How “Self-help” Landed Me in Rehab

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By Jami Keller

My issues while I was in my twenties were glaring, and I knew that I was in dire need of some kind of help.  I was still hurting from the pain in my life that I had buried. The professionals that I contacted were not very hopeful, and I could not find a way to be understood. 

Enter Self-Help. Beginning with a good base in the daily discipline of prayer was extremely helpful. I even thought that my issues were “healed,” and the problems seemed to go away (for a while).  

What was really happening was that I was changing the symptoms. I was an adrenalin addict. If I could participate in chaos, mine or others, the pain numbed. So my risks got bigger and bigger, and when riding my bike off an 80-foot cliff was not enough, I went looking for more.

As the years progressed, I continued to seek something that would put me on a path that I wanted instead of the chaos that occasionally would choke out the goals of strength and integrity that I desired so much. Marla (my beautiful wife) and I partnered with a couple of Clinical Psychologists and led seminars reaching for healing. People were helped. But my lack of honesty kept Marla’s intuition stifled. 

The only people I told the whole truth to were those that would not hold me accountable, and looking back I realize I was a bad influence on them. Misery loves company, and literally fights to spread itself. Going half way on honesty led to lying to myself. Eventually I realized that having no boundaries on my behavior was killing me. 

The books we read along the way did eventually give me the strength to add the one last element that I desperately needed—ACCOUNTABILITY!  Sharing with wife what my addictions and addictive behavior was, was the best and hardest thing I ever have done.

The fact is, if you want healing you cannot do it on your own. We call it “Bootstrapping” or pulling yourself up by your own boot straps. For me, this meant not being accountable and hoping that my self-defeating behaviors would go away by wishing them away. 

Some of my excuses were based in reality. Traditional help was lacking. Even our Clinical Psychologist mentors agreed that traditional counseling didn’t work (which, by the way, is a false notion) and was validating my secrets until they began to destroy me. I put my family at risk with my infidelity, and nearly lost everything. 

Thankfully watching my life fall apart allowed me to see the cause and effect vividly in front of me: losing my family, my position in community, and any hope for living a life that I really wanted. I woke me up. Seeing the reality allowed me to ask for help, landing me in rehab where I learned about being accountable and that denial took many forms. 

Marla was amazing and vital. She joined me in the work of repairing all that I destroyed. We built a new trust. Currently, we have work with more than a thousand couples, leading people to find a new path to intimacy with healthy boundaries.            

Time-travel has yet to be a helpful tool, but looking back I believe that if we would have had the tools we give people now so much pain could have been avoided. We teach people how to choose honesty and connectivity, moving from the North side of our Feeling Wheel to the South side so that when pain is experienced it is like a flair warning us that an issue needs attention, instead of remaining a mystery that spins us out of control.

If I could talk to my 23-year-old self, I would tell that cocky young man to get honest and do the real work. Any 12-step program can be helpful (with a sponsor who has some years of healthy sobriety). Marla and I hold a 13-year chip in Recovering Couples Anonymous

Getting honest about what was going on with me helped me decide that the stress in my life did not need to be covered with the adrenalin that just reinforced shame. Instead, I needed to feel it and let it be true. Forgiving myself and sharing with those that are safe has allowed me to grow in my safe boundaries and has transformed my mind, my heart, and my life. 

The reason we choose a coaching model is because we learned getting the love you really desire can happen in a matter of weeks, and takes simple adherence to some very basic daily disciplines. Coaching is directive, so we do not need all the details to get to the core issues. And the fixes are all within the grasp of those willing to be honest and connected. 

My journey has given me a personal power that is difficult to describe. Peace in adversity and power from humility. Crazy love beyond measure has led me to overcoming emotional, spiritual and sexual barriers in our relationship and has given validation to Marla’s beauty and intuition. 

Life can be so beautiful, and while there is breath there is hope. If there is anything in your life that is keeping you from complete honesty find help, get accountable and learn to ask for what you need in a loving way. There is more love to be had, and we need you with us, fighting for freedom. It is not too late, as a matter of fact now is the best time to start!

What’s keeping you from embarking on this journey, if you aren’t already on it with us?


Why Waiting Matters

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By Ariel Minter

I tend to be anxious. I am especially anxious when it comes to being patient. I really struggle with patience, especially in the face of conflict.

The most challenging types of conflict I deal with are the ones that involve people. Even if the conflict isn’t “in my court”, I feel compelled to fix it and FIX IT NOW. 

The most difficult request to honor is the “I just need some space to think about this.” My brain goes wild with that one. I go absolutely berserk. I suppose this can be traced to my tendency to be a tad controlling at times. I’m not entirely sure, though….

I’ve been practicing patience in my decision making. Also in my ways of making deals with myself “IF we don’t have resolution by such-and-such a time, it’s OVER, I’m never texting this person back again,” or “IF they respond this way, I’ll ignore it.” or “IF they ignore me, I’m cutting them out of my life.” I know, these deals are extreme. Not only do they hardly ever happen, but I hardly ever follow through. I just get so obsessed about the conflict and it’s like some alien has taken over my brain. 

The reason why these things never really happen is because there is an enormous amount if healing and peace in being patient. 

As I get older, I realize the adult world is really a bunch of kids with more money and more toys. The gossip doesn’t really change, the immature games girls play with boys (and vice versa) they have crushes on just become slightly more creative/ugly, and instead of tattling people just rant and rave on Facebook. 

I often times buy into this whole kid-woman thing. But, I’ve learned that if I look up from my iPhone for a few minutes and see what is going on around me, I actually can have peace and let go of the obsessive deals I start to make with myself.  So what IF it really does turn out the way I ferociously created in my mind? SO WHAT! There is a lot of peace in patience.

We’ve gained SO MUCH access into peoples lives (people expect a text back right away, expect a “like” on their status and/or comment immediately, expect SOME KIND of response) that we often forget how human their wants and needs are. And how in-human a lot of this access makes us. It makes us denounce friendships (God forbid your bf doesn’t say he is “in a relationship” with you, huh?).  

This access seems to have created a need to KNOW NOW. And I mean right now. What is going on in Syria? Oh, you missed the VMA’s but you can definitely watch how atrocious Miley Cyrus was on stage with that foam finger…..

Immediately. At. Your. Fingertips. 

Knowledge is power. But too much access to useless knowledge? Well, to me that is sort of self-defeating. 

Most of my life (1991-now), technology has accommodated my need to be in the know NOW mentality. I haven’t really practiced patience because I haven’t HAD to. In fact, being married to an amazing man (who often requests some time/space) has taught me more about patience than anything else in life. And it is has been the most fulfilling. 

Patience will promote peace in your life.  Patience is the result of forgiveness, which leads you to truth (= facts + love), and truth leads to good boundaries (with yourself and others). 

Oh, and save yourself…you don’t need to google the whole Miley Cyrus foam finger thing.