14:
Colleen Kelly, LMFT
Integral Recovery in the “we” space:
Plural Recovery and the Art of Healing Relationships

Who have our addictions hurt? Even asking the question can feel overwhelming, but answering it honestly and taking responsibility is essential to our recovery and growth.

The ravages of addiction appear in every facet of life, but perhaps none more profoundly than in our relationships. Can we repair the damage we have done and rebuild a foundation of connection, trust, and respect with our partners? Our families? Our friends? Our communities?

When we think of the people we have hurt, we can open the floodgates for shame, leading down the slippery slope to depression, misery, and relapse. Unless, that is, we are willing to put in the work to repair, rebuild, forgive, understand, and sometimes, let go.

In this episode of the Journey of Integral Recovery podcast, guest Colleen Kelly shares the wisdom of Plural Recovery, poignantly weaving the lower-left-hand AQAL quadrant of interior collective into a powerful methodology for rebuilding our relationships, making amends, healing the damage our addiction has caused – not only to our loved ones, but to ourselves.

Colleen Kelly, LMFT is the Co-Director of the family program at a residential and outpatient treatment facility in Los Angeles (http://www.pchtreatment.com) specializing in Mental Health issues and substance misuse. Colleen has 2 private practices both in Orange County and Lost Angeles. To find out more about Colleen and her practice visit, ColleenMKellyMFT.com.

In this episode:
[2:22] An introduction to the collective interior, lower hand quadrant and its relationship to addiction and recovery
[4:08] Introduction to Colleen Kelly – why address relationships in recovery, and how is the relational quadrant a potential factor in addiction and recovery
[7:28] The damage to families in addiction and the powerful transformational aspects of relational healing in recovery
[9:22] Attachment Theory in adult relationships, and the single most important factor in our health, life-satisfaction and happiness
[12:30] How Plural Recovery address the needs of not only the addict, but the others affected by addiction, and why the synergistic healing is more than the sum of its parts
[14:09] Strengthening our primary relationships and balancing our needs and values to determine what a healthy relationship means
[16:54] What is the biggest predictor of a successful marriage five years down the road?
[19:10] The foundation built by emotional responsiveness and how we communicate it verbally and non-verbally in our primary relationships and all of our relationships
[23:01] Forgiveness in the context of relationships and repairing the wreckage of addiction. The process of making amends and what must be in place for the process to effectively unfold
[24:35] How does shame affect our ability to feel and express remorse, and why doing inner work around our shame is essential preparatory work for rebuilding relationships
[27:40] Healing relationships by working with our 4 R’s: resentments, respects, regrets, requests
[30:33] The willingness to be vulnerable and why emotional responsiveness plays an essential role
[31:16] How masculine and feminine typologies, expectations, and gender norms affect our expressions of vulnerability, and how to unpack what lies beneath
[34:28] Differences in communication styles between the masculine and feminine poles of a relationship, and how communication styles affect not only our primary relationships, but our familiar relationships and friendships, too.
[38:18] Blaming ourselves for failing in our roles, and how, despite our best intention, the pain of self-blame can show up in misguided ways
[41:17] How working with relationships might show up in our meditation and shadow practice

Episode 13:
The Healing Power of Forgiveness Meditation

What are you holding on to? Can you let it go? The twelve-step literature discusses the perils of holding onto resentments, and why learning to let go and forgive is critical to our successful recovery. Even beyond sobriety, learning to forgive offers a powerful tool for our continued evolution and growth.

Today, Dr. Bob Weathers offers a powerful experiential practice; a tool we can use to work with forgiveness, exposing our resentments and our pain to the light of compassion and understanding. By learning to hold the light with the darkness and opening to the experience of open-hearted compassion, in ever-increasing levels of subtlety, we free ourselves from the chains that bound us. Recognizing our shadow in others, we re-integrate the parts of ourselves that we have blocked off. In the process, we become more fully human. And understanding our humanity through direct experiential knowing, we can even learn to forgive ourselves.

In this episode:
[0:40] An introduction to the practice of Forgiveness Meditation, and how it serves us in recovery from addiction
[3:53] Instructions for today’s experiential practice: how to engage with the meditation
[4:11] Mindfulness of the breath and the sensations of breathing; a way to open our hearts and our intentions for forgiveness meditation
[6:24] Finding the subject for our forgiveness practice: who has harmed you? Who have you harmed? Who can you hold in your thoughts and intentions while working through the practice of forgiveness meditation?
[8:24] Working with asking for compassion, empathy, and forgiveness for the things we’ve done
[10:12] Working with asking for compassion, empathy, and forgiveness for the things we’ve said, and thought or felt; a chain of increasing subtlety
[11:10] The reversal: forgiving the other in their half of the interaction. Imagining into the motivations of another and searching for understanding
[14:02] Giving self-compassion and self-forgiveness: finding an understanding of what may have caused us to hurt others or ourselves, and feeling compassionately into what we find
[16:55] The biggest challenge of forgiveness in recovery and the benefits of sharing our experience authentically with a supportive person or community
[19:47] The difficulty of self-forgiveness, and why the practice must be ongoing. The challenges of measuring our growth and detecting our progress
[26:10] Developing our willingness to experience feelings of shame and the other dragons within so that we can learn their lessons and transcend them
[27:10] Peeling back the layers to reveal increasing subtlety, deeper healing, and continual growth. Learning to trust the suffering
[33:38] Finding hope through art, and learning to hold the light and the dark simultaneously as we use our creative practices as healing tools
[36:42] Always doing our best, and the practices of the Four Agreements
[37:38] Using our projections as a tool for shadow work and forgiveness practice: who are we judging, and what does that tell us about the work we need to do?
[38:50] Working with “unforgivable” transgressions in ourselves and others: Can we forgive? Should we?
[41:03] The distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation, and why boundaries are important to our recovery
[42:29] The “a-ha!” experience of forgiveness practice, and why this work is critical to our continued sobriety

Episode 12:
Applying the Integral Stages to Recovery
The View from the Second Tier

One of the most insidious elements of addiction is its ability to limit our perspective as our survival is threatened. This limiting of perspective leads the developmental regression that characterizes the stereotypical behavior of the addict. Through our work in Integral Recovery, we begin to evolve once again, climbing the developmental ladder until we reach the “monumental leap of meaning” represented by the second-tier or Integral level.

The view from the second tier gives us a new perspective on what came before: our suffering, our pain and trauma, our behaviors, and our well-intentioned (though ultimately destructive) tendencies toward self-delusion. From this new developmental vantage point, we’re able to appreciate not only our own journey, but the pioneering “true, but partial” work of those who came before. We stand on the shoulders of giants to reach new heights, and as a community, we lift one another from the depths of disease to a life of purpose, meaning, connection, and growth.

In this episode:
[1:17] The interplay of levels and lines, and the development of individual lines through developmental stages
[2:42] Taking on the guilt and self-hatred of our childhood traumas, and how this factors into addiction and recovery
[3:59] Carl Jung’s theory of solar and lunar energies, why developing and working with both aspects is necessary to become a fully developed, healthy, integral human
[7:13] The virtue of integrating opposites, and why understanding the theory is not the same as doing the work
[9:02] “The best and the brightest”, and how addiction steals the gifts that all of us have to give to the world, and blocks us from our true natures and authentic selves
[13:30] Noble suffering, and how our suffering leads to growth through working with our pain and our shadow material
[17:30] When the cute little allegories can’t withstand the flames of addiction, and why recovery requires a deeper understanding ourselves and our pain
[21:36] Using the fire of addiction and suffering as a catalyst for change and growth
[23:26] Committing to a practice and doing deep, and why dabbling in growth never leads to change
[26:41] Asking the right questions and finding our own answers: Who does your recovery serve?
[29:17] The bait and switch of substance use on the spiritual journey, recognizing our self-deceptive tendencies, and the regression of developmental levels as addiction threatens our survival
[33:00] The anti-psychological bias of the twelve-step communities and the need for an evolution that integrates an unfolding developmental perspective
[37:48] The view from the second tier and recognizing the value of AA’s pioneering and life-saving work, and appreciating and understanding the importance of every level that came before

Episode 11:
The Journey of Dr. Bob Weathers
Addiction, Recovery, and Healing

Addiction doesn’t discriminate. No matter how well educated or how spiritually developed we become, the disease of addiction can grab hold unless we learn to heal the traumas of our past.

In this special edition of the Journey of Integral Recovery, Dr. Bob Weathers shares his personal story. Through the lens of the Integral Map, the process of becoming addicted and the insidious self-deception and regression of awareness is revealed with stunning clarity. Today, Dr. Bobs shares a revealing and heart-felt look at his past, providing us all with the tools for healing, hope, and growth.

In this episode:
[1:23] Spiral Dynamics and Integral Levels of Development – from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to kosmocentric perspectives
[3:45] How does addiction affect our developmental level and perspective?
[4:35] Carl Jung on becoming conscious of ourselves, and the transformational practice of perspective taking
[7:06] How an understand of levels gave Bob perspective on addiction and recovery. The perspectival lenses of Bob’s family and how their influenced his journey
[10:01] Hallucinogens and the dangers the activist subculture
[12:55] How deep loss leads to doubt, questioning, and spiritual bypassing in the search for answers
[14:57] Breaking out of a box that’s too small to hold our shifting ideas as our spiritual understanding grows
[17:26] Why a spiritual solution is not enough and the importance of working on our trauma
[18:47] The pre/trans fallacy and the unusual combination of the pre-rational red and transrational green developmental levels and the perils of this confusion for an addict
[22:06] Harm reduction and differing approaches to sobriety, and why it’s necessary to work with trauma
[24:02] Why the “blue” altitude of twelve step programs is often an essential first step in the recovery process
[29:32] Addiction and the pre/trans fallacy as a variation in developmental lines
[30:45] Societal stigma and shame in addiction and recovery and how the integral map helps us to take a third-person perspective on the disease
[34:17] Adverse childhood experiences and their relation to shame and addiction and finding ways to reverse shame and stigma for a solid foundation of recovery
[36:47] Avoiding the most profound trigger of relapse

Episode 10:
Introduction to AQAL Stages and Developmental Levels
Climbing the Ladder to Recovery and Growth

We’ve heard it said that addicts are selfish and care only about themselves. In Integral Recovery, this behavioral tendency can best be understood through the lens of developmental stages. Our exploration of the AQAL map continues today as we explore the developmental levels of the Spiral Dynamics model. This enlightening framework provides insight on our evolution both as individuals and as societies.

Cultivating our understanding of stages helps us understand how addiction, through its neurological hijacking, regresses the addict to an egocentric, survival oriented level of development. And more importantly, it shows us can how can continue to evolve in our recovery by developing our ability to take perspectives until we reach the monumental leap in meaning that is the second-tier, Integral level of development.

In this episode:
[2:42] Why an understanding of developmental stages is potentially the most life-changing element of the AQAL map, and the psychoactive nature of study
[6:25] What can Rumi’s knowledge of the voice-heart connection teach us about flow and life?
[9:24] How can we connect with the Integral Recovery Community, and why is community important to recovery? What differentiates the Integral recovery from buddhist recovery and other recovery groups?
[15:20] An introduction to spiral dynamics, the work of Clare Graves and Don Beck, and the Integral developmental map
[17:20] What does everyone on the planet have in common, and what does this mean for our personal and societal development and the way we view the world?
[18:32] The beige level of basic survival
[19:20] The purple shamanistic level of magic
[20:23] The egocentric Red level of power and power gods
[21:44] The ethnocentric Blue/Amber level – the emergence of the Axial age and the great spiritual teachers including Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Lao Tzu. What are the profound benefits of this developmental stage, and what are the problems it presents?
[24:36] The worldcentric Orange developmental level of rationality, reason, and scientific materialism. What did the emergence of orange in the enlightenment era do for individuals, our societies, and the world as a whole?
[31:05] What are the benefits and gifts of the orange/rational level of development? What are its challenges and limitations?
[31:58] The emergence of the Green postmodern/pluralistic wave of development as a response to the challenges of Orange. How did Green show up in our culture, and what did it teach us? What are the problems and challenges of Green in our cultural, and how can we push the leading edge to continue our development?
[34:03] A monumental leap in meaning: the emergence of Second Tier and the Turquoise/Integral level of development. Understanding the importance, necessity, and role of every level of development
[37:28] The effects of addiction on our levels of development, the regression of the addict self, and the promise of growth in recovery.

The Journey of Integral Recovery Episode 9:
Your Multiple Intelligences-
The Four Essential Lines

This is your brain on drugs. The ad campaign was memorable, for sure, but was it accurate? There’s no question that alcoholism and addiction wreak havoc on our brains, but is the addict in recovery doomed to a life of permanently impaired intelligence? And what exactly is intelligence, anyway?

In Integral Recovery, we learn to get back in touch with the natural capacities and gifts we thought we had lost through daily practice in the four essential lines of the AQAL map. The daily practices of waking up, growing up, cleaning up, and showing up are a way to work directly with the four fundamental developmental lines. And we find, through willingness, dedication, and courage, that have the capacity not only to recover what we had lost, but to grow in ways we could never have imagined.

In this episode:
[1:28] Is the IQ the only form of intelligence?
[3:33] What are the four essential lines for being a healthy, happy, wise, human being?
[8:42] How can brainwave entrainment, neurofeedback, and biofeedback help us reach deep spiritual states?
[9:52] The importance of neuroplasticity, and what that means for daily practice in developing our capacities?
[12:40] How does modern society create and reinforce developmental imbalances, and what can we do about it?
[17:10] Does working in one developmental line affect the others? How do we know which lines to develop?
[19:20] Where do spiritual breakthroughs happen, and what does that have to do with spiritual intelligence, emotional intelligence, and opening the heart?
[22:15] What has Western thought done well, and what are its limitations?
[23:25] Does your innate typology play a role in the natural cultivation of multiple intelligences? How can we work with our natural tendencies, preferences, and intuitions to guide us, especially in terms of finding our calling?
[26:09] The discipline of developing a foundation and cultivating your artform, and how this applies in every area of life.
[29:47] Music and art as a gateway to the divine
[30:50] Standing on the shoulders of giants and the importance of good teachers
[31:52] Balancing the trinity of “The Good, the True, and the Beautiful” through lines and quadrants
[34:53] How to be a practitioner – embracing beginner’s mind, leaning into imperfection with courage, and the willingness to persist

The Journey of Integral Recovery Episode 8:
Systems, Society, and Integral Recovery – Navigating the Lower-Right Quadrant

Does society create addicts? Can society help addicts recover, and do they have a responsibility to do so? What is our own responsibility as individuals and co-creators of our cultural paradigm in the prevention and treatment of addiction? How does our own practice of spiritual development, awakening, and realization contribute to our view of the world, and what can we do to facilitate healing in ourselves, others, and the world?

In this episode of the Journey of Integral Recovery, hosts John Dupuy, Bob Weathers, and Doug Prater dive into the lower-right AQAL quadrant to explore our laws, social systems, and economic philosophies and their complex relationship to addiction and recovery.

In this episode:
[2:05] What can Voltaire teach us about Integral Recovery?
[3:13] What are the four quadrants? What do “systems” and “society” have to do with addiction and recovery?
[6:31] The societal negative feedback loop that keeps addicts stuck: the challenges addicts face when reintegrating into society, and how to break the cycle
[10:26] Does society create addicts? What is a society’s role in prevention and treatment?
[16:27] The behaviors, norms, practices, and ideas society takes for granted and accepts as “normal” – How irresponsible over-prescription creates addiction
[19:23] What is the predominant cultural/behavioral ideal of the US, and how does its pursuit affect addiction and recovery?
[19:56] Awakening the “heart of compassion” by working with the lower-right quadrant, and why it matters for recovery and the world
[22:50] How conflict between levels, structures, and developmental stages impedes societal evolution
[25:11] Radical forgiveness through spiritual realization and awakening
[28:30] Why daily spiritual practice matters for our recovery and our evolution
[30:49] The road to healing

The Journey of Integral Recovery Podcast
Episode 007: The Four Essential Quadrants of Recovery

Why you should listen:
What if scientists developed a magic pill to cure addiction? Integral Recovery redefines, deepens, and expands our ideas of what is necessary for a truly holistic model of treatment. By examining the interdependence of the four quadrants of the AQAL map, we begin to understand why treating the physical disease of addiction is necessary but not sufficient for recovery.
By laying out this simple psychoactive framework, we begin to develop the understanding of why working with each quadrant has a ripple effect that begins to repair addiction’s devastation in every area of our lives. With the radical inclusion of every facet of our lives, we begin a truly holistic daily practice to lift us from the despair of dependence into expanding awareness and new levels of evolution, transcendence, and community.

In this episode:
[1:55] What does “holistic” mean in terms of recovery, and how is Integral Recovery different than other holistic recovery programs?
[5:36] Ken Wilber’s philosophy on breaking out of prison – and addiction is a prison.
[8:26] A psychoactive evolutionary map, changing brain structures, anti-intellectualism, and moving towards an integral perspective
[13:23] An introduction to the four-quadrant model
[14:02] The upper right quadrant: Individual Exterior, the “It” quadrant of empirical, objective, quantifiable science, and the medical model of addiction
[18:40] The upper left quadrant of the individual interior. The “I” quadrant of experience, feelings, psychology, and beliefs
[19:50] The intersection of quadrants and the symbiotic relationships between them
[21:35] Using the objective quadrant as an entry point to recovery for people who reject spirituality
[23:30] A brief overview of the four-quadrant system
[25:36] What if there were a pill to cure addiction?
[26:50] My body, my self, my people, my world
[27:47] Trauma in childhood, chronic unrelieved stress, anxiety, depression, and the relation to the four-quadrant model of addiction
[33:04] Repairing our relationships and finding a support group to lift you up, the wisdom of Thich Naht Hahn, interpersonal neurobiology, and co-regulation
[38:20] The power of community – why we need each other
[40:33] The upcoming Integral Recovery masterclass

The Journey of Integral Recovery Podcast
Episode 006: Growing Up -Working with the Shadow

Why you should listen:
When we’ve taken the critical first step of getting the drugs and alcohol out of our system, we come face to face with ourselves, our trauma, and our shadows. This shadow material, when left unchecked, can drive us back into unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns unless we do the work of “growing up”. But growing up and working with our shadow material does far more than return us to baseline. Along with the repressed trauma, we’ve often repressed the best parts of ourselves. Working with our shadow allows us to reconnect with, or to finally discover, the unique gifts and talents that each and every one of us has to offer the world.

In this episode:
[1:30] The gradual path of enlightenment … progress not perfection in returning
[5:31] Sudden and gradual paths and the willingness to show up
[8:26] Why “growing up” and working with psychology and shadow matter in recovery
[10:06] Addiction, spirituality, and trauma
[14:13] The light and the darkness: working with suffering to find Spirit
[18:47] Tempering our expectations of a magic bullet as we work through the challenges of recovery
[22:38] Moving our experience of the eternal now into our temporal awareness
[24:46] “Eating your shadow” – reintegrating our repressed material
[28:12] Avoiding overwhelm and other pitfalls through a measured approach to shadow work
[31:10] Recognizing unconscious material and its relationship to the ego-self
[32:41] Using brainwave entrainment for the somatic release of trauma
[34:00] The “golden shadow” – rediscovering and allowing our hidden talents and gifts
[37:35] Using art, writing, music, creation, and disciplined practice to work with our shadow material…and why Stevie Ray Vaughn practices the guitar
[42:23] Building skill through little victories, getting over the hump, and staying on the path
[43:37] Dedicating your practice: know your why

The Journey of Integral Recovery Podcast
Episode 005: Waking Up – Leaning into the Great Mystery

Why you should listen:
The daily practice of meditation offers us a profound tool for inner transformation, and it’s central to the Integral Recovery program. But what makes meditation so powerful, and how does the practice affect us as we go about the business of our daily lives, including the work of cleaning up, growing up, and showing up?

In this episode of the Journey of Integral Recovery Podcast, hosts John Dupuy, Dr. Bob Weathers, and Doug Prater dive deep into the world of waking up. The search for truth, the experience of the divine, and the integration of those insights, experienced in a very personal way, are examined through the lens of an evolving Integral perspective that invites you deep into the heart of wisdom, compassion, and transcendence.

In this episode:
[1:47] Wisdom on Suffering from Thich Nhat Hanh
[4:30] One of meditation’s greatest gifts: the witnessing consciousness
[6:53] Bringing more to recovery through meditation, and the technology to assist us
[8:32] What do you realize in deep meditative states?
[10:30] How to bring the insights of meditation back into the world to assist recovery
[16:42] Meditation and Contemplation in the Christian tradition, how that understanding influenced AA, and how waking up integrally, through first, second, and third person perspectives, enriches life and enhances recovery
[22:54] Using spiritual practice to integrate and stabilize insight with being in the world
[24:50] Meditation in the big book, and our constantly evolving understanding of spiritual experience
[26:12] The meditation “super-ego”, expectations, and misconceptions
[27:26] Integrating the heart and the mind by tuning into heart intelligence
[29:18] Does meditation really work? Is it effective for creating change?
[32:10] Transmission of “enlightenedness” and holding suffering in a mindful way
[35:02] Leaning into the great mystery through consistent practice

The Journey of Integral Recovery Podcast
Episode 004: Cleaning Up – What do we Recover in Recovery?

Why You Should Listen:

What does addiction take from us, and what do we recover? In this episode, John Dupuy, Dr. Bob Weathers, and Doug Prater examine the daily practice of “cleaning up” through an integral lens. The complex interplay between the inner and outer aspects of ourselves, our relationships, and our society affects every dimension of the addict’s life. Through the ongoing work of cleaning up, we discover our resilience and begin to reconnect with our authentic selves – the “original face” of Buddhism. And though many addicts envision sobriety as a dull life of lily-white purity, we find, as we continue down the path of personal growth, that the world is filled with a depth, richness, and beauty in which we can finally fully participate.

In this episode:

[00:57] Recovery is a practice
[02:37] Getting clean is the prerequisite to evolution
[03:31] Cleaning up AQAL style: our physical bodies, our emotions, and the relationship between them.
[05:41] Hypofrontality, the limbic system, and post-acute withdrawl syndrome
[11:23] What do we recover in recovery?
[15:23] Am I an addict? Effects of substance abuse on the personality and morality
[17:11] Systemic and societal issues in contributing to and treating addiction
[21:33] Overcoming shame, stigma, and marginalization by recovering our true selves by doing the work
[24:29] Can you hear the still, small voice inside? Finding the higher self in the depths of addiction
[26:44] Feeding the right dog: A Native American parable
[29:17] Relapse and the cumulative effects of the daily practice
[31:24] Does sobriety doom us to a life of sterile, passionless purity? Carl Jung’s view on integration
[35:13] Using creative practice as an avenue for emotion and shadow work

The Journey of Integral Recovery Podcast
Episode 003: The Many Causes and Forms of Addiction

Why You Should Listen:
In addition to its physical, neurological, and genetic roots, addiction is a disease of psychology, spirit, and relationships. In this episode, hosts John Dupuy, Dr. Bob Weathers, and Doug Prater examine the necessity of a recovery methodology that works address addiction’s many facets with skill and compassion by embracing the contributions of numerous disciplines and organizations.

The spiritual dimension of addiction and recovery offers us tremendous potential to grow, develop and deepen our lives, but for many recovering addicts, embracing spirituality can be a significant obstacle. Past experiences, education, and the cultural paradigm all affect our understanding of spirituality and our openness to its exploration. The inclusive nature of the Integral Recovery model, therefore, embraces complementary approaches to recovery, and the benefits these adjunct approaches can offer.

Addiction encompasses far more than the use of drugs and alcohol, and as our understanding of addiction deepens, the more we realize how pervasive the problem is – Whether food, gambling, sex, shopping, social media, pornography, adrenaline, or others, the percentage of people who are addicted to processes and behavioral patterns is staggering. Integral Recovery is far more than a recovery paradigm for alcoholism and addiction. It’s a daily practice and a philosophy of life that offers the opportunity for growth, depth, and authentic happiness to everyone.

In this episode:
2:05 Three perspectives on Integral Recovery; Becoming the best version of yourself
4:12 The physical and neurological roots of addiction
6:01 The six causes of addiction
7:30 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in addiction and recovery
10:02 The Part/Whole Error, integrating Wilber’s quadrants, and why seeing addiction exclusively as a spiritual affliction, a psychological one, or a physical one misses the bigger picture
13:20 Alligators in the spiritual swamp and discovering an evolving, personal perspective on spirituality
18:00 Using complimentary approaches to recovery, including Refuge Recovery and Integral Recovery, to help overcome obstacles and resistance to a spiritual solution
20:16 More pervasiveness than we thought – other forms of addiction, suffering, and trauma that affect society.
23:33 Behavioral and Process Addictions, why recovery is for everyone
25:02 What sobriety really means and the essential nature of recovery
27:17 Putting the kittens back in the basket: Continuing our daily practice to find authentic happiness

The Journey of Integral Recovery
Episode 002: The Neurological Roots of Addiction

Why You Should Listen
John Dupuy, Dr. Bob Weathers, and Doug Prater discuss addiction as a neurological disease affecting the most fundamental parts of the brain. As developments in our ability to study the brain improve our usnderstanding of its function, our approach to treatment adjusts, transcending and including the work of the AA pioneers as well at the leading edge of scientific inquiry.

Based on our growing understanding of addiction’s neurological roots, the trio discusses the effects of these insights on the toxic shame and feelings of hopelessness that infuse the life of the addict in the upper left AQAL quadrant and their interactions with friends, family, and society in the lower left quadrant.

Our hosts close today’s discussion with a simple but powerful exercise that changes we way we see others, and by extension, ourselves.

In this episode:
1:46 The most important development in the study of addiction
2:51 The role of genetics and age in development of addiction
5:21 The Old’s Experiments – Where and how does addiction affect the brain?
10:52 Addiction is a physical disorder of brain function and the dopamine system
11:36 Addiction, anonymity, shame, and stigma
15:36 Advances in neuroscience and neuroplasticity and their role in the understanding and treatment of addiction and recovery
21:00 Why viewing addiction as a disease matters for treatment
23:20 Addiction, guilt, toxic shame, and the disease model
25:30 The power of identity – having a disease vs. being a disease, and the controlling “I”
28:54 Working with suffering through meditation, mindfulness, and compassion
32:43 Using the lessons of addiction to become our best selves
36:58 Hitting bottom, building character, and hope
41:02 Co-regulation and the importance of community and support
43:17 Recovery exercise: seeing the childhood innocence in one another

The Journey of Integral Recovery Podcast
Episode 001: What is Integral Recovery

Why You Should Listen:
John Dupuy, author of Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the treatment of alcoholism and addition, dialogs with co-hosts Dr. Robert (Bob) Weathers and Doug Prater about Integral Recovery.

At the core of Integral Recovery® is Integral Recovery Practice, a sophisticated system of personal development specifically designed for those in recovery, which engages body, mind, heart, and spirit to produce extraordinary health and awakening on all levels of our being. Also central to Integral Recovery is the AQAL map, a conceptual framework that helps illuminate the disease of addiction—and the journey of recovery—in comprehensive and compassionate terms.

John Dupuy is a native of Texas and grew up in Latin America. John is a veteran of the United States Army, where he served in Europe as a military police investigator. John has a Bachelor’s degree from Texas State University in Modern Languages (German and Spanish) and a Master of Arts degree in Transpersonal Psychology from John F. Kennedy University.

John is the founder of Integral Recovery, has published various articles on the subject, and in 2013, his book Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to the Treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction was published by SUNY Press, later to win the 2013 USA Best Book Award.

John coaches individuals suffering from the disease of addiction or depression from his home via Skype; he is an adjunct professor at JFK University, teaching Basic Addiction Studies, and travels nationally and internationally to teach and inspire on the subject of Integral Recovery and brainwave entrainment meditation technology. John has worked in many of the nation’s top therapeutic wilderness programs and helped found Passages to Recovery and Open Sky Wilderness Therapy.

John is an avid meditator and a fitness enthusiast. (He actually does the practices he recommends.) John is also a gifted musician; he has played the guitar since he was 13 years old. He is a singer/songwriter with several albums to his credit and has a passion for singing and playing the electric blues.

John is a pioneer in using brain entrainment technology clinically for the treatment of addiction, depression, and other mental disorders.

Dr. Bob Weathers holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a Master’s of Arts in Religious Studies.  Over the course of his professional career, Dr. Weathers has provided tens of thousands of hours of therapeutic counseling and recovery coaching to clients. Bob has committed the past 35 years of his professional life to teaching and training graduate-level mental health providers at several southern California universities. He is currently Academic Effectiveness Coordinator at California Southern University, and was instrumental in developing their Addiction Studies Certificate and mindfulness-based clinical training coursework. He has published numerous articles in a broad cross-section of professional books, journals, and edited volumes. His current writing and public speaking focus on applying Integral theory to reducing shame and stigma in addiction recovery.

Doug Prater is an author, meditator, fitness enthusiast, and musician who holds a degree in music: sound recording technology from Texas State University. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Dharma of Harry Potter: A Muggle’s Guide to Buddhism (and a large catalog of fiction…written under a pen name that he won’t tell us.)

Doug’s avid and ongoing study of Buddhism, philosophy, and personal development eventually led him to the work of Ken Wilber and the AQAL map. Together with John Dupuy and Dr. Bob Weathers, Doug shares his personal experience with alcoholism, addiction, and recovery through committed daily practice of meditation, exercise, shadow work, and creativity.

In this Episode:
1:10 John introduces his co-hosts
4:26 Doug Prater’s introduction
6:43 Dr. Bob’s introduction and Background
11:55 The origins of Integral Recovery, John’s background, and depression
18:51 Ken Wilber and Integral Theory
21:40 Integral Practice – the four aspects (body, mind, emotions, spirit)
26:31 Brainwave Entrainment as a tool for meditation, recovery, and releasing trauma
30:00 Why integral recovery and an evolving solution is necessary
34:02 Integral Practice is not a guaranteed cure – there are no magic bullets
42:15 The search for ecstasy, release from suffering, and rebuilding the brain
47:34 The demons of addiction and the importance of community in recovery
51:42 Who is Integral Recovery for?

CalSouthern faculty Dr. Bob Weathers continues his conversation with Carlos Alvarez about gang interventions and violence interruption, utilizing principles of restorative justice.

CalSouthern faculty Dr. Bob Weathers talks to Carlos Alvarez about his work with gang interventions and violence interruption, utilizing principles of restorative justice, while focusing on the “5 percenters” — that 5% of the gang population which is indeed most prone to violent behavior and other, sustained criminality.

California Southern University faculty mentors, Dr. Bob Weathers and Colleen Kelly, LMFT, join “Psych One on One” with Julie-Ann Goode to discuss couples and family dynamics in addiction, providing a roadmap to plural recovery by engaging both the recovering addict and his/her significant other in a mutually healing process.


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