I’m Going to Stop, I Mean It This Time

As a detox clinic nurse, Diane watched the revolving door of repeat drunks. Some she knew she’d see again, having failed at sobriety one more time. Others seemed so very promising. One patient, when ready to leave, so clearly talked the talk and walked the walk that she was sure this one would make it. The next day he committed suicide. Relapse is the ever-vigilant hound nipping at the heels of people with addiction, often leading to depression and despair. But some addicts get past it and slam the door on relapse forever. They quit using, find relief from their … Continue reading

Returning to the Basics after Traumatic Brain Injury

“Traumatic Brain Injury is an important public health problem in the United States. Because the problems that result from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), such as those of thinking and memory, are often not visible, and because awareness about TBI among the general public is limited, it is frequently referred to as the ‘silent epidemic.’” Marilynn Lash: The Essential Brain Injury Guide (4th Edition) The Brain Injury Alliance of America, 2007. When I was new to the practice of chemical dependency counseling, I worked at Fairview Recovery Services. One morning a rushed counselor breezed past me and handed me something from … Continue reading

Dating in Recovery: It’s Complicated

Dating in recovery is a complex subject. We come into recovery as broken people; detached from ourselves, and from our feelings. We’re told, ‘the good news that you get your feelings back.’ One of those feelings is our sexual instinct. We’ve all been there at a meeting when an attractive person walks in. Come on, we’ve all found someone attractive at some point or another! I recall an old sponsor who would take one look at the sparkle in my eyes, and would immediately tell me, ‘look at the floor, Olivia!’ Feeling berated, I often did what I was told. … Continue reading

Seeking Treatment: Where do we go when we are Finally Ready?

Fill in the blanks: Where do/does ________ I/my partner/child/friend/relative go for help with _______ my/his/ her __________ addiction/mental health needs/co-occurring disorder? The options are ____________confusing/mind boggling/ daunting. A first step toward getting recovery and mental health services often begins with a phone call. From there, an intervention may be appropriate. Or a meeting with a chemical health assessor or psychologist. The information gleaned from such a professional will help inform the next steps. Financial considerations, medical and psychological histories, and willingness to make a commitment to change play vital roles in determining next steps. These professionals also will discuss with … Continue reading

Reclaiming Your Body: Healing from Trauma and Awakening to Your Body’s Wisdom

By Suzanne Scurlock-Durana New World Library Scurlock-Durana has over three decades of experience teaching and using Cranio- Sacral Therapy and other bodywork modalities to help people heal from trauma by physical and emotional disease. In this book, she provides clear instructions to help readers understand how to reconnect with the wisdom of their body. She includes individual’s stories to help describe the process of using one’s intuitive self to recognize the things that might be causing harm and the necessary steps to make changes. Each of the main wisdom areas, identified as the heart, gut, pelvis, legs and feet, and … Continue reading

Overcoming Your Difficult Family: 8 Skills for Thriving in Any Family Situation

By Eric Maisel, PhD New World Library Maisel is an author and retired family therapist. In the first part of the book he provides eight strategies to deal successfully with family life and “survive difficult family life and sometimes even improve it for everyone involved.” He describes how to focus on being smart, strong, calm, clear, aware, brave, present and resilient. He includes a variety of individual’s stories to demonstrate the process. Each chapter closes with a ceremony suggestion and “Food for Thought” questions for reflection. The second part of the book includes ten difficult family types and how to … Continue reading

The Wisdom of the Universe: Essential Truths from the Beloved Conversations with God Trilogy

By Neale Donald Walsch Tarcher Perigee Walsch is well known for his previous books on “contemporary spirituality and its practical application in everyday life.” With full-color photographs and quotes from Walsch’s Conversations with God Trilogy, this book is a wonderful example of how combining short essays and beautiful photos can help a reader explore and contemplate the deeper meaning of life. The reader is provided a question for reflection and its correlating answer for consideration. The book closes with the message: “I will not leave you. Call on Me, therefore, wherever and whenever you are separate from the peace that … Continue reading

Compassion is the Key to Everything: Find Your Own Path

By Alexandra Chauran Llewellyn Chauran describes how she tried to live for one full year and “harm none.” This book is the results of a New Year’s resolution to do that. She describes her struggle to create her own personal code of ethics. For example, she refrains from reading blogs and accessing other media sources of “snark and rudeness” for three days before each of the sacred holidays she observes. Readers will find well thought out practical suggestions for increasing compassion, kindness, generosity, humility, and trust. She encourages readers to find peace and make the world a peaceful place. If … Continue reading

Happily Ever Now: Four Ways to Be in Love in the Present Moment

We all know that Happily Ever After doesn’t always pan out. Tinderella and Prince Match.com don’t always ride off into the sunset, and well, that doesn’t mean it was a complete failure after all. Many times people come into our lives for a moment of time to help us grow and expand; then their duty is done. Unfortunately we often get so caught up in obsessive future planning of the “what if’s” and the “might be’s”, that we miss the magic of the moment. Which essentially is all that really exists. What about this…Happily Ever Now. Being present with your … Continue reading

Bookshelves

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Cicero I resist joining the e-book fascination. I like my page turners with real pages, my underlines with real pencils and my coffee spills with real stains. I like the touch, the heft, the physicality of a book. Besides, books aren’t just to read. Some hide dried auburn maple leaves, a birthday horoscope from years past, a Chinese fortune too good to let go. Like my garden, my books multiply and grow, expanding into whatever space I give them. Unfortunately, I am in my thinning years–thinning my … Continue reading

Co-Occurance of Gambling and Substance Abuse Ups the Anty for Successful Recovery

“John” was doing well in his recovery from alcohol addiction. He hadn’t had a drink in eight months, was regularly attending AA and individual counseling, and was well supported in his recovery by family and friends. Several of John’s college buddies were planning a trip to Las Vegas and asked him if he wanted to join them. John was feeling good about life and the progress he’d made with his alcohol addiction, so he thought a first-ever trip to Las Vegas would be fun and well deserved. Once in Las Vegas, John visited the famous strip. He was mesmerized by … Continue reading

Creating Closeness with Compassionate Communication: A Nonviolent Approach

Personal communication too often fails us. A conversation can go south in a second when a nasty feeling erupts in our gut. The other person did something that strikes us as wrong, and they’re going to pay. Blame and vengeance hijack the conversation. Or we duck out of the conversation ASAP and let this feeling fester for days – or even years – in effect, sticking ourselves with the price tag of simmering victimhood. Passive- aggressive actions may follow. All these scenarios involve inflicting harm on someone, an everyday type of violence. A nonviolent approach Another option is Nonviolent Communication … Continue reading

Voyageur Outward Bound: Helping Students Find True Grit

With the best of intentions, many 21st century parents have worked hard to shield their children from pain, discomfort and struggle. In part, with the advent of 24/7 news programs like CNN, parents are bombarded by the risks and perils facing their precious offspring and have reacted by creating organized sports and group activities, filling downtime to ensure safety and security. The flipside of such structure is that many kids today have little opportunity to develop problem-solving skills, grit or perseverance, skills that are essential to coping with life. Sadly, when these kids encounter challenges with relationships, academics, drugs, or … Continue reading

When Good-Hearted Men Marry Selfish Women

John Driggs

“The Knife and the Wound Both Need Each Other.” — Sheldon Kopp, Psychoanalyst and Writer I’ve been married to Laura for 25 years and I’ve never been able to please her. We go for a period of time with things going well between us. Then out of the blue she gets bent out of shape over some imagined worry that preoccupies her. I understand that I may not be the most sensitive husband at times but Laura goes nuts and exaggerates how bad things are between us and rants for hours. She slams doors and usually wants nothing to do … Continue reading

I Can’t Go On. I’ll Go On.

Coiled. Mortal. The only thing I knew was that it was bright and I could hear the sounds of clattering wheels rolling over a tiled floor and people talking. Johnnie had his arm around me, holding me up while I walked. The usual feeling of realizing you’re dreaming or arriving back into reality after a black out; you’re just in the middle of some situation or other with no knowledge of, or interest in, what happened before this exact moment but this wasn’t exactly that so I said to him “what’s happening” and immediately his eyes got soft and his … Continue reading