Becoming a Human Being not a Human Doing

Great insight here in how we need to become vulnerable and trusting in order to recover from the shame that drives our addictive behaviours.

Ultimately recovery becomes a process of becoming more human!

Allowing yourself to become more human…the healing in recovery involves the healing of human relationships.


  1. feelingmywaybackintolife · July 20, 2015

    He obviously seems to know what he is talking about but when I hear him say: ‘The cover ups for shame: perfectionism, criticism, blame, righthousness, rage, power.’ I’m thinking: with his performance in this vid, the way he behaves on stage, he ticks every one of those boxes. 😦
    It makes me sad.

    • alcoholicsguide · July 20, 2015

      why does it make you sad? that he seems to exhibit all these traits still?

      • feelingmywaybackintolife · July 20, 2015

        Yes, but that he exhibits these traits is his issue. My issue is that I am looking for people who have knowledge like he has AND can speak from the heart. The world, I, need those, and I have difficulty finding them.
        Gabor Maté is one of them, but ghegheghe, he is a little too close to my own darkness and does not seem to be able to see, or carry with, any of the light that is there as well.
        I need to be off now but I am looking forward to your reply.
        xx, Feeling

      • alcoholicsguide · July 20, 2015

        so I guess his recovery is/was not that great? Perhaps he was struggling to be real, authentic? I think he was saying vulnerability was an anitidote to shame but did not really seem to be exhibiting this much? Mate looks at the problem (incompletely in my view) without looking at the solution because he is not an addict and has not had to seek the solution. I will post another video of Brené Brown who researches and talks about vulnerability and creativity in addressing shame.

      • feelingmywaybackintolife · July 20, 2015

        I am not saying his recovery was/is not that great, that would be pretty judgemental, or? Not sure if I’m staying out of judgement with my comments, I find that difficult to do because, well, it’s in my nature. I’m noticing that he can not carry what he is speaking of and has fallen in a, for me familiair psychological trap in: that which you speak about happens. Not sure how it works, do you know the phenomena? This would be where people speak of a subject, often one of them is very much involved in a psychological phenomena, say, respect, and the talk suddenly ends up being utterly disrespectful. It’s weird, I’ve seen it happen a few times, been the instigator myself a few times. It has something to do with not totally having integrated the subject at cellular/DNA level and what I call ‘the forces within’ forcing it back to how it was. Probably because that is how they know it. Does that make any sense?

        🙂 I just ordered Brenés book. She is wonderful. Sometimes difficult to watch with the unease in her body but even that is full of learning opportunities (projecting etc. 🙂 )

        As I understood it Maté looks for solutions in the upbringing of children, also he does a lot of spiritual work, parts of which through Ayahuasca ceremonies. I heard him say he has a serious shopping addiction for buying music and books which can make him spend thousands of dollars in one hour without having any control over it. But indeed, as long as you make more money than you spend, I guess it is doable. Or maybe the shame, and the shell space, I don’t know. Indeed, next to alcohol it does somehow look like a luxery but … ;-( Next to that, in my not so humble opinion, he has a serious addiction to sadness. 😦 My ayahuasca spirit told me that was my favorite emotion and that I would call it up in any situation, be it good or bad I would find something to be sad about. So, ghegheghe, no wonder I have difficulty dealing with Maté his sadness; it’s a little too close to home. 🙂

  2. alcoholicsguide · July 20, 2015

    but you were implying it was sad that he exhibited these traits, which is kinda judgemental, no? It is okay to observe and give a view as long as it is not intended to personally hurt? You said “It has something to do with not totally having integrated the subject at cellular/DNA level and what I call ‘the forces within’ forcing it back to how it was” This is ok to observe this. I kinda agree to – I have always fought him pallid, sickly looking, malleable some how. He has not struck me as real/authentic is the sense he is there, integrated in the moment, that he is shining with spiritual solution. We should always say what we see and use our critical facilities . For example, I have view of Mate which is different to you. Why have a view – why not? I have an intuition or cellular feeling about Mate. I ma not convinced by him or the fullness of what he says. . I do not wish him harm by my views but have concerns that his views may be harmful as they are limited in their views of addiction and recovery. If I was asked by a vulnerable addict what I felt about him I would say in order to help. He talks in absolute terms which is always dangerous i think. I do not believe he is an addict/alcoholic like me. He has shopping issues which he does not seem to have lost control over. Hence I do not believe he talks for someone like me, I do not believe he suffers what I suffer from. Thus I am circumspect about him talking about something we may supposedly share when I think he does not share that and is not really in a position to comment on it like I can. He has worked with many addicts but that is like looking in through a window, it is not the same as being inside the room the window looks in to. I am suspicious (doubt motives sometimes) on well meaning people who talk or give their views of addictions (e.g journalists who suddenly become interested in addiction like Glaser or Hari). There is a career to be forged by starting to be expert on such an emotive issues as addiction? Mate obviously has spent much more hands on time with addicts however his solution centring on the “the upbringing of children” is an idealized and generalized “solution” – what does he advocate for the suffering addict now apart for idealistic chitter chatter? It is the same with recovery communities – lets join hands and walk on recovery marches to end stigma etc. Great idea but only that many of us cannot agree on what addiction is, if it even exists so where is the unity of purpose. As for Bradshaw I looked at the message not the messenger. These days it appears we prefer to listen more to the messenger than the message. I was impressed by what he said anyway regardless of how he delivered it. I resisted this guy for about eight years as he was continually recommended to me. Too close to home for me at the time but via neuropsychology there is a greater understanding now that shame is a”master emotion” which influences on all other emotions. It is up there with fear in terms of influence on human behaviour. I got into this area when researching why the defects of character I have, as revealed in my step 4 inventory, centred on shame which is attached to related emotions like inflated pride, intolerance, dismissiveness, self pity, anger, rage, perfectionism, self centredness, etc Neuropsychology may be revealing what psychoanalysis has known for a long time that when our sense self is threatened we react via defence mechanisms which often contain this mesh of negative emotional reactions. I know my reactions are always generally the same, my defence mechanism have a similar profile of emotional dysregulation. I know this to be true of my experience, I don’t expect Matte or hari or Glaser to know this. I know his because i have sought an effective solution to these problems. Become the teacher you have always looked for. 🙂

  3. feelingmywaybackintolife · July 20, 2015

    On the judgemental: I’m not sure if I understand this word/the concept totally. I think to see what he is doing and I take distance from it because I think it is not authentic. I do not put it out here to hurt him or to make me feel better (I think). I do put it out here because I am afraid that if I see something that I think is true, and somebody else does not see (it) that (way), it scares me. So… judgemental. Hmmm, that is not the motive, the motive is fear. Aah, having said that, let’s take it a little further and put this out here: I am afraid of men like this, doing their power thing, having found some religious base on which they determine they are at least a little superior over others, unauthentic, saying things that look like truths but not living it and still saying they live it. They remind me of my dad. These are the kind of men I get in trouble with ALL – THE – TIME. They tend to judge me for whatever it, pick on me in public while inbetween looking down my decoltage.
    He does know his shit and he puts it together very well but well, but in this vid, all I see is a tyrant. Wouldn’t want to be his child and specifically not his daughter. No matter what content he preaches he is not living it and that is dangerous. I’m currently checking out Youtube but he keeps on speaking in measurable, comparitive speak and again and again, in every story he tells he comes out on top. He speaks power speak. He does not speak from his centre, like I think Maté does. He speaks to impress, not to have a conversation and share thoughts in peace but to show he knows his shit and he is capable. I try to stay away from people who do that because it is powerplay and I tend to call them on their BS and that is not being liked. I’m guessing I start to discover why I get into trouble with men like these along with writing this. 😉 So yes, judgemental, yes, not accepting because yes, I think he’s (partially) a phony and when it is so out there as he lets his power thing hang loose I have difficulty hearing the message. Even though what I did hear is that it is a good summing up. I looked up a word in the dictionairy: sensationalism, that’s what I see when he speaks.
    I have difficulty picking up things from people I don’t trust. I mean, what is trust and intuition good for otherwise? But maybe I should read the book. 😉 Or find another book on the subject because yeah, it is important. Not there yet to uncover it, but it feels like it should be on my path within now and half a year. So judgmental, yes. Not ashamed of it. It is an important tool to keep the BS out. Part of sobriety is about making choices in what you let in.
    Maté I believe written a whole book (haven’t finished it yet) on how healthcare should be different, how addicts should not be criminalised etc. He’s a medical doctor working with junkies from the streets, I guess he knows what could help them. :-/ But yes, with his income I would gladly swap addictions ;-). But that is an utterly stupid thing to say, I know.
    xx, Feeling

  4. alcoholicsguide · July 21, 2015

    Thanks for your honesty here – I think we will agree to differ on some points here. 🙂 I see Bradshaw as someone who has suffered from what he talks about and who has been there looking for a solution to his problem of chronic shame. Mate is the opposite for me. He wrote a book which has well received and encouraged a weird cult following and although the book contains an interesting literature review and account of the neurobiology of addiction (none of which was peer reviewed originally) when it comes to social side of addiction he like many other recent commentators gets obsessed by this social side of addiction, the war on drugs, criminalising of addicts etc which is very bleeding liberal in some ways. We can all do that! He is similar to Alexander and Hari in this respect. Mate does not offer any solution to the problem of addiction. He does not advocate an effective treatment really and instead advocates harm reduction which is for me keeping addicts in the problem not the solution. This is why his bleeding liberalism, like others, is dangerous to addicts. It keeps you in the problem, in the addiction not in the recovery. When I fist went to AA the war on drugs was not my main concern I have to say? We can and do recover. This is the only real story I want to hear, we need to hear, how we recover. I do not want to be patronised by liberals who watch daily as addicts stay in their addiction. His medical solution like others is to keep addicts either on methadone or to reduce their daily misery. Addiction has various underlying reasons and mechanisms which need to be addressed and treated effectively via abstinence. Mate as a doctor fails to do so but has the gall to tell the world about what he thinks. He seduces those not in recovery by saying staying in the illness is ok. It is not the solution. He is a self proclaimed self publicist. Why should I listen to him when he knows less than nothing about addiction and it’s successful treatment. What is wrong with getting well? Society reads this type of book and wrings it’s hands of these poor addicts. it gives a jaundiced idea of addicts. Most alcoholics I know in AA are middle class professionals not the type of addict he describes. He wants the world to feel sorry for us when that is the last thing we need. We need the help of others who are like us, have been through what we have been through and have worked successfully recovered from addiction. If you want to recover from addiction Mate is the last person I would suggest consulting. Addicts want to be happy not chemically straight jacketed or untreated.

  5. feelingmywaybackintolife · July 22, 2015

    Shit, I had this whole reply written and then pushed the wrong button.
    Thank you for your explanation. I will see take this in consideration when/if I continue his book. I really like his Tedtalk and other vids, he speaks to me in a language I understand, and I guess from there on I think that he knows addiction from the inside.
    But indeed, a life of methadone is no good. However, here in the Netherlands it has been supplied for over like 20-30 years I think? And I believe we have the lowest number of junkies (for 1) and the lowest numbers of deaths amongst them, world wide. So…. in a land where drugs are pretty mainstream and rather freely available (and addiction is not criminilised) that is pretty good. But indeed, people should be really living, and methadone does not support the ‘really’ in that sentence. But hey, easy for me to say. Haven’t been there.
    Mate works with people who live on the streets on a daily base. I was guessing his idea of making the world feel sorry is to counter the thoughts that these ‘poor lack-alls’ are criminals and need to be punished and locked up without right to treatment. So I had no problem there. But maybe I should finish the book. I have difficulty with his, what I call ‘addiction to misery’; the immense effort he puts in decribing their world, pffffff… heavy. And yes it is heavy, I know that, but I am not sure if I need to take such a big textual part of the same poison to understand that. So I do not. Again, taking care of what goes in is important for me.
    Thanks again for the insights. 🙂 And maybe I’ll take down my ‘honesty’ a notch some day. 😉 I am guessing in my situation that would be part of recovery too. 🙂
    xx, Feeling

    • alcoholicsguide · July 22, 2015

      pushing that honesty dial up to 11 is recovery! we will have to agree to disagree on Gabor Mate 🙂 I had a friend on methadone who then drank himself into an early death so it is naive to think people on methadone do not use other drugs or use methadone with heroin – check out the Russel Brand video I posted a while back. addiction i not about what we crave but why we crave. Recovery taught me about my condition of addictive behaviour in a way that only recovery can. Experiential wisdom is what helps people recover not theories – only action brings about change. x

      • feelingmywaybackintolife · July 22, 2015

        Aaah, yeah, maybe I am naive on the methadone. Not my scene.
        I’ll put Russel Brand on my list and hope to find an English dictionary and a button on my computer which slows down the vid. I wonder how he ever recovered when he is not able to sit still or be still. 😀 Don’t you?
        xx, Feeling

      • alcoholicsguide · July 22, 2015

        egomania can stalk recovery too.

      • feelingmywaybackintolife · July 22, 2015

        It would be very suitable for me to take that personally I guess. 😀

      • alcoholicsguide · July 23, 2015

        many of us have a tendency towards it :-/

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