Shame – Being VS Doing Something Wrong …

I struggle to facilitate conversations about shame. And I’m transparent about that with my clients. This is for a few reasons: shame is difficult to conceptualize. Unlike “coping skills” or “aftercare planning,” shame is nebulous. Open for discourse. Dependent on our unique perspectives and past experiences. Additionally, I’ve yet to master managing shame in my […]

What Men Want (from their Addiction Treatment)

What do men want when they check in at an addiction treatment center? According to Rae Rabideau, Sanford Manager of Clinical Operations, most men enter treatment to “learn how not to relapse”. The details of their stay are not something they’ve really thought about, and the continuum of care and the future is unknown.   […]

Reflections on Time and Addiction Recovery

The passing of time is a strange concept in itself, but for me in sobriety, it was the one thing I didn’t consider.  As a child I was obsessed with the passing of time and age. I saw things passing too quickly and yet I was not able to live in the moment and enjoy […]

Social Drinking, Social Anxiety and the Open Bar…

What is it about an open bar at a lively party? Friendly wait staff in bow ties and damask draped folding tables.The inevitable lineup of soon to be new best friends. And for anyone like me, with social anxiety, the open bar is the ultimate event ice-breaker.   New Friends, Open Bar….No Anxiety Here.… In […]

Accepting Responsibility for the Things We Invite In (and Regret Later)

What do we invite into our lives only to complain about later?  After a long car ride followed by a short ferry ride, I arrived for a retreat on Bois Blanc Island with other brave adults to explore this question with two seasoned psychotherapists.   Taking Responsibility – Therapist Heal Thyself…  It’s far easier to […]

Spring Cleaning, Spring Recovery! The Best of Excursions…

Never has the Michigan collective longed so for spring. We are tough and stoic, but there was that ice storm. And the wind, whiteouts and relentless cold. And three inches of snow put little white stocking-caps on the daffodils. Enough is enough and we are more than ready to put away the snow shoes and […]

Gracefully Welcoming Change: Recovery in an Ever-Changing World

Change. Many of us struggle to navigate it gracefully. To create meaningful change, we have to do things differently. We must engage in some self-reflection. And practice self-awareness. And admit our shortcomings… It’s a lot of work.   I could draw a metaphor, here, about the changing seasons (it’s finally starting to feel like spring […]

Fear Not Sober Vacations – Great Escapes for Sober Sojourners!

A newly sober friend of mine was looking meaningfully into his coffee. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “I’m going on vacation to St Martin next week and I’m really nervous about my recovery,” he said. My immediate thought was a sarcastic, Poor you – that’s the kind of problem I’d like to have. But he looked […]

Putting the Children First – Do Kids Provide an Incentive to Get Sober?

My children are the most important thing in my life and the best thing I have ever accomplished. They drive me nuts. They push the limits as they get older and form new relationships, but they are the two humans in life I can say, “I love”. Loving my children is the only consistent true […]

Coping with Life’s Ordinary Moments in Recovery…

Are things honestly ever “just fine” in early recovery?   At Sanford House , we begin group therapy sessions with a check-in. Clients are asked to identify how they’re feeling today. (Sure, sometimes therapy is just as on-the-nose as one may imagine.) I challenge my clients to reframe answers like “fine,” “good,” or “I don’t […]