How Many Likes Are Enough? – By Andrea Wachter, LMFT

As a therapist who enjoys writing, several years ago I decided to hop on the blogging bandwagon. Having received a moderate number of likes and positive feedback, it seemed for a while that nobody was worse for the wear and maybe a few people even benefited. Then came the day when one of my blogs seemed to strike a chord. A friend called me first thing in the morning and excitedly said, “You have thousands of likes on your new blog and they are increasing by the minute!” “That’s great,” I said. “But maybe the counter is broken!” So, with a little bounce in my step, I headed over to my computer and sure enough, the “likes” were on a roll. Cool, I thought. After all, who doesn’t like to be liked? Although some may refer to us as the Like Generation, wanting approval is nothing new. It’s human nature… Continue reading

Validation; Friend or Foe? – By Nicola O’Hanlon

There is no doubt that validation is an important aspect in human life. As children it is a vital learning tool when obtaining basic skills. For example, when learning to speak, we are validated by the reactions of people around us to our first mutterings of “mama” or “dada.” We see the joy and excitement of our parents as they delight in hearing our first words. This reaction encourages us to keep learning. We like the reactions we witness so we naturally want to repeat the behavior that produces this reaction. As we grow, validation continues to encourage us in many ways to become functioning members of society. Feeling we belong to a group and are acceptable to our peers as we grow into adulthood, teaches us appropriate behavior. As recovering addicts validation helps us to understand when we are making right choices. This, of course, is hugely important because… Continue reading

Are You Able To Say No? – By Tsgoyna Tanzman

My friend JayJo had a four-question acid test she used to make decisions: Will it make me Smarter? Richer? Healthier? Or Sexier? If it didn’t pass the muster it was a “NO.” Saying “No” is a skill that can be acquired if it isn’t already deep in your DNA. As a recovering people pleaser, I’ve learned to set the limit and say the “N” word with grace and conviction. Many years ago I was working as a Speech Pathologist in a Rehab Facility. I was approached with the “opportunity” to coordinate a complex schedule for eight therapists and twenty five patients. My boss pitched me as if it were a special reward for being exemplary. Knowing one’s strengths, weaknesses and even preferences is key to setting boundaries and applying that NO word as needed. Scheduling (with or without a digital tool, this was in the 90’s) is about as appealing… Continue reading

“Otheration” – Attachment To What Others Think

Before I started drinking and using, before my mom’s drinking had become the huge issue it turned out to be, before I fell in love with addict after addict I was emotionally bound to others.  It is appropriate as a baby, as a child. We learn to smile by being smiled at, how to laugh by finding things funny, to cry with a sad face in front of us. We become social by socializing ourselves to the people and situations around us. But at some point we are intended to explore and become familiar with our own feelings, from the inside out. It took years in recovery for me to find that ability. Growing up I learned to give up at games so that others would not experience the pain of losing, to behave in impeccable ways so that no one would have to be angry with or critical of… Continue reading