Tag Archives: Addiction

The Dangers of Helicopter Parenting During Rehab

Parents understandably want to be their children’s biggest advocates. When a child’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction hangs in the balance, that’s never truer. During rehab especially, that natural parental impulse to do anything to help can kick into overdrive. A well-meaning effort to support a child’s recovery, often amplified by a sense of guilt or responsibility for that child’s substance abuse, can feed a strong “over-parenting” reflex to save a child.

“Helicopter parenting” is the term clinical psychologists have attached to this phenomenon. It’s a fitting way to describe unhealthy parental hovering over a child’s every move: like pilots at the controls of a Black Hawk military aircraft, some parents at the first signs of a threat launch a full-scale air assault or swoop in and deploy a quick getaway for their child. And parents of children in rehab are especially vulnerable to this form of parenting, because they know their child’s risks of relapse pose harmful and potentially life-threatening consequences.

But what parents of children in rehab also need to know is that an “interminable ‘swoosh-swoosh-swoosh’” over their child’s every move can pose even greater dangers to that child’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Knowing what these pitfalls to lasting sobriety are is key to boosting a child’s chances of success in rehab and beyond.

Helicopter Parenting and “Failure-to-Launch” Children
Helicopter parenting in rehab can result in the following dangers, all of which can account for a child’s failure to launch toward lasting freedom from drugs or alcohol: Continue reading

The Real Story Of The Prince Tragedy


For many people hearing about drug abuse, addiction is seen an issue faced by those with limited resources and limited ability to make changes in their life. However, celebrity drug addiction, including the recent death of Prince, shines a light on just how pain medication addiction can be found at any level of society.

According to friends of the late singer, Prince had an addiction to opioids that has been with him for at least a decade. He was first seen taking opioids after a hip strain, and he continued to up his dosage to continue to perform as early as a decade ago. Continue reading

Daily Opportunities to Live My Gratitude


By Ryan Skinner

I had the wonderful opportunity this week to travel to Aruba for a vacation with my fiancée and future stepchildren. One evening, while sitting alone on the balcony of our room, gazing out in awe at the beautiful landscape and feeling warmed the balmy breezes, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude. I’m blessed with so many things – family and friends who love me, opportunities to meet and work with amazing people and the daily opportunity to express how grateful I am to God for giving this recovering addict a second chance at life. I’ve been in very dark places and know that my story could have ended differently. But this night in Aruba, like all of the days since I made the commitment to be clean and sober, offered another moment to reflect on the reality that if you do the right things, hang in there and choose to live God’s way, all of those blessings are possible.

Since I renewed my commitment to God and a life of meaning and purpose dedicated to helping others both professionally and personally, I’ve developed daily prayer, meditation and journaling rituals that help me get into the right spiritual mindset. I’ve been doing this ever since I got sober. I wake up by 6 a.m. at the latest and spend 30 minutes on a combination of praying (sometimes on my knees on a clean floor, but sometimes even at my kitchen counter having my morning coffee) and doing affirmation readings from books of positive quotes and writings that inspire me to live that day and be present. I spend a lot of time on gratitude. Whether it’s dark or light, I always light a candle. It’s just my way of bringing spirituality into the moment and connecting with God. My morning journaling is simple, just writing thank you to God for another day He has granted me. Continue reading

My Past Doesn’t Define Me – It Strengthens Me


By Ryan Skinner

Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” As a recovering addict given a second chance at life, I have been given the opportunity to pay forward my reversal of fortune to help others struggling with the disease of addiction. Every day I ask God how I can be of service to others using the talents He’s given me, and I have learned that the true measure of success is found in how many people you bless. It may sound ironic to be grateful to have gone through something so horrific, but I thank God now that I can help people experiencing the same nightmare. Continue reading

6 Ways to Tell Your Child About Your Addiction

Addiction- Kids

By Dr. Patricia Ryding

The involvement of your family is an important part of a healthy recovery from substance addiction—and that doesn’t just mean the adults in the picture. Sobriety is about love and connection, and if you have children, that love and connection is vital to creating a space in which your entire family thrives.

However, at the beginning of your journey, that connection might be damaged, especially if your children witnessed your substance-fueled behavior. Because the substance has stood between you and your loved ones for a while, it might be hard to bridge that gap, especially at the beginning. That’s completely understandable, but it doesn’t have to stop you from sharing with your children.

Children are highly aware of their surroundings, so they probably have picked up on some issues. A child might not be able to express what they have processed about your struggle up to this point, but rest assured that they have noted it. Now ask them to join into strengthening your lives together. You are building a new life walking away from those substance issues, so ask your children to join with you in your journey.

Here are some things to keep in mind. Continue reading

Prescribed Painkillers – Are You Addicted?



by Helen Staines

For many people, prescribed painkillers can be a lifeline. They allow patients to manage the chronic pain associated with ailments such as dental pain, migraine and post injury/surgery pain thereby giving them the opportunity to go about their daily life relatively normally. However for others, taking these painkillers for a prolonged period of time or misusing them in any way can cause a whole range of other physical and psychological problems.

Although it is hard to determine the exact figures, studies estimate that approximate 8 and a half million Americans are addicted to prescription drugs – primarily narcotic painkillers. Like other addictions, this can have a hugely detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing. If you or someone you know is taking prescribed medication then here are some things you should ask yourself.

Why are painkillers so addictive? Continue reading

Embrace Your Sexual Fantasies for More Honest Living

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 12.22.26 PMBy Beatty Cohan, MSW, LCSW 

In my 35 years as a practicing psychotherapist and sex therapist, I have treated hundreds of men and women of all ages and stages in life– both heterosexual and homosexual– whose problems have included depression, anxiety, early child sexual abuse, addictions of every kind and relationship and sexual problems. In all those years only a handful of patients have chosen to share their sexual fantasies with me.  And in daring to do so, what they were all looking for was my reassurance that it was ok to fantasize and that their fantasies were “normal.” In retrospect, this is an area that I should have explored more thoroughly with all of my patients. And indeed, this is a topic that most of us (whether we are in therapy or not) should not be afraid to explore, as we seek to have richer and more fulfilling sex lives.

Children’s natural curiosity and their openness to the world around them allows them to have creative fantasies as they attempt to understand and make sense of the world.  As we develop and mature sexually, we all begin to fantasize about what it must feel like to fall in love, be in love, experience that first kiss and have sex. We all remember our first crush and that ‘feeling’ that gave us butterflies in our stomach. As a child I too was mesmerized by movies about love and sex and devoured romance novels and magazines, which only served to further activate my already active sexual fantasy life. As an adult, I read Nancy Friday’s book My Secret Garden which became an instant classic and one of the only books available at that time that enabled women to pursue and enjoy their sexual fantasies. These days, adolescent girls and boys, especially when talking among themselves, are very open and honest about their sex lives and sexual fantasies.

I have observed that as adults begin to form more permanent love relationships, the topic of sexual fantasies wane. In fact most adults are apt to repress their sexual fantasies as ‘life’ takes over.  And we can all attest to the fact that talking about sexual fantasies is unlikely to be dinnertime conversation among adults. And yet we all have fantasies, sexual and otherwise.

In writing this piece I want to give people permission to fully explore their deepest sexual fantasies with themselves and with their partners. I also needed to acknowledge to myself that although I have always had a rich sexual fantasy life, I too rarely shared these fantasies with anyone for fear of embarrassment.  Fortunately, today I am in a relationship where I am able to not only talk about these fantasies, but to act them out as well, if I so desire.

I encourage you to take whatever steps you need to take to free yourself mentally and sexually.   Tell yourself that from this day forward you will no longer repress, suppress, deny or avoid enjoying your sexual fantasies to the fullest as long as these fantasies aren’t acted out in a way that will be hurtful to you or others.

I wish you a successful and sexually charged fantasy life.


Beatty is a nationally recognized psychotherapist, sex therapist, co-author of For Better, For Worse, Forever:  Discover the Path to Lasting Love, columnist, national speaker and national radio and television expert guest.  She currently hosts a live ASK BEATTY radio show on the Progressive Radio Network in New York City and has a private practice in New York City and Sarasota, Florida.

Having Faith In Positive Energy

SMILE.....IT'S MONDAY.Most people can relate to having a strong desire, belief and yes, even faith, that something good was about to happen. This may have been a strong intuition that they were going to get that promotion, meet Mr. or Mrs. Right or even reconnect with someone after a misunderstanding that created a rift in the relationship. However, for whatever reason, despite the strong belief that we had it would all work out, it didn’t. The promotion went to someone else, Mr. or Mrs. Right turned out to be wrong and despite our willingness to rekindle the relationship the other person wanted to stay mad and unforgiving.

When this happens the first step is to immediately see the negative. We berate ourselves for our wishful thinking, for our mistake believes and our misplaced faith in the positive aspects of the universe. We often block ourselves from trying again and sink into a cycle of negativity, cynicism and critical outlook on the world around us.

Instead, there are some simple steps that you can take to ensure that your faith, belief and hope stays alive and you stay focused on the positives. Getting caught up in negativity will only attract more negativity, a concept that is central in my book, “The Law of Sobriety” , which is based on the universal Law of Attraction. Three techniques that really help you stay focused on the positive energy around you even if things don’t go the way you anticipated are:

  1. Don’t try to control how positives will come into your life, just look for the opportunities that the universe provides. Controlling the process will simply block possibilities.
  2. See yourself as you want to be, not how you want to get there.
  3. Have faith and believe in your vision for yourself, don’t set a timeline or a specific date that it has to be accomplished by.
Sherry Gaba LCSW, Psychotherapist, Life & Recovery Coach is featured Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of “The Law of Sobriety” which uses the law of attraction to recover from any addiction. Please download your copy of“Manifest Holistic Health” from Sherry’s Enrich Your Life Series. Contact Sherry at sherry@sgabatherapy.com for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements. 
Originally posted in 2011
photo by: Neal.

Thursday Morning Melody: Always

180447_1631122743643_2327969_nThere’s a tattoo on my left ankle that says “It was always you falling for me.” When people ask me what it means I sort of brush it off with “They’re my favorite lyrics by my favorite band, Panic! at the Disco.” At that point they either give me a puzzled look because they have no idea who I am talking about or laugh because the few that have probably stopped taking them seriously in 2008.

So I don’t explain that I started listening to them in 2005, the fall of my junior year of high school when I coincidentally moved out of my house for a two year intensive math and science boarding school. Seeing as how I’m editor of a wellness blog and an aspiring screenwriter I think you can guess how well the whole “Science & Math” thing worked out for me. Those were the toughest two years of my life. I lost my identity as the smartest girl in my class. I had a lot of family issues. I lost all the friends I had to leave behind at home and making new ones didn’t come easily to me. I was in a really dark place. Given the epidemic of teen suicides in this country over the past few years I don’t like to be as dramatic to say I was suicidal; but I also like to say that if it hadn’t been for Panic!’s debut album that I had on constant repeat I would have probably taken my wondering what it would be like to not have to exist anymore a bit more seriously. I could write 5,000 words on why that album meant so much to me but the moral of the story is that it gave me something to hold on to. It was the only thing that made me feel like a human in those two years. Those songs helped me survive and I’m a stronger, better person for it, because of this band.

People stopped taking them seriously in 2008 because that’s when their second album came out, after they had basically transformed into a Beatles tribute band. It’s not their most heralded album, but there’s a song called “Northern Downpour” on it that they wrote for their fans. That was originally going to be the tattoo. The second verse starts “And then she said she can’t believe/Genius only comes along/In storms of fabled foreign tongues,” that broke my heart. There’s a history there because they had to scrap the original sessions for the second album and briefly thought of disbanding under the pressure of trying to create a follow up to their debut “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” – which sold 1.9 million copies worldwide. The first proposed second album was supposed to be a rock-opera of sorts, and their first album was composed of songs based off lyricist Ryan Ross’s short stories and favorite books (fabled – because the stories were made up – foreign – because some of them weren’t his – tongues, get it?) His at-the-time girlfriend told him not to give up, that he had genius of his own from his own experiences and so the band forged on to write “Pretty. Odd.” The first time I met the band I handed Ryan a letter thanking him for not giving up and quoted those lyrics. To this day I kick myself for not including my email address because I like to think he would have written back.

Of course, my idol worship was to be short lived. Apparently taking on the Beatles persona gave Ryan a case of John Lennon disease and he let his new girlfriend Yoko Ono the band. That’s rumored of course. The public story is that they had creative differences, but Ryan and bassist Jon Walker left all the same. This time it seemed Panic! was done for real. I mean, how do you write a third album when your main songwriter bails? You thank the heavens for a lead singer who knows how to step up. Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith forged ahead. Brendon got out a notebook and started writing – and two years later “Vices & Virtues” was released, proving he was more than a powerhouse vocalist but a wordsmith to be reckoned with. “Always” is on that album and it’s the only ballad. Actually, it’s just an acoustic guitar and Brendon – vulnerable and austere as he sings out “It was always you falling for me/Now there’s always time calling for me/I’m the light at the end of the road/Blink back to let me know“. In interviews after the album he said the only reason the album exists is because his mentor/”Pretty. Odd.” producer Rob Mathis told him to “just show up.”

That’s what my tattoo is a reminder of – to show up for my life. And I’m glad I waited for the third album, that I picked this song over “Northern Downpour.” This is a song about finding strength, on an album that was born out of the ashes of struggle and ego. This song, these words, are the rainbow on the other side of the storm for me. Listening to “A Fever” 8 years ago pushed me to show up every day at that school no matter how hard it was. No matter how angry I was at my parents, or how hopeless my future felt. Fun fact, despite falling to a C average, my entrance essays (about the importance of participating in your life!) got me into NYU, BU, Tufts, UNC Chapel Hill and Northeastern University. The latter gave me a full-tuition scholarship, so that’s where I went and majored in Music Industry. By my senior year I was a paid freelance writer for Billboard and interviewed Panic! at the Disco, in person, in a quiet corner of the Atlantic Records office. I don’t say any of that to be arrogant or to brag. I’m saying I got there by doing what their music inspired me to do, what Brendon had to do – by showing up, and those 28 minutes and 43 seconds were absolutely worth the two years of desperation I had to survive beforehand.

Thus I couldn’t think of a better choice than “Always” for this week’s Thursday Morning Melody. Enjoy!

For those that have made it through all this intense obsessive history and still find yourselves interested – Panic! at the Disco released their fourth album “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die” on Oct. 8. Shortly before the release, Spencer confessed he’d been battling a prescription drug addiction for the past couple of years and had been absent for most of the recording process. Since he is in the beginning stages of his recovery he also sat out their nationwide arena tour with label-mates Fall Out Boy. This means that Brendon has largely been carrying the creative load for Panic! squarely on his own shoulders. Their new single “This Is Gospel” is a song he wrote about the frustration, anger and fear of losing his best friend to addiction. “If you love me let me go/These words are knives and often leave scars/(This is the fear of falling apart)/The truth is I never was yours/(The fear, the fear of falling apart)/This is the beat of my heart,” rings out the chorus – proving definitively that genius doesn’t only come in storms of fabled foreign tongues, but in honesty, creativity, and having the guts to show up. It also reminds me my right ankle is pretty bare…You can check out “This Is Gospel” below as well.

Are there songs or works of art that inspire you to show up? Tell us in the comments below. If you have a song that inspires or moves you submit it to our Thursday Morning Melody column by emailing editor@intent.com!

A Focus On The Positive Is Key To Success In Addiction Recovery

think positiveOne of the best experiences I had in writing my book “The Law of Sobriety” was the opportunity to think back on the clients I have worked with throughout the years. By looking at many different cases I was able to clearly see patterns emerging that signaled either success in addiction recovery or a return to the life of an addict.

The biggest issue that I noted and, in my own life have found to be true, is that the more that you focus in on what you want in a positive fashion the more likely you are to reach that goal. The clients that I worked with that used the positive influences, energy and elements in their life were the most successful in recovery and continue to be throughout their life.

Most people, when they think about their future, think about what they don’t want to happen. They don’t want to be addicted, don’t want to hurt friends and family and don’t want to experience that constant downward spiral. Focusing in on what they don’t want brings a negative energy and mindset to your recovery. In keeping with the Law of Attraction you know that the more you dwell on the negative the more this becomes a reality. On the other hand, focusing in on the positive goals and objectives you have allows you to tap into the powerful energy in the world around you.

Key ways to set positive goals for your immediate recovery and life include:

  • Take the time to really understand what you want in your life. What your friends and family want for you is important to consider, but you have to make the decision for yourself in order to be authentic and honest.
  • Think both short and long term when setting goals. Short term goals are like milestones that will help you achieve your long term goals as a sober, happy person.
  • Seek help and work with an addiction recovery therapist, coach or counselor that can assist you in taking full advantage of the power of the positive energy in your life.

Getting help in goal setting and focusing in on the positive goals in your life is a critical part of your recovery. This is a central part of charting your path forward and dealing with issues, challenges and the reality of this important lifestyle change.


Sherry Gaba LCSW, a psychotherapist and life, love and recovery coach, is featured on Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of  The Law of Sobriety, which uses the Law of Attraction to help people recover from addiction; she is also a contributor to Conscious Entrepreneurs, and to several e-books: Empowerment Manual: Finding Purpose with Intention, Filling the Empty Heart: 5 Keys to Transforming Love Addiction. The e-books Relapse Prevention and Eliminate Limiting Beliefs can be downloaded free of charge at www.sherrygaba.com. Contact Sherry for webinars, teleseminars, coaching packages and speaking engagements.

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