“I Really Don’t Think of You as a Fat Person”: How the Big Picture of the Whole Person Changes the View

I responded yesterday to a LinkedIn discussion started by William Anderson, MA, LMHC, psychotherapist and director at The Anderson Method Therapist Network, and the author of the book, “The Anderson Method:  The Secret to Permanent Weight Loss” which describes his weight loss therapy program.  The discussion topic was, “Do you think there is bias against obese people in the counseling professions?  This is the information I shared on the topic, slightly modified:  

I’m just thinking…and haven’t totally processed this.  I’m thinking that one reason obese folks receive such negative scrutiny along with negative character judgments is that their addiction is very obvious…thus, the judgments come…perhaps similar to the judgments people make of others with obvious addictions…if they recognize the signs of such severe addictions.  In my life, I have been slender and I have been morbidly obese and I’m very aware of the discrimination based on weight, both interpersonally and professionally…and, I was always hard on myself. 

It ALWAYS amazed me when close friends would say, “I really don’t think of you as a fat person.”  At that time, I was huge…and I would say, “C’mon man, I’m wide both ways!” as I gestured left to right and front to back.  Their follow-up responses led me to believe that this was because they knew me as a person, the whole person including my positive personal characteristics and they did not superficially judge me to be a “fat person” as they would others they didn’t know…the nasty generalizations of the stereotypes of a very heavy person.  They perceived me and responded to me based on my character and personality, not the way I looked.

Once I had lost a lot of weight, my obese sister once said…”Isn’t it nice that you are no longer invisible.”  She was referring to the positive acknowledgement that better looking people receive…people show you positive regard and treat you differently.  I then told her how a young man working at a grocery store stopped me in the parking lot as I was pushing my cart to the car and he actually asked me if I would like some help with my groceries.  That was a first.  Had I been heavy and for me, less attractive, would he have offered?  I think not.  Me, I make a point of being nice and acknowledging people who I perceive are not commonly acknowledged or the recipients of random acts of kindness and respect.  Was just thinking….

Link to the LinkedIn discussion

Link to William Anderson’s book on Amazon

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Why We Relapse: Desperate for Peace in a World of Emotional Turmoil

I responded today to a LinkedIn discussion started by Elisabeth Davies, MC of Bright Alternatives, Inc.  and the author of “Good Things, Emotional Healing Journal: Addiction.”  The discussion topic was, “Is relapsing with unhealthy substances an attempt to get more peace of mind? Being so passionate about this recovery topic, here’s my long-winded response!

“For many, yes. Many use substances as a coping behavior to help bring their emotional level to a more tolerable or comfortable level. Also, returning to such a behavior reduces the extreme tension of wanting to do it and not allowing ourselves to…thus, the experience of immediate relief or peace in-the-moment. To help us to feel better about relapsing, we’ve probably come up with all types of reasons (emotion-driven lies) as to why it is okay to do and would help us…and how we can also quit again when life settles down, etc…unless of course, it is a major emotional reflex to an immediate stressor and we do it VERY impulsively…without giving it much thought.

Relapsing on substances is little different than wolfing down a big bag of cookies or scoops n’ scoops of ice cream, or starting to smoke again, a “forbidden” sexual encounter….whatever. I think these types of behaviors have to do with attempts to bring an “out-of-control” emotional mind into control…so that we feel better and more comfortable in the emotional moment. It is all about being desperate for relief and doing what brings us relief, often immediate relief. It’s a desperate way to experience a sense of emotional, psychological, and physical peace IN-THE-MOMENT…although we’ll have hell to pay when we come to (when the emotional moment passes and rational mind picks up strength).

When we come to and realize what just happened and are faced with the consequences of our behavior…and the unresolved problem…we feel bad again…and then we may continue destructive coping….chasing “peace in the moment”…When we use destructive coping behaviors to deal with our pain and problems, we enter the Cycle of Suffering. Our problems multiply and intensity and we go through a period of increased pain and suffering as a result.

I believe most people use destructive coping behaviors to some degree (e.g., overworking, oversleeping, physical aggression, yelling, throwing fits, being rude and ugly, ‘always speaking our mind”, lying, gambling, obsessive exercise, cheating, sleeping around, codependency, procrastination, smoking, prescription meds, alcohol, overeating or eating the desired “poison foods” for us, being hyperreligious, narcissistic….and the list goes on and on.) I actually tell my patients that it’s “normal” to be “abnormal” and entirely abnormal to be so perfectly normal and in control of ourselves. We all do some destructive coping behaviors and the healthier or more in recovery we are…the less we do these things…and the more we work VERY hard to stay in control of our emotions, behaviors, and our addictions of choice….and the more we choose life-enhancing coping behaviors instead.

I’m obviously very passionate about this…it’s one of those, “been there, done that, still doing that…having to fight for recovery at times to stay in control…and not to get too far out of control” type of things for me. I believe that when we are in recovery…we remain “works in progress.” Sometimes it’s a daily battle and sometimes, an occasional battle. We’re emotional critters and creatures of habit…and when we hurt or are feeling desperate and “out-of-control”…we tend to fall back into old patterns of relief-seeking behaviors…or to certainly think about doing them!

We’re emotional critters and creatures of habit…and when we hurt or are feeling desperate and “out-of-control”…we tend to fall back into old patterns of relief-seeking behavior…or to certainly think about doing them!”

And you know the more we think about doing them…the more likely we are to finally do them. That’s because the tension is building…we want…and we won’t allow ourselves to have…and we want…we tell ourselves “NO”…and we want…and we’re tired of the pain, problems, tension, and frustration…and we become desperate for relief and peace…that we finally do what we keep trying not to do…and we relapse. Have you “been there, done that?” Have you been through this struggle? It’s a battle of the minds, Emotional Mind vs. Rational Mind and Wise Mind. It’s a battle of wills…willingness vs. willfulness. Which recovery skills do you use to get through the “fixing to relapse” moment? Do you still have these moments?

I believe that one of our major recovery tasks is to learn ways to keep our Emotional Mind in control and to tame our Emotional Mind when it is getting out-of-control. That’s my biggest recovery task…and it’s always a battle of the mind states and a battle of will. Sometimes, I grow tired of the battle and dealing with my emotional, willful self. At those tired, weak moments, I remind myself….”Mel, what do you want…peace and stability or chaos and pain?” Isn’t it horrible that you have to parent yourself even when you’re a grown-up!?

Link to the LinkedIn discussion

Link to Elisabeth’s book:  “Good Things, Emotional Healing Journal: Addiction on Amazon

Link to Elisabeth’s blog

The DBT-CBT Workshop at the 2011 Texas State Conference on Addiction Studies

The Thirty-Seventh Annual TAAP State Conference on Addiction Studies
The Age of Recovery:  Let the Sunshine In!
July 28-30, 2011


Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade
9821 Colonnade Boulevard
San Antonio, Texas 78230

DBT-CBT for Co-Occurring Disorders and Destructive Coping Behaviors: A Workbook-Based Group Therapy Program Combining DBT, CBT, and AA Recovery Principles

This 3 CEU workshop will be presented by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D. from 1:30 – 5:00 pm on July 28th, 2011.

This workshop will provide an introduction to the workbook based DBT-CBT recovery program, a modified DBT program for individuals with affective disorders and destructive coping behaviors, such as substance abuse, self-injury, suicidal threats, verbal/physical aggression, eating disorders, overshopping, etc. Some key recovery concepts, skills, techniques, and understandings will be discussed and illustrated via the completion and review of several program worksheets.

Training Objectives:

  • Participants will gain information about the structure of the DBT-CBT program, target populations, problems addressed, and utility in various treatment settings and by various providers including peer support specialists.    
  • Participants will understand the basic dynamics of Emotional Mind which drive emotional dyscontrol, relief-seeking destructive coping behaviors, and the Cycle of Suffering.
  • Participants will gain familiarity with the use of the Wise Mind Worksheet to work through destructive emotional states, thoughts, and impulses to facilitate constructive problem-solving and life-enhancing coping responses.
  • Participants will gain familiarity with the structure and use of a “Game Plan” (a client developed individualized recovery plan) including the use of Rational Mind and Wise Mind to challenge recovery sabotaging Emotional Mind “excuses” and Rational Mind “obstacles.”

The opening of the workshop will be conducted in didactic fashion to provide a basic overview of the DBT-CBT program; however, the program will concentrate on modeling the psychotherapeutic / psychoeducational process of the DBT-CBT inpatient recovery group held at Big Spring State Hospital (BSSH). Twelve volunteers will be solicited from the audience to function as “group members” for this portion of the program. A question and answer period will be offered during the latter portion of the presentation.

Dr. Sheets is the Chief Psychologist at Big Spring State Hospital, the Co-Director of the Lone Star Psychology Residency Consortium internship program, a Clinical Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, and the author of the DBT-CBT “Out-of-Control” recovery workbook. She began her career as a mental health technician at Richardson Medical Center in 1985 helping individuals with agoraphobia, substance abuse, depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1992 from Texas A&M University where her training emphasized psychoanalytic and Jungian psychotherapy methods. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Dallas VA Medical Center in the PTSD Clinic, the Substance Abuse Unit, and Inpatient Psychiatry units. She has conducted the DBT-CBT Group since 2004 for forensic, VA, and general psychiatric inpatients.

The full title of the therapy workbook is “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook For Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior (targeting drug / alcohol abuse, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, anger, cutting, and codependency recovery)” – published by Recovery Works Publications (2009).

Dr. Sheets will be presenting on the DBT-CBT Workbook program at the Houston Chapter of TAAP Spectrum 2011 Conference in September 2011 and at the North Texas State Hospital Forensic Conference in October 2011.  Details will follow.  

TAAP is a state affiliate of NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals

Join TAAP through the national association
NAADAC – The Association for Addiction Professionals

NAADAC

By joining NAADAC, you will automatically become a member of TAAP if you reside in Texas.

As a member of NAADAC, you will receive numerous benefits designed to help you grow and prosper as an addiction professional.

NAADAC has memberships available for professionals, students, and even organizations!

For more information about TAAP, visit their website at:
http://www.taap.org

The TAAP 2011 State Conference
July 28-30, 2011
Omni San Antonio Hotel At the Colonnade

Click here for Details

For a draft conference schedule http://www.taap.org/associations/3397/files/matrix%20for%20web.pdf

The information below is excerpted from the TAAP website.

TAAP is the Texas State Affiliate to NAADAC.  NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals, is the largest national organization for addiction-focused health care professionals with 11,000 members.  NAADAC is dedicated to the professional growth and development of addiction specialists.

Our Mission

TAAP seeks to promote the advancement of Addiction Professionals by uniting alcoholism and other addiction counseling professionals throughout Texas.

TAAP organizes and charters local chapters in Texas, and assists in stabilizing and increasing their membership.

By means of legislative initiatives, promotional campaigns and professional networking opportunities, TAAP will promote awareness of the disease of chemical dependency and other addictions and compulsive behaviors.

TAAP will advocate for standards for licensure and certification of qualified counselors to ensure the competency basis of those who counsel alcoholics and other addicts and their families and assure a high order of professional standards and ethics among those in the addictions counseling profession.

Organization Profile

TAAP is a confederation of individual counselors, prevention specialists, and other persons who have a direct interest in the field of addiction.  While the bulk of our membership is comprised of those professionals dedicated to the recovery of alcoholics and drug abusers and their families from the devastating illness of alcoholism and drug abuse, many of our members serve a clientele that suffer from other addictions as well.

United, we have a voice in important and critical matters relating to our association and profession, as well as those we serve.  This unity enhances our capability as individuals and gives us strength in professional matters.  Through a united effort, we are more likely to be recognized in legislative arenas.  Together we can work in partnership with state and federal agencies that regulate our industry, and we can promote public policy that will help us meet our goals.

For more information about NAADAC, visit their website at:
http://www.naadac.org

The organization evolved and became known as the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) in 1982, uniting professionals who worked for positive outcomes in alcohol and drug services. It’s new name is NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. The name change reflects the increasing variety of addiction services professionals: counselors, administrators, social workers and others, who are active in counseling, prevention, intervention, treatment, education and research.

Houston Chapter of TAAP Spectrum 2011 Conference – Sept 2011 (click here to visit the Houston Chapter website)


 


NAMI | Midland, Texas 2010 Mental Health Workshop – DBT – CBT for Co-Occurring Disorders

NAMI Midland, Permian Basin Community Centers, Midland College, and the Odessa College Psychology/Sociology Department proudly sponsors, “Tots, Teens, and Troops:  Mental Health in 2010” on September, 23rd, 2010.  This workshop will be held at the Midland College Advanced Technology Center located at 3200 West Cuthbert in Midland, Texas.  8 CEU’s will be offered to conference attendees. 

The workshop opens at 9 A.M. with a keynote speech by Dr. Virginia “Ginger” Hilley addressing professional well-being.   Dr. Hilley is a psychologist at Big Spring State Hospital. 

Breakout Session Topics:

  • Infant Mental Health
  • Adolescent Mental Health
  • Veteran’s Mental Health
  • DBT-CBT for Co-Occurring Disorders

Dr. Melanie Gordon Sheets will be presenting the co-occurring disorders training on treatment of individuals with mental illness and substance abuse problems.  Dr. Sheets is the Chief Psychologist at Big Spring State Hospital and has been a clinical psychologist in Texas since 1992.  She has published a workbook based on the DBT group therapy program at the hospital.  This group provides treatment for individuals with major mental illness (Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder) and addiction type problems such as bulimia, drug and alcohol abuse, and cutting. 

Dr. Sheets will present 3 break-out sessions.

Part I: When Emotional Mind Drives, We Wreck-Out…and Our Lives Become a Total Wreck

Addresses the dynamics of Emotional Mind and its role in driving destructive emotion-driven coping behaviors (e.g., substance abuse).  Related concepts and worksheets will be discussed: emotion-driven thoughts, emotion-driven lies, the cycle of suffering, and the big picture of my life.

Training Objectives:

  • Participants will understand how Emotional Mind dynamics drive destructive behaviors.
  • Participants will recognize the similarities among various types of destructive/addictive behaviors.
  • Participants will gain familiarity with the use and application of “The Cycle of Suffering Worksheet” and “The Big Picture of My Life Worksheet.”

The Dynamics of Emotional Mind - hand-out  092010b

Part II: Using Rational Mind and Wise Mind to Get Control of an Out-of-Control Emotional Mind

Addresses the role of Rational Mind and Wise Mind in recovery and the choice to utilize life-enhancing coping behaviors to deal with upsetting Emotional Mind states despite impulses to respond in destructive ways. Related concepts and worksheets will be discussed: thinking through before we do, challenging emotion-driven thoughts, looking at the big picture of the situation and our life, and the Wise Mind Worksheet.

Training Objectives:

  • Participants will understand the role of Rational Mind and Wise Mind in recovery.
  • Participants will gain familiarity with the use of Rational Mind and Wise Mind to work through destructive thoughts and impulses and to facilitate constructive problem-solving and life-enhancing coping responses.
  • Participates will gain familiarity with the use and application of “The Wise Mind Worksheet.”

Part III: The Game Plan – An Individualized Recovery Plan Incorporating Rational Mind and Wise Mind to Counter Recovery Sabotaging Excuses and Obstacles

Discusses the development and use of a Game Plan for recovery.  Special plan features include the identification of Emotional Mind “Excuses” and Rational Mind “Obstacles” (true obstacles) that can sabotage follow through with recovery steps and the use of Rational Mind and Wise Mind to challenge excuses and to problem solve to get around the obstacles in our recovery path. A sample plan for “Have Bipolar, Must Quit Drugs and Alcohol” will be reviewed.

Training Objectives:

  • Participants will understand how the Game Plan differs from conventional treatment plans.
  • Participants will understand the format and use of a Game Plan and its application for a wide range of recovery goals.

Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D. is the author of

Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior” (2009)  Recovery Works Publications.

Please contact Jill Stephens at 432-570-3333 or Judy Craig at 432-683-3648 for more information about the conference.

The cost is $15 without CEU’s and $30 with 8.0 CEU’s.

NAMI Midland is located at 1204 Lawson, Midland, TX  79701.

The Two Versions of the DBT-CBT “Out-of-Control” Workbook by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D.

Folks are asking about the two versions of the workbook, the 2009 and the 2010 version.  They are nearly identical, so there is no need to purchase one of each.

One major difference is the title change.  The new title clarifies the struggles FOCUSED ON in the workbook.  Most certainly, the bulk of the material in the workbook focuses on the issues and struggles common to depression, anger, codependency, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder as the new title reflects.

The cover of the workbook lists a variety of common destructive coping behaviors, “emotion-driven coping behaviors.”  Some are frequently addressed in the workbook (revenge, suicide threats/attempts, aggression, saying hurtful things, overeating, and sleeping around) and some are not, like road rage, gambling, and anorexia.  Given these are all driven by an out-of-control Emotional Mind, the skills, attitudes, and understandings taught in the workbook apply just the same.  The new title was added to emphasize what the actual workbook text targets rather than what it applies to!

Some changes were made to the back cover (design and text) and some minor text changes were made.  If you are completing this workbook with a support group (or anyone else!), it doesn’t matter if members have different versions.  The text reads much the same and the pages are consistent across versions.

Honestly, I’d buy the earlier version if the price was a lot cheaper!  Otherwise, I’d go with the updated version.

DBT – CBT Training Workshop – Midland, Texas – June 21, 2010 ~ ~ ~ River Crest Hospital presents “From Chaos and Conflict…to Peace and Stability” – a one-day workshop with Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D.

The images in this posting are reproductions of the actual training brochure.

This workshop is based on the DBT-CBT Recovery Workbook authored by the presenter, Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D. entitled,

“Out-of-Control:  A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior”  Recovery Works Publications (2009).

Training Objectives:

Participants will gain familiarity with the DBT-CBT recovery program including the types of problems and issues it addresses, the treatment groups it best serves, and its use in a variety of treatment settings.

Participants will gain an understanding of the dynamics of the three mind states (Emotional Mind, Rational Mind, and Wise Mind) and their role in relapse and recovery.

Participants will gain familiarity with the use and application of key DBT-CBT worksheets (The Big Picture of My Life, Challenging Negative Judgments of Me, Mindfully Protecting My Peace and Stability, The Cycle of Suffering in My Life, The Well Analogy, The Wise Mind Worksheet, and The Game Plan).

Participants will gain skills for using Rational Mind to challenge the irrational thoughts of Emotional Mind (Emotion-Driven Thoughts) and to talk individuals through urges to respond to emotional situations in destructive ways (Emotion-Driven Behaviors) to facilitate Wise Mind problem-solving and life-enhancing coping behaviors.

Radical Acceptance: Accepting the Unacceptable – Coming to Terms With Our Destructive Behavior to Heal the Emotional Pain of Shame, Guilt, and Regret

I recently responded to a LinkedIn discussion regarding the negative consequences of an individual being found “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity.”  It was spurred by a Wall Street Journal article entitled, “The Trouble With the Insanity Defense” written by D. J. Jaffe, a co-founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center.  It was printed in the 3-26-10 edition.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704896104575139801575696436.html

The writer notes, “Not guilty by reason of insanity is an inadequate remedy to violence by individuals with mental illness.” He raised some valid points.

As I work for a state mental health institution which provides treatment for NGRI patients, I responded with the following comment.

Pros and cons. Time in a psychiatric hospital is generally “easier” time than in prison – so that is a definite benefit to the NGRI population. Further, many of our NGRI patients have stabilized to a degree that they are among the highest functioning patients in the hospital and have the highest level of privileges. Those are benefits.

In terms of cons, in general the NGRI population spends more time in a psychiatric facility than they would if they served Guilty sentences in prison. Also, like the article notes, they are often held in a psychiatric hospital long after stabilization and likely safe release to the community. In Texas, the superintendent (CEO) of the hospital has to approve the potential release before petitioning the court for placing the patient on an outpatient commitment. Both the judge and the hospital CEO are risking their careers and reputation if the released patient recommits a significantly violent crime.

The headline test – ‘Judge ordered release of criminally insane man who kills again

In addition, the community mental health officials also have to ‘sign off’ on the release and attest that they can ensure adequate monitoring and treatment to prevent reoffending. It’s a risky business. However, many of the NGRI individuals are truly honorable, caring, competent individuals who regret their actions and strive for a productive life. It is a great shame for patients and victims. Our facility works very hard on behalf of these patients, the courts, and the community to carefully evaluate individuals who appear ready for an outpatient commitment and to ensure a sound outpatient treatment program / support plan is in place for these individuals. It is a risky situation however as a state psychiatric facility, we are charged with providing this service and level of care.”

Marilyn Miller, MS., LPC., a psychotherapist in private practice in San Antonio, Texas, comments in this discussion that she works with individuals with bipolar disorder to help them “resolve enormous shame for their actions during manic phases (pre-medication and -treatment).”  She notes that even though their acts did not involve violence against others, their behavior was so “devastatingly self-destructive” and “so counter to their own ‘real’ values that the hurdle of getting over that shame is quite high.”  She states that she “can not imagine the further horror” for NGRI individuals “knowing that they have taken lives (or attempted to do so).http://www.marilynmillerpsychotherapy.com/

My follow-up response using the vernacular and understandings of the DBT-CBT “Out-of-Control” Workbook I wrote…includes,

As you say Marilyn, it is horribly sad to work with the NGRI’s (or other patients) who are non-psychopathic…and in a period of being out of touch with reality or otherwise ‘Big Time in Emotional Mind’…enacted state dependent destructive behavior…and when they ‘come to’ reality (Rational Mind) and recognize what they have done and the impact on others and their lives…they are in great emotional pain and are devastated by their behavior.  Just this week in group at the state hospital, this came up as we were discussing the consequences of ‘Emotion-Driven Behavior.’  A cloud of great remorse and sadness came over the group in that moment of insight and understanding relating to why things are the way they are in their lives…why their people are so upset with them….and why they have lost so many of the things that they value and cherish.

I teach them that it’s not WHAT happened (like a relationship break-up, conflict on the job, abuse, etc) that has led to such life losses…that it is HOW they responded to the life situation (drugs, alcohol, suicide attempts, physical violence, saying ugly things to people, etc) that has led to the deterioration of their life and the widespread losses of all the people, things, and activities they love and cherish.  This is a painful truth that leads to a major moment of reckoning.  From there, we talk about what we can do to prevent getting ‘Big-Time in Emotional Mind’…and learning ways to respond through Wise Mind when we do experience out-of-control emotional moments.

This past week, this moment in group was so heavy in sadness that I told them that this is exactly why I wrote the workbook and why I am so passionate about helping them in group…that it pains me greatly to be among such neat, wonderful individuals who truly care about their lives and their people…and how it is so sad to live, eat, breathe Emotional Mind…and to be stuck in a ‘Cycle of Suffering’…a cycle of being upset, enacting destructive Emotion-Driven Coping Mechanisms, suffering more losses, feeling worse, continuing destructive copings, consequences worsen, feeling even worse….and on and on and on.

The depth of their pain is what drives me to work so hard to help them to understand Emotional Mind dynamics and to find new ways to respond to life stressors, problems, situations, losses, etc., to STOP the cycle of suffering, and to live a recovery lifestyle so they can reap all the rewards of doing so…to end their pain and suffering and to live a life that provides meaning and satisfaction.

For many, this involves understanding why they have done the things they’ve done, self-acceptance and forgiveness, being committed to change the way they respond to life, developing a Game Plan for recovery, and FOLLOWING THROUGH with their recovery plan.  This process also involves understanding why others have acted in certain ways towards them, acceptance and forgiveness of others, etc.

Another major point I teach them is that their destructive behavior is not a product of WHO THEY ARE as a person…not their character, personality, or true self…but a product of HOW THEY ARE (or were) when they are ‘Big Time in Emotional Mind’…as a result of psychosis, mania, intoxication, great anger or upset, the result of an altered state of consciousness, the one in which they are Big Time in Emotional Mind without any significant levels of Rational Mind going on.  It is not WHO THEY ARE….because most of these individuals are good-hearted people who care about others…and truly care about living a productive life and being kind, loving, and helpful to others.”

For this blog, I’d like to add the following text from Chapter 12:  “ACCEPTANCE” from the DBT-CBT Workbook.  This is an example of applying “Radical Acceptance” to our lives.  Radical Acceptance is about “accepting the unacceptable”….and boy, when we’re in recovery…we’re going to have to do a lot of that!

ACCEPTANCE OF THE BAD, HORRIBLE, ROTTEN THINGS WE’VE DONE

We’re human.  We ALL make mistakes.  When we’ve LIVED IN Emotional Mind, we’ve made MANY mistakes.  We’ve acted impulsively and have made MANY regrettable decisions.  We’re NOT bad, horrible, rotten people.  We’ve just done some bad, horrible, rotten things.  These things happen when people are drinking, drugging, in a manic or psychotic state, or are desperately overwhelmed with painful emotion.  When we’re CLEAN N’ SOBER, on our MEDS, making HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHOICES, and ACTING IN WAYS to Mindfully Protect Our Peace and Stability, we’re GOOD-HEARTED PEOPLE with good morals and values…and WE CARE ABOUT PEOPLE.

Think of the REALLY NEAT people we’ve met in rehabs, AA, support groups, and hospitals.  They’ve lived a past JUST LIKE US.  They’ve done hurtful things to the people they love WHEN they were in the middle of their addictions and Destructive Coping Behavior.  They’re NOT bad people.  They’re the WALKING WOUNDED and IN THEIR DAYS of PAIN and IMPULSIVITY, they did some painful and impulsive things.  TAKE AWAY the drugs, alcohol, mania, depression, pain, anger, and bitterness…and what’s left are some PRETTY NEAT PEOPLE!

We’re the walking wounded.
We’ve experienced a lot of pain.
Being desperate for relief,
we’ve done a lot of painful things
that have hurt ourselves and others.

Think of two people YOU KNOW that fit that description.  What sort of bad things did they do when they were in the middle of their addictions and destructive coping behavior?  Also describe their character when they’re living a Recovery Lifestyle.  _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________

Our Recovery Task is to ACCEPT whatever we’ve done.  Then, we must WISELY decide which things we CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT and which ones we CAN’T.  We need to focus our efforts on the things we CAN do something about that are a PRIORITY in our life.  We need to DO WHATEVER WE NEED TO DO to improve these things.  The things we can change that AREN’T A PRIORITY…
we need to LET THOSE GO… FOR NOW.

The things we CAN’T CHANGE…
we MUST let them go.
Letting go is a CHOICE.
It’s a choice for FREEDOM from burden
and a choice for PEACE and SERENITY.
Remember, “God grant me the serenity
to ACCEPT the things I cannot change.”
ACCEPTANCE is what gives us serenity
EVEN WHEN our lives are in turmoil.
It’s how we CHOOSE to THINK about things
and RESPOND to things
that ultimately affects HOW WE FEEL about things.
We can CHOOSE to be AT PEACE with our situations
or we can CHOOSE to be in turmoil.
We CANNOT LIVE NEW LIFE if we live in the PAST.
CHOOSE to let some things go
so you can GO ON with life…
and LIVE NEW LIFE!

Extra margin text from this section of Chapter 12:

We weren’t born this way.
We became this way
because of an Out-of-Control lifestyle.

Our people want us ALIVE and WELL,
so we need to bury the guilt and pain that’s killing us.
We cannot be the person we were meant to be
or live the life we were meant to live
if we are carrying around what makes us wish we were dead.

The only way to start over
is to START OVER.
We do that by accepting

what needs to be acceptedand by moving on down the Recovery Path.

This text was adapted from the DBT-CBT Therapy Workbook – “Out-of-Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior” by Melanie Gordon Sheets, Ph.D. – copyright 2009 – Recovery Works Publications –