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Addiction

4 Perils of Perfectionism

Many of us hold high expectations for ourselves. We strive for a goal that is impossible to reach, whether in our love life, worklife, or family life. When we fall short, as we inevitably do, we may become paralyzed by self-criticism and shame.

Here are four pitfalls that result from our penchant to strive for perfection -- and how to keep our expectations under control.

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Addiction

When Rehabs Look at Patients as Dollar Signs


"The whole system is designed to keep people in it, I think."

“Statistically, you’re wasting your money sending your kid to rehab,” Scott Steindorff tells me without a second of hesitation. “I have three grown kids and I’ve come to the conclusion that if one of them had a [substance abuse] problem, I wouldn’t know where to send them.”

Steindorff, the Hollywood producer whose eclectic credits include the movie Chef and the TV series Las Vegas, has turned his sights on overhauling the $35 billion-a-year rehab industry that’s now coming under fire. “There’s not one facility in the world that’s getting the job done,” he argues. “If you find a rehab center that really gets it, call me—and I’m being serious.”

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Addiction

Healthy and Happy Holidays

As the calendar is now one page, people all over the world are celebrating a multitude of holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia Day and the Winter Solstice. Each has merit and meaning for those who observe their personal spiritual tradition. Holidays are meant to unite, not divide. They are intended to bring people together in the spirit of love.

Instead, for many, they carry with them an added layer of stress, family conflict, financial hardship and debt, expectations of Hallmark card perfection, challenges to sobriety, reminders of loss and a call to maintain emotional balance in the face of it all.
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Addiction

Detachment: A Strategy for Friends and Family of Adult Addicts


For every adult who struggles with addiction, there are many affected by its destruction. Family, co-workers, and friends are among those who become witnesses to the downward spiral of self-destructive behavior. Attempts to fix a friend or loved one experiencing addiction become increasingly frustrating as the chaos becomes a part of daily life.

When you are affected by someone else’s drinking or drug use, it is important to remember that even though you cannot prevent what’s happening to them, you can regain your sanity by practicing detachment.
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Addiction

Your Diagnosis Does Not Define You

I've been diagnosed, at one point or another, with depression, anxiety, PTSD and ADHD. It’s an annoying characterization of myself because my medical 'diagnosis' does not define me. Yet it has also been incredibly helpful to me as it explains certain behaviors and reactions, and gives me the tools I need to research and manage them.

But let me be clear. What I 'have' does not equate to who I am. As despite the challenges, we can all thrive.
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Addiction

What Are the Signs of Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating is often something we have done at one time or another. Perhaps at a celebration or a birthday, we have continued to eat just for the taste or because it feels good. Binge Eating Disorder is different.

The signs of Binge Eating Disorder include:

Feeling uncomfortably full while continuing to eat
Eating a lot of food quickly despite lack of hunger
Feeling out of control
Shame surrounding food

If you eat more than others during the same situation or meal time and have binged at least once a week for three months, you may have Binge Eating Disorder.
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Addiction

Job Loss Presents a Unique Danger for People in Recovery


Job loss was another painful reminder of why my sobriety must be the number one thing in my life.

It’s been a few weeks since I had a theoretical bomb dropped on me. I recently got laid off from my full-time job and my financial stability, my career, and overall sense of security were taken from me. It was unexpected, devastating, and made me question everything. Job loss is just that -- a loss. I felt grief, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and defeat. I questioned if I did enough, if it was the job I really wanted, if I deserved that job, and if I’ll ever find another job as good as this one again. Being laid off had me questioning my life, my worth, my value as an employee, and even my sobriety.

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Addiction

Adult Child of an Alcoholic: How Beginner Ballet Helped My Recovery


Who knew activities could be more enjoyable by taking pressure off yourself?

The first time I did a plié, I wanted to die. Not in the literal sense. But in the “how did I not realize this was so hard?” sense. I was drenched in sweat and we hadn’t even gotten through warmups. Welcome to adult absolute beginner ballet.

I'd never taken ballet as a kid, and its reputation for gruff teachers and perfectionism really intimidated me, even as an adult. The image of a stern impossible to please teacher coupled with competitive classmates had kept me away my whole life. Like a lot of people from alcoholic families, I felt I should be an immediate expert in everything I did. Incompetency was dangerous. But I’d always wanted to try ballet, so when an acquaintance posted on Facebook that she was teaching a ballet class that started with the absolute baby basics, I gathered my courage and signed up.
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Addiction

Mother’s Memoir of Son’s Opioid Addiction Offers Hope

Lisa Hillman never meant to become a poster child for parents coping with a child’s drug problem. She was an accomplished health care administrator, a fundraising executive married to former Annapolis Mayor Richard Hillman, and the mother of two.

Few people knew about the nightmare that was unfolding at home starting with a phone call from her son’s high school teacher the start of his senior year, alerting her to his possible marijuana use. Jacob’s addiction unraveled from there, resulting in a dependence on opiates that threw his life into reverse: preventing him from returning to the University of Maryland; presenting troubles with the law; and deteriorating most of his relationships, including his once-tight bond with his mom.
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Addiction

To Everything There Is a Season: Can Time of Year Impact Our Perspective on Death?

Recently I was speaking with a couple whose adult son died two months ago of a drug overdose. These parents adored him and knew he was dealing with emotional challenges. They did what they could to let him know he was loved and they were with him come what may. They attempted to get him help. He was surrounded by a multi-generational family who thought the world of him.

As we processed their experience and they openly shared their grief, they said something that in all my years as a therapist, I had not considered. They both acknowledged that as we approached the threshold between summer and autumn, they were experiencing a heightened sense of loss.
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