New Perspective on Addiction

Addiction is not the problem...disconnection is the problem, connection is the solution.

Can porn cause erectile dysfunction?

Below is a link to a good resource / discussion through Dr. Oz's show regarding porn's impact on erectile dysfunction (ED). Dr. Oz hosts a panel of experts that explain the potential impact and exactly what happens regarding biological vs. emotional factors for ED.


When to Engage and when to Withdraw

There is something so profound in working through the steps in the larger 12 step community. For so many, it is life changing because it is truly a program of action. To work the steps literally requires "work". It means stepping out of our comfort zone in ways that we normally would never have imaged. The beauty of the program is the community of people that have gone before you and are willing to let you go at your own pace. 

Al Anon is one of those 12 step programs. In many ways, it is a program on learning how to be in relationship to others around us. The tool of detachment is one of the most helpful tools Al Anon has to offer. Al Anon has a lot to say on the subject of detachment. Detachment is the idea of stepping away when you sense chaos, control, or intensity. A phrase often used is "don't pick up the rope". The heart behind detachment is letting go of control and allowing another person to maintain "their own side of the street". Al Anon encourages detachment "in love" and not in abandonment or neglect. In a sense, it acknowledges that we are not God therefore we will step out of the way and let God be God to that other person. But it doesn't stop there. 

The program also encourages us to look at our part or "our side of the street". I believe the heart behind any 12 step program is relationship. So much of the program is about re-engaging others when there often times has been a great deal of discord. In a sense, we detach from the negative cycle / relationship in order to get our bearings in how to re-engage when it is safe and calm to do so. It is during these times that we take an honest account of our part in the relationship. It is only after this that we can really own "our part". This then allows to be ready to engage.

One the most impactful moments is often found in "making amends". It can be a very risky and vulnerable process. Re-engaging with a person puts yourself at a place of powerlessness. We really do not know how the other person will respond. Will they accept us, shame us, or ignore us? This is the real crux of relationship. We cannot control others and what they feel. But we often try by hiding our real feelings or dismissing them entirely. So much of our relationship struggles are really rooted in fear. Fear isn't necessary bad and in many ways it is very good because it helps us access our needs. We need to be affirmed, valued and assured that we matter. But we really can't do this unless we make the first step by re-engaging.

All in all, the beauty of a community that practices making amends is that you get to hear stories along the way the inspire and motivate. Otherwise, we are doing it alone and life is just not made to live solo. 

Addiction...part of the story but not the whole story

What if we could live in a community where there was no judgment? What if we could be surrounded by people that would not label us as such and such? What if we could walk into a room of 50 people that knew every detail of our story and accept us just as we are in that moment?  There is a place for naming our struggles because it helps us name the problem.
We have to remember though that these names don't define us. These names are not our essence. I love a quote by Brennan Manning which says, "I'm Brennan. I'm an alcoholic. How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is the story of my life. But it is not the whole story."

We are more than a label because a label doesn't do justice to our story and our humanness. I have been refreshed by the approach used in Emotionally Focused Therapy that we see people in a non-pathologizing way. This means that we first see the person not the problem or diagnosis. Otherwise, the relationship could end up not being safe. Certainly, there is a place to talk about the struggles and all that comes with it. It is important to name the problem but it doesn't have to end there. The main thing is that we can't lose sight of who we are and whose we are.

I believe this is a general truth in life. It is connection over correction.