The Meadows Blog

The Meadows is pleased to present an 11-part interview with John Bradshaw, world-famous educator, counselor, motivational speaker, author, and a leading figure in the fields of addiction and recovery.

In the fourth video of his series, Mr. Bradshaw explores the role that after-care facilities play in the recovery process. He considers facilities such as Mellody House, Dakota House, and The Meadows Texas to be critical parts of the continuum of care.

He adds that, when he operated his own facility, one of his biggest challenges was finding appropriate extended-care settings for his clients.

"We developed satellites around the country, but it still wasn't as good as having a Dakota House right there with the treatment center," he says, stressing that after-care is a critical part of the therapeutic process for many clients.

"In four or five weeks of primary care, people have done a lot, but sometimes they need to do more to heal the trauma."

Mr. Bradshaw has been closely associated with The Meadows for more than 10 years, giving insights to staff and patients, speaking at alumni retreats, lecturing to mental health professionals at workshops and seminars, and helping to shape its cutting-edge treatment programs. He is the author of several New York Times best-selling books, including Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Creating Love, and Healing the Shame That Binds You.

In other videos in this series, Mr. Bradshaw discusses such topics as Survivor Week, the relationship between shame and depression, and the importance of inner-child deep feeling work. To view all the videos in this informative series, visit www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg.

For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, see www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

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MAUREEN CANNING ON CONTEMPORARY SEX ADDICTION TREATMENT

As part of its series on addiction and trauma, The Meadows is pleased to present a video featuring Maureen Canning discussing sexual addiction in women.

In the third video in her nine-part series, Maureen Canning, MA, LMFT, talks about contemporary methods for treating sexual addiction.

"One of the things we do differently at The Meadows is that we really look at the family of origin," she says. "We address the addictive process - and we're very good at doing that - but we also look at the underlying issues."

Ms. Canning adds that most sex addicts have deep-seated feelings of shame and inherent worthlessness. They feel they don't deserve to be loved, heard, or emotionally safe.

"They're looking for someone to hear them, to see them, and to love them," Ms. Canning explains. "And when we help them to understand, it automatically reduces the shame. And reducing the shame starts the process of recovery."

Ms. Canning is a clinical consultant and senior fellow at The Meadows of Wickenburg and a clinical consultant at Dakota, The Meadows' extended-care facility dedicated to treating sexual addiction and trauma. She has taught extensively about sexual disorders, and her clinical experience includes individual, couples, and family counseling; workshops; lectures; educational training; and interventions. She has written several books, including Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and The Road to Healthy Intimacy.

In other videos in the series, she discusses such topics as the nature of healthy sexuality, how sexual addiction can kill, and what partners of sex addicts need to know.

View the entire series of The Meadows' videos, including interviews with John Bradshaw and Dr. Jerry Boriskin, at www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg.

For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, visit www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

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p> Phoenix Free Lecture Series June 27, 2011 7:00-8:30pm
Chaparral Christian Church
6451 East Shea Blvd.
Scottsdale, Arizona 85254
For more information, call The Meadows 800-632-3697

Wrestling with the Teenager Within presented by Ben Galloway, LISAC, CSAT

In this presentation, Ben will discuss the family roles, rules and styles of dysfunction that create different types of wounding and defenses. The Adapted Self becomes normalized and bound to these defenses and can even be bound to powerful addictions or relational dysfunctions. Many individuals have difficulty with ongoing recovery and successful healing in therapy due to the normalized survival extremes and defenses of the Adapted Self. While the child within gets a lot of needed focus, this lecture will focus more on the developmental issues of the Adapted/Teenager within. We will review recovery tools and the continuum of care in therapy. Who's driving your bus?

Ben Gallaway has worked in the field of Addiction and Trauma Treatment since 1989. He is a Certified Sex Addiction Counselor and a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor. Ben is in private practice in Phoenix Arizona and the Director of Enchantment Workshops where he designs and facilitates Customized Intensives. Ben is PIT trained through extensive trainings with Pia Mellody since 1995.

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JOHN BRADSHAW ON THE MEADOWS' MODEL OF FAMILY SYSTEMS IN TREATMENT

As part of its video series on addiction and trauma, The Meadows is pleased to present an 11-part interview with John Bradshaw, world-famous educator, counselor, motivational speaker, author, and a leading figure in the fields of addiction and recovery.
In his third video of the series, Mr. Bradshaw discusses the main reason he is affiliated with The Meadows: its model of family systems in treating addiction and trauma.

"I like The Meadows' model for a number of reasons; one is because I'm a strong believer in family systems," he says.
Mr. Bradshaw explains that, for the first time in human history, we understand how substance abuse and physical abuse within a family can take a huge toll on every member.

"The father may stop drinking and get sober," he explains, "but the rest of the family has been affected seriously." Mr. Bradshaw adds that a professional can't treat a client without also dealing with the client's family, which often means involving them actively in therapy.

"That's one of the reasons I believe in The Meadows," he says. "It's difficult to get families involved in the process, but The Meadows does a great job of it."

Mr. Bradshaw is a senior fellow at The Meadows, giving insights to staff and patients, speaking at alumni retreats, lecturing to mental health professionals at workshops and seminars, and helping to shape its world-renowned treatment programs. He is the author of several New York Times best-selling books, including Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Creating Love, and Healing the Shame That Binds You.

In other videos in this series, Mr. Bradshaw discusses such topics as the importance of after-care facilities, the relationship between shame and depression, and the importance of inner-child deep feeling work. To view all the videos in this series, visit www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg.

For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, see www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

Published in Blog
Friday, 10 June 2011 20:00

Pain: Healing, Growth, and Awareness

Pain: Healing, Growth, and Awareness

Emotional pain often brings people into therapy and/or recovery. This may be the pain of depression, another relationship ending badly, or finally hitting rock bottom. Addiction, in a very real sense, is used to not feel pain. However, in the end, addiction creates more pain than it avoids. Entering therapy or recovery is often seen as a path towards no longer feeling this pain. However, true healing and recovery asks us to feel and accept our pain. It is through the experience of feeling our pain that we receive many of the gifts that support our healing and recovery.

Dave and his experience in healing and recovery is an example of how feeling pain is an important part of the healing journey. Dave sits in my office with tears sliding down his cheeks. We are exploring his childhood experiences and the reality of what growing up in his family was like. Through his quivering lips, he spits out "I've been working on this for so long. You start talking about my family and I'm back here in all this pain again. Why am I stuck?"

Feeling pain, especially pain connected to traumatic events from childhood, is often interpreted as "being stuck." After all, it is easy to believe that "if I was not stuck, I would not be feeling this pain." This is not the case! Pain is a normal and healthy human emotion. Pain is an emotion to be felt and understood. Pain is an emotion that helps to guide us in life. Pain is an emotion that has gifts to offer us: healing, growth, and awareness. Feeling pain does not mean we are stuck. Quite the contrary, it often means we are doing good healing work.

Dave originally came into my office struggling with addiction. He held tightly to his outward persona which he unconsciously used to hide his pain, shame, and core self from the rest of the world. On the surface, Dave's family of origin looked wonderful, nurturing, and loving. Dave believed that whatever struggles he had were surely about him and his own "defectiveness." He projected to the world the image of someone who had moved through life with seeming ease but about every 6 months or so, Dave would be overwhelmed by pain and spend hours crying to himself, unsure of where this pain was coming from. At the same time, his addiction was gaining momentum and the unmanageability of his life was becoming more apparent.

In therapy, we initially addressed Dave's addiction and helped him to create a support community. Then, we dug into Dave's history and the emotional pain that drives his addiction. Seeing his family and childhood experiences in the light of reality was not easy for Dave. Slowly, he started to see his parents as loving but wounded. He began to understand how their wounds impacted him and limited what they were able to offer to him. Dave started to see that he was not "defective" but wounded.

Dave initially dropped into his pain around his father. Over a number of tear-filled sessions, he explored, accepted, confronted, and started holding boundaries around his father's wounds. Dave had finally dropped into his pain and allowed it to guide him into his healing and growth related to his father. Issues related to his father still come up. At times, Dave feels accepting of his past and at others he feels anger. However, the awareness that Dave received by opening up to his pain and accepting the realty of his father set this process in motion and continues to solidify his recovery.

Dave still feels pain but it no longer seeps out every 6 months in overwhelming bursts. His pain, as opposed to signaling he is stuck, is a signal that he is healing. Dave's pain guided him to uncover and recognize the shame he had been carrying from his father. Feeling his pain and allowing it to guide him in his work has allowed Dave to be less reactive to his father as well as accept his father for who he truly is, a wounded man who loves Dave but is often unable or does not know how to show this. When pain comes up for Dave around his father, he is able to embrace whatever new understanding about his father and their relationship is being offered to him. He no longer stuffs his pain and acts out his addiction to avoid it; Dave now feels his pain, observes his reactions, and uses the tools he has learned in recovery to take care of himself.

Pia Mellody talks about the gifts we receive from all emotions, even the uncomfortable ones. Dave is experiencing and taking advantage of the gifts we receive from pain: healing, growth, and awareness. This process started for Dave when he started to FEEL his pain. Previously he had used his addiction to numb his pain, lived in a fantasy to pretend his pain did not exist, and stuffed his pain by putting on a "good face" to show the world. Now that he is in recovery, lives in reality, and allows himself to be known, he is healing, growing, and learning.

Pain guides us in our journey and helps us in our own self care. It gives us information about ourselves, our situation, and the people around us. Pain lets us know where our wounds are, when the wounds of others are being acted out on us, and helps us to slow down and truly understand the situation. When we stuff our pain or pretend it is not there, we unnecessarily handicap ourselves. Stuffing our pain is like walking around in a pitch black room with our arms at our sides. The chances of us walking face first into the wall greatly increase! With our arms out, we are better able to find the walls without hurting ourselves. Successfully finding the walls allows us to get an understanding of the room's dimensions or, in others words, the reality of the room. With our arms out, we can adjust to the situation. The same is true of our pain. As we feel our pain, we get an understanding of the reality of the situation and can adjust to it.

As we feel the wall, we stop walking to save our nose from a damaging encounter. Similarly, feeling our pain allows us to adjust our own interactions and self care. We may put up our boundaries. We may recognize the reality of another person and shift what we share and/or take in from them. We may leave the situation.

With our arms out, we naturally move more cautiously, keeping ourselves more balanced even though we haven't felt anything. As we open ourselves to pain, a similar experience happens. Even when we do not feel pain, we are more aware of how we take care of ourselves. Whether this is meditation, exercise, journaling, phone calls, meetings, therapy, or rigorous honesty, we keep our self care regiment in place more easily when we are open to feeling our pain. And when pain emerges to help us see more clearly ourselves or our situation, we can fall back on this self care regiment and add to it as necessary. There are many gifts we receive when we are willing to feel our pain.

As Dave sits in my office, feeling his pain, and wondering why he is stuck, I look at him with caring and love. With all the compassion I can offer I say, "You are not stuck. You are more open to your feelings, especially pain. And you are taking advantage of the healing, growth, and awareness that pain gives you. You have used all of this in exploring and learning about your relationship with your dad. But today we are exploring the more subtle wounds you have from your mother. You have opened yourself to this process before and you have developed tools to help you to do this type of work. I'll be here with you as your pain allows you to heal, grow, and understand your relationship with your mother. This pain is your guide - embrace it!"

Tim Stein is a Marriage and Family Therapist based in Santa Rosa, CA. His specialties include sex addiction and developmental trauma. Tim works with individuals, couples, families, and groups as well as providing presentations in the areas of sexual addiction, relationships, and developmental trauma.

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