March 30, 2010

Quote of the Week!

"Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable."
~William Shakespeare

March 29, 2010

Another Counselorish Thought:

What impact do you want to leave on the world?

What are you doing to make sure you accomplish that?

March 28, 2010

And another thing....

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately, as it pertains to addiction, at least....why does society focus so much on the symptoms instead of the cause? Is this just an American thing or is it this way everywhere?

Are we ever going to admit that addiction is a disease and we have to treat the addiction instead of the social issues that result from addiction?

Move the soap box.

March 25, 2010

Counselorish Thought of the Week!

At what point are we good enough?

When are we self-improved enough to accept ourselves?

Ponder that!

March 24, 2010

Health Reform Signed into law

I wanted to share the email I received from the professional association I am a member.

What Does It Mean for Addiction Professionals?

Dear Paula,

Yesterday, President Obama signed the long-debated comprehensive health care reform bill into law. The new law is intended to reduce health care costs and enable 30 million uninsured Americans to get health insurance.

Throughout the health reform debate, NAADAC's goal was to ensure that each draft of the bill fully and fairly included addiction services and addiction professionals. We are pleased to say that the health reform law builds on the success of the 2008 Wellstone-Domenici Parity Act and further expands benefits and coverage for people in need of treatment. For example:
Substance use disorder services are included as part of the minimum benefits package required for health plans serving the individual and small group market in the newly created insurance "exchanges."
The bill expands Medicaid eligibility to 133% of the poverty limit and requires that even low-income adults without dependent children be eligible for Medicaid. Addiction services must be included as part of the benefits package for all newly eligible Medicaid enrollees.
Addiction professionals are specifically included in a number of workforce-related provisions, including several adolescent-focused grant programs.
Please visit to read a detailed summary of the addiction-related provisions in the health reform law.

If you have any questions about the new law, please e-mail Director of Government Relations Daniel Guarnera at

March 22, 2010

Sent to me by someone special

Parable of Immortality
by Henry VanDyke

"I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads wide her white sales to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, 'There she goes!'

Gone where? Gone from my sight...that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There she goes!", there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

March 20, 2010

To the Peak

Analogous to life were many of the events of our vacation; however, none as paramount as the little stop in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The original intent of the stop was to put gas in the car, feel the springs to see if they were actually “hot” and maybe have some lunch. When we departed the area we had actually spent close to three hours.

At the constant urging of my sweet son (with innocent and wide eyes), we began walking up a trail. I didn’t look ahead enough to know where the trail ended but as we made our assent I quickly began to realize how unprepared I was for the journey.

As my heart began to pound and my breathing became labored I found myself saying things like, “mom is too old for this”, “mom doesn’t have on the right shoes for this”, “Uhh…we didn’t even bring any water with us and I haven’t had any water today and I have had a soda and I think I read someplace that one might dehydrate if they exert this much physical energy without drinking water…and I am sweating…and…” even, “mom is going to sit right here and wait for you to go up without me”. Really, if there were an excuse to be had, I used it.

Eventually, I shut up. Not because I didn’t want to complain anymore or that I had run out of excuses to spew but because I was gasping for breath and couldn’t get the words out! So I began to think. And thinking is something that can lead me to very dark or very enlightened places. Thank goodness, I came to a very positive and free-thinking place this time.

The entire trip, and frankly, the last four months has been filled with thoughts of my mother. I assume this a natural process of grieving the death of someone so close. This trip seemed to bring her to mind even more than usual. The memories are likely because many family vacations were taken when I was growing up to similar places. And for the reason that my mother accompanied me on many of my own vacations in recent years…I attribute the traveling spirit in me to genetics.

I began thinking about the anger I generally experience prior to my acknowledgment that I actually hurt. This fact is something I know but forget when I am feeling anger. I considered how much of an impact this has in my desire to be vulnerable. My mom died and I miss her. It was while walking up that trail that I became conscious of how much that is about hurt and how little it is about anger.

This trek also brought to mind that I am time and again searching for direction and opportunities to be vulnerable, at the same time I am pushing it away from my grasp. By the third time I sat to gaze at the wonderment of nature along this journey I felt my heart embrace the progress I have made. I began to acknowledge my wisdom as if breathing it in to acceptance of my spirit.

We met fellow travelers along the trail. I asked one if it was worth it. He said it definitely was. The next set, a family with small children, told us how close we were to getting there. Knowing others had gone before me encouraged me to work even harder so I would have the chance to see the miracle they promised me was to come.

When we reached the peak the reward was to pay a small fee to be shuttled up an elevator in a 216 foot observation tower. From the top we were able to look out and see for 140 miles. As the other viewers were witness to the majesty of nature, I was looking out of this tower with a completely different set of eyes. I saw my life and my experiences more clearly. I saw the collection of heartache melding with joy, which have resulted in so many lessons learned. I saw my journey and its culmination to this point.

As we began our descent down the same path, my son chuckled several times pointing out the actual places where mom almost gave up! He said with a smile, “well, mom, that rock is where you sat the last time you told me to go on without you” and “that tree limb is where you said you were going to die”. He spoke astutely beyond awareness, at the time, of the education received by his mom during those hiking moments.

In my short time on earth I have been presented with challenge after challenge. Rarely was I prepared as they came into existence. Frequently they were painful. Once in a while I felt as though I would break in two as I struggled through. Seldom did I think I could do it.

Nevertheless, I succeeded. Even when I didn’t win I made it to the top. For me that equals success since I learned so much….and had I allowed all of the excuses I had to triumph…I would have never given myself the opportunity. I said it at least a dozen times to my son and perhaps I might also consider speaking it to those who have believed in me throughout life…. “Thanks for the idea of going to the top. Thanks for pushing me the entire way. I would have missed a lot if I had stopped along the way”.

After we reached our starting place again I sat in amazement of the most beautiful rhododendron that I didn’t even remember seeing before we began.

Oh, and the springs…..actually hotter than we imagined!

March 18, 2010

Spring Break: Day Five & Six

Whew! Two days to talk about in one post. Simply because we have stuffed a lot into those days and are very tired.

Yesterday we went to the Butterfly Palace, a sanctuary for exotic butterflies, moths, some birds and bugs. It was very peaceful and beautiful. We took a walk on the nature trail at the cabins, too.

Today we spent an entire day at Silver Dollar City, a theme park. We rode roller coasters and other rides until we couldn't walk. We love roller coasters!

Tonight is a very casual night because we will be headed back to DFW tomorrow.....but taking it very slowly so we can stop along the way to see what we can see!


March 16, 2010

Spring Break: Day Four

~Oh, so very tired today. I think the events have caught up with me. Whew! Today started as most of them have.....breakfast a country restaurant called Baldknockers. Afterward, we made a trek through the outlet mall. I was looking for the perfect grey beret. Unfortunately, no such luck.

Beretless,we spent some time climbing (via elevator and a few stairs) over 200 feet up Inspiration Tower. The view was beautiful. Following that journey we made our way to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! And Believe it or Not! it was very interesting.

This evening has included a visit to the indoor pool and a very casual planting of myself on the living room sofa. I just heard the statement slip from my lips.....“for my own good, someone tell me that 7:00 PM is not too early to go to sleep”!


March 15, 2010

Spring Break: Day Three

The first day of vacation that occurs on a weekday is the best, don’t you think? We slept in and relished in the fact that our normal routine would be to rise early to get to school, meetings, et al. After leisurely getting ready we had a great time doing a few physical things.

We went on the tour of Talking Rocks Cavern, a hike, mining for gemstones, to an observation deck to take a look at the valley below and finally to ride go carts. It was a little cool out – still in the high 40’s – but it wasn’t rainy today like it has been since our arrival.

We are making plans for tomorrow…even though we are trying to be very non-specific about them. I do believe another visit to the go cart track is going to enter into the equation at some point this week….where I can grow more as a result of ego deflating last place status!

Vroom Vroom!

March 14, 2010

Spring Break: Day Two

Today was another good day of vacation. We stayed up way too late last night just sitting in the living room with the fireplace going. This morning we visited a popular restaurant in the area and then spent a large portion of the day at the Wax Museum, House of Mirrors and a haunted castle ride. I was very excited to get to do a little shopping before we came back to the cabin. We spent some afternoon time back at the resort then went back out looking around at things in the town after night fall. We are looking forward to tomorrow….plans are flexible depending on the weather. It has been in the high 40’s with some drizzle.

March 13, 2010

Co-Occurring Disorders

This article should run in the April 2010 Recovery Today here is your sneak look ahead of time!

Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders

Oftentimes, those in the substance abuse field feel ill-prepared to deal with clients who suffer from mental health disorders. The same is frequently true with mental health professionals treating clients with substance use disorders. It is obvious to those of us in either area of the helping field that is it long overdue for us to come together. We can do this by becoming one voice who collectively speaks up for the clients in need.

One element that can contribute to our ability to advocate for the client is our own education. Understanding the areas where we might be of more service could be the most important step. There are many informative trainings and resources available to those wishing to gain knowledge of Co-Occurring disorders.

Through proper training, one can gain a more thorough understanding of specific mental disorders and how to distinguish them from the presentation of substance use disorders or medical conditions. Additional skills can be gained through a greater understanding of key issues and concerns that arise with particular diagnoses and strategies, tools and techniques that best serve the helping professional engage, assess, stabilize and treat the client.

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Association (SAMHSA) answered the many questions and needs in the field related to the linkage of mental health and substance abuse professionals by researching and thus, creating the TIP 42: Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders. Some of the main points addressed in this publication are:

· Fostering improvement in treatment by emphasizing the importance of knowledge of both mental health and substance abuse treatment when working with clients for whom both issues are relevant.
· Providing a classification of treatment settings to facilitate systematic planning, consultations, collaborations, and integration.
· Reducing the stigma associated with both disorders and increasing the acceptance of substance abuse and mental health concerns as a standard part of healthcare information gathering.

Go to to order the above referenced TIP 42

Spring Break: Day One

We arrived in Branson at midnight last night. We got up early to explore the resort and the town. I really do like the cabin we are in. I was unsure of the location we picked before we got here, but I think it was a great choice. Being outside of Texas reminds me of how much I do enjoy being near mountians and wooded areas.

After breakfast we spent some time at the activity center, where I was schooled in Chinese Checkers by my son. Then we explored the town. We went to Tablerock Lake and to main street in downtown. Afterward, we bought a few groceries and came back to the cabin. Now we are napping, watching TV and just being lazy. I have some homework to do (no resentments that I need to do it while on vacation) then we might head back to the activity center for the evening social.

Before going to bed tonight I will read another chapter in my new book and complete the first activity.

Good to be away!

March 10, 2010

New Book

I purchased a new book today. I am only on page five and have already found some very profound words of wisdom....I could have written it myself!

"A picture is not just worth a thousand words, it's worth a Jungian personality inventory...I wish I'd known from the beginning that I was born a strong woman. What a difference it would have made! I wish I'd known that I was born a courageous woman; I've spent so much of my life cowering. How many conversations would I not only have started but finished if I had known I possessed a warrior's heart? I wish I'd known that I'd been born to take on the world; I wouldn't have run from it for so long, but run to it with open arms".

Something More: Excavating your Authentic Self by Sarah Ban Breathnach

March 02, 2010

Unfinished Business

When sorting through things at my mom's house I noticed a number of "unfinished projects". She had photo albums, pictures, and picture frames. I remember her starting many of those projects or talking about them over the years. She had many ideas on how to create a beautiful photo tour through our lives. She purchased the perfect photo album for all of our weekends and holidays at the coast. It had a beautiful coastal scene on the front and she had a box of photos to begin putting in. She never did fill the pages.

My first thought was, "I need to get busy putting my scrapbooks together" because I have similar boxes of photos that belong on unfilled pages to represent my life. However, after further examination, I began to realize the reason those pages were never filled. The main reason she never got to putting the contents into those albums is because she was so busy making the memories she wanted to put into those pages.

I believe she was one of the most well-traveled women I know. She was always busy and involved. She went on vacations, weekends and to events every time she turned around. I am grateful to the spirit of adventure she instilled in me. Today I am okay knowing those memories were more important than putting them into a book!

Living today.....