The Meadows Blog

Saturday, 07 May 2016 00:00

Forgiving Your Mother… and Yourself

Mother’s Day is time to celebrate and show our love and appreciation to our mothers, grandmothers, and female caretakers. However, many of us—in fact probably most of us—have complicated relationships with our mothers. Even if our mothers were well-intentioned, they may not have been able to provide us with what we needed emotionally, because they were stuck living out their own unresolved pain and childhood trauma.

Your early relationship with your mother, without a doubt, had a profound impact on who you are today, in ways both positive and negative. It’s important to always be grateful and appreciative for the gifts we did get from our mothers. But, it’s equally important to non-judgmentally take a look at some of the negative beliefs they may have unintentionally passed onto us, because these beliefs can have a profound impact on the people we are today.

Facing the Mother Wound

Oftentimes, at the center of our feelings of disempowerment and emptiness—feelings that themselves are often at the core of addiction, depression, anxiety and other behavioral disorders—is the mother wound. The mother wound is the emotional trauma that your mother was unable to heal within herself and passed down to you.

The mother wound begins to develop at a very young age. It consists of that untrue and harmful beliefs that you were responsible for your mother’s pain and that it was your job to make your mother happy by being “good.”

The mother wound often is the source of emotional pain you may feel from comparison (not feeling good enough); shame (the constant feeling that there is something wrong with you); attenuation (the belief that you have to keep yourself small or hidden in order to be loved); and guilt (feeling bad about what you have, or feeling bad for wanting more than you have.) If you carry this wound with you, you may find yourself struggling day-to-day in the following ways:

  • You tolerate a lot of mistreatment from others.
  • You feel overly-competitive with other people.
  • You sabotage yourself in your career, relationships, and pursuits of personal fulfillment.
  • You are overly rigid or domineering.
  • You are overly empathetic and deferential, failing to meet your own needs in favor of others’.
  • You hold back or hide your true self, so not to threaten or offend others.
  • You struggle with addiction, depression, eating disorders and other behavioral health issues.

Most mothers do want to see their children find happiness and succeed. But, if your mother did not come to terms with her own pain and emotional trauma, nor come to terms with the emotional sacrifices she had to make in becoming a mother, her interactions with you may have included subtle messages that caused you to feel guilt, shame, or obligation.

Before a mother can prevent passing down her wounds to her children, she has to fully grieve and mourn her own losses. She also has to make sure she does not rely on her children as her or only or primary source of emotional support or fulfillment.

Face Your Pain

Many people feel especially uncomfortable addressing the pain they inherited from their mothers. Oftentimes, it is because of the very sense of obligation we feel from our mother wound to be the person who always builds her up, and never tears her down. It is, however, entirely possible to heal your own pain without blaming or hating your mother. In fact, once you have faced and released your own pain, you may find it easier than ever to forgive your mother’s shortcomings and fully appreciate the totality of your relationship with her, both good and bad.

The past is never past. It lives on, every day, in the relational and emotional challenges you face in the ultimate pursuit of inner peace and fulfillment. If you avoid dealing with the pain leftover from what is perhaps the most foundational relationship of your life, you miss the chance to discover your true self and live up to your real, and enormous, potential.

Where Do I Start?

If you’re ready to address and move beyond your childhood trauma, we recommend our renowned Survivors I workshop. In a safe, supportive environment, Survivors I explores the origins that fuel self-defeating behaviors such as addictions, trauma, mood disorders, and troubling relationships. Childhood wounding up to age 18 is approached with compassion and skills are taught in order to re-parent yourself. The primary focus of this workshop is processing and releasing the negative messages and emotions that were rooted in painful experiences from the past allowing the freedom to embody your authentic self.

For more information, call us at 1-800-244-4949 or contact us online.

Published in Relationships

By Aleah Johnson, The Meadows Alumni Coordinator

What if I were to tell you that all aspects of your past would be used as an asset? Would you believe it or would you instantly regret and want to change it?

I have a love/hate relationship with the word "acceptance." As a stubborn addict, I am not supposed to agree with everything, right?

What is Acceptance?

Acceptance is defined as "the act of taking or receiving something offered." Sometimes I really have to stop and take inventory of the things in my life, both personally and professionally and ask myself if I am fighting or if I am accepting.

One of the most crucial bits of advice I have learned in recovery is to accept my past as an asset. It is important to accept ourselves where we are on our journey and be able to leverage ourselves for good.

The past is a place or state of being in an earlier period of a one's life, career, etc., that might be thought of as shameful or embarrassing. We have all done things in our past that we may not be proud of— choosing to resist or deny our past only leads to more suffering. Acceptance allows us to live in the present moment and not "future trip" or worry about the past.

Resistance is often about control; the more we try to control our lives, the more out of control they get. Acceptance allows emotional balance and gives us the ability to accept people and things exactly as they are, even when we can't see the WHY or when we're not getting what we want.

Finding Serenity

Acceptance is a key solution to our problems. When we are disturbed, it is because we find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of life—unacceptable. We can find no serenity until we accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at that moment.

Until we accept ourselves, our situations and our life, on life's terms, we cannot be happy. We need not concentrate so much on what happens in the world as on what needs to be changed in ourselves and in our attitudes. (Page 417, The Big Book)

Early in my recovery, an old-timer in one of my first meetings told me, "You can make this as easy or as hard as you want, little lady, but ultimately the choice is up to you." I fully accepted this not only as a piece of advice but also as a challenge.

Nobody is perfect and everyone has battles and struggles; this is part of this amazing journey that we call life. Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. It is our job to accept all aspects, to start where we are, use what we have, and do what we can to make the best out of the life we have left.

Join The Meadows Alumni Association

If you are a graduate from any of The Meadows inpatient programs, The Meadows Intensive Outpatient program, any weeklong intensive workshop at the Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows, or a family member who attended Family Week, you are welcome to join The Meadows Alumni Association!

Sign up today to receive our monthly email newsletter and to be kept up-to-date on any relevant, recovery-related news and events in your area.

Published in Blog

“I checked myself in because I think I was at point in my life when I needed something to change…”

These were the words of Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, in an interview with Matt Lauer on The Today Show. But, they are also the words of so many people in recovery as they look back on a very difficult time in their lives, and their decision to enter treatment.

Michael Phelps


Watch the interview here.

Even people who have achieved tremendous success in their lives can have a lot of hidden pain. When left unaddressed, that pain can—and often will—lead to problems with drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex, depression, anxiety, and other behavioral health issues.

Our treatment programs specialize in helping people find the root causes of their daily emotional struggles and develop healthier coping skills for the immense pressures and scrutiny they often face. If you feel that you, or a loved one, are racing toward disaster, give us a call at 1-800-244-4949. 

Published in Treatment & Recovery
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 00:00

Summer Workshops at The Meadows

Renew your mind, body and spirit this summer with an intensive workshop at the Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows. We combine our expert-led therapeutic workshops with Yoga, Tai Chi, expressive arts, acupuncture, equine therapy, evening social events, and a beautiful, serene desert landscape to facilitate holistic healing.

Register Today!

Book your stay at a nearby resort, or at our brand new Bunkhouse. Register between now and June 30 and receive a 25 percent discount on registration fees.

Rio Retreat at The Meadows Summer Workshop Calendar

For more information, or to register, call 800-244-4949.

MAY 2016

Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
May 9 - 13: Mind & Heart: A Mindful Path to Wholehearted Living
May 9 - 13: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
May 15 - 19: Discovery to Recovery: For Couples Healing From Sex Addiction, Intensive 2
May 16 - 20: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
May 23 - 27: Men's Sexual Recovery
May 30 - June 3: Survivors II
May 30 - June 3: Healing Intimate Treason: For Partners of Sex Addiction

JUNE 2016

Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
June 6 - 10: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
June 13 - 17: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
June 13 - 17: Men's Sexual Recovery
June 20 - 24: Discovery to Recovery: For Couples Healing From Sex Addiction, Intensive 3
June 20 - 24: Living in Abundance: Balancing Work, Money and Relationships
June 27 - July 1: Living in Abundance: Balancing Work, Money and Relationships
June 27 - July 1: Survivors II

JULY 2016

Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
July 4 - 8: A Man's Way Retreat
July 11 - 15: Men's Sexual Recovery
July 11 - 15: Journey of a Woman's Heart: Finding True Intimacy
July 11 - 15: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
July 18 - 22: Healing Intimate Treason: For Partners of Sex Addiction
July 18 - 22: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
July 25 - 29: Discovery to Recovery: For Couples Healing From Sex Addiction, Intensive 1


Every Week: Survivors I
Scheduled Upon Request: Family Workshop
August 1 - 5: Healing Heartache: A Grief and Loss Workshop
August 1 - 5: Men's Sexual Recovery
August 8 - 12: Strengthening Coupleship: Working Together
August 8 - 12: The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships
August 15 - 19: Mind & Heart: A Mindful Path to Wholehearted Living
August 15 - 19: Survivors II
August 22 - 26: Love Addiction/Love Avoidance
August 22 - 26: Men's Sexual Recovery
August 29 - September 2: Healing Intimate Treason: For Partners of Sex Addiction

About The Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows

Since the 1980s, The Meadows has been the forerunner in providing intensive workshops that transform lives. Our new Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows offers a variety of unique workshops available to all interested individuals. All workshops are led by world class Meadows clinicians, as well as industry leaders from around the country who specialize in specific areas of professional growth.

Published in Workshops

Senior Fellows at The Meadows Claudia Black, PhD, and Patrick Carnes, PhD, CAS, will be featured speakers at the upcoming Summit for Clinical Excellence, March 9 -12. The summit offers advanced clinical training for therapists and counselors with up to 26 Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) available.

The theme this year is “Freud Meet Buddha: Mindfulness, Trauma and Process Addictions.” . Dr. Black will give her keynote presentation, “ Reverberations of Trauma in the Addictive Family” on March 9. Dr. Carnes will present “The Secret of Life: The Meaning of Recovery” on March 11. Other sessions will cover topics such as…

  • Brain-based therapy and PTSD;
  • Mindfulness for Anxiety and Depression;
  • Understanding Addiction Interaction,
  • Compassion Practice and Empathy Training for Therapists,
  • Turning Sexual Problems into Personal Growth;
  • Contemplative Psychotherapy: Beginning with Oneself;
  • and more.

The conference is co-hosted this year by The Claudia Black Young Adult Center at The Meadows, and Gentle Path at The Meadows. To register, go

Published in News & Announcements

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Intensive Family Program • Innovative Experiential Therapy • Neurobehavioral Therapy

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