Monthly Archives: February 2014

What’s your addiction?



Work & Success-you are my beloved friends!

According to Joshua Becker, author of 12 ways Friends Improve Our Lives, authentic friends: encourage us, challenge us, motivate us, celebrate us, keep us honest, add joy to our lives, improve our health, provide opportunity for influence, and provide opportunity for sacrifice (!

When I think about how hard I work and how successful I have become in just 25 years, I can see how the two have become a beloved friends to me and ultimately an addiction. I have been encouraged by “them” to do better, I have been challenged by “them” to become smarter, I have motivated by “them” to keep going, I have been celebrated by “them” through accolades from co-workers, professors, and family. I have been provided with a lot of opportunities and I have been challenged! I feel like they have added joy to my life because they give me a sense of meaning. Which leads me to believe that “my beloved friends” have improved my health, but they have not! But Why not stop this addiction?

Work and Success-Appealing to the senses?

I cant stop! I cant stop! This addiction appeals to my senses! It’s pretty sad when you get an instant euphoria from smelling new books  or stationary! That means that you should be addicted to work and success…right?! Right! At least for me! I love to see my accomplishments. So much so that I have a picture of all my “Thank you cards” in my office and a folder bulging over of accolades! I even have samples of work that I have done in the past so that at a moment’s notice I can provide evidence of my hard work! I love to hear my name being acknowledged for something innovative or scholarly I have done! I mean after all…I have been told since I was smart I am! Maybe this is where this addiction all started! Or is it? Maybe I use it to cover up other things going on with me. 

Work and Success-It heals me! It soothes me! 

As I sit here and write, I think about how much I was acknowledged as a young girl for being so bright and so smart-mainly from my father! I mean I actually only did a month in fourth grade and then was skipped to the fifth grade. I think that some of the accolades and reinforcements that I received as a young girl lead to my perfectionist tendencies which gave way to my addiction to success and work. However, I also believe that being successful and my addiction to it has been to get the approval of my father who was absent from my life for so long. I was his first child to graduate from college with honors! I felt like being smart and being successful was something that made him proud. And I always sought to do that and I still seek to do that! Even on the day that he passed away and even now that he is not here with me physically, I still seek his approval through my work and my success. I wonder if this balm is working though! 

Work and success-What has it cost me?

This addiction has cost me to abandon friends and loved ones. When I begin to work and feel success, my days fly by so fast that I forget to make phone calls and check up on loved ones. Sometimes it gets to the point that friends don’t even call me like they used to! And I also miss out on milestones for individuals like my god son! My relationship with my significant other lacks because I am always doing school work, work, or sleep because of the mental exhaustion that this addiction causes me! Being addicted to work and success causes me to be lonely and it cost me having someone to speak to about it because no one really wants to hear about work and school all the time! It’s sad because when I am asked what I have been up to…all I can say is “work and school”. Maybe this addiction is also costing me an adventurous time in my twenties because I should be exploring the world and living care free…..right? Maybe I need more help than I think I do! 

Work and Success-Where is the help?

According to Capuzzi & Stauffer (2012), work addiction is still being researched in the scope of diagnosing and treatment. However, after doing some individual research, I found workaholics anonymous ( which offers support groups, books, and other resources for individuals that are in my shoes!

The first step to recovering is admitting you have a problem. Right? Until next time!





Process Addictions: From my vantage point!



Do you think like the rest of society? 

I think like the rest of society, I am biased to process addictions. What I mean by that is we, as society are constantly putting “aholic” at the end of something. For instance, we say “shopaholic”, “sexaholic”, etc. This is usually done when one does something in “excess of”. However, I think by doing this we undermine an addiction, whether it is process addiction or substance addiction. I think as a society we are biased to all things negative and try to do our best to make things look better! Therefore, I would have to say for a long time I perceived those that did things in “excess of”…just a little…as a [blank]-aholic! Not fair right! But this is my vantage point! 

Vantage Point is shaped: by how you accept/reject behaviors! 

I guess for me, by nature, I more readily accept sexual behaviors or eating behaviors done in “excess of” as problematic because they are ones that are harmful to oneself or to another individual. However, I readily reject gambling, for instance. The reason for this is because I grew up in a household where going to the casino during the weekend was the greatest thing to do. Or even playing the lottery and scratch off were the best thing to do. AND IT CAUSED NO HARM! (or so I thought) I remember hearing screaming one day saying “We hit the lottery, we are going shopping”! That excited me. I was young at the time and what I did not recognize is that there must have been 3-4 times the money spent in order to gain what was won! (I wouldn’t be surprised if it weren’t more)! I also came to realize that although I could not see it, bills were not being paid because of this habit! 

But was it an addiction, a habit, uncomfortable, undesirable, or just unhealthy?

Although, I am not an expert in process addictions, I would not say that I am not quick to call it an addiction if I am uncomfortable with it or if I find it undesirable or unhealthy. I do think that I would have about 5-10 years ago. However, today, as an adult and aspiring counselor, I do understand how something is classified as an addiction. I also understand that just because I am uncomfortable with something or it is undesirable to me, does not make it an addiction. For example, one day while watching “Taboo” on National Geo channel, this lady allowed her pigs to nurse from her own breast! I found this very disturbing but would not put it in the category as an addiction. I viewed it as more cultural. 

Morals, culture, values, beliefs: How do they shape the vantage point!

With this example, I think this is great proof of how my beliefs, morality, or spiritual beliefs can shape my views of my client’s problem. I understand that my beliefs, morals, and values may not align with those same beliefs of my client. However, it is my responsibility to be open to different ways of thinking. I think it is easy for an individual to dismiss something or diagnosis something that they don’t understand. However, it takes a competent individual to understand a vantage point different than their own and still be an asset to clients. 

Signing off!


Self Assessment: Working with Substance Abuse Clients



My Approach

After reviewing the web references, I wasn’t really sure of the types of approaches that made me feel most comfortable. However, I took a moment and reflected on the process groups and individual counseling sessions that I have led so far with the substance abuse population at my practicum site. From those reflections, one of the things that I heard as a motivator for them to recover are their families. After having this “moment of enlightenment”, it dawned on me that I often wonder about the families of substance abuse users and how they are affected. Therefore, I would have to say that I think a family approach would be one that I would be comfortable with. I think that it would have been one that would have been helpful in Sahira’s case because it appears that her anxiety and her reason for using stemmed from people/ issues in her family. Finally, from our references, I found Al-Anon Family Groups as a wonderful reference and resource for using the family approach. This organization focuses on the family. They host groups for spouses & partners, adult children, teens, parents, grandparents, and siblings. I believe, though, that the limitation with this group is that they only support alcoholics. This group would be more effective if it expanded its efforts to substance abuse families. 

My Strengths

I think one of my strengths in helping someone like Sahira is my ability to display compassion, empathy, and sympathy. I believe that these have all been useful in facilitating groups at my practicum site. I have been able to clearly hear the stories of the clients and use compassion, empathy, and sympathy to genuinely want to help them through treatment in any way that I can. I have found that for them, it is a constant battle that they have to fight everyday and sometimes they are fighting it alone. This is because they have pushed those closest to them away due to their drug abuse. 

My Areas of Improvement 

I think one area that I can improve upon is increasing my knowledge around substance abuse. Likewise, altering my thinking about substance abuse recovery and believing that there is a “quick fix”. I am learning through this course and working with the substance abuse population that addiction and its recovery are both very complex and are not easily “fixed”. 

Signing off! 



What is the definition of addiction?
What is the definition of addiction?

Hey Class!

I am excited to start a new semester! I am especially excited to start this class because I will be working with the substance abuse population in my practicum. I am excited to use some of the information that I will learn in this class and actual put it to good use. The first week’s content has already been eye opening for me because it has changed the way that I view addictions. Prior to this week’s video clip, podcast, and text, I was under the impression that an addict is responsible for his or her own actions and can control the use of drugs. However, I have learned that although the first use of the drug is voluntary, the addiction takes place when the use of the drug become uncontrollable and compulsive.

I am glad that I have been able to learn this prior to my practicum, which I start tomorrow and am nervous about. I have never worked with this population, so I am interested to see what new things I will learn in this course. I look forward to learning more about addictions and particularly learning what I am addicted to. It is my belief that everyone is addicted to something.

Looking forward to this semester!

Signing off!