Is Violence Human Nature?

Is Violence Human Nature?

No…Peace is Natural! My mother taught French.  She traveled to France many times until she became fluent in French so she could be a better teacher, and because she loved studying languages .  Once she was even mistaken as a Parisian by tourists!  As far as the stereotype of French snobbery, I never once experienced it, EVER!  Of course my mother taught me to ask if someone spoke English and we always tried to learn new words anywhere we traveled.   When I think  of the violence that occurred in Paris and the way that travel to France has enriched my life and my mothers life, I cringe at the fact that another attack has occurred, and even more so at the fact that it was in Paris, a place that is a pinnacle of cultural and intellectual development.  As far as the question of violence being a part of human nature, I still say “no” adamantly!  Why then do we see so much violence in the world?  It is my perspective that for those of us that do not have a mental or character disorder it is not natural to be violent.  (In fact it isn’t natural for most people with mental or character disorders to be violent either.)   What brings about rage and hatred that some are willing to act upon?  Part of it comes from an unspoken or unacknowledged disparity, or the space between who we truly are and how we are “expected” to live.  Fundamentalist thinking can be a strong pull away from our true nature.  Clearly for some people this means learning to...
What Are You Under the Influence Of?

What Are You Under the Influence Of?

We CAN Transform Self-Doubt or Any Negative Emotion! First lets begin by “reclassifying” negative emotions.   We were never meant to hold onto emotions.  Have you ever heard the saying E-motions are Energy-In-Motion?  This means emotions will move through us if we allow them.  This requires us to develop new habits of letting go.  And for some crazy reason we do tend to hang on to the more negative emotions which makes them seem even worse!  Self-Doubt is one of the more disempowering or toxic states of mind.   Some people are the type that want others to doubt themselves so they can feel better about themselves, manipulate others, take advantage of others or just to be dominant.  We do need to take good care of ourselves by setting clear boundaries and making sure we have little to no contact with such people but sometimes that’s impossible, or we make mistakes, or life brings us yet another person who shows us where we are vulnerable.  This is all OK.  I know it hurts and can be very challenging. But we can recover and we can transform self-doubt as well as any other negative emotion.  We can start by looking at some basics. Most of us live in states of mind that are less than empowering.  One of the primary reasons for this is conditioning.  For instance, some people think there is a “God” that will punish them if they step into a new place of trusting themselves because then they won’t be accepting “God’s Authority.”  Personally, I don’t believe god is “out there” separate from us.  I believe we...
My Experience with Self-Doubt:

My Experience with Self-Doubt:

How I Transformed Self-Doubt and Channeled the Very Same Energy Into Confident Self-Trust. As I started to write this blog post I realized I was writing it because there was a little more to add to my last post. I was feeling some doubt! I was second-guessing myself thinking, “Who am I to talk about the field of addictions and how it seems to be changing?” I am not a researcher! Then I remembered that I have been studying and treating addictions for 30 years! I also realized the reason why I was feeling a little angst is because I do have something unique to say, and something that adds value. I remembered that when I was in college after I got sober and I knew Dr. Madsen, the professor I mentioned in my last post, he was in a bit of an academic battle with philosophy professor regarding addiction not being “a disease.”  The argument was that because people “chose” to drink or do drugs, it could not be a disease.  Personally I don’t care if we call it a disease, but as with many other things we do to ourselves, dis-ease is an appropriate and useful perspective. I was also feeling a little triggered by the new look at addictions saying it is caused by childhood trauma. We were taught both in AA & in training to be a counselor this wasn’t the case.  Again I don’t care what causes addiction. I am far more interested in how to free people from anything we do to ourselves that is disempowering.  For me substance abuse was and is...
What is Addiction–Really?

What is Addiction–Really?

There has  been some new information about the cause of addiction that has been getting a lot of attention in the media lately!  I was first introduced to a book called Chasing the Scream by one of my wonderful kiwi friends while on a trip to Australia.  We had just met, but jumped right into a wonderfully stimulating discussion about addiction because she’s a drug an alcohol counselor too!  The actual source of this information is a book called In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate, MD and Peter Levine, PhD.  Myself I’m not so concerned with what causes addiction, but how to heal, transform and change people’s lives for the better, mine included.  These authors say the cause is very important, it is childhood trauma and that the “disease” model is flawed.   (I think we have others things that are keeping us trapped as well, but more on that in my next blog) For many years I have been an addictions counselor.  I have seen people from all different levels of society, age ranges and cultural backgrounds suffer from drug or alcohol abuse.  I was so very lucky to have been introduced to a wonderful man that I’m not sure many people know.  His name was Dr William Madsen.  He passed away in 2004 but I had the great fortune to be one of his students back in 1985 at UC Santa Barbara.  He was an anthropologist who wrote a book called The American Alcoholic.  He studied addictions in the context of culture as an anthropologist.  There are different cultural patterns of addiction when it comes to...

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