The Meadows Blog

Wednesday, 18 February 2015 00:00

Fifty Shades of Grey

Whether you've read Fifty Shades of Grey or not, the fact remains there is a lot of buzz around the series. Women can’t seem to get enough of Christian Grey, but the question is, why? When you take a step back, you see a story about two people with their own insecurities and lack of self-worth begin a relationship with unhealthy expectations.

There have been arguments about why Christian Grey should be in jail or why Ana is a weak female - although I would argue Ana is strong in her own right. Ana, like many women, gets into a relationship with Christian under the pretense of saving him. But why is it Ana’s responsibility to save him?

In reality, it is not Ana’s responsibility to “save” him because Christian is the only one who can do that for himself. In the real world, many women expecting a “happy ending” are left feeling emotionally numb, shame, and struggle with a negative body image.

Please take a moment to read the whole "Fifty Shades of Grey" article and share with your friends and family.

We Can Help

At The Meadows, Arizona, our rehabilitation facility provides a safe, confidential and healing environment for sexual addiction treatment. Our expert treatment staff helps each client look at the core issues that caused the addiction to heal the underlying cause of the addiction.

Our reputation is unmatched in the treatment of sexual disorders, and our positive client outcomes shape our legacy. To learn more about The Meadows’ state-of-the-art Sexual Addiction Program, contact an Intake Coordinator at 800-244-4949.

Published in Sexual Addiction

Why would someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger risk everything to have sexual affairs?

I do not know Mr. Schwarzenegger, but I do know that many people are addicted not only to sexual acting-out, but also to the intensity, risk, and adrenaline high that come from "living on the edge." For some addicts, the secrets - and the sense of getting away with bad behavior - are the best part of the high, whether perpetrated on a partner, friend, workplace, family, or "the system."

Sexually compulsive individuals often feel shame at the core of their being. This shame comes from messages they received in their formative years about who they were as people. Often these messages were overt, but more often they were covert. As kids, they lived with expectations... to be the best, save the family, support a parent's emotional needs, make us proud. Such dynamics leave children feeling resentful, as they must perform in order to get attention and feel valuable. They are stripped of their authenticity by demands to meet others' needs and expectations.

This gives children the message that there must be something wrong with them. They come to believe, "I must prove myself in order to have value and worth. I must perform. I must provide. I must bring home trophies, be the leader of the class, be the most popular. No longer is it okay to be just good enough. I must excel; otherwise, I will disappoint. And if I disappoint, I will be emotionally abandoned."

Meeting such goals results in externalized self-esteem. No matter how hard the child tries, it is never enough. There are always more goals and more things to prove - never-ending expectations to meet someone else's needs. These children tend to grow up to be perfectionist overachievers. They are often smart, efficient, successful leaders. They are excellent problem-solvers and winners in the external aspects of their lives. They have financial success, respect, nice families, and loyal circles of friends. They are physically fit and attractive. They tend to be extroverted, fun-loving people who seem to have the world wrapped around a finger.

Yet, over and over again, we see it in the news:  the governor, sports figure, movie/television star, preacher, CEO, even the President taking risks, leading secret lives. Each time it happens, we sit back in awe. How could this be? Why would he risk it all?

It doesn't make sense without an understanding of the deep-seated dynamics lying under the external success. Resentment fuels all addictions. In some individuals, resentments fester like an infection, a toxic poison infiltrating all aspects of the addict's life. The only place he feels in control is within his secret life. The rest of life is a seamless yet meaningless existence lived on mind-numbing autopilot. He takes the risks, lives on the edge, has the affair, cheats on his partner, and lies to the camera. He chases the lies until the curtain is pulled back and the truth exposed; in the light of stark reality, the lies are unbelievable even to him. Two worlds collide in what often feels like a death - or what we in the addiction world call "a bottom." The carefully constructed life crumbles.

This is when recovery is possible. The addict comes to a point where the addiction is no longer worth it; he is exhausted and disgusted, and he wants out. At this point, the addict can reach out for help.

Not only does the addict hit bottom, but the family does as well. Maria Shriver, Schwarzenegger's wife of 25 years, also has been in the press. Like all partners, the family system is profoundly devastated. The betrayal leaves spouses and children feeling overwhelmed and lost.  The good news is that there is help and support for them as well.

In her book, Maurita Corcoran (recently featured on Dr. Drew Pinsky's show) talks about her 14-year marriage to a sex addict. Learning of others' experiences helps to normalize a partner's experience, as can literature addressing these issues, and 12 Step meetings for partners of sex addicts provide safe places to share common experiences.

Because families and partners who heal together are more likely to survive intact, The Meadows offers a week-long workshop specifically for partners of sex addicts. The workshop clarifies the sexual addiction cycle and provides a place for partners to get answers and express their anger and grief.

Sexual addiction is unique in that it affects people at the core of their being. Sexuality is tied to one's identity, affecting one's sense of safety and trust. When this trust is broken, one's entire world can shatter, leaving shock and dismay. It is important that partners have a place to reach out and feel validated and heard - a place where they, too, can heal.

Published in Blog

The Meadows, America's premier center for the treatment of addiction and trauma, is pleased to present an ongoing series of videos featuring the most prominent names in the mental health field, including Maureen Canning, John Bradshaw, and Dr. Jerry Boriskin, among others.

Maureen Canning is a clinical consultant and senior fellow at The Meadows. She also is a clinical consultant at Dakota, The Meadows' extended-care facility dedicated exclusively to the treatment of sexual addiction and trauma. In her introductory video, Ms. Canning discusses her relationship with the Meadows and her work treating sexual disorders.

"I came by this work honestly," she explains. "I'm a recovering person myself, and I have a lot of passion for the work that I do."

She continues, "There's a lot of stigma around this particular disorder, especially for women, so I feel blessed to support people around the recovery process and to see people make progress and move toward healthy sexual expression."

Other videos in the series by Ms. Canning deal with the nature of healthy sexuality, shame and sex addiction, what partners of sex addicts need to know, and other critical issues relating to the treatment of sexual disorders.

An internationally recognized lecturer in the fields of sexual addiction and trauma, Ms. Canning, MA, LMFT, has extensive experience treating sexual disorders. Her clinical experience includes individual, couples, and family counseling; workshops; educational trainings; and interventions. She is a level II EMDR-trained therapist, a certified hypnotherapist, and the author of Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and The Road to Healthy Intimacy.

To view this and other videos in this informative series from The Meadows, see For more about The Meadows’ innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, see or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

Published in Blog

Bellevue, Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Portland, Oregon, Thursday, March 3, 2011
Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Compulsivity and the Road to Healthy Intimacy
This lecture will offer a theoretical structure for the treatment of compulsive sexual behaviors. It will explore the roles of sexualized shame and anger as they relate to the cycle of addiction. The ideology of behavioral patterns, including the development of trauma templates, will be discussed, as will the ways this wounding relates to specific sexual behavioral patterns. The lecture also will explore the integration of theoretical approaches, behaviors and specific treatment techniques.

About the Presenter:

Maureen Canning, MA, LMFT, Clinical Consultant for Sexual Disorders at The Meadows and Dakota, has extensive experience working with sexual disorders. She is a past board member of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health, as well as past president of the Arizona Council on Sexual Addiction. She facilitated inpatient sexual disorders treatment at The Meadows for a number of years before opening a private practice in Phoenix. Maureen is the author of Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and the Road to Healthy Intimacy.

Learning Objectives
Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the diagnostic criteria for sexual addiction
  • Explore the roles of sexualized anger and shame in the addiction cycle
  • Recognize and discuss trauma templates

Location - Washington
Hilton Bellevue Hotel
300 112th Avenue SE
Bellevue, Washington 98004
Location - Oregon
Holiday Inn® Portland Airport
8439 NE Columbia Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97220
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Registration 8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.
Lecture 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Lunch 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. (boxed lunch provided)
Lecture 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
$95 per person / $85 online registration
(includes lecture, lunch, materials, hotel parking and 6 continuing education credits)
Earn 6 Continuing Education Credits

Published in Blog
Sunday, 30 January 2011 19:00

Why Extended Care?

by Kathy Golden, Director/Manager of Extended Care at The Meadows

Most people seem to come to primary treatment because they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. When they near the end of their primary treatment, the counselor starts recommending extended care. The client may think, "I can't do this. I have a job; I can't afford to spend the money. I don't want to spend more time away from my husband, children, family..." They feel the best they've felt, perhaps in many years, and can't imagine why they need to continue treatment. I always ask my clients to consider treatment as one little inch out of the mile that is life. Clients most likely have spent years developing acting-out patterns, being depressed, wondering why they are so reactive to things that don't seem to bother other people, being filled with shame that they continue to sabotage their lives.

I ask them: "Do you think you have completely addressed all of your issues in the space of 29 to 35 days? Do you believe that you have worked through all of the trauma issues that have developed throughout your life journey?" The "pink cloud"that most people have as they near the end of treatment soon dissipates as they hit the real world and the reality of their life journey. They may have changed, or at least begun to make changes, however their best friends haven't changed with them. Those co-workers they can't get along with haven't changed or been to treatment. Perhaps their family attended Family Week sessions and has good intentions, without the benefit of 30 days in treatment.

The benefits of extended care can be immeasurable. They provide the chance to continue to address trauma issues, solidify the best relapse-prevention plan possible, encourage necessary self-examination, and provide time to incorporate the tools learned in primary care so they become a new way of life- a life of recovery and health. Extended care allows a recovering person to transition into the real world through supported outside activities, outside 12 Step meetings, a relationship with a sponsor, Step work, limit setting, and structure development. Those with co-occurring disorders can benefit greatly from extended care; the extra time, support, and scope of an extended-care treatment process can make a significant difference.

Statistics show that, the longer a person can remain in extended care, the lower the probability of relapse. In a study by Castle Craig Hospital, 48 percent of those who completed a recommended period of continued treatment had "maintained unbroken continuous abstinence (from all drugs including alcohol and cannabis), and a further 14 percent were in a good outcome category, abstinent at the time of follow-up. The abstinent and improved outcome figures for this group of treatment completers was 62 percent. The results, therefore, for this group of clients who completed an average of 17 weeks in extended care are very good indeed."

Extended care at The Meadows helps a client develop a personalized treatment plan, continue trauma-reduction work, and settle into a new life of recovery. We recommend a minimum 90-day stay: 30 days in primary care at The Meadows and another 60 or more at Mellody House, Dakota, or The Meadows Texas. Each of these facilities addresses trauma reduction through use of Pia Mellody's model. Additionally, Dakota helps clients continue to address compulsive sexual behaviors, while The Meadows Texas provides a safe place for women to continue their recovery journeys.

Published in Blog
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