Motivational Orientation

Discovering what motivates us to pursue change and maintain change in our lives is started by understanding where our motivators lay. The  second handout in my Relapse Prevention curiculum helps one discover and put in place their own motivators.

The 3 most common types of motivational styles are Goal-Oriented, Learning-Oriented, and Relationship-Oriented.

Goal-Oriented people are motivated by concrete goals and completion of tasks. Relationships and learning are a secondary gain and means to completing a specific quest. Those of us who are goal oriented respond better,and stay on task, when we are regularly reminded of what we have to gain and lose by our behaviors.

Learning-Oriented  people are more motivated by the process than the completion of a task. They lean towards work positions and tasks that allow for learning and not simply procedural following. When working through our recovery, overcoming trauma, or simply trying to find a more balanced life, a learning orientation that enjoys psycho-education can be a game changer.

Relationship-Oriented people, as suspected, are motivated by building and maintaining relationships. Engaging in therapy or support based groups, or change focused communities, can bring about further and quicker growth than just one on one therapy.

Thinking further: What is your motivation style? How can you utilize this knowledge to promote and sustain change in your life? What are your top motivators right now, and why? What can you put in place to keep your mind focused on these motivations?



Growing Your Seeds: Self-Care

One thing that many of us excel at in life is self-care other-care. We give and give and give and care and care and care. Yet we forget to remember that we have to grow seeds in order to give seeds.

FlowersI am struck again and again of the lifespan of a sunflower. It starts as a seed and with much care (by others and nature: rain and food) it sprouts into a flower and grows. Then one day it blooms a sunflower head. The leaves stay folded into the center of the flower protecting the developing seeds. Then one day, as the seeds become fully grown, the petals unfold and reveal the sunflower seeds that the flower produced during its growing process.


Once the seeds are revealed, the flower drops them. Some of them set into the ground to grow new flowers, some are gathered by others to plant or eat.

So what does this mean for us as people?

Sometimes we need to

A. Let others nurture us, feed us, protect us, provide, and aid in our growth

B. Allow ourselves time to grow and bloom

C. Protecting our seeds (our gifts, skills, talents, energy)

and then- we are ready to release our time and seeds to others. Only after our own growth and self-care can we give back and care for others.

Impatient: (Re)Learning Emotion



1. not patient; not accepting delay, opposition, pain, etc., withcalm or patience.
2. indicating lack of patience: an impatient answer.
3. restless in desire or expectation; eagerly desirous.


4. impatient of, intolerant of: impatient of any interruptions.
       Today I am choosing to blog on relearning the feeling of impatience. So why today? Well, you guessed it, I am feeling IMPATIENT! I recently ordered myself my first apply IPad. It is sitting at FedEx, and I am stuck in my office. Waiting.
      There are many things in life that cause us to feel impatient: the excitement of something new, the wait before an upcoming vacation, or when an ending of something dreadful is nowhere near sight.
     This last example is the one that I frequently hear from individuals in recovery (and from myself when I am faced with a change). Impatience is often expressed in the midst of recovery towards people. For example:
I am impatient towards my therapist who just wont answer my question or refuses to push me further.
I am impatient with my dietitian who just doesn’t understand that I cannot and will not do (fill in the blank).
I am impatient that my team is not listening to me or considering my point of view on a situation.
and the real biggy
I am impatient with myself. Why is my recovery not happening, right, NOW?
I know it is frustrating to sit with this feeling but it shows incredible growth and progress! It shows that you are willing to push forward, that you are not content in your disorder or negative coping behaviors, you are MOVING FORWARD!
So, instead of allowing these feeling of impatience towards yourself or others aiding in your recovery, embrace the feeling (cliche I know) and yet it is true. Embrace the feeling that accompanies change, and growth, and new experiences. This to shall pass.

Rejected : (RE)Learning Emotions


verb (used with object)

1. to refuse to have, take, recognize, etc.: to reject the offer of a better job.
2. to refuse to grant (a request, demand, etc.).
3. to refuse to accept (someone or something); rebuff: The other children rejected him. The publisher rejectedthe author’s latest novel. discard as useless or unsatisfactory: The mind rejects painful memories. cast out or eject; vomit.
Feeling rejected is probably one of the most common emotions felt by those in recovery. Rejected by our friends, our families, our co-workers, our peers, even ourselves. We all have those memories of waiting to someone to come around, and they simply do not.
So let us break rejection down:
Who: friends, peers, co-workers, family, ourselves
How:  a) intentionally- although we like to believe that others would treat us fairly and not internally reject us, it does happen. Sometimes it is circumstances we are prepared for such as a rejection of a job position and other times it is just bullying or somewhere in between the two.
        b) unintentionally- sometimes (and most often) our rejection or feelings of rejection were not intentional. For instance, you waited for hours for you friend to call you back, you felt rejected when he/she did not call you, and yet in reality, your friend had a family crisis and simply could not get in touch with you. **This does not make you feeling of rejection any less real or valid**
We all feel rejected from time to time- the question is: how do we handle this emotion? how do we react? or respond? what self-talk do we use?
Feel free to comment on your own rejection stories, how you responded/reacted, and what helped you get through it.

Living in the “Shoulds” and “have toos'”

Recently I heard a girl in recovery say to another girl that

“If you are telling yourself you have do something, you shouldn’t be doing it”

These are hard words to swallow. Be it in recovery or in day to day living: you shouldn’t do something if you think that you have too.

IE: you shouldn’t exercise because you think you have too, you should exercise because it promotes the healthy lifestyle you want to live.

What areas are you pushing yourself to do things you “have” to do? and how can you modify them to make them more healthy?

Relationships in Recovery?

Being in a house full of teenage/young adult ladies, one would expect there to be at least some conversation around relationships. I’m not talking about just any relationship, I mean romantic relationships. As well as all the things that go along with romantic relationships such as dating, kissing, having sex, getting married, raising kids…. I think you get the point.


But here is the thing:



And that is the truth- unless you have tackled your own negative thoughts/habits/beliefs/patterns/coping skills then you cannot be fully available and present for someone else.

For those of you currently in recovery, remember that the choices you make today, effect your tomorrow. And if you want the healthy family that you so deeply want, then you need to take steps today. Because ultimately, you are the only one who can change you and you are the only one that can truly influence your tomorrow.

Decisions make Recovery

1467281_10151815917716868_844971334_n In recovery, it is your
job to get up every day, participate in all life is offering (even
when you don’t want to) and to choose to make decisions differently
than you have in the past. None of these things are an easy feat by
any means. But the real road to recovery is found in one small
decision after another. It is the choice this morning to eat, the
choice tonight to not drink, the choice at 4am to not binge or the
choice at 2pm to not purge. And soon, all those different choices,
each individually made, make up a life that is recovered. SO, do
your job today and someday you can walk recovered.