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Reaching Out in the Right Way

by Jeff Ford, LMFT, Clinical Director

Years ago I was working with an individual who happened to be in school. One day he showed up to class only to realize that he had to take a test that he wasn’t expecting. In seconds, he felt an immediate change. Physically, his heart rate increased and his stomach dropped. He felt the need for more spiritual connection and began to say a prayer for help. As he looked around the classroom, he began sexually objectifying the women in his class. That also triggered him relationally and he sent a text to his wife to tell her he had forgotten about the test.

He took the test, and failed it.

When he walked out of the classroom, he was in pain. Not physical pain, but emotional pain brought on by the surprise test that didn’t go well. The experience put him into a situation where he was at a stage of the addiction cycle where he was at risk of acting out.

Now, as he was zoning out and in his emotional pain, he got on his motorcycle and...

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Paper Routes and Accountability

by Jeff Ford, LMFT, Clinical Director

When I was growing up I had a paper route. This meant that every morning I would get on my bike and make my way through the neighborhood to all of my deliveries. After some practice, I got pretty good at slinging the paper up to the porch from the sidewalk while I was still sitting on my bike. 

One summer morning, I threw a paper up to the house of an older widow who lived in the neighborhood. The paper crashed hard against her metal storm door and I heard the entire glass door break and crumble. I immediately wanted to ride away as quickly as I could because I felt so guilty. But I couldn’t. The loud sound had scared the woman inside and she was at the door as I made my way up to it. I apologized for what I had done and told her that I would pay for the damage. It took my whole paycheck, but I did it. 

Apologizing and paying for the door is what is known as behavioral accountability. However, when you are trying to repair a...

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Recovery During the Holidays

by Jeff Ford, LMFT, Clinical Director

The holidays can be such a fun time of year as you celebrate, take time away from work and spend time with family. Of course, those same things that make the holidays so great can also pose a challenge for anyone in recovery. The time away from work can mean extra time for some to get back into old habits. The additional time with family may also mean lots of difficult conversations about your relationships. 

So what do you do? One of the best things to start doing right now is to prepare and set limits. 

Avoid the Disconnect

Relational pain is the number one catalyst to activate the addiction cycle. This means you need to pay extra attention to how you are feeling. When you start to get overwhelmed or stressed, find ways to connect rather than disconnecting. 

One common disconnect I have seen is guys who turn to video games thanks to the extra time they have during the holidays. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases they’re are...

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The Bike Ride

by Jeff Ford, LMFT, Clinical Director

It’s not uncommon for couples who are going through recovery to experience some emotional abuse. Ironically, this can happen when the addict doesn’t know how to deal with the emotions they are experiencing in recovery. They are missing the skills they need to manage these emotions and take it out on their spouse or other loved ones in the form of emotional abuse. Let me give you an example. 

I love to go on bike rides. I try to go at least a few days each week. However, I also live in a desert, which means I try to plan my rides when it’s as cool as possible outside. Recently, I was going out for a ride in the evening. My wife came along to go for a short run, and my daughter and one of her friends joined us to walk along the path. After I had gone a couple of miles, I ended up getting a flat. It was frustrating and I had to walk my bike back to the car. While I was walking, my wife called me to tell...

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