The Meadows Blog

John Bradshaw, one of the most influential writers on emotional healing in the twentieth century and a Senior Fellow at The Meadows Wickenburg, will be featured on HoustonPBS on August 19 at 9:00 p.m. and August 25 at 5:00 p.m. 

The title of the program is "Bradshaw on Bradshaw: An InnerVIEWS Special." Television host, Ernie Manouse, sits down with Bradshaw to discuss his life and work, from the dysfunctional family to the wounded inner child.

For more information regarding this program, visit http://www.houstonpbs.org/schedule/.

Bradshaw is a world-famous educator, counselor, motivational speaker, television personality, author and one of the leading figures in the fields of addiction, recovery, family systems and the concept of toxic shame. Bradshaw has had a long and productive association with The Meadows; giving insights to staff, patients, speaking at alumni retreats and lecturing to mental health professionals at our workshops and seminars. Mr. Bradshaw's work has influenced the treatment programs at The Meadows and Mellody House.

Selected by his peers as one of the 100 most influential writers on emotional health in the 20th Century, Bradshaw has literally changed the lives of millions of people around the globe through his best-selling books and sold-out workshops and seminars. Over the years, Bradshaw has written several New York Times bestselling books, including, Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Creating Love and Healing the Shame That Binds You. In 2009 Bradshaw was nominated for The Pulitzer Prize for Reclaiming Virtue.

The Meadows is an industry leader in treating trauma and addiction through its inpatient and workshop programs. To learn more about The Meadows' work with trauma and addiction contact an intake coordinator at (866) 856-1279 or visit www.themeadows.com.

For over 35 years, The Meadows has been a leading trauma and addiction treatment center. In that time, they have helped more than 20,000 patients in one of their three inpatient centers and 25,000 attendees in national workshops. The Meadows world-class team of Senior Fellows, Psychiatrists, Therapists and Counselors treat the symptoms of addiction and the underlying issues that cause lifelong patterns of self-destructive behavior. The Meadows, with 24 hour nursing and on-site physicians and psychiatrists, is a Level 1 Sub-Acute Agency that is accredited by the Joint Commission.

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The Meadows is participating in Operation USO Care Package in honor of National Military Appreciation Month. For every $25 donation, the USO will send a care package with both needed and requested items valued at approximately $75 to a deployed service man or woman.

During May, in recognition of National Military Appreciation Month, The Meadows will send a donation to Operation USO Care Package to sponsor a care package for a deployed service man or woman for every inpatient admission. The projected value is $4,000 for needed supplies.

Operation USO Care Package enables the public to express their support of our men and women in uniform. Sponsoring a care package and including a personal message provides individuals with a way to touch the lives of deployed troops around the world.

The Meadows is a TRICARE Preferred Provider of behavioral health and substance abuse inpatient services with an emphasis on trauma, PTSD and addictive disease disorders for active duty military members, veterans and their dependents of the TRICARE West Region.

"The Meadows is pleased to support Operation USO Care Package to assist our brave men and women in uniform who have made a great sacrifice to serve our country," said Jim Dredge, CEO for The Meadows. "It is also a great honor to be a network provider for active duty, families and retired enrollees for the TRICARE West Region."

For more information regarding National Military Appreciation Month, visit http://www.nmam.org/about.htm. For more information and to donate to Operation USO Care Package, visit https://www.uso.org/OUCP-donation-page-with-partner.aspx?LangType=1033.

The Meadows Wickenburg is an industry leader in treating trauma and addiction through its inpatient and workshop programs. To learn more about The Meadows' work with trauma and addiction contact an intake coordinator at (866) 856-1279 or visit www.themeadows.com.

For over 35 years, The Meadows has been a leading trauma and addiction treatment center. In that time, they have helped more than 20,000 patients in one of their three inpatient centers and 25,000 attendees in national workshops. The Meadows world-class team of Senior Fellows, Psychiatrists, Therapists and Counselors treat the symptoms of addiction and the underlying issues that cause lifelong patterns of self-destructive behavior. The Meadows, with 24 hour nursing and on-site physicians and psychiatrists, is a Level 1 Sub-Acute Agency that is accredited by the Joint Commission.

 

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The Meadows has produced a new video, "The Meadows - The Right Choice" with Meadows' Senior Fellow Dr.Claudia Black. Visit The Meadows homepage: http://www.themeadows.com to view the video.

Claudia Black, MSW, PhD, has spent 11 years working in an advisory role with The Meadows. She is a renowned author and trainer, internationally recognized for her pioneering and contemporary work with family systems and addictive disorders.

In the mid 1970's Dr. Black gave voice to both young and adult children from addictive homes, offering a framework for their healing. This cutting edge work would be critical in creating the foundation for the codependency field and a greater understanding of the impact of family trauma. Since that time, Dr. Black has continued to be a passionate leader in the field of addiction.

Dr. Black has offered models of intervention and treatment related to family violence, multi-addictions, relapse, anger, depression and women's issues. Dr. Black designs and presents training workshops and seminars to professional audiences in the field of family service, mental health, addiction and correctional services. She has been a keynote speaker on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada. She has extensive multi-cultural experience working with agencies and audiences in countries such as Iceland, Brazil, Japan and others throughout the world.

Dr. Black is one of the original founders of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics and continues to serve on their Advisory Board, and also serves on the Advisory Board of the Moyer Foundation. In addition, she is the author of over 15 books, most notable is It will Never Happen To Me. Her most recent books are related to partners of sex addiction, Deceived: Facing Sexual Betrayal, Lies, and Secrets and Intimate Treason: Healing the Trauma for Partners Confronting Sex Addiction.  Dr. Black also creates educational videos for use with the addicted client and families affected by addiction. Many of her books and videos have been translated and published abroad.

For more information about Dr. Black, please visit www.claudiablack.com.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 19:00

The Window of Opportunity

By Wally P.

On pages 13-14 of the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous, we read that Bill W., while in detox at Towns Hospital in New York City, took the Steps in one day, recovered, and never drank again. In the chapter titled, "A Vision for You," we learn that Dr. Bob relapsed after a couple of weeks on the program because he had not made his amends. He made them in one day and never drank again. Later in this chapter, we find that Bill D. is taken through the steps in a couple of days while in detox at Akron City Hospital. He too never drank again. In the story, "He Sold Himself Short," Dr. Bob took Earl T. through the Steps in "three or four hours." The pioneers repeated this simple and straightforward process hundreds of thousands of times during the "early days" with remarkable success.

In a talk Bill W. gave in Hollywood, CA in 1951, he said, "Don't make a project out of working your steps. Go through your day being the sort of person you would like to be, trying to help someone else, and making sure you don't hurt anyone. And when you get to the end of your day, review the Twelve Steps and you'll find that you've worked them all."

I know there are those who are skeptical that the Steps are simple and meant to be taken quickly and often. At one time, so was I. Then someone pointed out to me that the words used in the "Big Book" to describe taking Steps One through Nine are "next," "at once" "immediately," and "we waste no time."

Recently, a friend told me the reason he takes newcomers through the Steps quickly. He described it in terms of"the window of opportunity." He explained this "window" something like this:

When a newcomer enters the Twelve-step community, whether from a treatment center, detox, or the street, he or she passes through a "window of opportunity" - a time when he or she is most "teachable." How long does a person remain in this state? In other words, how much time does it take a newcomer to realize the pain he or she is experiencing in recovery is greater than the pain he or she remembers when using? How much time do we have to alleviate this pain?

Do we have a year? Absolutely not! Do we have a month? Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. Do we have a week? For many, that may be pushing it. What if we only have today? What if we assume the newcomer is going to relapse tomorrow (and in many cases this is true). Why not take him or her through the Steps today in order to prevent that relapse tomorrow?

I personally experienced this "window of opportunity" on September 11, 2001. I had conducted a seminar in Austin, TX the previous weekend and was to speak at two treatment centers in the Texas foothills that day. I had not seen any television, but over the radio I did hear about the Twin Towers coming down and the Pentagon being attacked.

At the second facility, as I started into my scheduled history presentation, a young man in the back of the room raised his hand. I asked if I could help him and he said, "Wally, we are in a lot of pain here today. We don't know what's going on, but we do know it is bad. We need some relief. We know you take people through the Steps. Can you take us through the Steps right now?"

I could have said, "Wait until you get out of treatment. There are Beginner's Meetings in Kerrville. There you can take the Steps in a month or so."

Instead, I turned to one of the counselors and asked, "What do you think?" He answered my question with one of his own. "How many times have you done this?" To which I replied, "This would be the first." "Then go for it," he said.

I matched everyone up as sharing partners and took them through the first three steps in about 10 minutes. Then I explained the Fourth Step inventory and asked each of them to share with their partners, for the next 10 minutes, what was bothering them. They spread out to do their one-on-one, mini Fifth Steps.

I reconvened the group and took them through the next four steps. I then explained the Eleventh Step, had them get quiet for five minutes, and asked them to share what had come to them during their "quiet time."

I finished up with the Twelfth Step question. After the residents acknowledged they would carry this simple message to others, I looked at my watch. I had taken everyone in the room through all Twelve Steps in 52 minutes.

How thorough was this "Introduction to the Twelve Steps?" It was thorough enough to demonstrate the simplicity of the process. It was thorough enough to move people out of the problem and into the solution. It was thorough enough to give them the confidence to go through the Steps again and again.

Since that monumental day, I have made this "Introduction to the Twelve Steps" hundreds of times at treatment centers, correctional facilities, and recovery workshops and conferences around the world. Many thousands have had their lives changed as the direct result of this "keep it simple" approach to recovery.

About the Author

Wally P. is an archivist, historian and author who, for more than twenty-three years, has been studying the origins and growth of the Twelve-step movement. He is the caretaker for the personal archives of Dr. Bob and Anne Smith. Wally conducts history presentations and recovery workshops, including "Back to the Basics of Recovery" in which he takes attendees through all Twelve Steps in four, one-hour sessions. More than 500,000 have taken the Steps using this powerful, time-tested, and highly successful "original" program of action.

Wally P. will be the featured presenter at the 2013 Alumni Retreat on Friday on January 25.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 20 December 2012 19:00

The Christmas Blues

It is paradoxical, but the Christmas season, a time that should be filled with compassion, empathy and joy, is a time when many people are sad and depressed. This phenomena is so widespread that it has been named the Christmas (holiday) blues.

Ask any practicing psychotherapist and they will tell you that they see a disproportionate number of emotionally disturbed and/or depressed clients during the Christmas holidays than at any other time of the year. Since drinking and holiday cheer are so acceptable, alcoholics and other drug or food addicts tend to act out extensively during this season. I'll return to this last point in a moment.

No one knows when Jesus Christ was actually born. Traditions point to December the twenty-fifth, a time which corresponds to the onset of winter. No one knows why the celebration of Jesus' birth was early on enmeshed with pagan festivals of light, dealing with the onset of winter.

Winter is the season when days grow shorter and there is less sunshine. Winter is the season when darkness has it's dominant rule.

Sunlight is essential for both our physical and emotional health. In winter cold, dark dreary days are commonplace. The pagan festivals of light were intended to confront the darkness. In Christianity this combat was taken over by decorated Christmas trees and landscaped lawns with lighted trees. The lights and festive brightness symbolizes that Christ the Savior is the light of the world and has triumphed over the darkness of sin. Why then the Christmas Blues and depression?

The darkness itself and loss of sunlight is one reason given to explain larger numbers of depressed people during the winter months.

Another reason for the blues comes from the loss of our "magical childhoods". We gradually have to give up the magical belief that a wonderful caring old man with a sled full of toys will fuel the energy of eight tiny reindeer to fly over rooftops, and bring us toys.

The loss of "magical beliefs" is sad and we will also have to deal with the loss of other magical beliefs (like the fact that we will die and go to a wonderful place called Heaven). No one really knows anything about death or dying. As the years go by we experience suffering and the loss of loved ones; grandparents, parents, siblings and dear friends. We especially remember lost loved ones because Christmas is a time of love and joy. As grown-ups we cannot explain why nature natures (why hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, tsunamis, floods) happen. Being an adult means leaving the magic of childhood.

If you grew up in a family where your parents were emotionally immature and childish, they could act out their suppressed rage, resentments and other unresolved wounds on each other or on other members of your extended family. I counseled people who dreaded seeing their in-laws and relatives at Christmas.

I mentioned earlier that alcoholics and other types of drug addicts act out during the Christmas holidays more than at other times of the year. If you are a child of an alcoholic (like myself) your memories of Christmas can be very painful. I can only think of one really happy Christmas during my childhood. We were also very poor, but I would have traded my toys any day for family peace, love and the absence of anxiety, shame and tension.

Like many children of alcoholics, I became a drinking alcoholic myself. I began binge drinking and having alcoholic "black outs" (periods of anmesia) at age sixteen. I can remember being drunk a large part of every Christmas season til I reached my bottom on Dec. 11, 1965. I spent eight days in the locked ward of Austin State hospital. I got out a few days before Christmas and enjoyed the most intimate time I had ever had with my family.

Sobering up during the holidays was great for me and my family. Many people thing of the Christmas holidays as the worst time to reach out for help; to do an intervention; or to go into treatment. In fact it is one of the best times. We can give our loved ones no greater Christmas gift than a sober recovering self. And for treatment centers that have family week, nothing can replace a family connecting (often) for the first time in an intimate embrace of support and love. Some of my most powerful memories are the "family week" at my former hospital in Ingleside California or at The Meadows where I am now. I encourage those of you who are using and/or depressed during the Christmas holidays to focus on the major source of your blues. The poet says "if winter comes, can spring be far behind?" You can recapture some of your magical childhood by letting your inner childlike self create new traditions and new family rituals. It's certainly okay to grieve for your deceased family members, just put some boundaries on your grieving. Life is so fragile and subject to fate and unexpected tragedy, don't let this time for celebration and love pass you by!

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