Today the Women’s Association for Addiction Treatment held an annual workshop for women devoted to addiction and recovery counseling and treatment, at the National Council on Drug and Alcohol Dependency in Sacramento. The keynote presentation was delivered by Dr. Joyce Mikal-Flynn, an instructor at California State University, Sacramento who is an expert on how trauma and crisis can be leveraged to empower individuals to not only survive but truly thrive.
The theme of her presentation was about the human capacity for resilience, and that family and professionals can empower those suffering from trauma (physical or emotional) to surpass recovery and restoration, and thrive from the actual experience. “It is that ability to stop asking, ‘why me?’ and start asking ‘why not me?’ that makes the big mind shift to find your power and gain something from the experience,” she said. Citing “Invictus” a poem by William Ernest Henley, Mikal-Flynn declared that we are “the captains of our souls.” Invictus translates as unconquerable.
We know that internet connectivity can introduce trauma by inspiring anxiety and depression, as well as addiction. And so in this regard, Mikal-Flynn’s insights are significant to the parent who is struggling with kids who are addicted to devices, social media, video games, internet porn or drugs. Her practice, called Metahabilitation, explains how to nurture the innate desire of an individual to seek control when they are in a powerless state that leads to a turning point, or a mind shift, that re-connects with their own internal power. It is our human capacity to navigate and take command of our own inner world – despite the other influences like traumatic events and accidents, drugs, bullies and devices.
A near death episode in 1990 caused Mikal-Flynn to confront the actual death of her previous life and then she chose to begin anew; something inside her changed. Her motivation and mission for life transformed as she focused more on family and less on career and pursued academic inquiries to understand near death survivors and what she calls “enhanced survivorship”. Her book Turning Tragedy into Triumph: Metahabilitation: A contemporary Model fo Rehabilitation (2012), describes the stages an individual goes through to find their power:
1) Acute phase (staying alive); 2) Turning point – it is a choice that only the individual can make; 3) Treatment – whatever next steps or modalitities the main thing is the individual is taking action and have some sense of control; 4) Acceptance and adaptation – a time to reflect about where you were, where you are now, and where you want to head; 5) Return to life – a different life because you have changed; and 6) Ongoing rehabilitation as you organize your thinking to accommodate all the crises that happen in life – you become resilient.
More about Metahabilitation.