Blog & Videos

The God Concept in Alcoholics Anonymous

If you go to a 12-step meeting such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, you’re gonna hear the G word: “God.” I have had clients reject the idea of AA or NA solely because they were atheist and they were uncomfortable or even insulted by the idea that a god would help them with their […]

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Why is Trauma a Four-Letter Word for So Many Men?

“Don’t cry.” “Don’t ask for help.” “Always be in control.” “Don’t display any vulnerability.” “Don’t acknowledge pain.” “Don’t be weak!” In my previous blog post “Why Gender Matters,” we looked at how these messages are communicated to men in a variety of ways throughout the course of their lives. The messages calcify into “rules” that […]

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Acceptance is key to family recovery

About a year ago, at a graduation ceremony for a recovery high school, I heard a story from a mother talking about her experience accepting her daughter’s path down the road of addiction and recovery. It resonated with me so much I remember it clearly even a year later. I want to share a version […]

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The Problem with Diagnoses

Recently, I sat with a young client who was convinced her mother is bi-polar. I asked why she thought that and she replied, “Because one moment she’s happy with me and the next she is yelling at me!” This exchange is an example of what I am noticing more often in sessions: people diagnosing themselves […]

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Is addiction a disease?

  A great deal of time, energy and research has been given to the concept of addiction as a disease. Just about every treatment provider talks about a genetic pre-disposition to addiction, but I’ve never heard anyone identify a particular genetic mutation responsible for addiction. In contrast, genetic mutations linked to higher risk for diseases […]

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Avoiding multiple first therapy sessions

Engaging in therapy is not easy. Even when one has arrived at the knowledge that a problem is too great to solve alone, asking for help is tough for even the most courageous among us. If a person can overcome that initial block, the questions that arise can sometimes be even more overwhelming. Does this […]

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Losing the War on Drugs

There’s a lot of attention lately on the “opioid epidemic” in America. Opioids were involved in the deaths of more than 42,000 people in 2016. For perspective, car accidents killed about 37,500 and gun violence killed 38,000 in that same year, the most recent year numbers are available. For added perspective, alcohol use leads to […]

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Resistance to change can be overcome

“Change causes stress.” Seems like everyone is on board with this concept. When I’m running a workshop or speaking to families, and I ask, “Does change cause stress?” I always get a resounding, “Yes!” “What about those new experiences that we perceive as positive things?” I ask. “That’s change, too. But where’s the stress?” From […]

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You’re Not Crazy, Just Human

As a behavioral health professional, I sometimes find myself wishing I could “cure” people. In fact, sometimes I wish I could cure myself. Then I remember two things: It’s not my job to fix you, it’s yours. “Curing” someone in many cases would mean robbing them of their very humanness.   As human beings we […]

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The Evolution of Intervention

I got my start in this field by performing traditional interventions. Once an individual finished treatment, I often worked with them, assisting with navigation into the recovery community while providing a layer of accountability.   The lack of attention paid and help given to the families of those struggling with substance use disorder struck me […]

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