In my life there are endless possibilities...staring right back at me.”
Living with an addict
Families who face the heartache of living with an addict often don’t know where to turn, and they can’t imagine what possibilities exist for their loved one to recover. Every day parents, spouses, siblings and children try to regroup and consider what they may have done different to have prevented the addiction that now threatens their loved one’s life.
So, it was with a young man named Sturgill. His life was moving along in a very positive direction. Sturgill looked ahead to endless possibilities. He was doing well in school, active in sports including golden glove boxing and wrestling. His goals included the Olympics and academically he considered pre-med, but then came the broken arm, which led to many surgeries and his addiction to pain pills. Sturgill’s story is one that is played out hundreds, if not thousands, of times each day in our country. Pain pills leading to heroin and then resorting to mixing alcohol, Benzodiazepines (“benzos”), and Methadone -a deadly combination which can have dire consequences.
An INTERVENTION℠...the possibility of change
This past year Sturgill’s parents realized that they needed to find a way to intervene with his life which was slowly spiraling out of control. They also knew they needed to work with a professional interventionist who could guide them in confronting Sturgill and assist them in making it clear to Sturgill that if he did not accept the opportunity to go for treatment for his addiction, then they would need to step back, set boundaries and make it clear they will no longer enable his behavior.
Sylvia Parsons, an interventionist, was chosen by A&E INTERVENTION℠ to work with Sturgill and his family. An so, in Season 16, Episode 8 (AKA Season 18, Episode 27), Sturgill’s life as an addict is chronicled and his family, with the assistance of Ms. Parsons, is able to implore Sturgill to agree to go for treatment at PACE Recovery Center.
Sturgill’s willingness to accept that his life could still hold endless possibilities was a relief to his family. As his father said: “I’m feeling relieved and appreciative...he has to do it now.”
Meet Sturgill and his family...some 54 days later
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.
At PACE Recovery Center Sturgill learned about addiction and the importance of brotherhood in recovery. He focused on getting better with the help of his therapists. He says it best:
Mentally it’s a little different, you still get triggers, you still get cravings. But here they teach you how to work through them. It’s like putting tools in your toolbox, to use in the real world. It’s amazing it’s changed my life drastically.I’m thinking about after treatment, I need to go to sober living and get my bachelors and come back and work in treatment. I think that would be really good for me, to surround myself with people that I could help, because I’ll know what they went through… I’m so happy now, I feel happy. That’s it. Rehab saved my life.”
Don’t let the story be left untold...
Everyone’s life is a story...with many chapters. Sometimes people need a little help to tell their story. PACE Recovery Center is a gender-specific, extended care, alcohol and drug rehab for men struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. Our clients are given the possibility to be part of an exciting and dynamic 12-step recovery community.
The entire treatment team of PACE Recovery Center is honored to be part of Sturgill’s recovery story.
An addict’s net cast wide…” HBO Mini Series A Night Of, August 28, 2016
In five simple words, the above quote manages to capture the essence of the disease of addiction. It is a family disease, not unlike any other chronic disorder. It requires family work. It is a two-sided problem. But for some reason, an addiction diagnosis, like many mental health disorders, often carries with it elements of shame and guilt.
With any health diagnosis one can experience an array of emotions: shock, terror, fear, resentment, confusion...and so the story goes. How we learn of a family member’s addiction diagnosis will vary. One might be standing in a hospital emergency department, one could receive the phone call in the middle of the night from a jail, one may find himself at a parent-teacher conference listening to someone describe their child’s unexplained behavior. Every parent has their own story. But most parents won’t share their story after receiving a final diagnosis of addiction. They will pull inward, feeling guilt, shame and fear of the unknown.
So, what steps should parents pursue to start the family’s recovery?
First and foremost, the family must understand and accept they are not alone. An estimated 21 to 25 million Americans struggle with substance abuse. Indeed, last month the U.S. Surgeon General reported that one in seven Americans struggle with substance abuse. To put that number in perspective, if you live in a neighborhood of 100 people, then 14-15 could be dealing with addiction. And each of those 15 have a story they are afraid to share.
Secondly, get the facts. If you have a family primary care physician, seek their advice. If your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), then determine what programs might be available for your loved one.
Third, take a deep breath, have a family meeting and make a plan. If planning doesn’t come easy, then perhaps you need an interventionist to guide you in this process.
Fourth, if an intensive primary care substance abuse treatment program or intensive outpatient treatment program are in order, then review your health insurance policy and move forward.
Finally, take the first step and start to care for yourself; learn to set your boundaries. Seek out an Al-Anon meeting and understand the three “C’s”: You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it. Work your own program of recovery and allow your loved one to work their program.
Dr. Phil helps one young man take his first step
This past November Dr. Phil viewers were allowed to meet one young man and his parents. If you happened to tune-in, you may have been shocked to hear their story. But if you have a family member with an addiction diagnosis...then you may have been empathetic and hopeful that this family will find recovery. Here is how Dr. Phil guided the family to consider PACE Recovery Center’s multi-pronged approach to addiction and co-occurring disorders. In his own words, Dr. Phil explained:
There is an organization called PACE Recovery Center and it is a gender specific, extended care program for young men struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues, such as immaturity, the inability to modulate, regulate, predict their behavior. Whether it is neurological, psychological, or whatever. The PACE approach utilizes a model of integrating philosophies and research and clinical practices from medical, psychiatric, psychological, social, familial and self-help communities. I mean this is a very integrated model."
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.
Family recovery is possible…
PACE Recovery Center specializes in treating young men. We have a core philosophy to offer a place where men can delve into their underlying issues, which have caused them to resort to substance use and self-defeating behaviors. We understand that a positive attitude changes everything.
Parents are encouraged to attend family therapy with their loved ones at PACE to address how addiction has impacted family members. This therapy allows family members to leave behind the guilt and shame; they are encouraged to share their story. Working with PACE Therapists and counselors, family members can learn about the disease of addiction, acquire tools to end enabling or co-dependency, and develop new healthy communication patterns in sobriety.
Yes, the story goes on...
Echoes linger in the heart, long after its tones cease to vibrate in the air...Jari Villanueva
Veterans Day 2016 - TAPS
Tomorrow November 11, 2016, our nation will celebrate Veterans Day. It is a Federal Holiday that is always held on the exact day...we do not move it to a nearby Monday to create a magical three-day holiday, we stay the course and call to mind those who have served in our military, as well those who have died as a result of that service. We reminisce the end of World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
TAPS will be played at our National Cemeteries, the President will hear TAPS as he presents a memorial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, and people will recognize the soulful melody of TAPS.
How much do you know about TAPS?
There is no doubt that if you were to ask someone "What is TAPS?" perhaps they would think of the 1981 movie TAPS, or they might associate it with an acronym of a present day organization; however, most will have some association to the simple 24-note melancholy bugle call known as "TAPS."
It is in fact the final call of the day at military bases...and interestingly was a Dutch command "taptoe" - to shut ("toe to") the "tap" of a keg." For a clearer understanding of its origin, we are sharing a video from the History Channel.
Veterans and PTSD
In our world of today, we often hear people use the phrase "a call to action." TAPS, in its own way, is a call to action - end the day and begin rest. This past week we read with interest an article published by U.S. News and World Report: "A Call to Better Treat PTSD in Our Military Veterans."
Here at PACE Recovery Center we offer dual diagnosis treatment for veterans and others who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) recognizing its complications associated with addiction and suicide. It is a complex problem and one that calls for more research. Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, points out in trying to understand why there has not been more dedicated PTSD research:
There are three reasons. First, the idea of psychological weakness is antithetical to military culture with its ethos of aggression and invulnerability – so military leaders were reluctant to recognize and accept its existence. In the interim, many soldiers were accused of cowardice, in some cases punished and even executed, for their infirmity. Second, mental disorders are not tangible and have no visible physical signs. Hence, they are not seen as real and are often ignored or minimized. Third, PTSD was considered to be a military problem and thus the responsibility of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
We will continue to follow this call to action and keep our readers informed.
PACE Recovery Center's commitment to treating veterans
Each year on Veterans Day we feature our staff who are veterans and those who have special training and experience in treating veterans.
In 2013and 2014 we introduced and focused on staff members Sean Kelly and Victor Calzada. In 2015 we proudly recognized Matthew Johnson, Dr. Hisham Korraa, M.D., Dr. Ryan Wright, M.D., and Dr. Venice Sanchez, M.D.
This year the PACE team would like you to meet Helen O'Mahony, Ph.D.
Dr. O’Mahony is a licensed clinical psychologist. She has worked in the mental health field for over 13 years. She has worked with all populations and specializes in dual diagnosis. Dr. O’Mahony runs experiential groups to help clients not just talk about their maladaptive patterns but to help them transform them. She received her BA and Masters from Boston University and moved to Los Angeles in 2001. While working as a program director at the Salvation Army located at the West LA VA campus she received a lot of experience working with veterans diagnosed with PTSD and substance abuse along with other diagnoses. She received her Ph.D. from California Graduate Institute at the Chicago School in 2008.
PACE Recovery Center staff and the gentlemen whom we treat wish veterans and their families a peaceful and memorable Veterans Day 2016. Be thankful, graceful and hold dear...
In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. ~José Narosky
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place. Tecumseh
Tecumseh is gone now over 200 years, but his words still echo when we consider the power of a nod of understanding and appreciation for the men and women who have served our country throughout times of war and peace. So again, PACE salutes VeteransNovember 11, 2015: We will stop what we are busy doing, maybe just for a few minutes, and consider the sacrifices made by our veterans to build and protect our freedoms and those of other countries.
Understanding veterans with addiction and PTSD, at the movies...
Over the past couple of years there have been a number of movies about war and PTSD, such as American Sniper,Unbroken and Railway Man. Two of these movies dealt directly with the impact of PTSD, and while Unbroken didn’t deal with Zamperini’s alcoholism and PTSD many of his family members will attest to his suffering from both and receiving help for his addiction and PTSD.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the term we have used for the past few decades to describe what many veterans experience as the result of service in times of war and minor conflicts. Over the centuries, the definitive terms were hysteria, melancholia, battle fatigue, combat fatigue, shell-shock, or operational exhaustion. In 2015 The Wounded Warrior Project conducted an annual survey of 23,000 injured service members and found that three in four wounded veterans are dealing with PTSD.
This month a film completed in 2014 is now more widely available to view in the United States - Of Men and War. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “...the horrors of the battlefield come home to roost in ways that are both riveting and deeply disturbing in Of Men and War(Des hommes et de la guerre), a remarkable chronicle of Iraq War veterans suffering from the devastating effects of PTSD.” This month Of Men and War will have playdates across the United States, including Southern California.
Learning from films can be personal, powerful, and provocative.
PACE is honored by the service of veterans and our psychiatrists’ specialized skills
On Veterans Day 2013 we proudly featured two veterans who serve on our staff: Sean Kelly, now PACE’s Chief Operation Officer and Victor Calzada, A PACE Resident Manager. This year we want to also recognize Matthew Johnson, A PACE Resident Manager who served four years in the Marine Infantry and highlight our Consulting Psychiatrists who are experts in the field of addiction and skilled in working with those suffering from PTSD, including veterans.
Dr. Hisham Korraa, M.D. is a UCLA trained psychiatrist specializing in psychotherapy and medication management for adults and adolescents. With a heavy emphasis on addressing the individual, Dr. Korraa’s treatment focuses on variables that would impact the individual’s development and coping patterns over the course of the years.
Dr. Korraa developed a special interest in helping individuals overcoming their chemical dependency issues and addressing underlying core struggles to focus on growth and health. Dr. Korraa works well with several different chemical dependency programs in Orange County including PACE Recovery Center and he maintains a strong relationship with his patients well after their acute recovery period.
Dr. Korraa did his undergraduate training at University of Houston. He later graduated from Texas Tech School of Medicine. He then specialized in Psychiatry at the reputable UCLA/Sepulveda Training Psychiatry Program. Being exposed to several different facilities in the Los Angeles area (with much exposure to veterans in the greater LA VA and Sepulveda VA program), Dr. Korraa became well versed in PTSD and chemical dependency. In addition to psychopharmacology and individual therapy, Dr. Korraa is one of the very few physicians who also specializes in both the transcranial magnetic treatment of depression and deep brain nerve stimulation of obsessive compulsive disorder.
Dr. Korraa has been awarded multiple awards over the course of the years. He has been recognized by his patients with several “Patient’s Choice Award” and “Compassionate Doctor Recognition”. He has also been recognized as among the best rated doctors in the area.
Dr. Ryan Wright, M.D. is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He completed college, medical school, and residency at the University of California, Irvine. While in college, Dr. Wright graduated Magna cum laude from the school of Biological Sciences at UCI, was invited to join the national honors society Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated from the Campuswide Honors Program at UCI.
During medical school and residency at UCI, he received extensive training on treating a wide range of psychiatric disorders utilizing both medication management and psychotherapy. Dr. Wright worked extensively at the Long Beach VA treating veterans for post traumatic stress disorder. He successfully mastered the skill of using cognitive behavioral therapy to improve the quality of life of veterans after returning home from overseas. During his final year of his residency, Dr. Wright elected to spend a significant portion of his year working at a substance abuse treatment facility in Orange County in order to gain specialized training in the field of chemical dependency. This experience allowed him to treat psychiatric patients who have a co-morbid substance abuse diagnosis.
Dr. Venice Sanchez, M.D. received her Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles and Medical Degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She continued her training at the University of California, Irvine Psychiatry Residency Program where she was recognized by faculty with the Outstanding Resident of the Year Award as an acknowledgement for her dedicated efforts in education, the clinics and her work with her patients.
Dr. Sanchez has had extensive training at multiple facilities under supervision of experts in her field, which allowed her to gain comprehensive knowledge and experience in treating a wide array of psychiatric disorders. Her work at Long Beach VA, Pat Moore Rehabilitation Center, San Diego Detention facilities allowed her to gain expertise in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Substance Abuse and mood and thought disorders underlying the substance use. Dr. Sanchez realizes the significant need in women’s health, especially in treating pregnant and post-partum patients who are struggling with mental illness. She not only trained with a specialist at the Maternal and Fetal clinic at UCI Medical Center, she was also a forefront in opening up the first Women’s Mental Health Medication Management Clinic at Long Beach VA Veteran’s Hospital. Her passion for her field allowed her to diligently pursue the much needed training and experience in treating patients who have a co-morbid psychiatric diagnosis.
PACE Recovery Center staff and the gentlemen whom we treat salute all veterans, remembering their sacrifices. Gratefully the enormity of these sacrifices is memorialized in monuments in our nation’s capital (see below) and throughout our country with national cemeteries that provide a final resting spot, a permanent salute to our veterans.
If you are or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, please contact Pace Recovery Center.
PACE Recovery Center Announces CARF Three Year Accreditation
On May 29, 2015, PACE Recovery Center was honored to receive notification from CARF's Brian J. Boon, PhD, President/CEO that PACE Recovery Center has been accredited by CARF International for a period of three years. This accreditation is for the following PACE programs:
This achievement is an indication of your organization's dedication and commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the persons served. Services, personnel, and documentation clearly indicate an established pattern of practice excellence."
Learning more about CARF
The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities(CARF) was founded in 1966 and "is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services."
The importance of a three year accreditation
The PACE Recovery Center's treatment team brings decades of clinical expertise and personal experience dealing with addiction and co-occurring disorders. This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows PACE's substantial conformance to the CARF standards. We recognize that an organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. We have demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit our commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.
PACE Executive Director and Founder, Lenny Segal, says it best:
We are excited to have PACE Recovery Center achieve a three year CARF International accreditation. We will continue to offer our Clients, Families and Referents the highest level of care."
To learn more about our men's only extended care drug and alcohol treatment program and our intensive outpatient program you can contact us and be assured our PACE programs are built on the idea that by helping the client work on their underlying issues, they will be able to achieve long-term sobriety.
Remember at PACE a Positive Attitude Changes Everything.
There was a time when our parents and teachers would expect us to learn things "by heart." Remember? We might be asked to learn a poem or a song, our multiplication tables (because we didn't have hand held calculators or smartphones to quickly check the answer to 6 X 12), the Pledge of Allegiance, our National Anthem, traveling directions, peoples' addresses and phone numbers. Another way to define "by heart" is "by rote." Rote is an interesting word, but perhaps the most fitting when it comes to discussing days like Memorial Day: by rote, from memory, without thought of the meaning; in a mechanical way.
There is so much more to Memorial Day, beyond what we have learned by heart. So today we thought we would share just a bit more of the history of this day, including why poppies come to mind for those celebrating the lives fallen for our freedom.
In Flanders Field the poppies blow
100 years ago this month, May 3, 1915, serving in World War I a Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote the following poem after presiding at the funeral of a fellow soldier.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
You see McCrae noticed that for some reason poppies will grow even in a field serving as a graveyard; in fact historically we learned that dating back to the Napoleonic Wars [1803-1815] a poet reflected on poppies growing among the graves (according to Wikipedia: "...a writer of that time first noted how the poppies grew over the graves of soldiers. The damage done to the landscape in Flanders during the battle greatly increased the lime content in the surface soil, leaving the poppy as one of the few plants able to grow in the region."
It was just a few years later at the end of World War I when Moina Michael, an American professor, read "In Flanders Field" and determined she would wear a red poppy each day to remember the soldiers who had died in WWI. She worked tirelessly with others and convinced the American Legion to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.
According the American Legion's website:
The Auxiliary Poppy Program has been a staple of the organization since the Legion’s 1925 National Convention when Resolution 534 was adopted, giving the Auxiliary complete charge of the program. But it is imperative to remember that the Poppy Program is an American Legion Family event where both Legion posts and Sons of The American Legion squadrons are encouraged to partner with their local Auxiliary unit to organize and promote the program, as well as distribute poppies for donations.Auxiliary Unit 291 in Newport Beach, Calif., recently raised $14,000 for its poppy program by mailing donation envelopes with poppies in them to all 6,000 unit, post and squadron members. The yearly mailing “is an opportunity to make a donation via the mail since not all members are able to attend meetings or events,” said Margaret Myles, Unit 291 president. “The purpose (of the poppy) is to remind our members the reason why we are The American Legion, and to honor those who have served, those who are currently serving and most importantly, those who have lost their lives in the line of service to our nation.”
Honoring our own...
Here at PACE Recovery Center we are honored to have two staff members who served in our armed forces.
Sean Kelly is a former Marine who proudly served our country. It is this background that helps him teach the Men of PACE Recovery Center how to accomplish goals, create discipline, and develop accountability. Sean’s own personal struggle with addiction allows him to meet the Clients where they are at in their own recovery, and help guide them on their recovery journey. Sean is an active member in the recovery community. His philosophy is to treat people with love, dignity and respect. It’s this mentality that allows him to create an alliance, which allows for the therapeutic process to take place between him and his Client. This relationship empowers the Client to gain the skills necessary to recover from drugs and alcohol. Sean studied at Centaur University to become a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor.
Victor Calzada joined the United States Marine Corps right out of high school in 1995. He proudly served as a heavy weapons operator. While in the service, Victor was recognized for his, honor, courage and commitment. While serving in the United States military, he learned the important characteristics of working as a team.
After his tour in the military, Victor worked for the Correctional Systems for 6 years as a Correctional Officer. Victory was known for his keen ability to listen and help them problem solve any issues they might have been experiencing. An area that Victor is passionate about is working with people who have substance abuse issues. Victor has had his own personal struggles with chemical dependency issues. He believe that the combination of opening our hearts and minds, with the right guidance, we can overcome our issues.
Celebrate this Memorial Day with heart, not by rote
If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.
When a friend of mine was a waitress in a local restaurant she said she could always tell when she was serving people who had just come from a Twelve Step meeting; "They are the ones that are always hugging each other!" she exclaimed. Those of us who have developed a high comfort level with physical contact, such as an arm around the shoulder or a hug, sometimes forget that we are part of a larger society that provides very complex and contradictory messages about touch. Physical contact between two people can have a powerful effect, positive or negative. There are several dynamics that play a role in a person's view of touch which are worth examining.
The Role Of Culture
The United States is generally considered to be a non-touch culture by most researchers. One study documented a very low rate of physical contact between pairs of Americans in a coffee shop setting, as compared to pairs from three other countries. The researchers observed of pairs of people as they engaged in routine conversations within the setting of a coffee shop. During a one-hour period of time, the average number of touch exchanges between the subjects ranged from 180 in San Juan (Puerto Rico) to 110 in Paris (France) to 2 in Gainesville, FL. (United States). Only the English engaged in less touch than the Americans (0 touches). From these results we can safety assume that many Americans will be uncomfortable with touch coming from a non-family member.
The Role Of Gender
It is common knowledge that males and females differ in their views of touch. The process of learning gender roles starts at a very young age. Studies of parents of infants found that touch was offered to female children with greater frequency than to male children of the same age. Mothers more frequently touched their sons than did fathers. Fathers more frequently touched their daughters than they did their sons. As children get older this trend continues. When 3-to-5-year-old children are dropped off at day care centers fewer expressions of physical affection such as hugging, cuddling, holding, or kissing take place between parents and boys than between girls and their parents.
In addition to receiving less touch than girls, as boys grow into men they are socialized to become easily aroused sexually by physical contact and, therefore, they have a diminished capacity than women to view comforting touch as a goal in itself rather than the beginning of a sexual encounter. This view of any form of touch being sexual combined with a fear of being labeled homosexual leads to a high likelihood of males responding negatively to being touched by another man.
The Role Of Physical And Sexual Abuse
A history of physical and/or sexual abuse is commonly found in those who attend mutual-help groups. Both males and females who have experienced childhood abuse often have negative reactions to touch, particularly if it occurs without warning, such as someone coming from behind them. Those persons who have only experienced touch as violence or as sexual may be suspicious of any form of touch, regardless of the other person's good intentions.
The Role Of Addiction
Children who are born physically addicted to alcohol or other drugs commonly exhibit a decreased desire or an actual aversion for touch. Malfunctions in the addicted infant's nervous system frequently cause excessive sleeping or to crying. Many of these children shun physical contact, are non-responsive to being held, and experience difficulties in bonding with their caregivers. Such children can be extremely frustrating for even the most competent and well-intentioned adult, and it is common for caregivers to feel rejected, irritated, or incompetent when such children fail to respond to efforts to soothe or nurture them. Furthermore, if the adult caregiver is also an addict herself, chances are that she is a person who has diminished self-esteem, a low tolerance for stress, and difficulty forming intimate relationships, all of which increase the risk factor that a child in her care may be physically abused leading to even further problems related to touch as an adult.
Guidelines To Consider When Offering Touch To Others
Although even with the best intentions any touch may be misinterpreted, there are several factors to keep in mind when offering touch so that it will likely be viewed by others as both comforting and non-sexual.
If at all in doubt, ask the person if a hug or other physical contact would be welcome. Do not merely assume because you would find a hug comforting that everyone shares your comfort with touch.
Having Already Formed A Relationship With The Person
The offer of a hug is more likely to be seen as a helpful gesture if you have already shown compassion for the suffering of another in ways other than the use of touch, for example, saying supportive things or taking time to listen to the person's problems. A hug or other form of physical contact is usually more meaningful from a trusted person than from a stranger. In other words, a hug ought to be the expression of a relationship that already exists rather than an attempt to form a relationship.
An Ability To Keep One's Ego At Bay
An ability to keep one's ego uninvolved in the process, which includes giving up any pre-determined agenda in order to be fully available for the needs of the other person is mandatory if the touch is to be for their benefit. In other words, if you take it personally whether another persons wants a hug or not the touch is more for your benefit than the other person's. This is particularly important for members of Al-anon to remember. New members often have a difficult time allowing others to experience the pain that is a part of the recovery process. They have a difficult time standing by and being present while another person expresses pain. They want to make it all better immediately. The hug is sometimes more about their own discomfort of seeing someone in pain than for the benefit of the other person.
Being Thoughtful About Touch
For a hug to be meaningful it has to be given in a thoughtful manner. The hug that is given out of habit rather than out of a sincere desire to be supportive has no effect at best, or is taken as an insult by the recipient.
Touching Both And Men And Women In A Similar Fashion
A heterosexual person who only offers hugs to persons of the other sex ought not to be surprised to learn that people are suspicious that these hugs are more about sexuality than about support.
A Final Reminder
One of the things meetings can offer is a safe place to experience comforting non-sexual touch. However, one must always keep in mind that other members may have very different views of the meaning of touch and approach any touch with caution. Anything powerful enough to heal also has the power to harm, and touch is no exception.
Dr. Mic Hunter is the author of:
The Ethical Use Of Touch In Psychotherapy (with Jim Struve) Back To The Source: The Spiritual Principles Of Jesus, Conscious Contact: The 12 Steps As Prayer Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse In America’s Military, Abused Boys: The Neglects Victims of Sexual Abuse
His solo practice is located in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
Henry van Dyke. American Poet
Thanksgiving really is about traditions...
If you think back to Thanksgiving Day in your own family, you might recall such things as the favorite item on the menu, or waiting for your grandparents to arrive, or tossing a football or Frisbee with your cousins...or maybe your Thanksgiving day memories were just a quiet day spent with your immediate family. The truth is we all have our own private memories of this holiday. We see how it is portrayed in movies, television shows, advertisements...you can even read all about the roots of Thanksgiving Day. Chances are you will find it an interesting read.
We know one family where the two adult sons take an extended bike ride. They get up early in the morning, go riding and arrive home just in time to celebrate the holiday with the rest of the family. Of course, they are teased about how they are avoiding helping with the dinner preparations, but again it is their tradition.
Our motto is Positive Attitude Changes Everything! As we've said before, we know that as the clients at our addiction recovery center help provide hope to others it will help them realize the positive changes they are making in their own lives.
We wish you all a beautiful, safe, healthy and peaceful Thanksgiving.
Every year on this day we stop to honor our veterans...
Yes, it is November 11, 2014. All of us will take a few minutes out of our day to acknowledge what each veteran of our Armed Services has contributed to our lives. Last year you may remember that we featured two of Pace Recovery's treatment team who both served in the United States Marine Corp - Sean Kelly and Victor Calzada. Today people will gather together to share memories, visit war memorials, stop by a Veterans Hospital to visit a loved one or just to be part of this day to say thank you.
A special poem
Years ago we came across a beautiful poem that was written in 1860 by William Whiting. We would like to share it with you today, and while it expresses gratitude to all sailors...it touches all those who gave part of their lifetime to serve our country.
For twenty years,
This sailor has stood the watch
While some of us were in our bunks at night,
This sailor stood the watch
While some of us were in school learning our trade,
This shipmate stood the watch
Yes...even before some of us were born into this world,
This shipmate stood the watch
In those years when the storm clouds of war were seen
brewing on the horizon of history,
This shipmate stood the watch
Many times he would cast an eye ashore and see his family standing there,
Needing his guidance and help,
Needing that hand to hold during those hard times,
But he still stood the watch
He stood the watch for twenty years,
He stood the watch so that we, our families,
And our fellow countrymen could sleep soundly in safety,
Each and every night,
Knowing that a sailor stood the watch
Today we are here to say:"Shipmate...the watch stands relieved.
Relieved by those YOU have trained, guided, and lead
Shipmate you stand relieved...we have the watch!"
"Boatswain...Standby to pipe the side...Shipmate's going Ashore!"
Conference season comes to a close...
As with any industry, the addiction and recovery community has a conference season that allows treatment professionals the opportunity to meet their peers, learn about the new developments in addiction treatment and ongoing research projects. This past October PACE Recovery Center was pleased to be a Silver Sponsor for CeDAR's Gender Matters, Men Matter Conference. Lenny Segal, Executive Director and Founder of PACE, attended Gender Matters in Broomfield, Colorado, and had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know guest speaker Mic Hunter, Psy.D. We are pleased that Dr. Hunter wanted to share some of his articles with us and we, in turn on occasion as you see below, will publish Dr. Hunter's articles on our blog for our readers to enjoy.
Wabi Sabi Your Relationships
It isn’t often that a concept that has the power to alter relationships has a name that is fun to say. Wabi sabi (wobby sobby) is a Japanese term that is difficult to say without smiling that describes a profound way of viewing relationships with oneself, other people, and life in general. Richard Powell the author of Wabi Sabi Simple defined it as, “Accepting the world as imperfect, unfinished, and transient, and then going deeper and celebrating that reality.” An heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation is prized not despite the signs of use it shows, but because of those marks. Nobody ever claimed Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, or Lead Belly are great singers in the conventional sense of the word, but they are excellent singers from a wabi sabi viewpoint.To be wabi sabi in a relationship with another is more than tolerating that person’s imperfections, it is to find the good in those so-called defects. It is to find acceptance not despite the imperfections, but because of them. The Twelve Step program is an excellent example of wabi sabi in action. The new comer is accepted because of his or her powerlessness and unmanageability, those problems are the very ticket into the program. When someone introduces herself at an A.A. meeting with, “I’m Mary, and I’m an alcoholic,” and everyone responds, “Hi Mary,” that is wabi sabi.The 12 step Al-anon program is another example of wabi sabi. Members are taught to accept the fact that their loved ones have an illness, not to take the behavior associated with that affliction personally, and to respond with love. To be wabi sabi in a relationship with an alcoholic is to give up on trying to “fix” that person, which opens up more time and energy to be together with less conflict.Perhaps the most challenging relationship in which to practice wabi sabi is with oneself. Again the 12 Step program provides guidance. Step one suggests accepting one’s powerlessness and unmanageability, Step five encourages acceptance of one’s wrongs, and Step ten implies acceptance that one will continue to commit wrongs. These “defects of character,” and “shortcomings” are what made us who we are today. They are the psychological, emotional, and spiritual equivalent of the winkles, scars, and laugh-lines on our bodies. We will never be perfect humans, but we can be perfectly human. As Leonard Cohen croaked in his wabi sabi song Anthem, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light get in.”
About Mic Hunter, Psy.D.
Dr. Mic Hunter has held Minnesota licenses as a Psychologist, and Marriage and Family Therapist, and as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He has been sought out by the print and broadcast media for interviews over 150 times including Oprah, CNN, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He has spoken to mental health professionals and the general public over 300 times in America, Mexico, Mongolia, and England. He has presented at the meetings of the American Association Of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, and the American Psychological Association. He has been invited to give nine keynote addresses. He has served as a reviewer for The Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, The Journal of Men's Studies, The Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and Violence Against Women. He is a recipient of the Fay Honey Knopp Memorial Award, given by the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization, "For recognition of his contributions to the field of male sexual victimization treatment and knowledge." In 2007 the Board of Directors of Male Survivor announced the creation of The Mic Hunter Award For Research Advances. Dr. Hunter, for whom the on-going award was named, became the first recipient. It was given to him for his, “ceaseless pursuit of knowledge about male sexual abuse in all its occurrences, of the eloquent dissemination of new knowledge in this area, and of the stimulation for further study and concern about revealing, treating and preventing male sexual abuse.” Mic Hunter, Psy.D. is the author of Conscious Contact: The 12 Steps As Prayer, and Back To The Source: The Spiritual Principles Of Jesus.