Monday, November 18, 2013

Nothing is impossible

The story begins up in Northern, Mn. A Native American Reservation to be exact. Five years ago I was running a group and met this male youth, who was serving 6 months for a probation violation. He was filled with anger, and rage. I can remember the first few session with him on a 1:1 after group. I was not sure if he was going to assault me at times. Would not be the first for this writer. A couple years went by, and I still was able to connect with his family, and once in awhile he would be out of jail and come to the end of my groups. In 2012 he got a prison case, and was sentenced to 15 months. He ended up serving 11 months I believe. The last time we spoke was on the phone last feb. I was preaching to him how to do his time, stay in the moment, find positives each and every day, while trying to follow a daily routine that he could seek some validation from. He told me he would fight for money, or canteen, (items that a inmate could purchase) and that was how he would survive his sentence. I told him right there, yes you can fight D (that was his nick name) but you can always choose not to, and learn to work on your self. He replied so violently, that I almost had to end the conversation, that he needed money. I then called the prison, and got some information about jobs or school that inmates can do. I wrote him a letter, with the information, and talked to his uncle for nearly two hours on the phone. His uncle gave this information to D, while on a visit. Two months ago, I got a call from his Uncle saying if I would call his case manager at the prison. I did, and was overwhelmed with what I was hearing. D, decided he would work at a maintaince job, then he took a library job. His peers gave him a tough time for working, and he almost got jumped by some of them according to the uncle. In the library he began to focus on self, and he started to journal, or actually draw pictures of how he felt when he was angry. Then he would take these pictures and send them to his family. D got out of prison two weeks ago. He needed to get a job to support himself. His uncle had his pictures in his shop. The uncle was a mechanic. A week ago, a lady saw some of the pictures that D sketched, and asked where this person was. The uncle told the story to the lady waiting for her car, as it was being fixed in the shop. The lady called D, and offered him a job at her art studio. D took the job, and is currently working for this lady at her art studio. The lady died last week. She had cancer, and was given 3 months to live. Her family asked D to stay on and help with the family business. The phone rang, a hour ago, it was D. He was crying. We talked, and talked. D is going to continue his job, but said something that this writer could not believe. D said that for the first time in his life, he owned up to all the bad stuff in life, and prayed to his spirit. D was sexually abused for five years, ages 8 to 13. He let it all out. Everything. He then said, that this lady who offered him a job, was his higher power. I had to take a breath, my eyes were watering, the flood gates open. I put my mouth back to the phone, and said, yes D, she was and is your higher power. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Homework, Homework, and Homework

Over the years this writer has enjoyed providing addiction education, life skills and mentoring to kids and adults of all ages. The last few years I have found myself doing something that I never learned to do as a kid, homework. This last month of October 2013, I have been fortunate to work every day, Monday through Sunday, helping my clients, families, and other referrals that are sent my way. If I were to try and find the common thread this last month with all of my clients, some in school, others trying to go back to school, or clients who have kids that are in school what is the theme? Homework is the correct answer. Each week I will find myself helping kids, college kids, and adults with kids working on their homework. My brain back in the day did not pay attention to the algebra, chemistry, biology, world literature, english, and history. I am finding that my higher power, and God are providing me this challenge or make up for not paying attention in class when I was a kid! Parents, if there is one thing that I can share with you with this story it would be to get engaged in your child's academic career. Make it a fun experience when you are helping with the homework! You will find that your patience, and commitment to your kids studies will help you build a healthy interpersonal relationship with your son or daughter. Taking that extra time to listen and learn with your child will help each of you stay in the moment. I am finding that kids and parents who are struggling with addiction, can learn to communicate with each other while doing their homework. The communication building and listening skills seem to help diminish the disrespect and past negative behavior. Homework can be a gateway to a positive transformation between the kid and adult. Schedule a time when you can check in with your kid, and support their academic futures. Collaborate together, and learn new communication skills as you both learn about each other in challenging times. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Recovery Awareness

Do you remember back in your past when you were aware of all the different places and people you could get high with, gamble, purge, and have unhealthy sexual experiences? It's safe to say that your awareness was in touch with your addiction. Self was not in control of your thoughts, hence, you knew how to keep the addiction spiral going. Now, fast forward to right now, this second. You are in control of your thoughts, and you are becoming aware of what places, and people who are safe for you, right? This is called recovery awareness. Controlling your thoughts, becoming aware of your surroundings allows self to be in your health and in the moment. You are aware of the red flag behavior and are choosing not to engage in that unhealthy life style. Recovery awareness is a thought that transitions into a healthy behavior that only self can control! You know you can use, gamble, purge, and have unhealthy sexual behavior, but, you are choosing not to. If feels great being able to implement recovery awareness in your life. The risk versus reward thinking diminishes. Self begins to slow down their impulsive thoughts and think things through when they use recovery awareness. You begin to develop healthy recovery skills that help keep you balanced when you are in a risk situation. These new recovery skills include daily journaling, exercising, eating healthy, and finding a support group or a support team for you to engage in. Going back to school may be a healthy skill that you are working on to improve your education. It feels positive when self can identify with their own recovery awareness routine. You may share your skills with other addicts who need the extra support to help them navigate a recovery awareness path. A new confidence is being built in your body, and you are the builder! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Language, language, and language

The other day, I was working with some kids who were how shall we say have a mouth on them. The child's therapist came up to me and asked how do I handle that vulgar language. I looked at her, and responded, sometimes helpers need to talk their language, but at the same time teach them new language. She looked at me with a curious smile. I was waiting for her to ask another question, then one of the kids began on a f-bomb tyrant with another peer. I walked over, and asked the boys to lower the voices, but more importantly choose the correct word. Little did I know the staff psychiatrist was right behind me with the child's therapist. My client came up to me, apologized for the f-bombs, then told the other peers to chill out, and will see them next group. My client went to get a drink, we were doing our session right after the group. The child's therapist came up to me and responds, how did you do that? I looked at her, and said, I speak their language. It is one thing to say f-bomb, but another to let them know you understand what they mean, but can hollar it out in another way. I call it respect. I curse too, and need to work on it. The key is being able to relate to a kids language, regardless of how it may come out. You can teach kids how to choose other words. Control the thought, positive behavior follows. I have found that most kids, who suffer from behavior problems, curse because they are angry, or think the language is cool. If you work on the anger, and then understand the slang, the cursing begins to diminish. There are many layers of inappropriate language being called out by kids who think they can get respect by this type of behavior. If you are a helper and could use some new communication techniques with your clients or patients, try speaking their language. Once you are able to identify the thought behind the clients word, you can begin to implement transformation in a healthy way for your client. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Trapped in your own body- can be a positive thing!

One of the common thoughts that I hear weekly in working with clients who struggle with eating disorders, "I feel trapped in my body". This writer believes that the person really does feel this way, however, why not turn the trapped feeling into a positive feeling? Persons with eating disorders can have a difficult time accepting their body. In order to find that acceptance, it is important for the person who once purged to understand and identify what they feel is wrong with their body at this second. Not what was wrong with their body in the past, but right now. Learning to be honest with one's feelings is a huge step in understanding why a person who has a eating disorder chooses to purge, and continue the cycle of the eating disorder. Once the honesty can be put forth, the feeling of trapped in your body begins to unravel. You can start to change the negative feelings and thoughts that you may have with your own body to positive thoughts when you become honest on where your behavior is right now. Find the positives about your body. Yes, I have heard all the negatives in my many years of helping people who struggle with this disorder, but, each negative thought self has the power to transform into a positive. Accept you may have challenges with your body, but they are not a reason to purge, and continue the cycle of not eating, counting your food in a negative way, binge eating, and not eating at all. Treat your body as something that only you can change, and appreciate the unique shapes, color, and beauty it has. Try this exercise if you need some more support in accepting your body right now as you read this addiction education blog. Go to the mirror every morning as you wake up and start your day. Look into the mirror and pick out three things you like in what you see. Reflect, be honest, but it has to be three positive things. Then pick three challenges in what you see at this moment with your body. Now write down the positives and challenges down in your journal. Pick one positive and one challenge for that day. Your goal is to to keep the positive a positive for that whole day, and for the challenge you need to switch that into a positive before the end of day. Use your mind, control the thought. You can change that feeling of being trapped into being trapped in a positive way. Stop comparing your body to others, and your peers. You have one body, and one brain, balance them for self. Each day you make your list, you become stronger in your thoughts, and learn how to accept where you are at that day in a healthy way. You know you can purge, but you choose not to. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


One of the words that I try and use daily, with the clients I see and groups I facilitate is confidence. Being confident for self. What does that mean? Self has the ability to be confident when self is in the moment. Ask yourself this question. When you are balanced, working your routine, utilizing your higher power (what ever you choose) is life fun again? Confidence comes when you are doing things that help you learn to like and love self again. Sometimes we want to be confident instantly, right this second. As we all know, being confident takes time time. We need to slow our thoughts down and work our steps, one thought at a time. Being impulsive and making quick decisions are not going to help you be confident in your thinking or behavior. Remember, confidence starts when you are in control of your thoughts. When self is confident, the negative things around you slowly start to bounce off or go away. You are not dwelling on the negative, or making the negative thoughts bigger in your head. You glean how to work through struggle when you are confident in a healthy way! Exercising, journaling, and eating healthy will help with your confidence. Those past negative behaviors stay in the past when struggle is present. A inner confidence begins to build in your personality. Sure, you still may be sad, or struggling with some things in your life, but you are confident that you do not need to go back to the addiction or unhealthy behavior that you once portrayed. You begin to like who your are at this second! Today be confident in your thinking and you will see positive behavior. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reading is everything!

The other day as I was working with a young kid from a rough neighboorhood of north minneapolis, a positive thing happened. It started with a franic phone call from his mother the night before. She was explaining to me that her child, who I have been working with the last few months as a volunteer mentor- was not reading his homework at night and getting notes sent home from school. This kid is in 6th grade, and a wonderful athlete. The story continues, this kid was not going to read he told his teacher and his mother. I picked him up, and instead of heading to the park to shoot hoops, and work on his life skills right there, we went to the library. His mood changed just like that. We walked into the library and found a safe place to talk in the back. He is giving me this tough, look! I told him to go pick out any book, know matter where it was, it had to be a book, then return back to me. After 5 minuets, he returned and came back with his choice of the book. The book was a fantasy, science fiction book. I then asked him to read me the first chapter, he complied. I know how to read tod, come on man he replied! I said, then why are you not reading your homework book at night. He replies, because I am one of three kids in my class who can actually read loud enough, and good enough, that I don't want to be called on by the teacher. That made perfect sense, I smiled and told him I appreciate your honesty. But, if your on the b-ball court, and your the only one who can make baskets, are you going to purposely miss the basket or not take shots, or not play for your team? Response, hell no! Ok buddy, heck no, but do you get my drift? Yes, he replies. It is a gift that you are a good reader, and positve speaker. Be proud of your intelligence, and let your peers see  how they too can enjoy reading at a positve level. He then began to read the next chapter. The next night his mother called me and asked what did I do? She replies that he brought three extra books home from the school library. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A special day

Today is a special day, for one reason. We have 6 kids, well their not my kids, but college kids who started school today, and two others who start their academic career in the next month or so. These 6 personalities, female and male begin a new chapter in their lives, each working through the recovery model. This writer is giddy with their perseverance and positive energy that is needed to accomplish their goals. Over the years I have gleaned how important it is to give our future scholars addiction education. It is a wonderful feeling when a kid begins to transform into a positive, respectful, caring, balanced kid who graduates from their college. Watching the parents glow and speak of their once troubled child who is now a young person who likes and loves themselves is one of the best rewards that this writer can be part of. To many times we see kids drop out of college, or high school due to the addiction cycle. Each kid has the capacity to work on their self, balance their thoughts and show positive behavior, find a higher power where they can have faith, and have healthy fun in their lives and new interpersonal relationships. Indeed it is a special day. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Challenge yourself

I can remember my college coach and soon after, the semi-pro, and pro coaches barking at me to challenge myself! This phrase became a personal code that in recovery as a addict and helper I try and pass on to my personal clients, groups where I speak to, and other helping communities that I provide addiction education training to. Challenge yourself means give it everything you have with all your energy! Push yourself through the personal struggle. Remember, when we were all in our addiction cycle, we pushed our self in a negative, exasperating, and insidious manner! If we can push our self in a positive, trying, accepting, and in the moment, we can challenge self to get through anything! Think of it like this. The reward is the challenge itself! Don't give up, stay balanced . Some days are harder, but you can challenge self to make it through. Let your mind be your compass. What ever direction you go, make it a challenge. Control your thoughts, think positive, challenge your brain to be in the moment. Mindful of where you are at today, and what you need to do to stay in your health. Each challenge you get through, is something to be proud of! Give yourself credit for all the hard work you put forth. Going to your support group, meeting with your helper, being responsible with your finances and working your job the best you can. Day to day challenges are something you need to accomplish. Be patient, sometimes you will not meet your challenge for that thought day, it's ok. There is the next challenge, and the next thought. One of life's challenges is to work through struggle in a healthy way! You already tried struggling in an unhealthy way, that is called addiction! Challenge yourself every day. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Inspiration comes in all forms

Sometimes we look to hard for things that can inspire us, this writer included. I was in a rush to get junior off to his school home base, and myself to work. I was signing him in, and began to walk faster, (you all know the feeling) when you are late, you want to just jog, or even run, but you need to be professional- walk faster right? As I turned the corner, there was this younger girl, getting her locker stuff, she turned and looked at me. I smiled and said keep up the good work. Her staff person with her, looked at me with interest. The girl then came up to me and gave me a hug! I gave her one back! She smiled even more. Her staff person called her back, and said sorry about that, I think she likes you. I said, sorry about what? She made my day. The staff person says well most people don't take the time to notice her, or even talk to her at times. She has autism you know. I said, I did not even notice (obviously I know) I really appreciated the hug as I looked at this young person. Inspiration comes in many forms. We often are in a hurry to get to one place. This inspiration was easy, I was not looking for it, it came to me. How fortunate I am to be part of a little girls thoughts and receive inspiration. Continue to work on yourself. Balance your day with positive thoughts and learn to slow down. That higher power that guides us gives us inner strength and faith! Life is fun when we are in control and trying new healthy things that give us positive energy! Stay in your health stay in the moment.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Medication, medication, and medication

Medication is an important tool to help with your mental health. Taking your medication every day as prescribed is part of your daily routine. Medication will not make all your problems go away! It is very important that self is able to work their routine and incorporate medication into the routine. Talking about your problems, exercising, and working through your problems will help you balance your day. I have found many clients have unrealistic expectations of what medication will do for them. Some clients appear to think if they take their medication, (which is positive) that they do not have to work their program any more. This is untrue. The clients that remain sober, clean, and in their health are the one's that control their thoughts, exercise, journal, talk through their problems, go to support groups, work their daily routine, and take their medication. Medication management and implementing a positive routine work together in order for self to be balanced in their thoughts. Give yourself credit for taking your medication but you also need to work your program. The combination of taking your prescribed medication and working a healthy routine will help you stay in the moment. Learn to like and love yourself again. Balance your thoughts, and your life with positive energy. A higher power will help guide you through the challenges in life, and help you see the positives. Fun is waiting for you! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Impulsive behavior

If there is one trait that most addicts have in common, it appears to be impulsive behavior. I know when I was deep into my spiral of addiction- impulsive I was 24/7! With that said- I'm going to go a step further- I fervently believe that the impulse mechanism in our brains begins before our addiction commences out of control. For example, this writer believes that addiction is a substitute satisfaction for an unmet need, right? If this is true, then we had unmet needs before we began to lose control with our addiction. Think back before you were in the addiction spiral, were you impulsive? Did you have impulsive behavior going on in your life before you began the addiction chase? Most of you I'm assuming did, and that is where I want you to think about this next comment. In order for impulsive behavior to start, self has to make this thought bigger! We obsess about how we need to do this impulsive thing, we do not let it our of our head. The unmet needs become so real, that we actually believe that we need to be impulsive to get the thought out. Slow down, this type of thinking will not help you. If you are willing to become impulsive about your thoughts, and do not let them out in a healthy way- you begin to portray impulsive behavior. Once this cycle is starting, you take risks, and soon can find yourself into an unhealthy addiction. Think things through, do not finalize thoughts in your head, there is always another way! You do not have to act on your impulsive behavior. Be aware and be able to understand where that impulsive thinking will take you. Be safe with your thinking, and allow yourself to relax. We use exercise as a positive thought changer when clients are struggling with impulsive thoughts and impulsive behavior. Get a work out in, and feel good about yourself. Validate self with how you did not act on the impulsive thought, instead you let it out with exercise. Journaling is another positive tool self can use when feeling impulsive. Let the thoughts out on paper. Move on to the next thought. You can explore your unmet needs in a healthy way when you are not acting impulsive! Exercise and journaling our two healthy skills that will help you with impulsive behavior. One thought at a time. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Learn to accept your own challenges- turn it into a positive!

Challenges, challenges and challenges. Some of us, self included, would beat ourselves up pretty good when we could not accept our challenges. It was easier to have a drink, get high, go gambling, purge or have unhealthy sexual behavior. We may use the excuse, that if we have a challenge confronting us, that would be ample reason to go self-medicate! But, if you really be honest, really honest, after you self-medicated, did the challenge really go away? 100% no, it did not, not even close. Sure, you may have given yourself a few hours of destroying your body, and mind- but the challenge is still there, and it grows bigger. Remember, it starts out with a thought, you are the only one in your head who can make it bigger, and bigger. Once it gets to big, impulsive, destructive behavior usually commences. This is why we need to work through our challenges, and turn them into a positive. You need to learn how to accept your challenges and turn the negative into a positive. This challenge is something that you can do if you are able to be honest about how you feel when things are not working out the way you wanted or expected. You may be angry at yourself, or others, when certain things do not go the way you expected. This is ok people, it is called challenges. Self has the ability to work through tough challenges when you are in your health. Stay in the moment. You can't change your past, but you can accept it on your terms. Turn the challenge into a positive by not self-medicating, making the thought bigger, allowing negative energy to obsess on something that you already know is a challenge in your life. Be proud that you can identify your own challenges, and begin to work through them. To many people want to battle with their negatives, and forget that there is a positive in knowing where you need support. Put your energy into things you can control and get balance out of. The first thing I tell all patients that are referred to us or a brand new client- this is your challenge right now- where you are at this second. Then we begin to work through the challenge and learn to turn it into a positive. Let your mind utilize it's strengths, turn off the negative switch. One thought at a time. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Facebook attention, for whom?

This last weekend, I got this message to call this person. The voice on the message appeared very young. As I dialed the number, I was thinking about what I would say if this voice was indeed that young. I make it a rule to get the parents permission, when I think the voice is younger then 18, for liability issues and protection. To my surprise, a older voice answered. I identified myself to the caller, and she immediately, responds that the message left with me, must of been her daughter. Respectfully, I asked if she would like me to talk to her, and how old was her daughter? She blurts out in a laughing way, she is 24, in college studying to become a nurse. Then all of sudden, I here the voice, and I am talking to her. Mom was just leaving for work, she apparently is a nurse to. The young lady introduced her self, (ok to share) and we began to talk. She has no addiction, no emotional mentoring needed, as I am surmising the information she is giving me. She explains her father and mother got a divorce a couple years ago- and she is concerned with her mother's clothing behavior on facebook. I took a breath, and asked her to explain what she meant. It turns out Mom is posting pictures of herself on facebook, that appear to her daughter as inappropriate, immature, and attention gathering. I could understand this concern, as a person who uses facebook, I too see this in some of my peers, specifically older moms who seem to advertise their life on facebook, but more importantly, they take many pictures of themselves and post. I thought it was important to explain what I do as a mental health professional before I go any further, and ask if there was any addiction behavior connected to this message. If there was not, I wanted to give this person to another helper who may be of more service in their field. She stopped talking, and replies that she is experimenting with her mom's depression medication. I asked her if she has a diagnosis of depression, she said no, absolutely not! She continues on to say that she is not anxious, or meets the criteria for any mood disorder. I then carefully, and cautiously, asked if her experimenting with her mother's scripts was providing her any relief with her anger towards her mothers facebook posting of pictures? I could tell right there after a long pause, that was the issue. Her mother was creating unwanted attention to her friends and herself with the pictures. This 24 year old college person, was self-medicating because her mom in her eyes was posting pictures, in her clothing, and getting many responses with her facebook friends, and mom's facebook friends. She replies that she takes the pills to forget about what she is embarrassed about, but it's not helping. We then talked about her college, and what kind of mental health services they offer to students. As we talked further, we made a plan for her to make a appointment with student services, and talk to a psychologist that works at the university. She appeared to feel better. Something still did not fit, I could not wrap my head over this conversation. I was missing something, this would not be the first time or last time that I felt something was more to the story. The conversation was coming to a halt, and I thought the plan seemed positive. Im searching my brain, what was I missing? I then thanked her for the phone call, and let her know she can reach out via email, or voice if she ever needed to. As I was hanging up the phone, telling her to not make things bigger, and being honest with self, balance her feelings and thoughts, use her higher power (which was her mom) and have some fun on her upcoming night out with nursing peers. She said, Tod, I am the one posting inappropriate pictures of myself on facebook, and I do not like the attention I am getting. My mother is worried that I am upset with my sexuality, I may be bi? I said let it out- all of it, keep going. Twenty minuets later I got the truth, her truth. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Friday, June 14, 2013


This writer is a firm believer in venting- writer included- that is why I have a blog! One of the coolest things about my job is being able to form positive relationships with Mn school social workers all over the state. I get to speak to high school students, particularly seniors. I provide addiction education and education on safe sex! Important, right? This one particular school district, where I provide these addiction education talks asked me to come back and talk again to their seniors next fall. My good friend is a social worker at this high school. I asked her if I could talk to the middle school first, then do the seniors in the fall at the high school. She thought it was a awesome idea, and took the request to the administration. The administration informed me that they thought that was a terrible idea, and they do not have teenage pregnancy issues at the middle school. I almost fell off my chair when I got the email! Really, are you serious? I have not only worked with 15 year old girls in this school district but have received feedback from church pastors if I am aware of the teenage pregnancy problems in the school district! Vent, breathe, and slow the thoughts down. That is how we do not make things bigger in our head. I preach this daily. Can I let this go, am I able to move onto the next thought. Yes, I can, but I need to voice or vent my opinion to the administration in a respectful manner. I do enjoy speaking to the seniors in this high school, and have received positive feedback from the parents and kids. But, am I enabling the issue by not trying to speak to the middle school? Yes, I am. Let the negative thoughts out, Tod, don't make it bigger. Ok, I will exercise, and come back to this after my work out. Work out completed, I feel better, thoughts are not racing as before. I need to vent, journal, and talk about this. I will blog! I'm sending a respectful email to the administration, and outlining the challenges. I feel better, in the moment. Venting is human, know matter what you do for a living, it is important to vent and get your feelings out. Venting makes us stronger. Thanks for listening. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Failure is success (it's how you look at it)

The other day I was able to step into a "old" group that I use to facilitate, and listen to the topic at hand. The topic was success, and how people in this group were sharing their success stories with each other. Many people at this group did not say anything, or offer any feedback as each person was given the chance to speak. The group leader asked if I would like to offer any thoughts. The first thing out of my mouth was failure. That got people's attention real quick. Each face with a pair of eyes was watching me now. I walked up to the marker board. (I have never learned how to speak my thoughts with out a marker board!) I wrote failure in big black letters. Then I drew a arrow from the word failure to (as I wrote the word) success. Hands went up quick, there must of been six hands shoot up. I called the first hand. The person replies that failure can not be a success, and soon the head nodding was alive again, and I could here whispers between the group. I looked at this person and responded, each time self fails self has the ability to succeed. For example, if you have a relapse, you have the choice to have another one or not to have another relapse. If you choose not to have a relapse, and work your program that is a success for that moment right there. You may have failed, but you are teaching your self how to work through it, and and keep trying- that my friends is a success. If you choose to dwell on your relapse, make it bigger, you will let failure control your thoughts. Every time you fail, you have the power to make it a success if you believe in your self and your program. Five seconds went by. The voices were getting louder, I could hear the failure stories, but each story slowly began to turn positive. We started the group again. This time each person was to give a recollection of a failure, and how they worked through it. It was amazing to hear how group members could recount failed experiences- (it was obvious that some were not letting go of the past) you could feel their negative energy. As the hour grew longer, it appeared that many in the group were learning how to look at failure in a different way- not beating them self up- but trying to move forward to have the potential to succeed. I closed with this for our group. We all make mistakes, we all have failures in our life, we need to be accountable for this. Being accountable is part of success, owning up to our failure with honesty is a positive behavior. The trick is to learn from our failures, let the negative energy out and focus on the positive energy! It's how you look at your failures and move forward- that is a success. Something to be proud of. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Keep your clothes on

A couple of years ago I was working with a client, who was a stripper. She was struggling with her addiction and decided to strip to support her addiction. I skyped with her for 6 months. She was using three times a day, and was in tough shape. When I discharged her, she had been clean for 45 days. Her goal was to enrol in community college, and begin her academic career. When she emailed me this weekend, she asked me to share her story with other girls, or women who may be in the same business. The story continues as she lead a life of meth, drinking, and unhealthy sex at times. After three months of skyping, we began to learn the layers of sexual abuse that she suffered as teenager. She was unable to seek counseling, and decided that she would drop out of high school and become a stripper. Her best friends sister was a stripper, and she had her own car, and appeared to make alot of money. This was to become her goal. This particular girl was very fit, and she could dance. She was a athlete in 9th grade, and was sexually abused in 10th and 11th grade. I remember how positive she felt when she disclosed her story, and all the pain she had built up over the last few years. It was at her fifth month of skyping that I found her to be changing the way she felt about her past. We began to uncover her talents and strengths as a person. I asked her if she could still dance, but keep her clothes on. I will never forget her expression, as she looked at me like I was from mars! On her sixth month of skyping with me, she passed her GED then got enrolled in the local community class. She was excited about school, and being meth free! I just heard from her this weekend. She will graduate from her associates degree in physical education. She is working as a dance instructor, and using the funds to pay for her school. She is meth free, going on three years. She just got accepted into her college, and is pursuing a bachelor's degree in physical education. This last weekend she taught her dance class with 15 girls, and all 15 enrolled in the next session! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A chair

These last few weeks have been filled with busy, busy, helping sessions. Yesterday- was know exception. I was heading over to see one of my clients, and she was getting ready to go on a trip. She will be moving for the first time in many, many, years to a much a smaller place. I could see there are some overwhelming feelings with this move and some anxiety that was filling her head. This particular client- (permission to share) is making progress each day and continues to battle the urges and cravings! It is a blessing when a client gets to get out of dodge and visit their loved ones. As we begin to start our session, I could sense that she was eager to ask me something. Really eager! Her husband is in the hospital, and will be there for the rest of his life. She wanted to deliver a brand new recliner chair to him at the hospital, right now, this very second. Usually, when I have the planned request ahead of time, I am able to meet most of my clients requests, but it needs to scheduled. Remember, I see 7 people some days all over are area. Well, I could see my client was determined to get this chair to her aiding husband. I said sure, we will make the time, but we must go right now. The hospital is 20 minuets away, and we could do our session in the car on the way there. Seemed simple enough for this writer. However, its road construction time in our area, and the traffic was filled with what appeared at the time, millions of travelers. I was thinking to myself how am I going to get back in time to my next client across town? We continue the journey, and begin to talk about her upcoming trip, and how positive energy will help her in a new place, and her moving to a new place can be a positive change if she is willing to accept the challenge. This particular client is a older person, working through many challenges in her life at this age, plus a addiction. Tough stuff! We finally get there, and I need to track down some help, the chair is super heavy! I go into the front entrance, and they are swamped, busy. I can see the time, and my whole schedule for the day will be messed up. After some sweet talking, we get a cart, and I and the other staff to load the chair with me onto the cart and I am instructed to wheel it up to my clients husbands room. We had to take a elevator, all the elevators are busy, again, the word busy. Then I see all these elderly people in the hospital waiting for the elevator, some complaining how long they have been there, and they need to be on first, and they will get on first. Remember, Im in a Veterans Hospital, and most of the people need extra time to move, walk, wheel their wheel chair. I realize Im going to be late, and I need to speed this up. My client senses this, as most older people do. After 15 minuets we get on the elevator, and head to the room. Im pushing this heavy cart with chair, trying to maneuver through the all the clients in our path, which is a difficult thing. Everyone want to say Hi, and see who the chair is going to? After a weaving and passing, the room is in sight. My client goes in gives her husband a hug, then I am instructed to bring in the chair with the help of the aide who was there, as we begin to bring it in, I am introduced to her husband. At that time, time stopped! Just like that. He is in a wheel chair, his roommate in a wheel chair, neither of them can talk. Her husband looks at me, then the chair, and he smiles, not just a smile, but the room could be pitch dark and his smile would light it all up. I felt the positive energy, as I looked quickly at my client she was in tears. A chair could bring so much joy for that second, it was amazing. Time did not matter, my schedule did not matter- it was not about me, it was about a chair that brought positive energy to a person who needed it and a wife who needed it, and a helper who needed to be reminded of the simple things in life- helping others! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A slippery intervention

Good morning world, I have been asked to share some humor in my interventions. Truth be told, most interventions are not filled with humor, more with emotions, grief, and trauma. But, I do recall a few years ago, right around this time of the year- I think it was at the end of May. I remember going to a family intervention just west of the Twin Cities. Working with a gentlemen who was struggling with cocaine dependence, and his wife who was struggling with the mood shifts of her husband. Cocaine addiction can be a very moody disorder for self, and family members. As I knocked on the door, met the family, and sat down on couch. There were little kittens flying around the house, and you could see that the new born pets were providing some comfort to the family. We began the intervention, and I listened to the wife talk, and her sister. Then it was the addicts turn to share his story. Now it was time for me to meet privately with the addict, and his wife and her sister went into the other room. She called the kitties, and they began to follow. All of a sudden I felt a tingle on my ankle, like a kitty licking my ankle and my foot. I figured one of them was under the couch. Then the addict, came and sat down across from me, and I could see him looking awkward. He called his wife back in the room, and asked where Simon was? She then looked under their computer desk, and said probably sleeping. I started talking about how today will be a new day, and let's not judge our past, not worry about tomorrow, but put all are positive energy into this second, right now- control the thought. As I said that, out of the corner of my eye, I swear I see a large tail of something pushing back in forth. Then I get another lick on my foot- I was wearing leather sandals, and it tickled! Just like that, the guy, said hang on dude, I need to get Simon. He went to the computer desk and started pulling out this gigantic, huge, python. I am in shock, literally, on top of the couch, stepping on to the recliner heading to the door. His wife comes running out, with her sister, and begin to help fetch Simon. Simon was 6 and half feet, with a head the size of football. I am out of my health, out of the moment, freaking out. I hate, repeat, repeat, not dislike, or not sure of, but hate snakes. The sister of the wife is laughing her head off at me, a 6 foot 2 man, 200 pounds, standing on the recliner heading for the door! The guy, saying, its ok dude, Simon does not bite. I go, dude, its not ok, and he licks, and I need to go. I finally get out the apartment door. The kitties are trying to get out- my mental image, of kitties and a python, great- time to check myself into the hospital and get medication for the nightmares I will have. The wife comes out, and apologizes, many times. She is writing me a check, and I'm like- this one is on the house. The story continues we finished the intervention at a coffee shop that weekend. Simon did not attend that slippery intervention. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Life can be filled with unwanted pressure. How do you deal with it? Do you feel forced to conform with what others are doing? Pressure can lead to poor decision making if we do not let the pressure out in a positive way. Giving in to pressure is not a healthy choice. Pressure can effect any age at any time of your life. Self needs to learn how to work through pressure and not let pressure dictate your decision making. In the past, pressure could be a path to relapse and unhealthy behavior. Going to a work happy hour, because everyone else may be going to the same function is a form of pressure. Even though you know that a happy hour environment is not a positive environment for you since you have been clean for many months. Attending a barbecue function, when you understand that there will be a litany of alcohol, but you say everyone else is going, why can't I? How about going to party, thinking you won't see any drugs, and if you do, you will be able to handle that urge or craving. Eating a pizza at 10pm at night, and thinking you can get it down, without purging, because your friends can eat when ever they want. Going to the casino for a birthday party with a peer, even though you know you have not been to a casino in a long time, but you think that you have to go in order to be part of the birthday celebration. Feeling that urge to go to a club, and not look to hook up with anyone, but you see all of your other friends with someone, and now you feel the need to meet a stranger and have unhealthy sex. All these are forms of pressure. Each example you may be able to relate to when you gave into pressure and the outcome was not a positive one. But, that was the past, now is the present, and you can work through any type of pressure. First, you need to not make the thought bigger. Let the thought out. Think it through, play it forward in your head. Common sense will be help you with your fantasy thinking. Second understand that you know you can go to any of these forms of pressure, but at this moment, you are deciding not to go, and be ok with this decision. Go find something else to do, like exercise, call a peer for support, give self credit for not giving into the pressure. Finally, allow self to be rewarded for not giving into pressure. Treat your self to something positive. Journal about how you wanted to engage in the unhealthy pressure, but you did not, and write how that feels. Pressure can be controlled with positive thinking, and positive behavior. Don't let others give you false confidence in thinking you can handle pressure environments, where now you have strict boundaries that allow you to be in the moment, and in control. Remember you are avoiding pressure situations, and look at your self, you are happy, it's not worth the risk to engage in negative pressure outlets. One thought at time. Pressure only wins when you make it bigger. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

All part of the helping process

Over the last several year's- Saturdays have become family sessions for when I meet with a client and their family. Family sessions are a wonderful way for everyone involved to be able to talk through the weeks challenges and share the positives with the whole family. Part of my job is meeting all the family members young and old. This particular Saturday was filled with many families and talking through the thoughts. When I go into a house, apartment, barn, house boat, church to meet the client with the family I get the luxury to see all the faces of the family sub system. Let us not forget the pets! I probably could do a 10 pen page blog on the pets- themselves! As I am working with this one family, I enjoy hearing about what each person is going through, and get to see the kids. The kids then are sent to a different part of where ever we are, while the parents and I can talk in private. Sometimes this is a smooth transition, other times, the kids can play a pivotal part of the conversation! Kids are kids, and they have a plethora of energy-especially when someone new is in their spot. I'm working with this family, and having a super, positive, family session. Everyone is engaging, working through the challenges, focused, and things are moving along with positive energy. I can see and feel the love in the room, as we learn to stay in the moment and control our thoughts. Please remember, the addicts family, spouse, sibling's, are hurting to. All of a sudden  two of the kids, who happen to be twin girls, ages 5 or 6 I think, come running down the stairs, both beautiful kids, wearing their brothers gym shorts which are way, way, to big for them. Right there, at that second, it was precious! How do you as a helper, not laugh, or keep the attention, or stay focused. I grin, trying as best as I can not to laugh at these darling twins, dancing in front of us, wearing their brothers gym shorts which are down to their ankles. I'm asking my own higher power- this is amazing positive energy, I have to laugh, I am sorry, its hilarious, I'm going to bust out. I was taught in my years of helping, control your emotions Tod, well I failed that task years ago. We all laugh, it's to hard not to. All part of the helping process. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Addiction Services did a crisis intervention out of state today. As I was driving home, there was one particular word that resonates in my mind. Coping. The question came up, how do Americans cope with what just happened in Boston, Tod?  As I listened to this family that I am working with, I began to construct in my own mind what needs to be done for all Americans, heal. Respectfully, I think the first thought is allowing self to be able to vent, communicate on what you are feeling. I believe this communication is part of healing, but you need to surround your self with people who are in your support circle. The next thing we all need to do is be active, and get back to our routines. This is called balance. Isolating and avoiding will not allow self to heal. As we cope with this awful tragedy, it is important that we as a nation have hope, or what I call a higher power- something that gives us our faith, know matter what that is. Believe in something that is positive, and this will help calm your mind. I think it is very easy to be depressed and angry over what has transpired over the last week of our nation, but you have the power to work through it! As you cope with this sadness, let us find something fun that we can do for self and our family. Create positive energy, and let your mind focus on the things you can control. Each night I have been praying for all the victims and families, as I do pray for all the people I try and help. If we as Americans can cope in a positive way, we become stronger, and together. One thought at a time. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


The Addiction Education Model that we use with clients and referred patients is one that focuses on four integral parts. Self, Balance, Higher Power and Fun. Each of these parts are incorporated into the recovery life of the individual. Balance is the continuum which empowers self to let the negative thoughts go, and focus on the positive thoughts. Transformation begins when self is balancing their daily routine, accepting the need to be honest with self and begin their journey through their higher power. When self finds their higher power, (it can be anything), balance is created. Balancing daily thoughts, learning how to deal with struggle in a healthy way, creates a positive energy that empowers self to staying in the moment. The balance continuum is now flowing through your body, mind, and soul. You are now ready for fun, balance creates this surge for wanting to replace your addiction, (unmet need) with something fun, that becomes (a met need).Fun may be learning how to exercise and trying new things!  Finding balance in your new recovery life is something you will be proud of! Your self esteem increases when you learn not to make things bigger and you balance your expectations. Controlling our thoughts is a positive skill to learn when we have balance in our lives. Being out of balance creates havoc, stressful, and a waste of negative energy. Relaspes can happen when we are out of balance.  Here is a tip for learning how to start balancing your thoughts at the beginning of each day. Once you wake up, before you get out of bed, stop, and look at the ceiling. Close your eyes, and count to 10, slowly, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, (keep your eyes closed) 6, 7, 8, 9, (before you say 10- open your eyes) and now say 10! Now you begin your daily routine, express your daily affirmation, and begin your day. Balance is patience! Stay in your health, stay in the moment. Self-Balance-Higher Power-Fun!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Denial to acceptance via Skype

Sometimes we need to hit our challenges first then understand our acceptance. The other day, I was beginning a first time skype with a female teenager across the seas. From hello, how are you, I could sense the denial, or in her words, this will be the biggest waste of time. Skyping for the first time can be a challenge for anyone, regardless of their comfort level, and cultural considerations. I spoke with the family via phone a week ago, but did not get the opportunity to talk to the teenager. The story continues with myself asking questions and searching for a way into this young persons thoughts. After 15 minuets of gathering the collateral information from her perspective, her phone goes off. I politely told her to answer it. She said it was a tweet. I then explained to her that I was not privy to the twitter world, and I was kind of scared of that new type of media outlet. She, laughed out loud, I mean, laughed hard, really hard. I asked her what was so amusing? She replies that your suppose to be this professional and you can skype but you don't tweet, really? I looked at her, moved my office chair up to the monitor, and asked if this was a deal breaker. Then she laughed so hard, that I began to laugh! Now this laugh, was different this time in this writer's opinion. The first laugh was at me, but this one was together. Immediately, I asked her if she ever laughed like this when she was using? She said no way, and that using made her forget about her secrets. We then began to talk, and soon the denial began to work it's way out. A small form of acceptance was taking place, and we both could feel it. It was almost time to end the skype session, and I could hear her father in the background. As I began to thank her for her time, she began to say this. I'm tweeting that I skyped and I feel accepted. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

I can't tell you how many times I have heard addicts and family members state, " I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop". Is that positive energy? How is this type of thinking controlling your thoughts and behavior? If your expectations are that low, then relapse is right around the corner. Try this thought for size, no pun intended! If the shoe is starting to slip, tie the laces tighter. If the shoe does drop, put it back on and continue to work on your self. Positive energy is something self and family members need to believe in. If you focus on the negative and past challenges in your thoughts, how are you going to see the positive when it comes? Self needs positive thoughts to implement positive behavior. Negative thoughts will not help you keep your shoes on! People who struggle with addiction need to understand two primary things: first- let the past go, second- what is the unmet need. The shoe only drops if a person is not willing to work through their past and that unmet need is not fully identified. Self and waiting do not help the addict stay in the moment. Families and waiting do not help the family with their own grief or being able to provide support to the addict. Families of addicts are hurting just as much in some cases. Everyone needs to keep their shoes on, and pull the strings tighter if needed. Yes, sometimes the shoes will drop, but don't make it bigger, take the time time to put it back on your foot and move forward. Positive energy works with both shoes on regardless of what you will encounter. It's not worth the energy to always be thinking that something bad is going to happen. One thought at a time. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ooops wrong kid or was it?

Some of you who know me personally, and others who are learning about me will get a healthy giggle out of this shared experience. The other day I am picking up a teenager at their school, (I hit three high schools a week where I provide addiction education) and we are talking through the struggles. I take each kid out to lunch, and we begin our session. This particular day, my teenager was wearing his normal attire but had a baseball cap on. I'm sitting in line, ordering our food, and it is really busy with all types of people getting lunch during their busy day. As I get our lunch, I'm searching for my client, and see him in the corner, facing the window. I'm hoping his journal is out and he is ready to work! As I begin to get closer, I find my seat, and sit down, asking him how his day is going. Then all of sudden, the kid looks at me, and it's the wrong kid! My client is shouting across the room and signaling me where he is. This other kid, had the same exact hat on, and kinda of looked like him. I apologize, and he gives me this unusual look. My client, thinks I need a shrink, and we continue on our session. We finish up, and head to the parking lot. I drop him off, and wish him a positive week, and will see him next week, same time, etc. Yesterday, we are getting lunch, and that same kid that was in Mac /Dons comes over to us and asks to join us. Before I could say anything, my client says sure, and now we are three. This unknown kid, is homeless, and needs some support. I was able to find a shelter for him, and got the call this early morning, that he is doing well, and wondered the next time I can see him. That next time will be friday! Ooops, is right, sometimes things fall into your lap, when you least expect it. Respectfully, I don't think this would of happened if my teenager would of reached out like this, and I know he would not of reached out like this if he was not clean and in the moment! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


The other day, I was checking in with a teenager and their family. This particular family I have been working with for years! The boy's Grandma and I have gone through many changes over the years with her grand kids. I feel blessed to be a part of their support, and fortunate to build healthy interpersonal relationships with their family and all of their moving parts. With that said, I met someone that I have never seen in their house the other day. This person was Auntie B, 91 years old, and 91 years filled with opinions. The first thing she said, as I was walking over to give Grandma my customary hug, "you have a white fella in your house"! Grandma, grand kids all began to chuckle. She then looked at me, with these unknown eyes, I could feel her questions, but no words were coming out of her mouth. The teenage boy, came over and gave me the hand shake, and whipped out the cards! I sat down on the couch, in between his two sisters, and across the the table from Auntie B. All of sudden I had a three year old and five year old jumping from my lap, and the other holding on to my back laughing. Grandma in the background yelling, don't beat up Uncle Tod, we still need him for another 10 years. The cards were dealt, I'm trying to hold my hand, balance kids, and hear how the teenage girls are dealing with boy problems. In the mean time, Auntie B, opens her mouth and sneezes. Bless you's filled the room, but mine was first. She looked at me, and said, "whatcha you say"? I reported, bless you mam. She then called for me to come over. Everyone stopped playing rummy, and it was so quiet. I had two put the kids down, get up, and wiggle my way over to the other side of table where Auntie B, was sitting in the recliner. I approached her, she then said to come closer. I bent down, and she replied, "mister, there outta be something wrong with you, but I can't figure it out, you are the first white person, that I wanna believe is genuine"! Grandma came over and said, "Auntie B, he fooled me too, years ago, but God told me if he could play rummy, he was real"! We played three games of rummy, I of course did not win one! Life is about helping others, know matter what race, color, age, or orientation. Rummy may just be a game to some, but in this case rummy was the thread to three generations of watching a family grow. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Moons ago, when I heard the word grateful, it was associated with my beloved Grateful Dead concerts. Now, in the moment, over the last 13 years and change, grateful has a new meaning for this writer. I am grateful for life, my journey through each thought, each day, outcomes that help me stay in the moment! Being grateful for the little things, not the big things. Understanding that life is worth something, that is not associated with revenue or how much things cost! Self can learn how to appreciate things when you are balanced from the inside to the outside. Be grateful for who you are and what you are, regardless of others opinions. Challenge yourself each day to be grateful for what you are doing, and trying to do. For me, life is about helping others and having that opportunity to teach, support, ultimately finding your higher power. Grateful for having a higher power and allowing my self to believe there is positive energy in everyone, utilizing my faith in something that is bigger then self. When things happen for a reason, I am grateful for that reason what ever it may be. Having patience and slowing down my mind can only help self work through struggle. Sometimes life can be overwhelming when we focus to much on what we need to do instead of what we are doing right now, this second. You have grateful thoughts in your mind, but do you act upon them? Think about what you are grateful for and tell someone. Be humble, but honest. Pride is something that you work on through your life, with practice. I am grateful that people reach out to me, and blessed that people open up to me. Each day self can be grateful. Balance your thoughts, and use your positive energy to be grateful. Your higher power will guide you, don't resist, go with the positive energy. Fun is helping others achieve gratefulness. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Building healthy friendships

What is a healthy friend? In the past, your answer might have gone something like this. Someone I can drink with at the bar, self-medicate with at your house, go to the casino,  binge eat and then purge, and find some stranger to have unhealthy sex with. This is not a friend. Many of the clients and patients that have been referred to us have a difficult time understanding who a friend is and how to build a healthy interpersonal relationship with a friend. In order to build healthy relationships we need to be clean, and in our health. As you look back at your past friend relationships, surmise how healthy were they? When your mind is clean, and calm you will be able to present a accurate description to yourself of who really were your friends. The next step is setting appropriate boundaries with the people who are not your friends. This can be a deal breaker if the addict is not honest, firm, and willing! Relapse can be around the corner. Remember, old friends who were part of your addiction cycle will not help you stay clean, or keep you balanced. The boundaries you set need to be one's that you can validate yourself with and move on. Let go of the past. In order to meet new people and begin to build new friendships, a new environment is needed. The old environment where the addiction cycle spinned round and round was not a positive location for you to be in. We meet new friends by trying new things in our life. For example, get involved in church groups, fitness clubs, athletic teams, book clubs, or volunteer events. The more active you are, more opportunities will arise. As you begin this process you will understand you are working on yourself at the same time. Positive thoughts, will create positive behavior, which leads to meeting and having the chance to build friendships in a healthy way. Don't get frustrated if some friendships are not what you hoped for. You still are in control and have the ability to pick and choose what works for you. You know being clean and in recovery does not guarantee you that every friend relationship will be perfect. You may even struggle at times with trying to understand that it takes time to build healthy friendships, that is ok! Healthy struggle can only make self stronger. Have fun making new friendships. This is not a race, but a journey. When you find the right friends, it is worth the time. One thought at a time. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Self Credit

Self credit is something that everyone will benefit from, addict or not! Being able to give self credit when things may be overwhelming or bliss is important! Positive thoughts create positive behavior, self needs to be rewarded and recognized for the credit. Often we over look on what things are working for us at this moment. We take for granted the simple things we do every day, and may not give our self credit for this. The goal is to keep positive energy flowing through out our day, thought by thought. Healthy behavior can exist when self is able to recognize these small triumphs that will help us steer away from our negative thinking and thoughts. The negative energy works against the positive validation if we are not allowing self to receive self credit. When things become negative, utilize your positive thinking of something you just gave yourself credit for. Controlling your thoughts and giving self credit for not making things bigger in your head is positive! Self credit can help you navigate through the most difficult thoughts and unhealthy behaviors that come and go. Find something new each week that you feel you are doing positive. Say your positive experience out loud, journal, and be proud. You can even share this with someone in your life. Positive validation is a component of giving self credit. Let others be part of your positive energy. Try and implement this self credit to your daily routine. Life will throw you negative thoughts, but you will be able to balance each negative thought with a positive self credit thought. You learn to control your thoughts when you balance them. We can't change the past. But, we can control the moment. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sex can wait!

Addiction is a substitute satisfaction of an unmet need. When we jumped into the addiction cycle we were chasing our unmet needs hoping to find that our addiction would be the saviour or meet our needs.  Impulsive behavior was the catalyst. Now that we are in our health, and in the moment, we can see that this negative behavior did not work, and only made things bigger in our life. When it comes to sex, some of the same principles apply. First we need to recognize that if we are clean, we have the ability to make positive decisions around our sexual desires, and not be influenced by the addiction behavior that haunted us in the past. This is a positive. We glean how to control the impulsive behavior. Next, we need to understand that building healthy interpersonal relationships does not start with sex, as the first component. Sex can be a wonderful thing, when self is ready! Learning to like yourself and love yourself is primary. Use your time alone to find where your challenges are in understanding what you need to be happy in life. Learning to control your sexual behavior is positive and rewarding. Take time to work on yourself, and then build healthy interpersonal relationships. When self was self-medicating, purging, gambling, and having unhealthy sexual experiences it is difficult to construct positive relationships. Timing can be everything when intimacy is present. Don't be co-dependent on sexual behavior, or think that sex will solve all of your problems. The more time you have to build yourself, control your urges and cravings, work through struggle alone, you become stronger as a person. You are meeting your needs in a healthy way! This has nothing to do with sex at this time in your life. Friendships can be a wonderful tool and met need which does not include having a sexual relationship. Some of your best relationships can be the one's where there is no sex! One thought at a time, do not rush things for yourself. Balance these thoughts and make positive decisions that will help you understand where you need to put your energy. Your higher power can guide you and provide support for you any time of the day, but you have to use it! Fun can be anything you want when you are in control of your self, and your behavior. Sex can wait, for when you are ready, on your time. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

15 min Group

This writer does many groups all over! This writer has been doing groups for years and years. Never in all of my groups have I had the opportunity to do a group that last a whopping 15 minuets. Is it possible that I have my group framework down, that I can help people stay in the moment with only 15 minuets of lecture? No, that is not feasible, but worth a comment. In each group we teach the power of thought, which starts with self, then focus on how to balance our thoughts, utilizing our higher power, and learning how to replace our addiction behavior with fun! A model that teaches self to work through struggle, and stay in the moment. Well, during this group yesterday, I was in a locked facility working with younger clients who were being excused to come to my group. As the bell rung, (more like a siren) 8 individuals piled in our small little room. I introduced myself, and shared my passion to helping all types of people struggling with addiction. We began our customary meet and great with introducing ourselves. This took 5 minutes. Then I began to share how we can control out thoughts in any setting. One of our group members stood up, just like that, and said, "Mr Tod, will our groups last longer then 15 minuets?" Then another group member, asked the same thing. I looked perplexed, and slowly went over to the black board, and wrote group is for 45 minuets. They all of sudden cheered. Then, dinggggggggggggggggggg, the bell rung, and the guard opened up the door and said count! I'm going, our group just started sir, we have another half hour at least for our class. The guard, looked at me and said, " We have have a missing inmate, group is over in 30 seconds, unless you want to continue your group in their cell." I thought long, and hard over that one, I could see the class was shocked that I did not reply right away, the guard was even more shocked. I said, see you in two weeks gang, start your journals, and make today positive! I'm walking out though the security, and the guard comes walking fast towards me. I look at him, he looks at me, and he says, "see you next week", I reply, "thank you for the 15 minutes". It is what it is. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Habits can get self into trouble, or old habits can steer us down the old familiar way of coping, self-medicating, gambling, purging, and unhealthy sexual behavior. How do we control our habits that are not good for us? The first thing self needs to do is find a quieter, more secure state of mind. Outside life needs to slow down, and self can work on their internal health which allows you to navigate life as it unfolds. When self can begin to control their thoughts, life becomes simpler, and your reaction to everything does not have to be always negative. You will settle down your stress the more you feel your mind calm down. As you calm down your symptoms, your behavior will be controlled in a positive manner. Your habits will drop off because you don't need them any more! Self has the ability to control their thoughts, and not let those thoughts become bigger, which in return takes us back to old habits of getting out of control. At times you may want to try to hold onto insights, you don't need to, you can't lose them. You learn where to look. Balance your thoughts, think through the habits that got you into trouble when your stuck on these thoughts of negative outcomes. Let your higher power guide you through habits that work for you, not one's that destroy you. When self can learn to implement healthy habits, self is having fun again! Stay in your health, stay in the moment.