I Asked Myself This Question When I Thought About Drinking

I asked myself this question when I thought about drinkingI know it’s the weekend because that ‘s usually when I make my weekly trip to my local Trader Joe’s. Recently, I was thrilled to find pumpkin-flavored Kringles, which are a flaky, frosting-covered pastry that’s really close to the Dutch pastries I grew up with.

 

Ah, autumn. My 3 1/2-year-old son was pushing the cart and I threw one in amongst the peanut butter, pasta, bacon, vegetables, and other goodies.

 

Then I strolled over to the side of the store that had the wine, beer, beverages, and snacks. I added a few more items to the cart, double-checked my grocery list on my phone, and was ready to call it a day.

 

I walked over to the cashier with the shortest line and stood there, waiting. I sighed.

 

My eyes roamed for a moment as I allowed my mind to wander. That’s when I saw it.

Changing the Language of Addiction: Fighting Stigma

changing the language of addictionA client recently shared with me his experience of going to a faith-based recovery support group. He sincerely appreciated that he and the other attendees did not self-identify as addicts or alcoholics.

 

Instead, each person introduced themselves as a child of God.

 

How incredible, I thought. How healing it must have been, at a time when he is truly hurting, to identify with a label that affirms his value and worth instead of one that he experiences as shaming.

 

It was a stunning reminder of the power of language in our lives. There are few other arenas where the power of language is as strongly felt as it is with addiction. But why is this? Why is choosing our words carefully when we talk about drug and alcohol problems important? And how can we go about changing the language of addiction?

Afraid to Quit Drinking? Here’s the Real Reason Why (Part 2)

afraid to quit drinking (part 2)Afraid to quit drinking? You’re not alone. In part 1, I reviewed some very common fears about quitting drinking or about moderating your drinking. I suggested that there’s a deeper reason behind all of these common fears: Our fear of change.

 

See, there’s a voice in all of us that tells us that we can’t do something, that when we think about doing something new or different, gets nervous, anxious, or scared. This voice tells us the same “emotional truths” over and over again. It’s trying to protect us from re-experiencing hurts from our childhoods but it’s not helping us anymore as adults.

 

In fact, it’s keeping us stuck. That voice is known as the ego. But what’s up with the ego? And why is it so important to look at what the ego’s up to if we want to change our drinking?

Afraid to Quit Drinking? Here’s the Real Reason Why (Part 1)

afraid to quit drinkingI always joke that I had to go to seminary to learn to drink.

 

In the fall of 2003, I moved across the country to go to Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. I was anxious and scared but also thrilled to be starting graduate school. I was starting a theology degree and wanted to dive in. So what did I do? I signed up a a Biblical Greek intensive; I for the next 2 1/2 months, I studied nothing but Greek. All the time.

 

It was as exciting and brutal as it sounds. By the end of the term, I was exhausted and stressed as my perfectionism had been in full swing for months on end. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was on the hunt for some way to relax, to not feel so damn wound up all the time.

 

Christmas, 2003. Enter Johnny Walker, stage left. Thus began my long, storied history with alcohol. It took me years and years, but I finally learned to change my relationship with drinking.

 

I tried to cut back so many times. Countless times. And each time, I was discouraged. I thought it was hopeless. But the real story?

 

I was terrified to stop drinking.

Four Ways of Dealing with Urges and Cravings

dealing with urges and cravingsIf you’re in recovery or trying to change a habit that isn’t working for you, you need to find ways of dealing with urges and cravings. That is, you need to become more aware of the thought patterns and feelings that led to you giving in to your desire to engage your habit. Whether it’s shopping, gambling, sex, pornography, eating, or using alcohol or drugs, you’re probably pretty familiar with the desire to engage that habit before actually acting on it; that feeling is called an urge or craving.

 

Cravings are important because they act as precursors to engaging our problematic habit or behavior. Cravings say, “Hey, we need to gamble/smoke/drink/watch porn right now!” We stay stuck in our habits because we listen to that voice without thinking. If we’re to change our habit, we need to find different ways of interacting with the thoughts and feelings associated with our cravings in order to avoid automatically giving in.

Basic Tools for Overcoming Porn Addiction

Overcoming porn addictionOvercoming porn addiction is no easy task. That online pornography is so widely available and accessible means that pornography is just a click away. That porn can be viewed anonymously makes it easy for its use to stay secret.

 

Many people struggle in isolation with overcoming porn addiction and they often don’t know where to start. Here are some of my most commonly used tools and tips that I share all the time with clients to help them kick their porn habit.

Why I’m an Addiction Therapist

addiction therapistAs an addiction therapist, I hear many stories of struggling with food, sex, pornography, or alcohol and other drugs. I recently wrote a short essay as a part of an application to an online training program in harm reduction from the Center for Optimal Living in New York.

 

It briefly tells my story and illuminates my passion for helping those struggling with addiction through compassionate, relationship-focused treatment. I thought I’d share it here with you.

Sex Addiction and Porn Addiction Get a Diagnosis

Sex addiction and porn addiction get a diagnosisIt’s finally happening. After years or research and many studies, sex addiction and porn addiction will this year be officially recognized as mental disorders.

 

Diagnosing an Addiction

At some point in 2018, perhaps as soon as this summer, the World Health Organization (WHO) will release the latest version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The ICD is the definitive diagnostic manual for medical and psychological conditions and disorders everywhere in the world except for the United States.