By Tracy Harder, MSC, LAC, Workshop Therapist and Andrea Sauceda
Do you find yourself ending up in one painful, damaging, and disastrous relationship after another? Do you feel like a failure because you haven’t yet found true love?
The following letter was written by a woman who attended The Love Addiction/Love Avoidance workshop at The Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows. At the end of the workshop, participants were asked to write a goodbye letter to their love addiction and to the walls they had put up around themselves as a result. You can learn more about the workshop by calling 800-244-4949 or by sending us an email. Those who register before June 30 will receive a 25 percent discount!
Dear Soul-Sucking Newly Identified Issues,
First, I'm going to dismantle my wall one brick at a time. I will remove each brick and grind it into dust. I will then reform the dust into something useful, like a bird bath that I will place in my garden where the wall used to stand. I know I will occasionally feel the need to start a new wall, but I will only need to remind myself that maybe a short, temporary fence can serve the same protective purpose. A fence is something that two people can lean on and talk across until they both decide that any kind of barrier is unnecessary.
While I am dismantling my wall, I am also kissing the fantasy goodbye. Rumor has it that men are mere humans, unable to leap tall buildings, and that their ability to read my mind and fulfill my every wish without a word from me has been overstated by both Hollywood and Harlequin. Given that I've been duped by mass media once again, I'm going in search of a better story. There's something to be said for that thing called reality programming! Instead of holding out for the glass slipper, I'm putting on my hiking boots and starting the search for this creature they call a perfectly imperfect human man. You can no longer keep me captivated with stories of happily ever after. I'm willing to strive for "really good" after a lot of hard work, knowing that some days are still probably going to suck.
So, Fantasy Life, I say this: Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to reality I go.
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.
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.
Dr. Patrick Carnes, the pioneer researcher whose work helped establish the concept of compulsive sexual behavior as an addiction, presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to renowned lecturer and bestselling author John Bradshaw at the second annual International Sex & Love Addiction Conference. The three-day conference focused on the changing architecture of addictive desire, trauma, and attachment.
Bradshaw, who is a Senior Fellow at The Meadows, is a New York Times bestselling author and has been featured in numerous PBS specials. For more than 25 years, Bradshaw has helped transform our understanding of the family and has been a dominant figure in the field of addiction and recovery. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for his book RECLAIMING VIRTUE. His latest book entitled Post Romantic Stress Disorder was recently released by Health Communications, Inc.
“The three-day conference brought together the cutting edge and great advancements in this field; a pleasure to sit in the presentations to see how far we've come and the vision for the future,” said Bradshaw.
Co-sponsored by The Meadows, a Wickenburg Arizona-based treatment center focusing on trauma and addiction, this key industry event drew more than 300 clinicians and therapists who explored the many facets of Sex & Love Addiction, one of the most pertinent clinical and counseling issues facing addiction and mental health professionals.
Prominent speakers included Conference Chair Dr. Patrick Carnes, founder of Gentle Path at The Meadows; Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, the pioneer researcher whose work has helped establish the concept of compulsive sexual behavior as an addiction; and Dr. Claudia Black, renowned addictions, codependency, and family systems expert who is also a Senior Fellow at The Meadows and has spent more than a decade in an advisory role there.
Conference attendee Dr. Jon Caldwell, chief of psychiatry at The Meadows who specializes in the treatment of adults with relational trauma histories and addictive behaviors, found the conference inspiring, enlightening, and meaningful. “This international conference features some of the most knowledgeable and respected thought leaders of our day in the fields of trauma, attachment, and sex/love addiction. Additionally, their experience and wisdom is being augmented by a new generation of passionate leaders and remarkable scientific advances. It has been a historic conference that will have great meaning and utility for the people we serve!”