Marilyn Bradford: Thriving Beyond Addiction

What if addiction was not about the alcohol, sex or other people’s problems, but about a choice to go unconscious? Are you willing to make a different choice … a choice for consciousness and you? What if you could have the freedom to be the person you’ve always known or hoped you could be? Whether its food, a substance or overspending, your future does not have to reflect your past.

Marilyn Bradford, therapist, teacher and author of “Right Recovery For You,” offered “Living an Elevated Existence Mind, Body & Soul Summit Season 2,” participants tools and techniques to facilitate them in choosing and reclaiming themselves.

“You don’t have to buy into all these so-called expert points of view about what’s right for you and what’s not right for you,” she said. “A lot of addiction counseling is focused on the idea that the experts know and you don’t—but don’t judge yourself as less than and give yourselves over to them thoroughly.”

Addiction takes many forms, and while most think of drugs and alcohol, addiction can also involve shopping, gambling, cigarettes, sex, over-eating, overworking, or even being addicted to drama, or to playing a victim. However it manifests, Bradford believes addiction is a default we go to in order to forget, to go unconscious for a time.

“It’s a kind of coping skill we use because nobody gave us other coping skills. We use addiction to escape our realities,” she said.

Because of this, she does not look at addiction as a disease but rather as something we fall into—and something we can escape from. We weren’t born into the world with addictive behaviors. We acquire them, and we can get rid of them.

“This isn’t about someone who does a lot of drugs going cold turkey,” she cautioned. “But it is about rethinking how we deal with addiction.”


The Root Cause of Addiction
But first, how do we know if we have addictive behaviors? When should we be worried that a behavior is negatively impacting our lives? “The way you can tell that something is an additive behavior is if when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed it’s what you go towards. It’s a default place where you don’t really have to exist,” she said. “If you feel a compulsion to do a certain thing and you don’t feel okay unless you do that, then it’s probably an additive behavior.”

She asked us to consider, “If I wasn’t about to do ‘blank’ then what would I be aware of?” It’s about discovering what we’re trying to escape from that she says is the first key to recovery. All addiction has a root cause—usually stemming from a sense of being wrong or different, along with a tendency to judge ourselves unmercifully all the time. This root cause is what Bradford calls, the “primary addiction.” The secondary addiction is the one people tend to address, which is the actual addictive behavior and how the primary addiction manifests itself, but we can’t ignore the root cause if we want to fully recovery, she said. The more we ask questions about the root cause of our addiction the more we can work towards resolving it, she encouraged.

As an example, she shared a story of a woman she worked with who drank two bottles of wine a day—but the drinking was her secondary addiction. She finally revealed the drinking helped her deal with the fact that her marriage was falling apart. The woman could “receive” what she was missing from her life and marriage via the alcohol—it filled a need.

The first step is to look at what the behavior is contributing to you. Then look at how you can fill those needs in other ways, Bradford shared. One of the first questions she asks of her clients is, “How would you like to create your life?”

As a tip she also advised we should never take on the identity of an addict because we are putting that intention out there. “If you say I’m a smoker or I’m an alcoholic you become that,” she said. “But, if you say, currently I’m drinking more alcohol than I would like to, but I’m changing this behavior,” then we are separating our identify from the behavior.

“What I discovered…is that anyone whose truly willing can walk away from any addictive or compulsive behavior,” said Bradford. “Recovery is not about stopping a substance…true recovery for me is about stepping into the greatness of you, and looking at where you’ve created limitations, and then clearing those so you can have more and be more.”

For more from Marilyn and the other 25 experts in mind, body and spirit topics, sign up FREE to Season 2 of the Living an Elevated Existence Summit.


Sherry Gaba: Heal Past Trauma with the Somatic Recovery Technique

We have all been through trauma at some point in our lives – whether it’s divorce, a sudden death, health diagnosis, or even a car accident – and as a result, emotional and physical energy can get stuck in our body and mind.

Celebrity psychotherapist, life coach and author of The Law of Sobriety,” Sherry Gaba, explained how many of us don’t realize this stuck energy is blocking us and holding us back from living in joy, attracting the right relationship, healing our body, and so much more. She joined Tammy Mastroberte, founder of Elevated Existence and publisher & editorial director of Elevated Existence Magazine, on the Living an Elevated Existence Mind, Body & Soul Summit to explain the Somatic Recovery Technique, and how releasing trauma can open us up to a life filled with more joy, love and happiness.

“Trauma is something that causes you to go unconscious and you can no longer fight or flee the situation, so your body just froze,” Gaba explained on the call. “What it did is froze energy and locked it inside your body and your cells, and there is no movement.”

People often wonder why they haven’t found the relationship of their dreams, or why their health is not improving, and what is really going on is they are stuck from past trauma energy in the body they have not released, said Gaba.

“Even though I am a licensed psychotherapist, I don’t believe you can talk through old trauma. Trauma in the body must be released in a very systematic, thoughtful way,” she said.

There are ways we can identify trauma in our body, including an exercise Gaba shared on the call. Start by thinking about an upset, loss, divorce or even abuse from early childhood, and notice what it feels like in the body. Is there a sensation in the lower back or the neck? This often gives us a clue of where the trauma is being held in the body. The key is not to run from it, but to actually notice it and be mindful of the emotions and sensations in the body, and allow them to discharge.

“It’s about being in the discomfort of the feeling in your body, entering the present moment and releasing all the pent up energy that has been holding you back from being fully awake and conscious,” she said.

Gaba teaches the Somatic Recovery Technique, which is a 7-step program to release and heal from trauma, and is also a way to find our true purpose, she explained.

“What I find is, we release the stuck energy and then what? We want to find purpose and a passion in our lives to replace it. That is the final result of the program,” she said, explaining people finally feel free from this process. “Your body is finally free of all that negativity and toxicity and able to let go. There is no resistance anymore. You finally have surrendered completely.”

Getting Unstuck
Gaba developed the Somatic Recovery process because she needed to let go of past trauma in her own life, which began prematurely. She was born three months early and put in an incubator, where her mother was not allowed to touch her because years ago people believed the mother could pass germs onto the child.

“I didn’t meet my mother until I was two and a half months old, so I missed that initial bonding period,” she shared. “I had a lot of issues growing up and later in my life with relationships because I didn’t have those first few months experience of early bonding. I had a lot of issues with picking unavailable people because I was unavailable to me.”

She found it didn’t matter how much therapy she went for, she didn’t heal until she discovered a therapist that specialized in trauma, and helped her get back into her body. Before that she was literally walking around in a “disassociated state,” just trying to survive, but not awake to her own authentic self.

“We have a knowing inside of us that is really our soul and soul purpose,” she shared. “When you start releasing the energy that has been stuck for so long, your soul’s purpose comes alive. You finally go, ‘yes, that is it! That is what makes me feel joy. That is what I’m passionate about.’”

So many of us work in jobs we don’t like and are in relationships where we are faking it until we make it, and this is covering up layers of truth inside of us. It’s impossible to be healthy when living in this state, Gaba explained. Releasing the trauma lets the negativity and old energy out, allowing the truth of who we are to come forward.

“Trauma keeps energy surpressed in every organ of our body. That is why people have aches and pains, and emotional issues, and that is energy that has not been released. It’s stuck in the body and keeping them from living a joyous life. This stored energy becomes toxic – all the distorted lies people tell themselves, the belief systems that no longer hold true, the moods that keep them living in fear and anxiety … it’s causing negative habits, destructive behavior and keeping people immobilized.”

This also applies to the law of attraction, she explained. Trauma weighs down our vibration, making it very difficult to attract the high vibrational life we desire.

“If you want to attract, joy, the relationship, the job, you have to be in the felt sense of the thing you want. You want to feel it in your body at the frequency you desire, but if you are filled with all that stuck energy, how could you be at that felt sense?” she asked. “I don’t’ see how that is possible. That is why I don’t think the law of attraction alone works. You have to do this work first. You have to get rid of the old energy. Everything great happened for me when I started doing this work.”