It is 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've learned from leaving our own addictions behind and coaching hundreds of others to do the same. And since it's such a heavy topic, you might as well have a good time while we're at it.
(00:35): Welcome back to the Alive and Free Podcast. Have you guys ever heard the phrase, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for everything. I've heard this phrase for a long time, and at first I thought it was this really inspiring nugget like that if you really have to have yourself defined in a certain way or you're just going to be tossed about on the winds of fortune and fame and the fickle ideas of fate and so on and so forth. But as I considered it, I thought maybe that's not the most helpful phrase forever. So if you love that phrase, I'm not here to attack it, find the good in it that you want, but I want to consider something deeper inside and embedded in this is the notion that if unless a person is in some way, shape or form bated down or buckled down to a specific thing, they will lose all control of themselves.
(01:21): And this fear of lack of control, I find repeatedly in a lot of the people that I work with in a lot of the scenarios I encountered, and I certainly housed that inside my system for a long time. I had thoughts in my head worries about not just, oh no, if everybody knew who I was, then they wouldn't like me. But then there were the thoughts. But what if I really discover who I really am underneath all this stuff? What if I don't like me? What if I turn into this sex craze pervert that's running around trying to get it on with everything in sight? What if I turn around and I end up cheating and stealing and w hatnot? If I don't have some moral compass, if I don't have some set of rules and guidelines to live by that are housed and quoted by every single expert that I know of, all of them sitting there pointing to your 12 rules for life, or your 10 rules for this are the five laws of this and the 10 laws of that and the 37 regulations and protocols for this, that everybody's busy trying to find a routine or something that they can find safety and consistency and continuity with.
(02:25): And inside of that comes this notion that you are going to wreck everything unless you have some set of rules or something that's holding you down that you can't really trust yourself underneath. Now, I don't know if that's something that you may have felt as you're listening to this. It's certainly something that I carried for a long time because as somebody who struggled for a long time, we're talking 18 years seriously. And then it took a couple years for me to peter out of it with pornography usage, uncontrolled binge usage. So after those 18 years, I was able to kind of control myself for the first year and just hold things together. And I think once I went looking at swimsuits at one point in the middle of that, which was a serious step up for me, and then I figured out some things that sort of got rid of the urge more or less.
(03:12): But the urge came back whenever There were huge stresses in my life that I hadn't really previous dealt with that were bringing up other worth issues or money and financial stress. And so every now and again, those kind of urges would come back. But for the most part, they were gone after that first year. And those kind of first processes that I took myself through that I've talked about at length on the podcast and online and social media and in other places. And so this was a fear of mine, this notion that if you let me go in some way and then we got rid of all the constraints that were there, that I would just end up messing up. And that's something that was conditioned from the time I was young people telling me that the natural man is an enemy to God and has been from the fall of Adam and will be forever and ever unless he yields to the Holy Spirit.
(03:58): People telling me that men are born as sinners, that your nature is to be a sinner and that your nature is to mess everything up. People teaching me that unless you do things a particular way, it's not going to work. And that is in not just in church circles, but at home or in school and in any number of other places where people say, well, it's just natural to man or human nature is to do this, that or the other, or the law of entropy says this. And this constant amount of information teaching me that basically my life and my success and my happiness and wellbeing was always on the line that I was in battle. And that if I get lazy in battle, whether it's a spiritual battle or a financial battle or whatever else, then everything's going to fall apart. That I should note is not the way that life works.
(04:46): Have you looked around recently? Have you noticed that there are all the animals and plant species and they're not at battle all the time? On occasion, the men are fighting for reproductive rights. On occasion there are predators that are attacking, but in the life of an animal, they're not at battle all the time. They are alert and aware, but they're not at battle all the time. Only humans are interpreting nature as battle. And there is the arctic fox scrambling across the tundra looking for food and shelter in this rather inhospitable terrain, that type of dialogue that we put on images of the Arctic. We translate almost everything into some idea about battle and war. And what's ironic is that in the Hebrew tradition, the Hebrew language, when you're learning that language, the verb that is most commonly used to show you all the different ways that it can be conjugated is the verb qal and the verb qal means to kill.
(05:45): So it's ironic that the way that you learn the Hebrew language is to talk about, I kill you, kill we kill, we all kill. Yay. When it could have been I heal or it could have been I stand up or I walk or any of these other things. But because there aren't irregular letters, the irony is that the way to learn the language is to talk about killing. And there is a significant amount of killing and bloodshed and slaughter in the Hebrew Bible. And there are a number of words and verbs that discuss killing and perishing and wiping off the face of the planet and demolition and annihilation and all of these other things. English has 'em too. And so it's fascinating that the amount of numbers of those terms kind of correlates to where the consciousness goes in language. So here we are stuck in a day where even now Jordan Peterson is telling people on syndicated series that your life is essentially a battleground.
(06:36): Now that is inside of scriptural stuff. And for many people that's a very powerful paradigm to come from. But that paradigm indicates that you cannot let up vigilance just once. That somehow life is built at odds with you that it's against you, that it's trying to tear you down. And that's where I had to learn to stop and ask myself if that's actually accurate, if we haven't as humans exaggerated our own individual struggles and made the claim that those are universal things that exist everywhere else. And when I was willing to challenge my own ideas about this and really willing to step back and ask myself, what if I'm wrong? What if life isn't a battle? What if it never had to be? What if life's not a an affliction or a tribulation? What if life's not a test? What if life is literally this grandiose gift?
(07:27): What if there's nothing required of me because life is already being given? And the question then becomes, what do I wanna pour my life into? Like we talked about a few weeks ago? This becomes an interesting question because embedded in this notion of there being a battle is the idea that, well, if I let down my guard for one instance, I'll fall, I'll get out of control. If a man doesn't stand for something, he'll fall for everything. That's not true. You actually have to be standing in order to fall down. So if a person doesn't stand for anything, they're not actually going to fall. So the metaphor itself breaks down. So I wondered this morning, and I was chatting with Jasmine about the nature of this feeling of fear of being out of control. The guys that we work with that are struggling with pornography or alcohol or drugs, very often they have this fear, no, no.
(08:15): But if I do that, then I'm afraid that I'll just kind of go overboard. If I get rid of the guilt and the shame around all of this pornography stuff that I'm involved in or all of the lies that I've been telling, then there's nothing going to be stopping me and then I'm just going to go all the way all the time. And so they keep the guilt around, they keep the shame around, they keep the pain in their life because it is protecting them from moving forward. Have you ever done that? Have you ever held onto something painful? I know I have as just a way of keeping yourself from doing something that might be more painful. It's choosing the lesser of two evils, so to speak. And this happens so frequently, this fear of being out of control. And so I was talking to Jasmine this morning and I said, look, this was a legitimate thing for me.
(08:58): I really honestly was afraid that I lacked control. But then as we were talking about what was going on with the neighbor, I asked myself this one thing. I said, what if out of control? Cuz Jasmine just challenged it. And she says, well, we'd have to define what out of control means. I said, well, what if out of control literally is just the byproduct of lying of a hiding or an assumption that is not true, but that we believe to be true of some self-deception or evasive movement or attempt to hide something that is not completely honest. Now here's what I mean by that. Let's give some examples. So an easy one is guy cheats on his wife, hides it for a long period of time, doesn't tell anybody when confronted with it, only tells as much as is absolutely needed in order to get out of the conversation, then confronted again and so on and so forth.
(09:51): And so the man then manically is doing behaviors and grasping at straws, doing whatever he can to try and manipulate the situation into him being okay, into him getting off SCO free, including gaslighting, including yelling and emotional outbursts, including massive manipulative tactics. And I don't know what it's called when you're using money against someone, I don't know if it's blackmail or extortion or anything else, but some level of threat, right? Or bribes or anything like that. Some behaviors that are completely out of control, nonstop lying because he doesn't willing to admit what happened at the beginning. He's trying to protect himself in some way. And if you remember back in the episode where we talked about poke her face or poke her face, the notion that when you're playing cards and when you're playing a situation in life, hiding your cards is an attempt to manipulate other people.
(10:47): But what's fascinating is that the more you hide your cards, the more emotionally reactive you are. So the fact that the cards are hidden and everybody else's cards are hidden, the dealer's cards are hidden, that is what creates this sense of risk, this sense of adventure, this all of this emotional stuff that's not actually, there are people sitting around a table and they're having to be other rectangular bits of paper, paper with ink on them. And all of a sudden people are having this massive emotional experience because they're lying to themselves about the situation, believing it to be more significant, and then their behaviors get outta control. And they're wagering all kinds of money on the situation when it's literally a table and some rectangular cards with ink on them. And the fact that you can hide that from yourself by pretending there's a game in play and pretending it's significant, and then continuing to hide the cards creates this out of control emotion. When you lose, there's a feeling of real loss, even though it was literally just a table and paper with ink on it, but there's a feeling of real loss and sometimes there is legitimately real loss because of the lying as well. And so the thought that came to me was, okay, cool. So somebody in that situation, when they're hiding something, self-protective behavior becomes out of control.
(11:58): If you or someone 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 want some help doing it, head on over to the freedom specialist.com/feel better now 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. Now, what is another example of this? What about your own self-image? Think about it. You and I have told ourselves stories about who we are. I'm worthless. I'm misunderstood. I am a disappointment. I am awesome. I love myself. I was talking to a guy the other day on the phone and he says, I'm really happy with who I am. And I paused and I said, are you like, is that a hundred percent honest? Because if we're honest, we wouldn't be on the phone call having this discussion, right? And he had to step back and say, you know what? Sometimes I really do love my life and I'm having this incredible joyful experience, and other times I'm not. You're right, it's not a hundred percent honest. But when he was lying about it, then what happened was his be behavior became uncontrollable. He started blaming other people for why can't they just get it?
(13:17): I really love myself and they just keep blaming me of all this stuff. And so then the relationship got out of control. And all of this lack of control came from an initial dishonesty, and it's not a malicious one. He really wanted to believe that he loved himself, but he wasn't in a hundred percent love of himself. There are moments where he experienced tremendous love and moments where he didn't. And just being able to be honest about that was freeing because the truth sets a person free. So far in my experience, that little snippet of scripture and that little phrase has been a tremendously powerful catalyst for all the things that I've created in so many different ways. So this dishonesty then creates this lack of control in him. So I want you to think about for now, as we're sitting here having this intimate conversation while you're on the drive to work or while you're doing dishes or while you're going on a walk or whenever it is that you listen to podcasts, what is the narrative you say about your life now?
(14:11): What do you think about yourself? What do you think about your circumstances? What are you telling yourself is going to happen in the near future? Or what are you worried will happen in the near future? Now, is that 100% accurate? I don't mean 99% accurate. I mean a hundred percent accurate. Are you 100% certain that this is the exact best and most all-encompassing way of looking at things? Or is it possible that you have myopically filtered out a whole lot of information in order to come to the conclusion that you've come to about yourself and about your life? What if you're not stupid? What if there have been moments where you have done things that didn't work out, that sometimes we might call them stupid, but those are actions. But what if those actions aren't you? What if you're not a disappointment? What if you're not misunderstood?
(15:01): What if you don't need to be misunderstood? What if it has nothing to do with needs being met? What if you don't actually need boundaries because you are too fragile? What if you are not overwhelmed by feelings? What if you're just used to pretending that these are all challenges that are not easy to swallow sometimes, and yet, are you a hundred percent accurate when you ever, you say the phrase I am, you are declaring a present progressive state of being, meaning it. It had a beginning, but it's currently ongoing and doesn't have a foreseeable end. I am x, I am angry. That is not the truth. You are experiencing some feeling which you may call anger or not anger, but you are not anger. That is not the nature of your being. That's an experience you're having. There's a big difference there. And even that change of turn of phrase changes things when you say, I'm so angry, then you become somewhat out of control in that angry.
(15:54): But when you step out and you're like, man, I am experiencing some feelings here in this area of my body and my jaw clenched and my breathing is tight and I got a little hot in the face and I'm feeling something that I would normally call anger, but that's the experience that I'm having, that's very different than saying I am so angry. And that level of honesty then breeds a different possibility depending on what you do with it. So as I sat here talking to Jasmine and asking myself what really bred in myself, this fear of being out of control, there was this moment of realization that I wasn't actually afraid of being out of control at all. There was this moment of realization that all of that fear of being out of control came from me not being a hundred percent honest with myself or not catching the assumptions that I made, the leaps and conclusions I made that weren't a hundred percent accurate.
(16:50): So I was operating on falsified information basically in my head. And so I was out of control. But I've never, ever, ever been out of control when I've been a hundred percent in tune with what is actually happening with me when I've been a hundred percent honest with how I'm feeling. And that's not just a one-off thing. It's like every moment of every day, the moment I experience anything, can I acknowledge that? Can I be with that and watch that happen and not try to suppress it or not say that's not supposed to happen or anything else like that? So the suggestion today as we're kind of wrapping things up in this shorter episode since last week was a little bit of a longer one, is to ask, look into your life and ask yourself where you're not being honest. And I don't mean honest as in, oh, I gotta run around and tell people everything I've ever done.
(17:32): Some full disclosure thing, which I've only ever seen, create really unequal power dynamics and relationships. But I mean transparent and honest with yourself about what's really happening. Not lying, not giving yourself pep talks, not trying to declare affirmations, like, no, no, this is who I really am. Well, on the inside, still feeling the opposite. Just being willing to admit, wow, oh, I said that and I still feel the opposite. That's fascinating, without having to fix it, where in your life is the dishonesty creeping up? And I might suggest to you to look from that standpoint and ask yourself if that dishonesty weren't there, would there be so much fear of getting out of control? Because I'll tell you this, in my life, the out of control lying that I did, even the out of control like behaviors when I was binging on pornography, it was because I wasn't able to admit to Jasmine or to my parents or to my siblings or to my friends, Hey, I really feel miserable right now.
(18:30): Hey, I feel really depressed right now. I feel like I'm not worth anything. I feel like I don't belong. And it doesn't matter. It doesn't seem to matter what other people do or what other people say. Still this feeling is there. And it doesn't matter how talented I am or how much information I learn, still this feeling is there. I'm on the chopping block. I'm waiting for the next person to tell me, oh, nope, you didn't do everything needed to earn my love. You're out. And I lived in this kind of space. I wasn't able to be honest about that. I wasn't even have words for it at the time. So there's that. But even the inability to speak clearly about what is real for me without demanding that it be different wasn't there. And because that wasn't there, it built and built and built.
(19:10): And then all the behaviors that I was doing to try and cope with that, whether it was lying, whether it was adrenaline rushes, whether it was psychedelics, whether it was food binging, whether it was going on like incessant training training bouts, or traveling the globe looking for some miracle, whatever it was that I was doing to cope with that. All of that out of control spending and behavior and everything else boiled down to an inability to simply be honest and transparent with myself first about what was going on. So what if you and I have never been at risk for being out of control when we've been honest, truly honest, not brutally honest, not radically honest, not honesty, if it has a modifier, is no longer honesty. So brutally honest means honesty with an agenda that's not honesty. What if honesty has always been our key to having a say in how we experience our life?
(20:07): And maybe that's a skill. Maybe honesty is a skill and it's something that we have to learn. And it's not something that just comes naturally to a human being. But what if that's really the key? If I look at my life and I look at where honesty showed up, not in your face honesty, but just real admittance of the things that I know and the things that I don't know and the things that I claimed to know, but then later realized, oh shoot, I was just claiming to know them because I had a good experience with them, but that there was a la massive leap. I can just say I had a really positive experience with something and leave it at that. As I began to catch all the lies in my life, I didn't have to worry about being out of control. It's not that I am in control, it's that there is nothing to cope with.
(20:52): And so life naturally happens in a really harmonious way. And so as we button down the hatches this week and we send you off for some things to consider that, where could you be a little bit more honest with yourself? Where could you admit the things that you're doing? Amazing if you have a bad time seeing the positive things you've done, maybe that's what you need to do this week is step back and be like, look, let me be honest about all the incredible things that I've done. If you're a person who's always thinking positive about yourself, maybe you need to step back and be like, where are places where that positivity does not obtain in my life, where it's not actually there where I'm just kind of deceiving myself a little bit? Because those are opportunities to grow in more profound and often more subtle and gentle ways than denying and deceiving yourself and then running into a wall later because you were too busy trying to pretend that the negative thing wasn't there. And what if that's the key? Not to have control, but to being free because the truth will set you free.
And that's it for today's Alive and Free podcast. If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom Bombs landing in your earbuds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcast from. And while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering a great stuff to you. Plus it's just nice to be nice.
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