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.
Today we have a game-changing show! We have JF Benoist, author of Addicted to the Monkey Mind: Change the Programming That Sabotages Your Life.
As Einstein said, you can’t fix a problem with the same mindset that created it. The addictive mind is reactionary, triggered by deep-rooted fears and insecurities. JF Benoist tells how we can approach our thoughts from an observer’s view point so we can pause and see the reality of a situation before executing our old programming of destructive thoughts and behaviors.
Learn to be kind to yourself. You are not your behavior.
Jean-Francois (J.F.) Benoist has been counseling people struggling with addiction, mental health, and relationship issues for over twenty years. He co-founded The Exclusive Hawaii, a non 12-step residential addiction treatment center, with his wife, Joyce, in 2011. He is the creator of the therapeutic methodology Experiential Engagement Therapy™ (EET), which focuses on addressing a person’s underlying core beliefs; this method serves as the foundation of his skills-based book, Addicted to the Monkey Mind: Change the Programming That Sabotages Your Life.
Addicted to the Monkey Mind
THE MONKEY MIND CHATTERS ALL DAY…
“I look terrible in these pants—why can’t I lose some weight?”
“I’m stuck in traffic again. Why didn’t I leave earlier?”
“If I wasn’t working all the time, I could have saved my marriage.”
…resulting in stress, shame, and ultimately, “Bartender, can I get a drink?”
In his book, J.F. Benoist—a visionary thought leader in the fields of addiction treatment and personal development—uses the journeys of two relatable characters to teach you how to develop a powerful new mindset and finally break the pattern of negative self-talk.
Addicted to the Monkey Mind offers a toolbox of practical skills to shift self-sabotaging, programmed ways of thinking and learn actionable steps to:
· Overcome addiction & debilitating habits
· Resolve relationship issues
· Replace burnout with passion
· Sustain an abiding joy
This book is designed as a step-by-step guide for creating lasting change. You’ll learn why our thoughts are so erratic; why our emotions sometimes spiral out of control; why some days we feel great, but other days we’re so anxious that we drink, use drugs, snap at our partners, sabotage our career, or feel so depressed that we can’t get out of bed.
Most of us are caught in these endless, self-sabotaging cycles because we’ve been taught that external factors determine our experience. How many times a day do we blame others and outside circumstances for how we’re feeling? The hairstylist who butchered our haircut, the spouse who isn’t pulling their share, the job that consumes all our time, the alcohol that made us act like a fool last night — the list is endless.
When we think this way, we’re viewing the world through our Monkey Minds, whose constant chattering continues our cycles of self-destructive behavior.
Luckily, Addicted to the Monkey Mind offers another way to view the world. The Observing Mind.
By applying the skills of the Observing Mind, you will finally actualize the things you’ve been deeply longing for in your life: a substance-free lifestyle, healthy relationships, a thriving career, and a healthy body and mind.
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