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12-step programs and other well-meaning groups have done a lot of good in the world. But they’ve also ruined people’s sense of freedom and joy. 

These programs try to help members escape addictions, but accidentally traumatize people into thinking they’re the only way to treat addiction, depression, and anxiety. 

The truth is there isn’t only one way to overcome addiction, self-loathing, anxiety, or depression. And you should steer clear of any program which says they’re the only way. 

In this episode, I’m revealing different and slightly weird ways to overcome your suffering (especially if programs, therapists, and other methods never worked for you).  

Show highlights include:

  • The cold, hard truth about why seeing a therapist never worked for you (and the oddball physical alternative that can finally flip your life around) (5:54) 
  • Why addiction, depression, and anxiety don’t exist (and how pretending they exist creates a self-fulfilling prophecy that sabotages your sanity) (7:16) 
  • How suppressing horrible bouts of PTSD amplifies your PTSD (and how embracing your wretched fears finally frees you from it) (9:40) 
  • The “Movie Method” which helps you overcome your worst emotional and psychological trauma (12:31) 
  • How to weaponize “trauma” so you can conquer internal psychological warfare that’s keeping you from freedom (15:50) 
  • The insidious way 12-step programs and other well-meaning programs plant dangerous “trauma seeds” that imprison you (17:19) 

If you want to radically change how much control you have over your emotions in as little as 20 days, you can go to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and sign up for the Choose Your Own Emotion course. 

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

If you’d like to buy a copy of my book, Is That Even Possible?: The Nuts and Bolts of Energy Healing for the Curious, Wary, and Totally Bewildered, you can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/That-Even-Possible-Healing-Bewildered/dp/1512336041


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It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F-word here: Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same—and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it. [00:27.6]

Bob: Alright, welcome back to another episode of the Alive and Free Podcast. Today, what’s beautiful about this podcast is we're going to talk about trauma again. Now what's beautiful about this podcast is over the last, this is the 97th episode, I think. And so over the last year and a half or so, what I've done, the work I've done, the kinds of people I've been able to help, the stuff that's happened has evolved, just like my ideas have evolved around addiction and depression and anxiety. And like the methods that I use to help people have evolved from the beginning of the time that I worked with people. Right at the very beginning, I had only figured me out and I didn't even know why it worked or anything else like that. I just knew that Holy cow, I am feeling free, I'm not struggling with temptation, I'm not feeling the need to go back. All of these things that happened in a massive shift had happened inside my life because I had really taken the reins for the first time. [01:28.6]

And I didn't do anything with it other than really enjoying my freedom for several years until I was struggling with business. And I had a guy tell me, look, there's a lot of people struggling with this and they don't know how to fix it, you should go help them. And I didn't even think about that before, I had been running three jobs trying to make ends meet. And this was a guy who was like, look, no dude, this is a big problem. There's plenty of people out there suffering, you should be able to finally support your family while doing this and you want to go, there's a lot of people that need help and they don't know how to solve it. So go help them. And so initially I was like, okay, well, cool. I was terrified because now that meant putting online my life story and sharing with people, how much I had been such an a-hole to my wife and family and my kids to a problem that in Christian circles and other circles, you can tell people, you were once a heroin addict and they'll praise you. But you tell people, you were once a porn addict and often they will look at you like maybe you're still a pervert and maybe it's not okay to be around you, just a different kind of taboo. And it doesn't always happen that way, that's a generalization of course. And so like, it was terrifying. And I remember doing the very first video and like, I was literally almost dry heaving on the side, like I was having emotional breakdowns on the side because it was so hard for me to say those things on camera in front of others. [02:55.1]

But if anybody was going to believe that it was worthwhile and that it was to be free of it, despite everyone else saying it's not, then they needed to hear my story and they needed to hear what had happened and they needed to hear the change. And so, video after video, I put together about an hour's worth of video, people watching three different parts. One of them was my wife talking and it was rough. And then finally I got the first few people that signed up and they signed up purely on faith. They were like, look, I don't know, I've tried everything else, I just need help. So just show me what you did. So, I tried all kinds of things on them and boy where they gallant and they stayed with me for a number of months. And some of the things that I found were very, very effective across the board and others only work for certain people. And step-by-step, it took me about eight months to figure out a general set of exercises to take people through that would really produce a pretty consistent amount of sense of freedom and control, but still there was a lot of customization that needed to happen. [03:51.8]

Then along comes, then I put that together into a process and started getting more people to go through it and then kept tweaking and refining and changing. And then I built the Choose Your Own Emotion Program later, which was a standalone program and much more robust about the emotional component than I'd ever done before we filmed a back in touch program, Jasmine and I did to kind of talk to people about relationships, which now we would do very, very differently. Though, those are good exercises and good experiences back then, and root issues were things I had to figure out how to find another people and help them dissolve them. I developed processes to help them change their relationship to memories that had happened, release abuse and trauma. And then I started helping people that weren't even dealing with porn It was depression or anxiety, and then it was other types of addictions like food, or, they were dealing with OCD and BI and they weren't even telling me this. They were just coming to me with problems and I was adjusting and refining the processes that I had been developing over time so that they could get results. [04:51.3]

Has everybody, every single person that’s gone through these processes had incredible successes with it. No, just like with any program, there are people that bail, but a massive amount of people really has had incredible shifts and changes with, with everything that's been out there. And many of them in permanent changes with just a few weeks of work or some people, one meeting and that was enough and other people, six months of work. And so, a lot of it, and we're sitting probably in the 70 ish percent success rate in there, and that's hard to measure because a lot of people, they just kind of go on their merry way and some people, they didn't finish the program so, I assume it's a failure. And then I hear back from them later and they're like, no, no, I've just been enjoying my, my life without the addiction and without the depression and without this stuff. And so I really appreciate it, but they had disappeared after a couple of weeks. So, it could be a higher success rate, it could be slightly lower depending on how success rates are reported, I don't know. But all along the way, my ideas have been transforming and changing and becoming more and more refined as I've met with more and more people now, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people and listened to them. And then I started running retreats and watching them in concert and helping them with physical things that you just can't, you can't do it in a therapy office. There are no therapists on the planet that will be allowed to do some of the things that I do because the, the way that their industry is regulated, it doesn't mean they're bad people just means that some of these processes are off limits for them, physical processes, training processes, extra relationships that extend well beyond the therapy office. Even though these are things that have been shown in research to be exceptionally effective and some of the most potent causes of success in therapy are the relationship with the therapist and the belief in the modality, right. [06:30.2]

And that, so it has little to do with what's actually there, but even some of the things that they've talked about in their research around experiential learning and whatnot, they just can't right now, that may change. But for now, they can't and that's okay. That's, that's totally fine. They're still helping a lot of people out there. But I started doing these in person events and watching massive transformations happen in just a few days where people would leave and Holy cow lives massively turned around. Marriages just reinvented and huge momentum. And then still a couple of dips here and there after an event, because they're still trying to figure out how to make it all work in their life. And so, there's some support and things we've done. And over this whole time, the question in my mind has been what is really going on now, if you've listened to any of these podcast episodes, you recognize that I don't look at addiction as anything more than a concept. It's not a real thing. I don't look at depression as anything more than a concept or anxiety as anything more than a concept. Useful concept to talk about certain things, but not really what you're dealing with when you're talking about what's going on with a human life in any given moment. [07:34.4]

And if we start looking at, Oh no, I'm dealing with this concept called addiction, we usually end up making the problem worse, causing more pain and making it harder to address what's really going on in any given situation. And one of the things that I also only look at as a concept is the idea of trauma. Now I did an episode on this awhile back. I still, I think stand by everything I said in there, but now I want to look at it in a different way. Trauma is a blanket term that has been used to describe a series of let's say results from certain things. So blunt force trauma, meaning like you get punched in the head, there are blood vessels there that are broken. There are maybe bruises. There are maybe cracks in the head or something like that. And the residual effect of that event, that is true, that is real. But no, a molecule of that is a molecule of trauma. Does that make sense? There's molecules of blood, there's molecules of skin and flesh. There are cells, there are all of these things, but there's not one iota of trauma that's really there. So, when people talk about a trauma, that's a physical trauma, they're using it as a blanket term to cover all of the different things that are there that are happening, that could be problematic, right. [08:50.9]

Well, people get traumatized by other stuff, so emotional trauma, something happens and you have things like PTSD. Well, what is PTSD? PTSD is when a person is walking through a situation in life and in a current situation, something happens that reminds them instinctively of something else that was possibly life-threatening or intense. And in that one moment, in that one moment, their mind jumps to that other event and they're playing it out. And sometimes it's so severe that they're not even conscious of what they're physically doing because their mind is in another place. So, PTSD is a term post-traumatic stress disorder is a term that can be used to describe somebody whose mind is anywhere, but in this moment, because it's off gallivanting in other areas. Now, often this happens with people who've gone to war and we don't want to downplay anything that's happened. But what is that, there isn't a molecule of trauma. There, there is an event that has been left unprocessed in the past, that they never got a chance to really fully just allow to pass through them and be done with. And so, it's still sitting there and then anything that's similar to, it feels the same and so their body's still going through this whole process, trying to get rid of it. Suppressing that response is suppressing the wisdom of the body. [10:09.6]

You don't necessarily want to suppress that response. Obviously, you want to make sure you're safe and nobody else is in danger. But beyond that, you don't necessarily want to suppress that response any more than you want to suppress a seizure. You just want to make sure they're not going to hurt themselves. And the same thing goes for other types of traumas. So, I want you to look at trauma from a different perspective. It isn't a real thing. There isn't a molecule of trauma floating through a soldier's body that somehow randomly does stuff. No, no. This is a psychological thing. It's a blanket term to use now in this case for any emotional or physiological reaction to things, right. An event happened, and we have some psychological response to that event that is compulsive that's happening on its own. And we'll use that to discuss trauma. [10:59.0]

Often people use the term trauma to describe, you know, oh man, he triggered my trauma and all this other stuff. And it's a term they're using to describe an emotional situation. There's nothing wrong with them using the term, I want you to know this. In the past, I would probably beat on people about it or something like that, but you can use whatever terms you want. My only question for you is, is the way you're using the words you're using, actually helping you find freedom and joy, or is it keeping you stuck in that place. Too many people use the term survivor to describe abuse and whatnot. Well, survivor is empowering for a lot of people, so they use it, but it also has this negative side effect of making your identity linked to what happened. That means you cannot, you are not you without that. It is part of who you are. It has defined you. Is that really who you are? Is that really who you were born as? Are you suggesting that the soul that is in your body, that whatever that being is that's within you, that it's definitely, the definition of what that is, is survivor that somehow you were born and that was already part of you, and then it manifested later in your life? Is that what you're suggesting? [12:06.7]

Or can we simply just say that the events happened and yes, you did survive them, obviously you're still alive, and they created some sort of imprint, like a footprint in the sand. And then enabled to, in order to shift that, yeah, we got to make sure that that sand is exposed to wind or water or whatever else is doing some things to that, that can be changed, right. But there's just an imprint left. That's been yet as yet unprocessed. So, I want you to look at trauma in a slightly different way. How does trauma occur? Trauma ultimately is a seed idea that you have about yourself in a world in the world that happened at a time of intensity, intense emotion, intense physicality, often both of those combined. So, some kind of intense emotion or intense experience or intense physicality that is combined with some idea that gets planted. So, look at this, right? If a person is abused physically or raped or something like that, they're having a very intense, physical, emotional, intimate experience right there in that moment, energetic experience. And in that moment, somebody overpowers them and there can be the, see that they're weak or they're vulnerable. And that idea whether it came from somebody else telling them that and badmouthing them in their face, or an idea that showed up inside their head, that idea now feels like it's more real than what's actually happening because it happened at a time of intense emotion. [13:28.8]

And so, it feels exceptionally powerful. We do this with movies, there's intensity in a movie, and then that's the way it feels like it's happening, even though it's not, your body is reacting to the situation because of the emotion that's happening, there's intense emotion. And it feels like it's real to your body. Even though, you know, it's not happening still, it feels very, very real. And what happens in a movie can’t control your life in very many ways, because trauma is neither good, nor bad. It is simply an idea that gets planted and is watered and fertilized by intense emotion and experience. That's it! [14:05.0]

If you or someone you know is looking to drop the F-bomb of “Freedom” in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or wants some help doing it. Head on over to thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and check out some of the things we've got in store for you or book a call so we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. [14:32.0]

So, you can have positive trauma and you can have negative trauma. Most people talk about trauma as a negative thing, but I want you to know this there's such thing as positive trauma. Positive trauma is an intent, an idea planted at a time of intensity. So, let's say you win something over and over. You have an amazing experience going down you're a ski Hill for the first time and you make it to the bottom. And suddenly in that comes this idea like, Holy cow, I can do this. You've just been traumatized in a positive way. Meaning the seed has been planted and now can continue to grow on its own. That's a key point. Trauma, what we're calling trauma is whatever idea that gets planted that can finally start growing on its own because he got watered by the intensity of experience and emotion. That's it. [15:26.1]

So, when we're looking at traumas, what we're looking at is any idea that a person has about themselves or the world at large, that is growing on its own and controlling their life without their conscious agreement, right. Now, obviously physical injury is just physical injury, I wouldn't necessarily call that trauma, but if there is an emotional psychological component, now I would start talking about it in terms of trauma. Sure. Guess what? When you're going to any place for healing, they're also traumatizing you. When I take people through the retreats, I'm using the ideas around trauma in order to help them plant different seeds in their psyche and in their mind and in their heart so that those can grow on their own. But I am not giving them the ideas. You always have to be careful when you're planting seeds, when you're doing it deliberately, whether you're hypnotizing somebody and having them go through an experience or something else, because maybe those seeds aren't the best for them. [16:20.4]

So, what I'm doing is taking them through intense, emotional, physical experiences, and then allowing them to reflect back on it and to come up with and like, see what really happens so that they're developing the ideas on their own. We take them through this and the retreats over the course of four days. They're coming and they're going through experience after experience that is building intensity in them, causing them to go through some physical processes, some energetic things, some emotional releases and all of that stuff, putting them in uncomfortable situations, that's forcing them to kind of reassess reality and then having a space, a container that allows them to look at it from new eyes and develop new ideas about who they are, what they're capable of, and what's possible for them in their life. In a sense that's trauma, but from a positive way. And so, you can go to a therapeutic arena and recognize that there is some intensity that happens and then trauma happens. [17:18.8]

Now, what I want to suggest here is that there is such a thing as 12 step trauma. What I mean by that is there are people who have been to 12 step meetings for a long period of time, and they've gone there and they have been indoctrinated with a series of ideas at a time when they're emotionally vulnerable. First time you go to a 12-step meeting is not like just a walk in the park. The first time you go, or most people anyway, that I've seen and when I went, it was a very intense, emotional experience. I was miserable and I was broken and I felt like I was the problem in life. And I sat there in that room and I listened to all these other people and it reinforced all the issues. And then I said, Hey, my name's Bob and I'm an addict. Guess what? I planted an idea in my head at that point in time at a time of intense, emotional experience. That is trauma, right there. It functions the exact same way that any other trauma does. Now, I know that people are doing it for positive reasons. I'm not gonna say that people haven't been benefited by that, but I want you to recognize what's happening because it happens all over the place in all kinds of whelming and meaning environments. [18:25.9]

So here I was going through intense, emotional experiences, and I was indoctrinated into believing that this was the only way out that God was somehow so cosmically uncreative, that there's only one way and it happened to have been invented in the 1940s. Like, let's be real here. All the people prior to that, well, sorry, they didn't have a 12-step program, so that's not it. No, and yet I was indoctrinated into that and to believing that there was only one way and that I had to tell all the things and I had to do all of these different things and I would always be an addict. And, and I would have to go to meetings the rest of my life and I'd have to work this program because if it wasn't this program, then it was going to fall back and there is such a thing as relapse and all the things that happened inside that meeting. And I know that there are 12 steppers that will just jump on me and say, that's not what a true 12-step program is. That's great. Guess what? Every 12-step program is different and every person's experience is different. And since none of us can control what the other person experiences or what all the different 12-step groups are doing, arguing about what the right way is, is not really going to do anything, but give us a chance to pat ourselves on the back. [19:26.5]

What I'm suggesting here that millions and millions and millions of people have been through 12 step programs. And at a time of emotional vulnerability have been given the seeds that have grown on their own that 12 step programs are the only way or that they're going to be an addict forever and that there's no other way out. And that addiction is a spiritual problem, unlike all other mental health issues and so on and so forth. And they have not resonated with the program or it hasn't worked and they've been beating themselves up since then they've been traumatized by their experience. Not everyone is traumatized. 12 step programs have been beautiful for some people and most of the estimates are somewhere around 8 ish percent success rate of people who have had really beautiful experiences, their loved it and it's been really successful for them. Then that means around 90 to 92% of people have not actually succeeded with it and are continuing to go and struggling because they haven't been able to find a program that's worked for them and they get told it only works if you work the program. [20:24.8]

If I had a 92% dropout rate in my high school class, we would fire the teacher because she sucked. Because her program and her curriculum was not meeting the needs of the student, because she wasn't needing them where we're at. And yet all of these programs out there, including my own in the beginning, I used to come at people with this idea that this is the only way, and you just have to work it if works the program. And if you're not doing it, if you're not doing it, you're not doing it right and all these other things. And yes, there is an element of that, everywhere that if a person won't put forth the effort, then yeah, nothing's going to work for them. And at the same time, there's tons of people that have put forth tons of effort and nothing's worked for them. Precisely, because it's not meeting them where they're at. It's not helping them identify what's clearly going on with them. That's why I backed away from so many things and I said, look, everybody's human. Your breath works a certain way. Your body works a certain way. Your movements are, it works a certain way. Let's start from scratch, where everybody kind of functions more or less the same and still, it's not a hundred percent, but it's way better than 8% success rate, right. By an order of magnitude, right. It's a ton. [21:30.1]

And so, what I'm suggesting here is that all of the experiences, the positive ones that you've had that have left indelible impressions in your mind, what's an indelible impression? It's a form of trauma in a certain sense. It's a seed idea that is growing on its own because it was watered by the intensity of your experience. It's okay to have those kinds of “traumas” in your life. You go seek out spiritual experiences. You look for things that will help reinforce the kind of life you want to have, but recognize that maybe some of the problem you've had with 12 step programs or with other programs that haven't worked is that you've been traumatized both by the program and what's been there. And so, you can't seem to get off the, the idea that that's the one way to do it and that it's a spiritual problem. And so, like going at it any other way or using any other practical means that aren't somehow in the Bible is somehow going to hell and whatnot. But also, that maybe you've even been traumatized in a certain way to where you believe nothing will work with you. And so, it doesn't matter what program you use because you're dealing with an indelible impression and idea that was seeded. [22:35.6]

So, when I'm talking about going to core issues, I'm going, I'm talking about going to these seeds and weeding them from your soul. I'm talking about helping you discover where the weeds are and pulling them out by the root, the root issue, the root cause, the things that are growing on their own that are stealing the waters from the rest of the kinds of seeds you want to plant in your life and are growing like weeds to go in and weed, the garden of your mind and your heart. And that means identifying where these indelible impressions were made and then using sometimes intense experiences in order to create new possibilities and plant new seeds, but also to weed, the old ones out. So yes, I call this episode 12 step trauma, and maybe that's for a marketing ploy or anything else, but it's really, for anything, anybody who's been led to believe something that's been a really powerful experience, but that is blinding them to what's really happening in their life has been in a sense traumatized. [23:34.7]

And I want you to be free of that. I don't want you to feel like you have to believe any one person on the planet, not even me. I want you to be able to see with your own eyes, what really works and to hear with your own ears, what really works and to feel with your own heart and your own body, what really works for you and not to be forced to be like anyone else. And that means becoming aware of the places where the people who had the most well-meaning intentions accidentally traumatized you. And manipulated you into believing things that may have worked for them, but are not healthy for you at all. See, cause love is the most dangerous form of manipulation. We feel the love. We feel the comfort. We feel the good intentions from people and it creates this environment of intensity in which they drop one line, they say one thing, and then we mull over it, it stews on us, it sinks in and we feel obligated to do what they're doing. Or we, maybe we think that they're right. [24:33.4]

And they're manipulating us for probably good reasons. They want us to feel healthy and whole, but the problem is they don't know you. They don't, nobody knows you like, you know, you, you are more wired into your life, your heart, your mind, than anyone else on the planet. And the person who's really going to be able to see clearly is you. And yes, you might need help to do that in the beginning. You might need to go through some things so that you can weed the garden and you can finally have a place to plant some good seeds, but ultimately you get to be the person who decides that. And that means taking a really close look at all the assumptions that, that you have made around what addiction is or what depression is or what anxiety is or what trauma is or all these things and you get to ask yourself, is this really true? Did I actually see this with my real eyes, do I actually have any real evidence for it? Or am I listening to scientific papers? Dude scientific papers are just words on a page that you're believing because you believe the person who wrote them. That's no different than believing a book of scripture. You believe the person who wrote them so, you're just taking the words for page for granted. And that's a beautiful place to start sometimes, but ultimately, he, that hath ears to hear, let him hear that is also a scriptural phrase. Ultimately it has to come down to you seeing it and perceiving it and embodying it so that you can become freedom instead of just controlled by other people's ideas about freedom. [25:54.1]

I want I'm impatient for people's freedom and my own in many, many ways. And so, wherever I see suffering this way, sometimes I feel like I have to stand up and give people another alternative and another way of looking at things, because they've been traumatized by one way. And even if it was a good way for some other people, it's not the way for them sometimes. And they're stuck believing, that's the only way that there is. And that's just not the case, whoever or whatever created this planet, this universe and oldest species on it clearly has enough intelligence and ingenuity to create a way for everyone. And it doesn't always have to look the same. [26:34.8]

And that's it for todays “Alive and Free Podcast.” If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your ear buds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcasts from. And, while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus, it's just nice to be nice. [26:52.7]

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