Adaptive Center Addiction Treatment Center in Miami Florida Wed, 30 Jan 2019 20:51:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Adaptive Center 32 32 Is Pete Davidson Suicidal or Heroic Wed, 19 Dec 2018 19:10:08 +0000 Miles to Go Before I Sleep

Peter Davidson is Bold. The 'SNL' star posted a note on Instagram, saying ... "i really don't want to be on this earth anymore. i'm doing my best to stay here for you but i actually don't know how much longer i can last." Pete Davidson lives with depression. His note prompted dramatic responses from celebrities that sent him messages telling him that they were jumping on planes to come to rescue him, and begged to let them see him so they could save his life. All of it being broadcast on social media. I don’t know if Pete Davidson was about to commit suicide. I do know that his message did not read like a suicide note. And, I do know that it was a courageous expression of the heaviness of living that depressed people have to endure. Most of us feel it, but few of us express it because it takes the courage of a hero to find the vulnerability to express it. We who live with depression wake up every day facing a hanging bridge that expands the time between waking up and falling asleep again. A bridge hanging over a bottomless chasm of dark desperation. One false step on that bridge threatens to make us fall into a bottomless pit of despair from which we may never come out. At any moment our brains can try to possess us and lead us to act in a way that will make us lose everything that we love. Lose our lives to the darkness and hopelessness of depression, or lose it to the impulsiveness and recklessness of mania. We have to go through our day constantly monitoring our thoughts and words. We live in fear that we may hurt the ones we love the most through our words and our actions. We live in constant dread of losing everything. For us, as it says in the Bible “The life of man upon earth is a warfare.” (Job 7). We have to fight. We have to fight the human instinct of seeking relief from pain because our attempts to do so are often self-destructive. We have to fight the comforting thought of dying when life is just too exhausting. Ours is a life of true courage, even when we seem weak to the outside world. We live the words of the poet Robert Frost every day that we are alive:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,    But I have promises to keep,    And miles to go before I sleep,    And miles to go before I sleep. - Robert Frost
We turn away from the lovely and dark woods and stay here, like Pete said, “for you”. For the ones we love, for the ones that look to us for guidance and companionship, and for the awesome, beautiful oasis of joy, beauty, and creativity that we are sure to find if we hang on through our dark nights.
Pete said, “for you”. For the ones we love.
So, if you really want to help Pete, or any of us, this is how to do it. Give us a moment to take a breath. Give us a chance to tell you how it is for us. Let us tell you how lovely and comforting the dark woods look in our moments of fatigue, and don't freak out. Don’t tell us to call a crisis hotline. Don’t make theatrical attempts of dramatic rescuing. Have the courage of listening to us without panicking. Have the fortitude to try to understand our pain, overcoming your fear that it will depress you too. Just give us a moment and listen. Just listen and let us know that you hear us. Keep us company as we recuperate from our exhaustion. We will get up again, and turn away from the dark woods for another day. So, hang on brother Pete. The night will lift. It always does. And when it returns remember that it will lift again. And, remember that you are not alone. There will be plenty of time to sleep in the woods later. Much love brother.


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Tom’s Story Mon, 03 Dec 2018 18:29:02 +0000 Tom from Panthers for Recovery

Tom relapsed and his whole life fell apart. This had not been a relapse on the way to sobriety. He had relapsed after having attained sobriety, having created a good support system, after having made friends, and created a family. After having gone back to school, and being on the verge of getting his College degree. As he remembered it telling me his story in the conference room of Adaptive Center, he was devastated. He thought that all was lost, and there was no way back. Tom had begun to use drugs as a very young man. He had been shy and anxious, and drugs helped him socialize and be outgoing. They also demanded a high price. The price that Tom paid was becoming dependent on them for everything. He gave them his freedom. However, he had found his way back to freedom through recovery. He got treatment for addiction, became involved in the 12 Step programs, made friends, found his way to school again, and formed a family. He was riding high in the success of his sobriety. And then he forgot. He forgot what had gotten him there. [caption align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Panthers for Recovery - Adaptive TalesPanthers for Recovery - Adaptive Tales[/caption] He told me how recovery slowly crept down in his attention. How other things and concerns began to appear more important and more deserving of his time. He grew apart from recovery. The distance was filled with old habits of thinking. And, he relapsed. This time leaving behind a trail of a failed recovery program, a failed educational pursuit, and a family. How could one recover from that? How is it possible to return from that fall? The way he originally did it. He made one call, he went to one meeting, and kept going. [caption align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Panthers for Recovery - Adaptive TalesPanthers for Recovery - Adaptive Tales[/caption] Tom got sober again. He returned to school and finished his degree, and more. His experience had taught him that there was a lack of resources for college students that want sobriety. So he created an organization called Panthers for Recovery that serve students that attend FIU, and want to be sober in the college environment. He turned his adversity into effort, adapted to his environment, and made it better. This is truly a story of adaptation and courage. Thank you Tom.


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Happy Thanksgiving Wed, 21 Nov 2018 15:29:00 +0000 Happy Thanksgiving 2018 - From Adaptive Center

In this time of festivities, travel, family, and giving thanks, I want to talk to you: You who feels sad, have nowhere to go, and no family or friends to celebrate with. You, who feels alone and alienated. You who feels that you have destroyed your life with bad choices. You who is haunted by regret. You who has nothing to be thankful for. I'm thankful for you. Because without you the Universe would not be the same place, and would not work. Because your being and your role is necessary. Because tomorrow people will feel good because they will compare themselves with someone that has been bad. Will feel kind in comparison with someone selfish. Will give thanks for being sober, because they know many are not. Will feel grateful not to be lonely, because someone is. When they are giving thanks, they should give thanks to you. The appreciation of their lives is possible only because they have something to compare it to. You are not a mistake. You are a necessary part of creation. You have meaning. Today you are the lonely one. Tomorrow many of the ones celebrating their good fortune will be. I have been you. And I'm sure that I will be again. That is the way of the Universe. So today, when you don't find any reason to be thankful, know that I will be thinking of you, and offering you my thanks for making the Universe complete. Happy Thanksgiving.


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Conrad’s Story Wed, 10 Oct 2018 19:29:22 +0000 Conrad - Adaptive Tales

We all thought that Conrad was a doctor. Conrad was sitting in the patio of the Share addiction treatment center with several of our clients. He sat with his legs crossed in a relaxed manner. Listening intently to one of the patients. He was dressed in a suit, white shirt, and loafers. Impeccable. Later, when I asked who the new doctor was, I discovered that Conrad was not a doctor; that he was the best dressed suffering patient that I have ever known. That was how our relationship of twenty-five years began. During those twenty-five years, Conrad has called me his teacher of psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. I call him my teacher of recovery, AA, and how to really live the principles that they propose. We have taught each other how two deeply flawed people can build a constructive and successful life in spite of their flaws. Accepting, embracing, and capitalizing on our flaws. When I met Conrad in that patio I was working as a “mental health tech,” an entry-level position for people getting into the mental health field. In my case, the field of psychotherapy. I was thirty-four years old. I had begun a new life at thirty-two. I had lost a previous varied-business career, a ten-year marriage, and all that I had owned in that life. According to the standards of our culture, I was a failure. I was close to the end of a Bachelor’s degree program in psychology. I had engaged in the irrational path of working my way to a doctoral degree in psychology. Too old to start a career, and too poor to pay for it. There is something to be said for narcissistic blindness to the limitations of age and means. One thing that I had not lost when my life had fallen apart, was the teachings that I had received from a man named John Heider. At the age of twenty-four, he had become my therapist. Years later he became my mentor and remained my mentor until his death. His teachings had saved my life. I have shared those teachings with those I worked with then, and now. I shared those teachings with Conrad. Sitting in that patio, Conrad was also beginning a new life. Unlike me, he had not lost his old one. He had managed to keep the love and support of his family, his wife, and his young daughter, but life had become hard and ineffective, even with all that love. Listening to him I recognized many of the symptoms that I had endured. [caption id="attachment_4370" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]Conrad and Juan - Adaptive Tales Conrad and Juan - Adaptive Tales[/caption] Conrad and I are both first generation Cuban-Americans. We discovered that we had lived in the same neighborhood. We shared the experience of moving away from our homes in Cuba at a young age. We shared the experience of starting life in a foreign culture. And, we had suffered the same cultural pressure that came with being a young Cuban in Miami. The relentless obsession with obtaining financial wealth. The demand to be a family man, provider, and big shot by the time that you are twenty. The pressure to be “macho” and tough, and to hide anything that is weak, sensitive, or vulnerable. To be both responsible and a party animal. To indulge in drugs but display a sober and respectful character. To be a good husband and father and a womanizer. All at the same time. We had both been burnt out by the Cuban-American wet dream. We had failed. We were not a Cuban American success. Or any other kind of success either. So here we were. Starting from scratch. Facing life, at mid-life, not being able to rely on anything that we had been taught before. Everything that we had learned about who we were had backfired on us. Moving forward we were going to have to create a new path; create it by walking it. Luckily, I had been given some rudimentary roadmaps by my mentor. Maps of psychology, philosophy, and ancient spiritual practices. Conrad was about to get some maps from the 12 Step fellowships. Armed with those guides we walked on and forged a twenty-five-year path. We learned much. Suffered much. Loved and lost much. We learned what is real and what is a con, even in therapy and recovery. We learned to accept that we are broken and that being broken is both a curse and a gift. We learned that we are not normal. That we are selfish and narcissistic. That we don’t know how to love right, but we do our best anyways, and the people that we love tell us that we do a good job, sometimes. We learned that the journey is hard for us, and it’s worth enduring it most days to get to the moments of joy. We also learned that we can be of help. For some reason, the teachings that I shared with Conrad resonated with him. He found profit in them, and made them his, and shared them. As I continued my journey in the world of addiction treatment as a therapist, Conrad became a sponsor to many. He selflessly dedicated himself to helping other addicts. He became a living example of giving back what had been given to him. And, he did it in the most extraordinary way that I have ever witnessed.
"Conrad became a sponsor to many. He selflessly dedicated himself to helping other addicts."
Then, six years ago our paths converged in a treatment center that I founded called Adaptive Center. This little center gave us a space in which we can share twenty-five years of accumulated knowledge and experience. I wanted to create a center free of any kind of coercion, but that offered the best of what I had learned all my life. A center that included the wisdom of the best of psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. A center that would not dictate a path, but that would expose people to the best paths, so they could choose for themselves. This is not an easy task. Because to offer the best, you have to find the best to show it. Luckily for me, when it came to presenting the path of recovery, I know Conrad. Before the center opened its doors I contacted Conrad. I told him that I wanted to offer an in-house AA meeting to present AA to those clients that may find that path useful. He said yes immediately. And, he has said yes, every week, for six years. In six years, Conrad missed one meeting, yes, 1 meeting. I don’t have the words to acknowledge that kind of commitment. Just like I don’t have the words to completely describe Conrad. One thing that I can add is that he continues to be the most stylish guy in the room.


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Google Disrupts “Evil” Addiction Treatment Thu, 23 Aug 2018 18:01:22 +0000 Google Disrupts “Evil” Addiction Treatment

"Don’t be evil." Googlers generally apply those words to how we serve our users. But "Don’t be evil" is much more than that. Yes, it’s about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can." Many treatment centers in the addiction treatment field are owned by companies that make millions defrauding addicts, their families, and insurance companies. To do so, they have to get as many people as possible. Therefore the majority of their investment is dedicated to getting people through their doors. Their driving principle is getting "heads in beds." To attract the largest number of people, they invest in luxurious places, amenities, and invest millions of dollars buying pay per click keywords and advertising. By the sheer force of money, they dominate web searches and prevent people from even knowing about small treatment centers that do not have budgets of millions of dollars to buy ads. As a result, people looking for addiction treatment are denied a true choice and are led to affluent treatment centers. Google eventually became aware that big addiction treatment companies had hijacked the searches that addicts and their families were conducting when trying to find addiction treatment. They also became aware that eliminating choice of treatment for millions of addicts, and allowing them to be channeled to big treatment centers that were ineffective in treating them could result in death, as evidenced by the number of addicts that have died from opiate addiction. This is indeed evil. So, following their motto "don’t be evil" Google responded to the hijacking of their web searches by implementing a ban on all advertising by addiction treatment centers. This was an extreme move, considering that Google’s revenue comes from advertising. But the corruption of treatment centers that dominated web searches for addiction treatment grew so harmful and abusive that Google had to move to stop it, or else be complicit in the corruption and harm that these treatment centers are engaging in. For a company that was founded on the principle of "don’t be evil" to facilitate corruption and death would be the ultimate expression of hypocrisy. To their credit, they chose to stand by their motto. After having implemented a total ban, on all advertising by addiction treatment centers, Google began to move towards a system to regain revenue from advertising, but limit the abuses committed by corrupt treatment centers. Google charged a company called LegitScript with screening treatment centers in order to try to separate the real and the good from the mediocre and corrupt centers, regardless of their spending power.
"We are thrilled that Google lived up to their principles" "Thrilled that, even with our modest budget, we can now reach more suffering addicts and their families, and let them know that in the middle of the most maligned and scrutinized area of addiction treatment centers, we have been evaluated and accredited by the most demanding agencies and companies in the world."
LegitScript became the gatekeeper for addiction treatment advertising on Google. Addiction treatment centers that want to advertise on Google have to go through a process of investigation and certification to prove their worth. This new screening process resulted in a number of treatment centers shutting down within months. On the other hand, a small treatment center that had always invested in excellence in treatment first, saw their struggle rewarded. "We are thrilled that Google lived up to their principles" said Juan Lesende, the CEO of Adaptive Center, a small addiction treatment center in Miami; "Thrilled that, even with our modest budget, we can now reach more suffering addicts and their families, and let them know that in the middle of the most maligned and scrutinized area of addiction treatment centers, we have been evaluated and accredited by the most demanding agencies and companies in the world." "We are very proud that we were accredited by LegitScript, as soon as they looked at the way we do treatment." "The ban and consequent investigation has given us even more validation as an excellent treatment center." "Now more people will know it." It’s difficult to know if the evil players in the addiction field will find a way to hijack the system again. The addiction field continues to be taken over by big companies that create luxurious accommodations, invest millions to get people through their doors. But for now, Google has opened up the web to small and private operators that can offer personal, local, addiction treatment to people that never had the choice of finding them. For now, Google enforced not being evil.


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Does Anyone Want To Do Therapy Anymore? Pampering Is Not Therapy. Thu, 12 Jul 2018 20:20:46 +0000 Does anyone want to do therapy anymore_ Pampering Is Not Therapy

The whole point of physical rehab, mental rehab, alcohol rehab, or drug rehab, is to return people to wellness. To do that, the person treated needs to be challenged. Yet, thousands of addiction treatment centers and therapists pamper their clients instead of challenging them. That’s because the field of alcohol treatment, drug addiction treatment, and mental health treatment, have been taken over by a “marketing” and “customer service” mentality. The approach of giving the client what they wish is effective in every service industry, except therapy. Giving clients what they wish instead of what they need helps clients stay sick. Because in the process of therapy, clients often crave the things that cause their problems and kill them. Of course, clients receiving therapy would prefer that a physical therapist would not make them do things that cause pain. A person trying to get fit would love for their personal trainer to show them a way to get muscle mass without putting them through painful exercise routines. And, it’s very understandable that clients in psychotherapy want their therapist to offer some magical cure, program, or advice, that will help them grow out of their suffering; without having to face the pain of changing.
Selling the promise of a quick and painless fix has always been good business.
I understand how the promise of easy therapy is appealing. And, I also understand how it’s very profitable. Selling the promise of a quick and painless fix has always been good business. Selling easy cures, magical potions, and easy enlightenment has always been big business. But we know that all quick fixes end in failure. The number of failures in the addiction treatment and psychotherapy fields proves the inefficiency of magical-solutions-therapy. Yet, in my experience, it’s the most frequent form of therapy being offered today. I find it increasingly hard to find fellow therapists that want to practice psychotherapy in its true form. An ever-growing number of them want to be gurus, preachers of old and new faiths, purveyors of magical cures, or expert advisors on how to live. I often ask myself “why?” Why would they go through the long process of a college education, professional training, and state licensing, in order to become psychotherapists, and then not practice psychotherapy? Not practice the very thing that they studied, and trained for? The only straightforward answer that I have come to is that true psychotherapy is very hard to practice. It’s easy, pleasant, and profitable, to give people what they wish. To agree with people, to accept flattery, to flatter them back, and give them advice. On the other hand, it is hard to reflect a painful reality to a person that’s suffering. And, in the majority of cases, the reality that brings a person to treatment is painful. It’s hard to show a person how they hurt themselves and others. It’s hard to find a way to help them accept pain in order to get better. It’s hard to keep them motivated to keep coming back for more discomfort to get better. And, it’s hard to reject being put on a pedestal. It’s hard to risk their withdrawal of admiration, and willingly reject the self-gratification that comes with that admiration. It’s difficult to put your livelihood in jeopardy by risking that clients will leave because you don’t indulge in their delusions. It’s difficult to reject the shared fantasy that you have the power to give them the answers and solutions to their problems. It’s business suicide to anger clients by refusing to give them what they wish, for the sake of giving them what they need. To be asked to jeopardize the success of your business for the sake of your clients is an inhuman demand. And yet, it’s precisely what is demanded from a true therapist very often. And then, there is the rigor of the therapy process itself. To engage in real depth psychotherapy is not pleasant. It doesn’t feel good to face the things that harm us. The parts of ourselves that need healing usually are the ones that we avoid. This is true for both clients and therapists. Doing deep therapy demands hard work and emotional fortitude from both. It takes education, experience, training, and hard personal work to become a true psychotherapist. Doing deep therapy involves accepting being disliked, judged, and disapproved of sometimes. Things that a human being naturally avoids. Being an effective therapist also demands the unnatural capacity to reject being turned into an object of adoration, desire, and authority. A therapist has to reject the status of expert, priest or guru, has to train to let go of things that a human being naturally seeks, all for the sake of the client. If they don’t have the maturity and fortitude to reject the status that others naturally seek, they won’t be effective therapists.
A therapist is someone that shows up to work and goes through little crucifixions for their clients.
Being a true therapist is hard. When I said to my mentor, John Heider that I wanted to become a therapist he asked if I knew what a therapist did. I answered that a therapist was someone that helped people. That cared for them. That counseled them and gave them solutions to their problems. “That’s not it,” he said. “A therapist is someone that shows up to work and goes through little crucifixions for their clients.” To reach the depths of a person’s problems and suffering, the therapist necessarily becomes the recipient of that person’s unconscious content. The therapist receives the anger, disgust, hatred, love, or adoration that the client holds in their unconscious. The therapist becomes the screen onto which the client projects the parts of themselves that they don’t want to face. The therapist becomes the father or mother that they long for, or hate. The idealized guru that will save them. The rejecting lover that humiliated them. The client projects the unwanted parts of themselves onto the therapist so they can get rid of them. And, what does the therapist do? The therapist holds these projections for them, and reflects them back to them, like a mirror. Without owning them. Without returning anger with anger, or disgust with disgust, or rejection with rejection. The therapist feels the natural desire to react. To scold. To protest. To also get rid of the unpleasant, hurtful, and threatening thing that they get from the client. But instead, the therapist holds them. These are the “crucifixions” that my mentor John Heider talked about. The therapist helps the clients to be liberated from their dysfunctional beliefs and emotions by keeping them and reflecting them back, from a safe distance. Clients will then be able to see their conflicts, safely, outside of themselves. Being shown to them by a benevolent person that wants the best for them. A person that does not judge them. A person that feels ” unconditional positive regard” for them. And, at some point, they will be emotionally strong enough to own that those dysfunctions belong to them. They will be able to accept them as their own. They will recognize the ways in which these dysfunctions manifested themselves in their lives. And then, the client and the therapist find a way to manage the client’s dysfunctions and conflicts successfully. This is a hard process. This is hard work. If a therapist is immature, fearful, or eager to please, they will fail to hold the client’s worst projected conflicts. They will respond to being seen as stupid, incompetent, or disgusting, by making the client feel stupid, incompetent, or disgusting. Or try to pacify them by pandering to them. The process of painfully owning the parts of us that we run from will never happen. Nothing will change. As true psychotherapists, we can’t accept and own the client’s projections. They don’t belong to us. We can’t indulge in their projections. We can’t indulge in feeling like gurus, and we can’t adopt into ourselves the belief that we have the ultimate truth, or are flawless, and that we are masters of knowledge that we are trying to obtain ourselves. The clients think we are, but that doesn’t make it so. And, if we accept the projections, and join the clients in indulging in them, then we are all delusional. We are all lost. Therapists who are dependent on approval and self-gratification, who lack emotional fortitude to withstand negative emotions, or who are primarily motivated by profit, will fall into accepting and joining in the client’s projections of them. In doing so, they validate the client’s dysfunctional views of self, others, and the world. They reinforce the client’s maladaptive coping skills, delusions, their irrationality, and their chemical dependency. Their acceptance of the fantasy position of wise problem solver reinforces the sense that the client lacks the competency to succeed in life independently. Reinforces the belief that clients need to use others to meet their needs. This, of course, is a great business model. A dependent client is a marketing dream. If you get them to need you, they will keep coming back. Like addicts keep coming back to the source of their drugs. But that is not our profession. We are not supposed to engender dependency. We are supposed to engender freedom. Successful therapists lose their clients. Not doing so is unethical. As it's also unethical to advertise and promise easy fixes, magical solutions, and pampering. That is not therapy. And, it is shameful to call it so.


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The Difference Between Treatment and Rehab Wed, 06 Jun 2018 20:02:02 +0000 The difference between Treatment and Rehab

Rehab is not Treatment

Drug Rehab and Alcohol Rehab is not the same as Drug Treatment and Alcohol Treatment.

The difference between Treatment and Rehab

Early in my career, I met a substance abuse counselor that told me how they would help people in his rehab center. He said that the staff would wear robes and hoods and show up in the middle of a therapy group, and startle the clients. I was very curious. I asked him “what therapeutic benefit are they going for?” He answered “I don’t know, it was something that we thought would help addiction,” and, he added, “it was cool.” This is not unusual in the world of “rehabs.” “Rehabs” were places created by addicts and alcoholics, to help other addicts and alcoholics, using whatever methods seemed likely to help them stop drinking and using drugs. This same philosophy is practiced today in the majority of “rehab centers.” Treatment involves the use of proven methods of therapy. A drug and alcohol and addiction treatment center is actually a drug and alcohol recovery Clinic. It’s not a free for all. The methods used have to have been validated to work. The concept of “I thought it could help” is not acceptable in a real treatment center. The treatment practitioner is bound to do what has been proven to work. Has to be guided by their education. Have to be limited by their professional training. They can’t go by what he or she “thinks” would work. The problem is that in the field of drug treatment and alcohol treatment, the terms have blurred. Many “rehab” centers refer to themselves as “drug and alcohol abuse centers,” and “drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers.” Or, any other term that will help them get licensed as providers of treatment. Once they are licensed, they can bill insurance companies for providing treatment. But, they continue to operate as a “rehab,” e.g., using any method and intervention that they think would work, or are “cool.” So, how do you know the difference? Here’s how: Ask them what their philosophy is:
  • Are they 12 Step based?
  • 12 Step Alternative?
Ask them to elaborate on it.
  • Do they believe in the disease model of alcoholism and addiction?
  • What is their therapy orientation?
  • Behavioral?
  • Cognitive Behavioral?
  • Narrative?
  • Do they practice Medication Assisted Treatment?
  • What specific medicines for alcohol addiction, what specific medicines for drug addiction?
  • For what disorders?
  • Ask them to describe their program and ask WHY they do what they do? What is the objective?
If you get answers like “Eclectic,” “Recovery,” “Drug and alcohol addiction help,” “Addiction rehabilitation,” “Drug and alcohol help,” “Spiritual,” or “Mindfulness” based, you are dealing with a “rehab.” These terms don’t mean anything. A true Addiction Treatment Center and a true Alcohol Treatment Center will answer your questions clearly. They will give you specific answers using specific terms. They will name therapies and interventions using their scientific and medical terms. They will be able to help you recognize that they have a system of therapies designed with clear objectives. They will make it easy for you to see how everything works together. How everything they do contributes to the desired outcome. If they can’t explain what they do, and the reasons that they do it, and how those reasons have been proven to work, they are not a real treatment center. They are a “rehab,” and “rehabs” have been proven to fail. Now you know the difference between “Rehab” and “Treatment.”
A true Addiction Treatment Center and a true Alcohol Treatment Center will answer your questions clearly.


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Bias and Starbucks Wed, 30 May 2018 01:21:46 +0000 Starbucks Closed for Training Implicit-association

Starbucks closed yesterday to train their employees to be aware that they are biased. That they have implicit bias. Implicit bias is having an unconscious preference. A preference for a particular race, gender, or sexual orientation. It means that we unconsciously prefer some people over other people. The theory is that this bias, or prejudice, can lead to racism. Starbucks wants to train its people to not respond to their implicit bias. Will they? Good question, hard answer.

Implicit bias

Implicit bias is unconscious. It works outside of our awareness (therefore the term unconscious, or not-conscious). We feel its effects. It moves us to make decisions. But we don’t know that we are being moved by it. We all are triggered by unconscious biases. That’s right. Whites and Blacks are biased. (Was I just influenced by my unconscious bias when choosing to list white first?) Hispanics and Asians are biased. And Gays, Republicans, and Liberals are biased too. Everyone is biased to some degree. Why? Because we are human. I can hear the words sounding off in your head: “not me,” “no way,” “I am a member of a minority, I can’t be biased,” “I am a liberal.” Ok. Calm down. Do you really want to know if you are biased? Are you open and brave enough to find out? If you are, take the following test developed in Harvard University.

Implicit-association test

Take the Free Implicit-Association Test The test is online. It’s free. And it’s very, very accurate. And, there is no way to cheat it. Why? Because it is designed to test your unconscious responses, not ask you for a self-report. Because when we give self-reports, we share what we aspire to be, what we see ourselves as being. In other words, we lie. Not in a bad way. We lie to ourselves to make ourselves feel better, and be motivated to be our best selves. However, in the process of doing that, we develop blind spots. Blind spots like how prejudiced we can be.
As long as we deny that we can be prejudiced, it’s easy to act on it, rationalize it, and deflect it by seeing it in everyone else.
Then, we go through the world seeing how biased/prejudiced everyone else is. But we don’t see our capacity to be prejudiced. And, that’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because we can’t work on something that we don’t know about ourselves. And admit about ourselves. As long as we deny that we can be prejudiced, it’s easy to act on it, rationalize it, and deflect it by seeing it in everyone else. Here is the link to the test. Take it. And, if you are bothered by the result, remember that you are human. Remember that knowledge is power. And knowledge can free you. If you feel moved let me know how the experience was.


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Alternative to AA Doesn’t Mean Anti-AA Thu, 17 May 2018 00:40:17 +0000 Alternative to AA doesn’t mean Anti-AA

The book of alcoholics anonymous says that there are alcoholics that can’t be helped by AA. (Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Chapter 5). That means that there are alcoholics that need an alternative to AA. Yet, some people are against providing alternatives to help addicts and alcoholics. They say that offering an alternative to AA is the same as being Anti-AA. It isn’t. Saving the lives of alcoholics that can’t, or won’t grasp the program of AA is compassion. It’s humane, and it’s ethical. It’s what we do.
Saving the lives of alcoholics that can’t, or won’t grasp the program of AA is compassion. It’s humane, and it’s ethical. It’s what we do.

Recently I had a meeting with a colleague in recovery that asked me if I was anti-AA.

I have been hearing this gossip ever since Adaptive Center opened in 2012. It’s ridiculous. My friends, colleagues and staff members in recovery, who have known me for the last 27 years, found it laughable, shocking, and stupid. You see, 27 years ago I learned about AA from men and women that had been transformed by the program of AA. Who at that time had 20, 30, and 40 years of recovery. Giants of recovery that lived according to the principles of the program. Here’s what they taught me:

1. AA is a program of attraction.

This means that there are no AA Evangelists or recruiters. According to tradition the only possible message to a person that may profit from AA is this: I was like you. I suffered like you are suffering. By working the first 11 steps of AA I experienced a spiritual awakening, and now I’m free. You can also be free. And, that’s it. No judgment. No pressure. No diagnosing “you are an alcoholic.”

2. There are alcoholics that don’t or can’t grasp the principles and practices of AA.

AA can’t help them. This takes humility to accept.

3. We are not ok with accepting that some alcoholics would die because they wouldn’t, or couldn’t apprehend the program of AA.

My AA teachers understood that for some, other methods are necessary. So they searched for answers like psychotherapy, addiction counseling, and medication. Their searching created a field. The field of addiction treatment. A field dedicated to finding ways to save every addict. With whatever means necessary. Is that Anti-AA? I created Adaptive Center to help people reach their potential. We are dedicated to saving the lives of all addicts. Including those that can’t or won’t be helped by AA. To this end, I dedicate all my education, training and experience. I will use any means within my power to help suffering addicts. Including exposing them to the 12 step programs. Respecting their decision to adopt them, or not. Without coercion. Again, is this Anti-AA? No. It isn’t. But I know what is: 1. Pushing your own kind of recovery down people’s throats. Like a zealot in a cult. 2. Insisting that “your way” is the only way. Preaching “the newcomer is the most important person.” While judging, rejecting, and ridiculing suffering addicts. The ones that are incapable of grasping AA. The ones that need the most compassion and help. Being ok with them dying without help if they don’t agree with you. 3. Taking everyone's inventory. Gossiping and forming ignorant opinions. Criticizing people that are dedicated to saving the lives of all addicts. Even the ones that you disapprove of. Poisoning potential sources of help for those that need a different way. Help that can lead to come back to the program. With a renewed mind and spirit. And be able to grasp the principles then. As the majority of people who go through treatment do. That is what being Anti-AA really looks like. That’s not us.


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How to Raise Your Self-Esteem: 4 Scientific-Proven Steps Tue, 08 May 2018 13:32:11 +0000 How to Raise Your Self-Esteem: 4 Scientific-Proven Steps

self-esteem | ˈˌself əˈstēm |
confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect: assertiveness

People seek a therapist’s aid to improve self-esteem. To treat the effects of low self-esteem. Many find treatment methods that are not effective like “positive affirmations”. Research shows that positive affirmations only raise self-esteem in people that already have self-esteem. (see previous article Self-Esteem and Social Media). In other words, the people that don’t need them to begin with.

People who want to raise their self-esteem need an effective method. A path to develop the “confidence in one’s own worth…” that the definition of self-esteem points to. The great psychologist Albert Bandura found the source of this confidence. It comes from “one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task.” (Albert Bandura). So, to have true self-esteem we need to believe that we can succeed. How do we create this belief?

Bandura found four proven sources of the belief that we can succeed.

1. Mastery Experiences.

When we overcome obstacles we feel capable. We feel that we can do it again. We create the belief that we have the skills to overcome adversity and challenges. When we see ourselves as effective problem solvers, we feel confident. Confidence leads to more success. Success leads to self-respect. Self-Respect leads to Self-Esteem.

2. Vicarious Experiences.

Observing someone like ourselves succeeding inspires us to act like them. Practicing how they do it, leads to mastery. Learning from Masters as apprentices is a tradition well known throughout history. So is the tradition of having a Mentor who shows us how to excel. The feeling of being capable of excellence leads to confidence and respect.

3. Verbal Persuasion.

Influential people in our lives can persuade us to succeed. They can help us believe that we have the capacity to confront challenges. They can strengthen our confidence to persevere and overcome obstacles. Their belief in our ability can lead us to actions that result in success. Success leads to confidence and further success. Seeing ourselves as successful leads to esteem for ourselves.

4. Emotional and Physiological States

Our physical and emotional states influence how we judge our strength and value. Depression can make us feel that we are less capable to face life. Anxiety makes us feel afraid and weak. Whereas positive emotions can boost confidence in ourselves. Learning to be aware of our emotions make us resilient to them, and capable of managing their effects. Gaining knowledge of how our emotions work, and how we can influence them, make us feel a sense of confidence. Confidence in our ability to overcome emotional afflictions. The knowledge that we are not completely at the mercy of our emotions is empowering. And, people who have power inspire respect. To others and to themselves.

In conclusion, we develop self-esteem through believing in our own capacity to succeed. And we come to believe in our capacity to succeed by experiencing success. By having a mentor or model and following their example. By receiving encouragement from people that we value and respect. And, developing the skills to recognize and manage our emotions. This is a true path to true Self-Esteem.

Related post about self-esteem.

Article: Self-Esteem and Social Media
Article: 6 Daily Habits to Improve Your Self Esteem


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