Living From Core Essence

At The Exclusive, you will be encouraged and supported to develop your spiritual life, whatever that means to you.  We honor all loving and healthy paths, and instead of focusing on a specific religion, we use words such as “essence” and “inner life” and “your creator.”

Essence, in this context, points to that which is untouched, undamaged, un-traumatized in you.  We call the purity that is innate in you, just as you were as newborn baby, your essence.  It’s the real you that has always been there even when you couldn’t feel who you were or imagine you were worthy of healing.

Your essence is of vital importance.  You are deeply beautiful.  We will help you rediscover your essence.

Mindfulness & Relaxation

“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf, ” is such an apropro quote from the well known leader of the mindfulness movement Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Often, when clients come in to addiction treatment, they say they just want all the stressful situations to disappear so they can live a life of ease.  The desire to use numbing drugs and alcohol typically follows stress, anxiety, fear, worry and the desire to avoid the present moment feeling.  It sounds logical to just get rid of everything that’s stressful, right?

Not really.

Stress happens, fears arise, and challenging circumstances are the stuff of life.  Attempting to repress, deny or simply stop the challenges from coming is both counter-productive and unrealistic.

At The Exclusive Addiction Treatment Center, we specialize in empowering participants to actualize the skills necessary to live fully in the present moment without resistance to what is actually occurring.  It’s not a small thing to learn to become profoundly aware in the present moment, to breathe slowly and stay calm amidst anything, and to even joyfully embrace personal responsibility for one’s reactions, thoughts, feelings.

In addition to trauma release and core belief therapy which help peel away layers of old pain and judgement, the most essential skills for establishing and maintaining a life of lasting sobriety, and of true inner peace and joy, are the skills of relaxation and self-regulation, mindful awareness and compassionate communication.

Exclusive co-founder Joyce Marvel-Benoist whose car sports the bumper sticker “I’d rather be here now” suggests the question, “How can I bring love to this situation?” regardless of the circumstances.  This sounds easy when the situation is one you enjoy, but it’s another story entirely when circumstances challenge our values, our boundaries, and our sense of safety.

At The Exclusive, mindfulness is integrated into the program, and exercises for relaxation and re-regulating stress are practiced throughout, ensuring the client’s skillful ability to utilize these abilities in real life once they return home.

Kabat-Zinn says it best.  “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmental.” Relaxation is a natural result of accepting what is happening and embracing the chance to practice appreciating (and even loving) life however it shows up.

In reality, The Exclusive Addiction Treatment Center treats far more than drug and alcohol addiction.  The Center’s program is a truly holistic way to address personal empowerment, peaceful relationships, authentic communication, and emotional freedom and fluidity.  Mindfulness is pivotal to melting away layers and layers of anxiety and discomfort (that formerly fueled addictive patterns,) while it offers soothing alternatives that add ease and grace to one’s life — a new way of life.

Body & Mind Integration

Your body holds profound wisdom and useful information for you, once you learn to truly listen to its signals.

In the West, we are taught to keep our focus on our linear, cognitive mind including working to quantify and understand everything with our heads.  We learn that the mind trumps the body. We Americans buy a record number of personal growth books that insist we simply change our negative thinking to positive by saying something is great when we think it stinks!

It’s not that we can’t change negatives to positives, but simply changing words doesn’t do the trick.  If it did, we’d all be perfect by now. That method actually puts us at odds with our own true beliefs and increases stress and anxiety.

Research shows time and again that what we have grown to accept (that mind trumps body) is indeed false.  In reality, if you want to know the truth about what you feel, what you believe and what feels balanced to you, your body holds the answer.  Gut instinct is a real thing as is intuition, applied kinesiology, body language and even the reason behind tics and twitches.  You KNOW far more than you realize about what is deeply true and in alignment with your core values.  It’s just that you were taught to turn those signals OFF in order to be someone’s concept of polite or appropriate, positive or presentable.

An essential aspect of healing the underlying reasons for addiction is bringing the body and mind back into authentic relationship.  It’s about ending the lie that says “I’m fine” when I’m not and about observing oneself with loving curiosity, honoring what is real and true for you.  Mindful inquiry and somatic therapy are two of the many methods used to guide our clients into deeper touch with the relationship between mind and body.

A fully holistic approach means being present with what truly is happening, inviting all of the parts of ourselves to the party.

Conscious Breathing

Through conscious breathing we train our minds to be in the present moment. Conscious breathing occurs four times a day, usually in a small group setting led by a team member. Each conscious breathing session lasts for fifteen minutes.

Conscious breathing is a form of breathing meditation where we use the breath together with the words, ‘I am here now in this’ as an object of concentration. By focusing on the breath you will become aware of how your mind tends to jump from one thing to another.

The simple discipline of focusing on the breath and breathing mantra will bring you back to the present moment every time the mind wants to pull you away from the richness of the present moment.

Many things will arise in the mind during the fifteen minutes and especially initially the resistance from the mind can be very strong. You’ll know you’re winning when you can sit and breathe through a fifteen minute segment and deal with everything that will arise in your conscious mind.

You will notice that after each conscious breathing session you will experience reduced anxiety and stress and you will feel more centered and grounded. Long term goals of conscious breathing are cultivating the ability to have your full attention on the present moment and being a better observer of your thoughts and mind also known as mindfulness.

During conscious breathing you will integrate everything that is happening in the present moment. You will also give conscious attention to stress in the body. You will feel all kinds of mental, physical and emotional discomfort. This is normal and all you have to do to overcome it is to simply bring your attention back to the breath.

This is a powerful tool to incorporate into your life and self-care routine to support your recovery far beyond the duration of the program.

Essence versus Performing

We are raised in a world of performance, where what you do is emphasized far more than what you are, and where other people’s standards set that become our imposed standards.  At The Exclusive, we see our clients struggle with the tension between who they are versus who they were told they should be.  This conflictual way of living paves the way for life that feels more like a mess than the life you dreamed, doesn’t it?

Because we are raised with fear and shame, we become conditioned to a chronic state of performance. When we are in a state of performing for others, we are not connected to our intrinsic nature because we are essentially living for others instead of being true to ourselves.

This sense of being alone can bring tremendous anxiety, because of the disconnect between the inner and outer and the process of denying oneself to seek approval from others.

We want to help you choose to accept yourself and to fully be yourself. The key is to surrender to the idea that who you are IS enough. To live freely, it’s essential to find freedom from performing, hoping that others approve of you. You have everything inside to you be whole and complete just as you are.   The work ahead is to decommission the old structure of the actor seeking praise, including all the underlying attachments, fears and habits that have kept the performance going.

It’s a big job and it pays big dividends in authenticity and freedom for the rest of your life.

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