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Enough of the Misery — Let’s Talk About Success!

Tom the Binger Businessman who learned to Move On

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Over the course of the last 31 years of helping people move past addictions, I’ve heard tens of thousands of stories of tragedy, redemption, victory and every shade in between. As you can imagine, the most gratifying situations are the ones where people move on successfully. The good news is there are many more stories of success than there are of misery and tragedy. Many reading this might find this fact surprising, but getting over an addiction is the norm, not the outlier! Because our culture and media tend to be fascinated with stories on the darker side of the scale, they get a lot of airtime, skewing the narrative to the tragic side. In contrast, I want to provide the public with some accounts of my helping people who’ve moved past their struggles. Not enough is said about the victories and good news in regards to the addiction narrative. So here goes…

(All names have been changed for confidentiality purposes)

Tom the Businessman Binger

Tom spent most of his youth in a tough town in Northern Wyoming. He grew up hard, poor, and was determined to be financially successful and a prominent person in the community. He achieved all of that and more. He also became a local politician with power and influence. By all accounts by 45 years old, Tom had arrived.

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Tom learned to drink young. Part of the rural culture he grew up in saw drinking as an outlet for stress and life’s inherent struggles. Tom took this view of alcohol and its seeming magic to relieve stress as his own. And when you see alcohol this way, it drives your drinking patterns. As a result, Tom built the habit of hiding out drunk in hotels across the state during his business travels. His family life, business reputation and political ethics all suffered as a result.

When I met him at my addiction retreat (the St. Jude Retreat in Upstate NY), he was depressed and could not understand why he drank the way he did. He was mystified. His drinking pattern included periods of not drinking, (sometimes for months) followed by 2 to 7 day binges while holed up in hotels. Tom has 3 kids and a wonderful wife who was nearing hopelessness in Tom herself.

One Sunday afternoon, Tom heard our podcast (the Addiction Solution Podcast) while nursing a hangover and while drifting into the beginnings of withdrawal. He liked what he heard, got on a plane the next day, and came to the retreat looking for a solution. His bender had been especially long and he was going to need a brief hospital stay to get through the DT’s safely. He went to St. Mary’s detox here locally, returned to the retreat newly detoxed, and we got started.

The Beginning is the Key

Tom was utterly ashamed of his destructive pattern of drinking. I knew I needed to get him to shed the guilt he carried if we were to problem solve his binging. So, we tackled this issue head on. Within his first class I gave him the assignment to list all the benefits and reasons why he liked to get, and be drunk. This catches people off guard because they are so used to being brow beaten by rehabs, AA, and many times their families for their substance use habit; so telling him to discuss its benefits was a bit of a shock. The purpose of the assignment was to embrace the truth – that he liked getting drunk. We needed an honest foundation to spring off of. Without that foundation, we could never have challenged his belief that alcohol was his key to happiness (which is something he discovered when he made the list).

After we discussed the list, we continued to challenge whether alcohol actually provides relief from stress and depression. This “challenging the benefits and reasons for use” exercise is powerful, and it lead to Tom realizing that he was not getting out of alcohol what he thought he was. With the facts and research at his disposal – and with the shame being gone – he was able to see that he did not need booze as his savior anymore. Maybe reducing consumption or abstaining would actually provide better results in the reduction of stress department. This realization was the beginning of Tom making huge strides forward.

As the days followed, we challenged the disease concept (it’s a myth), and Tom let go of his “alcoholic” label and the self-image that comes from it. With shame gone, a clear understanding that alcohol didn’t actually provide stress relief like he thought it did, and the self-image of a hopeless drunk out of the picture, Tom really started to make progress. Later on while in the program, he also began to see that he wanted to shift some of his priorities and spend more time with his family, and less time in the political world. He realized he over compensated in many areas of his life – a result of desperately making sure he left his poverty stricken roots for good. He was so driven that by the point we met, there was no real chance he’d ever be in that predicament again, yet he was continuing to behave as if it was all going to cascade into poverty at any moment. This fear was creating the stress he was trying to extinguish. So, he let go of the fears of youth, and found new motivation in slowing down a bit, and as he put it, “smelling the flowers a little more with the people I care about.” This was a massive mental and emotional shift for him.

There were of course many other topics we delved into, but these were his keys to a renewed life without binges being a necessary part anymore. Each guest/student I’ve taught through the years is different with varying needs. But this was Tom’s story and he has moved on with his life. In Tom’s case, he did not moderate his drinking; he decided to abstain completely. But this was his choice. As he said, “I’m tired of being alone and depressed. Drinking didn’t solve my issues, so I am ready to put it behind me.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

Mark Scheeren is the co-author of The Freedom Model for Addictions, Escape the Treatment and Recovery Trap, and is the co-founder and Chairman of the St. Jude Retreat, the only residential non-12 step model for addiction in the world. For addiction help, call 888-424-2626

For more information about The Freedom Model go to TheFreedomModel.org

Opinion

Democratic Polling Reveals Top Two 2024 Candidates if Biden Opts Out

This is the best they’ve got?

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Oddly, and almost inexplicably, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki asserted that Joe Biden, one of the least-popular presidents in modern history, is already set on running for reelection in 2024.  This, despite that fact that Biden’s polling numbers are abjectly horrible and the Democratic Party’s most enthusiastic demographics are far from thrilled bout the idea voting for such an ineffective Commander in Chief again.

And let’s not forget that we’re only 10-or-so months into Biden’s first term; there is still plenty of time for things to get worse for the man who was reluctant to run in the first place.

Should Biden actually read the writing on the wall, however, there are two candidates that the Democrats do actually seem enthused about in 2024.

Vice President Kamala Harris is the top choice for Democrats if President Biden chooses not to run again in 2024, according to a new poll.

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The vice president received support from 13% of respondents in The Hill/HarrisX poll despite her historically low approval ratings, according to The Hill.

Former first lady Michelle Obama came in second with backing of 10%.

Receiving support below 10% were a handful of former 2020 hopefuls, including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker; billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; businessman Andrew Yang; and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Michelle Obama was resolute in her decision not to run in 2020, and Kamala Harris’ first few months in office as the Vice President have been less than promising.

There is some buzz about Pete Buttigieg possibly running in 2024, (or 2028), but there’s no telling if the current Transportation Secretary has given any thought to the Oval Office as of yet.

Oddly, and almost inexplicably, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki asserted that Joe Biden, one of the least-popular presidents in modern history, is already set on running for reelection in 2024.  This, despite that fact that Biden’s polling numbers are abjectly horrible and the Democratic Party’s most enthusiastic demographics are far from thrilled bout the idea voting for such an ineffective Commander in Chief again. And let’s not forget that we’re only 10-or-so months into Biden’s first term; there is still plenty of time for things to get worse for the man who was reluctant to run in the first place. Should Biden actually read the writing on the wall, however, there are two candidates that the Democrats do actually seem enthused about in 2024. Vice President Kamala Harris is the top choice for Democrats if President Biden chooses not to run again in 2024, according to a new poll. The vice president received support from 13% of respondents in The Hill/HarrisX poll despite her historically low approval ratings, according to The Hill. Former first lady Michelle Obama came in second with backing of 10%. Receiving support below 10% were a handful of former 2020 hopefuls, including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker; billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; businessman Andrew Yang; and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Michelle Obama was resolute in her decision not to run in 2020, and Kamala Harris’ first few months in office as the Vice President have been less than promising. There is some buzz about Pete Buttigieg possibly running in 2024, (or 2028), but there’s no telling if the current Transportation Secretary has given any thought to the Oval Office as of yet.

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News

Dr. Fauci Refuses to Rule Out Lockdowns as Omicron Spreads

But have Americans begun to see Fauci as the “boy who cried wolf”?

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Just in time for the Christmas holiday, Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that Americans should be ready, willing, and able to lock themselves down once more.

Fauci, who seems to get less popular with Americans by the week, has begun to sound the alarm after the latest “omicron” variant of COVID-19 has begun to mutate and spread out of South Africa.

From a recent appearance on ABC:

Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked, “Should we expect to be seeing more lockdowns again, new lockdowns, more mandates?”

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Fauci said, “I don’t know, George, it’s really too early to say. We just really need to, as I said so often, prepare for the worst. It may not be we’ll have to go the route people are saying. We don’t know a lot about this virus. So we want to prepare as best we can, but it may turn out this preparation, although important, may not necessarily push us to the next level.”

And then…

He continued, “People talking about lockdowns, people talking about that, let’s see what the information we’re getting in real time tells us. We’ll make decisions based on the science and the evidence the way we always do. But you want to be prepared to do anything and everything. That’s the reason why we’re paying such close attention to this and why we’re all over it.”

Fauci has earned himself the nickname “Dr. Doom” over the course of the least several years, as his predictions for the pandemic continue to err on the side of abject horror and viral catastrophe.

This latest prediction certainly falls into this category, but many Americans have begun to write Fauci off, citing the “boy who cried wolf” principle.

Just in time for the Christmas holiday, Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that Americans should be ready, willing, and able to lock themselves down once more. Fauci, who seems to get less popular with Americans by the week, has begun to sound the alarm after the latest “omicron” variant of COVID-19 has begun to mutate and spread out of South Africa. From a recent appearance on ABC: Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked, “Should we expect to be seeing more lockdowns again, new lockdowns, more mandates?” Fauci said, “I don’t know, George, it’s really too early to say. We just really need to, as I said so often, prepare for the worst. It may not be we’ll have to go the route people are saying. We don’t know a lot about this virus. So we want to prepare as best we can, but it may turn out this preparation, although important, may not necessarily push us to the next level.” And then… He continued, “People talking about lockdowns, people talking about that, let’s see what the information we’re getting in real time tells us. We’ll make decisions based on the science and the evidence the way we always do. But you want to be prepared to do anything and everything. That’s the reason why we’re paying such close attention to this and why we’re all over it.” Fauci has earned himself the nickname “Dr. Doom” over the course of the least several years, as his predictions for the pandemic continue to err on the side of abject horror and viral catastrophe. This latest prediction certainly falls into this category, but many Americans have begun to write Fauci off, citing the “boy who cried wolf” principle.

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