On today’s episode of The Addicted Mind, Duane speaks with Michael Anthony, author of Think Unbroken: Understanding and Overcoming Childhood Trauma. When you have a history of childhood trauma, there are things that you just have to unlearn and reframe. But to do that, you have to bring awareness to it. 

When Michael was four years old, his mother, who was a drug addict and alcoholic, cut off his right index finger. His mother was a victim of abuse and his stepfather was highly abusive. Michael was in and out of the hospital multiple times. For the majority of his childhood, he was homeless and deeply in poverty. By the time he was 12 years old, he had lived with 30 different families. They were always getting bounced around, getting evicted, or getting their water and heat turned off.

Michael got high for the first time when he was 12 and drunk when he was 13. At 15 years old, he was expelled from school for selling drugs. He was put into the last chance program and still did not graduate high school on time. 

Michael thought money was the solution to abuse, homelessness, and poverty. So he decided to chase money – legally. He worked really hard and ended up getting a job with a Fortune 10 company at 20 years old. With no high school diploma and no college education, he started making six figures but his life got so much worse. Heading into 26 years old, he found himself being 350 pounds, smoking two packs a day, drinking himself to sleep, and then attempting suicide for the second time. Money was supposed to solve the problem but he was done. When he woke up the next morning and went to the bathroom, he looked at himself in the mirror and asked himself, “What are you willing to do to have the life that you want to have?” The answer was no excuses, just results. 

11 years later, Michael is here talking about his journey. He has done a tremendous amount of work – every modality of therapy, coaching, reading books, and going to seminars. He has dived deep into understanding himself and now has over 30 trauma-informed certifications.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Michael’s journey through addiction and recovery
  • Why being homeless was one of the greatest things that happened to him
  • Why people with trauma lie to therapists
  • The identity crisis
  • Understanding the biology and physiology behind your body’s response
  • The crux of self and putting rational meaning to your behavioral patterns
  • Honoring your truth and willingness to fail
  • The worst-case scenario and the power of changing your energy
  • What mindset really is

Key Quotes:

[10:02] – “The human experience is very simply based on historical data built around putting us in a position to be safe for us to survive.”

[11:25] – “When you come from a very traumatic background, the opportunity for you to discover who you are is literally stolen from you.”

[15:02] – “The key to life is to do what you want to do, and not do what you don’t want to do.”

[17:55] – “Indecision is a decision. You have to get off the fence about your life. Then you have to put yourself in this position to operate in a way that feels true for you.” 

[22:46] – “When you stop tying your identity to the end goal of everything that you’re trying to do in your life, but instead just into the day to day moments in the way that you operate with the effort and energy that you put in, that failure becomes less burdensome.”

[24:16] – “100% it’s fully effort-driven. You’ve got to show up for your own life. And you have to deploy a tremendous amount of patience.”

[24:54] – “The longer you wait to be you, the more painful it’s going to be to tear the band aid off.”

[25:36] – “The worst-case scenario is death. Outside of that, that means you have an opportunity.”

[27:13] – “What you think becomes what you speak, what you speak becomes your actions, and your actions become your reality.”

[33:09] – “If you look for joy, you will find it. And if you look for the pain, it’ll be there too.”

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Supporting Resources:

Think Unbroken: Understanding and Overcoming Childhood Trauma