Check out this interview with Gabor Maté, MD, Canadian Doctor and Addiction Specialist.
I recently helped a father to get sober after years of addiction to opioids and alcohol. He said “it feels SO GOOD to get honest…. um, kinda sorted, well mostly honest, well okay there is some stuff I left out because I’m too ashamed to talk about it.” We all need someone on our side, especially if we need to get honest with ourselves before we get honest with others.
It’s bad ass when clients see articles like this in my waiting room, or online, then come in to therapy appointments ready to face their pain, learn, and change patterns of thinking and behaving.
You might have heard that we “can’t save our ass and save our face at the same time,” (thank you NA), but that sure the hell doesn’t stop brilliant addict brains 🧠 from trying.
We learn the most from the people we serve. Mostly from teenagers, I’ve that we can’t criticize ourselves into positive and lasting change. We can’t criticize ourselves out of criticizing ourselves. The trap of negativity creates the illusion of growth and change.
When I was a younger therapist, I would say things like, “Don’t beat yourself up…give yourself a break….”. Now that I’m a little more um seasoned, I say things like, “You can go ahead and beat yourself up, I can’t stop you, just not all day.”’
In therapy (along with concurrent programs like AA and NA), many clients reduce the negative thinking that comes with addiction by 50% and then, when the time is right, we walk through that fire 🔥 together.
Recommended Podcast: Dan Harris interviews Jocelyn K Glei on ABC’s Ten Percent Happier. I came across this in 2019, and listened to it again with my teenage son on January 2, 2020.
I think you’ll like the useful tips for busy professionals. I borrow ideas and tailor some of the advice (giving credit of course) that I learned in this podcast. It’s been especially useful for teachers, educators, social workers, and mental health providers.
1. Have a resolution, intention or goal for the year.
2. Paint in one eye.
3. Place the Daruma somewhere special in your home or office.
4. When your dream is achieved, paint in the other eye.
5. At the end of the year, reflect on your goals with compassion for yourself and others.
6. Achieved or not, bring the Daruma to the fire on New Year’s Eve.
7. Join with others in your community as Daruma burn together in the fire.
8. Support others to achieve their goals, and ask for support to achieve yours.
It furthers one to have destinations in mind. Establish new dreams and goals each year. Some dreams you share with others, some you may decide to keep for yourself, sharing only after you have accomplished your goals.
When I lived in Japan 🇯🇵 I had the good fortune to join a new year’s celebration in Fujinomiya, at the foot of Mt. Fuji. It was there that I learned about Daruma.
Ah’nesty is age 5. Size 6-7 in clothes, Size 11 in shoes. Ta’noa is age 3. Size 5t in clothes and size 10 in shoes. Their wish list is clothes, sneakers, teddy bears, warm 🧥 coats, blankets, toys of your choice. “We are just appreciative of anything we receive😊. “ Shared w/ permission from mother, Nakía. “Ya gotta risk it to get the biscuit and you give me HOPE.” Nakía is women sizeL. #giveback
Srry, not a nonprofit so no receipt for tax purposes. This is just a family we know who has been homeless (they slept in a car), they now have stable housing (whew). Former foster youth with “invisible disabilities.”
PayPal email: email@example.com
#HOPE Help donation as the holiday season approaches. Every little bit helps.
As a therapist for fathers, I did some backsliding after I had kids if my own. Before I had kids, I was better able to support parents to see the world through the eyes of their children. ￼￼￼￼￼
It took a few years to get jack into tune 🎶, using myself as an instrument for positive change.
Interns, trainees and social workers who I supervise toward licensure sometimes feel insecure when working with parents. “How can I support someone with parenting when I don’t have kids myself?” This is such a good question.
In Tokyo, Japan I led parenting classes for mothers and fathers from all over the world 🌍. We used the “STEP” curriculum. I learned more than I taught, ￼￼and I must admit I felt a little guilty for taking their money, and lived with an “imposter complex.” I was double agent, secretly taking the side of their children.
The parents brought the experience of having children and actually being parents, and I brought the perspective of knowing what the world is like through the eyes of children, and healthy childhood development. In some ways, I had more freedom to make suggestions, because I was not a father myself.
Life goes in circles, and now I am fortunate to continue my small private practice in Oakland, supporting many men to be the father who they would like to be.