Dr. Hal’s Blog

This is a selection of the most recent blog posts by Dr. Hal. These posts were originally published at blog.journeytorecovery.com. Visit that site to read older posts.

The Baffling Nature of Addiction and the Surprising Power of Recovery

Posted by on Aug 15, 2018 in Journey to Recovery | 0 comments

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling Ronnie celebrated his 40th birthday in jail a few weeks before entering the residential treatment program where I met him two years ago. An unhappy place to celebrate a birthday, I’m sure. But for Ronnie, it was a turning point in his life and his recovery. It wasn’t his first time in jail or in a chemical dependency treatment program. Ronnie started using marijuana when he was only 11 years old. By the time he was 16 he was regularly using alcohol and...

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Tell Me What I’m Doing Right

Posted by on Jul 17, 2018 in Journey to Recovery | 0 comments

Tell Me What I’m Doing Right

Over the years, I’ve noticed that people often want approval and affirmation. They want it, yet rarely receive it or believe it when it finally arrives. Jim would be an example of that. This 35-year-old man who came for counseling stared quietly at the carpet as he gathered his thoughts. Slowly he began to unravel the twisted story of his life, as one would unravel the intertwined fibers of the carpet on which his gaze was fixed. Jim was the first-born son in a family of five children. His mother was a gentle woman, kind and compassionate....

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Do the Thing You Need to Do or…

Posted by on Jul 12, 2018 in Journey to Recovery | 0 comments

Do the Thing You Need to Do or…

“You hit home runs not by chance but by preparation.” – Roger Maris Do the thing you need to do or… get yourself ready… What do you need to do? Do the thing you need to do or get yourself ready to do the thing you need to do. If you need to go to treatment, then go to treatment. If you need to finish school, then go back to school. If you need to return to work, move out of your parents’ basement, or find a new job – then do it. Or get yourself ready to do the thing you need to do. Preparing Takes Time People often come to our intensive...

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Positively Changing Your Life

Posted by on Jun 26, 2018 in Journey to Recovery | 0 comments

Positively Changing Your Life

You’ve got to accentuate the positive Eliminate the negative Latch on to the affirmative And Don’t mess with Mister In-Between Johnny Mercer “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” was written by Johnny Mercer and the music was written by Harold Arlen. It was made popular by Bing Crosby and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1945. It lays out, in a classy, upbeat manner, the simple formula for managing your thought life: rehearse the positive and eliminate the negative. It goes on to add further instructions: You’ve got to...

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Living in an Unsure World

Posted by on Jun 19, 2018 in Journey to Recovery | 0 comments

Living in an Unsure World

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” – Clint Eastwood This evening we’re celebrating my granddaughter’s seventh birthday. It will be a small family gathering at an outdoor amphitheater performance of Beauty and the Beast. It looks to be a hot and humid summer evening. I’m anticipating the family fun and pleasant moments as much as my grandchildren (maybe more). We checked the weather, no rain is predicted until later tonight – after midnight, but one never knows for sure. We live in an uncertain world. That’s the way it is with picnics,...

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A Quick and Easy Recovery and Other Treatment Myths

Posted by on May 29, 2018 in Journey to Recovery | 0 comments

A Quick and Easy Recovery and Other Treatment Myths

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw Let’s Be Reasonable The confusing influence of addiction is often referred to as “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” It distorts insight into the illness, decreases judgment, and twists expectations about life in recovery. Setting reasonable expectations means wrestling with the uncontrollable, the doubtful, and the difficult. I can’t always control, fix, or bend the uncertainties of life to meet my desires. And I must...

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The True View of You

Posted by on May 24, 2018 in Journey to Recovery | 0 comments

The True View of You

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt People in recovery often have a distorted view of themselves. They may see themselves as inadequate and unacceptable. Some of this thinking comes from a cold and steady drizzle of negativity dripped onto you by the harsh realities of a difficult life. This pessimistic message may also be presented by those you love the most. As I talk with clients coming through the counseling center I have heard hundreds of variations of this story. The people from whom they wanted...

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Normal Will Reset – Eventually

Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Journey to Recovery | 0 comments

Normal Will Reset – Eventually

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Commonly Attributed to Winston Churchill Out of Control When the decision to enter recovery is made, the addiction is often out of control. Something has to change or nothing will change. Life has become unmanageable and there are problems that affect numerous areas of living. There may be occupational problems, relational conflicts, housing concerns, legal issues, and spiritual dryness. Common emotional problems include increased levels of depression, guilt, shame, regret, anxiety, worry,...

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Three Critical Elements of Successful Recovery Programs

Posted by on May 8, 2018 in Journey to Recovery | 0 comments

Three Critical Elements of Successful Recovery Programs

“The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.” – Hubert H. Humphrey Designing Successful Recovery I am involved in several intensive outpatient programs (IOP) that provide treatment and support for those with serious or critical mental health and substance abuse issues. These programs help our clients regain stability and develop skills to better navigate the journey in life that lies ahead. Those who are in crisis, considering mental health inpatient treatment or residential treatment for substance abuse, or recently...

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The Hinge Pin Lie Behind All Negative Thinking

Posted by on Apr 24, 2018 in Journey to Recovery | 0 comments

The Hinge Pin Lie Behind All Negative Thinking

“I was going to buy a copy of “The Power of Positive Thinking,” and then I thought: what good would that do?” – Ronnie Shakes What is Negative Thinking? Thoughts bombard us all day long like the steady stream of uninteresting commercial messages on AM radio. Almost all radio spots are just noise, irrelevant and unimportant. The same is true with our own thoughts. A few of these thoughts are prompts for action, interesting points to be pondered, and encouraging messages to heed. But most are not. Most of what whirls through the...

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