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

When the Game is Up

Christine’s Story When I was asked to share my story, I didn’t hesitate. I think it’s so important for people to see that everyday, regular people can have a gambling addiction. And by telling my story I hope I can help others and reduce the shame of compulsive gambling. Looking back on it, I guess it’s not surprising that I developed a gambling problem. I had a risk-taking personality and was exposed to various forms of gambling as early as age 9. My father was a bookie and sold football tickets. I’d spend my allowance and purchase tickets from him. … Continue reading

The Heart and Science of Yoga: Empowering Self-Care Program for a Happy, Healthy, Joyful Life

By Leonard T. Perlmutter with Jenness Cortez Perlmutter AMI Publishers In this revised and expanded edition, readers will find a well-documented introduction to Yoga Science and how it can benefit one physically and mentally as well as emotionally and spiritually. For example, it can help relieve stress, enhance the immune system, lower blood pressure and reduce pain. Additionally, practitioners may learn how to love themselves, cultivate loving and nurturing relationships, as well as learn their life’s purpose. Perlmutter describes the basic tools needed and step-by-step instructions for a practice to help reduce distractions by stretching (pictures showing how are included) … Continue reading

Emotional Rescue: How to Work with Your Emotions to Transform Hurt and Confusion into Energy That Empowers You

By Dzogchen Ponlop Tarcher Perigee Do you use your emotions and harness their power or are you at their mercy? Rather than letting emotions control you, Ponlop, a Buddhist teacher, recommends that readers learn to relate to their emotions so they can benefit from that knowledge. He shares his own experiences as well as those of students and teachers he has worked with. He suggests writing mindfully and reflectively. At the end of each chapter there are short mindful practices with an Ask Yourself Questions to reflect on, such as “How do my thoughts and feelings interact?” There are also … Continue reading

The Mind Illuminated: A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness

By Culadasa (John Yates), and Matthew Immergut, with Jeremy Graves Dharma Treasure Press The authors believe that anyone can learn to meditate and improve their lives. They encourage the reader to use meditation to practice mindfulness and describe what the body and mind go through during the process. They provide the ten stages of meditation to help a meditator advance from the novice meditator to the skilled meditator to the adept meditator. Their step-by-step process is easy for anyone who wants to start or improve their meditation practice. The first steps to prepare to meditate include: “Fire up your motivation, … Continue reading

The Science of Shame and Its Treatment

By Gerald Loren Fishkin, PhD Parkhurst Brothers Publishers Fishkin trained as a psychotherapist. He describes how he developed an interest in understanding how shame influences the choices people make. He provides real life stories to help readers who want to understand and change how shame adversely affects their lives. He explains the difference between guilt and shame. He also discusses how shame is included in the addiction process. He believes that core shame trauma and negative self-talk can be resolved by increasing awareness and self-compassion. He provides several clinical examples of how cognitive behavior therapy can be utilized to do … Continue reading

Keep on Learning

 “We are by nature observers, and thereby learners. That is our permanent state.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson Fall is heralded as the season of new learning–time to put on the mantle of student for the return to school. While I love taking classes, trying new things and enhancing my skills, I am not limited to the school year. Summer offers rich learning opportunities, too. The natural world is a wonderful teacher. I walk through the woods noticing nature recycling, replenishing and renewing itself. The downed decaying tree becomes a “nurse log” full of spiders and insects that provide food for birds … Continue reading

Jim’s Story

I grew up in your average Minnesota small town. We were neither rich nor poor, just like most everyone growing up in that area. My father was sporadically employed as an accountant. However, he was also a big gambler and a big drinker. His addictions affected our family in ways that have taken me a lifetime to fully understand. My father’s gambling problem resulted in our losing our house twice – once when I was four and again when I was 12. We were lucky in that the mortgage company felt sorry for us and allowed us to keep the … Continue reading