The Meadows Blog

Sunday, 08 September 2013 20:00

What Does Your Recovery Voice Look Like?

The Meadows Alumni Association invites you to join in celebrating National Recovery Month in September by participating in our weekly events. This month is definitely about having fun but also to raise awareness about addiction and mental health. Our recovery voices create a pathway for those who are still silent.

Click here for full schedule of events

WEEK TWO

What Does Your Recovery Voice Look Like?

What does your recovery voice look like? Do you have an image that captures your recovery voice? Is it the ocean, forests, or a winding road? Is it a spiritual symbol or a hobby you enjoy?

Illustrating Recovery

Send us your pictures! You can draw, design, or share photos that capture your recovery voice. I will display your work for the campus event.

We will begin displaying your submissions on Wednesday September 11th in the Dining Hall and continue all month long!

Most Important Action: Email Morgan Day at alumni@themeadows.com or Submit your post to the Meadows blog.

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The Meadows is sponsoring a free lecture in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, February 14 presented by Katherine Aguirre, MA, LPC, on the topic of "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: The Cycles of Love Addiction and Love Avoidance. It will be held at the Riverbend Church, The Quad, 4214 Capital of Texas Highway from 7:00 to 8:30pm. To register this event, please visit http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1029257.  

Aguirre is a licensed professional counselor and a Pia Mellody trained therapist with more than seven years of counseling experience. She has been greatly influenced by Mellody, one of the preeminent authorities in the fields of addiction and relationships, and a Senior Fellow and senior clinical advisor for The Meadows Wickenburg. Aguirre has counseled clients at Safeplace, the American Cancer Society, The Meadows, and Spirit Lodge where she treated chemical addictions, process addictions, codependence, and trauma, in addition to family of origin work. She is now in private practice in Austin, Texas.

The Meadows sponsors free lectures in various cities throughout the country. Speakers include local therapists familiar with The Meadows’ model. Lectures are free and open to the public.  Attendees can earn 1.5 Continuing Education Credits. For more information about this free event, contact Betty Ewing Dicken at 972.612.7443 or bdicken@themeadows.com.

The Meadows is an industry leader in treating trauma and addiction through its inpatient and workshop programs. To learn more about The Meadows' work with trauma and addiction contact an intake coordinator at (866) 856-1279 or visit www.themeadows.com.

For over 35 years, The Meadows has been a leading trauma and addiction treatment center.  In that time, they have helped more than 20,000 patients in one of their three inpatient centers and 25,000 attendees in national workshops. The Meadows world-class team of Senior Fellows, Psychiatrists, Therapists and Counselors treat the symptoms of addiction and the underlying issues that cause lifelong patterns of self-destructive behavior. The Meadows, with 24 hour nursing and on-site physicians and psychiatrists, is a Level 1 psychiatric hospital that is accredited by the Joint Commission.

Published in Blog
Monday, 02 September 2013 20:00

What Does Your Recovery Voice SAY?

The Meadows Alumni Association invites you to join in celebrating National Recovery Month in September by participating in our weekly events. This month is definitely about having fun but also to raise awareness about addiction and mental health. Our recovery voices create a pathway for those who are still silent.

Click here for full schedule of events

WEEK ONE

What Does Your Recovery Voice Say?

What does your recovery voice say? Does it share your story? Does your recovery voice express experience, strength and hope? If you asked your recovery voice about you, what would it say?

Event: You Can Say That Again-  Get ready to see what our Alumni are saying in their recovery voice and join the conversation.
When: Wednesday September 4th
Action:Share your recovery story with the Meadows community! Use template provided or keep it to letter size so I can print out for the campus event.

Most Important Action: Email Morgan Day at alumni@themeadows.com or Submit your post to the Meadows blog.

Published in Blog
Monday, 26 August 2013 20:00

The Meadows Horse of the Month - DUSTY

Dusty - 23year old -Strawberry Roan - Quarter horse - Gelding

Boundaries are one of the most requested issues that Participants want to work on at Equine.

So where can you find a safe and reliable place to practice noticing and responding to boundaries? A place where you can literally see and feel boundaries?

Dusty is that space. He is amazing in that he is consistent, honest and clear in his expression of personal boundaries. He is not what you would call cuddly. We affectionately refer to him as our "Grumpy Old Man." With Dusty you always know exactly what he wants. No question. He makes no excuses and never second guesses himself. If he wants to be close that day you know it. If he wants space that day, you know it too. Groups have begun only to have Dusty lay down and fall asleep or take a nap. The photo above is Dusty napping during a group.

Dusty created our Boundaries experiential all on his own. We would watch Participants approach him and see him begin setting boundaries. Often the more subtle cues were missed and so he would be more obvious with ears and making a face. If these cues were also missed he would move away or move his head up and down in the air. So the question posed is always the same "Do you ever find yourself in an out of control situation but have no idea how it got that way?"

By moving toward Dusty and then away Participants can see exactly when the Boundary is being set and also FEEL when the Boundary is there. Dusty sets and holds boundaries with an almost tangible energy. It's a very confident feeling. To Participants who chose to work with Dusty it becomes very clear; that in learning how to recognize the boundaries he sets, they were also better able to see other boundaries being set around them. Boundaries that, before would have been totally unrecognized, are now easily seen.

Even though he is a horse that clearly prefers the predictable black and white of life, Dusty willingly stands in the grey messiness of us trying to figure out human Boundaries. With Dusty the more you lean into the Boundary the clearer and more obvious it gets. He is a horse that brings things into focus and gives you a look at life through eyes that see things in a much simpler way.

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Finding out that your committed partner has sexually betrayed you is like: getting your heart ripped out, stomped on, thrown through a glass window, spit on, and perhaps lastly, smothered with gasoline and set on fire. Then, your partner asks you to forgive him or her; and you don't think you could ever be more furious and disgusted.

This is a common experience for the Partners of Sexual Addicts that I work with on a weekly basis at The Meadows. The stories and behaviors may be different but the underlying foundation of the damage is always Betrayal. Emotional, Physical, Sexual, and Financial betrayal is devastating and gut-wrenchingly painful for a partner who had dreams and hopes of having a healthy and committed relationship. Those dreams are now shattered and the Partner is left with the questions of "Why wasn't I enough?", "How could they do this to me?"; and "Where do I go from here?"

Sexual Addiction stems from a deep rooted intimacy and attachment disorder that often starts within childhood, teenage, or young adult years. Many of the patients I work with at The Meadows have been engaging in some type of dysfunctional, sexual fantasies, thoughts, and/or behaviors since they could remember, far before ever meeting their current partner or spouse. Sexual Addiction thrives off of Shame. Often times the addict's shame, due to their behaviors and lies, will be deflected or projected onto the partner and they are the ones that have to carry it.

Because sexuality and being sexual is so important and integral in intimate coupleships, when that is destroyed or taken outside the primary relationship, the partner has no choice but to take it personally and look at it as an attack on themselves and who they are or are not. Many spouses that I speak with will say to me, "Why wasn't I attractive enough, sexual enough, loved enough to keep him/her with me?" My message to them is: "If there is one thing I want you to learn this week, it is that this had nothing to do with what you have or have not done".

So if the partner did not cause the addiction and is not an addict themselves then why be a part of the patient's treatment and come to Family Week? I often hear from partners: "He is the sick one! He gets to go and get help and leave me here at home with the chaos and damage that he created! And now he is asking me to drop everything and come to Arizona for a week to help him?" My reply is: "Come here for YOU."

Within the Family Week program, partners are given resources and tools to start to stand on solid ground. Family Week is NOT about reconciliation, fixing the problem or hearing an excuse about why the patient acted out. The week long program is designed around boundary setting and healthy communication that allow the partner to be heard and protected.

Being betrayed will undoubtedly, for most partners, contribute to feelings of shame and worthlessness that creates a deep, dark wound within them. The Meadows and Pia Mellody define Trauma as "Anything less than nurturing". Sexual betrayal would obviously fit into this category based on the definition and many partners experience symptoms of trauma such as hypervigilance, despair, flashbacks and nightmares, among other experiences. The shame and trauma need to be addressed for the partner to start to heal that wound. Even if the partner decides to move on from that relationship he or she will continue to be plagued in life and through other relationships if not addressed.

Through my work at The Meadows, I have seen amazing growth and strength in men and women who thought that they could have never dug themselves out of the dark hole that sexual addiction created. Recovery work, for both the addict and partner, instills hope, perseverance, and self-worth that they thought they had lost. The Meadows Workshops such as Partners of Sex Addicts, Survivors, and Women's Intimacy Issues are great resources to help partners to gain awareness, understanding, and tools to help themselves and their families.

Lauren Bierman is a Family Counselor at the Meadows working with the Sex Addiction population. She is a Licensed Associate Counselor and has been trained through Patrick Carnes and IITAP's Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) program. Her passion is working with Partners of Sex Addicts in their own healing process and helping them find hope after sexual betrayal.

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