Joe Polish

Dare To Be Average: An Addiction Conversation with Ken Wells and Joe Polish

Ken Wells conducts workshops on sexual addiction, shame reduction, and spirituality. Mr. Wells holds a master of divinity degree from Nazarene Theological Seminary and has twenty-three years of pastoral ministry experience. He earned a master of arts degree in counseling from Ottawa University and is certified as a professional counselor, a sex addictions counselor, and a substance abuse counselor.Episode Summary



    • What Ken Wells tells the mega-rich and super famous when they struggle with addictions

    • Dealing with fear, shame, anxiety, and failure you will come up against in your life

    • Ken explains what Personal Brilliance is and how we can explore the beauty of average

    • How to experience pain in a healthy way and find new, meaningful approaches to life

    • Ken’s definition of ‘Addiction’ (And how to get your needs met without deprivation)

    • What you can do to better find purpose, focus, and acceptance of the human condition

    • Joe and Ken discuss workaholism and how to determine whether it is a problem or not

    • How to recover when you or your family are in the throes of addiction and suffering

Academy of Hope, Stedman Graham, and Joe Polish’s Genius Network

After surviving rock bottom, Andre Norman founded “The Academy of Hope” with the goal to diminish violence in prisons. Contributors include Stedman Graham, Joe Polish (founder of Genius Recovery Foundation) and The Genius Network®.

Andre Norman overcame poverty, gangs, and prison to become an International Speaker and Harvard Fellow. Having survived rock bottom, Andre knew he could help others do the same. Andre’s pledge has been, and continues to be, to help anyone in need. He saves people’s lives.

One of the ways he’s done this is by founding “The Academy of Hope.” The goal of the Academy of Hope is to diminish violence inside prisons. One of the contributors to The Academy of Hope is Stedman Graham. Stedman speaks to inmates about finding their purpose no matter where they are. Founder of Genius Recovery Foundation, Inc., Joe Polish, is also Founder of Genius Network®. Genius Network and its Members’ have donated books and other educational materials and through the Genius Recovery Foundation, made available to Andre’s program to help better the men and women in prison populations of America.

Joe Polish, Stedman Graham, and Andre Norman are healthy role models of transformation and service. They are helping develop a positive trajectory for people’s future.

Nelson Mandela was locked up for 27 years and became president of his country when he came out. We have to be able to give individuals who are incarcerated information that allows them to grow and develop, and build and create a positive future. That is what The Academy of Hope is all about.

Joe Polish teaches, “We cannot punish the pain out of people.” We cannot torture people into a better life. We have to speak them with respect and kindness and help them understand how to have a greater goal. In prison, they have the time to read, study, and learn. And after they pay their debt to society, they have the opportunity to become productive citizens utilizing their own talents, skills, abilities, passions, and purpose.

A form of addiction recovery and rehabilitation with efficacy is personal development, and self-education. If we can raise our consciousness and understand that there’s a bigger world out there… we can have a bigger vision, we can plan, set goals, organize a process to empower ourselves and focus on the positive. We can absolutely change our direction and develop a different trajectory for our future.

America’s prison population is a 2.2 million person problem and a multi billion dollar problem. Stedman, Andre, and Joe are getting stuff done and contributing to a better society. Your contribution can help propel the mission.

Getting Real About Playfulness, Addiction, and The Human Heart

As part of changing the global conversation around addiction, Joe Polish, the founder of Genius Network and, sat down with comedian JP Sears whose videos have been viewed over 250 million times online. At the time of writing this, their Facebook Live discussion has been viewed over 164,000 times as the two discussed how people view addicts and the current treatment of addiction. Joe and JP discussed the need to view addicts with compassion instead of judgment and how we can’t punish pain out of people. Joe and JP also discussed the current state of addiction, the four elements of recovery and how to connect better with others and ourselves.

Dr. Gabor Maté, Addiction Expert, Interviewed by Joe Polish

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Dr. Gabor Maté: A Candid Conversation About Addiction with Dr. Gabor Maté and Joe Polish

Notable Quotes From This Interview:

“It’s not ‘why the addiction?’, it’s ‘why the pain?’” – Dr. Gabor Maté

“The greatest gift you can give your children is their happiness.” – Dr. Gabor Maté

“The medical profession is trauma-phobic.” – David Smith

“A lot of people have died because of the addiction to power.” – Dr. Gabor Maté

“You can not punish pain out of people.” -Joe Polish

Episode Summary

Is addiction the biggest crisis we’ve ever faced? Can we do anything about it? In a candid conversation about addiction, Dr. Gabor Maté and Joe Polish define what addiction is and why it’s actually a solution to pain.

Dr. Gabor Maté is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician with a background in family practice and a special interest in childhood development and trauma, and in their potential lifelong impacts on physical and mental health, including on ADHD, addictions and a wide range of other conditions.

Here’s a glance at what you’ll learn from Dr. Gabor Maté in this episode:

– Why addiction is the biggest crisis we’ve ever faced and what we’re doing about it…
– Dr. Gabor Maté defines what addiction is and why it’s actually a solution to pain
– How the criminal justice system treats addiction and why we must change how people view and treat addicts
– Dr. Gabor Maté and Joe discuss the opioid epidemic and why it’s been happening for decades
– The reason why every case of addiction originates from trauma and deep pain
– Joe shares his struggle with addiction and Dr. Gabor Maté shares his personal story of workaholism
– Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton: A fascinating insight into the difference between overt trauma and developmental trauma
– Joe asks Dr. Gabor Maté, “If someone was raped or molested as a child, how do you interact with your perpetrator if you still know them?”
– Addicts lie, cheat, steal and cause trouble through self-destruction. Gabor and Joe discuss how to interact (and be compassionate) with addicts…
– Dr. Gabor Maté talks about epigenetics and how our environment influences our genes
– The meaning of recovery and how we reconnect with ourselves in recovery
– Dr. Gabor Maté talks about “respectable addictions” and how disdain gets projected onto other people
– How parents unknowingly pass on trauma from one generation to the next…
– Dr. Gabor Maté discusses why A.D.D. is a response to trauma and how A.D.D. is an adaptation
– Traumaphobia: Why we’re surrounded by trauma and yet we don’t talk about it
– What Dr. Gabor Maté would ask Harvey Weinstein and how Gabor suggests we treat addiction
– Why we can’t punish pain out of people and how we can help people fighting silent battles
– What we can do to heal the family system, heal the individual and recover from addiction

Show Notes

  • Addiction is complex but can manifested in any behaviour, not just drugs or gambling.
  • Nearly everybody has had an addiction at some point in their life. The addiction isn’t the problem, developing an addiction is your way of trying to solve the real problem.
  • Emotional pain is almost always the underlying cause of addiction.
  • The question is what happened for you to feel pain, and what can you do to address it.
  • Children take everything in a narcissistic sense. Everything is always about them.
  • We all need to be wanted and your desire will appear in ways that are often addictive.
  • Right now the criminal justice system is treating addicts like criminals, instead of with punishment.
  • The decision to criminalize certain forms of addiction is entirely arbitrary according to the statistics.
  • The theory that addiction is a genetically inheritable disease goes out the window when you look at the aboriginal experience.
  • Every case of addiction results from trauma.
  • The medical world does not understand emotional trauma.
  • ADD is a response to trauma, it’s not genetic and it’s not a brain disease. It’s actually an adaptation to too much stress.
  • Children can feel the stress and suffering of their immediate environment. The strategies the children employ to deal with stress actually become problems later on.
  • A third of teenagers and adults in North America suffer from anxiety.
  • We pass on our trauma to our kids, not genetically but through our actions.
  • The addictive brain can be very clever when it comes to justifying your addictive actions.
  • You have two rational choices when dealing with an addict: you can choose to leave them or you can tell them you will be there to support them in their effort to escape their pain.
  • The irrational choice is to try and change the person.
  • The addiction that manifested in you didn’t begin with you.
  • The problem with words is that they are accurate at first but then the become pejoratives. The word addict has its roots in slavery.
  • What is missing from your life and how did you lose it?
  • We should treat addicts with compassion and get to the core trauma instead of just treating the behavior.
  • Behavior problems become physiological problems in the brain based on the environment.
  • Trauma is a loss of self, recovery is getting it back.
  • When your recovery is complete, you will often have compassion towards the person that traumatized you in the knowledge that they were traumatized themselves in the same way.
  • Anger can be healthy, but it should be channeled in a useful way.
  • There a respectable addictions and there are others that we project of self disdain onto others.
  • The more you stress people, the more you entrench them in their addictions.
  • We live in such a traumatized society, that traumatized people can rise to the top.
  • There are two kinds of trauma, overt and developmental. Not all trauma is from bad things that happened to you, it can also come from good things that didn’t happen to you.


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