The Meadows Blog

We are thrilled to announce that The Meadows' Senior Fellow, Alexandra Katehakis, MFT, CSAT-S, CST-S, and co-author Tom Bliss will receive the 2016 Clark Vincent Award from the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) for the book Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence. The award will be presented at CAMFT's Annual Meeting in Sacramento, Calif. on May 14, 2016.

She will also serve as the opening keynote speaker for the meeting this year.

In 2015, Mirror of Intimacy was the co-recipient of American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) Book of Year award.

In addition to serving as Senior Fellow at The Meadows and Gentle Path at The Meadows, Alexandra Katehakis is the Founder and Clinical Director of the Center for Healthy Sex in West Los Angeles, California. She has extensive experience in working with a full spectrum of sexuality from sexual addiction to sex therapy, and problems of sexual desire and sexual dysfunction for individuals and couples. Alex has successfully facilitated the recovery of many sexually addicted individuals and assisted couples in revitalizing their sex lives.

She also appears as a regular guest sex expert every Friday on Dr. Drew Midday Live on KABC Talk Radio to discuss sex, addiction and sexuality. She is the author of Sex Addiction as Affect Dysregulation: A Neurobiologically Informed Holistic Treatment (Summer 2016,) Erotic Intelligence: Igniting Hot Healthy Sex after Recovery From Sex Addiction, the co-author of Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence and a contributing author to Making Advances: A Comprehensive Guide for Treating Female Sex and Love Addicts — all available on Amazon.

Published in Blog

We’re nearly halfway through NCAA® March Madness® tournament. The excitement is ramping up as the team in the Sweet Sixteen prepare for the next round. Those whose brackets aren’t already busted are anxiously waiting to see if their picks will help them reign supreme over their friends and co-workers, and maybe even allow them to take home a cash prize.

But some people—an estimated 6 million in fact— might instead be anxiously waiting for the tournament to be over. They are the people who struggle with pathological gambling addictions. For them, this time of year presents an overabundance of challenges and triggers. While many of us are cheering our teams on the road to the Final Four, they are fighting to stay on the road to recovery.

While participating in your friends’ or co-workers’ NCAA bracket pool doesn’t necessarily put you on the path to addiction, many problem gamblers did experience their first gambling-related rush from participating in a March Madness tournament bracket pool or purchasing a Super Bowl square. They are likely to have been introduced to these forms of gambling as teenagers by family members and middle school or high school classmates.

This may partially explain why the rate of gambling addiction is actually higher among young adults and adolescents. According to U.S. News and World Report, the rate of young adults addicted to gambling is up to four times as high as the adult rate, and 4 to 7 percent of college students meet the criteria for pathological gambling. However, it’s important to remember that gambling addiction can affect almost anyone, of any age, at any time—even if they are not entirely new to gambling.

 

Gambling Addiction and Its Consequences

Those who are addicted to gambling feel an uncontrollable urge to place bets, visit casinos, use Internet gambling sites, and/or buy lottery tickets in spite of the negative ways their behavior is affecting their lives and the lives of their loved ones. An untreated gambling disorder can lead to devastating personal debt and bankruptcies, and even prison time if the addicted person turns to stealing or fraud to support their gambling habits.

For those who are prone to addiction, gambling starts out as just another recreational activity but soon triggers strong, uncontrollable biological and psychological responses. Similarly to other forms of addiction, people who develop compulsive gambling behaviors tend to be those who feel disconnected in personal relationships, disconnected from a higher purpose, depressed, isolated and/or anxious. As a matter of fact, most pathological gamblers—68 percent, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology—also have more than one addiction, often to alcohol and drugs. Another study found that people who struggle with both problem gambling and substance abuse were also more likely to have issues with sexual compulsivity and to have attempted suicide.

This suggests that gambling addiction can be a sign of a very complex set of intermingling behavioral health issues. If you or someone you know seems to be struggling with a gambling addiction, it’s important to seek out a high-quality, comprehensive treatment program right away.

 

Signs of Gambling Addiction and Treatment

The DSM-5 lists nine criteria for determining whether someone has a gambling disorder:

  • Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement.
  • Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
  • Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
  • Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
  • Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
  • After losing money gambling often returns another day to get even (“chasing” one’s losses).
  • Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
  • Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
  • Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling

 

Get Help For Gambling Addiction

Since gambling addiction so often coincides with one or more additional addictions—drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.—it’s important to seek a treatment program that can address multiple conditions at the same time. Our staff spends time with each patient to develop a highly-individualized treatment program based on a thorough assessment of his or her primary and secondary conditions, and on releasing the hidden trauma at the heart of them all. Call our intake coordinators today at 800-244-4949 or contact us online to find out if one of our Meadows Behavioral Healthcare programs is right for you.

Published in Addiction
Wednesday, 30 December 2015 00:00

Sobriety in the New Year

The New Year symbolizes a time for fresh starts. Everyone is making resolutions to better themselves in the coming year, so it’s no surprise that many people decide to pursue sobriety. Starting a new year with the decision to find sobriety and heal lifelong wounds is a very courageous decision. Usually, though, simply making a resolution is not enough. This is true even with non-addicts. But the good news is, there are steps to take that can significantly aid in reaching and maintaining sobriety.

Steps for Sobriety in the New Year

  • Tell friends and family: if the individual hasn’t already, they should resolve to tell their loved ones about the addiction and desire for sobriety. Friends and family should be aware of how serious the issue is. Being accountable to those who matter most makes it much harder to return to addictive patterns and behaviors.

  • Seek Inpatient Treatment: Addiction can’t be treated alone, and inpatient treatment is the best way to jumpstart the recovery process. The Meadows Inpatient program treats all phases of addiction, from detoxification to an intensive, psychotherapeutic program that addresses the symptoms and causes of addiction.

  • Follow up with outpatient treatment: The Meadows Outpatient Center (IOP) offers programs for patients who have completed our inpatient treatment, or for those who qualify for the IOP program without the need for higher care. Each patient’s issues and circumstances are always taken into consideration to be sure they are offered the safest and most appropriate care for their needs.

  • Participate in a 12-step recovery group: Attending meetings on a regular basis is the best way to interact with others who share the same priorities. Many addicts attend meetings daily. Creating bonds with those who share the same desire to stay sober is a key element in maintaining sobriety for the long haul.

  • Change routines: Active addicts have patterns that lead them to using. These patterns must be broken to achieve long-term sobriety success. This might mean the addict must remove himself from places and people’s lives he’s grown accustomed to. If it’s something that has aided using in the past, it’s important to change it.

  • Improve physical health: Getting sober isn’t just about stopping the compulsive behaviors. Sobriety involves a complete lifestyle change. Healthy eating and regular exercise will help in numerous respects. The most obvious is that eating right and getting regular physical activity result in feeling better. This makes it easier to not self medicate.

  • Try new things: New hobbies and activities are a great way to separate an addict from old habits and invigorate an otherwise stalled life. Activities that can be therapeutic, like cooking, meditating or gardening, are all great hobbies for maintaining a sense of well being.

Inpatient Treatment for Sobriety

If you decide an inpatient program is the right decision for you, make sure that the program is designed to meet your individual needs and the needs of your family. Consider what will nurture your well-being. If being in a warm, peaceful environment and having sunshine is an important part of nurturing yourself, then consider The Meadows programs in Wickenburg, Arizona. We are nestled in the serene Sonoran desert, where many people feel that the clear, dry air has healing powers.

As the nation’s premier program for treating alcohol, drug and other addictive disorders for 40 years, our Meadows Model is the most clinically comprehensive and nurturing program available today.

Learn More

There is no better time to begin your journey to sobriety than right now. Make this year your year of recovery. The treatment program at The Meadows can help you create an entire lifetime of peace and healing. To learn more about our programs, call us at 800-244-4949 or contact us here.

Published in Treatment & Recovery

Here at The Meadows, we know our Director of Outpatient Services, Jim Corrington, to be the kind of guy who goes above and beyond as a therapist and sponsor for those in recovery. So, we were exceptionally proud to see him recognized for these same qualities at the Sierra Tucson “Gratitude for Giving” celebration.

Jim received the Gratitude Recognition, which honors a medical or clinical professional for lifetime achievement.

Jim has served the recovery community for more than 30 years. “I have never seen someone so passionate and driven to help people recover from their addictions, “says Sean Walsh, CEO of The Meadows. “He is constantly advocating and fighting to get patients plugged into the recovery community and goes above and beyond to make sure patients and their families get the support that they need.”

Congratulations, Jim, on your well-earned recognition. We’re glad to have you as part of our team!

Published in Blog

By Dan Griffin, MA, Senior Fellow at The Meadows

Here we are again: One more tragic tale of a good man, with a good heart, being destroyed by addiction, trauma, and the effects of toxic masculinity. The world—including those closest to former NBA player Lamar Odom — were waiting for him to die just a couple of weeks ago. It is clear now that drugs played a critical role in Mr. Odom’s near-death experience. It is also clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the trauma this man has had to deal with has been eating away at his soul and affecting every facet of his life. Because that is exactly what trauma does.

Real Men Don’t Have Trauma

But, of course, real men don’t have trauma. Star basketball players? They don’t have trauma, and if they do it has helped to make them who they are. It only destroys the weak ones. Those traumatic experiences are unfortunate parts of his life that have helped him become the [add superlative of choice here] athlete he is – or more appropriately, was. (The verb tense means everything to the context of the story and how the story is told.)

This is not a new story. It is playing out right now in the lives of thousands of men across the country. Thousands will die this week because we live in a culture with such warped ideas of masculinity that you can have an owner of a brothel—where a man’s reckless behavior was enabled and lead to serious, nearly life-ending consequences— shamelessly show up in the media and act as if he was just a guy having a good time.

The truth is that this was a man scraping a barrel for some morsel of happiness where there is none to be found. Yet, our society still tells men that it will not only make us happy, but affirm our masculinity and cure our pain.

Mr. Odom apparently has been saying for some time, “It seems death is following me.” He is right. The experiences of trauma that Mr. Odom has lived through would leave the strongest and most resilient men scarred.

Tell the Real Story

This story is getting old. I am tired of the tragic stories where we all lament the men after they are gone. The same news outlets that were pillorying Mr. Odom for the past decade were the same ones oozing compassion and empathy as his life hung in the balance. You see, two weeks ago was the time for everyone to trot out the long list of traumas as part of the conclusion of Mr. Odom’s story.

Yes, he is talking now. It really is a miracle. Yet, any of us who have been immersed in the world of trauma, addiction and recovery for some number of years have known that even miracles such as this rarely provide the necessary wake-up call to give a man in the downward spiral a new life. I have buried men – including my own father – after sitting with them in the hospital room when their second, third, or fourth miracles had being given to them, only to watch them dance with the devil again. And lose.

As preposterous and insane as it seems, that is the logic of addiction. So it makes complete sense to those of us who understand the narrative. Events such as Mr. Odom experienced a couple of weeks ago offer such an obvious opportunity for a happy ending. Yet so many men haunted by trauma rarely find it. Mr. Odom seems to have been given a second chance. But there are contingencies. The most important condition is that at some point if he wants to find peace – let alone recovery from his addiction(s—he must hug the monsters.

Mr. Odom needs to find people and places safe enough for him to stand still in the storm and trust something bigger than himself. He has to trust that he can get through it without the drugs, prostitutes, or any other illusion of connection. And at some point our society, that is merely reflected in the absurdity of our media, will have to truly grapple with the fact that we wait for men to be dead before we finally create enough space for their pain and are willing to honor their real story.

Published in Addiction

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