Sunday, June 28, 2015

The walls are caving in

How many times have you felt the walls are caving in? For many of us, this can be a common thought that can lead back into the negative thinking that can cause urges and cravings or spiral one back into high anxiety with feelings of depression. This last week I was skyping with a new face that needed some addiction education. The person, was suffering from that same feeling, the walls are caving in she acknowledged many times in the beginning of our Skype. She was very honest about her situation, and wanted to share her experiences with others if it could benefit them in any capacity. It was clear that this professional woman was sincere about getting help for herself and determined to not let her negative energy influence her life anymore. I listened to her speak, and was amazed how organized her thoughts were. I thought this was a good time in our discourse to ask what her addiction problems were? The walls were caving in she replied again, but this time she seemed confused why this writer was not picking up on her, "venting". I let her continue on with her story. It was a sad story. Her son, had recently exited or abandoned his residential treatment program and went missing. He was struggling with addiction behavior, and she was exasperated with him. The son was living in Colorado, where he went into his fourth treatment in three years. The family has the resources to help him, she noted several times during the conversation. She explained the last treatment the son decided to do something he had never done. The son came out of the closet. He expressed his own sexuality to the group. The mom reports he was ridiculed, and assaulted by two other clients. The night of the assault, her son fled the treatment facility. She began to cry and talk loudly how the walls are caving in. Slowly, I began to draw on my magic marker board, attempting to make walls that were surrounding her. She looked up, and started to give me direction on how big the wall was. I was not making the wall big enough, she shouted out. I then made the wall bigger, and bigger, I soon made the wall as big as the board when I stopped. She then told me that I was making this way to big on the board! I stopped, put the maker down, looked back at the screen, and said, "The walls are not caving in", "take a deep breath, squeeze your hands, tight, tighter, and release". She did. We then started to erase part of these walls. She directed me on where I could and could not erase. The positive I began to tell her, her son broke down these walls, and came out, for who he wanted to be for himself. She nodded her head in tears, but realized this was a positive. You are the only one that can let these walls get bigger, I told her. Control the thought, let out the negative energy and focus on how you balance your thoughts right this second. She nodded again, this time with a small smile. We talked more. She began to see that her walls were not caving in. She loved her son, and knew all along. Things started to make sense in her mind she replied. Tod, I am a therapist she explained. I thought so, I replied. Addiction can manifest in any family, any person, and the feeling of walls caving in happens. But, you have the mindset and power to erase these walls, see the positives, set appropriate boundaries for yourself, and try again with your son. Tod, you will be the first call when I talk to him again. Stay in your health, stay in moment.

Monday, June 15, 2015


The other day I was talking to a brother of a client. I did not anticipate the conversation would go a full hour. He was expressing his dissatisfaction with his younger brother. My client is the younger brother. I think it is positive when family members can vent when addiction is present in their family. However, I think it is positive when anger can be released, regardless if addiction is not the primary challenge with the person venting. In this case, this was evident. The older brother was not angry with the younger brother, he was angry with his parents in how they enable his younger brother. I feel fortunate to share this story with our readers. Anger can build up through the years. In this writers experience, I believe anger can be over shadowed with positive energy if you are willing to believe in yourself! In this particular case, I suggested that the older brother let  out all of the negative energy by communicating with this writer. That is step one, vent. Then I directed the older brother to list positive things in his life at this particular second. Step two, is where you identify with what is positive in your life at this moment in time. He started to rattle off positive areas in his life. Essentially, giving self credit for the hard work.  Now it was time to examine the final step in releasing the anger. Step three is being patient or not allowing your negative emotions to get the best of you! This is where I constantly tell our clients that you have been given a timeout, you are not allowed to react just yet. Step three is really a time out! All you can do is take a deep breath, and only allow your thoughts to pause, yes that is correct, pause. You have the brakes on from what you may be wanting to do, act, or say. Remember, I already let you vent in step one. All the negative should of came out then! Step two is where you train your mind to think positive and what list you have created in your thoughts. Step three is patience. Come on, I said, to the older brother, relax the thoughts. He was fighting step three as many do when I first introduce this anger exercise to someone new. I was watching his body language, his tone became softer. I could not see this vein in his forehead, where I did in step one, as he was loud, and extremely angry with his words. I think he wanted to yell more, but he did not. Being patient with our anger allows us to not overreact and say things that will not help the situation. I was sensing he wanted to talk more, I was wrong. He smiled at me, and walked away. Stay in your health, stay in the moment.