The Meadows Blog

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:00

Sean Walsh on Fear and Faith in Recovery

Meadows CEO Sean Walsh recently sat down with Dan Griffin for a conversation on faith, spirituality, relationships, leadership, and recovery as part of Dan’s “Men in Recovery” video series.

In the interview, Sean talks about his childhood trauma, and how the biggest turning point in his sobriety was the third step (i.e. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.)

Sean and Dan also talk about how faith gives them permission to experience feelings like doubt, fear, and insecurity—feelings that men in our society are often discouraged from admitting that they have.

“We can’t have much faith when we are operating in fear,” Sean says. “To really operate in faith, means walking through those fears.” To Sean, having faith also allows you to have a personal identity that is not tied to status or positions or materials things. Through faith, you can rest in the knowledge that you are not defined by your social status or profession, or by the fears and insecurities you have. Instead, you are defined by your higher purpose.

Watch Sean and Dan’s entire 15-minute conversation for even more insights and inspiration.

If you need help with addiction or mental health issues—for yourself or a loved one—please don’t hesitate to call us at 866-350-1524. We can help you find the faith and courage you already have within yourself and heal from trauma and emotional pain.

What’s your story?

We want to hear your story and share it with others. What does being #fearless mean to you, and to your recovery? Tell us in a short essay (500 words) or short video (2 minutes), and we may feature you on our blog or Facebook page! Email your submissions to, or share them on Twitter and mention @AndreaSauceda in your tweet.

Two years ago, we opened the Meadows Outpatient Center in Scottsdale, Arizona with the goal of taking everything we’d learned throughout our 40 years of delivering world-class, quality treatment programs at The Meadows, and applying it to an outpatient setting.

Today, we are thrilled to announce that The Meadows Outpatient Center is now an in-network provider for all Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance carriers. Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the largest managed care companies in the United States. By partnering with them, we can make the cutting-edge services and resources we offer through The Meadows IOP more accessible to more people than ever before.

The Meadows Outpatient Center offers comprehensive outpatient treatment programs for emotional trauma and related mental health issues like drug and alcohol addiction, mood disorders, personality disorders, and co-occurring disorders. There are also programs available that focus specifically on the needs of young adults (ages 18 – 26) with addiction and mental health issues, and men and women who are struggling with sex addiction.

Services at The Meadows Outpatient Center are based on the renowned Meadows Model for treating trauma and addiction. They include 12 hours of group therapy per week, individual counseling, psychiatry consultations, Neurofeedback, Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, art therapy, trauma-sensitive yoga, acupuncture, family therapy, and yearlong aftercare.

"We are extremely proud of the quality and caliber of service offered at the Meadows Outpatient Center,” says Meadows Behavioral Healthcare CEO Sean Walsh. We truly feel that it is unlike any other outpatient program in the country. Our in-network relationship with Blue Cross Blue Shield is an exciting step which allows us to be a resource to a greater number of those in need."

The Meadows Outpatient Center is available to all patients with Blue Cross Blue Shield effective immediately. So please don’t hesitate to call one of our Intake Specialists at 866-356-9801 or chat with us online to learn more. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about our outpatient program and your Blue Cross Blue Shield benefits.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 00:00

Suicide Prevention: Getting Help and Finding Hope

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Alarmingly, the CDC recently reported that the number of suicides in the United States has been on the rise since 1999 among both men and women and in all age groups, and is the 10th leading cause of death. Suicide and suicidal ideation are often misunderstood, especially by those who may have never struggled with mental illness or addiction—although some experts say that most people have at least though about suicide at one point or another. It’s important to understand the risk factors and warning signs of suicide and to intervene if you know someone who needs help.

If you are currently in a crisis and feel that you have no reason to keep living, please call 1-800-273-TALK or go to to chat with someone online now.

The Mind of a Suicidal Person

In his book, The Suicidal Mind, Edwin Shneidman describes 10 commonalities among people who attempt or commit suicide.

  1. Common Purpose: A person who is having suicidal thoughts is seeking a solution to a problem that is causing them extreme emotional pain and suffering.
  2. Common Goal: The ultimate goal of suicide is an end to consciousness. People who have reached this point in their suffering may believe it is the only possible solution to the problem.
  3. Common stimulus: Thoughts of suicide and attempted suicide are typically the result of psychological pain that the person finds unacceptable and unbearable.
  4. Common Stressor: People who are suicidal often feel a sense of frustration over unmet psychological needs. For example, they may have a need for achievement, but feel they always fail; a need for nurturing, but feel that no one cares about them; or a need for connection, but feel that no one can ever understand them.
  5. Common Emotion: People having suicidal thoughts feel hopeless and helpless. They may also feel like they are not able to be “saved” or not worth saving.
  6. Common Cognitive State: Suicidal people tend to live in a state of ambivalence. They want to die, but at the same time, they want to be rescued.
  7. Common Perceptual State: People who are considering suicide often see their as being constricted. They often think they only have two choice—either continue suffering or die.
  8. Common Action: People who are having thoughts of suicide are typically trying to escape. They may see death as the ultimate escape that goes far beyond attempts to escape by running away from home, quitting a job, deserting the military or leaving a spouse or partner.
  9. Common Interpersonal Act: Most people who intend to commit suicide leave clues. They may show signals of distress, talk often about feeling of hopelessness or ask for help.
  10. Common Styles of Coping: A person’s present and past tendencies toward all or nothing thinking, escapism, control and other types of problematic coping styles might indicate a greater risk for suicidal ideation.

Who is Most at Risk for Suicide?

Although people who have considered or attempted suicide share many of these commonalties, they can also have many differences. People of all gender identities, ages, incomes, and ethnicities can be at risk for suicide.

Sometimes suicide is triggered by long-term factors, like childhood trauma, and sometimes it is triggered by more immediate factors, like recent hardships or stressful life events. Sometimes suicidal tendencies are brought on by mental illness, and sometimes it’s brought on by a complex interplay of several of these factors simultaneously.

However, most people at risk of suicide tend to share some characteristics. Some of the main risk factors for suicide are…

  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • A prior suicide attempt
  • A family history of mental illness and/or addiction
  • A family history of suicide
  • A history of domestic violence
  • A history of sexual abuse
  • Incarceration
  • Being exposed to others suicidal behavior in your family or community

How Can I Help Someone Who is Suicidal?

If you know someone who is contemplating suicide, contact a crisis line, get them to the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911. If you can’t get them to the hospital right away, it’s important not to leave them alone. Stay with them, and if you can, remove any access they may have to firearms, medications, or anything that they could use to end their lives.

If you or someone you love is at higher risk for suicide, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has some excellent tips for developing a Wellness Recovery Action Plan to refer to in case of a suicidal crisis.

Treatment for Suicidal Behaviors and Suicidal Ideation

For someone who’s thought are consumed with ending his or her life the process of finding treatment can be intimidating and confusing. Some people who fit this description actually might not meet the requirements for entering into an inpatient mental health program like the ones we offer at The Meadows. That’s because there’s a difference between individuals who are actively suicidal and those who are having suicidal thoughts.

Generally speaking, those who are experiencing suicidal ideation have had thoughts about ending their lives but have no real plans to do so. Those who are actively suicidal tend to have plans laid and out and have taken steps toward ending their lives.

Typically, when a person contacts an inpatient hospital or program to discuss their issues the intake specialist will go over your past history and the precipitating events that initiated the call. If the intake specialist finds that the person is actively suicidal and in danger of harming him or herself, they may recommend that they be admitted to an inpatient treatment program that can provide acute care and around-the-clock direct monitoring.

If the intake specialist believes that the person can be safely and effectively treated in a less intensive setting, they may recommend a partial hospitalization (PHP) or residential treatment program. People who have been in an acute, hospital inpatient setting can also enter PHP or residential treatment program once they have stabilized and gotten clearance from their doctor(s).

If you’d like to learn more about treatment options for yourself or for a loved one who is experiencing suicidal thoughts, feel free to give us a call at 866-331-7179. We’d be happy to help in any way we can.

by Michael Lewis

What does being fearless in recovery mean to me?

It means not walking away before you get a chance to know who you are.

In my life, I’ve had traumatic experiences that ultimately resulted in an eight year run with addiction among other diagnoses. At one point in my life, I identified as an addict to such an extent that I thought I’d never be anything else.

It wasn’t until I decided to give myself a chance to get to know myself outside of my shame that I discovered something I thought was long lost, and to some degree, nonexistent.

I discovered a person that doesn’t believe this world is just some purgatorial dimension where I’m supposed to drown in misery for all eternity. I discovered a person who could once again look up at the stars and see the light shining through the darkness, illuminating the path I once thought to be a desolate road. My journey allowed me to see where my heart truly lies.

In the time of the Tang dynasty a Chinese philosopher and teacher named Confucius said, “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?” I believe this quote to mean that a good heart lies within every person, and once you get to know your heart there will be NOTHING left to fear.

It’s fairly common for people in recovery to accept the labels of their life struggles as their identity. I’ve learned in my own recovery process, and now being a therapist myself, that we’re not defined by our diagnoses or symptoms. Both could very well be a big part of who you are, but we don’t walk around saying, “Hi! I’m addicted and mentally ill Mike, nice to meet you!”

If anything it would be more like, “Hi I’m Mike and I’ve struggled with addiction, trauma, and depression. I know what it’s like to walk the unseen path. How can I be there to help?”

A psychologist by the name of Erik Erikson once said, “The more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others.” To have patience for others is to have compassion, and to have compassion, is to be enlightened, and to be enlightened is to be unwrapped from a shroud of fear and darkness.

This is what being fearless in recovery means to me.

Friday, 16 September 2016 00:00

Recovery Requires Shining a Light on Trauma

By Peter Charad

It's one of those memories that feels like it happened yesterday.

Tuesday evening, October 5, 1976, I had checked into the Sheraton Hotel in Hong Kong. As I arrived at my room I heard the phone ringing.

I was excited as I assumed it was my Hong Kong pals phoning to tell me what the arrangements were for the evening.

I have never been able to describe the feeling when, as I picked up the telephone, my ex-brother-in-law told me that my brother had taken his own life.

Colin was the family hero; my personal hero. My belief was that when all else failed he would be there to catch me⎯and he was gone!

I couldn't breathe, I felt nauseous, and then an enormous, scary howl screeched out of me. I started sobbing uncontrollably. I felt so alone and in dire stress; completely out of control.

A colleague had been phoned before I was phoned and very shortly arrived at my door with a bottle of XO Brandy. He poured out a very large glass for me. Those powerful feelings began to subside.

Early the next morning I bought the first 10mg Valium tablets, of many to come, and booked my journey to Johannesburg for the Friday funeral. There was no direct flight so I was booked to leave in the evening via Australia, a 37-hour journey that I survived on alcohol and Valium!

I made it to the funeral and returned back to Hong Kong two days later to continue on as if nothing had happened. The reality was that it hadn't happened on a “feeling level.” I had gone way up into that space where I couldn't feel hurt anymore and I continued to live up there for another 12 years surviving on alcohol and drugs.

I entered a treatment facility in November 1988 to help me stop using these substances. It worked; I was there for five weeks and thankfully haven't found it necessary to use alcohol or any other substance since.

However, little did I know that all the feelings I had numbed before, over and over again for those 12 years were waiting to be felt and processed. It was overwhelming at times; I did not think I would get through it. But, little by little, those enormous feelings began to ease and slowly, after three and a half years of sobbing and screaming I began to surface feeling calm⎯not high, just calm.

It allowed me to emotionally bury my late brother with love and then start healing from all the pain and find the real person under all of that trauma. I am so grateful that I stayed and found mentors who shone lights for me when everything looked so dark.

Share Your Story

In honor of National Recovery Month, we want to hear your story and share it with others. What does being #fearless mean to you, and to your recovery? Tell us in a short essay (500 words) or short video (2 minutes), and we may feature you on our blog or Facebook page! Email your submissions to, or share them on Twitter and mention @AndreaSauceda in your tweet.

Thursday, 15 September 2016 00:00

Being Fearless in Recovery Means Being Vulnerable

By: Rachel Margolis

My immediate thought about the word "fearless" is of one being without fear. For years, I have been literally frozen by fear and pain from childhood trauma that rolled into adulthood. As a child, displaying any feelings at all prompted being shamed by my caregivers, who I was afraid of most of all. I dived into addiction in order not to feel that fear and pain. Eventually, I was unable to feel anything without feeding my addiction - and that soon ceased to work. The result? I found myself not even able to get out of bed. I wasn't afraid of dying - I was afraid of living. I couldn't feel anything and didn't want to.

During my stay at The Meadows this year, I learned to identify my feelings and "sit with them" opposed to minimizing, denying, and avoiding them. I was full of fear as I faced the darkest parts of my life and I did something so painfully difficult for me - I asked for help each step of the way. I took the risk to be vulnerable and trust people - my peers, my therapists, and my Higher Power. When I reached out for help, I found the "fear" became "less"!

Being fearless in recovery to me is taking the risk to be vulnerable - willing to be seen and to see and accept others where they are. Being fearless is putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward with openness, honesty and willingness, even when it's painful. It's being perfectly imperfect and accepting the humanity of myself and others - while striving to be the best me I can be, which will always be enough. I have discovered that my addiction and trauma are stronger than ME, but not stronger than WE! With that WE strength I know I can walk through the most challenging times that I might face.

Share Your Story

In honor of National Recovery Month, we want to hear and share your story. What does being #fearless mean to you, and to your recovery? Tell us in a short essay (500 words) or short video (2 minutes), and we may feature you on our blog or Facebook page! Email your submissions to, or share them on Twitter and mention @AndreaSauceda in your tweet.

Jim Dredge, CEO of Alita Care, LLC, has announced that Kyle Wescoat will join the company as Chief Financial Officer. Wescoat’s responsibilities as Alita Care CFO will include oversight of the Finance and Information Technology operations for both Sunspire Health and Meadows Behavioral Healthcare.

Wescoat comes to Alita Care with more than 25 years of CFO experience in a variety of well-regarded public and private companies, including Emulex, VIZIO, and Vans. He also has previous experience in the field of behavioral health as the former Executive Vice President and CFO of Aspen Education Group and as CFO of Meadows Behavioral Healthcare. Wescoat received his undergraduate degree from Drexel University and MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan.

“Kyle has proven himself to be a tremendous CFO and organizational leader in a variety of settings. He brings with him a remarkable set of skills and experiences that I believe will benefit Alita Care as we continue to evolve our 15 differentiated programs for treating addiction and other behavioral health disorders,” said Dredge. “I look forward to working with Kyle to create more high-quality treatment options for patients and their families, clinical referral sources, and payors across the country in the rapidly changing behavioral health environment.

Wescoat is also active in his community. He has maintained a long-time involvement with Hoag Hospital Presbyterian and serves as Chairman of Hoag Irvine’s Executive Advisory Board. He also serves on the President’s Advisory Council at Drexel University.

“I appreciate the confidence of our new investor (Kohlberg and Co). I think Alita Care is uniquely positioned to offer a care continuum not found in any other neurobehavioral health company,” Wescoat said. “ I am excited about the innovative ways Sunspire is addressing the in-network market, and Meadows Behavioral Healthcare remains the highest quality provider of trauma-based therapy and eating disorder treatment available anywhere. “

Monday, 12 September 2016 00:00

What It Means to Be Fearless in Recovery

By Tommy S., former client of The Meadows


  • Seeing a new beginning in each day  
  • Putting the day before behind me
  • Accepting each new challenge
  • Using failed challenges as a inspiration and direction to conquer the new ones,
  • Meeting and accepting new people for who they are, and letting them see me for who I am inside and out
  • Extending my hand to those who want it, and to those who do not,
  • Looking at the good in people while also not fearing the bad in people
  • Looking at the bad in me and making it good no matter how long it may be,
  • Doing the right thing even when its difficult,
  • Not criticizing others while being able to criticize myself,
  • Speaking the truth no matter how hard the truth may be,
  • Being able to listen to the truth about me while being ok with it
  • Looking ahead with goals, while letting failed goals help me achieve the new ones

Accepting fear while being fearless, is what fearless is to me.

Share Your Story

In honor of National Recovery Month, we want to hear and share your story. What does being #fearless mean to you, and to your recovery? Tell us in a short essay (500 words) or short video (2 minutes), and we may feature you on our blog or Facebook page! Email your submissions to, or share them on Twitter and mention @AndreaSauceda in your tweet.

Thursday, 08 September 2016 00:00

Are you #fearless in Your Recovery?

Being #fearless doesn’t mean that you are never afraid.

Being #fearless means that…

  • You aren’t afraid to confront your fears.
  • You aren’t afraid to challenge any negative thoughts you have about yourself or your purpose in life.
  • You aren’t afraid to live your life as your full, authentic self.

What does being #fearless mean to you, and to your recovery? Tell us in a short essay (500 words) or short video (2 minutes), and we may feature you on our blog or Facebook page! Email your submissions to, or share them on Twitter and mention @AndreaSauceda in your tweet.

Tuesday, 06 September 2016 00:00

Men and the Illusion of Anger

Note: The following is a partial transcript of a Facebook Live Presentation Dan Griffin, MA, Senior Fellow at The Meadows, did on August 26, 2016. You can find the recorded video version on his Facebook page.

First and foremost, let me be very clear about what I mean by “the illusion of men’s anger,” because I can already hear some people saying, “The illusion of men’s anger?! My father’s anger, my mother’s anger, my husband’s, my partner’s anger is not an illusion, Dan! It’s not an illusion when the person is yelling at me, it’s not an illusion when the person is hitting me, it’s not an illusion when the person is acting violently toward me.”

I absolutely agree with you. That is not the intention of this conversation.

The purpose of this conversation is to get at the root of what’s behind men’s anger and to share thoughts on how we can all interact with one another in a more authentic way.

This is a personal topic for me. I’ve been an “angry man.” I’ve had a lot of problems with anger. But, has anger really been the issue for me? That’s the question I really think all men should ask themselves if they want to be able to heal the impact that anger has had on their relationships—their relationship with self, their relationships with others, and their relationships with the community.

Anger Is a Mask

I am far from perfect in this practice, but I hope that what I’m learning about myself and my anger might be helpful for some of the men—and some of the women—out there.

The truth is I’m not angry.

I act angry, but often, what I really am feeling is fear. Or, I’m feeling insecure, or I’m dealing with other feelings and they are coming out as anger because I haven’t allowed myself to feel things or taken the time to process what’s really going on.

This is important because as men we are often backed into a corner with our feelings. We’re told that the only feeling that’s socially acceptable for us, the only one that you’re not going to be shamed for is anger. “Yeah, he’s angry, but at least he’s not crying like a little baby. “

He’s acting angry because there’s no space for him to talk about his fear.

Emotional Authenticity vs. Anger Management

Why does that matter? We talk a lot about anger management, and we talk about the problems men have with anger. I don’t think the solution to men’s problem with anger is teaching them “anger management.” I think the solution is helping them to have a better connection to self, better connections to others, and the space and permission for authentic emotional expression.

I care deeply about my relationships. But, I didn’t have the best model for how a man can be open and vulnerable in relationships so I’m still learning how to do that. What I’m beginning to realize is that anger has never really been the issue for me. The issue is how deeply I experience and feel things—how emotional I am, how quickly I feel sad, how quickly I feel afraid, how quickly I feel insecure. The more that I can stay true to those feeling and experiences, the easier it is for me to navigate.

Although, if I allow myself to feel afraid, and to express that to others, I still have to deal with the shame that comes along with the fear. Like a lot of men, I didn’t really have anybody when I was growing up who told me that it was okay for a man to feel afraid and that it was okay for a man to feel sad. So, I have to work through all of this shame and stuff I have in my head about that.

But, the more I feed my authentic self, the more the anger dissipates. That’s not “anger management;” that’s emotional congruence. It’s emotional authenticity. We don’t “manage” the anger. The anger just dissolves. The anger dissipates when it’s just smoke that hides my true self.

Permission to Be Your Authentic Self

So, for men, the challenge is for us to be able to find permission to be the men we really are.

Who are you? Who are you in each of your relationships, who are you in each of your experiences? Are you aware of how you’re feeling? Can you take a deep breath? Can you look below the surface of what’s beneath the anger?

When you feel the anger rising, can you stop before you say or do anything, and find the space to recognize your true feelings? If you feel afraid, can you say to yourself, “I feel afraid, and when I feel afraid I feel weak, and when I feel weak I feel ashamed?” And can you recognize that deciding what to do with those feelings is nobody’s problem but yours?

When I feel sad, I feel ashamed and I feel embarrassed. I feel like there’s something wrong with me as a man—but that’s not true. That’s the illusion of men’s anger.

Real Change is Possible

When men act out in anger there’s no illusion to it. It can destroy; it can hurt; it can damage. The illusion is us thinking that if we just manage men’s anger, it’s going to get better—that if we just create programs that are about men having to control their behavior, it’s going to get better.

Things will change when…

  • we raise boys to be open and authentic in how they express themselves, 
  • we create safe places for men to be open and authentic in how they express themselves, and
  • we coach and support men in all their relationships to be the man that they desperately want to be.

If you struggle with anger, take some time to just take a deep breath and notice what other emotions are coming up. Find someone you trust that you can talk to about those challenges you are feeling on a regular basis. Someone who will understand when you say that you noticed how afraid you were feeling or how shame came up for you and will respond with compassion and understanding.

And then when you do act angry, you can go back and you clean it up because you took the time to reflect on what you were really feeling and to see the illusion of your anger.

It’s not about doing it perfectly, it’s about doing it consciously. That’s the gift.

Learn More with Dan

If you’re a mental health professional or clinician who’d like some tips on how to address the unique needs of men in trauma treatment, be sure to sign up for Dan’s FREE webinar on The Man Rules & The Principles of Recovery. It’s happening on September 14, 2016; 11 a.m. – 12:30 Pacific (2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern).

If you’re a man in recovery, who’s ready to take it up a notch, and transform your experience of recovery register for A Man’s Way Retreat at the Rio Retreat Center at The Meadows. During the five-day intensive, Dan will lead you through activities, group sessions, and mindfulness exercises focused on taking your recovery - and your life - to the next level. The next session is coming up October 3 – 7, 2016. To register call 800-244-4949, and ask about the limited-time 25 percent discount offer!

Contact The Meadows

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