More than a Drug Problem

“Burdens shared are easier to bear.” Jesse Jackson | By the time he was 13, Marcus had bounced in and through a dozen homes, if that’s what you called them, a pattern which was to continue throughout his 42 years. He was smoking...

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The Seven Wonders of Recovery

“You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” – Zig Ziglar | The seven wonders of the ancient world were astounding man-made displays of human ingenuity and creativity in engineering, art...

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Stick to the Plan

“Never, never, never give up!” – Winston Churchill | This blog is not about taking vitamins, I promise. However, I do take vitamins every morning and have done so for the past 10 years. I never miss, yet every now and then, I stare mindlessly...

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Tell Me What I’m Doing Right

Over the years, I’ve noticed that people often want approval and affirmation. They want it, yet rarely receive it or believe it when it finally arrives. Jim would be an example of that. This 35-year-old man...

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Do the Thing You Need to Do or…

“You hit home runs not by chance but by preparation.” – Roger Maris | Do the thing you need to do or get yourself ready to do the thing you need to do. If you need to go to treatment, then go to treatment. If you need to finish school...

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Positively Changing Your Life

You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, and don’t mess with Mister In-Between. – Johnny Mercer | “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” was written by Johnny Mercer and the music...

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Living in an Unsure World

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” – Clint Eastwood | This evening we’re celebrating my granddaughter’s seventh birthday. It will be a small family gathering at an outdoor amphitheater performance of...

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The True View of You

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt | People in recovery often have a distorted view of themselves. They may see themselves as inadequate and unacceptable. Some of this thinking...

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Normal Will Reset – Eventually

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Commonly Attributed to Winston Churchill | When the decision to enter recovery is made, the addiction is often out of control. Something has to change or nothing...

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The Hinge Pin Lie Behind All Negative Thinking

“I was going to buy a copy of “The Power of Positive Thinking,” and then I thought: what good would that do?” – Ronnie Shakes | Thoughts bombard us all day long like the steady stream of uninteresting commercial messages...

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Creating Half-Time Strategies for Recovery

“Don’t give up at half time. Concentrate on winning the second half.” – Paul Bryant | In the sport of football, each game has four quarters with a 12 minute break between the two halves. This break has the not-so-clever, intuitively obvious...

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Don’t Cast Your Pearls Before Swine

There is an old proverb that says: “Don’t cast your pearls before swine.” I grew up on a small family farm in Minnesota in the 1960’s. We had the usual assortment of amusing farm animals including cows, chickens, horses, cats, dogs, and of course...

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Keep Your Goal, But Change Your Tactics

A man came into my office some years back and his abrasive interactions with his wife, in my presence, caused me to ponder the reasons behind his aggressive and painfully degrading verbal comments. Communication is purposeful; meaning...

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Recovery is Not the Goal

I’ve spent the better part of my 30+ year career helping people recover from substance use and mental health disorders, so my saying that recovery is not the goal likely comes as a bit of a surprise. The goal for people is as varied and different as...

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Character Transformation Makes Treatment Successful

As a psychologist and substance use counselor it would stand to reason that I should be concerned with the attitudes, dispositions, emotions, mindset, and memories that all flavor our actions. When I speak to people in our group programs, I am...

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Resolving Old Wounds

I gave a presentation on Codependency to a small group last Saturday. The event was held in an elegantly appointed retreat house hidden away. From the back of the room, leaning across a granite countertop, eyes shining and fixed attentively, a...

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Treatment Saves Lives

Substance-use and resulting substance use disorders (SUD) are hazardous to your health and come at a staggering cost. Individuals with a SUD have more social, medical, physical, psychological, financial, relational, and occupational problems...

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Three Critical Areas to Establish Margin

My simple definition of burnout is doing too much, with too little, for too long. And burnout is not just a scheduling problem. Stress and burnout are often made significantly worse by bitterness and resentment. “I’m the only one who works...

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The Ten Core Principles of Recovery
High Resolution Success Concept

The Ten Core Principles of Recovery

In order to help your clients navigate successful, long-term recovery, we’ve developed ten core principles of recovery. Like using a map, these principles help set good goals, avoid some mistakes, and dodge unnecessary problems. And of course...

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Managing Anxiety for Maximum Performance

Have you been busy lately? Do you ever get so stressed you become overwhelmed or paralyzed? Stress is the biological, emotional, behavioral, and social response to a real or imagined event. When anxiety and stress are low, motivation and...

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Five Keys to Managing Doubt

It is not always easy to be self-assured and confident. Many people move through life with numerous doubts and insecurities. You may doubt yourself, others, or the world around you. Perhaps you look at certain situations and certain people with...

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Breaking Down the Barrier to Successful Recovery

I met a man the other day who had over 50 driving after revocation citations. He had been in jail 37 times. He told me that some of the incarcerations were short – only a day or two – and others were 30, 60 or 90 days. Because of his...

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Understanding Euphoric Recall

Euphoric recall is a term used to describe the tendency to remember only the positive parts of past experiences while forgetting or minimizing the negative aspects, consequences, or difficulties associated with the same event. The incredible...

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Putting Action to Your Good Intentions

I am writing this on New Year’s Day and thinking about some goals for next year. We often judge ourselves on our intentions and judge other people according to their actions. Meaning, we have a higher standard for other people than we usually...

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When One Size Doesn’t Fit

When recently giving gifts to family and friends, I noticed that “one size fits all” rarely fits at all. In finding resources for your treatment center, one size, one shape, and one dimension to manage one disorder, I’ve discovered doesn’t fit either. The...

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The Three Primary Requirements for Successful Recovery

Substance use and mental health disorders often combine into a destructive disorder that rapidly intensifies. The illness is pervasive and mean-spirited. It appears intent on first capturing its victims and then killing its captives. Although the client is...

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