Drug Problems and Sexual Abuse

Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) problems as well as Criminal Thinking and Conduct (CTC) could have been rooted deep in the past. Way back in your lifetime or of someone else who is suffering with these ghosts of the past.

Family History.

You might wonder how far back? Trauma can be generational and learned. Ancient memories, thoughts and beliefs can be passed on.

On the other hand, if we are talking about working with a client in the here and now, these problematic patterns can be as far back as when the person was a baby or toddler. Imagine a small, fragile, beautiful little girl who had a babysitter at home; or maybe an aide, a teacher or coach at pre-school, Kindergarten or grade school. Maybe Sunday School or church.

It could be someone’s little princess who was just enjoying a Mr. Rogers or Sesame Street life. The Cookie Monster was amazing.

Offenders are usually known by the victim.

Never imagining this could happen, one day a real monster strikes. A person, probably known to the victim and family does the unimaginable. He or she rapes or otherwise sexually abuses this little angel.

Could this have lasting harmful and painful affects on the victim? Yes they can. They can be imprinted and continue to be hurtful and limiting unless they are reprocessed. You can learn more about that here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/sexual-abuse .

Family in denial.

Parents may want to deny or ignore that this could possibly be true. But they keep seeing and hearing things that don’t make sense. Check here for indications that this may have happened or is happening now to your little angel: boy or girl. https://blogs.psychcentral.com/practical-psychoanalysis/2018/04/11-common-symptoms-experienced-by-victims-of-childhood-sexual-abuse/.

Affects every area of life.

Maybe this is about you and you are searching for answers. If you need to talk with someone about this you can call me now at 808 385 4550. We can talk about ways to be free of the painful beliefs, thoughts and emotions associated with this. Free from the ways you perceive the past, that experience and yourself.

Trauma of being raped, beaten, verbally abused can follow a person for a lifetime. It can limit identity, school performance, education, careers, relationships and lifestyles.

It might be surprising to you to learn that trauma from sexual abuse is a common diagnosis for women in the criminal justice system. Yes – it can lead to substance use disorder (SUD), addiction and crime.

It’s best practices to discover these imprints and limiting beliefs as soon as possible in treatment. If these permission-granting AOD/CTC beliefs are not “reprocessed” many of these folks relapse or recidivate within the first year.

You can learn more about that here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5064859/ .

Learning how to use the Cognitive Behavior Transformer found at the end of the Criminal Justice and Addictions Counseling piece could he helpful. You might need help with the process but it’s in the catalog on this site.

No Charge for Coaching.

If you do purchase this here I will give you two free coaching sessions to help you learn how to make it work for you. Call me anytime. 808 385 4550.

Other resources.

A great resource for you would be work done by Francine Shapiro, PhD., (1948-2019). She did a lot of work in this field. Shapiro explained how your interpretations of the painful events and memories of the past keep you stuck there – in pain.

Learning how to Float Back as she described it – to the painful events and experiences, then reprocess or ‘reframe’ those past events where you were the victim – can set you free. If you’d like to talk about this call me.

Too often, the victims blame themselves. You – may have been blaming yourself all this time. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You were the victim of a criminal committing a crime against you. Francine’s book may help you too. https://www.amazon.com/Getting-Past-Your-Self-Help-Techniques/dp/1609619951

Discharge Against Medical Advice.

AMA is another notation. It means against medical advice. Some patients who are in an acute hospital or residential program may get the urge to leave thinking “I’ve got this.”

Famous last words. Although you may have the right to discharge yourself it may not be in your best interest or the best for public safety either. If you want more information about the pros and cons you’ll find this link of value. https://www.verywellhealth.com/right-to-leave-the-hospital-3969768 .

Our beliefs and values play a huge part making this decision. Permission-granting beliefs can be the undoing for a person with a drug problem or alcohol problem. You may be having cravings for your drug of choice.

When you follow these and urges leading to relapse, the outcome can be deadly. Leave too soon and you put yourself, your family and society at risk.

All the progress and work you did – all that you accomplished in treatment can be wiped out with just one bad decision. Relapse is similar to being re-infected in today’s Coronavirus environment.

Alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States – historically. But this could change. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics.

Similarly, re-opening businesses to soon, AMA, and too many people out and about is potentially causing a resurgence of the disease. Just like a relapse. As of this writing 58,000 Americans have died out of the 1,000,000 cases. Nuff already!

Here’s more information about that. https://www.usnews.com/news/world-report/articles/2020-03-25/who-warns-of-reopening-businesses-schools-too-soon-amid-coronavirus-pandemic .

Covid-19 has surpassed the number of deaths during the war in Viet Nam.

Quality Assurance regarding treatment for SUD, Substance Use Disorder, requires fidelity in the use of Evidence Based Best Practices. Coronavirus has set its own rules and time table. It does not treat people differently in different states. It wants us all. It wants us dead. And it wants us now!

Just as alcoholism is a deadly and progressive disease, C-19 is devastating.

Following the C-19 mitigation advice of science professionals like Dr. Fauci could be a wise decision for individuals and municipalities.

If you are in an outpatient treatment program or getting residential services, the same is true for you. Go with the science of Evidence Based Best Practices.

Be safe. Stay healthy. Stay alive.

Women, Men, Stress and Drug Problems.

Do women and men respond the same way to stress?

No, they don’t. Our bodies react differently to stress and how we deal with it.

Today, with the Coronavirus threatening our children and our lives we may need new and better ways to meet the challenge. The link just below has helpful tips: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/202003/new-research-stress-quarantine-and-5-ways-feel-better

What about gender specific drug problems? Do women use drugs for the same reasons? Are men and women introduced to drugs and use the same way?

“Research has shown that women often use drugs differently” as you will see by the highlighted area in this article: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/substance-use-in-women/sex-gender-differences-in-substance-use

Do men’s and women’s bodies react differently to stress? Being informed about how our bodies and brains react to stress and drugs can help us to respond differently. We can notice what we notice. “Hey! I’m tense. Angry. What is that about? They sure do react differently: https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/stress-gender#2.

Knowing this and having new skills such as “Catch it. Check it. Change it” mentioned in previous posts can help us cope better. Hopefully it will reduce domestic violence too.

Catch it.

Imagery and visualization can help. When you notice you are stressed out or angry you have done the first step: Catch it. Visualize the situation.

Check it.

Next you examine or check it for usefulness or harm. Is it positive or negative? Should you get rid of the thought or image? You decide “Yes. It needs to go.

Change it.

What do you do? Change it. Make a picture of the ideal you with a new positive coping skill that works for you. Visualize the new you, over there, about 10 feet away. It’s the you that makes you safe, proud and happy.

Notice if it’s in black and white or color. Let’s say it’s in color. Now – make it a little bigger, a little brighter and move it a little closer. Does it feel worse, the same or – better. Let’s say it feels better.

Visualize, Strategize, Actualize.

Okay then. Move it slowly a little closer. A little closer as it feels better and better. As it gets right up in front of you – wrap your arms around the new you with the new coping skill that can keep you, your kids and your partner better protected and avoiding domestic violence.

If you would like more information about this or would like to do an exercise on the phone, call me: 808 385 4550.

Also, if you like this, please forward it to friends, family and colleagues. You can do the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn thing too.

Drug Problems, Anxiety and Stress.

Anxiety and stress can create an imbalance leaving us vulnerable to alcohol and other drug problems, relapse and recidivism.

As you probably know, relapse is returning to thinking about or to using drugs of choice. Irrational thinking goes with substance use disorder.

The substances could be alcohol, other drugs or even food. Food is a substance.

Thinking that you can go back to binging, using or committing crime to feel better (self-medicate) is a classic example of the irrational thinking that goes with these challenges.

Irrational thinking goes with depression and other mental health issues such as ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. It can cause us to feel frustrated, angry, anxious, etc.

The thoughts seem to be true and real at time. They are justified. Justification, mollifying, etc., are characteristics of what is going on with the person. They are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ so to speak.

Taking Control.

The key is to understand that this happens and your brain is playing tricks on you. Nobody is broken as I’ve pointed out earlier. It’s just a matter of finding how they work and knowing there is a better way to react. So, when we notice that we don’t feel good or right about a person, place or thing we can be on guard to the fact that it is time to use a coping skill.

Information sources.

As I’ve mentioned before, “Catch it. Check it. Change it” is a great tool to have at your disposal. Imagery too is a great way to feel better – some say – in an instant. psychologytools.com is the source of the check it piece.

If you’d like more information about imagery helping you, call me at 808 385 4550. We can do an exercise on the phone. It’s also available in the Catalog section of my site – Criminal Justice and Addictions Counseling.

Judith S. Beck has a whole chapter of her book dedicated to Imagery. The book is called Cognitive Behavior Theory.

Catch the problem, check and change it. When you change it, make a picture of a very satisfying situation about 10 feet in front of you. The way you see a happy, ideal outcome. It is a picture of a positive person, place or thing that makes you feel great – in charge.

Next, if it feels good to you, make it a little bigger, a little brighter and move it slowly closer to you. Experiment with that. You can try black and white vs in full rich color.

If it’s color that does it for you, experiment with different colors. Again, a little bigger, a little brighter, a little closer. Lock in that skill and you can turn a sad situation into a happy one – any time.

Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence.

Substance abuse and domestic violence are on the rise due to to the Coronavirus stay home, stay healthy and shelter in place rules.

There are more criminal complaints and calls for help due to violence at home. Public Safety officers fear these the most of all.

And there is good reason. If you’ve caught the news lately you’ve seen that police have died in the line of duty answering the calls.

Understanding that these are stressful times we must consider how it is influencing our behavior and substance use or abuse behavior.

When you know better you do better according to Oprah. Know this: when you use alcohol or other drugs it changes your brain chemistry and decision making skills.

Some people who have never had a problem with behavior, society or the law may be using substances more than usual to combat “cabin fever” and frustration.

Now is the time to be aware of this and to have coping skills at the ready. When you get angry, frustrated, don’t know what to do – realize that it is the times working on your brain.

In stressful times like these the irrational brain, or, your irrational part or parts could be gaining control. Just realizing this can help you cope.

Consider your self-talk: “I can’t take this any more. I don’t deserve this.” “Poor me” – you know. Recognize this is simply self-talk that goes with you and your diagnosis. Maybe you have depression. Times like this can aggravate you, your brain and which choices you make.

Recognize that it is just self-talk, it is normal for you and that you can change it to more positive language. You could realize that “this is only my negative part self-talk and knowing that I can change it.”

“I am in control of this situation and I choose to have a positive outcome.”

If you need help with this call me now at 808 385 4550.

Substance Abuse Recovery.

Avoiding slippery people, places and things is a great first step. You’ve heard this before. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got. That includes “old you” choices.

If you are currently in treatment or have ‘graduated’ and are now out, in-community, in recovery, you need to avoid all those things that got you the things you didn’t want. Maybe things that got you in trouble with your partner, family, employer or the law.

This is what I mean by slippery people, places and things. You know the people you should not be with. You can see their faces as you read this. If you can’t, take a time out now and consider who it was that you were with when you took your first ‘hit’ of alcohol or other drugs. See the faces of your using buddies. See your dealer’s or liquor store merchant’s faces.

Those are the slippery people to avoid. Likewise, you can flashback to where you were when you used. Make a picture of those places. Avoid them.

Slippery things too can cause repeated problems for you. Stop doing the things you did that contributed to your problems. These can create what are called relapse (thinking about or using) and recidivism (thinking about or going back) to criminal activity.

Thinking you can do those things again and get better outcomes is what? _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. You can fill in that blank.

At the time of this post Covid-19, Coronavirus is a deadly, Pandemic problem. Social Distancing and face masks are just common sense. Going out when you don’t have to is also about slippery people, places and things.

This type of risky behavior can kill you. So can relapse and recidivism. We can all be tempted by irrational thinking. What do you do when that happens?

“Catch it. Check it. Change it.” I got this from Psychology.com. Catch the limiting thought. Examine it. Where did it come from? Maybe a friend called and said “let’s go for a walk.” “Let’s have ‘a’ beer.” Whoops!

Check it. Stop the behavior and examine the positive intent. Why would you consider it? Would it make you feel better? Independent? In charge? “It’s my body and my life. I’ll do what I want.” Sound familiar?

Change it. Choose another behavior that will get you the same satisfaction. It’s just more healthy.

So whether it’s remaining abstinent (not drinking or drugging), sheltering in place at home, wearing a face mask to avoid C-19, do the right thing even if no one is looking. Avoid slippery people, places and things.

To do anything else is i n s a n i t y.


There’s no such thing as failure. If you are not getting the results you want with your sobriety, recovery, relationships or work you are receiving feedback. What you are doing is not working. Maybe you should try something else: Anything Else.

As you learned in the last post, perspective is everything. When you moved an unpleasant image farther away it did not feel as bad. You were desensitized. When you moved the pleasant image closer you felt better.

You can use your five senses to help you get the outcomes you desire. Especially the visual, auditory and kinesthetic (the see, hear and feel) senses.

Make a picture of you ‘over there’, maybe across the room or even across the street. Analyze that person just like he/she were someone else. What is he trying  to do? What do you see going wrong? Correct the error. Maybe it is just adding a resource like confidence, just being able to ‘say no’ to slippery people, places and things. This is called a refusal skill.

When you can strengthen or add refusal skills you increase your chances of staying clean and sober, staying out of trouble or just being more successful in general.

Try this. Give that person over there the strength of confidence. See that person chin up with his head held high, feeling great that he could finally say No! to those people who have always dragged him down. You know – some people just don’t want you to get better or healthy. They will enable your drinking or using.

They’re called enablers and they are not your friends even if they are family or other loved ones. Sometimes your marital partner or significant other does not want you to heal. You are too much of a threat. It would mean they too may have to clean up, get sober or whatever term you choose.

Look at that person over there again. Ask him, how does it feel being able to ‘just say No? You can see how it looks. You can hear how great it sounds. How does that feel to you? If you like that person and that feeling just step into that image now. Because, it’s you isn’t it?

Put your arms around the New You. Pull him in. Own it. If you need to make the image even more effective try making it bigger, brighter, warmer and hear a soothing sigh of relief. You see, hear and feel the New You.

So you see, there is no such thing as failure. It’s feedback. And, you do have the resources within you already, don’t you? They are your five senses. And you can use them to give you great power. The power that is already locked up inside you. Set it free. Awaken the strengths and resources you already have as Carl Rogers mentioned. This has been Recovery Theme 11.



BELIEVE IT AND ACHIEVE IT. I give credit for that statement to both Jesse Jackson and Zig Ziglar. It is very powerful.

Credit needs to go to Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Beck, M.D. too. These are the founders of ABC Theory, REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Theory and CBT (Cognitive Behavior Theory). What’s the takeaway from their messages.

It’s all about our beliefs. More on this as we go along.

Number Nine is one of the favorite Recovery Themes of the people I have worked with. It is probably the most favorite based on how the print characters were nearly worn off the page.

I had a copy of these themes on the wall just left of where my clients sat during our talks. “Meeting the clients where they are at” is a mantra or credo of this field. It was the same in my previous profession where we were taught to “know thy client.” Their theme choices gave me insight to their beliefs.

The clients were asked which of the Recovery Themes they liked the best. That’s why the lettering was worn off of Number Nine: Anyone can do anything. Most people chose that one.

Why do you think that is? Think of this. If he can do it, I can do it. If she can do it I can do it. If they can do it we can do it. It’s empowering. Because it’s true.

I had a dear friend, Jose Krall who was from France. He was a master chef and baker with 40 years experience. He owned the Maui Bake Shop. His product cases were like an art gallery. His food was just excellent. His cheesecake was a delight.

If I wanted to make a cheesecake like his would I have to practice for 40 years? Or could I model him and use his recipe to produce a fine pastry? If he can do it, I can do it if I follow his instructions and recipe. Anyone can do anything using this approach. Modeling is powerful.

If you want to learn more about modeling using VAK (visual, auditory and kinesthetic – feeling – senses, you may want to purchase the Criminal Justice and Addictions PDF.

I can be your model for sobriety, abstinence and Transcendence. If I can do it anyone can do it. Believe it…