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*Every* Brain in *Any* Recovery: Another Reportable Oversight

Posted Sep 16 2008 5:02am

Everyone here at CorePsychBlog knows that brain function is often overlooked - and nowhere is it more frequently overlooked than in the recovery process - not just recovery from drugs and alcohol, but from any addictive, compulsive, repetitive process, from food to sex.

But before those details, a brief sidebar on personal/family happenings: Bevpen01p0191_3
First of all, an apology to you, dear readers, I have been a busy guy. My son and daughter-in-law just had a baby... only 7 days ago, out in LA... and our family went out to be there with them with the new baby - who, by the way, slept almost all through the night last night.

And, one more personal note: I will tell you more later about a terrific evening at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, as guest speaker for the Spero Retreat in Beverly Hills [do check out this link to the facility on top of a mountain in Beverly Hills]. In attendance: the substance abuse/recovery cognoscenti in LA, as well as Dr Ari Vojdani, one of the most respected neuroimmunologists in the country, and a simply wonderful guy. The audience [details and name dropping later] was wonderful, the venue - magical. The evening was one of the most special events in my many years on the teaching/learning road. Stay tuned.

And just a few more comments about the brain and recovery:

Back to the Recovering Brain:
Like deer in the headlights we become mesmerized by the seriousness of the psychological illness and forget about the underlying medical/metabolic/brainillness that continues to feed that same unrelenting addictive process.

And yet this observation begs the question: how can we now, in the context of abundant new brain science and brain function information, avoid thinking about brain and metabolism in the recovery process?

You know from reading here, [and from my podcasts and my book, Deep Recovery ], that I have no use for reductionistic labels [in good company with biologist and evolution-of-science  expert Edward Wilson ], for black and white categorical thinking, or for the terms "only" and "always," or "every" and "any," - so why use them in my post headline? Simply because we do need to turn some heads. We need to rethink the recovery process from an elemental, fundamental point of view.

If we think " recovery" we need to "total mind and body recovery." Comprehensive medical and physical assessment should become routine, not just a review for detox.

Naturally, we will continue to apply all the "psychological patterns" we have used in the past from the "child within" to "codependency" - and practice all the 12 Step activities that provide a grid for living within the larger spiritual world.  We don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. But if we "keep it [too] simple" we can stumble in the darkness. Deep Recovery is inclusive, not reductionistic. If you're an alcoholic, you are *always* more than just an alcoholic.

If we can stretch our minds from *brain/life fixes with substance abuse* to working in the larger context of *humility and a higher power* - reasonable goals in any recovery process - we certainly would achieve even better recovery consistency if we include *body and the brain work* along that winding path.

My suggestion: New Year's resolution - include considering and learning about the brain, the physical being, - the body that carries that brain around. As I reported in detail at the Peninsula Hotel: In 2008 we can, with modern technology - from SPECT brain imaging to evolved laboratory assessment - travel two paths, the traditional path that does work for so many, and, at the same time, that *one less traveled,* with new evidence. We can see brain function with SPECT, we can measure the body with advanced laboratory assessments, and these new levels of information can dramatically improve every recovery process.

On a final "psychiatric note:" with the complexity of the recovery process, especially with those complicated, multiple relapse folks, we must grow beyond the current surface *innovative diagnosis* [yes, tongue in cheek] of bipolar illness and the simplicity of *only* psych medication strategies.

Let's think about and include *every* living brain in the understanding and treatment of *any* recovery process!

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