5 posts categorized "Addiction" Feed

Get back up and fight

Sometimes you get knocked down.

You're walking along, moving through life and something happens through no fault of your own and you get knocked down.

Your parents make a mistake that blows up your life.

Your lover cheats

Someone you trusted, causes you severe pain and it feels like your word is falling apart.

Sometimes you jump into trouble.

You purposely engage into that behavior that you know will tear your life apart.

You make the same mistake again, even though you know will get caught and the person you love will be hurt by your actions.

You completely blow up your own life.

Get up anyhow and fight. Fight for change. Change is possible. It will cost you. It will be painful. It will cost you.


It will force you to risk.

Change is never easy.

Change is possible.

Whether you've been knocked down or willingly jumped, please get up and fight.
Do whatever it takes.

Go make an appointment with a counselor.

Register at that school for those chances.

Call your loved one and apologize.

Offer an olive branch.

Just get up. Don't stay down. Don't be defined by your failure. It doesn't have to be the last chapter in the story. It doesn't even have to be the defining story.

It can just be a chapter.

Get up. Don't stay down. Borrow my belief in you, even if you don't believe yourself yet. Engage the change process. Belief will come.


Do Anti-Depressant Meds work?

One of the most common questions I get is "How do you feel about drugs?" My answer is almost always that I have complicated feelings about them. What I often tell clients is that they should do their own research. What I have below is an excerpt from a book that I think everyone who is remotely interested in this topic should read. It is controversial and will probably upset some of those who read it for one reason or another. But we have to engage this conversation deeply. We need to talk about the risks associated with this medicine and the benefits. Mostly, we need to look at our assumptions on a societal level about how we deal with problems.

What the published studies really indicate is that most of the improvement shown by depressed people when they take antidepressants is due to the placebo effect. Our finding that most of the effects of antidepressants could be explained as a placebo effect was only the first of a number of surprises that changed my views about antidepressants. Following up on this research, I learned that the published clinical trials we had analysed were not the only studies assessing the effectiveness of antidepressants. I discovered that approximately 40 per cent of the clinical trials conducted had been withheld from publication by the drug companies that had sponsored them. By and large, these were studies that had failed to show a significant benefit from taking the actual drug. When we analysed all of the data - those that had been published and those that had been suppressed - my colleagues and I were led to the inescapable conclusion that antidepressants are little more than active placebos, drugs with very little specific therapeutic benefit, but with serious side effects.

Kirsch, Irving (2010-01-26). The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth (pp. 3-4). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.


Whitney Houston and our own Narrative thinking

Unless, you've been secluded from society this weekend, you learned that Whitney Houston died this weekend. I don't know why and to be honest, I'm ok not knowing. This post really isn't about Whitney.

Have you ever had someone force a plot on you that you didn't feel was fair? They assigned motives to your actions that weren't what was really going through your brain?

Have you ever done that to someone else? We use Narrative thinking to make sense of the world around us. This is necessary and good but sometimes we apply narratives to others that aren't actual, even if they work. This stems from the complexity that is the human experience. People are complicated.

On top of that we tend to apply a narrative to life that doesn't really work. We think that happiness is "out there." Wherever out there is at, we believe if we get there we'll find happiness. So when someone who made it to the "out there" in our mind we can't believe that they would waste it with drugs, and alcohol. We can't believe that they wouldn't be happy when they have what we are convinced would make us happy.

If we were rich and famous and had thousands of fans, we'd be happy. If we were an athlete, or a music star we'd be happy. The reason we're not happy is because we're stuck in a bad job or bad marriage, or we're not rich enough. If we just had what they had.

Never mind the fact that we have example after example that tells us this narrative is incorrect. Never mind that almost all of the stories (narratives) that we can see tell us the exact opposite. We need to make peace with the fact that by and large we choose our own happiness. We often cannot choose our circumstances but we can and must choose our reactions.

I don't know what inner demons Ms Houston fought. I am sorry for her family, and loved ones who lost someone too soon.

I hope that everyone who ponders her life and death will consider what they believe about their own narrative. I hope that we will all realize that we choose how we react in every situation and that we can choose happiness. We can make peace with our past and our present.


Book Review: Hope, Help and Healing for Eating Disorders by Gregory Jantz

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Dr. Gregory L Jantz’s book, Hope, Help and Healing for Eating Disorders deals with both “eating disorders” and “disordered eating.”  As a Counselor I was immediately drawn to this book. It seems in our society, overweight people are the last  people group that it is OK to mock and make fun of for our enjoyment. I actually had a guy tell me that he enjoyed me being at the poker game because I was fat and it was not only OK but it was expected that people would make fun of people. For some reason, I had no desire to visit his faith community. 

In another conversation I heard someone use the terms overweight and glutton synonymously.  When I asked about this, I got a rather convoluted answer—in my opinion. What does this have to do with the book? Well, a lot of people who talk about food intake are rather judgmental about it. Rather than admit that they are selling out to our society’s obsession with being thin, they are cloak it in spirituality and science, which is usually a parroting of the latest book/DVD/commercial they read or saw. The truth is that body image is a huge issue for almost everyone. Many people are struggling to answer core questions about themselves through their management of food and their body image. Some try to answer this question through exercise and food control, while others choose to answer it through over-indulging.

This book deals with eating disorders without becoming judgmental about them. He points out that there are people who look healthy, who have disordered eating.  A great quote early in the book is “Some people suffer from a diagnosed eating disorder and some suffer from a debilitating pattern of disordered eating” (p. 27).  He points out that it’s not just people who have bulimia, or anorexia that have food disorders. If food has moved from being about nutrition to some sort of control in your life, you probably have an eating disorder. I found this perspective to resonate powerfully.

He comes at these issues from what is essentially a Family Systems approach first and foremost.  There is nothing wrong with that necessarily, but I do think there are other issues that factor in from an existential point of view, which he doesn’t seem to address but that could be because I tend to view almost everything from a search for meaning point of view.   He also deals with the issue of abuse and how that factors into eating disorders/disordered eating.  These two aspects are the strength of the book. He offers hope and guidelines to help people through these disorders. I do wonder how helpful a book can be on its own merit. It seems to me that eventually a person dealing with these will have to enter into Therapy.

Overall, I think this book is an excellent read. There are a few minor points where he and I would part ways but I am not the one of us that is running a successful recovery institute.

3.5 out of 5 stars

 I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

 


Addiction, Self-responsibility and the Importance of Choice | Psychology Today

One of the central facets of addiction is the unwillingness to take responsibility. Without exercising the all-important watershed of self-responsibility, breaking the compulsive cycle that leads to addictive behavior is all but impossible. Systems like AA or the Minnesota Model, which allow the abdication of self-responsibility to The Program, The Meeting, The Sponsor and even God, are, from this perspective, clearly suspect and, as the numbers bear out, considerably -- and understatedly -- less than successful.

In this moment, the heads of 12 Step proponents are exploding, for I have blasphemed. Before you do explode, however, consider that, if you have maintained some semblance of sobriety for any extended period coincident to participating in a 12 Step-type program, you constitute less than 5% of all those who entered into that program within the 12 month period of your initial participation, and 95% of your brethren left that program sometime in those same 12 months. Given that the Harvard Medical School reports spontaneous remission of alcoholic behavior at 50%, rethinking the Holy Grail of AA and its sister systems, with their historically less than 5% success rate, might be worthwhile.

via www.psychologytoday.com

This is from a blog that I enjoy reading. I don't agree with everything this man says but I find he is spot on most of the time. What I find interesting as a therapist is our countries addiction to the 12 step program even though there is no empirical evidence to actually suggest it works for the vast majority of people.  We have 12 steps for everything. For a fun time go to your local bookstore, or hit up Amazon and do a search of books on sex addiction. Guess what the vast majority advocate. If you guessed 12 steps you are correct. This is not to say that 12 steps works for no one, but the numbers simply don't bear out that it works for many. What are your thoughts?