John Bradshaw - Coping With Stress
Welcome to Take Charge of Your Health, brought to you by It Is Written. If you've never been addicted to something, then you might not understand the power of addiction. Tonight we'll talk to the experts about addiction. We'll meet people who have overcome very difficult addictions. And we'll learn that there really is a way forward, out of the grip of addiction, information you need, either for you or for someone you care about. I'm glad you've joined me. Thanks for being part of Take Charge of Your Health.
This is Take Charge of Your Health. I'm John Bradshaw. Be sure you head to our Take Charge of Your Health website, takecharge.life, takecharge.life. You can watch previous programs in this series. You can let us know if you'd like us to pray about something you're wrestling with right now. You'll find resources there, and it's there that you can sign up to be part of a Take Charge action group. I'll let you know more about this a little later in the program. The statistics are mind-boggling. There are almost 21 million addicts in the United States. It's reported that almost 4 out of every 10 American adults battle an illicit drug disorder. In 2018 almost 70,000 people died from a drug overdose. Almost 90,000 people a year die from alcohol-related causes. And alcohol abuse continues to be a huge issue and a major problem. Many people are addicted to smoking, and, of course, there are myriad other addictions as well. Tonight, as well as talking to physicians, we're about to hear amazing stories that will inspire you. We'll check in with dietician Dr. Fay Kazzi, an otolaryngologist, surgeon, and our exercise consultant, Dr. Steve Lee from Loma Linda University Health. This final presentation of Take Charge of Your Health is going to be life-changing. I really hope it is for you.
John Bradshaw: Millions and millions of people in the United States are addicted to something. Around the world that number goes up exponentially. If you are not addicted to something, and there's a fair chance that you are, then it's almost certain that you know someone who is an addict. I'm very grateful to be able to welcome to Take Charge of Your Health Dr. Melinda Skau. She is a family medicine physician and the medical director of Feather River Tribal Health. She is based in Oroville, California. Dr. Skau, welcome. Thanks for joining me.
Dr. Melinda Skau: Thank you so much for the invitation. I'm so excited to be here.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Doug Teller is an addiction medicine physician. He is based at the Kettering Health Network, based in Kettering, Ohio, just outside of Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Teller, thanks for being here.
Dr. Doug Teller: Thank you, pastor.
John Bradshaw: Let's start at the beginning if we're going to talk about addiction. I'll start with you, Dr. Teller. Explain to me what addiction is.
Dr. Doug Teller: Uh, I would put it very simply as repetitive adverse response to various sensual lures. What do we see? What do we hear? Smell, taste, feel? And the, the big question addictions comes down to: How elective is that? Um, that's, that's a pretty loaded question.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Skau, let me ask you this. What are the kinds of things that people are addicted to? Someone's addicted to a candy bar, okay, maybe. Is that a fair thing to say? Or that addiction, an addiction to heroin, there's got to be two different attractions, one would think, but maybe not, so, I'll throw that over to you. What are the sorts of things that people are addicted to?
Dr. Melinda Skau: I think Dr. Teller's right. Any, anything that has a lure to it, so that could be sugar. That could be, I actually know that even some of the dairy products have a casomorphin receptor, which is very similar to the receptor on morphine. Why, it's why we eat ice cream when we're feeling down. Um, there's, there's opiates, uh, alcohol, cigarettes, internet, pornography. Uh, some people even get addicted to, work. They overwork because they get a lot of, pleasurable feedback from other people, even though they do it to the detriment of their family or their health.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Teller, explain to me how addiction works. Somebody smokes a cigarette, they're not addicted, but, after a certain point, addiction sets in and takes hold. The same might be true for alcohol. Some drink alcohol and don't become addicted. Some drink and do. So, so how does it work? How does something really get a hold of you so that your vice or your practice becomes an addiction?
Dr. Doug Teller: Yeah, it, it has to do with, how your brain responds to various stimuli. Um, and it starts in an area, called the nucleus accumbens. Um, it's loaded with the ability to, respond to stimuli with a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which will, project to other areas of the brain that cause a memory for what has been pleasurable. Um, so the next time we're exposed to that pleasure, and, it says, "Oh, I've come across a brownie". Um, and the prefrontal cortex will say to the, the nucleus accumbens, uh, "That was a 9 out of 10 before; I would go for that". And so, you're more likely to repeat the procedure.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Skau, if someone's thinking, "I'm addicted," uh, dependent on alcohol or, uh, opiates or whatever the case might, opioids, whatever the case might be, what do you do? Where do you begin? Is there hope? Somebody realizes, "This thing has got me". What should they do?
Dr. Melinda Skau: So, there's definitely hope. There's definitely hope. And, and there's so many centers right in your hometown that are wanting to help you, uh, combinations of medical treatment with, counseling treatment and, and definitely if, if you know the Word of God, there's lots of hope and help there. Most of these addictions start in our childhood with pains that we're just pushing down, keeping under cover with something that we're addicted to. And if, if we, if we feel those feelings and walk through that journey to heal those feelings, that craving for all the substances defervesces.
John Bradshaw: I want to, I want you to continue with that thought, Dr. Skau, if you would. Uh, take a little more time to flesh that out a little bit. You've talked about, uh, what seems like a, a gap appears in childhood; a need is there; that need is supplied one way or another, maybe a destructive way. Would you, would you mind elaborating on what you just said?
Dr. Melinda Skau: Sure, sure. I, I'd like to just mention adverse childhood experiences, because if people grow up in a family where there's, uh, verbal or physical or sexual abuse or a parent who's absent because of divorce or death or, maybe they're on, um, drugs themselves or alcohol themselves, or they're, they're overworking and they're not home, so, so children grow up in a, in a lonely, neglected atmosphere, and so the first thing, like Dr. Teller was saying, the first thing that comes along and meets that need and makes them feel good, they crave that thing, and they wanna go after that thing, whatever that is. Whether it's shopping or gambling or whatever they choose, they want to go back to it. And if it's something like methamphetamine that spills your whole packet of dopamine all at once, then you're always trying to go back to that first high, and it's never quite as good as the first high, because you've already spent all that.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Teller, can I ask you to elaborate on that? Uh, drug addicts will tell you, you know, "I started here, and I ended up here, and I ended up", how does that work? Why does it work that way?
Dr. Doug Teller: Yeah, there, there are, um, obviously a lot of different allures that, people experience. Um, some people will take a very, uh, very much a, a substance like cocaine, for instance, and they will fall in love with it immediately. Others, will say, "Whoa, that was too intense, and, that doesn't suit me at all". In fact, most people will. But the thing is, as you kind of tinker with things, um, it, and, you know, if you take something like heroin, um, you can say, "Well, I'm not gonna go back there," but if you continue to kind of coax it with, uh, stimulants like caffeine, stimulants like tobacco, um, all of a sudden you find yourself looking for something more because you have this memory in your brain that says, hey, there's something more in the cookie jar than what you, are currently nibbling on.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Skau, let me ask you this. So, I'm, I'm gonna go back to this idea that someone's wrestling with an addiction or the early stages of an addiction. It sounds to me like, I want to ask you about what people should, what, can practically do. We said a moment ago there are professionals in your town, in your area. Get help; there are people who want to help you and are set up to help you, so that's good. Uh, we've also talked about the dangers of caffeine and nicotine. So, if you were to give a, a little list to people, here are the, the dos or the don't-dos, if you want to fend addiction off or simply prevent yourself from going down that rabbit hole, what would some of those practical steps be that people can take to ward addiction off and to keep themselves safe from slipping into that?
Dr. Melinda Skau: Sure. I think I would start with excellent nutrition, eating lots of the colorful foods, the fruits, the vegetables, the nuts, the seeds, the beans, the whole grains. Those colors have protective minerals and vitamins in them that make you less likely to go after the cravings.
John Bradshaw: Okay.
Dr. Melinda Skau: And then, exercise, exercise is huge. Um, exercise in the sunshine is a double benefit. The, the sunshine's very healing and calming, and the exercise, spills off some of the anxiety that, makes somebody go after the, the benzodiazepines, the Valium, the Xanax. So, so those are the, two of the things I would start with. And, and then you mentioned, getting help, having a team, there's online meetings all the time for people who need help in whatever their specific area of addiction is. Uh, so, so getting, getting a team going, getting good rest at night, going to bed at a, at a, an early hour, not using any electronics for the hour before you go to sleep, getting good sleep, those, early morning light, those kind of simple, natural remedies can be very helpful for resisting addictions.
John Bradshaw: Well, let's go now to Dr. Eric Moore. Dr. Eric Moore is with AdventHealth in Orlando, Florida. He's also the CEO of Moore Medical Group. Dr. Moore, thanks so much for taking some time with me. I appreciate it very much.
Dr. Eric Moore: Thanks for the invitation, John.
John Bradshaw: I wonder if you could talk to me about the role that addiction or substance abuse plays in mental health issues. There's often a very direct correlation. What is that role, the role of addiction or substance abuse in mental health issues?
Dr. Eric Moore: That's a great, question, John. Addiction, if we tease all of that apart and we look at addiction, we look at substance abuse, we look at mental health, you know, we certainly, um, many of us have addictions to, to various things. It certainly doesn't have to be what we think of in terms of addictions, you know, medications and that type of thing. But it can certainly be the food or, television, whatever it might be. Um, substance abuse certainly is, the addiction to substances, such as opioids or alcohol, uh, and even nicotine, tobacco. So they relate, they're very hard to tease apart. The mental health community looks at people that have substance abuse issues and mental health disorders as either co-occurring or dual diagnoses. And so, they, they, they do that to be able to identify the, the, the parts. And so if someone has a history of depression but they also have a history of alcoholism, they're able to attack, each entity so that they can improve the total outlook. So it's very hard to tease those apart, and what we find is that people that, that do have mental health disorders, probably around 50 percent of those have a substance abuse, issue as well.
John Bradshaw: Now, it would appear to me that most people who choose to use drugs or alcohol recreationally don't weigh up the mental health repercussions. But what are some of those repercussions of things that people might want to think through? What have you seen people go through owing to addiction?
Dr. Eric Moore: Well, you know, when people say that they're, they're doing something recreationally, they have to be very, very careful. Um, whereas we don't truly understand the addictive personality, but we do realize that genetics can play a role in substance abuse and in, uh, addictions. And so, if you're using alcohol recreationally, uh, at a party or this type of thing, you don't know if somehow with a certain level of use that you will, become addicted to that substance as well. So you have to be very careful with that. You know, certain substances can actually change your, your biochemistry and actually create issues. And certainly we know that, you know, alcohol over time, even at small doses, can damage cells, can damage the liver. Um, certainly nicotine and tobacco can cause problems in the lungs. So, recreational use can become chronic, use and abuse. And so it's very, you're walking a slippery slope, if you're, feeling comfortable with doing something recreationally.
John Bradshaw: You know, addiction can sort of just creep up on a person, and, and what I mean by that is somebody prescribes, say, opioids for pain; someone with chronic back pain can find themselves addicted to those opioids basically through no fault of their own. So, let's say, for example, if you have chronic back pain and you're prescribed something that's addictive, what are your options if you want to avoid addiction?
Dr. Eric Moore: Sure, that's a tough one. That's one that many primary care physicians, deal with. Uh, in 2020 now, we, we have certainly recognized that so many people have become addicted, uh, to opioids because of, you know, back pain, knee pain, certain orthopedic, issues. Um, and so the states have really cracked down on prescribers prescribing, you know, numerous amounts of medications at one time. And so we also, make it, necessary that the, the patient comes into the office so that you can, can, and you can examine them. You can find out what's working, what's not. You certainly don't give them 60-90 pills and just let them go. Um, so there's very, very close, surveillance of, over-prescribing, so that people can certainly become addicted. Now, with, with, issues such as chronic back pain, you know, there's certainly other modalities that can help. And a physician should try to use those other modalities first. Uh, there's certainly, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, Motrin, Tylenol. Uh, there's also physical therapy, you know, exercise, doing things that are natural. Uh, the back is actually very resilient. Um, if you don't do anything, it'll, oftentimes the back will heal on its, on its own. But, there's certainly some orthopedic traumatic issues with the back. You want to start with therapies, first before you move on to medications. And if you have to use, just purely opioid types of medications, you use them in small doses. Um, you, bring the patient back. Uh, you, you counsel them. You see how they're doing, to make sure that they're not becoming addicted to those medications.
John Bradshaw: Let me ask you this. Addiction doesn't usually only affect a person; it usually affects a group, such as a family unit. When families are trying to help someone with an addiction to get through that addiction, it's, it's, it's very common that the person resists help or, or doesn't want to press forward. How would you advise a family? How would you speak to a family that says, "We have an addict in our midst; we want to try to help that person"? It's not always easy. It's frequently difficult. What would you say to that family?
Dr. Eric Moore: Very challenging, John, very challenging. Um, you know, at, at the root of a lot of, mental health, substance abuse, addiction, is a foundation of a need that that person has. Something's missing, right, in their life. Whether it be, they've gone through some sort of trauma, abuse, neglect, whatever it might be, that person is often crying out for help. And so, in a family setting, um, there could be multiple people that, are dealing with, with the same issue. And so, I think one of the first things that families should do is to contact a, professional counselor, someone that specializes in addiction, someone that knows how to engage, family members and the, the person that they're concerned about. You've heard, you've seen interventions. That's where the family comes together and just really tells the, the, the person, how they feel. And so the first step is being able to talk about it, being able to come together, being able to figure out what the underlying issues are, tackling that, and continuing to, to get help for it.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Moore, I'm very grateful you've taken your time. Dr. Eric Moore is with AdventHealth in Orlando, Florida, and he is the CEO of the Moore Medical Group. Dr. Moore, thank you very much. I'm joined by somebody now who's had real experience with addiction. He understands something about the depths of addiction and also what it means to be delivered from addiction. I'm joined by Richie Halversen, who's based in Cleveland, Tennessee. Richie, thanks so much for joining me.
Richie Halversen: Oh, it's great to be with you.
John Bradshaw: Hey, take me back to, to where this began. You must, no one, no one is born using drugs, so, so what happened? How did you slide into drug use, and how did you become addicted?
Richie Halversen: Well, it's kind of a variety of things that, probably happened, but, you know, kind of a combination of things, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, in high school, kind of, me and my friends looking for trouble and, and things like that, you know, it kind of catches you by surprise. Um, and, you know, I think we found that there is some genetic predisposition for people, with addiction. So there does seem to be some people that seem to be a little bit more prone. That doesn't excuse the addiction; it just is the reality that some people have to be a little bit more vigilant because they may be a little bit more, predisposed, to fall into the trap of addiction. So I think it's a variety of things.
John Bradshaw: You outlined that in the book you wrote about your experience, "Darkness Will Not Overcome," and I would recommend that book to anybody who wants to know a little bit more about what this experience is like. It's well written. Thank you for doing that. Now, so there you were; you, you, you realized things are spiraling out of control. How did things get back on track?
Richie Halversen: So after a couple of years of in and out of drug treatment centers and getting actually arrested, uh, and in and out of jails and institutions, I finally, I was living out of my car. Um, my parents had reached out to me. They said, "Richie, we're gonna help you go to treatment one last time, but this is it". And, my wife couldn't let me come back home because she couldn't trust me to be there. It was Christmas time, so I was there by myself living out of my car, because of choices that I had made. And so I flew out west. I went to a treatment center. And...I finally reached this point where I could have either gone out and gone back to the same routine of using, but there was something, and I truly believe God was speaking to me in that moment and telling me, "Richie, if you go out that door, you're gonna die. But if you surrender to me, I, I'm going to use you, and I'm gonna rescue you from this". And so that's what I did. I kneeled down and said the first prayer I had said in years, there in the tiny little treatment center, in the middle of nowhere, and surrendered my life to God and surrendered my, my life to the process of recovery. I started listening to people. You know, I realized I knew how to get high. I didn't know how to stay clean. So I started listening to people who, who had been through what I had been through and were staying clean, and what were they doing? And I started practicing those principles in my life.
John Bradshaw: Well, you've been clean for a while. Tell me how long and, and tell me what you've done in order to, to keep your focus where it ought to be. What's been the secret to success?
Richie Halversen: So, I have been clean now, it's probably close to 15 years, that I have been clean. Um, I, my wife and I celebrated our, 22nd year, so 22 years we've been married. We've got four kids, praise the Lord. Uh, my second two kids I was able to be involved, uh, and, and see their birth and be clean and experience what that was like, and, and so, I just praise God for, for that. So that's kind of a daily reminder of why I want to stay clean. But really, what, what has made the difference is just daily working a program. You know, 12-step recovery was huge for me. Uh, you know, going to church and developing my relationship with God was huge for me. What's nice about the 12 steps is it breaks down biblical principles that, are so practical, things like honesty, hope, faith, and it, and it deals, and it, and it presents these principles in a way that I can practice them in a daily life. And so, with addiction, you know, it's like anything; you can arrest that, that, disease. You can arrest that dysfunction, but it only comes through daily surrender to Christ and daily surrender to a new day of life. You've got to take one day at a time, uh, and not get overwhelmed with how far you've got to go. Uh, but recognize, man, I, at least I'm not where I used to be. I may not be where I want to be, but at least I'm not where I used to be. And just daily reminding myself of that progress and, and continually surrendering to God has been the secret recipe to success.
John Bradshaw: And by the way, speaking of, of where a person might be, tell us what you do for a living these days.
Richie Halversen: Yeah. Actually, I am a, I am a pastor. I pastor a church here in, Cleveland, Tennessee. I've been pastoring now for, let's see, it's been about, 12 years, full-time pastoral ministry, and so, God has been good, and I've been able to really help a lot of people who are struggling with addiction and, and help the church become a place where people who are struggling can come, encounter the gospel, and be changed by that. So, my recovery has really, I feel, enhanced and blessed my ministry.
John Bradshaw: Pastor Richie Halversen is the author of "Darkness Will Not Overcome". Thanks so much for sharing your inspirational story. God has done great things in your life. I wish you all the very best.
Richie Halversen: Thank you so much for having me.
John Bradshaw: Tonight Chef Ani has another wonderful recipe. Ani, it's great to have you here. What is it you have for us?
Chef Ani: Tonight we are making a beautiful fresh corn salad. This salad is raw, so we're retaining all the nutrients and antioxidants that are in the vegetables. Plus, it is super simple and easy to make, and I'm going to show you how quickly we can make this in just a few minutes. So we're starting with some fresh corn. I love the time of year when we can get fresh corn. Corn is very rich in fiber and B12 and provides us with a lot of energy. We're just going to cut the kernels off of the cob. You'll find that the corn kind of flies all over the place, but that's just part of the experience, I think. The next thing we're going to add is a European cucumber, and we really want to cut it up small so that it is a similar size as our corn so you don't have massive pieces of cucumber and tiny pieces of corn; we want a very, like, harmonious combination. Cucumber is very high in water, but it's full of nutrients and antioxidants. And as I've said before, it is so important to incorporate different colors into our salad, so tonight I'm adding a beautiful red tomato to really give that pop of color. And tomatoes are also high in antioxidants. And this is basically it. Wasn't that simple? Now all we have left to do is to make the dressing that is going to take this to the next level. So to make our dressing, we're going to start with a little sweet onion and garlic. We're going to squeeze in a little fresh lime juice. We're also going to chop up some fresh herbs. I have some parsley and fresh basil here. This is going to add another element of flavor and also nutrition to our dish. And the easiest way I find to chop up herbs like this is just to take your fingers, put them down on the top of the knife, better to use the fingers than the palm because you can get your fingers in the way down here. So I like to use the fingers and just rock it back and forth like this, and look how beautifully we have chopped up our herbs. We're going to season with a little salt, and we're just going to add a tiny bit of cold-pressed olive oil. And all we have left to do is to add our beautiful dressing to our salad and just give it a good toss. Isn't that just beautiful? And there you have it. This is my fresh corn salad. It is beautiful. It has so many fresh ingredients. It's just one of my favorites.
John Bradshaw: Chef Ani, really appreciate it. Thanks again.
Chef Ani: It's my pleasure.
John Bradshaw: I hope you've been encouraged as we've talked about how you can take charge of your health. There's been a wealth of information shared, some very inspiring personal accounts of major improvement in health. And each time we've been together, we've been encouraged by dietician, health professional, and author Dr. Fay Kazzi. Dr. Kazzi, thanks so very much for joining me on Take Charge of Your Health.
Dr. Fay Kazzi: And thank you again for having me, such a pleasure.
John Bradshaw: Hey, let's take a moment to talk about fruit. It's so good, so good for you, but most of us don't get nearly enough. So just what is it about fruit that's so good for the human body?
Dr. Fay Kazzi: Well, one of the best things about fruit, to start off with, aside from it just being good for us, is that it tastes so good. I mean, I have a 9-month-old, and, trust me, he knows when he's getting a fruit or when he's getting a legume. So, obviously the sweetness of fruit makes it very attractive to, to humans. I mean, we enjoy eating it; we enjoy incorporating it in our diets. Um, and part of the great things about fruits that kind of stands out from all the other, let's say, food items, on the list is that its vitamins and nutrients that are associated, are associated with great flavor. So, let's say you eat a blueberry and you get the sweet and then you get the tart, and in addition to that, you get all this vitamin C and all of these, wonderful phytochemicals. So, the great thing about fruit in general is that they are high in water, and they're very high in, uh, vitamins and phytochemicals, and these are immune-boosting nutrients. When we say "immune-boosting," what we're trying to say is that your immunity is the only thing keeping you alive. Whether your immunity is coming from your gut microbiome, probiotics in your gut, or the microbiome on your skin, your immunity is out there; your white blood cells, too, help make you survive. And fruits are saturated with immune-boosting nutrients, so you want to make fruit part of your daily diet. And why not? Because it tastes so incredible anyways.
John Bradshaw: Now, this might refer to fruit; it might refer to vegetables, what I'm about to ask you; it's been said, I expect you might have said this yourself, it's really important to eat a variety of colors. Why is it so important to eat a variety of colors?
Dr. Fay Kazzi: Very good question. So, the reason is because fruits tend to have different colors, and part of that has to do with their pigmentation. And their different pigments have different functions for the body. So it's important to hit that rainbow of color. Get your blueberries; get your oranges for the orange; get, the, you know, red pigments that you get from strawberries and pomegranates. All of these are essential, because for each function you need a specific pigment that has all of that benefit to it. Uh, for example, in the red pigments that you get from pomegranates, there's a lot of immune-boosting qualities there. I mean, it's quite a hefty list of explanation, but just know that when you eat something that has a very definitive color, know that that color is specifically going to address a function in your body that needs to be protected. So make sure to get all the colors so that you can get all the protection that you can get.
John Bradshaw: We've heard it said that when it comes to fruit and vegetables, five a day is good for your health, five a day. But I've read where experts have said it should be far more, maybe like 10 a day. So how do we get more fruit, specifically, into our diet?
Dr. Fay Kazzi: So, the best way to get fruit in your diet is to try to have at least a piece after each meal. Try to incorporate it in your snacks; have slices of apple, slices of pears, you know, a few pieces of an orange. Um, and the best way also, another really good way is to get them into your fruit smoothies. You know, make fruit smoothies. You can throw some mangoes, some frozen mango in there, some banana, you know, throw in some coconut milk, and blend that all together, and then you have an amazing fruit smoothie. And it's not, I don't like to put a limit on the amount of fruits that you can get per day. I mean, if you can eat three or four or five apples at a meal, good for you, but, trust me, you won't have a place for anything else, including no place for processed foods. So, the more fruits that you eat or vegetables, in general, any plant-based food, the more likely you're not going to reach for that less healthier food.
John Bradshaw: Fantastic. So I'm going to go out on a limb here and just guess that your cookbook, your new book, talks about fruit and encourages us to get plenty of fruit into our diet. Am I right about that?
Dr. Fay Kazzi: Absolutely. Yes. My, my new cookbook, "The Earthy Canvas Vegan Cookbook," with over 100 plant-based recipes, I put fruits everywhere. I put it in the main dishes, in the entrees; I put them inside salads, obviously, in the dessert section; I put them in the drink section. I have a, a beautiful, uh, a beautiful set of, drinks that are made with different types of fruits. Of course, they're non-alcoholic drinks, and they're absolutely delicious "mocktails," as we like to call them. And so fruits are fantastic and can be incorporated anywhere. Uh, you can have a really delicious raspberry vinaigrette that is just phenomenal on this beautiful salad. So, fruits are truly a gift, and we would do very well to appreciate it more than we already do.
John Bradshaw: Fantastic. You can get "The Earthy Canvas" at itiswritten.shop and other places as well. Dr. Fay Kazzi, it has really been wonderful. I appreciate you joining me. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much.
Dr. Fay Kazzi: Thank you very much, and I really appreciated all this time with you.
John Bradshaw: Well, let's now look at some frequently asked questions when it comes to the subject of addictions. I'm joined by Dr. Melinda Skau. She is the medical director at Feather River Tribal Health, and she is a family medicine physician. Dr. Skau, welcome back, thank you.
Dr. Melinda Skau: Thank you.
John Bradshaw: And Dr. Doug Teller is an addiction medicine physician based at the Kettering Health Network, Kettering, Ohio, just outside Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Teller, it's great to have you back, thanks.
Dr. Doug Teller: Glad to be here.
John Bradshaw: So, let's start with you, Dr. Teller. Frequently asked questions, what are, what are the big questions people ask you? You hear 'em all the time, all the time, all the time on the subject of addictions. Let's start with you, Dr. Teller. Tell me what a frequently asked question is, and how do you answer?
Dr. Doug Teller: The backbone question is, "Is it really a disease"? And that is, um, uh, answered by the addiction medicine field as, "Well, certainly". Um, but it's interesting that from a social perspective, if you were to ask the person walking on the street whether or not they think, addiction is a disease, about 50 percent will say, "Of course," and that the others will say, "Well, no". And you ask, "Well, what is it"? And it always has that choice element that comes in, and that's been answered by people in the field as, "Well, it's a disease of choice".
John Bradshaw: Dr. Melinda Skau, frequently asked question on the subject of addictions, what do you hear, and how do you answer?
Dr. Melinda Skau: So, "Why do I need to go to an inpatient program"? And in our clinic, we tend to ramp up the connection time if patients aren't succeeding, and if they get to the point where they're being seen every day and they're still not able to, to grasp that road to, to healing, then we suggest an inpatient program, and sometimes, three months, six months, even a year, and, and that gets them away from the, codependencies at home and lets them work in a clean environment on their issues, and they seem to do much, much better after they've had an inpatient program.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Teller, let's go back to you. Addictions, what's a frequently asked question you hear? How do you respond?
Dr. Doug Teller: Another question is, what about the use of medications, for, um, various drug, kind of corralling the, uh, drug use behavior? I mean, be it for, people that use cigarettes or alcohol, um, most recently the press has really been up with, opioid, medications, such as drugs like Naltrexone, Methadone. Uh, this is something that I think that Dr. Skau would have more to say to, as she has her own clinic, to, to look at some of these medicines.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Skau, what do you think? Uh, you, drug users are given Methadone. Some drug experts have said, "You're on Methadone; you're still using". So where do we come down on the side of, medication for breaking the addiction cycle?
Dr. Melinda Skau: I think sometimes it's a good place to start until patients can have that connection time that brings them into the clinic, and they get to start on therapy and start working on their issues. Methadone's not my favorite, because the Methadone clinics tend to ramp up and up and up the medicine to cut the cravings. I prefer Suboxone. I think it's, it's safer, and that's what we use at our clinic. But it isn't, it's only, an introduction to get you into that treatment team, to build your support team, like Dr. Teller was saying. Um, it, I would hope that it won't be a forever thing, that, that it will be building you, counseling and a, a 12-step group and a plan in your life to make addictions less attractive, and we'll be helping you work on those emotional issues that boil up and, and, and turn you back to your addictions.
John Bradshaw: Okay, Dr. Skau, I'm going to stay with you. Another frequently asked question, what do you hear in the clinic? What are people asking you about addiction? How do you respond?
Dr. Melinda Skau: Yeah, the, one of the most common ones is, "Doc, I messed up again. What's wrong with me? Why am I having such a hard time"? And I, I remember a big biker guy sit in front of me, he had gotten his diabetes in great shape, and his sugars were good, and he came back after Thanksgiving and said, "I ate a whole pie. I don't understand what's wrong with me". And, and, and then I kind of dug into it, you know, "Anything stressful ever happen to you around this time of year"? And he started crying. He had had three family members die at that time of year, and he was grieving, and he was using food to push down that grief.
John Bradshaw: Dr. Teller, do you have one more? What's a frequently asked question? I imagine you could write down a list as long as your arm, but give us another one that people are asking, and, and how do you respond to that?
Dr. Doug Teller: Yeah, I, for instance, using, the use of alcohol, if you're talking to an individual that, has some concerns with alcohol or nicotine, or it could be anything, and yet, maybe they have a significant other in the house that, is using, but it's, quote, "not a problem", "Do I really have to stop"? Um, in fact, the person that has the problem may even say, oh, no, they don't have a problem with it. Uh, "They drink wine. I, I drink beer. And so that's not a problem at all". The fact that you, question whether or not you need to do something that you don't see as a problem, for the sake of a loved one that does have a problem, suggests that there might be more that meets the eye, for the person, maybe their relationship with the behavior, the drug, the whatever, is very important. When it gets down to tobacco use, the number one risk factor for going back to tobacco use is, do you live with a smoker?
John Bradshaw: So how do you advise someone? A smoker who lives with a smoker, a, a drinker who wants to stop drinking, but they live with somebody who drinks, what steps do you advise somebody takes in a situation like that?
Dr. Doug Teller: Just, being clear with them as to what risk factors are. Um, how has the behavior of your significant other troubled you? And how might you be, part of the...choice, the, of going back to the behavior? It's the kind of thing that you've got to, uh, recognize that their influence is a very important one. Are they ready to do something different? Uh, if they're not, then it becomes a matter of, okay, how can we go about addressing the goal without changing that very important risk factor?
John Bradshaw: Magnificent. I want to thank you both. Dr. Doug Teller, thank you for taking your time and sharing your insights and expertise. I appreciate it greatly. I'm joined by Susan Kollenberg, who's based in northern California, who for many years has been sharing her inspirational story regarding her experience with addiction. Susan, thanks for joining me on Take Charge of Your Health.
Susan Kollenberg: Thank you for having me.
John Bradshaw: Tell me a little about your experience. How did you get tied up with, well, whatever you got tied up with? Where did you start, and where did it lead you? Go ahead.
Susan Kollenberg: Well, I started very young. So when I was in kindergarten, and, somebody asked, and the teacher would say, "What do you wanna be when you grow up"? I didn't say I wanna become an addict who used and abused drugs for 25 years, but that's exactly what happened. And it all began, I was sexually molested over a several-year period of time, and I just couldn't, stand to be in my own body. I, I didn't like who I was. Um, I hated myself, and I figured that, everybody else hated me as well, and especially God, because if God was all powerful, how could He allow something like that to happen to me over and over and over again? And the relief I found was, starting when I was 10 years old, I started smoking and drinking, and, of course, I'm 10 years old, so I had to steal those things in order to, in order to get high. And that's how I started.
And one thing led to another. By the time I was in eighth grade, I was doing cocaine, and by the time I was graduating from high school, I was doing it on a daily basis. And, it just seems the more I searched for the relief, the deeper I got into, this drug addiction. I had my first arrest when I was 18, and I just thought, well, it must be my friends who I'm hanging out with and the police. If I just moved, I'd be okay. And so I, I picked up, and I moved to Hawaii, but the very first person I met there was a drug addict. And I got deeper and deeper into addiction, and, it was just downhill from there. I decided to come back to California, and, I met somebody, and we were the best of friends, and we were together for 10 years, and we, we just used. And, I'd gotten arrested, again, and, it was with my brother and his girlfriend, and, it was the biggest bust in the county that I lived in.
My father was the mayor at the time. And I got to jail, and I called my dad. And I called my dad 'cause I wanted him to bail me out. I, and I said to him, you know, "I'm so sorry for what I've done to you". And he said, "I just want you to get better". Oops, there goes the cat! And so, I, I got out of jail, and I went into rehab, but, you know what, nothing worked. I just wasn't, I just couldn't, I still had those feelings, that deep, dark, hole inside of me that nothing could fill. And so I, I got to the point where I weighed 30 pounds less than what I am today, my teeth were falling out, my hair was falling out, I had scabs all over my body, and it was just from the methamphetamine trying to get out of my system. Um, I ended up in jail once again, and a lady said to me, "Susan, why do you keep doing what you're doing"? And I said, "I don't have any other way to do it. Um, I've been doing it since I was 10, and I just don't know any other way". And she said, "Can I pray with you"? And I said, "Okay," and I don't even know to this day what she prayed; all I know is from that point on I've never had the obsession to use drugs again.
Something changed in my life, and it wasn't me. I think it was a decision that I wanted to live, and I think that God's Holy Spirit was the One that put it in my heart to, have the desire to live. And so I started to do, I was convinced that everything I had done in the past was wrong, and so I needed to do things differently. So I did everything that came into my path that was something opposite of what I did in the past, that's what I did. So I went through all kinds of 12-step programs, um, ended up going back to, intensive inpatient, therapy and, um, then came across, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and they had, like, the whole picture for us. Um, that guy that I had dated for 10 years, I ended up getting back together with him. We got married. And, our goal was, we had one goal, and it was, that we were gonna search for God as hard as we searched for drugs. That was our, that was our mission statement. And, we ended up, uh, coming to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and, found the health message, and we were, you know, both of us were just, just messes.
And so, having a good health message made a big deal to, to what we were doing and being able to survive and to get healthy. And it's amazing. After 25 years of drug use, just the simple things of eating a diet, believing in God, reading the Bible, and following guidelines, we were able to gain our intelligence back, or, you know, somewhat of our intelligence back, so that we can think properly. And we got jobs, and we just started doing everything different. But I think, so we've been clean and sober now, it's been 24 years, and I think the most important thing that has kept us clean and sober was to, participate in other people's lives, to have a, a mission to help people who have struggled, like us, and families who have children or brothers and sisters or, uh, relatives or friends that have gone through the path that we've gone through, is to be able to be there and to support them. So ministry has been something that has really, you know, kept us sane and kept us where we needed to be. It's by helping someone else that we've been helped.
John Bradshaw: What do you say to the person who is where you were or is slowly starting to emerge or is looking for a way to become clean and sober? What advice do you give that person?
Susan Kollenberg: Well, number one is to recognize and know that there's nothing that you have done that God doesn't still love you. Regardless of any actions you've done, God is willing to forgive you, He loves you, He, He is desiring to, for you to come to Him, and He will restore you completely. There is hope. There is love. There is forgiveness in, in God's, world. And, I think the next thing is to get into a community that's gonna support you in the correct direction. Stay away from old friends and find new ones that want to support that same healing message for your mind. So I think that's the main thing, is to recognize that, number one, you are worthy, and, you're worthy in the eyes of God, and that's the most important thing, and He can and will restore you to the person that, you were meant to be.
John Bradshaw: God has done amazing things in your life. Susan, it's an incredibly inspiring story. Thanks so much for sharing it with me. I appreciate it.
Susan Kollenberg: Thank you.
John Bradshaw: Now, we both know that food can be a hard habit to break. I've never met anyone who says, "I've got to get off my cauliflower habit"; "I've got to eat less broccoli; broccoli is consuming me"; "I shake like this when I don't get edamame". Doesn't happen. And I'm not making light of the situation. What I'm really saying is I'm pointing to the fact that it's usually the foods that are bad for us that really get a grip on us, you know. It's the stuff that clogs our arteries and damages our heart and predisposes us to all kinds of things. Those are the ones that we tend to become habituated to, I figure is what I might politely say. Now, what do you do, then, if you say, "This stuff isn't good for me, but I wouldn't know what to do without it in my life"? Ahh. Well, this is where I want to thank my friends from WayFare Foods. They make, substitutes or alternatives to some of the things that you might love but... don't really love you. I contacted WayFare Foods. I said, "Hey, guys, would you mind if I shared some of your products with people who I know are looking to make changes"? They said, "By all means, please do". You like sour cream, but you go, "Ugh, it's not good for me. And all of those physicians on Take Charge of Your Health have been saying I ought to go plant based".
Well, I can share with you sour cream that is plant based and organic. You see, WayFare Foods makes that. Now, what else have we got here? Oh yeah. Nacho cheddar with jalapeños. Now, ordinarily, that's going to be not great for you. This is good for you. It's good stuff. This one here, mm-hmm... dairy-free cheddar. Now, these are the sorts of things that you slather over your corn chips when you're having nachos, that sort of stuff. And you know when you eat it, "Oh, this isn't doing me any good, but I wouldn't know what to do without it". Well, now you do. These are good alternatives. The creamy ranch dip, oh, that is great! What's this one here? Oh yeah, the butter, salted and whipped. We all know that we've got to cut some of these things out of our lives. So get the dairy-free organic alternatives. If you'd like to know where you can find WayFare products, go online to wayfarefoods.com, W-A-Y-F-A-R-E, wayfarefoods.com, wonderful alternatives. You don't have to stay hooked on the things that are harmful. So look for the alternatives like WayFare foods, and you will never regret it.
John Bradshaw: Now, there's an alternative to sitting around doing nothing, and that's exercising. I'm really grateful to Dr. Steve Lee for taking time each night on Take Charge of Your Health and sharing with us how beneficial exercise can be.
Dr. Steve Lee: Thanks, John. Let's talk about resistance exercise. Resistance exercise is a very important part of any exercise program. Our bodies are not only designed to move ourselves but to manipulate objects in our environment. This means that we need enough strength not only to move our own body but to move other things outside of our body. So other than being able to carry groceries or move furniture or rescue people from a burning building, strength training has many important benefits. Strength training reduces injury, improves coordination and balance, and improves insulin sensitivity, improves joint pain, and strengthens your bones. It even has benefits for your mood and sleep. It's especially important for older people, as losing muscle mass is one of the most dramatic changes that happens to our body as we age. So other than going to the gym and working with barbells, how can we get some resistance training? One simple way is to carry something while we go for a walk. Carry some small weights or large water bottles in each hand. When you go to the grocery store, don't ask for help with the groceries. Move all the bags yourself. So look for opportunities throughout the day to move objects around.
John Bradshaw: What a tremendous subject we've looked at tonight and tremendously, tremendously important. And it's really important to strengthen yourself spiritually. So, as we're taking charge of our health, remember to make taking charge of your spiritual health an absolute priority in your life. Study number 7 in the CREATION Life study guide series, "Outlook," this is prepared or presented by It Is Written in association with AdventHealth. And this is... really an important subject. It starts with a great story, an inspirational story, concerning a New Zealander named Edmund Hillary, who went on to become Sir Edmund Hillary. When he was plain old Edmund Hillary, he became the first person to summit Mount Everest, along with a Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay. This was in 1953, a man who really gave his life for others and did many wonderful, wonderful things. You read that story; you'll be encouraged. We start into the lesson, you might start to ask some questions.
First question is, "How close to perfect are we"? Well, the Bible answer is, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". That's Roman 3, verse 23. That would be you; that would be me. "What is sin"? First John 3:4 says, "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, [for] sin is lawlessness". Or another translation would say, "It is the transgression of the law," breaking the commandments of God; transgressing the law of God, that is sin. So, we've all sinned. "The wages of sin is death," the Bible says. So, where does that leave us? You know, where it leaves us is reading the rest of Romans 6:23. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". Sobering news: Sin leads to death. But even when confronted by something like that, you can know the news is good because Jesus stepped in, died in the place of every human being who ever lived so that anyone who ever lived can, through faith in Christ, receive everlasting life.
This is not to minimize the scope or the depth or the seriousness of the challenges that we face here on earth, but what it does do is it brings into focus that there is life after life. There is life beyond this world. There is a world to come. And when your life is guided by that thought, by that principle, by that hope that there is a world to come, there is everlasting life stretching before you, you can't help but have a really good and positive outlook. "Is there hope? Is there anything to look forward to"? Oh, sure there is. There is plenty to look forward to, because it's true that absolutely the best is yet to come. This is a tremendous study guide that I hope you will download and get and go through. "If we lack a positive outlook, how can we achieve one"? Let me tell you. The Bible verse given is found in the book of Mark: "Jesus said to him, 'If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.' Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.'"
We could all muster up a measure of hope. Jesus talked one day about the fact that a grain of, uh, faith about the size of a mustard seed, just a little grain of faith is enough for wonderful things to happen in your life. No matter how low things appear, how dark things look, there is always a God in heaven. Even if you're having health challenges, there's a God in heaven. Over these past seven presentations, we've looked at really some pretty simple, but honestly some of them are relatively challenging health principles, and you might even say, "I've tried all that, but there's no hope for me". Well, I can't say that I'm acquainted with your situation, but I do know this: There is hope for you, because beyond this life, we will go to a land where the flowers never fade, where there is "no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any...pain". Isaiah wrote that "the inhabitant [of that place] shall not say, 'I am sick.'"
Let's take charge of our health, especially our spiritual health, so that our outlook can be positive, and we can look forward to an eternal future. Thank you so much for joining me. I want to recommend something to you. Why don't you become part of a Take Charge action group? It's an online group that's gonna provide encouragement and support and resources to you as you seek to take charge of your life. A Take Charge action group, go to takecharge.life, and right there you'll have the opportunity to be part of a group, an online group. Don't worry, everything is secure, your privacy is assured, there's no worry about that, but you can collaborate with others, gain courage and enthusiasm, and go forward in a, in a group environment. It might be one of the best decisions you have ever made. Also at takecharge.life you can look at previous presentations, share the link with others, and download tonight's resource, our study about "Outlook". I'm so grateful to the many physicians and guests and experts who have collaborated with me and my It Is Written team on this project. Thank you so much for being part of this wonderful series, Take Charge of Your Health. May God bless you.