Making the Addiction Recovery Process Their Own

The sensibility in this article permissions the dissolution of a shame barrier for individuals who are drawn to making the addiction recovery process their own in a mature and perhaps novel way, courageously blending their innate intelligence without rigidity. Thank you to for this recent posting that sheds light on the ongoing landscape of transformation of addiction and recovery. Bravo!

New Ways of Helping Substance Misusers

As a psychotherapist and Master Addictions Counselor for many years I am pleased that we are learning new ways of helping substance misusers. Until recently if one was unable (for whatever reason) to grasp the traditional 'abstinence model' as success they felt like and were often treated as failures. Today the shame imposed by ones self and by others is no longer necessary. There is an additional mode of treatment called 'Harm Reduction' that is shame free and forward moving toward a healthier way of being, and sometimes meets up with the complete abstinence model. Dr. Andrew Tatarsky, a long-time pioneer in this area explains the distinctions here very nicely:

“How Does Harm Reduction Substance Use Treatment and Psychotherapy Relate to Abstinence-based Treatment?

  1. Harm reduction psychotherapy brings a therapeutic orientation of harm reduction settings and a harm reduction orientation to treatment settings.

  2. Harm reduction is a framework for setting up helping relationships "meeting people where they are" across the entire spectrum of diversity and along the entire continuum of care. 
    • Accept all positive changes/reductions in harm as success
    • Start where people are-radically!
    • Affirm small incremental changes as well as quantum change
    • Collaboration is at the heart of empowering change
  3. Harm reduction is an umbrella philosophy that engages people around all motivational stages of change and supports the full range of positive change goals including safer use/behavior, reduced use, moderation and abstinence.
  4. We begin wherever people are ready to begin and support them in moving toward and achieving their optimal goals as they define them.
  5. This "extends the reach of traditional substance use treatment" to the large group, arguably the majority, of problematic substance users who are not ready, willing or able to embrace abstinence as a goal.
  6. This lowers the threshold for entering treatment and helps bridge the continuum of care from public health harm reduction practices, to harm reduction psychotherapy, medication-assisted treatment to, and including, abstinence-oriented treatment.
  7. We don't need to know the destination to begin the journey of healing, growth and positive change!”

Trauma Resolution Techniques

Trauma resolution techniques heal many kinds of other maladies such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, Tourette-like syndromes, insomnia, etc. Many don't even recognize or remember the traumatic events. yet they can be discovered through bodily sensations. These known or shrouded events throw our nervous systems out-of-whack. This multi-use resolution technology developed by one of my mentors, Peter A. Levine revolutionized my practice 15 years ago. In this 6-minute video you can get a small glimpse of the process in action with Peter and a veteran w/PTSD.

Also for vets w/PTSD the Focalizing Institute will soon be launching a program utilizing these tools (and more). Contact

Important: Millennials (And Allies):

This theme issue is on Millennials. Check out this hot, new, multi-generational EXCLUSIVE issue launching of the new-format debut issue. We/I had a small part in inspiring this topic from our Focalizing Institute's Millennial Energy Project (and a recent article I was invited to contribute to PTM). In this new issue, I have a cool informative article on page 13 with my latest research. Click here to read the article.

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Shame Kills, Not Drugs

Check out this courageous story by Sturla Haugsgjerd that provides leadership about the toxic shame societies all around the world contaminate drug users with and how they have experienced this in life. I share your vision of a time when one's choices about what drug one chooses to put into their bodies and how are respected as are the people who choose to use drugs. As you point out, this is most of us, though unlike you, most of us don't have the courage, or feel we have too much to lose, to share our drug using stories. I think rewriting the shaming drug user narrative toward one of respect, acceptance and compassion is one of the most important issues of our day...along with ending prohibition and the drug war and making sophisticated, integrative harm reduction and other therapies available to all who need and want it. Friends, please read Sturla's piece and share it widely:

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Sacred Sexuality

I'm getting a boosted affirming response to recent writings. Below a dynamic, peer led multi-faceted online free course designed for personal and planetary transformation has chosen my article (from Psychology Tomorrow Magazine) as the text for Lesson 19. I'm flattered.

Sacred sexuality is often associated with tantra – a spiritual practice in which sexuality is used to achieve higher spiritual states. Though tantric sexuality was developed in India thousands of years ago, it is recently becoming popular in certain pioneering groups in this modern age. The below article, while acknowledging those who choose a spiritual path of celibacy, describes some of the inspiring aspects of tantra or the art of spiritual lovemaking.

Read the full article (Lesson 19) here:

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Putting the Power of Self-Knowledge to Work

We’re shifting to another level of knowledge about our own human development! 
Hopefully this 'Times' article by David Bornstein will liberate many from unnecessary suffering and foster a more spirited forward movement. The time is right!

To read the full N.Y. Times article click:

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How Emotional Pain causes Addiction & Compassion heals it!

I have been observing for years is what my colleague Gabor Mate Gabor speaks so well of in this short video. Addiction has become so widespread, it’s an epidemic in our modern world. Around 240 million people around the world are dependent on alcohol, more than a billion people smoke, and more 16 million people use injection drugs, such as heroin…and alcohol, sex, food, shopping, work, and an addiction to destructive and limiting ‘conditioned thinking’…we all have them. And for each addiction, there is a human in pain, trying to escape from the torment inside of them.

We can heal addiction. Watch to learn how:

Dr Gabor Mate says the root cause of addiction is pain, and the attempt to escape pain actually creates more pain that can be healed through mindful compassion.

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A Future That Wants to Emerge

Focalizing was inspired and refined by the transformational qualities of U.lab (associated with M.I.T., the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Our purpose is to allow for 'a future that wants to emerge’ through us individually and collectively.

Please watch brief video to witness a good a global possibility.

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Over 2,800 Facebook ‘Likes’!


WoW, over 2,800 Facebook ‘Likes’ for the Focalizing Institute’s new dynamic actions. 

The new, younger Board of Directors has recently transformed the organization’s structure to be non- hierarchical, creating circles of contributors to their initiatives with no designated top to bottom structure. Wish us well on this new experiment, based on Otto Scharmer’s U Theory. In it self-determined deep collaborative dynamism replaces the linear assignment of duties. The Focalizing Institute has supported my research for many years and I am very grateful for all the inspiration and support.

2nd Edition of Theory U

One of my mentor’s Otto Scharmer has greatly influenced Focalizing over many years. His world-spreading methods of prototyping the transformations of individuals, collectives, cultures and capitalism is amazing. It's great, that the words continue to spread with the 2nd edition of Theory U being published Monday. 

The Focalizing Institute is using many of that book's inspirations in transforming our Board and all initiatives. We are very grateful to Otto Scharmer, Theory U and The Presencing Institute for the guidance we have received. If you want a better world, please read this book.

A Revolutionary Approach to Treating PTSD

According to my esteemed colleague, in a recent N.Y. Times article, Bessel Van der Kold: “Trauma has nothing whatsoever to do with cognition,” he says. “It has to do with your body being reset to interpret the world as a dangerous place.” That reset begins in the deep recesses­ of the brain with its most primitive structures, regions that, he says, no cognitive therapy can access. Only through a somatic approach to neuroscience can PTSD be healed.

To read the full article, go to:

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I LOVE this work by Otto Scharmer

I LOVE this work by Otto Scharmer and others. It has the sniff of the type of process we need to bring sanity back to the human condition. This gives nature an important role in our organic and gentle transformations. I get this feeling that 'slow is fast' in this evolution...and that at some point an unimaginable and apparently magical collective shift will occurs. That's my two cents. Yours? -

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Sober Sex in Psychology Tomorrow Magazine

One of the most significant blocks to more fulfilling sober sex is the “sexual-spiritual split.” After facilitating countless workshops with thousands of people in recovery, one thing is certain. The healing of the internalized schism between our sexual and spiritual (love) energies is the most provocative topic, and the most intimidating (apparently, but not necessarily) task we can address. I have yet to meet one recovering person who does not highlight this as one of their foremost challenges. Click here to read article.

Spontaneous Remission From Collective Insanity

Regarding our present state of affairs, I'm presently updating this dated Good Therapy article on 'The Spontaneous Remission of Collective Insanity'. Yet, reading it now may help open new perceptions of cognition.

To read my full article on Spontaneous Remission…Click on:

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Seeking Source Energy: In Search of Lost Connectivity

Focalizing, meditation and creative pursuits can help us reconnect with source energy, achieve clarity, and embrace a new sense of connectivity.

Three things that block us from experiencing vibrant energy:

  • Distracting thoughts (often based on past conditioning)
  • Unresolved trauma
  • Erotic barriers and frustrations

In my article published today, Good Therapy recognizes Focalizing as both a healing modality and a creative process that can foster the continuous flow of energy through us and help this energy express itself with clarity.

Click here to read article.