How The New 12 Step Model Can Help Substance Abusers

Orlando Vargas

How The New 12 Step Model Can Help Substance Abusers with Orlando Vargas

Dr. Daniel and Orlando Vargas discuss the middle steps in the new 12 steps program and share inspiring stories from members of the House of Freedom.


Interviewer: We’re back with Orlando Vargas from the House of Freedom in Orlando, Florida, we’re talking about substance abuse treatment we’re talking about in the context of the new 12 step program I developed and wrote about in your brain is always listening, talking about step one, know your goals, to know when your behavior doesn’t fit your goals when you’ve been taken, hostage. Three are love, balance, and repair of your brain. And we started talking about hyperbaric oxygen, which it’s really a very effective treatment to help prepare the brain. Now, whenever you’re going to chamber you’re doing something good for your brain, which means you’re less likely to do things that are bad for your brain. Tell me your experience with hyperbaric oxygen?

Interviewee: Yeah, with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you know, we’ve seen some amazing results. Okay, usually, we first scan someone, we have a brain spec, and after the results, that’s when we sort of making recommendations. And honestly, what we have seen works the best is when we do at least 40 sessions of hyperbaric treatment, okay, so that’s the protocol that we’ve been implementing. And the faster they can actually complete the hyperbaric treatment, the better the outcomes, okay. So, for example, a lot of times, we’ll tell clients, you know, you have to do a minimum of five sessions a week. But if you could do 10 sessions a week, then even better. And oddly enough, you know, every single time that somebody files a poor recall, they get better, right. And, and my focus when I started doing the hyperbaric treatment is you have to exercise, you have to take your supplements, you know, you have to manage your stress, you have to do a lot of the things that are going to help your brain, because data is going to have a synergistic effect, right. So, then it’s going to amplify the benefits and the effectiveness of the hyperbaric treatment. So, a lot of times, when we see before and after hyperbaric, it’s like, you know, it’s, they can’t believe it, you know. And the great thing is that, when the client has a loved one that they live with either a spouse or a kid or brother, you know, they have the reassurance that not only is the scan looking better, but they’re actually looking at the person and they seem different.
And I’ll tell you a story. We had a veteran that actually went through that process, okay, his brain obviously had a traumatic brain injury, and substance use disorder, because, you know, one of the tours had been in Afghanistan. And he was always mad, you know, he didn’t know why he would go to the VA, they will do an MRI, they will tell him, you know what, everything is fine. They’ll give him some medication, and “we’ll see you in a year”. So, this veteran still struggling with mood disorders, you know, he can’t sleep well, etc, etc. So, you know, he comes to us, he gets to help. And I remember like, it was yesterday, he tells me, “Orlando, I was playing in a playground with my son is seven years old. And he tells me, ‘Dad I’m so happy.” And you know, he asked his kid, well, why are you so happy? Because you don’t get mad at me anymore. And he just started crying. I mean, he just couldn’t help himself, you know, and, and see, and those are banks that make us so proud. You’re so fulfilling to see a change like that. Because one of the things you say in your book, it’s not just about you, but about generations of you, right? So, when we change that person’s life, we’re changing, potentially, not only one life, but two, three, four, or five lives. Okay. So that’s crucial. And we preach that all the time. You know, we tell our clients, you know, it’s not just about you, but about generations of you. So, think about the decisions you make today, how that impacts other things, and other people that perhaps we haven’t even met.

Interviewer: No question about. That it’s just such a beautiful story. And that’s why we do this. The fourth step is about forgiveness. And I love that step. And that’s what the imaging work has taught us. That behavior is complicated. It’s easy to call someone bad. It’s harder to ask why? I saw a woman yesterday we’re doing an influencer series and her brand was terrible. And she had a lot of shame, because she was really bright, but was not anywhere near her potential. And everybody in her family knew it. And she hated that and felt shame around it. But no one knew that she was really suffering from low blood flow to her frontal and temporal lobes. And we did an exercise called Reach, which is a forgiveness exercise. recall what happened. So, the shame around not being Miss Accomplished. She wanted to empathize. It’s like, wait a minute, there’s a big reason why your brain can altruistically, give the gift of forgiveness, commit to it and hold on to it. And it was just so helpful. What have you seen from a forgiveness standpoint?

Interviewee: Yeah, you know, I think what forgiveness A lot of times, especially when it comes to people who’ve suffered through substance use disorders, you know, the thing, the biggest obstacle, it’s them accepting forgiveness, because a lot of times, you know, they ask forgiveness from the Lord or to ask forgiveness from a loved one. And the forgiveness is there. A lot of times people are willing to forgive, you know, they understand because they love, but the person who struggled with the addiction, sometimes it’s so difficult for them to grasp the concept of forgiveness because they’re thinking, I have done so much harm. I’ve done so many bad things, how is it possible that somebody can really Forgive me, you know, and, and that’s something that we push a lot here, it has freedom because that’s one of the steps that also has to occur, you know, there has to be an acceptance of forgiveness. And, and the funny thing is that forgiveness, in a sense, it’s free, right? Because, you know, you can’t, you can’t pay a price for that, right. And you sort of having to accept that forgiveness, and, and embrace it. And you know, and that’s sort of like a step where the person starts to love themselves, which is really, really necessary, right, in order for someone to take care of their body and to love others and just to be a better human person.
So, again, you know, in my perspective, in my experience, forgiveness, it’s a powerful tool that has to occur, for that healing to occur. And for that person to really embrace their new lifestyle, and really forget about the things they’ve done in the past.

Interviewer: So important. And then Step five is to know your type. Because clearly, all addicts are not the set. All people struggle with it, some of them are impulsive, some of them are compulsive, some of them are sad, some of them are anxious, some of them are all of those things. And some of them are temporal lobe and that they had a head injuries. And this one size fits all treatment plan is stupid. It just it’s like one size fits for fever, or one size fits for chest pain and targeting the treatment to their brain. And if you can’t get a scan, that’s why we have our questionnaires for brain health coaches. You know, that’s we use those questionnaires in our office, and they’re not nearly as good as the scan. But they’re better than nothing. It helps us get to the right category of help quickly.
When we come back, we’re going to talk about locking up the craving drag, and how you help people manage their cravings. Stay with us.

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