The Meadows Blog

Dan Griffin, MA is a Senior Fellow at The Meadows and an expert in men’s trauma and recovery. The following essay was published on his website in 2015. You can learn more about Dan’s workshop at The Meadows, A Man’s Way™ Retreat, by calling 800-244-4949. You can also find his books online.

I hated my father for a very long time.

Of course, when we are honest with ourselves most of our hate comes out of deep hurt. And that is exactly what it was for me: I felt deeply hurt that my father was never quite able to be the man that we seemed forced to celebrate every Father’s Day. He was never quite able to be the father that I needed. If he made it through the day’s “celebration” without getting drunk and/or yelling or berating one or all of us it was a good day.

I do not say this to defame or castigate my father. He was a much more complicated man than his alcoholism or his abusiveness. He was brilliant, talented, creative, funny, a good provider, and even sensitive.

Though I can probably count them on both hands, there are times when my father showed up as the father I believe he truly wanted to be. The man beneath the armor.

But it would be disingenuous to act as if there was not a much darker side to my relationship with my father.

Changing Our Stories

Inextricably connected to my ability to be a father has been the healing work I have had to do around my relationship with my father who, sadly, lost his own battle with chronic alcoholism twenty years ago, at the age of 54.

His tale is one that has been told far too often, written in the Book of Men and Masculinity throughout the ages. These tales lack a Hallmark ending and no two dollar card can make it all okay.

As a man in long-term recovery from his own addiction, I am not only changing my story but I’d like to think I am even changing my father’s story.

The more I have been able to free myself from the pain and hurt of my fractured relationship with my father the more I have been able to see him as a human being who was full of suffering, trapped in the armor of masculinity in which he ultimately suffocated.

The Process of Forgiveness

The process of forgiveness in my own relationship with my father has not been about forgetting him or even “the good, the bad, and the ugly” experiences, but simply letting go of the hurt. The more I have been able to let go, the more I have been able to emerge as my best self.

It has not been perfect. There are vestiges of the best parts of my father and the worst parts of my father still inside of me. There will always be. For that I am actually grateful; all of those experiences have helped to create the man – and father – I have become.

A lot of what I learned about how to be a father I learned from my father. I learned a lot about what not to do and how not to be. Every young man watches the men around him to figure out how to be a man. How to treat women. How to treat kids.

My father was not a horrible person. He was just a very sick person. He had a lot of childhood trauma that I had no idea about until after his death. My father didn’t talk about his daily life so there was no way he was going to open up about some of the most painful experiences of his life. So he just went into the basement and listened to his country albums. Or spewed the toxic poison of his pain all over the people who loved him the most.

The Sad Reality of Men with Trauma

Such is the sad experience for so many men with trauma. I found a worksheet from his time in treatment where he stated so simply, “I’ve never thought anyone would even care about my problems.” My heart broke when I read those words while cleaning up his office shortly after his death.

The real truth? I miss my father. Not a week goes by that I do not think of him and what we could have had. I talk to him all of the time. I have spent the past twenty years asking him to be the father he never could be while he was alive as I have navigated the inevitable trials and tribulations of life.

My relationship with my father has transformed over the years since his death as I have matured. As I have gotten glimpses into my own darkness. As I have come to realize how people experience me versus how I want to come across. All of that has brought me closer to the father I never met.

I think about the father he wanted to be versus the father he was. I think about who he was in his heart of hearts. That is the father I celebrate – and grieve – on Father’s Day. The truth is, I never hated my father. I just hated the fact that I never really got the chance to meet him.

Published in Relationships
Wednesday, 08 June 2016 00:00

Don't Give Up

Thomas was very sick, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. After trying other treatment programs, he thought that maybe happiness and sobriety were just not in the cards for him. At The Meadows he learned how trauma, shame, and guilt keep people stuck and prevent them from being able to maintain their sobriety. He also learned how to let go of that shame and guilt and to have hope again.

If you need help with addiction, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, emotional trauma, or other mental health issues, please call The Meadows today at 800-244-4949

Published in Trauma
Monday, 06 June 2016 00:00

Breaking Free from Love Addiction

Terrie was a child born from an extramarital affair. Growing up, she felt like she was unwanted by everyone in her family except her mother. As an adult, she found herself reaching a low point in her life, and tried working with several different therapists. Because of her family history, and because of her skill as therapist herself, she was able to mask her true feelings really, really well. So, her attempts at individual therapy failed.

Feeling hopeless and desperate for change, she went to The Meadows. Learn how the program helped her find her power and break free from false beliefs and love addiction.

Published in Workshops

Dr. Shelley Uram—a Harvard trained, triple board-certified psychiatrist, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and a Senior Fellow at The Meadows— has a gift for explaining incredibly complex ideas about trauma and the brain in a way that is understandable and entertaining. Behavioral health professionals in the Cincinnati, Ohio area will have an opportunity to hear her speak on Monday, June 20 at the Lindner Center of Hope Gym.

So much is changing in the world of emotional trauma treatment. Dr. Uram will talk about what happens in our brains when we are traumatized that “throws off ” our thinking, emotions, body, and relationships, and potentially thwarts our entire life course. She will also explain some of the latest, cutting-edge trauma treatments, and offer suggestions on how to design an individually tailored trauma treatment approach for each client.

What You Will Learn

  • Explain why the need for some nervous system/body regulation is helpful before directly dealing with trauma.
  • List three brain areas affected by chronic psychological trauma and one intervention that targets each of these brain areas.
  • List three common adult health problems that often follow an elevated number of Adverse Childhood Experiences.


This event is free and includes 1.5 NAADAC or APA CE credits or 1.5 NBCC Clock Hours. Please RSVP by June 6, 2016. Space is limited! Email Scott Evans at or call 317-344-2922.


PLEASE NOTE: You must RSVP to receive a continuing education certificate. 1.5 continuing education credits or NBCC clock hours are available; no partial credit will be given.

  • The Meadows is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Meadows maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Course meets criteria for 1.5 hours of continuing education credit hours for psychologists.
  • The Meadows is an NBCCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. Provider #5687.
  • This course has been approved by The Meadows, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 1.5 CE. NAADAC Provider #62791, The Meadows is responsible for all aspects of their programming. Course addresses Counseling Services from NAADAC Counselor Skill Group
Published in Events and Training
Monday, 23 May 2016 00:00

Picking Up the Pieces

Theresa had reached a point in her life when she felt she was in a downward spiral. Her therapist recommended that she go through the Survivors I workshop at The Meadows, a five-day intensive that addresses childhood trauma. It prompted her to immediately make a lot of positive changes her life.

As she gained more and more personal insights into her past, she went back to do more customized and focused healing through Survivors II, which focuses on overcoming self-defeating behaviors, and Journey of a Woman’s Heart: Finding True Intimacy, which helps women address unhealthy sexual patterns.

Theresa says that the workshops helped her to put together all the puzzle pieces from her life. Once she understood her past behaviors she was able to build a better future.

The new Rio Retreat Center at the Meadows now hosts the workshops that Theresa attended, along with many others. Register before June 30, 2016, and receive a 25 percent discount on the cost of registration. Call 800.244.4949. 

Published in Blog

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