It has been an awe-inspiring past few weeks. I had the wonderful opportunity to host and present on Breaking the Cycle of Sexual Abuse at the Utah Women's Birth Circle, facilitated by the amazing massage therapist and healer Monica Faux-Kota.

I was also invited to a Professional's Weekend at The Ranch in Nunley, Tennessee. The Ranch is an Elements Behavioral Health Program that resides on 2400 Acres of land. They have a variety of houses and programs for adult men women with trauma, intimacy disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders. A magical place; the experience was life-changing.

Both experiences, from presenting to doulas and mid-wives one weekend to having the experience of being a "client" at The Ranch the next, inspired me to take a deeper look at some components of myself and the work I do with men and women with trauma and addiction issues.

When you think about the word "temptation", think about all the things in your daily life that are tempting. For instance, tv, cell phone, social media( i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram,etc), drama, adrenaline (i.e., adrenaline junky), videogames, money, spending money, food (sugar), exercise.

And what about the "not so acceptable" addictions such as porn? Sex with prostitutes, massage parlors, strip clubs? How about being addicted to a relationship, or to a person at your and your relationship's expense? Being a stripper, prostitute, escort? Voyeuring, exhibitionism? How about abusing substances: Meth, cocaine, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, marijuana (yes it can still be abused), heroine (oxycontin~the legal version of heroin), "K", etc?

That is a lot of temptation. I am pretty sure that everyone that reads this can find something on this list in which they are addicted.

Ask yourself this very important question: WHY ARE YOU ADDICTED?

Why is the temptation to have or use something so strong that you believe that without it, your heart will explode out of your chest and you will die?

The answer is that we are tempted by things that give us an escape from discomfort. It ALWAYS comes down to this. When drug addicts try to argue with me that they solely use for the high, I chuckle. If that was really the case, we would all be drug addicts.

The brilliant physician Gabor Maté speaks to this: addiction is an escape; a coping skill that people use to alleviate the dis-ease and tremendous discomfort they feel inside (IITAP Symposium 2015). With intimacy issues, especially when it becomes disordered, it is about unresolved attachment failure and trauma (chronic "little" trauma, and/or a big trauma). Most of these traumatic events that end up haunting people happen between the ages zero to 18.

Going back to the past few weekends, the first one being public speaking, I always get nervous. Always. But, I have internalized the belief that it is ok for me to feel the fear and do it anyway. So I speak in public and on tv often regardless of how shaky or nervous I get.

At The Ranch, I took part in a Native American ceremony called a Sweat Lodge which is a ceremony of "sitting in the heat" (literally) to release that which no longer serves and birth one's new self. This might sound beautiful; however, I really dreaded it. I considered it a scary and claustrophobia inducing experience. Twenty plus people sitting together in a pitch dark teepee sweating like crazy from heat didn't sound appealing. The temptation to run from this experience was incredibly strong; so great, that before the trip I had emailed one of the facilitators asking if it was "required." I even plotted my list of excuses as to why I wouldn't be able to attend.

With compassion, I am now able to laugh at myself about my attempts at escaping something that felt scary but in the long run was truly life-changing. It is like recovery from anything, and we are all in recovery from something. The hardest thing is getting used to facing what we have spent years running from. However, once we start to open the compartments and deal with the secrets, shame, pain, trauma, heartache, sorrow, etc. in a healthy way, we begin to feel lighter.

Facing my fear of avoiding something physically painful like a sweat lodge was a huge feat that took great courage on my part. It made jumping off a 75 foot Dam the next day seem easy (pictured above). I indeed felt lighter; I felt free.

As you move into the weekend, reflect on your past week. Was it stressful? Or was it stress-free? Did you find yourself wanting to give into the temptation to use an unhealthy coping skill either to escape or because your "addict" said, "I had a great week so I deserve this"? What can you learn from the temptation you may be feeling?

Remember, if you allow your vices to be a teacher, instead of taunt and trap you in unhealthy patterns of living, in time and with much practice (and structure and support) you will realize that what you have been running from is not the enemy. It, like temptation is a teacher.




MEN'S HEALTHY SEXUALITY GROUP: We are excited to have this be our 4th on-going men's group.Starts Monday May 4th, 5-7 p.m. 3 Seats left! $45 per group; 12-Week Series.

90 DAY BI-WEEKLY PARTNER GROUP FOR WOMEN WITH JILL: Starts MAY 14, 6-8 p.m. $45 per group. 6 group commitment.

Candice's Mastering the Trauma Wound Workshop (Part 1) 2-Day Intensive May 30, 31. We will use my workbook Mastering the Trauma Wound as our guide (included in the cost). If you want or need a tune up and want to come for a repeat of this workshop(every time is different, or if you have never experienced this life-changing weekend and feel it calling to you: email Candice (email below).Look of the upcoming flyer for details.

Part II day-long Advanced Mastering the Trauma Wound Workshop with Candice and Carrie Coppola will be in June! Pre-requisite: Complete Part I weekend. Stay tuned for details!

Yoga For Recovery Coming June (for men), July (for women), August (for partners of addicts and trauma survivors) with Carrie Coppola, Owner of Mudita (Be Joy) Yoga. www.bejoyyoga.com. Stay tuned for details! Email Candice for information if you want info before the flyer is posted.

Contact info: CANDICE@NAMASTEADVICE.COM; 801-272-3500