Todays Date:
Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Monday, January 30, 2017

Hooked on Love


By Jill Vermeire, MFT, CSAT-S

You might be a Love Addict if:

  • You always fall for toxic or unavailable people
  • You would rather be in a bad 
  • relationship than be alone
  • Your life falls apart after every break up

But who doesn’t want to be in love?
Actually, Love Addiction isn’t about love at all. The term itself can be misleading. It’s a much broader term that embodies several different problematic or ineffective behavior patterns related to intimacy and relationships.
So why do we call it “Love Addiction”?
What it really has to do with is mistaking fantasy for love and using unrealistic expectations (denial) to maintain the fantasy resulting in persistent and escalating consequences when the fantasy is broken. As with all addictions, there are negative consequences that continuously occur and the patterns can’t be stopped despite attempts to try.

Let’s start at the beginning

If you were neglected or abandoned as a child (emotionally, physically, and verbally), an empty space developed where there was supposed to be connection and nurturing from your caregiver. You then unconsciously feared that you could not survive without this connection. Then you began to imagine or fantasize about a different life, usually based on cartoons and movies.
For example, you may have played a lot of make believe or frequently got caught up in daydreaming. Because you didn’t have true, healthy role modeling for intimacy, you made up what it could be like. You were hoping someone would see you, understand you, and take care of you, which are appropriate things to want and need as a kid.

As an adult, you continue to find, and become attracted to, people who are unavailable because that is what’s familiar. Love addicts tend to believe that they have met “The One” and move very quickly into a relationship…over and over and over. It becomes a very problematic pattern. A love addict will twist themselves into whatever they think the object of their desire wants. It’s like a chameleon changing its colors to fit in.

The typical pattern includes ignoring red flags, giving up your personal interests for the relationship, and remaining in denial until something inevitably happens that shatters the fantasy. Once the reality has hit that your partner isn’t the idealized hero you thought they were, you fall into a pit of despair and overwhelming pain…and it’s nothing that ice cream and a sappy movie can fix.

Love addicts experience the end of a relationship as if it’s life threatening because that is what the original trauma of neglect tells them.  

At this point you will medicate and obsess and this is where the consequences of the addiction can become dangerous. It is important to note that the love addiction cycle can be a precursor to other addictions and relapses. When fantasy and denial are shattered, the love addict will attempt to medicate the intolerable feelings that follow. Sex, drugs, and food are common ways people will try and numb themselves. Starting an affair to cope with the painful feelings of betrayal or disappointment is also common and can result in underlying sexual compulsivity getting out of control. Obsession can present in many different ways, but always involves the non-stop, uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts about the other person. Love addicts can get to the point of life threatening consequences, such as cutting or suicide, to try and medicate their pain. Eventually, they either return to the toxic relationship or move quickly into another because being alone can feel like DEATH to a love addict.

To illustrate, let’s look at some famous fictional love addicts. In the Walt Disney movie “Frozen,” the character Anna is abandoned by her parents when they die in a boating accident. Her sister Elsa isolates herself in her room because she can’t control her ice powers. When Anna has her first encounter with a handsome prince, she instantly falls in love and agrees to marry him within that same day. Of course, if you’ve seen the movie, you know that the handsome prince turns out to be anything but charming or wonderful. It’s dramatic, intense, and the perfect example of love addiction. Luckily the moral of that story turns out to be about sisterhood and girl power…not about a damsel in distress being rescued by the prince.
On a newer television show called “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” the character Rebecca Bunch quits her great job in New York City and accepts a lesser job in small town California to be near her object of obsession, Josh. She proceeds to try and sabotage his relationship, tries to spontaneously be where he is (also known as “Stalking”), pours over childhood photos of the two of them at camp, and basically eats, sleeps, and breathes all things Josh. Although her childhood trauma isn’t discussed, it would be safe to assume her upbringing was less than ideal.

Can men be love addicts, too? 

Of course! It is actually a common misconception that love addiction is a women’s issue. Men are abandoned and neglected in childhood just as much as women; therefore they are just as susceptible to love addiction. Look at Aladdin from another classic Disney movie! He was a homeless kid in India, obviously without any parents, and he instantly falls in love with the mysterious, beautiful girl he meets in the market. As it turns out, she’s the princess (the most unavailable girl in all the land), so he uses his wishes to become a prince in order for her to fall in love with him. Of course, with most fantasy cartoons, they end up living happily ever after. Unfortunately, for love addicts, there’s usually no happy at the end of the cycle.

So what do you do if you think you are a love addict? Treatment for Love Addiction is most successful when multiple modalities are used. The love addict needs education, cognitive behavioral interventions, experiential therapies, and trauma treatment. They need help reducing shame and guilt, as well as to begin finding ways to build esteem and confidence. Breaking the cycle of love addiction is no easy task. The addict must go through a period of emotional withdrawal and detox which can take much longer than the average drug detox. Having a supportive, caring, knowledgeable team of people and a safe, nurturing environment are also key components to treating love addiction.

The bottom line…Love Addiction, if left untreated, can result in very serious, damaging consequences…even life threatening. There is hope for happier, long-lasting relationships, but it can’t be done alone. It takes courage to reach out for help, but it can be one of the most important decisions a person can make.

Jill Vermeire, MFT, CSAT-S is the Program Director for Willow House, a treatment program for women struggling with Love, Sex, and Relationships at The Meadows. She received her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, became licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and in 2000 began her private practice in Los Angeles, specializing in sex, trauma, and addictions. She is a CSAT-S as well as EMDR trained and has worked at various treatment centers and organizations in Southern California and Arizona, including Promises, The Meadows, Clearview, The Sexual Recovery Institute, and Visions Adolescent Treatment Programs. Ms. Vermeire was a contributing author for “Making Advances: A Comprehensive Guide for Treating Female Sex and Love Addicts” with other leaders in the field of Female Sex and Love Addiction. Jill has become recognized in the mental health community as an authority on these subjects and has appeared alongside Dr. Drew Pinksy in VH1’s “Sex Rehab” which she later discussed on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2009. Other media appearances include “Extra,” “Issues with Jane Velasquez” on HLN, NBC News, the TV Guide Network, and KROQ’s “Loveline.” 

Resetting Household Rules Important for Teens With Substance Use Disorders

Setting new household rules for teens in treatment for a substance use disorder can be challenging for parents. But it is important because that teens do take their parents’ attitudes, opinions and beliefs into account when they make choices about substance use, says Christopher Hammond, M.D., Medical Director of the Johns Hopkins Co-Occurring Disorders in Adolescents (CODA) Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD.

By the time families begin treatment for a teen’s substance use disorder, parents are often emotionally drained and burnt out, says Dr. Hammond, who is also assistant professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins. “We tell parents that one of the major ways they can provide positive support for their teen’s recovery is by taking a close look at how they set and enforce rules in their house and consider resetting their household rules to promote abstinence,” he says. Not only will consistently setting and enforcing rules help their teen, but it can help the family as a whole and take some tension out of the household. Dr. Hammond spoke about working with parents and families to improve outcomes for teens with substance use disorder at the recent American Association of Addiction Psychiatry meeting.

It’s so important for parents to firmly establish a rule prohibiting drug or alcohol use, even if they previously allowed their teen to drink or use drugs in the house alone or with friends. “Being the ‘cool parent’ who lets teens drink at their house is not only illegal but also associated with poorer outcomes for teens in treatment for substance use disorders.” 

Along with explaining the rules, parents need to tell their teen the rules are meant to keep them safe and healthy. “We tell parents to explain the impact of drug and alcohol use on teen brain development — there is no good reason for teens to be using drugs or alcohol.” He urges parents to assign teens chores to give them a sense of responsibility.

They also need to make clear consequences for breaking rules. Inconsistent limit setting teaches teens to not respect their parent’s authority. 

“A lot of parents I work with protect teens from the consequences of their behaviors,” Dr. Hammond notes. “Allowing this behavior is associated with poorer outcomes. Within the limits of safety, parents need to allow teens to experience the natural consequences of bad behaviors. For instance, if a teen gets drunk and misses their Saturday soccer game, I tell parents not to call the soccer coach and lie to them and say the teen was sick. Force the teen to approach the coach and experience the coach yelling at them for missing the game and benching them.”

Consequences for breaking rules on substance use can include restricting media access (including taking the teen’s phone away for a certain period) and taking away the car keys. “These are privileges, not rights,” Dr. Hammond says. “Parents must unapologetically monitor their teen’s media usage, especially in treatment and early recovery, since so much drug use occurs with friends.” Parents need to emphasize that drunk and drugged driving can be deadly. “These are areas where parents have leverage that they are often afraid to use. But phones and cars tend to reinforce bad behavior.”

Resetting household rules is not a one-time event but rather a process, observes Dr. Hammond. “Especially, if the parents are divorced and there are blended families with different perspectives, it can help to have a supportive mental health provider mediate the conversation on rule-setting,” he says. If parents decide to have a conversation about household rules at home, Dr. Hammond advises them to choose a time when they are calm.

It’s common for teens to test the new rules by increasing their bad behavior right after the parent resets household rules. “If parents are firm in setting and enforcing consequences, that behavior tends to diminish dramatically and pretty quickly,” Dr. Hammond says. It’s also important to address barriers that may interfere with a parent’s ability to consistently enforce the rules. “It takes a lot of energy, effort and time, and it can be inconvenient for them, so many parents may not stick with them and fall back to old patterns.”

Dr. Hammond explains many teens with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring psychiatric disorder such as depression or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. This means it may take time for the new rules to sink in. He suggests parents post the rules on the refrigerator. “When you go to enforce the rules, if the teen tests them, you can point to them and say, ‘We discussed this, and this is why I’m enforcing them.'”

Parents can support their teen in recovery practically by helping with scheduling, transportation and moral support. Parents should seek to understand where their teen is coming from and acknowledge his or her experiences, thoughts and feelings as valid. Additionally “parents should make a point to let their teen know that they know that stopping their drug use difficult,” Dr. Hammond says. 
It’s important to empathize with what the teen is going through, along with talking about the negative side effects of drug or alcohol use.

Actors and the Infinite Field of Creativity Within

LIFE 101

By Coach Cary Bayer www.carybayer.com

When I watch the Oscars presentation, it seems like the stars are treated like Olympian gods and goddesses. Stars, after all, are lights in the heavens, so the Olympian reference seems apt.

We lionize actors because they perform valuable services. On the obvious level, their art lifts our spirits, opens our minds, and warms our hearts. More subtly, they sometimes portray heroes who embody life lived from full potential. They put their egos aside so their characters can take over. The very best channel many different kinds of characters from their center. We delight in watching such channeling because we yearn to find that center in ourselves, which can open vast creativity.

A Transcendental Meditation teacher for decades, and now founder of Higher Self Healing Meditation launched in 2010, I’ve given many hundreds of people the experience of that center, the higher Self within. This is a pure field of creative intelligence, a source of limitless creativity that can manifest as acting, music, art, or less “arty” fields, like gardening, managing, and virtually any human activity.

True genius actors draw from within themselves a wide range of characters; I’m thinking of Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman, rather than Sylvester Stallone, who’s often played the same character.

Meryl, Dustin and the Cosmic Role of Actors 

Meryl Streep’s oeuvre is remarkable for how many different characters have lived inside her. Perhaps the highest role she plays each time she plays a role is she reminds us that we, too, play roles. As the transcendental Being in us manifests as human, the Universal becomes an individual. Your Being plays roles as whatever you do in the world. As Teilhard de Chardin put it, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience.”  

Meryl Streep has portrayed with pitch-perfect accuracy accents that were Polish (Sophie’s Choice), Danish (Out of Africa), Italian (The Bridges of Madison County), British (Iron Lady), Irish (Dancing at Lughnasa), Australian (A Cry in the Dark), and Chilean (The House of the Spirits), as well as American accents from the South, Midwest, and New York. She’s played women who are straight, gay, dying, even dead. That she’s won only three Oscars, while passed over the 16 other times she was nominated, is a mystery to me.

Dustin Hoffman has played a transvestite (Tootsie) autistic savant (Rain Man), street hustler (Midnight Cowboy), 120-year-old raised by Native Americans (Little Big Man), grotesque criminal (Dick Tracy), and pirate (Hook), to name a handful.

Naturally, Streep and Hoffman are separate from their varied roles, like your inner Self, because it’s transcendental, is separate from your body, perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and personality. Like actors who play many roles, so do you: spouse, parent, child, sibling, employee, client, rep, etc. More cosmically, as expressed in the Bhagavad Gita, the textbook of Yoga, the actor, remaining detached from the roles he plays, is like your higher Self, which, remaining detached, has played the role of many individuals through your soul’s many lifetimes. This lifetime it’s been you, in a past life someone else, in a future one, assuming you don’t realize your higher in this lifetime, someone else.
In the Gita, Krishna, the teacher, tells his student, “As a man casting off worn-out garments takes other new ones, so the dweller in the body casting off worn-out bodies takes others that are new.” (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi translation)

The actor detaches from who he is to let another being live through him. When you realize your true nature, you let another being live through you; not a new character but who you’ve always been. You’ll see that your personality is really a role, just like Clark Kent is a role Superman plays. To paraphrase the Wizard of Oz,  “Pay less attention to the actor behind the dropping curtain. Not because he’s a fraud, like the wizard, but because he represents the infinite creativity within yourself.

While he might not invite you to play Hamlet, Stanley Kowalski, or Groucho’s Rufus T. Firefly, he quietly invites you to connect to the silent, yet infinitely creative source within yourself through meditation.”

Community Calendar

Tuesday, Feb. 21—FREE Professional Networking Luncheon — Psychological Counseling Services (PCS) 12:15-1:45 p.m. Mark your calendars. If you have attended in the past, join us. If you are new send an email request to pcs@pcsearle.com or call Ellen Hamilton for details 480-947-5739. 

Feb. 10—Tucson Behavioral Health Professionals Networking Breakfast, presentation by Craig Lees, LMSW, LISAC. 8:30-10:30 a.m. Westward Look, 245 East Ina Road, Tucson, 85704. $20. Register DesertStarARC.com/Workshops, CEUs: 1.5, info@desertstararc.com. 520-638-6000

Feb. 18— Sierra Tucson presents the 2017 Southwest Alumni Renewal - Skillfully Aware: Tools for Transformation with Mark Pirtle, DPT. Join Mark Pirtle, DPT, for a life-changing “edutainment” 1-day workshop. If you are struggling with stress or stress-related illnesses, or you simply want to live more healthfully and happily. Contact Tim McLeod, Alumni Relations Manager (866) 638-1650, E: Tim.McLeod@SierraTucson.com. Registration deadline Feb.15. Space Is Limited. Starfire Golf Club, 11500 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85260.

March 6  - 11th Annual Department of Problem Gambling Symposium 8:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.Gathering Perspectives on the Road to  Recovery. Black Canyon Conference Center, 9440 N. 25th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85021. Visit https://problemgambling.az.gov/ to register

Mondays– Scottsdale – FAMILY  RECOVERY GROUP—The Meadows Outpatient Center. Brough Stewart, LPC. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Designed to help begin/continue family recovery. Stop enabling, set healthy boundaries based on Pia Mellody’s Model. No charge. The Meadows Outpatient Center, 19120 N. Pima Rd., Ste. 125, Scottsdale. Contact: Jim Corrington LCSW, 602-740-8403.

SIERRA TUCSON— Alumni Groups. Scottsdale, Tues., 6:00- 7:00 p.m.Valley Presbyterian Church. 6947 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley. 480-991-4267. Alumni meet in the Counseling Center (Parlor Room). Park in west parking lot, follow signs to the Counseling Center in chapel complex. Contact: Rob L. 602-339-4244 or stscottsdalealumni@gmail.com.

SIERRA TUCSON— Continuing Care Groups in Phoenix.Wednesdays — for Family Member Alumni (18 and over). (PCS) Psychological Counseling Services, 7530 E. Angus Drive, Scottsdale. 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Thursdays — for Patient Alumni, PCS, 3302 N. Miller Rd., Scottsdale, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Facilitated by the clinical staff of PCS. No charge for Patient and Family Member Alumni.

On Going Support 

Celebrate Recovery —Chandler Christian Church. Fridays 7 p.m. Room B-200. For men and women dealing with chemical or sexual addictions, co-dependency and other Hurts, Hang-ups and Habits. 1825 S. Alma School Rd. Chandler. 480-963-3997. Pastor Larry Daily, E: larrydaily@chandlercc.org.

Valley Hospital— IOP Group for Chemical Dependency/Co-Occuring. Mon., Tues., Thurs. 6:00-9:00 p.m. 602-952-3939. 3550 E. Pinchot Avenue, Phoenix. www.valleyhospital-phoenix.com

Open Hearts Counseling Services — Women’s Therapeutic Group for Partners of Sex Addicts. Find comfort, strength and hope while exploring intimacy issues. Cynthia A. Criss, LPC, CSAT 602-677-3557 for details.

Families Anonymous—12 step program for family members of addicts. Phoenix -Mon. 7:00 p.m., First Methodist Church, 5510 N. Central Ave. 602-647-5800. Scottsdale Sun. 4:00 p.m., 10427 N. Scottsdale Rd., N. Scottsdale Fellowship 480-225-1555 or 602-647-5800

NICOTINE ANONYMOUS (NicA) Fellowship for those with a desire to stop using nicotine. Phoenix Sat., 5-6:00 p.m. at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 1212 E. Glendale Ave., Glendale, Sun., 9:15-10:15 a.m. Fellowship Hall, 8910 N. 43rd Ave. 480-990-3860 or www.nicotine-anonymous.org

Chronic Pain Sufferers “Harvesting Support for Chronic Pain,” 3rd Saturday of month, 12-1:00 p.m. Harvest of Tempe, 710 W. Elliot Rd., Suite 103, Tempe. 480-246-7029.

Jewish Alcoholics, Addicts, Families and Friends (JACS) 1st / 3rd Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus, 2nd floor. 12701 N. Scottsdale Rd. 602-971-1234 ext. 280 or at JACSarizona@gmail.com
COSA (12-step recovery program for thosewhose lives have been affected by another person’s compulsive sexual behavior) Thurs. 11:00 a.m.-Noon. 2210 W. Southern Ave. Mesa. 602-793-4120.

Women For Sobriety — www.womenforsobriety.org. Sat. 10-11:30 a.m. All Saints of the Desert Episcopal Church-9502 W. Hutton Drive. Sun City. Christy 602-316-5136.

Co-Anon Family Support - Carrying the message of hope and personal recovery to family members and friends of someone who is addicted to cocaine or other mind altering substances. “Off the Roller Coaster” Thurs., 6:30-7:45 p.m., 2121 S. Rural Rd., Tempe. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. Donna 602-697-9550 /Maggie 480-567-8002.

COTTONWOOD TUCSON  Alumni—First Wednesday of month 6:00-7:30 p.m. 4110 W. Sweetwater Drive. 5:00 p.m. dinner. 800-877-4520 x2141. cottonwoodtucson.com 

ACOA Thurs., 7:00 p.m., North Scottsdale United Methodist Church, 11735 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale.www.aca.arizona.org

ACA. Tucson. Wed. 5:30-7:00 p.m Streams In the Desert Church 5360 E. Pima Street. West of Craycroft. Room A. Michael 520-419-6723. 

(OA)- 12 Step program for addictions to food, food behaviors. 520-733-0880 or www.oasouthernaz.org.

Pills Anonymous (PA)—Glendale Tues. 7-8:00 pm. HealthSouth Rehab 13460 N. 67th Ave. Rosalie 602-540-2540. Mesa Tues. 7-8:00 pm, St. Matthew United Methodist Church. 2540 W. Baseline. B-14. Jim, 480-813-3406. Meggan 480-603-8892. Scottsdale, Wed. 5:30-6:30 pm, N. Scottsdale Fellowship, 10427 N. Scottsdale Rd., Rm 3. Tom N. 602-290-0998. Phoenix, Thurs. 7-8:00 pm. First Mennonite Church 1612 W. Northern. Marc 623-217-9495, Pam 602-944-0834, Janice 602-909-8937.

GA Meetings —Tuesday/Thursday Spanish 7:00-9:00 p.m. Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church, 8801 N. 43rd Ave. Sunday, Spanish 7:00-9:00 p.m. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 3040 N 7th Ave. Sunday, English 6:00-8:00 p.m. 5010 E. Shea Blvd., Ste. D-202, Contact Sue F. 602-349-0372

SAA www.saa-phoenix.org 602-735-1681 or 520-745-0775.

Valley Hope Alumni Support Groups, Thursdays 6-7:00 p.m., 2115 E. Southern Ave. Phoenix. Tues. 8-9:00 p.m., 3233 W. Peoria Ave. Ste. 203, Open. 

Special Needs — AA Meetings. Cynthia SN/AC Coordinator 480-946-1384, email Mike at mphaes@mac.com

SLAA—Sex and Love Addict Anonymous 602-337-7117. slaa-arizona.org

GAM-ANON: Sun. 7:30 p.m. Desert Cross Lutheran Church, 8600 S. McClintock, Tempe. Mon. 7:30 p.m., Cross in the Desert Church, 12835 N. 32nd St., Phoenix, Tues. 7:00 p.m., First Christian Church, 6750 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, Tues. 7:15 p.m. Desert Cross Lutheran Church, Education Building, 8600 S. McClintock, Tempe, Thurs. 7:30 p.m. 

DEBTORS Anonymous—Mon., 7-8:00 p.m., St. Phillip’s Church, 4440 N. Campbell Ave., Palo Verde Room. Thurs. 6-7:00 p.m., University Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell. 520-570-7990, www.arizonada.org.

Crystal Meth Anonymous www.cmaaz.org or 602-235-0955. Tues. and Thurs.Stepping Stone Place 1311 N 14th St.

Raise the Bar on LOVE

“Sometimes  the  people  who  are  hardest  to  love  are  the  ones  that  offer  us  the  greatest  reward  once  we  master  the  lesson  the  relationship  is  bringing  us.”  
by Alan Cohen

Every  February,  in  honor  of  Valentine’s  day,  I  explore  loving  relationships.  Many  of  us  have  faced  challenges  in  relationships,  and  we  struggle  with  how  to  create  truly  rewarding  connections.  We  search  for  our  soulmate,  wrestle  with  friendships,  and  dread  going  home  to  see  our  relatives.  At  some  point  it  dawns  on  us  that  “this  cannot  be  the  way  I  was  born  to  live.”  Then  we  get  serious  about  creating  relationships  that  work.  If  we  are  sincere,  that  will  happen.  

At  the  end  of  a  visit  to  a  town  where  I  used  to  live,  I  was  on  my  way  to  return  a  rental  car.  I  stopped  at  a  gas  station  to  fill  up,  but  could  not  find  the  lever  to  open  the  gas  cap.  So  I  decided  to  just  return  the  car  half-full.  Along  the  way  I  discovered  the  lever  and  stopped  at  a  gas  station  near  the  rental  car  return.  While  filling  up,  I  saw  a  friend  of  mine  at  the  next  pump.  He  is  a  sincere,  ecologically-minded  guy  who  has  been  running  for  county  council  for  years,  and  was  up  for  election  once  again.  We  shared  a  hug  and  schmoozed  for  a  few  minutes.  I  told  him,  “I  can’t  vote  for  you  now  that  I’ve  moved,  but  if  I  could  I  would  surely  get  behind  you.”  A  big  smile  lit  up  his  face  and  he  answered,  “That’s  worth  a  lot  of  votes  right  there.”

As  I  drove  away,  I  marveled  at  the  synchronicity  of  meeting  my  friend.  If  I  had  found  the  gas  cap  lever  at  the  first  station,  I  would  have  missed  that  encounter.  I  like  to  think  that  the  universe  had  set  up  that  meeting.  A  deeper  wisdom  was  behind  the  apparent  error,  leading  to  a  moment  of  rewarding  connection.  Life  is  always  guiding  us to  be  with  the  people  we  belong  with,  if  we  are  open  to  follow  internal  guidance  and  external  signs.

Why Settle?

We  must  not  settle  for  less-than-rewarding  relationships.  Any  form  of  enmity,  conflict,  or  abuse  is  not  life’s  intention  for  us.  Yet  we  put  up  with  pain  because  we  believe  we  cannot  do  better.  But  we  can  and  we  will.  Before  we  can  do  better,  we  must  change  our  minds  about  what  we  deserve.  You  can  always  tell  what  you  believe  you  deserve  by  what  you  are  getting.  When  you  are  in  pain  in  a  relationship,  the  universe  is  sending  you  a  wake-up  call  to  realize  that  you  have  been  accepting  too  much  suffering.  Then  you  must  do  whatever  it  takes  to  extricate  yourself  from  sorrow  and  create  a  relationship  that  works.  Sometimes  that  can  be  done  right  where  you  stand,  and  sometimes  you  must  leave.  Either  way,  you  must  find  your  way  to  higher  ground.  Our  tolerance  for  upset  is  too  high.  We  must  raise  the  bar  on  love.

A  Course  in  Miracles  tells  us  that  it  is  the  destiny  of  all  relationships  to  bring  us  joy.  Sometimes  the  people  who  are  hardest  to  love  are  the  ones  that  offer  us  the  greatest  reward  once  we  master  the  lesson  the  relationship  is  bringing  us.  The  only  purpose  of  relationship  is  to  deepen  our  capacity  to  give  and  receive  love.  Abraham  Lincoln  said,  “I  don’t  like  that  man.  Let  me  get  to  know  him.”  Everyone  we  don’t  like  is  pointing  us  to  shine  light  on  a  judgment  we  are  holding.  When  we  examine  that  judgment,  we  realize  it  is  not  valid,  and  we  recognize  the  unnecessary  pain  that  holding  the  grievance  is  causing.  Then  we  can  let  it  go  and  be  free.  The  relationship  has  served  us  well.  The  Course  further  tells  us,  “The  holiest  spot  on  earth  is  where  an  ancient  hatred  has  become  a  present  love.”

All  healthy  relationships  are  founded  in  self-love.  If  you  don’t  love  yourself,  it  is  going  to  be  difficult  to  love  others  or  receive  their  love.  We  project  our  fears  and  self-judgments  onto  the  world  “out  there,”  which  exists  more  in  our  mind  than  as  an  external  entity.  We  make  up  stories  about  other  people  based  on  the  stories  we  make  up  about  ourselves.  If  you  can’t  find  someone  outside  to  love  you,  you  haven’t  found  someone  inside  to  love  you. 
 Loving  people  around  you  reflect  your  love  for  yourself.  Unloving  people  represent  your  self-judgment.  Don’t  attempt  to  change  what  you  see  in  the  mirror  by  rearranging  the  images.  Rearrange  the  source  of  the  images—your  mind—and  the  images  will  rearrange  themselves.  

A  while  back  I  had  a  little  Honda  Civic  to  sell.  I  parked  the  car  at  a  gas  station  with  a  sign,  “$1100.”  The  car  sat  for  a  long  time  without  an  inquiry.  Then  one  night  I  attended  a  healing  service  by  a  Christian  minister  who  took  up  many  collections  during  the  evening.  His  solicitation  was  quite  bold.  During  one  basket-passing  he  announced,  “God  told  me  there  are  five  people  in  this  audience  who  can  donate  $1,000,  and  He  wants  you  to  give  it.”  Although  I  later  learned  that  the  preacher  was  a  charlatan,  I  was  impressed  by  his  confidence  to  ask  for  money.  That  night  I  went  to  sleep  with  the  realization,  “I  deserve  to  get  $1100  for  that  car.”  The  next  morning  I  was  awakened  early  by  a  phone  call.  “I’ll  give  you  $1100  for  your  car,”  a  voice  said.  Within  an  hour  the  car  was  sold.  It  was  not  waiting  for  any  market  conditions  for  me  to  sell  it.  It  was  waiting  for  my  recognition  of  my  deservingness  to  sell  it.

So  it  is  with  all  of  our  relationships.  They  are  just  waiting  for  us  to  receive  the  love  we  deserve.  Let  this  Valentine’s  month  be  the  month  we  let  love  in.  

Alan  Cohen  is  the  author  the  bestselling  A  Course  in  Miracles  Made  Easy:  Mastering  the  Journey  from  Fear  to  Love. For  more  information  about   his  books  and  videos,  free  daily  inspirational  quotes,  online  courses,  and  weekly  radio  show,  visit  www.alancohen.com.

Love is…

by Dr. Dina Evan

"From masters to mortals, the past is filled with those who have attempted to define love."

Perhaps we keep trying to define love because is love is ineffable and often inexpressible. It can’t be bought, sold, traded or downloaded. It creeps in next to our heart to create longing, desire, appreciation and reverence. The same energy that sits beside a dying parent holding on to each lingering moment is also that which lights up the night sky with excitement over a new chance meeting.

Love is the foundation of everything. It is the cohesiveness in the Universe and the motivation for every walk to enlightenment because that is the walk toward the Source of love itself. Love is not an action or a word. It’s two straws, one caramel chocolate shake. It’s grabbing the blanket for cold toes before being asked. It’s being more concerned about giving than getting. Love is art, it’s a soprano’s perfect high “C” and it’s in the center of forgiveness when humanness arrives. Love is not an act. 

Acts are not real love. True love is authentic presence. Love is not a word. It is a verb — a whole-souled act of being real and risking everything for a moment in which you can stand emotionally naked and be completely accepted and adored. Love caresses your mind, your soul and your spirit. 

Love wants to help you shatter the protective walls so you get to what you came for. Love wraps itself around your soul with reverence for every breath and every challenge that brings growth and deeper connection. Love is committed to deeper connections, with every living thing.

Real love is not ownership, it is freedom and yet it binds us in grace. You can’t demand love, you can only invite it in and if you feel bereft of love, then you have forgotten to give it. Love is everywhere. It sits on street corners in shabby, dirty clothing after having given its heart and soul on a battlefield. It sits caged and waiting to be rescued at shelters, and every now and then, it gets adopted in the form of a child or four-legged furry ball and becomes protected by people whose hearts have stretched to the limit. Love is not pheromones, dopamine, nor epinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin, although this is what love offers as a bonus.

We didn’t come here to get love. We came here to become it. We do that by picking up the pieces of our shattered lives and remembering that love cannot be shattered by anything at all.
We can talk about love in therapisty ways. However, the bottom line is always that love is what crosses the divide when separation arrives. It motivates us to try harder again. It reminds us of our priorities and the reason we were born. Love is an amazing thing, the greatest gift the Universe has to offer. Love never leaves you, but you can leave love. Even when that partner you thought would be a forever one leaves, love arrives the moment you realize you both did your best with what you had and learned a lot in the process. In every circumstance, there is truly only one question and one right answer. “What would love do?”

We talk about love in very fun ways, with flowers, hearts, candy and trinkets this month. We can go deeper and sit quietly and feel the air on our cheek and the sun on our face. That is love. We can be thankful that we have this day and the next to do it better. That is love. We can feel gratitude for every person in our life who has opted to dance it with us, help us grow and stay. That is love. We can cherish the moments of insight, awareness and grace. That is love. We can honor the challenges we have overcome, the milestones we have crossed and the changes we’ve made. That is love. We can look across the table and into the eyes of a beloved or friend and see our reflection. That is love. Life is filled with love. It is everywhere you are. 

Don’t miss a minute of it. Just breathe and feel it all. You are loved and with every breath, you have a chance to be it, again and again!

Dr. Evan specializes in relationships, personal and professional empowerment, compassion and consciousness. 602-997-1200, DrDinaEvan@cox.net and www.DrDinaEvan.com

Hot Topics

River Source offers Outpatient Programs and New Location

The River Source’s outpatient treatment center offers one of the most comfortable, affordable, and serene environments for those working on their recovery for the first time or as a continuing care program from addiction. The River Source understands that effective outpatient treatment is flexible. The outpatient facility in Mesa, AZ is open days and evenings making it the ideal solution for patients looking for flexible options due to work, school, or other obligations. Family Participation is encouraged which includes family day, education workshops, family counseling sessions, and more.Most major insurance is accepted. For information visit theriversource.org or call 866-582-0101.

Parents: Are you ready to get more involved? 

Parents with experience in our system of care who decide to become more involved based on their personal journey and the knowledge they gained while navigating the system for their child/family. We share our personal experience as peer parents with lived experience and as content experts.
We collaborate with professional partners in our system such as: the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Behavioral Health, the Department of Child Safety, Juvenile Justice, the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Physical Health Care, Foster Care, Schools and others at the local and state level.

We sit as equal partners and collaborators on local and state level boards, committees, councils and workgroups and share our perspectives and insight based on our lived experience.
If you are interested in becoming more involved or would like to learn more about the Arizona Statewide Family Network Parent Leadership Team, please contact: Lynette Tolliver, Project Director, Family Involvement Center at 602-­412­-4092 or 877­-568-­8468 or email at lynette@familyinvolvementcenter.org.

Relaxation Techniques For Depression 

Are you looking for relaxation techniques for depression try exploring relaxation techniques that include deep breathing, exercise, and journaling.

The first tip to prevent depression and deepen relaxation is to engage in deep breathing exercises, whether its meditation or simply deep breathing. Deep breathing is an easy practice you can engage in wherever you are to ground yourself and gain better insight into your daily routine and feel better about yourself as well. Consider giving deep breathing a try.

According to everydayhealth.com, the following can be stated about using deep breathing to deepen your relaxation:

Deep, slow breathing can help release anxiety and relax the body from head to toe. Try it at set times throughout the day or whenever stress begins to build. Combine deep breathing with meditation for even greater relaxation, stress relief, and focus.
In addition to deep breathing, another way to engage in relaxation is to exercise. You do not have to run a marathon to experience the benefits of exercise. Consider exercising for 30 minutes five days per week. You will feel better about yourself, and your stress level will diminish as well, leaving you more relaxed.Yoga is a particularly beneficial therapy because it focuses on meditation, balance, deep breathing, and relaxation all at the same time.

Another technique to try is journaling. When we journal we enable ourselves to express all our thoughts and feelings, this enables our mood to stabilize.

If something’s bothering you and you just need to get it off your chest, a diary or journal can be your best friend. Take a few moments each day — or any time you feel down or stressed — to write about your fears, concerns, or frustrations.