As we navigate this year’s holiday season, Dr. Bill Crawford is back in today’s episode to share practical strategies to redefine our experience using his 5-Step Model for clarity, confidence, and purpose.
In this episode, Dr. Crawford illuminates how these principles can transform our encounters, urging us to create the magic within ourselves rather than relying on external expectations.
Tune in to discover how you can start with a fresh perspective on who you are and what you bring to the table for you to make this year a success for you and your loved ones.
Listen now and unwrap the gift of a truly magical holiday season!
Watch the episode here
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Dr. Bill Crawford On Finding Clarity In The Chaos Of Addiction During The Holidays
Our guest is Dr. Bill Crawford, who is one of my favorite people in the world doing great work in terms of helping us reframe and live in our highest version of ourselves. One of the reasons I want to talk to him again is that he has a different framework to talk about this time. We are arguably at the height of the disease season. November and December are the highest drinking and drugging months in terms of research, and January happens to be the month that a lot of people decide to make a change and head to rehab.
As we head into this season, what I also know as a loved one is that this is particularly wrought with shattered dreams and crises. Things don’t go the way we think they should be going. It’s the holidays. We have high expectations and we are dealing with somebody who is caught in the brain disease of addiction. I wanted to revisit this with Bill again to gain some more words of wisdom from him in terms of as a loved one, how we best navigate the holiday season so that it serves us and we don’t let it happen to us. Bill, take it away.
Thanks. As you were talking about this, it reminded me that people ask me, “What got you started in this? Why did you pick psychology?” I started my career as a drummer, so that didn’t mean anything, but before that, I grew up in an AA home. My dad was a recovering alcoholic and he was one of the founders of AA in East Texas.
I was an AA baby. They took me to all the meetings because we didn’t have enough money for babysitters. I grew up in that twelve-step process of people beginning to look at that and make decisions around that. It has informed my thinking through what I do. One of the things I like to do is help people connect with almost any aspect of life with what I call clarity, confidence, and purpose.
That’s important in this particular timeframe because as you have mentioned, we have these expectations. As kids, we grew up in the holidays. We always wanted them to be special. Sometimes they were and sometimes they weren’t, but they almost never turned out the way the Budweiser commercial looks like with the horses and everything is great.
What I thought and you and I talked about is we get a chance to go into a little bit more powerful model. The last time we talked, I talked a lot about the brain and how to shift from this lower brain to the top of the mind. There’s even a model that spells the brain. If you haven’t seen that, you might want to revisit that particular episode.
The second part of my book is a model for creation. It’s about how to create anything, a relationship, a parenting style, a leadership style, or an organization. I use it to create my life and to help others create theirs. I thought I would use this particular model to help people who want to go into the holidays with more clarity, confidence, and purpose.
The first step in the model is purpose. It means clarity about our purpose. When I talk about our purpose, I’m talking about what I call our highest purpose, which is not necessarily what we want to accomplish, but more of who we want to be. A lot of us grew up looking at our worth based on what we did and what we accomplished, what grades we got, the job we got, and the school we got into. We have a tendency to see our self-worth sometimes based on what we do. What I like to talk about is that’s great. We want to do good things, but we have more influence over who we are. If we make choices about who we are in a very purposeful way, then we’re informed by those choices.If we make choices about who we are in a very purposeful way, then what we do is informed by those choices. Click To Tweet
There are a couple of questions I encourage people to ask themselves when they are choosing the qualities or characteristics they want to bring to life, and in this particular case, to the holidays. How do I want to define myself? What are the qualities or characteristics that make a statement about who I am? When I’m working with people, I encourage them to make a list of twenty qualities or characteristics of them at their best
Most people go 20. I might be able to do 5. I say, “Ask your friends and your family.” We want to find a way for these qualities or characteristics to be our foundation. Once we have clarity about who we are at our best, another question we can ask ourselves is, “What are the qualities or characteristics that I would recommend for someone I love?”
Often, we are much more attuned to helping others sometimes than helping ourselves. When we ask that question, what would I recommend to someone I love? That answer pops up there. What I encourage people to do is start by making a list of qualities or characteristics, twenty if possible, that define you at your best.
These aren’t skills. These are qualities or characteristics like caring, curious, adventuresome, passionate, compassionate, and that type of stuff. Write that down and read that three times a day. What you are doing is rewiring the brain to say, “I am valuable and worthy based on these qualities or characteristics that I bring to my family, job, relationship, and the world in general, not just what I do.” That’s step one. Clarity of purpose, and I call that our highest purpose.
Here’s a thought or a question. One is that most of us deal with somebody that we love who is in the addiction mode. We are focused on them. That’s why this is incredibly powerful because the truth of the matter is that the only thing we can control is ourselves.
This tendency to focus on them and their problem has them perceiving us as focusing on them and their problem. The shame of being addicted in the first place, now there’s additional. They think, “I’m worthless.” In other words, that tendency to try to help them by saying, “If you just do this, do that, stop this, or stop that,” comes across as if we have no confidence in them.
That throws them lower in that addicted brain, that lower brain, or that fear-based brain, which makes it worse. When we are willing to come and say, “I’m responsible for me. Here are the qualities or characteristics I’m going to bring to my life. When I can’t do that or when I’m having trouble accessing my highest purpose, I’m going to excuse myself.” I always say that diarrhea is the perfect excuse to leave any conversation you are ever in for the rest of your life. “Excuse me, I got to go to the bathroom.” It gives you an opportunity to step away from what sometimes can be a triggering situation. Go to another room, take some deep breaths, and say, “Who am I at my best?” Then go back into that situation in that way.
Because of the expectations of the holidays and the disease in and of itself, we are not necessarily going into this with massive patience, grace, and understanding. We are going in with frustration, sadness, grief, anger, and whatever that is. Flipping it and being super intentional about that best version of ourselves potentially holds a key to a different experience.
Asking the question, “How do I want to define myself? What are the qualities or characteristics I want to bring to this particular time of life? What would I recommend to someone I love?” Make a list of that. That’s all top-of-the-mind stuff. That’s the neocortex. We are triggering different chemicals up here like serotonin and endorphins versus worry, anxiety, frustration, and anger. They are triggering stress-related chemicals that mess with our heart rate, blood pressure, immune system, and all kinds of stuff. There are all kinds of wonderful benefits to starting with a clarity of purpose. Our highest purpose is the qualities and characteristics that we want to bring to life. I would encourage people to write it down, put it on their phone, and read it three times a day.
That three times a day is mission critical. I can’t emphasize enough in my transformation that it takes work to rewire how we have been used to operating. If you have an intention of a different outcome this holiday season, then practicing it over and over again is so important.
I encourage people to wake up, read their list, choose 2 or 3 qualities that they want to bring to the morning, and then go into the morning practicing being that way. Around lunchtime, stop, read the list, and choose 2 or 3 qualities in the afternoon. Around dinnertime, stop and read the list, and go into the evening. Three times a day, you are choosing to define yourself in a way that you would recommend to someone who loves you at your best. That begins to train the brain in a powerful way.Three times a day, choose to define yourself in how you would recommend to someone you love at your best, and that begins to train the brain powerfully. Click To Tweet
If we stop there, we’d be great.
That’d be cool, but there’s more. Five-step model. Two is getting clear about our beliefs. Our beliefs are very powerful and they often reside in an unconscious part of the brain. There are unconscious beliefs that are driving our perceptions. The example I always give is let’s assume you have two people. One of them is very afraid of dogs. She’s been afraid of dogs all her life. Maybe she was bitten by a dog. Who knows?
The other person in the room loves dogs. He has about ten dogs at home and thinks dogs are the god’s gift of the universe. If you bring a dog into the room, that’s the fact. You are going to have two different perceptions and reactions based on their belief about dogs. The person who believes dogs are dangerous goes to run from the room. The person who believes dogs are great goes to hug the dog.
It’s the same dog that’s what’s important, and it’s this belief that is determining how we find ourselves reacting. If we have our list of qualities or characteristics, then we want to ask the question, “What beliefs are congruent with this list of qualities or characteristics about me, the person I’m dealing with, life, my family, the world, and whatever it is?”
We choose to validate those beliefs that are congruent with our highest purpose and reject or change those beliefs that are incongruent with our highest purpose. That’s why making that list is so powerful. It becomes a criteria for the rest of the model. We want to choose those beliefs and perceptions because they will affect our interpretation and our experience. If we can choose beliefs that are congruent with this list, that puts us in a more powerful position.
What I think about is we tend to orient in terms of good, bad, right, and wrong. I strongly encourage people to orient toward what works in creating the outcome that they want or what doesn’t work in creating the outcome that they want. That speaks very much to what you are speaking about here. That one shift in how we orient and what the belief that we carry is no longer good, bad, right, or wrong. It is what works and what doesn’t work in creating my best version.
What that does is it helps us have the brain begin to interpret life in a way that’s congruent with our highest purpose, these qualities or characteristics. What works or what doesn’t work, congruent or incongruent, if we start making that particular discernment versus right, wrong, good, or bad, and by the way, that doesn’t mean that some of the beliefs that we grew up with and that we learned aren’t wonderful. If they are congruent with this list of qualities or characteristics, let’s hang onto them. If they are not, let’s change them to ones that are because that way, we’re being driven in a way that is congruent with how we want to be.
Step number three is a big one. It has to do with the wisdom of serenity. As I grew up in an AA home, the serenity prayer was everywhere. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Most people see that prayer as a plea for serenity. I see it as a formula for success. God grant me the serenity. In other words, it starts with, “Grant me the serenity.” Serenity is the first thing to ask for, “So that I might accept the things I cannot change.” How much of our stress, frustration, anxiety, resentment, and anger would be gone if we could accept the things we cannot change?
That one line is profound in how it can shift our lives.
In every situation, there’s always going to be situations that we wish were different. That’s the case when you are dealing with an addict. It’s blown up. However, if we focus on that and that’s not something we can change, then frustration, stress, anger, and resentment. Now we are back in that lower brain. Now we are triggering those chemicals. We have lost our list of the highest purpose.
If we will look at the serenity prayer as a formula for success. “God, grant me the serenity so that I might first accept the things I cannot change so that then I have the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” In other words, serenity is the precursor to acceptance, courage, wisdom, and change.
The way that serenity prayer starts with serenity, then acceptance, courage, wisdom, and change. Serenity is the precursor to acceptance, courage, wisdom, and change. You want to have something that creates serenity in your life. It could be a prayer, deep breathing, meditation, walk in the garden, or whatever it is. You want to have a moment of serenity where you can start because that’s the precursor. That’s why I always say to start in the morning by taking a few deep breaths and then looking at that list. Serenity is the precursor to that.
There are two questions you can ask yourself for clarity. What about this situation? Will it take serenity for me to accept? I love questions. Questions determine what part of the brain we are in. When you want to know the wisdom to know the difference, ask the question. What about this situation, will it take serenity for me to accept? What about this situation, will it take courage for me to change? It will take serenity to accept anything that is not within our control.
Acceptance is better than railing against it and trying to beat it into submission. It doesn’t mean we agree with it. It means we are no longer going to spend energy banging our heads against that particular wall. If we have the courage to change the things we can, which is who we are and how we are, that gives us the wisdom to know the difference.
In the early stages for me, I still had that thinking in my head that somehow I could fix it. Somehow I could save my son. Somehow I could say the right thing and I would get a different outcome. Over time and lots of learning and work, I realized that was a failed strategy.
It’s understandable. We want to fix them because we love them and we hate to see them in so much pain. We know that if they just do this or this, it would be so much better. The problem is that puts us in the position of fixer, which we can’t do. It puts them in the position of fixee, which is even more saying, “There must be something wrong with me.” It’s a dynamic that makes the situation worse. What we want to do is recognize our desire to help is understandable. Trying to help comes across as a lack of confidence in them and something that we can’t affect.
When we drive from that place, we drive them deeper into shame, and shame will kill you.
It will feed the addiction. Here’s the deal. A lot of people get addicted to something because it reduces their anxiety. I have had people tell me, “I didn’t feel normal until I took my first drink.” People go, “I found the solution,” which becomes the problem. If people are anxious or don’t have a lot of self-confidence in the first place and that anxiety is eating at them and they take something that eases that, then in their mind, “I have found the solution.” Trying to take that away or tell them it’s not right is not going to work.
That was one of the interesting things when I was talking to a friend of mine who is recovering. She said that drugs or alcohol are their solution. We think it’s the problem. With that belief system, we are standing in two different worlds. We need to understand the world that our loved one is living in, which is that drugs or alcohol is their solution. That was a revelation.
What I encourage people to do if they want to be helpful to someone is to hold an image of them at their best. Everybody else is seeing their worst. They are even seeing their worst sometimes. If you hold an image of them at their best, what do they love to do? What do they do well? Who are they when they are playing with their dog or whatever? That’s about them at their best.
If we hold an image of them at their best, they are going to sense that, and all of a sudden it feels like we have some degree of confidence in them. That’s where the whole idea of drugs or alcohol is the solution until it becomes such a problem that, “I can’t deal with it anymore.” That confidence and that self-confidence can begin to turn around, but they need to have someone in their life who holds a vision of them at their best.
What I would encourage about that is to practice it because our brains are not wired to think like this. If you can get a picture of them when they are bright and shiny like I have pictures in my office of Sam bright and shiny. Those are the only pictures I have up. I don’t see him when he is using and when he is in drug psychosis. I don’t have those pictures up. What you focus on, you move in the direction of. Energetically, that matters.
You made a good point. Our brain is wired to the negative because a long time ago, the way it kept us alive was to keep us anxious, worried, and frightened. That kept us alive of bad things. Now, anxiety, worry, and frightened throw us into that lower brain and limit our ability to get how we want to be. We got clarity of purpose, this list of who we are at our best, our highest purpose. We have our beliefs that are congruent with this list. Make sure that confidence is one of those qualities you are putting in there because if you want to go in with confidence, you want to make sure, who am I when I’m confident? The wisdom of serenity. What about this situation? Will it take serenity for me to accept? What about this situation? Will it take courage for me to change? The next step in the model is the energy that drives all this. I encourage people to choose awareness over worry.
Awareness looks at a situation. It’s not about hiding. It’s not about sticking our heads in the stand. It’s not about pretending that everything is great. It’s awareness, but it’s different than worry. Worry looks at a situation and goes, “Wait a minute.” The awareness goes, “This is the situation. Here’s what it is,” but it’s awareness. That quote from Albert Einstein, “Problems could not be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” Awareness over worry. Positive over negative, but optimism over pessimism.
Optimism isn’t everything like, “It’s going to be great if I just hold an image in my mind of all things wonderful.” It’s not that. There’s a book out there that’s called Learned Optimism. He talks about the difference between Pollyanna’s optimism and realistic optimism. That’s what I’m talking about. Optimism looks at a situation and looks for the best whereas pessimism looks for the worst. I love the quote about pessimism. A pessimist is someone who burns their bridges before he gets to them.
Awareness over worry. Optimism over pessimism. Love over fear. Love starts with the love of who we are at our best. Love of the people that we are around versus fear of, “I’m not doing it right” or “I’m not fixing them.” Horrible things are going to happen and all the things that lower your brain comes. You are choosing an energy that is congruent with the qualities or characteristics you have decided is your highest purpose, and that energy will be a driver. You can ask yourself the question, “What’s the energy that’s driving my thoughts right now? Is it congruent with my highest purpose?” If not, you want to sift to that energy.
We have our highest purpose and beliefs. We have the wisdom of serenity and energy. The last step in the model is about responsibility. I call responsibility our ability to respond. We want to have the ability to respond to life versus react to life. The reaction is reacting. It’s acting the way we have in the past. Responding comes from the Latin respondere. It means to pledge or to sponsor. It’s a more purposely chosen way of being. If we want to bring our best to life in a way that we have the ability to respond, we need to take 100% responsibility for that ability to respond. It means we do not need anything out there to change in order for us to bring our best to the situation.
I always encourage people to take 100% responsibility for their ability to respond because that puts it all within us. It puts it within our control and our ability to influence. Purpose, our past, the wisdom of serenity, the energy we choose, and responsibility. P-O-W-E-R spells power. This is about becoming more powerful and influential in our lives and the lives of others. All of a sudden, we are not reacting to all the stuff that we see around us, which means we are not part of the problem. We are in the world, but not of it. That gives others who desire to be in the world but not of it at least some beacon or some idea that this is possible.
They may come up to you and say, “You are different this year. What’s going on?” “I saw this podcast and there was this talk.” It’s this ability to be purposeful. It’s the ability to choose how we want to be, choose those beliefs, make sure we are accepting what we can’t change, choose that energy, and then take 100% responsibility for our ability to respond.
What I think about is the notion that as a mom, dad, grandparent, or whoever, people look to us to set the tone, to model, and to pay attention to in terms of how they are reacting. If we lean into this and choose our own power in this and it’s going to take practice, people will ask you, “What are you doing? How are you able to do this?” Those are teachable moments.
We so desire to be helpful. The best time we can be helpful is when someone says, “Help me with this.” Now there’s that conduit instead of when we go and say, “You need help with this.” When they ask us, “I’d love that. I’d love to know what’s going on with you,” that’s a curiosity and openness. We can say, “Here’s what I have discovered,” and that’s going to resonate with them.
It’s a wonderful way for all of us who love to be helpful and sometimes have an issue of not being as helpful as we’d like to be because people aren’t taking our advice. This ability to be a certain way and hold an image of them at their best so that they feel we have confidence in them is one way of opening up a conduit for them to ask for that help.
I had to work on this in those darker moments. When I was with Sam, I reminded myself over and over again before I would get into a situation with him or pick him up and take him for a meal or anything along those lines to just love him in his unfolding and his journey. Be clear and aware of what’s going on inside of me. Make sure my awareness is heightened to some extent so that I can pause and still live with that intention.
That can be the greatest gift to someone going through an addiction. All of a sudden, someone doesn’t see them as damaged goods. All of a sudden, someone isn’t seeing them as the problem. They see them as this person who got good grades in school, is a wonderful drawer, or loves to play video games and is great at it. If you keep that image of them at their best, that’s a tremendous gift to them because they are having trouble seeing that at the moment, and other people around them aren’t seeing it. When you see it, all of a sudden, you have the potential to become a beacon in their life that has the potential to shine through a lot of that dark stuff.
What’s beautiful about that is regardless, you are still you and you are still your best self and you are still bringing that to life. Even if that person doesn’t get that, doesn’t change, doesn’t see that, gets worth, or whatever, you are still able to define who you are in a way you would recommend to someone you love.
To be loved is a thing. To be an expression of love, patience, empathy, and curiosity. All of those things we can be.
Unfortunately, all of us wouldn’t burn that way. We are not wired that way. That’s where the work comes in. You have that other episode where I go through the brain model of when we find ourselves worried, frightened, anxious, angry, or whatever, there’s a model that spells brain that shifts us from this lower brain to the top of the mind and helps us identify these qualities or characteristics.
It’s stepping back, doing that model, or whatever. It could be a prayer or meditation, whatever it is that creates that moment of serenity and clarity that allows you to say, “I find myself feeling or thinking this. That’s incongruent with my highest purpose. What I want to be able to bring to life right now is this and this.”
You choose 2 or 3 of the 20 qualities that you want to embody right now, and you ask yourself the question, “Who am I when I’m that way? What’s my tone of voice? What’s my body language? How do I define myself when I am that way?” The brain does not know the difference between a real and an imagined event. When you imagine being the way you want to be, the brain thinks that’s happening and triggers serotonin and endorphins, which makes it easier to bring that to life.
This is rich. As I always know, it is going to be with you. For those of you who are headed into the holidays, Thanksgiving is not too far off. Christmas is coming up, New Year’s, and all the things. This is the challenge to do it differently and to know that you can do it differently. There’s an intentionality about this. There is a consciousness about this that’s a little step up from maybe how you did it in the past. A little step up in terms of your awareness of who you were previously with an intentionality of being that best version of who you are and being an expression of all those great qualities and characteristics despite what’s going on around you.
It’s not about ignoring, pretending, or sticking your head in the sand. It’s about awareness and those qualities. We probably ought to let folks know that I do have a YouTube channel. It’s got about 500 short videos on there. I post one almost every week. There’s one on anxiety, relationships, purpose, fear, and all kinds of stuff. Also, the philosophy that we are talking about here, the brain model, understanding how the brain works, and the power model is in a book called Life from the Top of the Mind. That’s also Audible. For those of you who want to see how this philosophy all fits together, that’s that particular resource for folks.
YouTubes are great because they are short and they are quick, but they are concise and powerful. I highly recommend it. His book is one of those books that I keep in a stack of books that are “the books.” I have been doing a lot of work for a long time, but it was a great way to frame the notion that we can retrain our brains and how our brains work. We are challenging people to override the system.
When you know how your brain works and the way it’s working isn’t working for you, then you can rewire your brain so it does work for you, and you can have better outcomes during challenging times. That one belief just knowing that you can be the calm in the storm of whatever is swirling around you may be pushing some people like, “What are you talking about?” Questions.
“Wait a minute. What book? What’s going on here?” Sometimes, they may try to get you back into the box that they are more familiar with. They might poke and prod. You can always go, “I have decided that this particular time. I always want to bring out the best of who I am to the people I love.” They are going to have a hard time arguing with that.
It’s that ability to do that. The way that we rewire the brain is called neuroplasticity. The brain is always rewiring itself. We are now taking over the process so that we are not trusting this fear-based middle brain to interpret the dog as dangerous. We are making it a more purposeful way of interpreting it in a way that is congruent with our highest purpose, the qualities we want to bring to life.
If you were talking to somebody for the first time and you only had a few minutes with them, what three things would you say that are mission-critical for doing the holidays a different way?
I would say we all grow up wanting the holidays to be magical and therefore there’s this expectation and this desire, which is understandable. What that does is it sets us up for anything less than that. All of a sudden, it feels like a disappointment. What you want to do is go in and say, “The magic that can be created is something I can control, which is within me, and I can create that magic. Maybe people will want to share it. Maybe they won’t. Either way, I’m going to experience that.” Also to recognize that other people have the same fears, expectations, or worries. Anybody who’s struggling with any addiction, mental illness, ADHD, or any of that stuff has been struggling with that for quite a while.
There’s a lot of shame, fear, and belief that there’s something wrong with them. That keeps them in that place so we can be a beacon for them. What we can begin to do is we begin to practice this. Reading the list in the morning, afternoon, and evening. We can begin to redefine our experience, which then for anybody who wants to change their experience, becomes some idea that is possible.
Some people don’t even see that it’s possible, but when they see us do it, they go, “Wait a minute. You did it. Tell me more about that.” That’s where that curiosity and desire to help people can come through because we can begin to let them know what works for us, what we have tried, and what we have learned.
The other thing I’m thinking about in the work that I do, I run across this quite often, is the notion of changing our brains go, “No, you are not.” Could you speak a little bit about that? Knowing that from my perspective was super helpful. It’s like, “There’s my brain doing its job.” I’m going to go, “Thanks for your help. We are not doing that. We are doing this.”
The middle brain, specifically the limbic system, is the one that is hardwired to lean toward familiar, known, and predictable. When change happens, the middle brain goes, “That’s not good because it feels dangerous and it misinterprets change,” or almost anything. Even change or anything negative is dangerous and throws us into the part of the brain that’s designed to deal with danger. It’s trying to make us anxious enough to not make the change. The middle brain fears the change because it’s unfamiliar or unknown. “I don’t know how to deal with that. I don’t know how to deal with this.”
If we ask ourselves, “What part of the brain do I want to trust here? I don’t want to trust this frightened fear-based middle and lower brain to drive my thinking and feeling. I don’t want to trust the best of the upper 80% of who I am.” That allows me to say, “If I were choosing qualities or characteristics in this very purposeful and intentional way versus trusting this middle brain to use anxiety and worry and fear, what would that look like?”
That’s where it’s so important to have the list. In that way, you do not have to come up with something brand new. You can check it out. Recognizing that the brain is programmed to use fear and anxiety to keep us safe, and any change threatens that to the middle brain. If we recognize that’s what it’s doing, and here’s the cool thing. As we practice and practice, we create new neural pathways going from the middle brain to the top of the mind and back down. After enough practice, let’s say 3, 4, 5, or 6 months of this stuff, it gets easier and easier. Eventually, we can turn this tendency for the middle brain to be afraid into this middle brain to trust these qualities or characteristics. It’s that process of practice.The brain is programmed to use fear and anxiety to keep us safe, and any change threatens that to the middle brain. Click To Tweet
I want to make sure that people who are tuning in to this understand. This is not a strategy to get your addict to do things differently. This is an authentic and genuine way for you to do your life differently. Things may change for your addict or they may not, but they will certainly change for you.
There was a phrase I heard my mom and dad, AA and Al-Anon tell people said, “I have every confidence that when it gets bad enough, you will reach out for help. Let me know whenever it gets bad enough and I will be here.” That puts a different frame than like, “Is it bad enough yet?” That’s a question maybe they will start asking themselves, but it’s not about going and trying to convince them of anything because that comes across as “I don’t have confidence that you can do it yourself.”
When you say, “I have every confidence. I have seen you accomplish stuff. When it gets bad enough, I bet you will reach out.” That’s what people aren’t used to, but it’s this ability to say, “As you want the person in your life to take responsibility for them, let’s show them what that looks like by taking responsibility for us.” It gives them a way of saying it can be done, and then they will either change or they won’t. Either way, we will be bringing the best of who we are to that situation, and it will affect our experience of the holidays. All of a sudden, that worry, fear, anxiety, and stress won’t be near as powerful because we are actively choosing another perspective.
Also, who we are in it. We all know that the stakes tend to be higher with Fentanyl on the market now. What would you say to the parents that are what if?
The desire to keep your child safe and alive is understandable. The challenge is when we step in to try to fix them. That drives their fear, shame, or belief that there’s something wrong with them deeper and moves them more to what they believe is the solution. Addicts are not unaware that Fentanyl is out there. They know that.The desire to keep your child safe and alive is totally understandable. The challenge is when we step in to try to fix them. Click To Tweet
Saying something like, “If you had someone who was using and you wanted to keep them safe from a Fentanyl overdose, what would you do? What would you have available for them?” It’s that whole idea. I was at the drugstore the other day and there’s this thing that you can buy. It’s a spray thing. That’s what it looked like to me. They said, “If it happens, this is what you’d use.”
It’s in a stand in the drugstore now. That’s available. The addict generally doesn’t want to get overdosed in general. They are denying the reality of it because that would mean they are doing something dangerous and they are not ready to admit that. What would you recommend for someone you love who is using? How would you want to keep them safe? If you ask the addict that, they know, “I would have them have that there.” I said, “That makes perfect sense. I’m impressed with your knowledge about that.” It’s that different perspective. That’s not all you can do, but that’s a lot.
The power of asking curious questions that are genuine is life-changing. I grew up in a family that you got told how you thought, what you did, how you did it, and all the things. Somebody who’s managed hundreds of people in the course of my career, telling doesn’t help. I had to learn. How do I ask an empowering question because these people are brilliant anyway? I don’t need to know all the answers. Our addicts are generally very smart people. Asking them genuinely curious questions, they are going to have the answers.
I’m a big fan of asking what I call solution-focused, future-based, and solution-oriented questions versus past questions. Knowing what you know now, what would you recommend to someone you love in the future? How would you do that in a way that would make sense to you? It’s always about the future. There’s no shame and blame in the future. Questions about the past almost always have a who’s right, who’s wrong, and who did whatever. When you ask that question about the future, that can be an opening of a different perspective.
That orientation is fantastic. Any closing thoughts? For those who are tuning in, go get his book Life from the Top of the Mind, by Dr. Bill Crawford. Go to his YouTube channel. It is rich, short, and to the point. I’m a huge fan of yours. I so appreciate you taking the time. This man is hugely busy, speaking to a lot of execs and corporate people and changing lives. It is a rare gift to have him with us. I’m deeply grateful.
When you called and said, “Let’s catch up,” and you said, “Do you want to do an episode?” I went, “I get to do an episode.” You are one of my favorite people as well. Matter of fact, it was in your seminar in Eugene that someone recommended to me the book The Body Keeps the Score. That’s now become one of my go-to recommendations for anybody who’s dealing with any trauma or knows anybody dealing with trauma. I get a lot of stuff from you and your group as well so thank you.
You are a gem and we will have you back. Thank you so much. People, please tune in to this. Sometimes I go back to these episodes myself over and over again because it helps drive my brain to rewire so that I can show up as the best version of myself in my power.
They said that we remember about 10% of what we hear. Going back, listening, stopping, and taking some notes, ask yourself, what resonates with you? What do you find valuable? You go, “That was cool. Let me write that down,” because writing that down goes to a different part of the brain. That’s always a great way to learn.
Best to you during the holidays. I love you dearly and big hugs.
Thank you. I love you as well. Thanks for the opportunity and I’m sure we will do this again in the future.
- Dr. Bill Crawford
- Learned Optimism
- YouTube – Bill Crawford, Ph.D.
- Life from the Top of the Mind
- The Body Keeps the Score
About Dr. Bill Crawford
Dr. Bill Crawford is a licensed psychologist, author of 8 books, and an organizational consultant who helps organizations and individuals access their best knowledge and interpersonal skills, regardless of the situation.
Over the past 30 years, he has created over 3,500 presentations for organizations such as Sprint, Shell, The American Medical Association, Vistage, and many others both nationally and internationally. His two PBS specials on stress and communication have been seen by over 15 million people.