I started using alcohol at age 15 and it felt like the perfect solution to my childhood trauma and dysfunctional home life. My values changed almost immediately, and I went from having LDS background to the other end of the spectrum. I got a DUI when I was 16 and many underage alcohol misdemeanors. I was kicked out of high school and was ashamed that I had a GED and not a high school diploma. I was pregnant at age 18 and was able to stop drinking but started again shortly after my daughter was born. I didn’t have any more legal consequences after that first DUI, mostly because of luck. My biggest consequence from drinking was that it stunted my growth as a human being.

My recovery from alcohol has really been about recovering from the reasons why I drank, which I can address now that I am not drinking. My threshold for being unhappy was fairly low, in comparison to others’ stories. This is not to undermine or deny what I went through. I had withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, shitty relationships, and no sense of self. When people in AA say, “If I drink, I will die,” I don’t entirely relate. If I drink, I may die eventually and my disease will continue to progress, but more likely, I will be miserable in my existence. I won’t achieve my purpose, be connected to a higher power, or have fulfilling relationships. I have learned that my addiction to alcohol is a symptom of trauma, and drinking was merely a coping skill.  Alcohol worked very well to numb my pain and it helped me disassociate. I didn’t even know I was disassociating until I started my recovery journey. It becomes more and more apparent that I didn’t know how to cope with my feelings or know how to be comfortable in my skin.

My personal work and successes have been on self-forgiveness and love, forgiving others, learning healthy boundaries, and being the best mother possible. I am in recovery from alcohol and co-dependency. I am learning how to feel my feelings, cope with life, and stand up for myself and my worth. I live in Idaho, and I am a single mom to 3 amazing, beautiful daughters. I am so proud of myself for breaking the intergenerational patterns in my family.

My curiosity about sobriety started about 3 years ago. I started listening to podcasts in the beginning of my recovery and found The SHAIR Podcast with Omar Pinto. I loved his voice and his energy. I have found his interviews to have a profound impact on my ability to see my addiction as an opportunity and not a dirty secret. I eventually became a member of his FB group and then joined the SRC where I have connected with so many amazing people in recovery. I feel the SRC group has kept me sober.

I can access meetings via Zoom which has been crucial to me since I am at home with my kids and haven’t found an AA group in my community where I feel connected. The connection with others in the group has saved me from loneliness and isolation. I have found a sponsor in one of these groups who was willing to complete the 12 steps with me which has been transformational!  I am almost 5 months in my recovery from alcohol and 95% of the time, I don’t even think about drinking. I am so grateful for the SRC, the SHAIR podcast, my sponsor, the step work, and online recovery.

In this modern age, we have everything at our fingertips. We are wealthier, healthier, and freer than ever before.

So how come so many of us are so miserable? Why do we feel the constant urge to look for things outside ourselves—like people, possessions, and addictions—to fill the void?

There is one underlying addiction that is the mother of all addictions and that is the addiction to the self.—Rabbi Manis Friedman

Today’s guest is Rabbi Manis Friedman. He says we all have an addiction to the self. We’re born with it.

If we outgrow it successfully, we become mature people.

If we don’t, we’ll be stuck.

And even if we get rid of any acquired addiction, we will still have this curse—the addiction to the self.

So how do we go beyond our own primal needs to feel at peace in our lives and with ourselves?

Find out in this episode!

Why Are We Here?

At the most fundamental level, we don’t ask to be born. We are put here and are suddenly responsible for ourselves. We never signed up to get a job, pay bills, buy stuff, have kids, and die so the next generation can repeat the same pointless process. We realize we never wanted this life and that we do not need it either.

So what is the point of our existence?

Rabbi Manis Friedman says that if we’re not here because of our need, then we are a result of someone else’s need. We’re under the impression we’re the needy ones. But we are the needed ones.

We are needed by God.

But we orbit in our own space, disconnected. We drift and feel alone in the world, operating according to our needs, drives, weaknesses, passions, and fears. We can’t find a justification to be alive, so we seek constant stimulation in material possessions, love, sex, validation, and addiction.

The Rabbi goes in-depth into how we can break free from this narcissistic mindset, how marriage is the key to sacred connection and a sense of “home” for our souls, and how we can detach from our self-centeredness to discover what we are are needed for and why.

Rabbi Manis Friedman

RABBI MANIS FRIEDMAN is a world-renowned author, counselor, teacher, and speaker, well known for his provocative and incisive wit and wisdom. His first book, Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore? (published by Harper San Francisco), was widely praised by the media.

Rabbi Friedman’s international speaking tours, seminars, and retreats take him around the world, and he has been featured on CNN, A&E Reviews, PBS, and BBC Worldwide as well as in such publications as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Seventeen, Guideposts, and Publishers Weekly. He also hosted his own critically acclaimed cable television series syndicated throughout North America.

Rabbi Friedman is the dean of Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies, which he cofounded in 1971, and the founder of It’s Good to Know, a nonprofit life-learning foundation based in New York City. He lives with his family in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Rabbi Manis Friedman’s Links

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