Jan17 issue

Page 1

TIME TO FACE THE WORLD AGAIN. A different way to treat people. We aim to provide the highest quality treatment for every individual that will enable them to maintain long-term sobriety and experience the fullest, highest quality of life.

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A LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER Dear Readers, I welcome you to The Sober World magazine. The Sober World is an informative award winning national magazine that’s designed to help parents and families who have loved ones struggling with addiction. We are a FREE printed publication, as well as an online e-magazine reaching people globally in their search for information about Drug and Alcohol Abuse. We directly mail our printed magazine each month to whoever has been arrested for drugs or alcohol as well as distributing to schools, colleges, drug court, coffee houses, meeting halls, doctor offices and more .We directly mail to treatment centers, parent groups and different initiatives throughout the country and have a presence at conferences nationally. Our monthly magazine is available for free on our website at www.thesoberworld.com. If you would like to receive an E-version monthly of the magazine, please send your e-mail address to patricia@thesoberworld.com Drug addiction has reached epidemic proportions throughout the country and is steadily increasing. It is being described as “the biggest manmade epidemic” in the United States. More people are dying from drug overdoses than from any other cause of injury death, including traffic accidents, falls or guns. Many Petty thefts are drug related, as the addicts need for drugs causes them to take desperate measures in order to have the ability to buy their drugs. The availability of prescription narcotics is overwhelming; as parents our hands are tied. Purdue Pharma, the company that manufactures Oxycontin generated $3.1 BILLION in revenue in 2010? Scary isn’t it? Addiction is a disease but there is a terrible stigma attached to it. As family members affected by this disease, we are often too ashamed to speak to anyone about our loved ones addiction, feeling that we will be judged. We try to pass it off as a passing phase in their lives, and some people hide their head in the sand until it becomes very apparent such as through an arrest, getting thrown out of school or even worse an overdose, that we realize the true extent of their addiction. If you are experiencing any of the above, this may be your opportunity to save your child or loved one’s life. They are more apt to listen to you now than they were before, when whatever you said may have fallen on deaf ears. This is
the point where you know your loved one needs help, but you don’t know where to begin. I have compiled this informative magazine to try to take that fear and anxiety away from you and let you know there are many options to choose from. There are Psychologists and Psychiatrists that specialize in treating people with addictions. There are Education Consultants that will work with you to figure out what your loved ones needs are and come up with the best plan for them. There are Interventionists who will hold an intervention and try to convince your loved one that they need help. There are detox centers that provide medical supervision to help them through the withdrawal process, There are Transport Services that will scoop up your resistant loved
one (under the age of 18 yrs. old) and bring them to the facility you have To Advertise, Call 561-910-1943

chosen. There are long term Residential Programs (sometimes a year and longer) as well as short term programs (30-90 days), there are Therapeutic Boarding Schools, Wilderness programs, Extended Living and there
are Sober Living Housing where they can work, go to meetings and be accountable for staying clean. Many times a Criminal Attorney will try to work out a deal with the court
to allow your child or loved one to seek treatment as an alternative to jail. I know how overwhelming this period can be for you and I urge every parent or relative of an addict to get some help for yourself. There are many groups that can help you. There is Al-Anon, Alateen (for teenagers), Families Anonymous, Nar-Anon and more. This is a disease that affects the whole family, not just the parents. Addiction knows no race or religion; it affects the wealthy as well as the poor, the highly educated, old, young-IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. This magazine is dedicated to my son Steven who graduated with top honors from University of Central Florida. He graduated with a degree in Psychology, and was going for his Masters in Applied Behavioral Therapy. He was a highly intelligent, sensitive young man who helped many people get their lives on the right course. He could have accomplished whatever he set his mind out to do. Unfortunately, after graduating from college he tried a drug that was offered to him not realizing how addictive it was and the power it would have over him. My son was 7 months clean when he relapsed and died of a drug overdose. I hope this magazine helps you find the right treatment for your loved one. They have a disease and like all diseases, you try to find the best care suited for their needs. They need help. Deaths from prescription drug overdose have been called the “silent epidemic” for years. There is approximately one American dying every 17 minutes from an accidental prescription drug overdose. Please don’t allow your loved one to become a statistic. I hope you have found this magazine helpful. You may also visit us on the web at www.thesoberworld.com. The Sober World wishes everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year! We are on Face Book at
www.facebook.com/pages/TheSober- World/445857548800036 or www.facebook.com/steven. soberworld,
Twitter at www.twitter.com/thesoberworld, and
LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=6694001 Sincerely,


Publisher Patricia@TheSoberWorld.com

For Advertising opportunities in our magazine, on our website or to submit articles, please contact Patricia at 561-910-1943 or patricia@thesoberworld.com.




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It is easy to feel gratitude or thankfulness when life circumstances go our way. It is fun to celebrate- for example- a new job or a promotion, a new or rekindled romance, financial windfalls, graduations or retirement, and recognition for our natural talents or hard work. It is much more difficult to feel gratitude when we are challenged with relational strife, grief and loss, trauma, abuse, addiction, poverty, and/or alienation. I have learned about the power of gratitude by watching my clients. I have worked with clients who were nearly destroyed by abuse, trauma, and sometimes even systematic and sophisticated tortureand yet, they found a moment or moments of gratitude. They found these moments in the midst of a history of horror and the aftermath. Observing that first moment – the dawning of thankfulness, is as wondrous as watching birth, and in fact; it is a birth of a spiritual life. Watching a client’s face as it shifts and changes with the new awareness that life is precious – is to bear witness to profound beauty. Gratitude can be triggered by a small find in nature, a loving comment by a friend, a thoughtful gift, a break from suffering, an observation of selflessness in another, and/or the claiming of a talent. This form of gratitude is born from a small event of low monetary value more often than a new car or TV. We can all learn from those who have been shattered by grief and their determination to recover. It might sound superficial but I have thought, “If they can do it, so can I”. Survivors of trauma and addiction have taught me the true meaning of thankfulness and gratitude. Scientific research supports my clinical observations regarding the positive impact of gratitude and thankfulness on physical and mental health. Although not all research is equal, many studies reveal a variety of significant benefits such as improved: 1. Relationships 2. Physical Health and Sleep 3. Mental Health and Happiness 4. Empathy for Others 5. Resilience from Trauma 6. Self-Esteem. For many people, especially survivors of addiction and trauma, feelings of gratitude do not come naturally. Therefore, I encourage my clients to develop a daily practice of gratefulness, even if it feels fake at first. This practice is a disciplined approach versus an organic one. An example of a simple disciplined practice is one suggested by Salt Lake City therapist Debbie Reid, CSW. She suggests to, “write down two things each day for which I am thankful…..” She also suggests, “writing down five ways I can show gratitude to others during the day”. Those in a 12-step program know that those with addiction who are newly sober are often asked by old timers to be grateful even if it’s just for, “a roof over my head, food on my plate, and shoes on my feet”. It seems as if gratitude magnifies abundance. Along with the practice of list making as mentioned above, there are many ways to integrate gratitude into your life. You may decide to take mindfulness walks and notice the beauty of nature with appreciation. You may choose to dance, write poetry, make music or paint. You might ask a friend to share, even if only by text, thankful and grateful thoughts. You could interview your friends about what they appreciate and find meaningful about their lives. You may add thanksgiving to your time in prayer and meditation, and last but not least, you could be especially courageous and speak of your gratitude directly to and for the loved ones in your life such as family, friends and even colleagues. These practices of gratitude, no matter how small, if practiced consistently gather depth and breadth over time.


Client Art It is important for counselors and therapists to note that even the simple exercise of writing a gratitude list can trigger protests from clients, as if one positive word or action invalidates decades of pain. Positive words and actions do not invalidate past suffering. Although, and this may seem ironic, it is true that positive words can trigger unexpressed grief or the pain of times when the client’s suffering was minimized or invalidated. As a therapist, it is important to be very sensitive to this dynamic. It can be helpful to predict in advance, that for some people, affirmations of life can bring up unidentified grief and anger. This reaction should be described to the client as normative and a short, small, temporary step in the process of positive change. One way to process the responses of gratitude list making is to have the client write down negative thoughts or rebuttals as they emerge. Very simply, list the gratitude items on the left of a column and the negative responses on the right. This list should be processed with the therapist. This way, the list of negative responses can be evaluated for possible dysfunctional family myths or lies. In my own healing process, one of the issues I have addressed with positive words and gratitude is my creative intelligence. The lie in my family of origin was that I was considered to be “retarded”, when in fact, I was gifted. This familial lie outlasted evidence to the contrary. For example, when I graduated with a Master’s degree and a GPA of 3.94 (out of 4.0), I had to make a conscious choice to honor my intelligence. It did not come naturally. The family messages carried weight long-term. The practice of gratitude for my strengths even before I was able to see them clearly helped me take good care of myself and push beyond limited and sabotaging expectations. There can be a dark side to the practice of gratitude, when the practice is not grounded in sobriety or reality. There is a risk of using gratitude to reinforce unhealthy behaviors. Most people who are chemically dependent, at some point, felt very grateful for the relief or high that their use provided. Yet, to dwell on that specific moment without noting the dangerousness of addiction can be destructive. This type of ungrounded positivity helps us deny or postpone our pain, which can seem like a good thing, but it keeps us stuck. The challenge is to write a gratitude list that is healthy, sustainable and realistic. In addition, for those with a serious mental illness, especially with delusions or grandiosity, a therapist’s assignment should be tailored to the specific needs of the client. It is important to be sure that grandiosity and delusions are not amplified or reinforced. Continued on page 38


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The heroin epidemic the country is suffering through, and the subsequent media coverage about the fight to conquer this epidemic has opened my eyes to the way people really view addiction. After more than twenty years in the treatment field, most of which has been in the specialty of treating opioid addiction, I never really looked at the issue from the outside in. For something that has been part of my daily life for so long, I just found myself removed from what other people outside of the addiction treatment field thought. I began to discuss addiction with everyone and anyone who would listen to me, people in line at the grocery store, in the mall, sitting next to me on planes, etc. What I clearly found out more often than not is—addiction is entirely misunderstood. Some people are fortunate enough to never have to live through the experience of being an addict or having a loved one who is addicted. Luckily, they don’t know what it feels like to love an addict, to go through the trials and tribulations and suffering, the endless guilt about where they went wrong or how they could have done things differently. No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influence risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. Addiction is everywhere. It may affect you or your children, your spouse, your loved ones, your friends, your pharmacist, your doctor, your neighbor, the actors in your favorite films or TV shows, the musicians who perform your favorite songs etc... Addiction does not discriminate. Addiction affects everyone it touches. It changes and damages every relationship it comes into contact with. Some are quite obvious, and others well-hidden, suffering the ugly and sometimes deadly effects of this disease alone on their bathroom floor shaking violently, soaked in tears, and overflowing with shame and guilt. No child fantasizes about growing up and becoming an addict with a needle in their arm, or passing out on their couch once again in front of their TV after they’ve polished off their nightly bottle of Vodka. When they take that first drink of beer as a curious youngster, or puff on a joint for the first time in college, they don’t imagine they might be taking the first steps on a journey that will lead them to a life of pain, despair, shame, and hopelessness. If most addicts had just a moment to fully experience the darkness of addiction before ever getting started, some may have never picked it up in the first place. Inexplicably, there are some who would do it again because they’re already looking for a way to escape the confusing pain of life, isolation, and above all, fear.

Addicts end up hurting other people. There is no way around that, no way to tidy it up or sweep it under the rug. While in the grip of their addiction, they can be selfish, manipulative, mean, and destructive and thought of as pure evil. They can abandon the people who love and depend on them, whether it’s a physical abandonment or an emotional one. I won’t make excuses for the addict’s hurtful and destructive behavior. But I maintain compassion for them, because I know their story all too well and I know that they can change. It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but it can be done. Today I look back at the news of Prince, Heath Ledger, Phillip Seymour Continued on page 32

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The addict who will commit crimes in order to get money to buy their drug of choice didn’t necessarily start off as a criminal. In fact, a lot of them hate themselves for what they’re doing. Many of them are experiencing the agonizing physical pain of withdrawals, or the terror of knowing that withdrawal is looming overhead if they don’t find money, some way, and any way. In the addict’s eyes, this may be the only way to survive the night. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be furious. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t face each and every consequence they bring their way. But it does mean that at a certain level, compassion is needed. These are people that we love. They are human beings- completely redeemable human lives. They are absolutely capable of change but it isn’t an easy road and can’t be done without the total surrender and willingness of the addict themselves to do the work of getting (and remaining) sober.


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9 58727_JMC_SoberWorld_QP4C_Ad.indd 1

11/2/15 11:21 AM


A Monthly Column By Dr. Asa Don Brown

LIVING OUT OUR RESOLUTIONS “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson Each year we begin the New Year with a desire to renew, rejuvenate and to reinvent ourselves. Each year we create proclamations, resolutions, and heartfelt announcements that we will change. Our aspirations for change will cover a broad perspective of our lives, but you can rest assured that many of our resolutions will have to do with bad habits. We have become so accustomed to making these resolutions that we wait until the end of the year to begin anew. What if we were capable of living out our resolutions on a continuum? What if we were capable of renewing our lives on a daily basis? After all, a resolution is merely a firm and mindful decision to do, behave, or not to do something. Moreover, a resolution is a formal and contentious expression of intent; with which we are resolved and determined to do something. It is through our eagerness that we are seeking to change a singular or multiple perspectives of our lives. Think upon the following questions: • Are we capable of making lasting change? • Are we hardwired to think and act in particular ways? • What would happen if we were to change; how will we fill the void of change? NEW YEAR, FRESH START “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” ~ Oprah Winfrey I am a firm believer that any person, at any time, can make lasting and permanent change. As a person who has his own personal basket of peccadillos; I am continuously seeking ways to improve my life. A critical turning point in my personal and professional life occurred, when I recognized that I had been equating my personal self-worth with my successes and failures. It was a life-changing moment that began to revolutionize my way of thinking. What drives me to seek change? Why am I concerned with improving my life? I recognized long ago, that my life has a direct and indirect impact upon others. Furthermore, I am ambitious to teach my children to live life and to live a life that is complete. I want them to learn to live life without regrets, hesitation, or fretting about pursuing any aspect of life. I want them to live a life that is more mindful, healthier and happier. Not only do I want to teach my children these necessary tools to live life abundantly, but I wanted to teach others to do the same. For if I teach those beyond my family, then I have positively effected the world with which my children reside. I sincerely want to live a life that is more mindful, concentrated, considerate, and most of all, healthier. For me, the real secret to happiness and health is peace. New Oxford American Dictionary defines Peace as: “freedom from disturbance; free from anxiety or distress; it describes the positive perspective of peace as: quiet and tranquility; mental calm and serenity.” When we learn to live a life of peace, then they will we learn to live life abundantly. It is through peace that our minds, bodies, and spirits can find comfort, solitude and rest. THE RESOLUTIONS “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man (person).” ~ Benjamin Franklin


While the very essence of a New Year’s resolution is a stimulus for good; the outcome and follow-through of such a resolution is frequently shy of its intended target. A recent study discovered that “while about 75% of people stick to their goals for at least a week, less than half (46%) are still on target six months later...” The primary culprit for someone failing to achieve his or her New Year’s resolution is often a setback. Setbacks cause those who are pursuing an intended target to lose determination or confidence. When we place too much emphasis on our setbacks and not enough emphasis on our aspiration we will become disheartened. We are all going to have setbacks from time-to-time. Do not be disheartened; rather gird up your loins and follow-through with your ambition. As with anything, it is important to routinely review your progress. As a suggestion, those who are successful regularly journal, revisit set goals, and have a limited number of goals. Moreover, they consider setbacks as a mere challenge, rather than a severing of one’s pursuits. PURSUING THE RESOLUTION • Consider resolutions that you are capable of tackling: Do not try to build your entire house before you have learned to pour concrete. For many, they want to tackle life’s toughest challenges long before they have learned to manage the small ones. • Find an accountability partner: An accountable partner should be someone that is going to uplift you and elevate your person. You should never choose an individual who is going to put you down, belittle you, or make your pursuits seem unimportant. • Refrain from negative conversations, language, perceptions, or attitudes: Do not become entrapped by the cesspool of negativity, ultimately it will only decay and wear down your person. • Always find time for mindfulness: Relaxation is key to mindfulness and it is important for helping you to refocus on your ultimate goal of health and happiness. • Avoid environments and people who are toxic: If you have challenges, the last thing that you need to do is to invite someone or something into your life that will only prove pernicious. • Find time to meditate and breath: Breathing and meditation go hand-in-hand and are the key to learning to focus upon the positive perspectives of life. • Make time for others: True altruism occurs when we are acting out of the selfless interest of others. It is not self-seeking, self-motivated, or haughty; rather it is out of an unconditional perspective of serving our fellow human. THE OBJECTIVE “Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” ~ Brad Paisley Be mindful when pursuing your New Year’s resolution. Pursue resolutions that will have a positive impact upon your life and others. A conscientious life is a life that is motivated to do what is right. May you begin living beyond. Author: Dr. Asa Don Brown, Ph.D., C.C.C., D.N.C.C.M., F.A.A.E.T.S. Website: www.asadonbrown.com References Provided Upon Request


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Choosing the right addiction treatment program for yourself or a loved one can be tricky business. Visiting the Internet brings a flood of information, much of it well-crafted marketing with pitches for programs across the country. At the same time, media reports bring news of troubling issues at addiction treatment programs. Some of the stories raise question about the effectiveness of particular approaches; others raise more serious safety concerns? What should participants and their friends and families be looking out for? Here are five things to watch out for: 1. Over-aggressive Marketing The availability of insurance reimbursement has expanded the options in addiction treatment in recent years. It has also led both new entrants and longtime programs to expand their marketing in order to be seen and heard. When reviewing marketing, be on the lookout for shady marketing practices that are illegal or, at a minimum, suggestive that the program is being over-aggressive in order to fill itself. Practices to watch out for include brokers who get paid to steer patients, programs that offer to secure insurance coverage (as opposed to providing information about how to do it yourself) and incentives, like free vacation stays to attract patients and their families. Treat these things as a warning sign. The best programs are not engaging in abusive marketing practices. 2. Waiving deductibles and patient responsibility Given the expense of addiction treatment, programs that offer significant discounts and waivers of patient financial responsibility -- deductibles and coinsurance – are appealing. The problem is that these practices can often be a form of fraud and abuse. Good programs should have a thorough process for considering financial hardship as a legitimate basis for discounting. They should not be marketing or assuring patients or families up front that they will not have to pay. Even though guaranteed discounts and waivers may be appealing, watch out. Good treatment programs should not be promoting these to recruit patients.

In other cases, patients may be good candidates to live in a sober living or extended care setting while spending their days in an outpatient setting. The choice of the optimal therapeutic setting should be driven by clinical recommendations of therapeutic benefit, rather than by good marketing. Harry Nelson is the managing partner of Nelson Hardiman, a firm that works with behavioral care providers and founding board member of the American Addiction Treatment Association (AATA). AATA is a national trade association that provides online resources and training events, for licensing and certification, operations, reimbursement, clinical standards, patient privacy, quality assurance, and risk management.

3. Overprescribing and Physician Involvement Addiction recovery often involves difficult decisions about medication management, including the legitimate need for pain management of people in recovery and the increasing focus on medication assisted treatment. Good programs may have a philosophy about medication (or abstinence), but the thing to watch out for is that physicians, and not non-physician treatment program management, are the ones driving these decisions. It is striking – and troubling – how many non-physicians are playing active roles in driving medication assisted treatment, including the use of naltrexone and suboxone. Ask questions about physician leadership and be on the lookout for programs that make it too easy to obtain medication without a physician. 4. Resident Rights Several recent cases have called attention to the lack of protection of residents’ rights as a “dark side” of the addiction treatment experience. In particular, incidents at several centers involving allegations of nonconsensual sexual behavior have triggered law enforcement scrutiny, based on concerns that clients were being preyed upon in a period of vulnerability that is inherent in overcoming addiction. Other investigations have related to restrictions on residents that are inconsistent with the legal limits on treatment facilities. Patients and families should choose addiction treatment programs that operate with respect for resident rights. 5. Residential versus Outpatient There are many outstanding residential and outpatient addiction treatment programs out there. Often, people need a higher intensity, residential setting at the beginning of addiction treatment, and benefit from stepping down to an outpatient setting over time.




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“Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed.” ~ Og Mandino Og Mindano’s moment of transformation came on a cold November morning in the dusty self-help section of the Cleveland Library. It was his burning bush moment, a moment that altered Mindano’s life and would later alter the lives of millions. Og Mindano (1923-1996) has been called “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” His 1968 book, by the same title, has sold fourteen million copies and has been translated around the world into 18 languages. The Greatest Salesman in the World is the first, and considered by some as the best, in Og Mandino’s trilogy, which includes The Greatest Secret in the World and The Greatest Miracle in the World. One of the world’s most successful authors, Mindano has sold over 36 million copies worldwide of his many books. Unbelievably, his incredible life of success and accomplishment was initially cluttered with personal challenges, tragedy and an alcohol-fueled path of self-destruction. At the age of 19, Mindano joined the United States Army Air Corps where he became a military officer and a bombardier. During World War II he flew thirty bombing missions over Germany on a B-24 Liberator. Although decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, he was unable to find employment after the war. He opted to sell insurance, door-to-door, which proved to be a miserable drudgery. In his autobiography, A Better Way to Live, he describes trying to sell insurance during this period: “The treadmill I soon found myself on was torture. Never was I more than a few paces ahead of several bill collectors, and making the monthly mortgage payments was a major challenge despite my long hours of work. I would go anywhere, at any time, to try to sell a policy, and still there were always more bills than money to pay them.” Self-destruction Bewildered and exhausted, Mandino began stopping at bars in the evening, reasoning that after each day of disappointment, he deserved a drink. His slow pathway to self-destruction was littered with denial, justification and irrational thought. Mandino rationalized that his drinking was a good thing that helped him cope with stress and somehow proved that he was special. His world became that of the alcoholic, trapped in a dark, egocentric place and devoid of reality.

drinking problem. Mandino began a personal quest for answers and found himself in the Cleveland, Ohio Library’s self-help section, searching through books about motivation and success. He later recalled how warm and comforting it was as he rummaged through the pages. It became the “ahh ha” moment which begat a journey taking him to libraries across the country. Serendipitously, in New Hampshire, he found a book by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude, that Mandino said saved his life. Later writing the (re-published) book’s preface, Mandino said, “I spent much time in public libraries because they were free --- and warm. I read everything from Plato to Peale, seeking that one message that would explain to me where I had gone wrong --- and what I could do to salvage the remainder of my life. “I finally found my answer in W. Clement Stone’s and Napoleon Hill’s Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude. I have employed the simple techniques and methods found in this classic for more than fifteen years and they have provided me with riches and happiness far beyond anything I deserve. From a penniless vagrant without a single root I eventually became the president of two corporations and the executive director of the finest magazine of its kind in the world, Success Unlimited.”

“For two long years, Mandino was a derelict, an alcoholic, and in his own words, a bum.” Dramatic shift

In King Duncan’s The Amazing Law of Influence, the dramatic contradictions in Mandino’s life become apparent:

Mandino was influenced by people that he didn’t personally know, however, their words altered the course of his life and would then, like a ripple in a pond, affect countless others. Mandino’s new habit of reading and studying slowly replaced his drinking habit. Eventually, he experienced an awakening, a dramatic shift in his beliefs and his behaviors. He had replaced one habit for another, one of the central themes in his soon-to-be-published book.

“For two long years, Mandino was a derelict, an alcoholic, and in his own words, a bum. He lost his job, his home, his wife, and his little girl. At one point he passed a pawn shop and saw a gun in the window for sale for twenty-nine dollars. He had thirty dollars in his pocket. He said he was sorely tempted to buy that gun and end it all, but he did not have the courage.”

So impressed with W. Clement Stone’s book, Mandino decided that he wanted to work for him at the Combined Insurance Company. There, he discovered overnight success. Within a year he was promoted to sales manager and was recruiting and training other agents. Then, as editor of Stone’s Success Unlimited, Mandino turned this small organizational booklet into a national magazine.

It was his lowest point, a place where he was forced to examine how low he had sunk. For Mandino, suffering from the progressive disease of alcoholism, things had to get worst before they got better. He had to hit rock bottom, that nebulous concept within the recovery community, albeit a concept that inevitably manifests in some horrible physical, mental or spiritual form.

Mandino’s greatest accomplishment grew out of a short story published in Success Unlimited that attracted book publisher Fred Fell, who suggested the article be expanded into a book. The Greatest Salesman in the World was a simple book, told in a clear, easy writing style that read like a fable as it blended mythology and spirituality with empowerment.

In a 1994 interview with The Manchester Union Leader, he said that when he was 35 he considered himself a failure with a


Continued on page 38


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IT’S NOT “ALL” IN YOUR HEAD – INSIGHTS INTO YOUR “OTHER” BRAIN By John Giordano, Doctor of Humane Letters, MAC, CAP

It’s a new year and for many that can mean resolutions. There are varying degrees of resolutions, yet all are intended for their own unique desired outcomes. For example, some people will go small with changes like dressing better while others will lean more towards lifechanging resolutions. You know the type, where just the thought of it instantaneously releases a kaleidoscope of butterflies in your stomach. But what is it about this emotional response that we feel in our gut that relates to addiction? The answer is plenty! You’ve probably heard or even used one of these phrases or a variation; “I have butterflies in my stomach,” “it gives me a pit in my stomach” or “I’ve got a gut feeling about this.” Pretty common clichés, right? What most people are unaware of is that the sensations they speak of are real and generated in the same place as the feeling itself, in our gut. For ages scientists and doctors have been aware of our ‘second’ brain, but are just beginning to understand its full impact. They now believe that a lot of what makes us human depends on microbial activity in the gut. Clinically known as the Enteric Nervous System – or ENS for short – this system has approximately 500 million neurons (a specialized cell transmitting nerve impulses), or five times as many neurons found in the spinal cord and about one two-hundredth of the number in the brain. The extensive amount of neurons allows us to “feel” the inner world of our gut and its contents. ENS also contributes to our level of anxiety, appetite, satiety, our mood, emotions, learning, memory and overall inflammation. In his article titled “Your Backup Brain” published in Psychology Today, Dan Hurley explains the Enteric Nervous System this way: “Think of yourself as the biological equivalent of a doughnut, with the inner lining of your intestines, the doughnut hole, facing an “inner” external world— food, water, bacteria, and whatever else you swallow—just as your skin faces the “outer” external world. While your ears, eyes, and sense of touch permit you to see, hear, and feel the outer exterior of your body, the intestines employ the ENS to sense, manipulate, and respond to the inner exterior, the doughnut hole of your gut.” ENS is a complex mesh-like system of neurons that lines the gastrointestinal system all the way from the esophagus to the anus which measures about thirty-feet end to end. It controls the movement and absorption of food throughout the intestines. ENS also communicates with brain via the vagus nerve which extends from the brainstem to your visceral organs. This channel, known as the gut-brain axis, connects the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with intestinal function, and vice-versa. Some of these messages from the gut can directly affect our mood, behavior, feelings of sadness or stress and decision-making. Our gastrointestinal system also contains a complex community of over 100 trillion microbial cells. These microorganisms join together to form a community known as a microbiome, also known as Gut Flora. These colonies influence our physiology, metabolism, nutrition and immune function. Disruptions to the gut microbiome have been linked to gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity. Although the exact mechanisms remain elusive, scientists have been able to prove through functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI (fMRI) that your gut and your emotions are linked directly together. They were also able to show a connection between the gut and the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. Mark Lyte Ph.D is one of the world’s leading experts on microbial endocrinology (the union of neurobiology and microbiology). He has spent the last 25 years researching the subject. Dr. Lyte found that micro-organisms in our gut secrete chemicals – among them are dopamine, serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These are the very same neurotransmitters produced in the brain that communicate a sense of calm and ease. They regulate mood and are


often referred to as the ‘feel good’ chemicals. It was once believed that these chemicals could not cross the blood/brain barrier. However, that belief is not on the stable ground it once was. Although the research is limited, it appears as though the dopamine, serotonin and GABA in the gut has a role in intestinal disorders that coincides with high levels of major depression and anxiety. A recent study conducted by a research group in Norway revealed that certain bacteria were more likely to be associated with depressive patients. According to Dr. Lyte, “If you transfer the microbiota from one animal to another, you can transfer the behavior. What we’re trying to understand are the mechanisms by which the microbiota can influence the brain and development.” It has only been recently that mainstream psychiatric research has had any interest in the role microbes might have in creating these neurochemicals. With over 100 trillion microbial cells in our gastrointestinal system it is easy to see that this is one very complex system. It is estimated that over 40,000,000 million people suffer from some form of gastrointestinal disorder every year. Sadly, most cases go undiagnosed and untreated. For example, let’s take a look at leaky gut syndrome. WEBMD calls it a medical mystery. Gastroenterologist Donald Kirby, MD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic says, “From an MD’s standpoint, it’s a very gray area. Physicians don’t know enough about the gut, which is our biggest immune system organ. Leaky gut syndrome” isn’t a diagnosis taught in medical school. Instead, leaky gut really means you’ve got a diagnosis that still needs to be made. You hope that your doctor is a good-enough Sherlock Holmes, but sometimes it is very hard to make a diagnosis.” Linda A. Lee, MD, a gastroenterologist and director of the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center added this, “We don’t know a lot but we know that it exists. In the absence of evidence, we don’t know what it means or what therapies can directly address it.” I don’t know about you, but statements like these from top line physicians and researchers do not distill much confidence in me regarding our current healthcare model. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition where the intestinal lining has became more porous, with more holes developing that are larger in size. Consequently, the screening out process is no longer functioning properly. The result is undigested food molecules and other “bad stuff” including – but not limited to – yeast, toxins, and all other forms of waste, flows freely into the bloodstream. This triggers an immune system response, inflammation, while sending a stress/anxiety signal to the brain. Gone untreated, the prolonged stress/anxiety message will deplete dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain that are linked to depression. As most of you already know, there is a direct connection between depression and substance/alcohol abuse. I find this particularly alarming taking into consideration the number of chemicals being added to our food supply that can disrupt our Enteric Nervous System. Twenty-years ago the FDA succumbed to the pressures of the food industry lobby and – in its infinite wisdom – put the food industry on the honor system. The change in policy allowed the food industry to determine whether or not a food additive is ‘Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)’ and are not legally required to notify the Continued on page 30



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“No, Mrs. Wishnefski, I don’t know why the cereal boxes are on the top shelf.” It was a flippant answer, I know. I just didn’t want to interact with her—again. I turned my back on Mrs. W. hoping to avoid a barrage of snooping questions. She refused to read my body language and tried to pry and gossip about several of the neighbors. That was it. I had had it. I stopped slicing the boiled ham, turned, and said, “Mrs. Wishnefski, please. I have no idea why Mrs. Cegielski hasn’t been in to shop this week. Please stop interrupting, and wait your turn like the other customers.” Dear reader, who or what, you may ask is a Mrs. Wishnefski. Well, Mrs. W. was a real person. Moreover, Mrs. Wishnefski was a label. She was the first label that stuck to me in my formative years. Mother had divorced my alcoholic dad when I was five years old. My sister Peg, brother Joe, Mom, and I lived with my Grandpop who owned the corner Polish butcher shop. Four uncles, an aunt, and two cousins also called this attached three-story house their home. At one time or another, we all worked in the store.

isolation and hopelessness to my chest. Weighed down with labels and guilt, a therapist suggested Al-Anon. When I got to Step 6, I was more than entirely ready to have God remove my defects of character. It was then my Higher Power helped unpin the heaviness of labels He never intended for me to wear. It was time to reinvent myself and acknowledge the admirable titles I had worked to achieve. After eight years of night school, I received a proud new label, “College Graduate.” My outlook brightened when a “Grandmother” pin took center place on my chest. When I added “Blogger,” and “Author,” I realized my personal worth. Like Rembrandt, Renoir, Michelangelo, I am one of a kind. My Higher Power’s intervention convinced me. I am a Masterpiece. My codependent friends. What will it take you to discard the degrading labels you’ve accepted as truth?

One of our regular customers was the neighborhood busybody, Mrs. Wishnefski. I must have imitated some of her nosey-body characteristics, because whenever I tried to fix things around the store, or join in the gossip, my uncles scowled at me and said, “Okay Mrs. Wishnefski let me handle this.”

January 2017 marks the third annual National Codependency Awareness Month. The New Year is a perfect time to transform your self-image with labels of hope. The following list is an awareness exercise to start you on your way. Feel free to add other labels that have influenced how you see yourself.

When I tried to tell my younger sister what to do, Mom bent down, eyeball to eyeball and reminded me, “Mrs. Wishnefski, stop bossing your younger sister. I’m the mother in this family.”

2. Were they complementary names or painful insults?

With all the authoritative figures in our competitive household, it was natural I would want to be just like them. But it was the covert drama played out between mom and dad that convinced me to always have a plan. To practice my A B C’s—Always Be in Control. Alert and ready to protect my mother, younger sister, and my older brother, if needed. That was my introduction Codependent Training Course101. In high school, my people-fixer trait (or was it a curse) kicked in. I was the “Go-To” classmate who would nurse a friend through a breakup with her beau. If there was a committee to join, I signed up and followed through to make sure things were done the right way—my way. Trying to win the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” award perfected my enabling personality. After graduation, I proudly wore the label of “Mrs. Robert Jellen.” Among friends and neighbors, I earned the labels, “Helpful neighbor.” “Dutiful wife and mother.” “Party planner.” Not surprisingly, I accumulated more merit badges than most Girl Scouts. Outwardly, I basked in the glowing labels while inwardly I felt overwhelmed. It wasn’t long before bitterness pasted a “Victim/ Martyr” badge on my lapel. Denial had blinded me from what was to come. The booze parties I contributed to were not so much fun anymore. My plan to oversee every situation crumbled as my husband’s drinking spiraled out of control. That was when I earned the label, “Designated Driver” long before the term was in vogue. Little did I realize making excuses for my husband’s habit contributed to his addiction. Simultaneously, my co-addiction took an equally deep dive. At this low point, I didn’t argue when my husband labeled me “Party pooper,” “Nagging wife.” He was right; I wasn’t fun anymore. Then a label I prayed I would never wear was branded on me like a scarlet letter, “D”. I was now a “Divorcee.” Along with the big “D”, I pinned badges of depression, anger, fear,


1. Growing up, what labels/names did your family call you? 3. Junior and senior high school – our emotional years. What labels did others hang on you? 4. What loving pet name did your boyfriend or girlfriend call you? 5. Or was it a not-so-tender pet name your significant other called you. 6. What name-calling stuck to you and broke your spirit? 7. What steps will you take to rid yourself of the lies of the past? My friends, it’s time to grab the Goo Be Gone label removal and rub off those lies. Next, take a stick-‘em-note, or slip of paper and write down the goodness you see in yourself. Tomorrow, write down the significance of who you are—that day. Then one day at a time, pin a label describing your unique specialness. Put your proper name(S) on the refrigerator, computer screen, bathroom mirror, or wherever to remind you of the dignity of who you are that particular day. And every day to come. Give yourself permission to remove the labels you have allowed others to brand on you. Together, let’s define who we are with brand-new names of optimism. “You’ll get a brand-new name straight from the mouth of God. You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand, a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God. No more will anyone call you Rejected” ~ Isaiah 62:2c-4b MSG Diane M. Jellen has worked at several treatment facilities in PA and FL. As an employee of the School District of Palm Beach County Alternative Education Department, she worked at an adolescent drug and alcohol recovery center. Diane designated January as National Codependency Awareness Month. She is also the author of the award-winning book, My Resurrected Heart: A Codependent’s Journey to Healing. Be sure to read Diane’s insightful daily blogs during National Codependency Awareness Month at www.dianejellen.com.


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Forgiveness can sometimes feel impossible or even undesirable. Other times, we forgive only to be hurt again and conclude that forgiving was foolish. Both situations arise from confusion about what forgiveness really means. Forgiveness doesn’t require that we forget or condone another’s actions or the harm caused. In fact, for self-protection rather than anger, we may decide to never see the person again. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we justify or play down the hurt caused. Codependents often forgive and forget, and continue to put themselves in harms’ way. They forgive and then rationalize or minimize their loved one’s abuse or addiction. This is their denial. They may even contribute to it by enabling. We should never deny, enable, or condone abuse. Meaning of Forgiveness “Forgiveness is releasing a prisoner and discovering the prisoner was you,” said Hilary Clinton. When we hold grudges, hostility can sabotage our ability to enjoy the present and our future relationships. Ongoing anger harms us and actually has negative health consequences. It raises blood pressure, impairs digestion, and creates psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and mental and physical pain. “Holding anger is poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.” Mitch Albom, from “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” The opposite is true of forgiveness, which improves mental and physical functioning. Although forgiveness can mean to pardon, generally, it means to let go of resentment, releasing us from obsessive or recurring negative thoughts. When we “forgive our enemies,” we relinquish any desire for payback, revenge, or that misfortune comes to them. Empathy and understanding toward our offender help us forgive. If we’re in a relationship, we attempt to rebuild trust and may set boundaries around our partner’s conduct in the future. Although the past impacts, informs, and shapes us, we’re able to make constructive changes and move on in peace. When to Forgive Forgiveness too soon may deny anger that’s needed for change. If we’ve been deceived, abused, or victimized, justified anger affirms our self-respect. It motivates us to protect ourselves with appropriate boundaries. It helps us cope with grief and let go. It can smooth the progress of separation from an abuser. In divorces, usually at least one spouse is angry, facilitating the breakup. Initially, we hurt. If we’ve been betrayed or rejected, it’s natural to feel pain – just like a physical wound. We must experience it and cry without self-judgment. We need time to feel the hurt and loss that has happened and to heal. Once we feel safe and have gone through stages of loss, it may be easier to forgive. Denial can make us forgive too soon or block forgiveness altogether. Denying that someone is an addict or abuser encourages us to continually accept broken promises, avoid setting boundaries, or stay in a toxic relationship. Denying that a loved one isn’t the ideal we want or imagined only feeds our disappointment and resentment. Accepting that you’re a partner or our parents are flawed, as we all are, opens the door to acceptance and forgiveness. If forgiveness is withheld too long, it can impede completing the stages of grief and lead to bitterness. Many codependents are uncomfortable with feeling or showing anger. Instead, they’re preoccupied with resentment and recycle negative scripts and events over and over in their minds. Resentment can disappear when we give ourselves permission to be angry and allow our feelings of anger and sadness to flow. They may not even need to be expressed to the person who hurt us. How to Forgive It takes conscious reflection, a decision, and often prayer to let go and forgive. The following are some suggestions:


1. Be sure to work through the stages of guilt. 2. Keep in mind that forgiveness relieves you of pain. It’s medicine for you. 3. Think about the ways that resentment negatively holds you back and affects your life. 4. You’re not responsible for someone else’s behavior – only your own. Consider your contribution to the situation. Perhaps you didn’t communicate your expectations or boundaries, provoked the person, or denied his or her capacity to hurt you. 5. Try to see the person’s behavior and attitude from his or her point-of-view in the context of their life experience. Did he or she intentionally try to hurt you? In other words, develop empathy, but this doesn’t justify abuse or mean you should forget they’re capable of repeating it. 6. Praying for the other person is effective. Self-Forgiveness Sometimes we must forgive ourselves before we’re ready to forgive someone else. We often blame others when we feel guilty. We can hold onto resentment to avoid accepting responsibility for our actions or to avoid feeling guilty. Although it’s important to reflect upon and take responsibility for our contribution to the problem, we need to forgive ourselves for any part we played. It may be harder to forgive ourselves than someone else. Reconciliation Reconciliation may or may not follow forgiveness. If we were hurt by someone close to us and want to maintain the relationship, then reconciliation might require their taking responsibility for their actions, making amends, and an agreement not to repeat their behavior. If trust was deeply broken with deception or an affair, couples counseling may be necessary in order to heal. Sometimes, the relationship is stronger as a result. In some cases, we must clearly recognize and believe that the person we care about won’t change, that their behavior reflects their wounded self. Letting go of expectations that they act differently can set the stage for acceptance of reality. We may decide to continue the relationship on less intimate terms or with different boundaries that protect you. For example, you may choose to only spend time with an addict when, or on the condition that, he or she is sober, or see an abusive person in a safe place, for short visits, and/or with a third person present. The other person might not be willing to take responsibility for his or her behavior or forgive us for ours, but forgiveness is for our benefit. Others’ anger hurts them, and our anger hurts us. Remember that forgiveness increases our integrity and peace of mind. It heals the cracks in our heart. ©Darlene Lancer 2016 Darlene Lancer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and expert on relationships and codependency. She’s authored two books: Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You and Codependency for Dummies, and six ebooks covering self-esteem, assertiveness, codependency, narcissism, overcoming guilt, and spiritual transformation through the 12 Steps. You can get a free copy of “14 Tips for Letting Go” on her website www.whatiscodependency.com Find her on www.youtube.com, Twitter @darlenelancer, and Facebook.


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About this disease The cunning, baffling disease of addiction is multifaceted, and continues to be a growing epidemic across the United States. Drug addiction carries an unending amount of dangers to an individual’s physical, mental, societal, and familial well-being. Effective treatments have proven to be successful in battling this disease, and layered prevention tactics are making addiction a preventable health condition; however, even though it is treatable and preventable, there are significant elements to pay attention to. This disease is deadly, and Straub (2012) notes the toxic reality of drug and alcohol addiction has produced more deaths, illnesses, and disabilities than any other unnecessary, preventable illness. Addiction is monstrous and calculating, and it houses many victims. Unfortunately, an addict’s family remains in the crosshairs of this fatal disease. Imagine addiction as a glass of salt water. Now, pour the water into a healthy plant. Over time, you will watch the plant slouch, wither, shrivel up, and if you continue to use this same food source, the plant will eventually die. The effects the salt water had on this healthy plant mimic the effects of drug and alcohol addiction. This disease is not defined by the act of drinking or using drugs; there are many other layers including the impact on one’s physical and mental health, attitude and behaviors, inner spirit, and the mere destruction of relationships with family members. One family member suffering from addiction paves the route for their entire family to suffer, as well. A Family Disease Addiction is often referred to as a family disease. This simply means that while the person using and abusing drugs is suffering, his or her family suffers also. As it is important to recognize how each member is affected, it is just as significant that each family member receives treatment to heal their relationship and emotional wounds. Recovery is a process that requires every single person within an addict’s familial and societal circle to be unified. Though it may be difficult for some family members to hear and fully accept, their behaviors, emotions, and relationship with their addicted loved one directly and indirectly promote and support their addiction – this unhealthy interaction and family illness is called codependency. The Roles An addict’s family suffers the brunt of many layers of this disease. The immediate family, as well as those extended family members, is right in the path of their loved one’s addiction-driven chaos and mayhem. First, everyone’s feelings are exposed and vulnerable. The relationship that existed prior to addiction is completely overshadowed by someone the family no longer recognizes. An addict’s attitude, feelings, priorities, trust, behaviors, thoughts, and even their personality are gravely affected. The fact is that each person is impacted in a unique way, and how he/she is affected really depends on their previous relationship with the addict. While some family members blame themselves for their loved one’s addiction, others in the family unit take on a sterner role, to the point of seeking out protective orders against the person abusing drugs. The most important familial strategy to begin fighting this treacherous battle is to identify who takes on which role. Each family member, by acknowledging, understanding, and taking accountability, can construct a therapeutic plan of action. Now, let’s understand how family roles hinder one’s addiction. Just like a “non-addicted” functioning family, there are roles each person fills. When addiction enters the family unit, the roles shift, trying to maintain a balance in this new, unhealthy group. The major family roles include the addict (chemically dependent), the hero (the caretaker of the family), the enabler, the scapegoat, the lost child, and the mascot. While the addict lies within the center of everyone’s attention, the enabler essentially provides the addict


with the financial, emotional, or even physical (driving them to pick up drugs) aspects to support their disease. Enabler’s feelings consist of helplessness and guilt, and often these codependent roles are filled by a parent, partner, or spouse. The lost child role is the one whose life is put on the back burner, as the addict’s role has taken precedent over everything else. Those who embrace this role are normally filled with resentment, anger, and loneliness, as their emotional and physical needs are not being met. Often, a sibling will take on the role of a scapegoat as a way to cope with their drug-addicted loved one. This person is known to act out and draw attention to themselves in an unhealthy, distracting manner, as they are weighed down with feelings of emptiness, shame, and guilt. Finally, the mascot diverts attention away from the underlying problem of addiction, using humor as a distraction while attempting to alleviate the constant stressors that accompany their loved one’s addiction. The disease of addiction has the potential to tear a family apart from the inside out. The addict can be viewed as untrustworthy and undependable. At times, drug addiction can lead to the addict lying, cheating, and stealing from their own loved ones to support their habit. Stress builds and fights break out, and what once was a healthy, loving family unit is easily turned into a family just trying to emotionally and physically survive from day to day. The Interpersonal Destructions of Addiction A number of recent studies have revealed exactly how addiction can wreak havoc within a family. The National Institutes of Health (2016) noted that parents who are addicts severely impact their children by replacing their parental responsibilities with using drugs and maintaining their addiction. Not cooking meals, forgetting about meetings with teachers, ignoring homework, not monitoring their child’s social circle, and just being detached from their child’s life has a damaging consequence. It has a rippling effect, as the NIH (2016) explains children of addicted parents are extremely vulnerable to following the same unhealthy path of living unstable lives and falling into addiction themselves. They are susceptible to poverty, teen pregnancy, and unhealthy behaviors including drug use and addiction. A pregnant addict’s drug use impacts their unborn child’s weight, eating and sleeping habits, cognitive abilities, and developmental milestones. As the child grows, they are vulnerable to learning disabilities and social problems. As you can see, this cycle is vicious and reoccurring, and it can easily be passed on from one generation to the next. There is Hope, There is Help All families of addicts require professional, therapeutic assistance. Continued on page 38


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We all want our children to avoid risky behaviors, especially as they enter the scary teen years. Alcohol use in our town begins as early as 11. Heroin and other opiate use has reached epidemic proportions all over the U.S. Telling children to “just say no” has not worked. The things that are learned through Positive Discipline have good potential for preventing some of these risky behaviors. Research has shown that the more developmental assets teens feel they have, the less likely they are to engage in ATOD (alcohol use, binge drinking, drinking and driving, cigarette use, smokeless tobacco use, marijuana, and other illicit drugs) behaviors. The developmental assets include eight categories: support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations, constructive use of time, commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies, and positive identity.* Positive Discipline helps adults in all of these categories. Here are some examples of tools and strategies in each of the asset categories. • Support – Family meetings are a great example of support, where everyone has a voice, and the family works together to solve problems. • Empowerment – Believing that mistakes are opportunities to learn is empowering. Sharing your own mistakes and what you learned from them is modeling this, helping children be more comfortable to share their mistakes. • Boundaries and expectations – Being kind and firm at the same time – “I know that you are having fun playing video games, and it is time to set the table” – is a respectful way to have boundaries. Another way is to have a discussion and reach an agreement upfront, and then following through. • Constructive use of time – Helping children learn to develop routines encourages organization, and empowers them to manage their time. • Commitment to learning – Taking a parenting class demonstrates your commitment to learning. • Positive Values – Caring, social interest and responsibility are all learned in a Positive Discipline home. Getting together to create a list of household jobs, and having each person take responsibility for some is one example. • Social Competencies – Peaceful conflict resolution is learned through problem solving activities. • Positive Identity – By using encouragement rather than praise, we help children look within themselves, and feel capable. A few encouraging examples of statements include, “I have faith in you to solve this problem, or “How do you feel about your project?” Understanding and Expressing Feelings - One of the Positive Discipline Strategies Many of us were raised to hold our feelings inside, and not express them. Feelings are really important to share and help us express love, danger, and problem solving. They are one of the things that make us human. Feelings can be expressed in just one word...more than one word is a thought. Many of us don’t know how to recognize our feelings, nor can we express them in a respectable way. Too often, when we finally share feelings, it is done explosively, shared with anger and rage. Some people bury their feelings, or turn to drinking or drugs to ease the pain. However you deal with your negative feelings can probably be improved. This is not about feeling blame, shame or pain. It is about improving how we are as people. Taking the time to understand how you are feeling inside and out is the first step to self-regulation and control. Learning to express feelings when calm, in an appropriate way, are important next steps. And it all begins with you, the parent, modeling the behavior you want in your children. “I feel mad.” “I feel happy.” “I feel scared.” “I


feel sad.” Begin to share how you are feeling. Openly. Honestly. You will be giving your children a huge gift if you can then help them learn to express their feelings in a healthy way. Imagine if your child has an “anger management” issue, and you can help them learn to say “I am FURIOUS!” instead of punching a hole in the wall. Imagine if your child is afraid of spiders, and you can help them learn to say, “I am SCARED!” instead of running in the other room screaming horribly at the top of their lungs. Imagine if your child learns to share their joy, by being able to say “I am HAPPY!” and “I LOVE YOU”. Wow! Here is a way to explore feelings by yourself, and then with your children. Come up with a list of other words for the four basic feeling words of mad, sad, scared and glad. This is an important step in learning self-regulation, because if you can name it, you can control it. Next, think about what is happening within your body as different feelings begin. So when beginning to get mad, what is happening within the body? For example, when becoming mad, some clench their teeth, turn red, or have hearts beat faster. This is another important step in learning self-regulation, because if you can recognize the signals your body is giving you before you react, you can control it even earlier. We can then learn to express feelings in an appropriate way, so that others can hear you. I feel ____________ when __________________ and I wish ______________. “I feel furious when I’m not listened to, and I wish others would respond when I talk.” We can also learn to calm ourselves down. Taking slow, deep breaths in and out is one technique that can be used anywhere. Another is to walk away when upset, and do something that calms you down. Some have a ‘calm down’ space for each person in the household, with all of their favorite things. It’s each person’s choice when to walk away. We can ask someone if they’d like to go to their ‘calm down’ space but we never make them go there because that is likely to feel like punishment and cause the situation to escalate. When we are all calm again, we can get back together to talk about what happened, and come up with ideas to solve the problem. We learn and practice these tools and strategies in Positive Discipline parenting classes, and Positive Discipline in the Classroom workshops. Whether starting with young children or teens, it may just be the best prevention for risky behaviors! They also help build relationships in homes, schools and communities. *SOURCE: The Search Institute 1999-2000 aggregate dataset of 217,277 6th-12th grade youth, www.search-institute-org. Carol Dores is a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer, and has worked with hundreds of parents, teachers, school staff and camp counselors of all aged children, from prenatal to adult. She is President and CoFounder of Positive Discipline of Connecticut, and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the international Positive Discipline Association. She believes that Positive Discipline can help build a more peaceful, compassionate world, one person at a time. Carol can be contacted at carol@positivedisciplinect.org, or visit www.positivedisciplinect.org, or www.facebook.com/PositiveDisciplineOfConnecticut/.


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In May 2016, Sheffield Hallam University and the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR) launched a research study engaging six hundred and thirty residents of eight certified programs to pilot an assessment and recovery planning instrument known as REC CAP. The tool employs evidence-based practices to quantify personal and social capital, recovery group involvement, overall well-being, motivation and social support, as well as potential barriers to resiliency and unmet service needs. Evaluation of assessment results prepares trained navigators to guide residents in establishing concrete, measurable recovery goals. Appropriate for delivery in both clinical and peer environments, REC CAP is owned by participants, traversing their individual continuum. Quarterly assessments mark recovery progress providing longitudinal outcome measurements based on recovery capital as opposed to deficit abatement. The REC CAP system allows residents to readily share continued visibility of their recovery progress with past service providers, family members and other supports through documented release. One over-arching goal of REC CAP is to bridge the gap between specialty addiction treatment and self-directed recovery. Persons exiting treatment often experience diminishing commitment resulting from exposure to the rigorous demands of community life. Though they may remain highly motivated, these persons lack requisite recovery management skills, a well-established recovery support network and sufficient selfconfidence to sustain resiliency. They frequently become overwhelmed by an onslaught of challenges, perceived as insurmountable, and seek to relieve anxiety through a return to active substance misuse. In large measure, the acknowledgement of this paradigm, is evidence by SAMHSA funding for development of a more comprehensive recovery service and support infrastructure at the community level, including the expansion of a credentialed peer specialist and certified recovery coach workforce. REC CAP presents an evidenced-based assessment tool that informs and facilitates mentorship, by both clinical and peer navigators, of individuals engaged in execution of a formal recovery plan. The REC CAP Pilot Study team recently posited in an article published by Addiction Professional Magazine, “This approach utilizes a strengths-based perspective that can be implemented before, during and after specialty treatment. We have embedded both recovery strength measures into a single scale that can be administered by clinicians, peer mentors or people in recovery to create a simple visualization of recovery stage and needs.” NARR Quality Standards suggest that recovery residences encourage residents to own their recovery as evidenced by policies and procedures that support residents to develop and participate in their own personalized recovery plan. FARR sponsored the REC CAP Pilot Study with Dr. David Best and his team from Sheffield Hallam University so that we might determine the efficacy of delivering the instrument in a residential peer environment while participants are actively engaged in the rigors of community life. Early analysis of pilot study data suggests that REC CAP presents an evidence-based practice through which certified programs might fulfill their primary function to provision recovery support. Publication of case studies and other research findings will complete the final stages of the pilot in early 2017. Moving forward, we anticipate a continuation of our partnership with Sheffield Hallam University to establish norms based on certain demographic criteria as well as distinct phases of community integration. Please visit the dedicated page on the FARR website at www.farronline/recovery-outcomes to learn more about this important research



By John Giordano, Doctor of Humane Letters, MAC, CAPContinued from page 16

FDA of a GRAS determination. In other words, the FDA took the chains off of the food industry and relinquished any and all forms of control over bad actors. This policy opened the door for rabid, profit-starved CEOs to put just about anything they want into our foods and call it safe without fear of retribution. What could possibly go wrong?! The effects of this decision were felt immediately and there seems to be no limit to what the food industry will add to our food supply in the name of profits. Today, you can find the exact same chemical used to manufacture athletic shoe soles in hot dog and hamburger buns on the shelves in chain super markets and all the popular fast food restaurants across the country. All these years you’ve had your foot in your mouth and didn’t even realize it. The FDA and the USDA approved the industrial chemical azodicarbonamide for use in food as a bleaching agent and dough conditioner even though it has been linked to cancer. Europe and Australia have banned this dangerous chemical. However, here in the U.S. there are over 500 foods that azodicarbonamide can be found in. You simply can avoid it. This is just one small example that I bring to your attention to help you realize just how pervasive dangerous toxins have become in our food supply. There are literally thousands of other examples I could have used. In fact, there are over 10,000 chemicals, drugs, and formulations in our food and environment that the FDA and USDA have absolutely no idea how they will collectively and/or independently affect our health and well-being. The whole situation makes me want to put on a Bio Hazmet Suit before I go to the grocery store – or at least a lab coat with protective glasses and rubber gloves. The reality we live in today is a Petri dish lifestyle. More toxic chemicals are being added to the food chain everyday while none are being taken out. Our bodies are not equipped to digest or deal with the extensive amount of toxins we ingest on a daily basis. There is not a researcher or scientist on the planet that can predict what all theses chemicals mixing in our gut is going to do to us. I do think it is reasonable to assume diseases will increase until we get control on the toxins in our food supply and environment – and that includes addiction. Although the study of microbial endocrinology is still in its infancy, it has drawn the attention of quite a few young bright scientists and researchers. There is a belief among these scientific pioneers that the Continued on page 32




Continued from page 8

Hoffman, River Phoenix – and many other talented celebrities we had all seen and grown to love, only to later learn that these gifted individuals were are all victims of addiction. It was made even more disturbingly personal to me when I went back and read the hateful, cold comments that people on the internet were leaving in regards to the passing of these talented people, all due to their addiction. Many said that “it was their own fault”, that they “deserved what they got”. “A junkie doesn’t deserve to live”; “They are a waste, nothing more.” I guess I was just desensitized to these types of comments after working in the addiction field for so many years, but, in looking at it from the outside in and taking a new view, I became really angry. I was overcome on how uneducated the public is on addiction. Most of the recovering addicts I’ve met or treated over the years are absolutely amazing individuals, and this world is a better place because of them. Many of them wouldn’t be giving the healthy contributions to society that they are today, had they not first been addicts. Being at the bottom of a dark and lonely hole really helps one to appreciate standing on solid ground! Before casting judgement on an addict, imagine the despair. Imagine what it must feel like to believe there is no alternative; to see no other option, to just sit there all alone on the floor in front of your toilet with a needle in your arm knowing that you might lose everyone you love, everything you’ve worked for, for years. In fact, you might even lose your life. And, you might just welcome that. These people need love, not more fuel poured on the fire of their self-loathing. They are not choosing despair. For them, it is not a choice. They do not want to suffer. They want to be happy just like everyone else. They do not see any other option. Loving them doesn’t mean accepting destructive behavior or enabling their addiction, but it does mean having compassion, rather than disdain. So much is at stake. This is truly a life or death situation.


By John Giordano, Doctor of Humane Letters, MAC, CAPContinued from page 30

answer to many of our diseases can be found in the gut. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has also taken notice and is beginning to fund promising research. The relationship between ENS and addiction seems to be a low priority for researchers at this time – but I have a gut feeling that one of these mavericks will see a place where he or she can make a difference and take up the cause. There is enough data available on the subject that strongly suggests a possible link between the gut and addiction. If you’re still mulling over your New Year’s resolution and are looking for a life-changing effect without the butterflies, than I’d strongly recommend that you contact a reputable integrative medicine doctor such as Dr. Hyla Cass and ask them to developed a plan that fits your lifestyle. Some of the most common recommendations you’ll get are to avoid foods that cause inflammation such as wheat, dairy and GMO foods and eat foods high in fiber. A steady regimen of enzymes and probiotics is also often recommended. I’d also suggest you have a food allergy test; the results may surprise you. All things considered, this is not an expensive proposition and can improve your quality of life and may just save it. Happy New Year! John Giordano, Doctor of Humane Letters, MAC, CAP, is the President and Founder of the National Institute for Holistic Addiction Studies, Chaplain of the North Miami Police Department and is the Second Vice President of the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce. He is on the editorial board of the highly respected scientific Journal of Reward Deficiency Syndrome (JRDS) and has contributed to over 65 papers published in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals. For the latest development in cutting-edge addiction treatment check out his website: www.holisticaddictioninfo.com

The personal and family tragedies related to addiction are heartrending and quite often desperate. The struggles to break addiction and restore lives are uniquely challenging. The scientific breakthroughs now taking place to help us understand, prevent, and successfully treat addiction are nothing short of astonishing. Addiction is now understood to be a brain disease because scientific research has shown that alcohol and other drugs can change brain structure and function. Advances in brain imaging science make it possible to see inside the brain of an addicted person and pinpoint the parts of the brain affected by drugs of abuse — providing us knowledge that will enable the development of new approaches to the prevention and treatment of addiction. As with most other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, treatment for drug addiction generally isn’t a cure. However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients. Treatment approaches tailored for each patient’s drug use patterns and any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems can lead to continued recovery. Mr. G. Michael Errico holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. He has been working in the addiction treatment field specializing in the treatment of opioid addiction utilizing medication assisted treatment for the past twenty years. He is the co-founder and President of Addiction Medical Solutions which owns, operates and provides consultation services to the treatment industry. Addiction Medical Solutions operates several medication assisted treatment facilities including Access Recovery Solutions in Delray Beach, Florida. Access Recovery Solutions is a sponsor of the SUDS Talks and their speaker, Chelsea Laliberte will speak on the topic “When Beliefs Harm”



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from the Hearts of Moms


After losing my son Matt last January I felt like I had inherited the elephant. You know the one I’m talking about- the elephant in the room that no one will acknowledge, let alone talk about. This elephant follows me around like a lost dog except he’s so much bigger and harder to ignore.

I took a deep breath and began to share my deepest pain with this caring heart. My advice...

I inherited this elephant shortly after the death of my youngest son. You see, Matt died from an overdose of prescription drugs. He never touched street drugs and I never thought he would die.

Accept the Elephant. Talk about her child and share your memories. Don’t be afraid to say their name, our children were a large part of our lives. Death has changed nothing and her child is still part of her heart and lives on in her memories. Allowing her to talk about her child is healing for her grieving heart.

So now I’m left behind, trying to come to terms with this tragedy and attempting to navigate this new life without my son. Mothers are not supposed to bury their children, it goes against nature. It shatters our dreams of the present and our hopes for the future, shifting the axis of our lives and leaving us unbalanced and spinning out of control. We expect to leave them behind, our children are our legacy. Our children are expected to carry on for us long after we are gone. Throughout my journey I’ve come to understand and accept the fact that until someone has experienced this life altering loss and felt this heart shattering grief, knowing what to say to a mom like me is inconceivable. Being so shrouded in grief, it never dawned on me the impact my tragedy had on my family and friends. I witnessed their uneasiness and watched as they danced around my elephant.Gatherings became uncomfortable, conversations were forced and no one mentioned Matt’s name or acknowledged my loss. Invitations became scarce as friends faded away. Soon my grief was accompanied by my new friend- loneliness. Spending many days by myself gave me the soul searching experience of understanding that grief scares the hell out of people. Grief by itself is tough enough, but add to that the emotions and guilt that flood your brain after losing a child to addiction and you’ve created a barrier most people don’t know how to penetrate. I’ve also come to understand that until someone has shared and understood this life altering grief, it would be impossible to imagine the impact their behavior and words would have on a mother like me whose world has been shattered. No one knows how to act or what to say. It’s easier for friends to disappear into the sunset then to accept the grieving me. One day out of the blue I received a phone call from a woman I’d never met. She found my number after reading my blog and needed help. Her best friend joined my club after her son overdosed, after years of struggling with addiction. This amazing woman wanted to know how to help her friend. Rather than running away, this woman was asking for help in learning how to remain a friend to this grieving mother. Listening to her opened my floodgates. Here was this woman- a stranger- reaching out to me when so many of my friends disappeared. She showed the compassion that I so needed from those who had abandoned me. She wanted to speak to a mother who knew this grief and to understand how to be there for her friend. The timing was perfect. It was the day after Matt’s birthday and my grief was still raw, my eyes still swollen.


Just show up. Don’t call and ask if she wants company. She is isolating herself in her grief. If you ask permission, she will find a million reasons to tell you to stay away.

Allow her to cry in your presence, cry with her. Wrap her in your arms and allow her to sob. Never tell her it will be okay, because it will never be okay. She buried her child along with her hopes and dreams for their future. The world as she knew it has spun out of her control. It will never return to normal. Don’t force her to go out in public. Seeing happy families is very painful. Bring food and flowers and surround her with her favorite things. Give her time to accept her loss. Spending one on one time with a loving friend is a precious gift. Never tell her “it’s been” and “you should be”. I’ve heard that so many times I wanted to scream. Believe me, she knows exactly how long it’s been and most likely is full of guilt for not being who she was before losing her child. Support her through the first holidays. Reminders of her loss will surround her everywhere she turns. Family traditions take on a different meaning. Her family has changed and she needs time to adapt. Don’t be upset if she declines invitations to holiday parties. Refrain from forcing her to join in the festivities, she needs to navigate a new life and the holidays are a brutal time for a grieving mother. Instead, ask what she is able to do and offer help. Please suggest a Grief Therapy group. Knowing I was not alone on this grief journey was the greatest gift to myself. Being surrounded by those who understand and are learning to live with this loss will help her get through the darkest of days. Most importantly, you must remember that the loss of a child is the greatest pain a mother will ever experience. Navigating through the grief of losing a child is a lifelong process. This is the one loss that time does not heal. Weddings and baby showers are now bittersweet. She will never be the mother of the bride or groom and will never know the joy of holding her child’s firstborn. Losing a child changes us and stays with us forever. Time is full of reminders and regrets of what should have been and what is. Learning not to fear “the elephant” and loving her for who she is and who she will become is the greatest gift to offer a grieving mother.



A New Path www.newpath.org Addiction Haven www.addictionhaven.com Bryan’s Hope www.bryanshope.org CAN- Change Addiction Now www.addictionnow.org Changes www.changesaddictionsupport.org City of Angels www.cityofangelsnj.org FAN- Families Against Narcotics www.familiesagainstnarcotics.org Learn to Cope www.learn2cope.org The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence www.licadd.org Magnolia New Beginnings www.magnolianewbeginnings.org Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery www.monetwork.org New Hope facebook.com/New-Hope-Family-Addiction-Support-1682693525326550/ Parent Support Group New Jersey, Inc. www.psgnjhomestead.com P.I.C.K Awareness www.pickawareness.com Roots to Addiction www.facebook.com/groups/rootstoaddiction/ Save a Star www.SAVEASTAR.org TAP- The Addicts Parents United www.tapunited.org

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“I started to understand the gratitude of tribulation Somewhere between my Highway to Hell and my Stairway to Heaven” ~ Michael DeLeon The path of life is often travelled on different kinds of roads. There are smooth ones and rocky ones. There are open roads and ones inundated with congestion. Sometimes roads are closed, bridges are out and there are often many detours on the way to our destiny. Life is a journey along these paths, and looking back over that journey we often ponder about roads not taken, often wishing that we had a Life-GPS at some of those points in life where we felt lost. What would we tell our younger self? Given the opportunity to be a pedestrian on one of those rocky roads, what would we have told ourselves if we pulled over for directions? How many of us would return in a “Back to the Future Delorean” to take a different route knowing now what we wish we knew then? What would we say to our younger self if we had the chance to be the hindsight OnStar in the vehicle of life? Since there’s no re-set button in the game of life, and since life is not a game, we can’t go back. The philosopher, Epictetus stated, “We live our lives forward, but we can only understand our lives backwards.” It’s been in this tribulation of my addiction and in the years of consequences that followed where I searched for meaning. My faith tells me that in the trials of our lives, we can also find meaning and purpose. It became my passion to do so. When my Passion met my Purpose, it was then I realized the meaning of my very life. It has been in this journey of reflection where I learned the most about gratitude. It didn’t come easy. It didn’t come with 20/20 clarity right away. But, with a serious level of searching, and a commitment, to not only learn from these troubles, but to use the troubles for the good and education of others; is when I found such an appreciation for enlightenment. In sharing this Recovery Story with others, I have embraced incredible gratitude for what I have been through in my life. For me, life is more about living through the windshield rather than the rear-view mirror. At the same time, I realize the importance of that rear-view mirror for constant reflection. If I can’t see where I’ve been, or see what’s coming up upon me from my past, how can I properly navigate where I am going? There is a reason why the windshield is much larger than the rear-view. We can’t live our lives through the smaller mirror. We have to live our lives through the windshield.

We must do that by living the example of recovery to others. Not just in part of our life, but in all parts of our life. The most beautiful part of gratitude is expressing it openly to others so that they might experience the same. It honors it, it respects it and it flourishes it. Failing to express gratitude is like wrapping a gift and not giving it away. Failing to show your appreciation for the Blessings in your life is like winning a race with not a spectator in sight. It’s a victory, but sharing it with others allows the victory to mean something more than it does to yourself. This is especially true in recovery. The appreciation and gratitude for the journey I have travelled has contributed to every aspect of my life. It has propelled me into a mission of advocacy. It has enabled me to grow into a position where I have been able to help so many people find their Recovery. It has allowed me the privilege to document people’s recovery and share their stories with the world. It has given me a mission and a purpose, and my passion has met my purpose. I have learned the true meaning of gratitude, and such, the true meaning of life. It has created a strength and foundation upon which every aspect of my life will be built upon. And gratefully, I see the same for so many others. Michael DeLeon is the director and producer of the films” Kids Are Dying” and “An American Epidemic” He has released his third documentary, “MarijuanaX” which looks at the legalization of marijuana in America. His fourth documentary will be released in February, 2017 called, “Higher Power”. Michael is the founder of Steered Straight Inc., a motivational outreach program for youth and young adults. He is also the National Marketing Director for Banyan Treatment Center.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy This quote is so meaningful and important to me. This is how I want to express my gratitude for Recovery and I share it as much as I can, with as many people as I can and always try to live by its very meaning. With Recovery comes Responsibility and with Recovery there needs to be the appreciation for what recovery means. It means to actually live life with an appreciation for what life has become – “LIFE”. Every step forward in a life of Recovery is a step toward something bigger, something better, something more meaningful, and something filled with more purpose. To appreciate this is to live life more fully. To have gratitude for the journey; from where we descended in our addiction, to where we ascended in our recovery, is to live life with the utmost appreciation.




MARCH 24, 2017

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Continued from page 14

Mandino believed that all successful people take on their own lives by “charting” or consciously choosing both the desired destination and the path to reach it. Mandino’s intention was to pass on his secrets of success by bequeathing ten scrolls to his readers. The book presents a guide for behavior modification and success through a list of ten Scrolls, which include:

Failure, like pain, is alien to my life. In the past I accepted it as I accepted pain. Now I reject it and I am prepared for wisdom and principles which will guide me out of the shadows into the sunlight of wealth, position, and happiness far beyond my most extravagant dreams until even the golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides will seem no more than my just reward.”

• Scroll I - The Power of Good Habits • Scroll II - Greet Each Day With Love In Your Heart • Scroll III - Persist Until You Succeed • Scroll IV - You Are Natures Greatest Miracle • Scroll V - Live Each Day as if it Were Your Last • Scroll VI - Master Your Emotions • Scroll VII - The Power of Laughter • Scroll VIII - Multiply Your Value Every Day • Scroll IX - All is Worthless Without Action • Scroll X - Pray to God for Guidance

For those suffering from the bondage of addiction, Mandino presents a message of empowerment and transformation that has been actualized by millions of global believers. It is a message worthy of consideration. He offered, “I will not fail as the others, for in my hands I now hold the charts (the Ten Scrolls) which will guide me through perilous waters to shores which only yesterday seemed but a dream.”

Mandino harbored some interesting observations concerning alcoholism and maladaptive behaviors. He recognized that while bad habits could destroy us, good habits could free us from the shackles of slavery, whatever the form. Explaining his beliefs he wrote, “I will form good habits and become their slave. And how will I accomplish this difficult feat? Through these scrolls it will be done, for each scroll contains a principle which will drive a bad habit from my life and replace it with one which will bring me closer to success. For it is another of nature’s laws that only a habit can subdue another habit.” His instructions were to read Scroll I three times a day for 30 days straight. Only after completing the 30 days of reading Scroll I, should you continue to Scroll II and so forth through Scroll X. In Scroll I, he instructed, “Failure will no longer be my payment for my struggle. Just as nature made no provision for my body to tolerate pain neither has it made any provision for my life to suffer failure.


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If Mandino’s suggested reading structure were followed, it would take about 10 months to read his book and, hopefully, reap the rewards. Maxim W. Furek, MA, CADC, ICADC is passionately researching the essence of happiness. His rich background includes aspects of psychology, addictions, mental health and music journalism. His book Sheppton: The Myth, Miracle & Music explores the supernatural elements and psychological horror experienced by two trapped coal miners. Learn more at shepptonmyth.com References Provided Upon Request


Continued from page 6

Many people include gratitude as part of their spiritual practice. It is also used by people who want to improve their mood, health, sleep, and relationships. Robert Fritz, a theorist who writes about creativity, offers a complimentary practice. He says that no goal is too big to create but that it is essential to be grounded in reality that is pertinent to your dream. He suggests, in a way that is not that different from Jung’s mandala polarities, to juxtapose the vision you want to create alongside of the reality of what you have. It is the “structural tension” between the two and how it engages your subconscious mind that helps energize and manifest what you want.

First and foremost, they must all learn how to accept and embrace the fact that none of them caused their loved one’s addiction, none could control their loved one’s addiction, and none of them can cure this cunning disease. The light at the end of this addiction tunnel is treatment. While emotional, financial, physical, and psychological damages are left from the storm of one’s addiction, there is hope. Many studies and treatment models have revealed that family members must not only get treatment as a family unit, but must also receive therapeutical services on an individual basis. Addiction is a family disease, and even though a family’s turmoil may have begun with their loved one’s addiction, they all have a responsibility to themselves and to their loved ones to learn healthy thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors to support a road to recovery and abstinence.

Gratitude gives people hope and the strength to endure. It is able to sustain and inspire us during times of despair. Simply said, gratitude is a very powerful healing tool. It is important to integrate the discipline and practice of gratitude into counseling sessions, 12-step work, and as part of a daily spiritual practice.

Recovery is a lifelong journey. It may have started as an individual problem, but it has the potential to evolve into a beautiful family passage.

Dr. Ericha Scott - Licensed as E. Hitchcock Scott, Ph.D. has 32 years of professional experience working with those who have co-occurring addictions and complex trauma. She has published research in peer review journals and trade magazines. She has published on topics of addiction and trauma, research on selfmutilation by dissociative disordered individuals, and her theory of creative arts therapy. Her contribution to the book, Integrative Therapies for Addiction Treatment by Oxford University Press will be published in 2017. Dr. Scott is an artist, a Board Certified Registered Art Therapist (ATR-BC), a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist (REAT), and an Internationally Certified Advanced Addiction Counselor (ICAADC). www.artspeaksoutloud.org.

Karen Corcoran-Walsh, CAP, ICADC, MFT, ASAM is nationally known as an expert in the treatment of mental health and drug or alcohol abuse and addiction, also known as Dual Diagnosis, with a specialty in working with teenagers. Renowned as an adolescent addiction treatment center professional, she has worked in the professions of education and drug treatment for approximately 20 years. Karen is the co-founder of Inspirations For Youth And Families, LLC an adolescent treatment program and The Cove Center For Recovery, LLC an adult addiction treatment center. References Provided Upon Request


Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ John Milton © 2016 E. Hitchcock Scott, PhD, LPCC917, ICAADC


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