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Hapbee: Choose How You Feel With Scott Donnell

 

Studies have shown that serotonin, known as the “happiness chemical,” promotes well-being and boosts our mood. Do you want to feel good and happy? In this episode, Tim Westbrook brings on Scott Donnell, the CEO of Hapbee, a wearable device that is scientifically designed to promote your desired mental state at the touch of a button. Backed by fifteen years of research, Scott explains the technology behind Hapbee which mimics signals that your brain already understands, using ultra-low frequencies that help you feel calm, alert, focused, relaxed, or sleepy on command. If you want to start taking control of your mind and mood and unlock your potential, you don’t want to miss this episode.

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Hapbee: Choose How You Feel With Scott Donnell

We have my good friend, Scott Donnell. Scott Donnell is the CEO and Founder of Hapbee. He is a serial entrepreneur who has dedicated his life, both to physical and mental health. He is the Founder of Apex company, a fitness and fundraising program for schools. Apex has raised $75 million for schools and has 115 franchises and 3 million customers. Scott has joined the biotech world as the CEO of Hapbee. Hapbee specializes in ultra-low frequencies and with its patented technology, it can record small magnetic fields from chemical solutions.

With the use of the wearable device, Hapbee can deliver dozens of safe, comfortable feelings to your body at the click of a button. You can feel alert, calm, relaxed, sleepy or focused, to name a few. Hapbee products will hit the market in March 2021 and it has the potential to be what Dan Sullivan calls “The next consumer-generated revolution.” In his work, Scott has collaborated with many other world-class experts in the frequency and energy space. He’s here to share some incredible secrets about the world of frequencies and how it will change the way you see the world, your body, and the future. Scott, welcome.

It’s good to be here. That was a heck of an intro. Thanks, Tim.

That was just the tip of the iceberg, Scott. We’ve known each other for a while and what you’ve been doing, not just with Hapbee, but other things in the biotech world, we’re going to talk about. I can’t wait to talk about the Hapbee as it relates to addiction and mental illness. I also want to talk to you about your 40 days of Zen and the things that you’ve been doing to take care of yourself. I’m wearing the Hapbee right now. I have mine on Focus. What’s yours on, Scott?

Alert and Focus back and forth from the workday. Those are the go-to signals.

That’s what I do too.

We should probably talk about the name because everyone’s like, “Happy? How did you name your company Happy?” It’s not spelled like happy, it’s Hapbee. The logo is a bee. We want people to be happy but there’s no way we can buy that domain. Hapbee with wide open. We just named it a little bit misspelled and people get it.

Tell me a little bit about your journey and how you got to where you are now, Scott.

Hapbee is a revolutionary technology. I am not the scientist. I’m not the inventor. There were over a dozen PhDs working on this behind closed doors for years from the start of this. I am a problem solver like you, a serial entrepreneur, stuff I’m passionate about. I went off and had the largest school fundraising franchise. I still own it. It’s going great, Apex. MyFirstSale.com that we help kids launch businesses, but this opportunity came up because the parent company is using this technology in the medical space.

Before we talk about Hapbee, let’s back up. Why are you passionate? How did you get to where you are? Why are you passionate about helping people? You have a business that helps kids, that helps them learn how to start a business, and now you’re doing this. What brought you there?

Physical and mental fitness, that’s my lane. Anything that can help with people being physically fit, healthier in their life, mentally fit, having better mindsets, stronger ability to go after their goals, resist temptation and deal with all these things. I think you cannot have them apart. They have to be aligned. That’s what led me first to Apex. We help raise money for schools, but we do it because we teach kids fitness and character, which is for the mind. It’s all about health. It’s all about leadership and character traits. The kids do a big fun run at the end of the two weeks. I’m sure most of your people probably donated to our organization. Apex Fun Run, the jog-a-thon model. We built that up to have 100 and something franchisees, we’re in 38 states over the last couple of years. My wife is a teacher. She had a need, we helped her school. They made three times as much money as they’ve ever made, and then the whole thing blew up from there. That was my life. Whenever I find a need in that lane of mental and physical wellness, I want to solve a major problem. That’s been me this whole time, which is crazy, that led me to biotech, but here we are.

You just did 40 days of Zen, as well.

Hapbee is not a cure-all. It's not going to fix everybody's everything; it's a tool in the tool belt. Click To Tweet

It’s 40 Years of Zen actually. This is one of Dave Asprey, who was one of our main partners in this. He and a bunch of other smart psychiatrists and doctors put together this program up in Seattle. It’s a week-long program called 40 Years of Zen. The idea is hacking your brain, all these 8,000 brain scans, all this meditation work, tons of trauma work and forgiveness, love, gratitude, healing and breathing work. It was incredible. The goal is how can you get 40 years’ worth of meditation work trained in 70 hours in a week. It was nuts but it was incredible.

They take a lot of executives, entrepreneurs, people that want to work on mental health. It’s like a retreat for your brain. They’re aligning the right and left hemispheres, I had glue on my hair a bunch and I’m tracking my waves all week. I’m trying to get my alpha up and my beta down. The delta and high beta signals in your brain are the ones that you’re trying to reduce to stay at peace because those are like the reptilian amygdala brain logic, problem-solving, stress like, “Just go be a machine, be an entrepreneur.” That frays you, that burns you out. That’s one of the key things that causes people to burn out big, ruined, and make major mistakes in their life, or have major health problems, which is what I was having.

The alpha waves and the theta waves for imagination and whatnot, those are about love, creativity, freedom, peace, joy, all those good feelings are what they would consider Zen. Those are love feelings, feelings of true forgiveness, feelings of gratitude. My waves were zero at the start of the week and off the charts, high beta, like a reptilian machine entrepreneurial brain. What they were training me to do was to lower those significantly and increase my alpha and theta to be able to put them more on par and align them more so that I wouldn’t be fight or flight all day and every day. They were giving us tips throughout the week to be able to get there as we forgave people that dealt with trauma. We re-scripted things that were going on in our lives. We dealt with worst-case scenarios, Tim. It’s like I’m in this dark egg, sensory deprivation pod for hours on end dealing with my soul. It was incredible.

It sounds like they put you through the twelve-steps in a week. Meaning that you dug into your trauma, you sat with it, you forgave yourself, you forgave others.

They taught us what’s called a reset where you get into a place where you are at peace to start, which is they call alpha. For me, it was picturing myself in my backyard being poured over with this idea of love, freedom and peace. I just say I am free. I am loved. My heart is ever-expanding to those around me. If you say that to yourself for a few seconds, like 2 or 3 times, this is my way of learning. Everyone’s is different. My alpha wave spikes. It couldn’t do the first half of the week at all. I’m able to then have the alpha waves take over in my brain to be able to keep me in this state of freedom, peace, joy, forgiveness and love instead of letting the Intense Logic Scott, Problem-Solver Scott. Business Scott takes over and it’s not healthy to stay in that space. It was incredible. It was like a hack and then to see it all live after every pod, we would review everything and you would learn in real time. It was cool.

It’s similar to Kamal Ravikant’s book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. 

The hardest part of the entire week was forgiving ourselves. Everyone says that, hands down. Being able to deal with our demons and forgive ourselves, whether it was something dumb, hard, painful or stupid we did. Forgive yourself for letting this go on too long, letting this person hurt you too long, letting your body decay for long. Forgiving yourself is a very difficult thing to do and the way they taught us to do it was you close your eyes. You get into this good space of alpha, and then you pick a setting and someone that you’re going to charge, whether it’s yourself or someone else, with a trauma or something you have to forgive or a crime against you or something.

You have a judge. He’s not a judge. He’s more of a guide. Mine was Jesus. Someone else’s was an eagle. You have this judge in your mind, that’s with you, you bring the charge against them. You feel it for a couple of minutes and then you move to love. It’s called find the gift. You don’t justify, you drop your opinions, you drop your judgment and you find what’s the gift in this miserable thing that happened. Not justifying it, but what’s the gift. For instance, if there’s a trauma with your parents, maybe that makes you treat your kids with so much more love, kindness, more hugging, I love you and time together. That’s a gift that comes out of that.

You can have this love and then you can move towards forgiveness of that person. Not justifying any of it, but saying, “The gift is what this did for me, to me to be able to make my life ultimately better and stronger.” You can move through to true forgiveness and actually hug these people in your dream, even miserable, painful. I’ve had millions of dollars taken from me, crazy things happen, and childhood issues. It’s amazing to get to that freedom. It lifts a veil. It lifts a ton off your back and lifts a veil of scale that felt like a million dollars and I’d go home and pass out every night, out like a light. It was incredible.

I’m sitting here thinking about gratitude. I know that I have to get to a place of gratitude for every single thing that happens, whether I think it’s good or I think it’s bad. Instead of, “Why did this happen?” It’s, “I’m grateful that this happened,” and this is the gift, to your point. I also know that I have to forgive myself before I can forgive somebody else. That sounds like an amazing journey that you went on with that 40 Years of Zen.

It was incredible. I would highly recommend it to anybody. If anyone is interested, let me know. I’ll hook you up. I get a discount for others now. Shout out to Dave and the team for building it. They’ve had a thousand people or so go through. They are only taking 6 or 7 a week.

Let’s talk about Hapbee. Let’s go back to where we started. Tell me about Hapbee, where it came from and how it works, and so forth.

ILBS 19 | Hapbee

Hapbee: The presence of high beta signals in your brain is one of the key things that cause people to burn out big and make major mistakes in their life or have major health problems.

 

This sounds crazy. I know it sounds like Star Trek, let me just get that at the beginning. It’s a technology that uses these very precise magnetic fields. Those magnetic fields, we licensed them from our parent company out of Seattle called EMulate Therapeutics. They can mimic and analyze these certain molecules, everyday molecules, sleep aids, muscle relaxants, cups of coffee, happy hour drinks, and things that you might ingest in your body, but they can give you the sensation. They are pulling the magnetic away off of these molecules to then create a signal that can mimic a feeling that you’re trying to get.

Let’s say you drink a few cups of coffee in the morning to help yourself be more alert. You click a button in our app, the Alert signal, which I know you’ve been using this. You can start to feel more alert. Focus, the one that you and I both love, it’s triggering a specific response in the body to help you zone in on one thing to focus in. It’s a nice buzz that meets a heightened sense of awareness around you. It’s almost like a smoke-free break in a way, but there are no carcinogens in your body. There are no toxins in your body. There are no drugs or chemicals. It’s just a frequency. That’s the basis of the technology. It’s been in the works for about several years from our parent company.

A bunch of PhDs got together and they had this crazy idea that what if a molecule that we put in our bodies, what if that has a wave? What if it has electrostatic surface potential? If it does, that’s what creates a non-covalent bond, all you chemists reading. If we could get that and pull it out, it might be able to help people feel a certain way. That’s what they were able to prove out here with 37 patents in all these countries and $80 million into the technology. The guy who led the team to invent Cialis is the chief scientist, Dr. Kenneth Ferguson. He and Dr. Mike Butters were one of the main ones as well. Their whole team scoured the globe to see if there was a recording device so precise that it could start listening in at the molecular level hearing these things. They ended up finding this Naval technology called magnetometers, and this was out of San Diego. These devices are used by the Navy to search out fighter pilots and nuclear submarines because they have an electromagnetic wave coming out of them. It’s an amazing technology.

Several years into it, they finally got some readings and some signals and started working on animals. They’ve helped people with cancers, with brain tumors. There are hundreds of people in FDA trials. It’s an amazing technology. I invested in them a long time ago. It was a lot of money for me at the time to help them get going with this mission to help people feel better without needing to put any potentially harmful chemicals, pills, powders or whatever in their body. A few years ago, it turned out they were interested in going after the consumer market and that’s my expertise. I came in, we licensed their technology. They get a royalty. They have a piece of our business. We have our team and we’re building up this awesome consumer technology. It’s an app-based wearable. We have more form factors being built as we speak for other uses, but I can’t talk about that yet. You play the signals you want.

Let’s take one of the signals for example and explain to me exactly how that works.

There are six. I’ll say all six and then we’ll go into one of them. We got Alert. That one is great for the morning or when you’re trying to ‘pick me up’ in the middle of the day.

What does that signal mirror?

A couple of cups of coffee, without the shaky hands or diarrhea. I love chai tea. I love to get that as a stimulant from these drinks. A lot of people love coffee. We’re not saying don’t drink coffee anymore. We’re saying you might not have coffee all day. You might not have that third cup. Maybe you do it with a cup of coffee, that’s what a lot of people do. We have Relaxed, which is for your muscles. It melts your muscles down after a workout or if you’re achy or sore. A lot of people use that after sitting all day. We have Calm, which is for your head. It’s like a check out for your head. That was the de-stress. That’s the biggest one for at the end of the workday. We have a Focus signal, which we already talked about. It’s what you and I love the most. It’s like Workday 1.0. It triggers a certain response in your body to help you just dial in, and then Sleepy. That is one of our most used signals. It is like a sleep aid.

You put it under your pillow, turn it on for a few hours right when you go to bed and people track their aura stats. It helps them get into deep REM. Those are our first six. As you can tell, use them all as much as you want. Everybody chooses a couple that’s their favorite. They just use them. Their family uses them and they take them on trips. They take them on walks. They use them at work. They use them for bed. There are about 50 different use cases already. I can’t go into all of them, but it’s unlimited use of all of them as much as you want. It’s like Netflix for your feelings.

Pick one of them and tell me exactly the science. I know because I wear it. The first time I wore it, you asked me. You said, “Which is your favorite signal?” I said, “I don’t know. I wore Focus all day today and I got a lot done.” It’s very subtle. It’s not mind-blowing. It doesn’t blow you away.

It’s not crash-your-car signals. That wasn’t the goal. These are subtle shifts that help you get into state.

Explain the science that supports the device.

Walking is probably the best thing you can do long-term for your body. Click To Tweet

We can take Alert because it’s simple. If you ingest a couple of cups of coffee, you’re going to get a stimulant. It gets down to covalent and non-covalent bonds. Covalent bonds are chemical bonds to the receptor sites on your cells to change their shape and cause and effect. We can’t do those. There’s no way that our technology can mimic any of that stuff because you physically have to have something there. Non-covalent bonds are like a remote-control charge. It’s an exchange of electrons, like a frequency in your body when you ingest certain things. Stimulants and suppressants and things of the like are mostly non-covalent bonds.

What if you could, to a degree, cause that sensation in the body, just through a trigger, like a remote control? That’s what we believe is happening. In our labs, our scientists that the parent company in Seattle are working around the clock, studying, analyzing, creating signals from studying these molecules, and pulling off a very precise signal that plays through this device. This is a copper wire that plays a signal on your body and you, over time, start to get more and more of these sensations as you use it. Which one did you say you do? Alert or Focus?

I go back and forth. I do Alert in the morning typically, and then I do Focus during the day while I’m working. I do Calm or Relaxed in the evening, typically. Before I go to sleep, I’ll wear the Sleepy for 30 minutes.

That’s the thing. People use them for all different use cases, whatever you need. I go back and forth all the time. I’ll use different signals, but my favorite thing is they’re subtle. Now, they affect me within a couple of minutes. When I started, it was what you said, 15, 20 minutes, maybe a few tries, an hour goes by. The more you do it, the more it starts to get the sensation and understand what’s going on. I don’t have to ingest things that can hurt me. The whole mission here is we don’t want people to be hooked on substances, pills, chemicals, potions, powders, smoking things or whatever. We’re not saying that we’re better than all those things. We’re just saying that there’s an alternative to help you feel a certain way without having to put all that junk in your body.

Sometimes it affects more quickly and some people can feel it. I’ve let lots of people use this and I’ve had people put it on, and within 2 or 3 minutes, you can see their demeanor completely change. I had my friend, Macy, he put on Focus. We were watching the UFC fight and he completely changed and was zoned in on the TV. It’s like, “That was crazy.” Jesse, over at Optimize, put on the Happy signal, and literally within a couple of minutes, he could feel it. He was laughing and giggling. My friend, Donnie, the same thing. He put on Happy and within a few minutes, he was giggling. For me, I can feel the effects pretty quickly, typically within 5 or 10 minutes, and some people can’t feel the signals at all.

For some people, it takes ten days. My chief coder said it took him 34 times of trying it, and then he finally started to feel it. Now, he loves it. For some people, it takes time to build the pathway. Some people, it’s difficult to connect with the feeling. There was a huge study that came out at the beginning of 2020 that there’s 10% of people that cannot connect feelings to their body really at all unless there’s severe pain or something. They can’t pack down stress and trauma and emotion. Here’s a good example. My good friend, Gabe, he is a dentist. He’s the President of the 1-800-Dentist in Arizona, the association. He said he’s got a chunk of his patients who come in for Novocaine shots and that does absolutely nothing to them. They cannot get that feeling, even though they have the drug in their body. Some people are that way. The body is a crazy thing. The best thing I can say is we probably have about 10%, which matches that study, of people that are like, “I’m a low feeler, I don’t feel it much or I don’t feel it at all. Help me.” We can do coaching. We’ll coach people to try this signal and then try Alert and then Sleep. There are ways to help you feel the difference. Once you start to get them, then you’re good to go.

Sometimes people are like, “I don’t know, I can’t figure out anything.” If at the end of the day, they don’t like it, we give them all their money back. We have a 30-day money-back guarantee for anybody. There’s no risk. Try it out. If you love it, enjoy it. At the end of the day, I don’t want anybody using the product who doesn’t like it. We try to make it risk-free for people. We are finding out more and I have to be very careful as I say this because it sounds weird. Undealt with trauma is probably the single greatest factor to people that resist this device and its ability to affect your body. I’m not going to tell disgruntled customers, “You probably have undealt with a trauma that you have to deal with before you feel our signal more,” but that’s part of this.

Here’s a great example. At 40 Years of Zen, one of the people that were there bought the product before they even met me. He said, “I used it for three weeks. I felt one a little, but I didn’t feel the others.” I was like, “Bummer. I’m happy to give your money back.” He’s like, “I gave it to my friend. They loved it.” We did four days of trauma work at 40 Years of Zen. I gave him my Hapbee. He put on the Happy signal and in one-minute flat, he was like, “This thing is nuts.” His name is Rick and he loves it. Now he’s using his Hapbee all the time back home. He went and yanked it back, and now he’s using it every day. This is something that we’re working on.

We’re getting the signal stronger as time goes on. We’re adding more signals for people. It’s like a membership model. It’s like Netflix. We’re going to be launching new signals every few months into the app for everyone to use. We want to have high levels of it, lower levels of it. For some people, it’s too strong, probably like your buddy. Some people, it’s way too much. They’re like, “This is crazy.” They’ve got to turn it off after 5, 10 minutes, but we’re working on different levels of this to let people set their preferences.

A person struggling with mental health, how does the Hapbee help that person?

Here are our customers. Functional medicine people love this. Biohackers go nuts. They love it. Counselors, psychiatrists, for their patients and themselves, they love it. It gives you more control of your emotional state. It eases you into what you want to feel like, and you don’t have to get addicted to ingesting something into your body. A lot of people turn to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or other things. The list goes on and on. They’re usually running from something. It’s their version of therapy. It’s to mask pain at the end of the day. Our company, one of our missions, we’ve got Genius Recovery, who I’m sure many of your audience knows. Joe Polish is one of our main advisors and investors. He’s in it because of that. He cares about people who are recovering and giving them an alternative that can help them feel great throughout the day without having to turn to substances and other things that might hurt them.

For us, the mission of Hapbee is to help people engage in life. That’s why I love your show. We want people to love their life and be more balanced, have more joy throughout the day, be able to enter into a work state, have more energy, de-stress quicker after work, without popping open a bottle. They then get to sleep deeper when they go to bed at night. Those are really good things for people. Hapbee is not a cure-all. It’s not going to fix everybody’s everything. It’s a tool in the tool belt like working out, good sleep, a healthy diet, people that you love, and showing gratitude. These are all tools in the tool belt. We just want to be a part of it from the wearable technology perspective because we can give you these sensations right away. A lot of people find a lot of benefit from it.

ILBS 19 | Hapbee

Hapbee: If we can try to create a new prompt for people, it can change their habit much easier than something that’s difficult to do like run a mile or go find the nearest cold pool to jump.

 

Can someone get addicted to wearing the Hapbee?

No. That’s one of the big questions that we get. We get two questions. One of them is, “Can I build a tolerance?” The other one is, “Can I get addicted?” What we’re seeing is no, it’s not creating any chemical addiction in your body. There are not any toxicological side effects to what this is doing in your body. We’re firing pathways in the body to create a specific sensation for a period of time. When you turn this off, there’s no dovetail. It’s like 15 to 25 minutes or so, you’re back to base. It helps people. It helps train them to get to these states faster but it dissipates. It’s just a signal. There’s nothing being metabolized. I would go as far as saying, whereas addictive is maybe an app, except we’re a good app. We’re not like The Social Dilemma that’s triggering a slot machine dopamine hit, and you’re stuck on your phone all day, wishing that your friends would like you more. We’re more of a ‘click and go, engage, enjoy your life and be free’ kind of an idea. I would put us in the good tech category.

For example, someone wants to stop drinking coffee. They want to quit caffeine. Can they use the Hapbee, the Alert signal, as a way to help them transition off of drinking coffee and caffeine?

It’s a great tool for helping people cut back, cut cold turkey. What it does is it gives you another healthy habit instead, so much like breathwork helps people going on a run. When I feel tempted to do something, I’ll go on a run or I will switch up the habit to make it a healthy habit instead of a negative one. That is where we come in strong. It is a fantastic thing to use instead. Here’s a good example. We’ve got to be careful. I can’t just say, “Hapbee is the cure-all, and it’s going to fix all your problems and you can get off anything cold turkey.” Everyone’s different. We have heard a lot of testimonials and reviews of people that say, “I totally use this. I was a military veteran and this is incredibly helpful for me to de-stress. I smoked for 30 years. This is helping me cut that.”

Smoking is a good example. When I turn on that Focus signal, I get a similar buzz feel, but it also zones me in, which is why people like it. When you hear the click and you click the click of the play and it buzzes to start, it’s enough of a parasympathetic response. It’s enough of a trigger, a prompt to help somebody mentally overcome the same thing as a light, deep breath, and a blowout of exhale of stress. Do you see the difference? If we can try to create a new prompt for people, it can change their habit much easier than something that’s difficult to do, like run a mile or find the nearest cold pool to jump. That’s what I would say to that.

Tell me about your morning routine. I like asking this question.

This isn’t a perfect world because I’ve got three young kids. We were up four times a night with our six-month-old, so this is tongue-in-cheek. The perfect morning for me would be getting up between 6:15, 6:30. I don’t set the alarm. I usually get up and my body is on the clock. I get up, do some devotion prayer time, meditation for 30 minutes before kids go nuts. Kids are up, I’m helping with breakfast. I’ve got fifteen vitamins because of my 100-day challenge that I’m in the middle of. I’m taking a ton of pills every day. Everything from my gut to supplements to flora, the list goes on, and then I will do a workout. I usually do the CrossFit gym down the street at my buddy Lance’s place and do an hour of whether it would be lifting mixed with cardio, and then try to walk home and do my first call.

I love walking and talking in the morning. I try to do one call a day. This is what my doctor, and Whitney Jones mentioned this as well, who I know you’ve talked to a lot. She’s coaching me through this program. She’s like, “Do an hour a day walking on a call. Try to take a call a day and walk.” That’s probably the best thing you can do long-term for your body, for your mitochondria, for your cellular health, for fat stores. You’ll move it through and wake up your body. It’s easy to do on a call.

Don’t try to run. Don’t make it hard. She does that and she’s Ms. Olympia. She’s the female Arnold Schwarzenegger. She says, “I try to walk for 45 minutes to an hour a day, or a hike or something that’s a brisk walk and doing a call. It is the easiest habit replacement.” That’s a great one. At home, I have a 46-degree pool and a hot tub. I’ll do 90 seconds back and forth three times to get my body jumped. Sometimes I’ll intermittent fast and I won’t eat until lunch, but if I do eat breakfast, it’s going to be like scrambled egg whites with a mixture of a bunch of different veggies in it, and maybe some turkey in there or chicken. That’s my morning routine.

That sounds like a solid morning routine.

Plant-based protein shake as well. I forgot that.

What do you want people to have walked away from this conversation knowing?

You got to deal with your stress in some way, shape, or form because the issues stay in the tissues. Click To Tweet

I think there’s amazing technology out there that can help people feel great and be in control of their emotional state and their feelings throughout the day. That’s something that a lot of people don’t know exists. People feel stuck, they feel stressed. They feel like there are not many answers for them. They’re struggling to get themselves to a place where they can have more energy, more productivity, better sleep, and Hapbee is a great alternative for that. It saved my life in 2020. You and I have talked a lot about the stress 2020 was. We went public with this thing in Toronto already after eighteen months. It’s been nuts. I realized that I was on the verge of a mental breakdown within my stress load and Hapbee was the only thing keeping me tethered, balanced and going for long.

I’m realizing now, all the other things that need to be worked on, my health, my diet, and all this stuff with exercise. Biohacking is awesome. It’s one of my favorite things to do now with you. Ozone, cold pools, compression and red-light therapy, it all have to come together if you’re going to be serious about your long-term health. I would say deal with stress. That’s one of the biggest things I would tell them. You’ve got to deal with your stress in some way, shape or form because the issues stay in the tissues. You can’t put it away and think that it will be gone. That’s how trauma gets built. There’s got to be healthy ways to deal with stress and there are unhealthy ways. Hapbee is one of the best healthy ways to deal with stress management. We have a link for people, Hapbee.com/tim. People can go there and they’ll get a discount, it’s like $50 or $80 off. We’ll make sure people get that.

How can people connect with you, learn more about you and more about Hapbee? We’ve got the discount code, Hapbee.com/tim to get a discount for the device. I wear my device almost every single day and I know lots of other people who wear the device as well. It’s a newer device, but more and more people are starting to wear it.

It’s fun to be on some of these calls where we see a dozen people using it. It’s like a high-performance aid without having to turn to a bunch of chemicals. It’s like a helper. That’s the best way to make it easy. If people want to connect, you can connect with us at @GetHapbee is our Instagram handle. We’ve got a bunch of fans over there. Also, you can email me at Scott@Hapbee.com. I’d love to connect with anybody. We are launching a partnership affiliate program. Dave Asprey, he’s one of our mainstay investors. He launched the first major partnership. Jim Kwik is on the team, Joe Polish, Kevin Harrington, the original Shark on Shark Tank. All of these random awesome functional medicine people in the energy space, counselors, psychologists. People who are defecting from traditional Western medicine and insurance and they’re saying, “You’ve got an amazing product that can help people.” It’s not going to be available at hospitals because we don’t want to sell it to you for $10,000 or something. We want to give it to you as cheap as possible online, right to their door. We’d love to partner up.

Tell people why is this not available or why is this not prescribed by physicians, doctors and medical professionals?

The parent company is doing the medical side, that’s the main reason. EMulate Therapeutics out of Seattle are in FDA trials. They’re several years in or more working with brain tumors actually, and they’re discussing the pain sector as well. They’re going to have their form factors that are going to be going through doctors, physicians, and things like that. We’re just the consumer arm. We’re not making medical claims. We’re dealing in moods, feelings, general wellness, mental health, things that give people almost like you would wear WHOOP or a ring, or put a constant glucose monitor, all these different things to help your body. That’s what we’re in the space for. Most direct stim products in this industry are in the general wellness category and it’s by design. The other path that we chose not to do was go down FDA, get a bunch of medical claims, spend $50 million on each of them and then charge you $10,000 for the product. That is not how I roll.

I’m not that kind of an entrepreneur. I’d rather have it be easily available, accessible to the general public, and not go down the medical route. We definitely prove our claims. We’ve done blinded and sham studies. People can tell that this thing works. They can tell between Sleepy and Alert. It works. We’re doing a focus study, the sleep study. There’s more and more coming. We’ve got to prove our claims, but what I’m talking about is I’m not going to go through doctors and insurance and that racket because anybody reading knows this game. They 10X the price and they make it only available to certain types of people, and that’s not how I roll.

Scott, I sure do appreciate you spending time with us. I learned more about you and your product. Thank you so much.

This was awesome. Thanks for your time.

Important Links:

About Scott Donnell

ILBS 19 | HapbeeScott Donnell is a serial entrepreneur who has dedicated his life to both physical and mental health. He is the Founder of Apex Leadership Company, a fitness and fundraising program for schools. Apex has raised $75M for schools, and now has 115 franchises and 3 million customers. More recently, Scott has joined the biotech world as the CEO of Hapbee. Hapbee specializes in ultra-low frequencies, and with its patented technology it can record small magnetic fields from chemical solutions.

With the use of a wearable device, Hapbee can deliver dozens of safe, comfortable feelings to your body at the click of a button.

You can feel Alert, Calm, Relaxed, Sleepy or Focused, to name a few. Hapbee products will hit the market in March, and it has the potential to be what Dan Sullivan calls “the next consumer-generated revolution” In his work, Scott has partnered or collaborated with many other world-class experts in the frequency and energy space. Today, he is here to share some incredible secrets about the world of frequencies and how it will change the way you see the world, you body, and the future.

Dr. Ramani Durvasula: Understanding Narcissism Through Relationships And Addiction

ILBS 18 | Understanding Narcissism

 

Without proper rehabilitation for narcissistic people, helping them deal with their psychological difficulties is challenging. On top of the tedious task of understanding narcissism, there’s also their higher potential to resort to substance abuse just to address their needs. Going deep into this mental health issue with Tim Westbrook is Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a clinical psychologist and certified narcissist expert. Together, they discuss how a narcissistic personality is typically fueled by insecurity, manipulation, frustration, and disappointment, leading to drug addiction and alcoholism if pushed to the limits. They also talk about how to properly approach and mingle with such people, especially when getting into a close relationship with them that may involve gaslighting, unbalanced emotions, and numerous relapses.

Watch the episode here:

Listen to the podcast here:

Dr. Ramani Durvasula: Understanding Narcissism Through Relationships And Addiction

My team and I over the course of many years have helped thousands of people on their path to recovery. We started the show because there’s so much misinformation about addiction treatment, mental illness and recovery in general. There’s so much more to recovery than just going to inpatient treatment or going to Twelve-Step programs or seeing a therapist. I’m a huge advocate for the Twelve-Step program, AA saved my life but there’s more to it. To find long-term recovery, my experience and what I’ve seen is for a person to live happy, joyous and free, there’s a lot more to it. That comes down to lifestyle habits and living a different and honest life. It’s much more than just stopping drinking, drugs and addictive behavior. Those are the types of things that we talk about on this show.

I’m happy and excited to have Dr. Ramani. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, California, and professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles. She is also a visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg. Additionally, she is the Founder of LUNA Education Training and Consulting, LLC, a company focused on providing content and education about high conflict and antagonistic personality styles such as narcissism and their impact on mental health, relationships, families and the workplace.

Dr. Ramani is also the Co-founder of the Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Alliance, a collaborative professional group of therapists and coaches working with clients, experiencing these relationships. She takes on entitlement and incivility in “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”: How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. She’s the author of the modern relationships survival manual, Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving A Relationship with a Narcissist and You Are Why You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life.

She also has a popular YouTube channel that focuses on narcissism and difficult relationships. Her work has been featured at TEDx on a wide range of media platforms, including the Today Show, Discovery and Bravo. Her research on personality disorders has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, and she is a consulting editor of the Scientific Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Ramani is an honest, authentic and brutally honest voice on the struggles raised by narcissism in the US and globally. Dr. Ramani, I’m grateful to have you here. Thank you.

It’s my pleasure.

We’re going to talk about narcissism and how it relates to addiction. Can you treat narcissism? Is there a Twelve-Step group for narcissism? There’s a lot. This is a week’s subject, especially over the past few years in the news. Welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me, Tim. It’s so nice to see you again.

ILBS 18 | Understanding Narcissism

Understanding Narcissism: The 2016 elections pushed the world into the public consciousness and started a quiet buildup of people talking about different issues.

 

Tell me about your journey and how you got to where you are now?

In my journey, I was trained as a traditional clinical psychologist headed for my research and academic career, which I’ve done. As I was doing my research, I was a professor at Cal State LA, I started noticing a pattern that had been brought to me by students that were working out in the field in a clinical setting. They’d come back to our main setting and they’d be exhausted. They’d say, “These people are difficult.” I was listening to them, and the pattern they were describing was of this high conflict, antagonistic style, and it never changes. These patients were wreaking havoc on clinic staff and on the front-line staff. I thought, “These people are almost sucking up more resources as one person in these places than fifteen other healthy people would.” That led to an area of research, looking specifically at personality disorders, specifically in the area of HIV and how it was associated with a whole bunch of a whole host of outcomes.

I also have a clinical practice. I’m a licensed psychologist. In my practice, I was seeing people coming up over and over with describing marriages, sometimes families of origin characterized by similar patterns, people who were rigid, difficult, manipulative, unempathetic and entitled. I would talk them through it and say, “This is a pattern that’s not likely to change.” Over time, I’ve read more of the literature. It was clear that these people do not change if you have this narcissistic pattern that culminated in my book, Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

I was still doing this work very quietly. The 2016 election took this word and pushed it into the public consciousness. What was happening was there was this slow, quiet, buildup of people talking about these issues. The word came much more into the public lexicon. I started working with more clients and I’m like, “This is a problem. The mental health world doesn’t want to identify it. This is troubling because a lot of mental health practitioners aren’t trained in it, didn’t think it was a thing, we can work on anything, don’t to be mean to the narcissist. They’ve gone through a lot too.” What we found is we’d almost become a culture made up of three sets of people: the narcissists, their enablers and the people who were being victimized by both the narcissist and their enablers. I said, “This is not going to work well. If the mental health world won’t talk about this, then I will.” That’s how I solely got up into launching this YouTube channel. When the magnitude of the issue hit me, I thought, “This is going to require me almost going off book a little bit and creating public awareness of this issue,” because a lot of people either can’t afford the help and a lot of therapists out there aren’t trained to give the help. That’s how I got here. That’s the journey.

I’ve done a little bit of searching on the internet prior to meeting with you, and there are not a lot of people that are talking about narcissism on the internet.

There are a lot of people talking about it, but a lot of it is not being done by traditional mental health practitioners. That makes sense because there are over nine million YouTube videos on narcissism. The thing is that many times they’re coming at it from the perspective of, “This happened to me,” and it’s very first person, versus things that are grounded in what little science there is out there and saying to people, “Here’s what we know. Here’s what we don’t know. Here’s what you want to keep in mind and here’s how you can move forward.” That’s the piece that if people are still struggling with is, “How do we help people who are being affected by these relationships?” It turns out that I do work with clients who are narcissistic. I feel like Sisyphus. I push the rock up and pull the rocks back down at the bottom of the hill over and over again. There’s very little change here.

Is narcissism on a spectrum?

Narcissism is usually seen from the perspective of the people who experience them rather than the narcissists themselves. Click To Tweet

It is on a spectrum. At the milder ends of the spectrum, you have someone who’s a bit more almost psychologically immature and emotionally stunted. They’re the people who are forever stuck in adolescence, poorly regulated, they concern themselves with somewhat more immature pursuits and concerns. They’re 60 years old and still got to make sure they have a hot girlfriend. There’s not a lot of substance, but they’re not harmful. They’re superficial. They tend to be validation seeking. At 65, they’re still doctoring up their images online so they look good on Instagram. There’s a stuntedness to it, but the malevolent cruelty. At the other end of the spectrum, that’s where we see people who are exploitative, manipulative, sadistic, dangerously paranoid, harmful, can be dangerous in close relationships, can be dangerous if they’re in your family, and not just dangerous from a criminal perspective, but psychologically.

What is narcissism?

Narcissism is a personality style that is characterized by a lack of empathy, entitlement, grandiosity, arrogance, a chronic need for admiration and validation, arrogance, superficiality, difficulty frustrating, difficulty in regulating emotional states related to things like frustration and disappointment, and poor stress tolerance. They have a need to control other people or at least control the narrative. They have tremendous hypersensitivity to criticism, hypocrisy. They can dish it out, they can’t take it. At the core of it all, they’re deeply insecure. That insecurity can come out as victimhood, sullenness, resentfulness, particularly if they don’t get their own way. When you first meet the narcissist because of the grandiose exterior, they can come off as very charming, charismatic and confident, which is why a lot of people get sucked.

Why is it important to understand narcissism?

It’s critical in the day and age in which we find ourselves to understand narcissism for myriad reasons. The foremost is so you don’t end up with somebody like this. To have an intimate relationship like this is not good for you. To marry someone like this is potentially physically dangerous for you. To try to raise kids with someone like this is going to mess up the kids and you, especially, if you get a divorce, and you face a very contentious custody fight. It also has implications for things like the workplace. A lot of people say, “This guy is toxic but it’s the best place in town to work.” Before you know it, your therapy bills outweigh any extra money you made working at such a hotshot place because that kind of toxic boss was unsettling.

This could be a family of origin issue. By understanding what these patterns are, people are less likely to personalize what happened in their family of origin and an invalidating manipulative parent, instead of it being the narrative one may carry of, “I’m not enough.” It’s rather that person was not fit to raise kids, “That wasn’t my fault. It was just my bad luck.” By understanding this, you can be a better gatekeeper for yourself. We do live in a world that enables these patterns, “Give them the benefit of the doubt. Give him a second chance. That’s just how he talks. That’s what she says. She doesn’t mean it. They don’t mean it.” We hear that all the time and people are like, “Every cell in my body is telling me this isn’t cool, but I don’t want to be the person who seems judgmental and dismissive.”

That’s how it happens. There are many enabling voices out there. We’re obsessed with forgiveness. You don’t need to forgive. You can let it go, but you don’t need to forgive somebody who had no problem dehumanizing you and invalidating you. I tell people, “Abuse is abuse regardless of the backstory.” People will often say, “This person had a rough start. Their dad was rough on them. Another parent was an alcoholic, so it’s hard for them to connect intimately with other people.” I say, “I feel for them, and I work with clients like that all the time. However, you were not put on this Earth to be their punching bag. Abuse is abuse regardless of the backstory. That’s why this is important to understand.”

ILBS 18 | Understanding Narcissism

Understanding Narcissism: People always get into relationships with narcissists because they don’t fully understand this condition.

 

It’s one thing to be compassionate and understanding of their situation, however, having boundaries. It’s like, “I can be sympathetic or empathetic this person. However, these are my boundaries. I don’t need to get into a relationship with this person.”

I call it compassion from a distance. I don’t want people who’ve gone through these relationships to find themselves in this position where they feel as though they’ve become the monster. They’ve gone into Nietzsche’s abyss and they’ve become the monster. That’s not a good feeling either. I said, “It’s not about becoming the monster and cutting off all compassion, but it’s also not about throwing yourself in headlong and continually getting hurt by this person. At some point you can say, ‘That person’s got a rough backstory. I hope they find their path. That path is not going to include me.’”

A lot of times, people attract the same type of person into their life. If a person attracts a narcissist, are they likely to continue attracting a narcissist the next time?

The reason that endless cycle happens of people getting into relationships with people who have these narcissistic styles is that they don’t understand it. This is why information and knowledge are everything because what will sometimes happen is a person will get into a narcissistic intimate relationship in adulthood, and it’ll go south. Perhaps even the narcissist will leave them or they’ll leave the narcissist, maybe the narcissist has cheated or something. They won’t understand what they left. They’ll say, “That was toxic. That didn’t feel good,” but they won’t understand some of the key elements like radical acceptance, “This is not going to change, and that there was nothing you could have done to make it different.”

If there’s a real exam and look at like, “This is what this is. This is the architecture. This is what was happening and this is not going to change.” When I see these particular patterns, these are red flags that it can’t be blindly going through the relationship and then going into another because you will pick the same person. I’ll often say when a person leaves a toxic relationship, I recommend one-year emotional dialysis, a type that’s recommended in sobriety to this concept is not being in a relationship. The same thing with narcissism. I say, “Give yourself a year because by giving yourself a year, you will become well acquainted with your rhythms, your values, what’s important to you and a new person will be less likely to come in and attempt to coop that because you had a chance to build that muscle.”

When I first got clean and sober, I followed the suggestion. I didn’t take it for a year and it was the best thing that I did because I got to dig, learn more about myself, learn to be with myself, I wasn’t relying on another person to make me happy, I wasn’t relying on external validation. Next thing you know, I was a healthier person. Therefore, I attracted a healthier person in my life.

You learned your no and saying, “This doesn’t feel good.” You learn to value yourself enough to lay down the boundary. Boundaries are something that people often don’t feel that they deserve to set. A person almost needs to get themselves elevated to learn their no.

You were not put on this earth to be a punching bag. Abuse is abuse regardless of the backstory. Click To Tweet

What is gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and manipulation where a person’s reality is doubted or denied. In its most simple form, it would be me saying to you something like, “You have no right to feel that way. It didn’t happen the way you said.” If some of that is not enough, you’ll say, “Maybe that didn’t happen.” People start doing things like surreptitiously recording conversations saying, “It did happen.” Sometimes it can even be literally physical manipulation of an environment where for example, to mess with you, a person might move the keys or move the television remote and you’ll say, “Where’s the key?” You might’ve usually put them in a bowl and the other person is like, “I didn’t move them,” but they did.

While any of those episodes are gaslighting episodes, as far as I see it, the way I see it is gaslighting is a grooming process, “Over time, you have no right to feel that way. That’s not a valid emotion. It never happened that way. I never said that. You seem to be losing your grip on reality. You’re forgetting things a lot lately.” You hear that enough 3 or 5 or 10 times a day. You have some level of trust in the gaslighter. They’re your spouse, family member, someone you know, and for some reason, you give some respect to them, they have even more power. By diminishing you through all this doubt, over time the gaslighter owns the person they’ve gaslighted. Before you know it, the gaslighted person is almost consenting in the sense that they’re capitulating. It’s almost like you’ve seen a cult that they’re going along with this new reality that’s been handed to them and they’re so confused that they want to fight back sometimes, but they almost feel as though they don’t know which way is up anymore. That’s gaslighting and it is honestly one of the prime pieces of artillery that a narcissist uses in a relationship.

Once the person is down, how do they get out of it?

It’s not easy at all. What ends up happening is that this term gaslighting is something that comes up in other literature like domestic violence and coercive control, people who are so beaten down in these relationships that they’ve lost their voice. Often, some of the ways we pull people out of this is returning their reality to them. As you know, doing the work you do, all trauma-informed therapy is based on validating the client’s reality. The best work that’s done with clients who’ve been gaslighted is therapists who are trauma-informed, that you let the client tell their story without judgment. You give them exercises to almost start getting acquainted with themselves. They can say, “I’m warm,” and say, “You’re warm, I can switch this thermostat.” Instead of saying, “I’m not warm.” The other person’s been gaslighted saying, “You’re right. It’s not warm.” We let the client own and be in their reality, then give them ways to practice that. You also help them build out new support networks where they are heard, seen and multiple opinions can be heard at the same time. You and I could have a conversation where I can share with you a feeling and you might say, “That’s an interesting feeling. Can you tell me more about that? That’s a hard feeling to have. It sounds like that was hard for you,” instead of you saying, “You have no right to feel that way.”

If a person has mental health issues, let’s say anxiety, bipolar depression, how does being in a relationship with a narcissist impact their mental health?

If a person has an existing mental health condition like anxiety or depression or any number of mental health issues, and they go into a relationship with a narcissist, we will see a significant exacerbation of their symptomatology. A depressed person will become significantly more depressed and may not even feel like they have the resources to fight the confused fight. An anxious person will get paralytic anxiety. A person who is living with bipolar disorder emits confusion. There could sadly even be issues with medication adherence, which could then place that client at greater risk for a manic episode.

ILBS 18 | Understanding Narcissism

Understanding Narcissism: Give yourself a year, and you will become acquainted with your rhythms and values.

 

There are people who go through these relationships and go on to develop significant anxiety, symptoms of depression, hopelessness, powerlessness, confusion, helplessness, rumination to the level that when they presented therapy, they do look like they have a Generalized Anxiety Disorder or PTSD or a Major Depressive Disorder. The core of it is being in one of these confusing relationships. Many times, simply educating the person about the relationship can help with that symptomatology. If a person has an existing mental health issue, one of these relationships could set them back years.

How does narcissism affect relationships and codependency?

It’s an interesting dynamic. I always tell people I’m very reluctant to initially use that term codependency when I look at a narcissistic relationship, and I’ll tell you why. Some of the issues around codependency in terms of the derivation of self-esteem by catering to the more difficult person in the relationship and often in an addiction framework doing the dance of two around the addiction, this is more in the narcissistic relationship. What we see is that one partner, the non-narcissistic or less narcissistic partner as it were, will keep making justifications for the narcissistic partner, which is a theme we see in codependency. Here’s the rub in a significant proportion of people who are living under these narcissistic relationship conditions, merely educating them on the narcissistic pattern.

Telling them, “Did you know that this is a thing and it’s never going to change?” They’re like, “What? This is never going to change?” I’m like, “No, never.” They’re like, “You’re telling me if I don’t do this or after he retires?” I’m like, “Never.” They’re like, “Thank you for telling me.” They call the attorney that night. That’s not codependency, that’s lack of information. I do think there’s a subset of clients, even armed with the information, even armed with knowing it’s not going to change, and will continue down the rabbit hole of justification, “Maybe I can try this differently, thanks. Let me go find a new therapist,” then you might see something that looks more like a codependent type of pattern where there’s such a strong trauma bond, but they cannot pull out of this problematic relationship. A pretty decent chunk of cases, once they understand what the writing on the wall is because no one told them, they’re like, “I’m getting out. I did not know this. Thanks.”

Let’s talk about the relation between narcissism and substance use disorder.

It’s high, and no pun intended, but let me tell you why that is. People who are narcissistic have a lot of trouble with regulating their emotional states, particularly when they’re stressed, frustrated, disappointed or if they feel abandoned. Under those conditions, people with narcissistic personality styles have a hard time regulating their emotions. What’s the best thing to turn to? Substances, and so they do. What we see with many narcissistic individuals is they have a natural draw to stimulants because it amps up the grandiosity. They’re already grandiose and this almost seems to make those grandiose defenses rock hard.

However, you will also see that people will use a numbing depressant type of substance or even substances like marijuana that feel like they cut through the anxiety because there’s more anxiety and narcissism than a lot of people realize. There’s a lot of social anxiety for narcissists who feel like they’re being judged socially. Because of that propensity, the likelihood for the co-occurrence of addiction and narcissism is quite high. In addiction, we see the reliance on defenses like denial and rationalization. Those defensive patterns are also very prominent in narcissistic patterns.

Narcissists may come off as charming, charismatic, and confident because of their grandiose exterior. Click To Tweet

We also see egocentricity in addiction that is also observed in narcissism. Here’s where things get dicey, especially for many families out there, they’re like, “He is such a jerk, so selfish and mean. I’m going to be glad when he goes through rehab and comes out because we’re going to get our guy back. We’re going to get our son back. We’re going to get our daughter back. We’re going to get them back.” The person goes to those 28 days, maybe they do six weeks of great rehab treatment. They come out, clean, sober, going to meetings, but they’re as much of a jerk as they always were. The narcissism tends not to go away in rehab.

One of the issues is there are a lot of rehab centers that don’t recognize narcissism that it’s all addiction all the time. By not recognizing that pattern, narcissism is going to increase the likelihood of relapse because when they’re out and even if they’re in a sober living situation, have a sober living companion, and going to meetings every day, frustration and disappointment and all that stuff is going to come into life. Life happens. Under those conditions, a person with a narcissistic personality is not going to be able to cope and they’re going to go to the quickest thing they’ve got, which are substances. If somebody is working with a narcissist who is in sobriety, what you want to do is play a little bit of a game with them and put so much pride and ego into their sobriety that they fight for it, because if you don’t make it about that, sometimes it’s hard for them to give over to a higher power because they’re grandiose enough to think that they’re that.

You are fighting a battle within Twelve-Step and that you almost need to invite their ego along for the ride, and get the ego invested in sobriety as though that’s the noble stance, and you might get some buy-in there. The families, spouses, adult children, when a person leaves rehab and they’re narcissistic, they might even be more irritable, more entitled and nastier than before because before, the substances might’ve even been masking some of the key antagonistic dynamics. It can get messy. A lot of people feel very frustrated when they see a narcissistic person who comes out of rehab and is back in their lives.

When a person gets clean and sober and they don’t do the “work” and dig deep, change their lifestyle habits, and change their behavior, they call that person a dry drunk. If a person goes to rehab, which is one of the purposes of this show, there’s more to getting clean and sober than just going to treatment and Twelve-Step meetings. How do you go about addressing the narcissism?

There has to be honesty about any mental health or addiction services practitioner working with these clients. Because addiction is often such an acute concern with the client like we want to get them safe, especially if they’re using something that’s putting their health in jeopardy, the acute need to focus centrally on the addiction and the substance or alcohol use, which totally makes sense. The challenge is that if that becomes the singular focus, that when the personality dynamics get missed, the work does need to be done in rehab around things like mindful awareness of how a person speaks to other people, the building up of self-reflective capacity on how the narcissist impacts other people, “Are you aware of how you spoke to that person? Are you aware of how other people are experiencing you? Can you please wait before you speak?”

Humility, like getting their hands dirty, inviting them into other people’s stories, and for them to be present with other people’s stories without contempt, means a well-trained staff that’s able to see through that and watch some of that narcissistic stuff play out even in their non-verbals: eye contact, engagement with the process, ability to engage in entitlement, “Let me have my phone. I could buy and sell you in one more minute.” The answer is, “No.” You might have people leaving against medical advice. You’re used to that. You’re an old pro at this. You’ve seen that entitlement. It’s about how you set that boundary and still keep people engaged.

It’s also to understand that sometimes you can’t break through the narcissistic defenses and you’re going to create whether it’s this dry drunk rubric once they leave. It’s those interpersonal dynamics. Some of them will say, “I want to stay sober because I don’t want to lose my business.” Sobriety is entirely linked to the business. It’s not the work but it’s like, “I still want to be a pillar of my community. I still want to make $1 million or $1 trillion.” It’s not about this engaging in the true deep work of Twelve-Step of getting your life back from addiction.

ILBS 18 | Understanding Narcissism

Understanding Narcissism: Even after getting sober, a narcissist can still relapse if their frustrations and disappointments continue every day.

 

They take the ongoing antagonistic patterns to continue and the investment in sobriety isn’t investment sobriety, it’s an investment in their business, which is all guaranteeing they’re going to not be sober at some point because the business is going to let them down. It’s not easy. However many times the average relapses post-rehab, multiply that by at least two with a narcissist, you’re going to have that many more relapses.

Is there a Twelve-Step program for narcissists?

There’s none. It’s an interesting way to think of it from the outset that they have to accept it, that this is what they’re always going to be to commit to change and making amends. A lot of the steps could be quite interesting in narcissism. The challenge is not by all means, but a substantial proportion of people who are narcissistic have no awareness that this is their pattern. When it’s pointed out to them, they may cop to it for a minute, but then immediately return to it and become barbed and difficult with anyone who tries to point it out. A lot of people say, “This isn’t even worth the fight.” Narcissistic individuals are 61% more likely to drop out of psychotherapy.

The odds of keeping them in for the long-term, especially when you start trying to drill down and do the deeper work, the first time a therapist says to them something, they don’t want to hear and pack it in and leave, and they’ll therapist jump. They’ll be dismissive of the whole enterprise, “This therapist will just take your money. They talk to you. Forget it, I can figure it out. I’d rather get a massage.” They will be very contemptuous and dismissive. It’s a defensive maneuver designed to protect them. The challenge would be though that the motivation for change is not nearly at the level you might see addiction because for a lot of these people, their narcissism is working for them. They don’t think it’s a problem. You’d see that as a majority level, rather than addiction but I think it’s an interesting thought.

They’re not happy, joyous and free, but on the outside, they look good. Maybe they’re making money, have a big house, own a business and seems to be going well for them, so that part they want to keep. They just want to stop using drugs.

That’s different in narcissism. For some of them, people will say like, “I don’t want to be a nice empathic guy. That means leaving money on the table. I don’t want to be a nice empathic person, that’s going to mean leaving money on the table or getting a worse deal.” The idea is like, “What if you got the worst deal?” It seems like the nature is you’re still walking off with a lot of money and now a lot more of the employees are going to get a better severance out of this. They’re like, “Why should they get my money?” You keep this wall that winning is important to them, that pulling them out of that un-empathic space can get challenging.

The Twelve-Step program is a program of honesty. It’s about behavior change, doing the next right thing, keeping my side of the street clean. If it is not in line with making more money, then why would they do that?

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It would be a tough sell in those situations. I know that Twelve-Step programs and meetings are very much user-led and user-guided. That feels like the foxes in charge of the henhouse. I don’t even know who’s going to run that meeting. Bless their hearts.

I’m a grateful recovery narcissist.

If they’re recovered narcissists, they are like, “I don’t want to be in a room with all you all.”

Are there some treatment centers that are geared more for people that are narcissists?

In terms of psychiatric?

An inpatient treatment center for somebody that’s an alcoholic or drug addict, but it’s like, “All the narcissists should go to this one,” or are they the more expensive one?

If anyone figured this one out, a treatment program, I don’t think it could be a 28-day, it would have to be longer, that was able to master the narcissism alongside the addiction, it would be worth its weight in gold. Some people proclaim to do it, but I don’t think they’re doing it. This isn’t the fault of the treatment centers. My read on the literature is that there’s absolutely nothing convincing in the narcissism treatment literature that shows long-term efficacy. What happens is that even in the scientific literature on the treatment of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it tends to be researched on very small samples. Sometimes it’s more like case reports. You can’t generalize from case reports. These are often courses of therapy that last 12 to 18 months, 2 to 3 times a week. I don’t know many people in the United States of America that can afford therapy with a highly-trained therapist, 2 to 3 times a week, and stay in for 12 to 18 months. That is available to less than 1/10 of the population.

Granted rehab is much more condensed so you’ve got the person around the clock, so it’s not outpatient extended for a year. You’re talking about someone specifically trained in these specific models and work at them while you’re still trying to manage sobriety. It’s a tall order. You need a uniquely motivated client, and then you need outside of that one heck of an outpatient therapist to work with them in perpetuity. That set up is almost impossible to achieve. I suppose if you had all of that, then sure. It’s a silly thing to proclaim. That’s like seeing if you moved a personal trainer, a personal chef and a personal something else in my house, I’d lose weight and I’d look like $1 million, I’m sure I would. I don’t have those things. It’s the same thing here.

ILBS 18 | Understanding Narcissism

“Don’t You Know Who I Am?”: How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility

The other thing is that they would have to want it.

My point is even if they want it, without that pristine top-drawer level of treatment, the first time frustration or disappointment or abandonment or stress crosses their path, they’ll snap. It means then that you create a life that doesn’t have those things in it. I don’t know what that means, it’s like living in some strange bubble.

In your experience, are there certain addictions that narcissists are more prone to?

They’re equally prone to all addictions because addictions at the core are regulatory deficits. The desire to regulate with something outside of the organism rather than to self-regulate. Drugs and alcohol are going to top the list, but people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder struggle a lot with gambling addiction, spending addiction, spending and acquiring shopping, they struggled with food and you’ll see co-located with eating disorders or at least very dysregulated eating behavior, either like extremes of starving for reasons of looking a certain way, getting almost obsessive-compulsive, “I’ll only eat this and that in a very certain way.” It’s over-controlled to almost offset the chaos of narcissism. You see a whole host of dysregulated patterns that will sit alongside narcissism, and often more than one.

Dr. Ramani, how can people learn more and find out more about you?

The best place to go is my website, Doctor-Ramani.com. If you go there, you’ll see links to everything that I do and the workshops I do. The other place I’d suggest to people is to go to my YouTube channel which is DoctorRamani. That is a trove of hundreds of videos on narcissism as it relates to families, relationships, workplace, why narcissists do the things they do? Why do survivors of these relationships do the things they do? All of that is there in a massive library of videos that you can look at, at no cost. There are lots of different ways. I have two books but all of that information is on my website.

Her YouTube channel is amazing. She’s got hundreds of videos that are awesome. Dr. Ramani, thank you so much. Thanks, everybody, for reading.

Important Links:

About Dr. Ramani Durvasula

Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, CA and Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles. She is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg. Additionally, she is the founder of LUNA Education, Training & Consulting, LLC, a company focused on providing content and education about high conflict and antagonistic personality styles such as narcissism and their impact on mental health, relationships, families, and the workplace.

Dr. Durvasula is also the co-founder of the Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Alliance, a collaborative professional group of therapists and coaches working with clients experiencing these relationships. She takes on entitlement and incivility in “Don’t You Know Who I Am”: How to Stay Sane in the Era of Narcissism, Entitlement and Incivility. She is the author of the modern relationship survival manual Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist, and of You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life. She also has a popular YouTube channel that focuses on narcissism and difficult relationships.

The focus of Dr. Durvasula’s clinical, academic and consultative work is the etiology and impact of narcissism and high conflict, entitled, antagonistic personality styles on human relationships, mental health, and societal expectations (and vice versa!). Her work has been featured at SxSW, TEDx, and on a wide range of media platforms including Red Table Talk, the Today Show, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, Bravo, and she is a featured expert on the digital media mental health platform MedCircle. Dr. Durvasula’s research on personality disorders has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and she is a Consulting Editor of the scientific journal Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Durvasula is an honest, authentic, and brutally honest voice on the struggles raised by narcissism in the US and globally.

Supportive Environments: Growth Occurs in a Fertile Garden

A rose grows best in a healthy garden. Provided with adequate, yet not overbearing, amounts of sunlight and water and fertile soil, a rose can blossom to its full potential. In a similar manner, when we are in recovery, we grow to our full potential within a supportive environment. We can become our best selves when we are nurtured with a sense of community and belonging. We thrive within stable and predictable structures. Much like a healthy garden, our environment can determine our potential for growth and change in recovery. Some of us may not have the proper resources for recovery in our current or past home environments. You may have attended short-term recovery programs for only a week or two, then returned prematurely to an unstable home life. The instability, lack of support and structure, and overall feeling of chaos may have led you right back to engaging in your past addictive behaviors.

The Revolving Doors of Treatment

Short-term recovery programs sometimes operate as if they have “revolving doors.” People go into treatment, live a sober life for a few days, feel confident in their recovery, go home, and then find themselves seeking help again only a few weeks later. What happens? Often, we do not have the resources at home to maintain our recovery. We might live with loved ones, who care for us but enable our behaviors. We could live in an area where access to our means of addiction—such as living near a local bar—is readily available. Living in unhealthy environments can lead to us feeling triggered and we can relapse. Then, the cycle of the revolving door treatment begins.

While short-term treatment programs have the best intentions, they may not always provide the adequate length of time necessary for us to change our behaviors. Humans are considered by many people to be “creatures of habit.” We thrive on routines and tend to resist change. Change, for many people, may seem scary. Even change for the better can open the door for more challenges that we may not be ready for. Short-term care may help us find some coping skills or tools to help us manage our addictions. However, if we are returning to an environment that triggers our unhealthy habits before we have had time to develop a truly healthy mindset, we may be doomed to fail and find ourselves going back into the revolving door treatment.

Healthy Environments for Recovery: The 5 Pillars of Recovery

What constitutes a healthy environment for recovery? Mainly, a safe and comfortable home that encompasses these five pillars of recovery:

  • Accountability
    • We need to be held accountable for our actions in order to change for the better. Sometimes, in our homes, we are not held accountable by our loved ones. Though they care for us, they may unintentionally enable our unhealthy habits.
  • Support
    • A healthy environment is made of both the place and the people. Finding support among peers, who are struggling with similar issues, will help you recover. They will understand what you are going through in a way that other individuals in your life may not.
  • Structure
    • Some of us may live in chaotic environments with a lack of routine or structure. We may not have the skills to build a routine and find ourselves lost throughout the day. Healthy environments are structured and predictable. We may struggle at first with healthy routines. However, as time passes, we can adjust and learn how to put more structure into our lives.
  • Community
    • A sense of having a connection with others who are striving toward common goals can help us feel a sense of belonging. Healthy environments help us feel like we are accepted for who we are. Having common goals with those in our immediate environment can help us find support in achieving our goals.
  • Purpose
    • Being in an environment that encourages us to find or to live out our purpose in life can set us on the right track to recovery. When we are surrounded by positive and encouraging people for adequate lengths of time, we can find a new way of looking at life.

Time For Change

Learning new behaviors takes time. A healthy environment for recovery treatment will allow for longer exposure to a supportive and structured space. Often, short-term recovery programs do not provide us with enough time to learn new skills or build resilience. Without building resilience and taking the necessary time to change our mindset, we may be unprepared to face our unhealthy environments and become tempted to utilize our negative coping skills. By spending time at a long-term treatment program or a sober living home, we will likely have an adequate amount of time to acclimate to our newly found sense of hope in recovery.

 

Have you been struggling with relapse due to “revolving door” treatment programs? Is your home environment enabling your unhealthy habits and behaviors? Have you learned healthy ways of living during a week-long recovery program only to find yourself falling back to your unhealthy habits? You may not have had enough time to learn new habits and skills. Learning how to recover from addictions and how to live a healthy lifestyle takes time. You are unlikely to master the skills necessary to maintain sobriety for a lifetime in a short-term treatment program. Camelback Recovery believes that recovery habits need to be fostered in a safe and supportive environment over a long period of time. We use the five pillars of recovery to teach you how to cope with life outside of treatment. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 for more information on how we can you or a loved one recover from addictions.

How Can Going to the Gym Help My Recovery from Addiction?

Many treatment facilities and sober living homes have been emphasizing the importance of physical health in sobriety. Some, like Camelback Recovery, even offer gym memberships to those attending their programs. What does exercise and going to the gym have to do with recovery from addictions? If addiction is rooted in the brain, how can physical activities help? Why are so many programs encouraging fitness in treatment? 

Addiction can be treated with holistic approaches, which involve both our physical and mental health. Holistic approaches are treatment methods and health habits that include strengthening the mind-body connection. We can help our minds recover by focusing on our physical health as well. During addiction, we may have allowed our physical health needs to fall by the wayside. We may have neglected healthy eating and exercise habits. Our physical health can impact how we feel and can play an essential role in our emotional regulation. 

Releasing “Feel Good” Chemicals

Exercise can help us manage anxiety and depression by burning off excess energy and releasing “feel good” chemicals in our brains. These chemicals are released in our minds when we do any physically exerting task. The “feel good” chemicals help us get through challenging physical exercise by rewarding us with good feelings in our minds. We may have used alcohol or other substances to release these chemicals artificially. However, alcohol, substances, or other addictions only provide temporary relief at a substantial cost to our overall physical health. The root cause of addiction may be an underlying issue with anxiety or depression (or both). By exercising or going to the gym during recovery, we can help to address this underlying issue by introducing a healthy habit into our lives.

Building Self-Esteem and Confidence

Exercising can provide us with challenges that we can use to boost our self-esteem and confidence. We can set goals in the gym and see the results as we watch our bodies change and grow stronger. When we accomplish goals or other physical achievements, we can notice a change to our mindset as we begin to believe in ourselves. We may be surprised at what we can accomplish in the gym! This confidence can carry over into other areas of our lives. If we can regularly tackle a challenge in the gym, we may feel more confident dealing with other obstacles on our path to recovery. 

Tips for Success in Exercise and Gyms

When we go to the gym, we may jump into the activity quickly and burn out within a few weeks. This can happen to a lot of people both in and out of recovery treatment. Gym memberships and attendance tend to spike following the New Year’s holiday, as people make vague health resolutions. As weeks go on, attendance drops as people fail to commit to their resolutions and new-found goals. Often, these people are unprepared for the commitment of building a weekly routine for their exercise goals. They also may not be prepared for the length of time required to form new habits and give up before giving themselves an appropriate amount of time to change. Here are some tips that we can use to be more successful in maintaining our exercise and gym routines:

  • Create a playlist of songs we enjoy. Music can help us focus on our exercise routines by cutting out other background noises that can be distracting. Music can also boost our mood or make us feel good or powerful! We might even find that we enjoy going to the gym as a time to listen to our favorite songs.
  • Pick the right time. Many people think that we have to work out in the mornings to get the best results. The truth is that the best time to exercise is whenever we are exercising! Finding a time that will work best for ourselves will help us stick to our new habits. For some people, this is before or after work. Others may have extended lunch breaks and can exercise at this time.
  • Go with a partner. Starting a new workout routine can be challenging to do alone. We might know someone else interested in our new goal. Our gym partner can help to support us and keep us motivated. They can also help to hold us accountable.
  • Set a goal. Our goals to exercise can be simple. We may want to keep a number in mind to help us stick to the plan. Our goal can be something like, “I will run on the treadmill for 20 minutes, three times per week.” Another goal may be, “I will complete a weight lifting routine four times per week.” (Bonus tip: when starting with exercise, set a goal around building the routine and not losing a specific amount of body weight, running a certain speed or benching pressing a set amount of weight.) As we build the habit of going to the gym or routine exercise, we can then start to work towards those other goals. Keep it simple at first!)

 

Physical health and wellness can go a long way in our recovery. We can open the door to forming new healthy habits, building new friendships, and building our self-confidence by exercising regularly. Many recovery treatment facilities and sober living homes emphasize the importance of maintaining our physical health needs as we form healthy habits during recovery. Addiction can take a tremendous toll on our physical selves. We may have gained weight or lost strength due to our bad habits. We may get winded easily and struggle to get through the day. By building up our physical selves, we can be strong to face the daily challenges of recovery! Camelback Recovery understands the critical role that healthy eating and exercise can play in addiction treatment. Call us at (602) 466-9880 to discuss how our sober living programs can help you with your whole-health needs!

Discovering Purpose: Why Are We Here?

An important aspect of being successful in your recovery experience is discovering your purpose. Your purpose drives you toward your life goals and can help to push you through challenging times. When we live a life of purpose, we feel connected to something beyond ourselves. “Purpose” is one of the pillars of recovery in many treatment programs. Without having a purpose in life, we may feel lost or we may easily stray from our recovery pathway. Having a purpose can give us a reason to wake each morning and face the challenges of the day. Some of us in recovery may have never thought about our life purpose in life. We may not know what we are looking for in life, as we may have been living day by day while dealing with our addictions. Working on discovering your purpose can take some time, as you need to think deeply about your life and what you truly value.

6 Tips for Discovering Your Purpose

If finding a purpose is new to you, here are some tips to help you discover your purpose in life:

  • Help Others: Volunteering can help you find your purpose in life. You may have a unique skill that can benefit others. You can even help your peers in recovery. Volunteering regularly can help you build relationships and connections with others. You may then discover a purpose as people come to value your help and your contributions.


  • Spend Time with Uplifting and Positive People: Start spending more time with people who inspire you or who make you feel good. If you find yourself spending a lot of time with negative people, who often weigh you down with their troubles or tell you that you cannot achieve your goals, you may want to spend less time with them. Uplifting and positive people can help you maintain the positive mindset needed to discover your passions and your purpose.


  • Explore Your Interests: How do you spend your free time? Do you watch specific types of television shows that might indicate an interest of yours? What things do you like to learn about? Start to explore the things that interest you. These could be new hobbies or new places to travel. Maybe you want to learn an instrument or take up yoga. Try something new to expose yourself to new experiences.


  • Thinking Back to Our Childhood: When we were children, most of us had an idea of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Your childhood dreams might still be attainable. Try to think back on those times and see if those things still excite you.


  • List Your Heroes: Who do you admire? These could be fictional characters or real people. They could be people you know or they could be people you have only heard about in the media. Think about who you admire and why you admire them. We often admire people who have characteristics we would like to have ourselves. Knowing these characteristics might help you understand what you value and can direct you toward your purpose.


Making Sense of Your Purpose

Sometimes, we get caught up in specific details when we look for purpose in life. We may have the idea that only one or two specific things will make us happy and fulfilled. You may find it helpful to simplify your life’s purpose into one or two sentences. To simplify your purpose, you need to look at the underlying motivation for your actions. For example, if you wanted to be a fireman when you grew up, you might consider connecting with a local fire company to volunteer. If your community may not have any opportunities available, you can consider your fundamental motivations. Why did you want to be a fireman? Did you want to help people? Did you like the sense of adventure? Figuring out why you are passionate about something can help guide you to your life’s purpose. Understanding what you truly love about a hobby or an interest can point you in the direction of more things that you may find fulfilling. Knowing what you care about—or who you care about—can also help you focus on being the best version of yourself. Keep in mind that finding purpose is a process. Be flexible and open to the multitude of avenues presented to you as you discover your purpose. Overall, having a purpose will help you in recovery because you will contribute to something greater than yourself. 

 

Discovering your life’s purpose can be a rewarding exercise unto itself. Open yourself up to the process of understanding your passions and the things you care about. Engage in this process as you work on your recovery. Once you know your purpose, you will have something to strive toward to make the world a better place. You will be able to focus on your recovery, as you will best serve others when you have first helped yourself. At Camelback Recovery, we believe that having purpose is one of the pillars of recovery. We teach our clients about our five pillars of recovery: accountability, support, structure, community, and purpose. We believe these pillars are fundamental to the recovery process. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 to begin your recovery journey!

How Is Technology Helping Those in Addiction Recovery?

Advances in technology have impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. For those of us struggling with addiction, technology has helped us in many ways, like providing assessments, finding services, gaining information, and maintaining support. While many of these advances are helpful, some negative consequences, like cell phone addiction, have been commonplace. The key is to find a balance to gain benefits and minimize unintended consequences. We need to be cautious and verify information found on the internet. We also could become addicted to cell phones or other devices.

Access to Self-Assessments

Some people may be unsure of what their underlying issues may be. They may feel confused or misinformed about their behaviors and thoughts. Online, there are hundreds of mental health and addiction assessments available for people to take. Self-assessments are relatively quick and easy to complete. While they may not provide a comprehensive evaluation, self-assessments can help people narrow down some of their issues and can point people in the right direction towards getting help. We must also be sure to verify with our doctor or a medical professional about any problems uncovered during an online self-assessment. A self-assessment is not a diagnosis; however, self-assessments can help us open up a conversation with professionals to begin finding appropriate help.

Finding Services and Treatment Facilities

The internet has provided an easy way for people to search for services when they need help. Searching the web can help us find treatment facilities or out-patient clinics in our area. We can also find support groups in our community by completing an online search. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have a substantial online presence, which can help us find 12-Step programs in our communities. Treatment facilities and sober living homes, like Camelback Recovery, have been using technology and social media to spread their message of recovery and hope to those in need.

Access to Knowledge and Information

When in recovery, we may struggle with a specific issue and can benefit from more knowledge on the topic. Online magazines and blogs can provide a wealth of information ranging from tips on remaining sober to information on treatment facilities. We might find information on cooking healthy meals, exercise routines, yoga practices, mindfulness exercises, and other activities that we can engage in to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some apps offer entire exercise plans and even meal plans to help us. Unfortunately, we also have to be mindful of misinformation. Due to the ease of posting information online, people may post things that are not true or even harmful. Be sure to review the source of your information carefully to see if the information is valid. Sources from trusted publications or government websites are often more reputable than online forums, where anyone can freely post whatever they want–accurate or not!

Maintain Support During Lockdowns and Restrictions

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone in our world. The disruption in our lives and routines has left many of us struggling with our mental health. While under lockdowns or other social restrictions, many of us felt alone and had a difficult time maintaining a support system. Technology has helped many people continue getting the support they needed during lockdowns. Apps, like Zoom and Facetime, allowed for people to continue meeting with their counselors or engaging in group therapy sessions. They also helped people maintain contact with family members and other supports. Telehealth sessions have become popular for medical appointments and screenings to provide help while minimizing contact in public spaces.

Issues Arising from Technology

Technology also has some negative consequences. Some people find themselves addicted to their phones or feel anxious to stay up to date with social media continually. Push notifications can be intrusive and disruptive to our daily lives. When entering treatment, cell phones might be a distraction to those who need to focus on their recovery. Many apps have been developed to help people curb their cell phone usage by limiting the number of times social media apps are opened or limiting our daily screen time. We can look at our phone usage in our setting menu to get an idea of which apps dominate our time on cell phones. People in recovery from addiction are also prone to cell phone addiction. They may replace their drinking or drug habits with excessive phone usage. Finding healthy habits, like exercise and healthy eating, can replace our bad habits more effectively. When we engage in recovery, we find healthy ways of living that can help us resist replacing our practices with other addictive behaviors.

 

Technology can be a handy tool for those in recovery. We can find services, information, support systems, or self-assessments online. We can also use technology to maintain contact with our support system and medical professionals when direct connection is not an option. Some issues can arise from the use of technology, like cell phone addiction or misinformation. We must be careful to find information from trustworthy sources. We also should be mindful of our usage on devices, as they may distract us from sobriety and from living our lives. Camelback Recovery has been using technology and social media to provide information for those suffering from addiction. We have a social media presence to spread our message to others in need. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 for more information about our sober living homes!

Structure and Routine: Pillars of Recovery

Building a routine is a key component of many recovery programs, and establishing structure is considered an important pillar in the recovery process. For some of us at the beginning stages of our recovery, we may be missing structure in our lives. When we lack structure, we may feel that life is chaotic and unpredictable. If we feel this way, our recovery may take a backseat, as we are merely trying to navigate through the chaos of our daily lives. We may feel that we have little control over our daily lives if we are not adhering to a structure or a routine. Many recovery treatment programs and sober living homes can help you build a routine outside of treatment. These treatment programs often have structured activities and expectations to help get you on the right path and regain control of your day.

Routines: We Are Creatures of Habit

Most of us follow some sort of habitual routine. Human beings tend to be “creatures of habit.” Our bodies function optimally when we fall asleep and wake up around the same time each day. We generally eat three meals a day, and many of us have days that are structured similarly by going to work. Establishing routines help us to accomplish our daily tasks with less resistance. When we have a routine, we know what to expect each day and feel more in control of our lives. We can benefit from re-examining our daily structure every once in a while to form healthier and more efficient daily routines. We can learn how to be more proactive in our planning and scheduling; this enables us to find more time for fulfilling activities. Some of our addictive behaviors may be triggered by boredom; structure helps us to stay focused and occupied.

Scheduling for Mental Health and Stability

We may fantasize about having no obligations: free days with no expectations or things to do; days with no schedule to maintain, where we can do as we please. While this may be a pleasant thought when we feel overwhelmed, creating a schedule can help us find the structure we need to overcome the chaos in our lives. When we are in a daily routine of only going to work, coming home to watch TV, and then going to bed, we get lost in the humdrum of our lives. We may feel unfulfilled, yet feel unable to make any changes. Creating a schedule can help you build a healthy lifestyle for recovery. Some of our unhealthy habits occur due to a lack of preparedness to fulfill some of our basic needs. 

Some of us may want to eat healthier meals, yet we feel like we do not have the time to prepare meals. We then microwave frozen foods or eat fast food, because we need to eat. We then feel like eating healthy is impossible. If we create a schedule to structure our eating habits, we can replace our unhealthy habits with healthy ones. We can start by scheduling a specific day of the week and a time to go grocery shopping. We can start planning meals weekly or by setting time aside to learn healthy recipes. Once we build these activities into our routine, we will be less tempted to make unhealthy choices at the last minute.

What about planning for fun? Some of us who are new to recovery, may resort to our addictive behaviors out of boredom. We may engage in unhealthy behaviors when we have nothing else planned during our free time. Structuring fun and fulfilling activities into our day can help us resist the temptation to go to the bar or to visit old friends, who trigger our old behaviors. By allocating time to engage in a new hobby or spending time with healthy people, we can curb our temptations to make unhealthy choices out of boredom or loneliness.

Structure for Recovery

Many recovery treatment programs may require that you schedule your day around activities and sessions conducive to your wellness. Often, long-term treatment programs and sober living programs have expectations that you maintain a routine during your stay. Having a structure will hold you accountable for participating in your recovery, and will make keeping appointments easier for you. By building a healthy and structured daily routine, you will find that the pathway to wellness will become easier. By having structure, you are being proactive and getting out ahead of your triggers before letting your day control you. By planning your daily routine, you are taking charge of your life and are taking a healthy step on the pathway to recovery. 

 

Many recovery programs and sober living homes have a daily structure, which you will be expected to adapt to. While this structure may feel restricting as you first engage in the program, you will likely find that having structure rids you of the uncertainty and anxiety that affects your day-to-day life. Structure is one of the key aspects of recovery. Learning to build a routine is a healthy habit that will help you minimize your temptations to engage in addictive behaviors. Camelback Recovery emphasizes building a routine and having structure during our recovery treatment program. We can teach you how to build a routine and alleviate the feeling of a chaotic lifestyle. Call us at (602) 466-9880 to get started with your recovery today.

Does the Food I Eat Affect My Mental Wellness?

We have often heard the phrase “you are what you eat,” but does the food we eat actually have that much of an impact on us? The short answer is “yes.” Eating healthy meals and choosing nutritional foods can have an impact on both our physical and mental health.

The mind and the body are connected and many wellness recovery programs emphasize the importance of the mind-body connection. The “mind-body connection” refers to the idea that our physical health can affect our mental health and that our mental health can affect our physical health.

The mind and the body relay messages to one another about how we feel. When we feel sick or ill, we tend to also feel “down” or “blue.” During physical exercise, our minds release a rush of “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins that improve our mood. The foods we eat impact our physical well-being, and, by the mind-body connection, impact our mental wellness.

Replacing Unhealthy Diets with Healthier Options

A large part of recovery is replacing our unhealthy habits with newer, healthier habits. While we may think of recovery as a means of just controlling or changing our addictions, recovery is more accurately described as the process of making healthy life changes.

For most of us in recovery, we may not have learned the best ways to care for ourselves. We may have neglected our physical health and mental well-being while engaging in self-destructive, addictive behaviors. Most 12-step programs and recovery treatment may only focus on addressing our addictions.

Programs like these can be incredibly beneficial components of our recovery treatment. However, recovery involves much more than addressing our addictions. Recovery is about changing our way of life to develop healthy habits that we can utilize for a lifetime.

Holistic approaches that incorporate ideas from the “mind-body connection” can greatly enhance your current treatment. Your diet is one of these areas that you might be overlooking.

What We Eat Can Affect How We Feel

Anything that we put into our bodies will have some effect on our minds and our moods. Some foods will make us feel hyper and lead to a crash, like foods that are high in sugar. A “sugar crash” can make us feel moody and depressed for a short time.

Foods with high amounts of calories can leave us feeling tired as our bodies digest the food. We might feel like we have less energy as our body needs to divert its attention to the process of digestion. Other foods can affect our gastrointestinal systems, giving us heartburn or leaving us feeling bloated.

Those of us who experience heartburn may have a difficult time sleeping due to the painful sensations in our bodies. When our sleep is affected, our moods can become negatively impacted. We may feel tired and irritable throughout the next day.

Some foods, while leaving us feeling full and satiated, may not provide the nutritional content that we need to feel our best. Many people have deficiencies in certain minerals or vitamins that can alter the way that they feel. If we are experiencing any co-occurring mental health disorders while in recovery, we might benefit from checking with our doctors about any underlying medical issues that may be increasing our symptoms.

Some doctors might recommend blood work to verify whether or not a vitamin deficiency can be affecting our moods and mental health. Our doctors may even refer us to a nutrition specialist or dietician for ideas on how we can improve our eating habits. Doctors might also recommend dietary supplements to improve your mental health.

Making Small Improvements to Change Our Eating Habits

Healthy eating habits may be overwhelming for some of us to start. We may not know how to cook or what kinds of foods to eat. We can start by making some small improvements. For example, if someone is experiencing difficulty sleeping and they drink sugary sodas before going to bed, they might benefit from drinking water or some other sugarless, decaffeinated beverage later at night.

If someone eats a lot of fast foods because they feel rushed, they can ask for water instead of soda and resist the urge to “super-size” their meal. Sometimes, we do not eat enough during our busy days and then overeat later at night with unhealthy snacks.

We can plan for our day by packing healthy snacks, like dried fruits or nuts, to keep us from getting too hungry throughout the day. Overall, making some small changes with our eating habits can have a big impact on our daily lives. Take time today to consider your eating habits and how they might be affecting your mental health and well-being.

New research is coming out to highlight the effects of nutrition on our mental health. During our busy lives, we may feel too pressed for time to plan for healthy meals. We may be overlooking our eating habits and not prioritizing meal planning. When we are not planning or considering the importance of our diets on our overall health, we may eat fast foods with low nutritional content. We might also neglect to eat well throughout the day, which can lead to overeating at the end of the day. When we feel hungry, yet rushed to eat, we might be consuming whatever is immediately available with little regard for the impact the food will have on us. Camelback Recovery understands the importance of replacing unhealthy eating habits with healthy ones to improve our overall health. We provide healthy foods for our participants and even help with cooking meals. We believe that healthy eating habits are just one of the many ways to achieve the healthy lifestyle you may be seeking in recovery from addictive behaviors. Call us today at (602) 466-9880 to speak with our staff about our treatment program.

 

What Are Some Self-Care Activities That I Can Do for Recovery?

Self-care in recovery refers to activities that can help you improve your mental and physical health. Self-care activities are completed with the sole intention of doing something for yourself. For many in recovery from addictive behaviors, you may not know the value of scheduling activities that are meant to decrease your anxiety or just do things to make you feel good.

While you may be using your addictive behaviors as a way of treating yourself, self-care activities do not take away from your recovery. While you might engage in addictive behaviors thinking that they will help you feel good, addictions have detrimental short-term and long-term effects on you.

Addictive behaviors, like sexual addiction or drug and alcohol addictions, may have been a negative coping skill that you used to manage stress or relieve feelings of depression. However, your addictions may have left you feeling guilty or shameful afterward. They also may have been negatively impacting your physical well-being.

Self-care activities are activities that are rewarding and meaningful to you. Unlike addictive behaviors, self-care activities are completed to leave you feeling positive and healthy afterward. Self-care involves doing things that will not negatively impact your mental and physical health.

You may have never learned to do healthy activities for the sole benefit of helping yourself. Self-care activities can range from simple acts of maintaining your hygiene to learning new activities. The purpose of self-care is to act with intention and to be aware that you are completing a task or engaging in activity to do something just for your happiness.

When thinking of self-care activities keep the following three tips in mind:

  1. Plan the Activity: You may resort to negative coping skills when you do not plan an activity for your health and well-being. You might fall back to bad habits when you have not scheduled time for yourself. Put the activity on a calendar or set a reminder on your phone.
  2. Do Something You Enjoy: You may be tempted to try something new that is challenging or something you feel others would want you to do. Although some of your goals may be in line with self-activities, self-care is primarily meant for your enjoyment. You do not need to set a goal or an expectation. The point is to do something that just makes you feel good.
  3. Keep It Simple: You do not need to invest a huge amount of time in your self-care activities. To give an idea of how much time you can spend, some recovery treatment programs encourage you to engage in self-care activities for at least five hours per week; this is less than one hour per day. Remember that you are the only person responsible for self-care. Just giving yourself a little bit of time each day can be a huge improvement in your overall wellness!

Common Self-Care Activities

Here is a list of examples of self-care to give you an idea of where to start. This list is by no means comprehensive. However, this can help you brainstorm to discover your activities:

  • Spending time outdoors
  • Spending time with a pet
  • Journaling
  • Reading a book or magazine
  • Yoga
  • Taking a short walk
  • Listening to music
  • Drawing
  • Completing hygiene tasks, like combing your hair or dressing well
  • Making your bed
  • Cooking a healthy meal for yourself
  • Gardening
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Meditation
  • Taking a nap
  • Taking a bath
  • Exercise
  • Adult coloring books
  • Cleaning your personal space

Forming Healthy Self-Care Habits in Recovery

The sole purpose of self-care is to take time for yourself and engage in a healthy activity. You may have formed the habit of engaging in negative and unhealthy activities to feel good in the past. Now is the time to replace those habits. Thinking of scheduling time for yourself as a way of being your own self-care coach.

You are telling yourself that you deserve to do something fun that makes you happy. You may feel like self-care is selfish or you may feel guilty taking time out of your day for your own benefit, but it is okay to take a break for yourself.

By scheduling this time for yourself, you are reinforcing the notion that you are important and deserve recovery. You are valuing yourself and caring for yourself in a way that only you can do. Remember that you are the best expert on what you need to do to be happy and healthy.

You alone know what best makes you feel good. You may have never learned the value of setting aside a few minutes to an hour each day just to do something you love. Permit yourself to engage in a self-care activity by starting today.

You are the best advocate for yourself. If you do not speak up for yourself, who else will? You may not have learned how to care for yourself. You may feel burdened by the needs of others or bogged down by the requirements of each day. Sometimes you might feel like you have no control at all over what you do every day. By scheduling a self-care activity for just a short amount of time each day, you can learn to value yourself and improve your mental health and well-being. Take time to engage in a healthy activity that makes you happy! At Camelback Recovery we encourage our participants to engage in self-care activities for at least five hours each week. Call us to begin your path to health and wellness today at (602) 466-9880.