The Meadows Blog

The Meadows is a gold sponsor of the 25th Annual Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders to be held at the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis, Massachusetts from September 6-9, 2012. This symposium is one of the oldest and largest meetings dedicated to continuing education and networking in the field of addictions.

Dr. Shelley Uram, a Senior Fellow at The Meadows, will be presenting a session on trauma and addiction on Sunday, September 9 from 8:30 to 10:00am. Trauma can be described as an event or events that have taken place in a person's life and have caused a lasting negative or unpleasant reaction in their mind, body or spirit. Unresolved trauma manifests itself in a number of self-destructive ways that include self-harm, eating or restricting to abate negative feelings, gambling, workaholism and internet addiction. These behaviors become a way to deal with the pain of the underlying trauma. Dr. Uram will share her expertise on trauma and how the brain can ultimately derail the directions in our lives that are important to us.

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.

The Meadows Alumni Association is pleased to host an alumni workshop in Houston, Texas, for alumni on August 28, 2012, from 7:00 to 8:30pm. Lori Fiester, LCSW, BRI II, will lead the discussion on “Self Esteem.” It will be held at The Council on Alcohol and Drugs and no registration is required to attend.

Fiester graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor’s in Social Work. She completed her graduate program at the University of Houston, earning a Master’s in Social Work. Fiester is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Board Registered Interventionist. She has specialized training in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing(EMDR) and Post Induction Therapy (PIT), to name a few. Her practice in Houston consists of individuals, families, and couples.

Additional alumni workshop dates will be announced in the future.  For more information, contact Betty Ewing Dicken, LCDC, at 972.612.7443 or bdicken@themeadows.com or visit www.themeadows.com/alumni.

The Meadows Wickenburg 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.

Effective July 1, 2012, The Meadows trauma and addiction treatment center in Wickenburg, Arizona, adopted an all-inclusive pricing model that will allow the patient to know the costs at the onset of inpatient treatment. This change responds to The Meadows desire to help patients' focus on their treatment program rather than the treatment cost. The Meadows is among the few behavioral health facilities that offer all-inclusive pricing.

There are variable costs that will not be included in the new pricing structure, such as

  • Exotic medications for HIV, diabetes, arthritis, and other conditions
  • Pharmacy co-pays
  • Services rendered by off-site providers and services

"Our patients' recovery is our number one priority. We want patients to be able to focus on their treatment without any distractions," said Jim Dredge, The Meadows CEO.

The Meadows specializes in treating trauma, PTSD, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, codependency, depression, bipolar disorders, sexual compulsivity, love addiction, love avoidance, eating disorders, work addiction, and gambling addiction.

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.

New breakthroughs in the neuroscience of affect regulation and attachment theory have proven that addiction is a brain disease rooted in early emotional development. Dramatic scientific images of the brain demonstrate the changes between addicted and normal brains. Current neuroscience weaves together a compelling argument for addiction as a destructive attempt at self soothing to restore a person to emotional balance or equilibrium.

The process of addiction must be differentiated from the symptoms of recreational use or abuse to assist the clinician in identifying the specific signs of addiction and implementing appropriate motivational methods to guide the client towards treatment.

These recent breakthroughs in attachment and affective neuroscience help explain how early life survival and adaptive mechanisms become barriers to flexibility and change in adult life. Fundamentally, failed attachment to the caretaker creates attachment to survival mechanisms and defenses which eventually become attachments to chemicals and other compulsive behaviors in a vain attempt to find safety, protection, comfort and security.

Addiction develops from the inside out and heals from the outside in. Understanding the role shame plays in separating us from our natural connection to our authentic emotions and inner life helps us assist clients in understanding their own behavior and needs. Description of the stages of development of addiction and recovery illustrate the steps necessary to arrest addictive behavior and repair the distorted thinking, feeling and behavior which limit our adult potential and function.

Addiction affects the entire brain function including judgment and self control centers which create what is now called "the biochemical personality". The progressive destructive nature of this process explains and helps us to understand the erratic, irrational and denial based behavior associated with advanced addiction.

Denial can be described as a neurological condition in which the brain is tricked neuro-chemically into believing that everything is okay even as one's life and health deteriorate.

Hope for recovery and wellness can occur when examples are discussed about the brains recovery process when abstinence is obtained and the vulnerability to relapse can be described through using illustrations of the permanent changes in brain function that are caused by addiction. Treatment options and recommendations can be made more effective through the use of the guiding science behind both the disease and recovery process.

Thomas Hedlund is a marriage family therapist, workshop leader and educator from Santa Rosa, CA. Best-selling author, John Bradshaw, has called Hedlund "one of the select few therapists who I know that thoroughly understands the dynamics of emotional healing." In private practice for 34 years, he specializes in recovery related issues including addiction, compulsive behavior and the healing of trauma, shame and abuse. He has worked as a communications, addiction, and family systems consultant for The Family Intervention Institute, as well as a family business consultant, expert witness and interventionist. His commitment to his own recovery, broad knowledge of the origins addictive and compulsive behavior and the of repair the Self bring great clarity to the treatment process. His trainings and seminars have been in demand at treatment centers across the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 20:00

Why Does a Sex Addict Act Out?

Sexual addiction is like all addictions devastating to the addict and his or her family. It is considered an intimacy disorder because it effects the natural process that occurs when two people love each other and work on building on-going closeness, communication and trust. I recently received an email from a client who had heard my internet radio show on Sexual Addiction and she wanted some answers to some difficult questions. In an effort to answer her questions I suspect they might be helpful to you as you explore how you are going to recover from the addiction in your family.

1. How can a sex addict supposedly love their family and yet do what they do?

When someone has a sexual addiction they "compartmentalize" their feelings and behaviors which means that they categorize the feelings, behaviors and thoughts and try to keep them separate. They may get up in the morning and have breakfast with you and the kids, get ready for work and then have every intention to "be good" and not "act out" that day. The second that you leave... the addict takes over and convinces the person that looking at porn just this one time won't hurt anyone and the addictive cycle begins. Two hours later the addict runs off to work and tries to be the good employee he/she wanted to be. The only way they can tolerate their behavior is to tell themselves that they are still a good spouse, or employee and simultaneously they feel self-hate and shame.

2. Why do they think it is O.K. to do that?

They don't feel it is ok do partake in sexually addictive behaviors but they use defense mechanisms like minimization- "I didn't hurt anyone but myself" or justification- "I need to do this to reduce stress" or rationalization- "I will only do it this one time, then I will stop!"

3. Even if something happened as a child, can they not realize a wrong and make it right in their own lives? Is that not how we learn for ourselves? Often times the addict has experienced such emotional, physical or sexual abuse that they act out their anger which we refer to as "eroticized rage" by recreating the process as an adult. This is a very self destructive coping
mechanism and unfortunately it reinforces to the addict that they are not worthy nor are they deserving of real intimacy and love.

When a client has been in counseling and/or 12 Step meetings and his/her behavior has not improved, it may be necessary to go into intensive therapy or residential treatment so that the addict can get out of his/her natural environment and seek the safety and focus to get the help and develop the strategies to break the patterns that contribute to the abuse.

4. Why aren't they mindful?

Most addicts have EVERY intention of breaking the cycle of addiction but if all the infrastructure is not in place, they find that the addiction is stronger than they are. It is my believe that the addict needs a trained and certified sexual addictions therapist, 12 step groups that they attend with frequency, a sponsor who holds them accountable, technological supports like filters for their phones and computers, a community of friends who share the same problem, bibliotherapy to read every day, a spiritual relationship, and more. If the addiction cannot be managed with these supports, it may be necessary to utilize more intensive mechanisms like a specialized treatment center, residential center after hospitalization and polygraphing to help hold the client accountable. **** Polygraph tests are not used to catch the addict in a lie but to assist the client in staying true to his program and
to his loved ones. It can also help a spouse to develop trust that he/she is not being lied to and that the addict is walking his/her talk.

These are just 4 of the 10 questions that my client asked me to address on the radio show. Stay tuned for a future blog that will address the following questions.

5. Why is there a sense of entitlement?

6. Why the selfishness?

7. Why is bullying and anger always in the picture?  To stay hidden from real life?

8. Is it not immoral and illegal?

9. Can they not feel their feelings?

10. Even in recovery, why can they be intimate with other addicts and not their family?

Carol Juergensen Sheets LCSW, PCC, CSAT is currently in private practice in Indianapolis, IN. She speaks nationally on mental health issues and is featured in several local magazines. She currently has an internet radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com/sexhelpwithcarolthecoach and does regular television segments focusing on life skills to improve one's potential. You can read her blogs at www.carolthecoach.com. To contact Carol about sexual addiction: www.sexhelpwithcarolthecoach.com.

Dr. Shelley Uram on The Brain and Family Dysfunction

One of America's most respected centers for treating trauma and addiction, The Meadows presents a 16-part video series, viewable on YouTube, in which Dr. Shelley Uram addresses topics ranging from the nature of the authentic self to the benefits of Somatic Experiencing.

In the installment titled "The Brain and Family Dysfunction," Dr. Uram, a psychologist and senior fellow at The Meadows, discusses what happens to young children when dysfunction touches their families. In even mildly dysfunctional families, subtle traumas skew child development, and children's survival instincts take over. Children realize that their survival lies in keeping their caregivers satisfied and happy. This focus on the external - rather than on one's own needs - makes it difficult for a child's authentic self to emerge and grow.

In other videos in this series, Dr. Uram shares her expertise on trauma triggers, addiction, and the effects of emotional trauma on brain development.

Shelley Uram, M.D., is a Harvard-trained, triple board-certified psychiatrist who speaks nationally and internationally on the brain's survival wiring - and how it can interfere with modern life. As a senior fellow at The Meadows, Dr. Uram conducts patient lectures and trains staff members. She also serves as a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at The University of Arizona College of Medicine, and she treats patients in her Phoenix office.

The Meadows' video series includes interviews with other prominent figures in the mental health field, including John Bradshaw and Maureen Canning; see www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg. To learn more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for trauma, addiction, and other disorders, visit www.themeadows.com or call 800-244-4949.

Thursday, 09 August 2012 20:00

Transcending the Warrior's Silence

Several weeks ago, one of the members of my weekly Vietnam Veterans group announced that after decades of silence he initiated a discussion with his adult children about his experiences as a combat veteran. He stated that now that he better understood his PTSD, he owed it to his children to explain his emotional absence, workaholic lifestyle and his surges of anxiety and anger. His announcement had surprising power; it unleashed a strong desire for others in the group to do the same. Many had not really connected with their children for decades; some were estranged and had not spoken with them for twenty-plus years. Several members who I also work with individually were inspired and overwhelmed with how to go about speaking the unspeakable - what it's like to go to war.

With almost inspirational serendipity, a broadcast took place soon after that can assist veterans with this most challenging and powerful conversation. Bill Moyers' interview with Karl Marlantes is extremely compelling, integrative and ambitious in scope. (http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-what-its-like-to-go-to-war/)  While Marlantes has earned recognition for his first novel, Matterhorn (considered by many to be the most eloquent description of what it was like to serve as a Marine in Vietnam) - Marlantes' second book, which is the focus of the interview, goes several steps further.

Moyers asked some provocative questions, such as, "If you have killed for the rest of us, will you ever feel like one of us again?" Marlantes responded with absolute clarity and amazing honesty; he paused on one occasion and gave painful personal examples. He spoke about the transformation a soldier needs to make in order to kill others as well as how challenging the reverse road back to home life is. He speaks to his peers as well as to younger veterans. He did not hesitate to speak about mutilation, dehumanization, releasing the instincts and power of killing, the immediacy of rage, as well as the profound sadness he carries. His incredible disclosures give veterans and non-veterans an insight into the burden of being a warrior. He speaks about the spiritual shifts and he does not flinch with questions about evil.

Moyers manages to bring out a more complex and vulnerable Marlantes whose honesty is truly remarkable. Marlantes sets a high standard and provides a role model for those struggling to put words to things that have been unspeakable for too many generations. I encourage readers to watch this interview when you are feeling strong and supported, perhaps with another veteran or a trusted loved one. Whereas the interview has the power to flood you with feelings, it is also an amazing summary of one man's intense journey to break the silence. Marlantes is a highly decorated combat Marine but I think his interview and writings reflect an even higher caliber of heroism.

Jerry Boriskin, Ph.D, a Senior Fellow at The Meadows, has been at the forefront of the treatment of PTSD, addiction, and co-occurring disorders for more than 30 years. He is the author of several books, including PTSD and Addiction: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Counselors and At Wit's End: What Families Need to Know When a Loved One is Diagnosed With Addiction and Mental Illness. For more information about Dr. Boriskin, please visit his website at http://www.jerryboriskin.com/.

For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for PTSD and other disorders, see http://www.themeadows.com or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

The Meadows was featured on BlogTalkRadio with host Carol Juergensen Sheets, LCSW, CSAT, PCC, on Monday, July 30, 2012. Jenna Pastore, Business Development Liaison with The Meadows, was interviewed on the topic of "Is Inpatient Treatment Right for Me" which covered a discussion of inpatient treatment program, workshops, Senior Fellows, and resources offered by The Meadows.

According to Juergensen Sheets, inpatient treatment is necessary when the trauma is so great that it cannot be dealt with on an outpatient basis. Removing the person from their environment and placing them in a safe, nurturing environment can make a difference in really healing and becoming whole again.

"What I admire so much about The Meadows is it is really an opportunity for people to learn about themselves, get strong and recover, and celebrate that recovery," Juergensen Sheets said. "They can then continue all the modalities that they used at The Meadows outside in their real world to the best of their ability."

Pastore explained that if a person has been through an addiction program and they are doing the work, but still feeling pain and living in a vulnerable state, they do not have to live that way.

"Trauma does hijack our authentic self. It does impact our ability to be functional," said Pastore. "If you haven't done the core trauma work, it's important for lasting recovery. Until you address those early childhood wounds, lasting recovery is impossible because you can only stand that pain and vulnerability for so long before that addictive cycle creeps back and you're back where you started."

To listen to the interview, visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sexhelpwithcarolthecoach/2012/07/31/strengthhoperecovery-with-carol-the-coach.

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 Nat (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.

Effective July 1, 2012, The Meadows adopted an all-inclusive pricing model. As The Meadows launches the new fee structure, a special promotion will be offered to patients that admit to The Meadows five-week inpatient program for the time period July 1 - August 15, 2012.

The Meadows specializes in treating trauma, PTSD, alcohol addiction, drug addiction, codependency, depression, bipolar disorders, sexual compulsivity, love addiction, love avoidance, eating disorders, work addiction, and gambling addiction.

The Meadows is an industry leader in treating trauma and addiction through its inpatient and workshop programs. To learn more about how The Meadows can help you or your loved one or to take advantage of this limited-time inpatient discount offer, 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.

Sunday, 05 August 2012 20:00

“Facing the Truth behind the Mask”

"Recovery is about living more in truth than in lies... it's about facing reality and growing up."
- Pia Mellody

Over 2,500 years ago, in Athens Greece, playwrights like Sophocles introduced a form of theatrical art known as the tragedy. Greek tragedies typically dealt with weighty themes such as betrayal, loss, pride, jealousy, rage, love, courage, honor, life and death. Often these dance-dramas also explored man's relationship with God and the existential challenges that are part of the human condition. Actors wore elaborate masks with exaggerated facial expressions so that their character's role, emotional state, and intentions might be accessible to the audience. Commonly, one actor played several characters during the course of the theatrical performance, changing masks for each character and sometimes for each scene.

Fast-forward to our lives today and the Greek tragedy might be used as a metaphor for some of the key aspects of recovery from trauma and addiction. Like an actor in a play, often we are reacting to life's existential challenges according to a script. This script can influence how we move about on the stage of life; it can spell out our roles in relation to others, how we think and feel, and how we act in various situations. From the first moments of conception and throughout development, by way of ongoing interactions between ourselves, others, and the environment, this narrative is written into our psychobiology - it becomes an implicit script in the mind-body system.

Moreover, similar to actors in Greek tragedies, our implicit scripts encourage the use of certain masks or persona's. In many ways, this is completely natural and necessary for a life in which we play many different roles. For most of us, the scenes on life's stage are constantly changing; we may transition from a family mask to a work mask, then to a friend mask, and back to a family mask, all within the course of one day. However, unlike the actors in a Greek tragedy, for us these persona's are not distinct, separate people - they are aspects of a single being, linked together by the person behind the masks.

For some of us, our own life resembles a Greek tragedy, with painful experiences of betrayal, loss, abandonment, and trauma. These experiences are written into the mind-body script that tacitly flavors our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Some of these life events can be so traumatic that we don't even want to look at the script - we would rather not face the reality of our situation, it's just too painful. Yet, our bodies and minds still play the part, even when we don't pay attention to the script; something happens on the stage of life and we just react according to our past experiences, maybe without even being aware of the script.

Also, when there are painful and traumatic aspects to our life scripts, wearing a mask can become an adaptive way to hide our vulnerabilities from ourselves and others. The various persona's create a sense of security and a safe distance from the troubling realities deep behind the masks. While this strategy is protective, over time it can further obscure the truth of our scripts and disconnect us from what drives our thoughts, feelings, and actions. In fact, under these circumstances, we risk becoming over-identified with the persona's, forgetting who is actually looking through the masks. We become disconnected from the truth of who we really are and we cannot see the truth of others around us.

Moreover, sometimes these protective measures fall short and the truth of our scripts threatens to come bubbling up into awareness. In those moments, the pain, fear and shame can seem overwhelming, leading to desperate attempts to push it all back out of awareness. Compulsive behaviors with drugs, sex, relationships, and food will facilitate temporary relief from the vulnerability and pain of our tragedy scripts. While addiction can force the rawness of our reality out of awareness for a while, it comes with a whole host of complicating problems. In time, addictions only add painful prose to the narrative of our mind-body scripts and further disconnect us from our truth and from people that we love.

For several decades, Pia Mellody has been encouraging people to remember and rediscover the truth behind the masks and to face reality without addiction. For her, what started as a journey to understand the dis-ease of codependence, so that she could better help her clients, turned into an elegant, comprehensive model for addiction recovery. This model continues to be used at The Meadows of Wickenburg, a world-renowned treatment center, and has been a source of healing for many patients and practitioners.

You might ask, "How is codependence related to addiction?" Pia Mellody kept asking herself this same question when she repeatedly encountered the coexistence of these two conditions in her clients. What she and her colleagues came to understand is that codependence and addiction are frequently linked together by a history of childhood abuse and neglect. These traumatic experiences can be overt (i.e., big "T"), as in the case of physical or sexual abuse, or covert (i.e., little "t"), as in the case of emotional abuse, abandonment, enmeshment, and loss/death. Relational trauma of this kind often results in deep wounds, painful paragraphs in our mind-body scripts, which can lead to developmental immaturity and negative consequences for adult functioning.

More specifically, Pia Mellody found that people usually entered recovery treatment because of addiction, mental/emotional symptoms, resentment/anger, negative control of others, intimacy/relationship problems, and impoverished spirituality. However, usually these issues only become "problems" because other people tell the person in treatment that they are indeed problematic! Yet, given an opportunity to step back from the tornado of unmanageability created by these issues, most people in treatment are able to admit that help is necessary.

Pia Mellody came to understand that these presenting problems were only "secondary symptoms" of deeper, core developmental issues that are frequently related to childhood trauma. She surmised that relational trauma causes an individual to become polarized along five core dimensions of development: 1) self esteem (less than versus better than), 2) boundaries (too vulnerable versus invulnerable), 3) reality issues (bad/rebellious versus good/perfect), 4) dependency (too dependent versus needless/wantless), and 5) moderation (too little versus too much self-control). Furthermore, she discovered that when people are able to address their childhood wounds and identify their core issues of developmental immaturity, they discover a measure of reprieve from the secondary symptoms of addiction and relationship turmoil.

Pia Mellody has consistently taught that the recovery process requires that we honestly and courageously face the truth of our past, both what has been done to us and what we have done to others. It is no coincidence that she titled her now-classic book "Facing Codependence" (italics added). As suggested by Pia Mellody, "The recovery process is about living more in truth than lies." Yet, paradoxically, the painful truth of our mind-body scripts is what drove us to hide behind the masks and disconnect through addictive processes. The prospect of facing the reality of our condition doesn't appeal to many people - that is why the bottom can be so low.

So, how do we go about facing the truth of our scripts and reacquaint ourselves with the person behind the masks? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Develop a willingness to surrender. In the recovery process, a willing heart can take us a long way. The path of recovery has many twists and turns and very often we don't know what is around the next bend. Remembering the powerless and unmanageability of our past can invite the willingness we need to surrender to the recovery process.
  • Be willing to accept help. Recovery isn't a solitary affair. Often we need the help of a director or producer when facing the truth of our tragedy scripts. Guidance and support can be found in friends and family, recovery communities, professional treatment, and something or someone wiser and vaster than us (i.e., nature, spirit, higher power, etc).
  • Cultivate self-compassion and patience. Under the gentle, soft stage-lights of self-directed compassion and patience, we can begin to peer into the darkness behind the masks and face the perilous paragraphs of our mind-body scripts. Rugged honesty isn't the same as self-defeating judgment and blame. Let us be kind to ourselves.
  • Some discomfort is inevitable. As we learn to accept and be with the uncomfortable sensations, emotions, and thoughts associated with our implicit scripts, we find that these mind-body states are generally transitory, like storm clouds moving across a desert landscape. Gradually, our recovery can become imbued with a quiet confidence that we can weather life's storms.
  • Recovery is about growing up. If trauma leads to developmental immaturity, as suggested by Pia Mellody, then recovery must be a maturational process. Don't fight it - let go of old ways and exercise a willingness to embrace new, more mature ways of living.
  • Recovery involves grieving. As we more fully inhabit and live from our truth, we can expect to grieve what we didn't ever receive, what we lost along the way, and the gradual disillusion of the fantasies that we created about ourselves and others.
  • It's a process, not a destination. It is tempting to think of recovery as a goal or a to-do item to be checked off. But, in recovery, no one ever truly arrives... each step on the path brings fresh challenges and opportunities. "Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved." ~ Søren Kierkegaard.

Perspectives and practices like these support a recovery process where we begin to live more in truth than in lies. The traumatic narratives of our tragedy scripts are not necessarily erased, but they can be rewritten and reinterpreted on the stage of life. Gradually, we become less invested in, and identified with, our various masks – we are able to more comfortably embody the person looking through the masks.

In many ways, the recovery process is about becoming more conscious – more connected with the truth of ourselves and others. Within this field of heightened consciousness there begins to be enough space and security for the emergence of an authentic self. Generally, this kind of conscious presence brings us into contact with our own humanity, our foibles, short-comings, character defects, and our deepest wounds. However, at the same time we are able to make intimate contact with our own immutable and unconditional worth.

In that authentic space of conscious awareness we come back home to ourselves and, if only for a moment, we experience our wholeness. When we are at home with ourselves, we are better able to make meaningful connections with other humans, all creatures, nature, and a higher power. This is the essence of spiritual practice; ultimately, this is the spiritual path. May we all find and inhabit this path of recovery by facing the truth behind our masks.

Contact The Meadows

Intensive Family Program • Innovative Experiential Therapy • Neurobehavioral Therapy

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