I've long been a fan of Anne Lamott. Her books speak to my soul and cause me to live from my higher self. I'm grateful for her voice and writings.
One of my favorite memories with Anne is being in North Eleuthera, Bahamas years ago reading one of her books out-loud to my friend Misi. We had no TV so an even better pastime was to read Anne and laugh together and yes, share some meaningful sighs, touching soul to soul, deep calling to deep as the Good Book says.
I came across this interview through her Facebook feed and wanted to share her wit and wisdom.
She states in it: "It's the most spiritual thing you can do to touch another person."
That truth slows my frenetic mind down and reminds me that the people around me daily are worth hearing, worth connecting with, worth touching. It reminds me to hear deeply and with understanding.
Sometimes this is hard for me--especially when I go to church. My home church is so accepting and very touch-feely. They hug a lot, and people generally want to reach out and connect, hug, and give a holy kiss on the cheek.
I'm generally good with that but sometimes there are ones who come up behind and connect when I'm not expecting. At that point, it's like my inner New Yorker wants to reach out and visit them with a five-fingered blessing across the face. Sometimes my friends laugh at my startled response, and I've often questioned why it is people want to connect when I least it expect it and why it unsettles me so.
I think it's because we all carry a deep need to connect with another human being in a meaningful way. When we see someone that we think carries something meaningful, we want to connect with them in whatever way possible.
So my challenge in being more empathetic to others is allowing them to connect, even when it may not be the most comfortable for me. This means moving beyond my ultra-sensitivities and seeing their need. Because at the end of the day, their need is the same as mine: the desire to touch another human being in a meaningful and most spiritual way.
I've watched with interest this weekend the retraction of Brian Williams and subsequent reaction from media outlets. His misremembering of an event twelve years ago left us thinking something different than what he reported.
This morning I found myself doing some personal Step 4 work around where I'm not completely honest. My daily moral inventory left me thinking, I'm not so different than Mr. Williams. I sometimes embellish a story or may leave people coming to a conclusion that might be slightly more spectacular than the current reality. After all, we love a fabulous story, now don't we? (Not to mention, fabulous people.)
They say the reading we complete is equivalent to that of a PhD program. I believe it. It was like trying to drink water from a fire hose. Lots of information!
There's a lot of stigma and shame tied to any addiction, let alone sex addiction. I learned a lot about the changes in neurochemistry and neuroplasticity of the brain when that addictive switch gets "turned on" (pun intended).
Trauma and Attachment
I also learned a lot about trauma and attachment disorders because that's really much of the psychosocial conditioning that sets one up for neurological changes around arousal. These changes in the brain lead to uncontrolled compulsivity which may result in an intimacy disorder. Put simply, those who meet diagnostic criteria for sex addiction struggle in being emotionally, psychologically, or spiritually intimate with another human being.
As I find them, I'll be adding resources to this blog under the category "Recovery."
You might also notice it's been a while since I've blogged. I thought this topic a great way to kick off my re-entry into my very own blogosphere. A lot has been happening in my life this last year, and I'll do a better job in 2015 of keeping readers and those interested posted via this site.
What if you think you have a problem?
If you think you might have an issue with sex addiction, you can complete a simple survey by completeing this Sex Addiction Screening Test. The 20 short questions will only take a few minutes.
The name "Three Strands" evokes the Christian trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – as well as the three prongs of healthy, holistic living – mind, body and spirit. The theme of "threes" is also in harmony with the 3rd Step of Alcoholics Anonymous, which relates to turning one's will over to a higher power.
"The number three is a powerful symbol throughout Christian teachings as well as recovery," said Three Strands' director Jonathan Benz. "It represents many important concepts, including the relationship among counselors, the group and the individual – a reminder that by coming together with others, we strengthen ourselves."
The program naming is part of a broader goal to develop a truly differentiated treatment option for Christians in recovery. Whereas many Christian rehab programs are essentially a "track" within a standard treatment program that offers an occasional Celebrate Recovery group or transportation to a local church, Three Strands is a comprehensive, fully integrated faith-centered program. Clients participate in traditional therapies, including educational groups, individual, group and family counseling, and relapse prevention planning, but treatment also includes:
Her talk immediately resonated with me, and I posted it on this blog. I also ordered her books and began utilizing her ideas in therapy.
I breathed a prayer that I could sit under her tutelage some day. I don't normally "follow after" people but her research on shame, vulnerability, authenticity, and telling one's story was so transformative for me it led me to tell my own personal story on bullying.
Telling that story released a whole new level of personal healing in my life as well as restoration of relationships. That story also helped many others heal as evidenced by hundreds of blog hits, re-posts, and private emails I received.
So I was very thrilled when early this year my parent company, Elements Behavioral Health, flew me and a few colleagues to San Antonio to be trained in The Daring Way™.
I was able to be trained by Brené and her faculty over five days. It was a wonderful experience. I got to speak to her personally and can assure you she is as real as she appears in the Ted Talk or on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. I am now a candidate as a Certified Daring Way Facilitator and should be fully certified by autumn.
I strongly recommend her books to you. I have shared them with family and friends. I am now utilizing The Daring Way™ in therapy and seeing huge breakthroughs in my clients.
I continue to make my own personal applications. It takes great courage to become vulnerable and tell our stories but it is a sure path to greater wholeness, healing, and joy.