How to Heal from Addiction

Hay House Radio Episode Recap

  • Episode Name: “How to Heal from Addiction”
  • Live Broadcast: August 29th, 2017 at 3:00 pm Pacific Time
Episode Replays: Tuesdays at 9:00 pm Pacific Time / 12:00 am Eastern Time, Saturdays at 2:00 pm Pacific Time / 5:00 pm Eastern Time, Sundays at 4:00 pm Pacific Time / 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Episode Summary Re-cap

Addictions can span many areas, from food, drugs and alcohol to shopping, overworking, co-dependence and more. Are we addicted as a society? And how has our culture bred addiction into us? Learn how to spot addictive systems in society and discover tips for breaking free from addiction.

Special Guest: Anne Wilson Schaef, PhD

Dr. Anne Wilson Schaef is an internationally known author, speaker, consultant, and seminar leader who has been described as “one of the most important thinkers of our time”, “cutting edge”, “way ahead of her time”, and “having the vision of the eagle”.

Dr. Schaef is the author of sixteen internationally best-selling books including When Society Becomes an Addict; Women’s Reality; Native Wisdom for White Minds; Beyond Therapy, Beyond Science, Living in Process and There Will Be a Thousand Years of Peace and Prosperity and They Will Be Ushered in by the Women.  Her books have been translated into many languages including Japanese, Chinese, Croatian, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Dutch and others and have been bestsellers throughout the world.  When Society Becomes an Addict was a New York Times best seller and was nominated for Best Political Book of the Year, and Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much has sold well over two million copies worldwide.

Her books fall into two categories: 1) theoretical commentaries about the society and how it is functioning or not and 2) books for personal growth and healing.  Dr. Schaef is now expanding to writing children’s books, short stories and novels, and periodically holds and teaches a Writers Retreat.  In addition to her books, she writes a blog, she has written numerous articles and appeared on major television, radio and web programs throughout the world.

Anne has developed her own approach to healing the whole person, called Living in Process (LIP) which comes out of the ancient teachings of her ancestors and her own life experience.  She was raised in the traditional Cherokee way by her mother and her great grandmother, and has carried the principles taught her into her life and her work.  She has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Union Institute in Ohio and an honorary doctorate in Human Letters from Kenyon College in Kenyon, Ohio.  After practicing for many years, she left the field of psychology and psychotherapy in 1984 as she was developing the groundbreaking LIP work.

Living in Process works with recovery from the addictive process of individuals, families and societies and moves beyond to wholeness of body, mind and spirit.  In the last thirty years, Anne has taught this approach of healing throughout the world, and is known internationally as a visionary with the practical applications to back up the truth.  She has worked intensively with addictions — both ingestive addictions (alcohol, food, drugs, etc.) and process addictions (work, gambling, sex, relationships, etc.). Many of her books expand on these topics including, Co-dependence: Misunderstood, Mistreated; Escape from Intimacy: Untangling the “Love” Addictions: Sex, Romance, Relationships;

As a response to requests from people who wanted to learn more about the LIP approach to living, Anne began facilitating a “training” group in 1981.  The training group continues to thrive internationally with network members in North America, Europe and the South Pacific with whom Anne works very closely.

In 2017 she published Daily Reminders for Living a New Paradigm; and has several books coming out soon including, Journey to Total Societal Transformation and Tales of the Klamath River.

Her favorite and oft received compliment from readers is that she “writes what I have always known and was never able to articulate.”

Dr. Schaef is of Irish and Cherokee (Native American) heritage, with a tiny bit of English thrown in to shake things up a bit.  She has spent a lot of time in Ireland and is very grateful to the land of her ancestors for the gifts it has given her.  She is 83-years-old has two grown adults to whom she gave birth, and one grandchild.

Anne’s office and the headquarters for the Living in Process work are in Boulder, Montana at the Boulder Hot Springs Inn, Spa and Retreat Center in which Anne is one of the primary owners and the President of the Board. Since 1989, she has been a primary part of a team that has renovated the old Boulder Hot Springs and kept this old building and its healing waters available to the public.

She travels extensively, loves traveling by ship, being a gourmet cook, teaching writing, being in nature, and gratefully living each day to its fullest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Living In Process Workshops and Writer’s Retreats are held at Boulder Hot Springs in Montana.

After-Show Facebook Live with Heather

In this video, I talk about Anne’s work and discuss how we learn to trust our intuition.

When you think of addiction, what comes up? Statistics tell us that over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction (excluding tobacco…and many other types of addictions). Because addictions can span many areas, from food, drugs and alcohol to shopping, overworking, co-dependence and more. Here’s an even more important question: Are we addicted as a society? And how has our culture bred addiction into us? Dr. Anne Wilson Schaef reveals how to spot addictive systems in society and tips for breaking free from addiction.

As Anne went through life, she encountered systems that she didn’t feel were a fit for her. From contemplating medical school to her university writing classes, from her clinical psychology practice to celebrity, she learned some important lessons to share with us.

One of her most important insights is about addiction. While we may be familiar with her terms for process addiction, like shopping or overworking, and substance addiction, like food, drugs, and alcohol, Anne brings a whole new insight to the true meaning of addiction.

Here Are Some of the Definitions Anne Gives Us

Addiction is a response to a sick society, a system that we’ve created that is so dysfunctional, we have to numb ourselves out to fit in. In other words, addiction is something people use as a crutch to tolerate an intolerant system. This could include any structure in life that feels dysfunctional, such as politics, an organization/job, or a marriage.

According to Anne, there are some key characteristics to addiction: One of the key characteristics is dishonesty to yourself and others. Another is buying into the illusion of “control” that society teaches us.

In her work as a psychologist, Anne noticed that schizophrenics used a process of thinking that was similar to addiction. She then found out that, at one time, the definition of schizophrenia included addiction!

Anne also worked in organizations, helping them create change and performance improvement. While in this work, she noticed that organizations seemed to not want to heal. For this reason, she believes it’s critical to start with the individuals. As individuals heal, she feels that the organization can heal. Beyond individuals though, there is a need to look at our reconnection to ourselves and all of life…to think of the interconnectedness of all things. What does this look like in practice?

Anne Wilson Schaef’s
6 Steps for Overcoming Addiction and Reconnecting

#1 – Release the Need to Control

Anne feels that this is one of the major pillars of addiction. She feels that the need to control always results in failure. The first thing to realize is that control is an illusion. The truth is that none of us are in control. We can never be in control. Just like we can’t make someone love us or make our kids do what we want them to, we can’t control all the aspects of our lives.

So why do we think we can? A lot of our desire for control comes from the dominant paradigm of science, which Anne says is based on: measure, prediction and control. This breeds a technological, mechanistic society. But people aren’t machines. This is why she feels psychology doesn’t work. We can’t measure, predict and control human behavior. And science only looks at what it wants to look at, missing other very important aspects of life, behavior, and health. We have to find a new scientific paradigm.

Instead, think about participating in life. Participate in what’s happening. Participate in your life and other people’s lives. Be a part of the process instead of trying to control it.

#2 – Be Willing to Listen and Notice if the System You Are in is Working for You

Whether it’s a marriage, a job/organization, or any structure or system in life, notice how it’s working for you. Pay attention to how you feel in the system. For example, does it feel dysfunctional? Do you feel like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole? Is the work you’re doing creating real change? Are people within the system thriving? Take an honest look at what’s happening and pay attention to how you feel about it.

#3 – Trust Your Process, Your Knowing, Your Intuition

For example, when Anne couldn’t fill out the papers to apply for medical school, she didn’t force herself to do it anyway. Instead, she noticed that she wasn’t able to fill them out. As she put them aside, she got a phone call for a program that was much more fulfilling and a better fit for her.

Often, we berate ourselves for not doing something instead of asking ourselves what it could mean. Or perhaps we feel we’ve stuffed our true desires down so that we can fit in with other people’s rules.

If Anne had forced herself to fill out her medical school application, she may have missed out on something that she didn’t realize was an option, and that she wanted even more.

Her invitation to us is: instead of thinking about what’s next, allow it to come to you. It won’t come from your thinking, it will come from your knowing. When you allow that knowing to show up, it will lead you to your next step.

#4 – Practice Honesty and Openness with Yourself and Others

Another pillar of addiction is dishonesty and hiding. To dismantle the process of addiction, begin being honest with yourself and others. Share how you feel. Ask the questions you really want to ask. Speak your truth. Let others know who you really are and where you stand. This may feel challenging if you feel that you don’t fit in with the system or people around you. Seek support in this case, so that you can learn to speak your truth is a supportive way. One way to connect with your truth and find your voice is to listen to your intuition.

#5 – Take Action, Even If Fear Shows Up

Anne says that most of the time, when you get a knowing or intuition, you may find that what comes up scares you. You begin to feel afraid. This is a normal part of the process! Go ahead and feel afraid! Honor how you feel, while recognizing that fear is not a reality. Know and stay with this. See what it has to teach you. Don’t ever stop. Just stay with it and know you are in process.

Her final words on this are: do your work and trust your process. The answers will come. Don’t set up dualism with two choices, like, should I stay or should I go? Instead, ask yourself, what is the third option?

#6 – Respect the Interconnectedness of All Things

In Native American tradition, we believe that all of creation is interconnected and part of a whole. In Anne’s work, she realized that as we heal, we begin to see how everything we do affects everything else. For example, when she began to offer healing retreats, she started with healing the people, then realized that to heal the people, they had to heal the building/dwelling they were in, and to heal the dwelling, they had to heal the land they were on. What she found was that for the people to heal, they must heal their surroundings and the planet as well.

This is so far different from addiction. Addicts don’t want to see the whole. Self-centeredness is one of the characteristics of addiction. Part of healing means expanding your focus to include the whole, respecting that everything we do affects everyone and everything around us.

As one of her elders, Lakota spiritual leader, Frank Fools Crow said:
“In order to be a healthy culture, there needs to be a focus on caring for the elders, the children, and the earth. Any culture that does not tend to this necessary focus will not continue to be a viable culture.”

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Tune in Next Week

Tune in next week to Loving Yourself to Great Health, when Heather and her special guest, Energy Therapist and best-selling author, Amy Scher,  discuss ways to release addictions, self-sabotage, fear, and anxiety.


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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!