My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
purchase it at B & N, Amazon or (click on image of cover)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Helping Heroin Addicts Heal and Thrive

This week I was planning on continuing thoughts on reading in the Summer until I heard Senator Rob Portman from Ohio on a news show about his Anti-Heroin Bill. He was discussing the travesty of ruined lives and negative impact on families and society from the scourge of heroin addiction. I was glad to see that his bipartisan bill, The Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (S. 524) was passed 94-1.

In the report on the bill passage the purpose is stated to:

•Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers—to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery.

•Make naloxone more widely available to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives.

•Provide resources to promptly identify and more effectively treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders.

•Increase the number of disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.

•Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program and promote treatment best practices throughout the country.

•Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.

(From -- )

In my book, Living More Than OK, I share the importance of seeking natural highs instead of quick drug induced highs. Drugs like heroin offer a quick get away from the problems of life and quick good feelings which our impulsive society pushes on young people. What is hidden from young people is the downward spiral into larger problems that occur through drug use.

In my book I promote a group out of California called Natural High. I promote it in my blog as well. I will again do a shout out about it now. I have used their website with counseling teen clients who are becoming involved with drugs. Their videos of successful people who enjoy a natural high is often eye opening to them. I use their videos as well with my college students. Again it opens eyes up to that there is more to enjoying life than ingesting drugs.

Check out this video from their site about one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot. Here is the link -- . In the video the lead singer Jon Foreman reminds us that Natural Highs are not about saying no to drugs but saying yes to positive passions in one’s life. This reminds me of Dr. William Glasser’s concept of positive addictions. In his writings Dr. Glasser reminded us that it is not good enough to help someone stop a negative addiction but instead to find a positive addiction for the person to inculcate into their lifestyle. I also like Drew’s comment of how no one on drugs will say drugs were the best decision in my life. When I went to 12 step program when I volunteered at a drug center in Brownsville no one praised how being addicted to drugs helped them and their families. Instead they shared personal pain and family pain drugs had caused.

I am thankful for resources across the country that are dedicated to help those who are battling drug addiction. One I would like to mention is The Ranch at Clear Springs near Waco, Texas. Their website is You can look at their website to see the services such centers provide. Every state has such centers and they need to be promoted for their help of people struggling with addiction. I wanted to give Clear Springs a shout out as the Director is Kito Holtzman, who I was privileged to have as a professor when I took my Drug Counseling course for my Masters in Counseling, at University of Texas at Brownsville, (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). Kito had and still has a passion for helping alcohol and drug addicts stop the downward spiral so they can spiral up to a better life.

Going back to the Portman bill it is good to see when politicians get it right. I just hope the follow through from Washington, helps in a practical manner. We all though need to be involved in promoting natural highs to help end the scourge of drugs on our country. If you know school counselors let them know about the organization, Natural High. If you have family or friends struggling with addiction let them know they can find treatment centers to be of help in moving in a positive direction.

Reflection: What is your natural high? You can have more than one. Mine are reading, music, and hiking. Watching the Natural High videos is there a new natural high you would like to try out?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Big Bend Bucket List Item

In my book, Living More Than Ok, (found at Barnes & Noble and Amazon – don’t tell me yes a selfish book pitch!) I encourage following Dream lists in the spirit of John Goddard. Some call them Bucket Lists. For years visiting Big Bend National Park has been our list. This past week we crossed that off our list and we were so glad we went there even though we were told it was the off season due to it being so hot.

We have visited Grand Canyon and were awestruck by the grandeur of the canyon. I visited years ago Rocky Mountain National Park with my brother. The sight of the mountains there is a majestic picture of nature’s beauty. What amazed me about Big Bend was the diversity as you can see in the pictures above. Up in the Chisos mountains you have pines trees and greenery. Then on the lower levels where ranches once stood, you have desert plants and canyons. We were told in April the desert floor is a sea of red and yellow from the cactus flowers. So we plan in the future to go back during that time of year.

We took several of the scenic drives where at every turn the splendor of creativity is seen. You could drive the same route and never be bored as there is so much to see. For each of us different things stood out on each drive. It was so hot we did not see much wildlife except for rabbits and road runners. A family staying near us said they had seen deer and they come across someone who had seen a mountain lion with cubs (personally I had no desire to see a mountain lion—I don’t like the idea of being a snack for another species).

Speaking of the family who stayed near us, we lodged at Big Bend Casitas in Terlingua. I highly recommend staying there. The cabins had an old west charm and were clean and neat. The staff at Far Flung Outdoor Center, who runs the cabins, was friendly and helpful about the area. With Far Flung they do guided river tours, ATV tours and jeep tours. We took a morning jeep tour on our next to the last day. The tour was supposed to be off road in a specially built jeep but there were flash flood warnings from early morning rains so our guide took us into a paved road run in the National Park. Our tour guide, Randy, was amazing with the historical knowledge he had about the area as he drove us down to the Castelon visitor center and the Santa Elena Canyon. Coming back we experienced the flash flooding as a roadway that had been dry 30 minutes earlier was covered in a flowing stream so we had to wait for the water to go down. That impressed us as well with the Far Flung team, as they were interested in safety of their customers.

In Terlingua being such a small town the restaurants are few in number but still very good food. If you go there or I should say when you go there; don’t miss out on eating at La Kiva. The experience is like eating in a cave with beautiful wood tables. There pizza is fantastic. I am usually not fond of white pizzas but their’s with spinach, artichoke hearts and tomato slices is a wonderful taste treat. The staff at La Kiva I felt were the friendliest of the restaurants in town.

If you enjoy national parks add Big Bend to your bucket list. The sunsets and diverse beauty captures the imagination. It is a place to find solace and think over your life. Since I look at life from a Christian world view, at the park and while looking at the night sky made me ponder about the God behind it all and my place in His purpose. No matter what your worldview the Big Bend experience is a must within your life journey.

Reflection: Click on the hyperlink to Big Bend National Park above and look over the pictures. What do the pictures of the park make you think and feel? Reflect on your favorite times in state or national parks. What are your favorite memories? When do you plan to visit Big Bend?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Winning The Marathons in Your Life

“Energy and Persistence Conquers All Things” Benjamin Franklin

If you are looking for tips for running marathons you are out of luck. I am a walker not a runner so I can’t be much help to those who run marathons. Those who run marathons, I have a great respect for with their disciplined training, their endurance and persistence to push to the end. I found out in writing this that a true marathon is 26.2 miles or 42 kilometers. Those races that are shorter are called 5K, 10K, and half-marathons.

Marathons are at times seen as metaphor for our life journey. In looking at the metaphor I see many of our stages in life relate to being like marathons as well. Work, discipline, sweat, and persistence are parts of many of the various marathons we face. I have been going through a marathon journey the past few years with my work towards my PhD in psychology. I am on the final grueling leg of my dissertation process. That is why the initial picture for this blog is that of reading and research.

Recently, even though I am at the final stage the urge to give up is often in my self-talk. I have approval of my topic and a research plan for a qualitative study but I fear putting it all together. All the course work with Capella University has prepared me for the research and writing of the dissertation, yet at the same time there is the now seemingly chronic fatigue of always balancing work, family and studies. With the plaguing negative self-talk of “just give up – you won’t make it”. Often it feels like it is just me and the race and being the slow one there is no one to cheer the runner on.

That is where persistence kicks in. The quote I have listed here is important in persistently ploughing through the final stages where you want to give up in your marathon whether it is finishing your education, working through marriage problems, or even in finishing a PhD dissertation. “Persistence is a refusal to quit. It is looking into the face of adversity and saying, “I like my odds”. It is an unwillingness to move aside. It is believing in a cause and being distracted by nothing.” There was no person related to the quote and I have found that anonymous quotes are many times the best.

When I look at the last leg of my marathon for my PhD in psychology the negativity of my mind fills my life with getting sidetracked with distractions and the desire to quit. Persistence comes in with clear minded focus on the end goal. It leads with positive self-talk such as “I like my odds – I can finish this!” Often in quitting the marathons in our lives we lose track in our initial belief in the cause of our goal so we let the stuff of life defeat us. It is at these give up times we need to refocus of the goal. As in my case going back to why I started the PhD process, what I can learn from my dissertation research for my future and the future for my family and my work with students and clients.

In talking to marathon runners even though it is the toughest near the end there can be for those who persist a second wind, often called the runner’s high. It is a burst of energy that carries them to the end of the race. In flow research, which is part of my dissertation study; that second wind is important to the flow process in marathon runners. In your personal life journey marathons, don’t give up and you will gain the burst of energy you need to finish.

Our important life journey stages if we really want life growth should be seen as marathons not sprints. Modern culture wants to speed everything into short sprints to success but real life is not that way. When you feel like giving up -- “Keep Going”.

Reflection—What marathon in life are you going through at the present. How does the persistence quote relate to your experience at the present time? What can you personally do to “Keep Going”?