A Body Apology – By Andrea Wachter, LMFT

Having spent the first half of my life trying to lose weight, I decided some time ago that I refuse to spend the second half of my life trying to lose wrinkles. All day long, our bodies work diligently for us, yet most people walk around lost in thought, ignoring, criticizing and often times even despising their bodies. I used to be an extreme body hater. After decades of working on cultivating self-kindness and self-care, I am now extremely devoted to loving and appreciating the body I live in. I also have the good fortune of being able to teach others how to do the same. It occurred to me recently that while my body must be infinitely more content with the treatment it receives from me now (both externally and internally), I felt like I owed it an apology. After all, if I had abused someone else for decades… Continue reading

RECOVERY RISING EXCERPT: WHAT CANCER TAUGHT ME ABOUT ADDICTION TREATMENT

Adversity is a seductive invitation to self-pity. Cancer, like other unwelcomed challenges experienced in my life, provided such an invitation. But adversities provide opportunities as well as pitfalls. None of us escape adversities in our lives, but there really is something to the old saw, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Cancer was far more than an assault on my cells; it was a test of my character. Cancer provided invaluable lessons regarding my personal vulnerability and my need for better self-care—lessons of great import to someone both other-directed and action-oriented. The loss of bladder control in the weeks after my surgery forced me to once again confront limitation and powerlessness and brought humility and humiliation in equal measure—also valuable experiences for those of us fixated on controlling our own daily destinies. My need to rely on others, particularly my wife, forced me from the role of caring for… Continue reading

A Cultural Look at Body Bashing By Andrea Wachter, LMFT

Unfortunately, I think it’s pretty accurate to say that most people in our culture are dissatisfied with their body. Many people even despise their body (or certain parts). And this epidemic has no age limit. In my psychotherapy practice I have worked with clients as young as 6 years old, who are already obsessed with calories, carbs and getting fat. I have treated people in their 70s who have no memories of eating bread or dessert without guilt. And I have seen people of nearly every age in between who battle their body on some level. It’s like being a member of a club to trash and bash your body in our image-obsessed culture. Many people bond over what I call “fat chat,” and many people spend enormous amounts of time trying to change their bodies. Thanks to the media and the diet industry, we have all been set up… Continue reading

HEALTH CHALLENGES IN ADDICTION RECOVERY – (BILL WHITE AND DAVID EDDIE, PHD)

The wide range of injuries inflicted on the human body by excessive and prolonged alcohol or other drug (AOD) use have been extensively documented for more than two centuries, but until recently little was known about the relative health of people recovering from addiction. The potential burden of continued health problems in recovery has been obscured by general findings of improved health and quality of life in recovery from follow-up studies of clinical samples. Little information has been available on the health status of people in recovery within larger community samples.   In 2010, the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services contracted with the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) to incorporate recovery-focused items into PHMC’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey of Philadelphia and four surrounding counties. Nearly ten percent (9.45%) of the adult population surveyed reported once having but no longer having an AOD problem. Those in… Continue reading

Essential Oil Aromatherapy for Relaxation during Recovery

Stress and anxiety can be a trigger for relapse, which is why aiming to achieve a mindful, relaxed state is so important during recovery. In one study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, it was found that a 15-minute aromatherapy massage significantly reduced anxiety in study participants, who chose from different essential oils, including lavender, bergamot, and patchouli. There is no doubt that fragrant smells can lift our mood and please our senses, but can they go further than this? Can essential oils/aromatherapy help provide those in recovery with a welcome sense of peace and calm? Aromatherapy and Cravings According to studies carried out by RJ Buckle Associates, aromatherapy can help quell cravings and ameliorate withdrawals. Essential oils used in the study included angelica, helichrysum, and lavender. Indeed, studies have long shown that there is a strong link between smells and food cravings, or a desire for alcohol and substances. These studies show… Continue reading