Category: Uncategorized

I Have This Data… What Am I Supposed to Do With It?

This was the question that first introduced me to the BRC Family of Programs and Marsha Stone.  If I remember correctly, I was eating a “sampling” of desserts at The Oceanaire at the Galleria in Dallas, Texas.  I admit, the question was inconveniently timed as I was somewhere between a bite of key lime pie and the flourless chocolate torte. My mind felt a little sluggish from all the food, and I didn’t want to talk with my mouth full. Plus, I had just met Marsha at this dinner and now she was asking hard questions. So, I punted and said the usual, ... Read more

The Neurobiology of Trauma and Addiction Recovery

In the field of addiction, it is rare that I meet a client who does not also suffer from trauma. When we are first taught about trauma, we are introduced to “Big T trauma” and “little t trauma”. This is a concept to move past and to address trauma for what it is. Trauma is defined as an event that is the source of tremendous distress and dysfunction. This can be any life event that challenges one’s sense of safety: mentally, physically, or emotionally. When an individual has experienced trauma of any kind, their mind and body shift to an ... Read more

Dust Settles, We Don’t!

A Letter from Our Founder I find myself sitting on a plane headed back to Austin, having just completed my first work trip of 2020. It feels strange to even type that in that we have officially entered Fall. But, as I look around the cabin, not a single face is exposed, and not a single beverage or pack of pretzels has been served. Strange would actually be an understatement to describe this year. Between Covid-19, political upheaval, racial tension and everything in between, this is the year of the unexpected and unpredicted. When things are strange, when the world ... Read more

“Addiction Is a Family Disease.” What Does That Even Mean?

The statement that addiction is a family disease is driven a lot by the age-old debate of “Nature vs. Nurture.” Genetic and environmental variables are at hand with the disease of addiction. The family plays a huge role in the nature vs. nurture concept as family is literally where our genetics come from and the environment we are raised in. With that in mind, I often hear clients say, “Well, my family was great, and I had no trauma, so my family has nothing to do with my disease.” While that can often be true, it doesn’t automatically remove the ... Read more

Treatment Duration

Several months ago, while walking across the men’s campus, I was stopped by one of our clients who asked if he could speak privately with me. There is nothing out of the ordinary about this. I meet with and speak to clients every day. However, when he motioned me toward a place for us to sit, I recall noticing he had an unusual and uncharacteristic look of seriousness on his face. This client had been in treatment for about four weeks, and his somber demeanor had me concerned as I quickly tried to guess what I was about to hear. ... Read more

Functional Alcoholism

We live in a society that normalizes and glorifies alcohol consumption. People and even animals have been engaging in alcohol consumption of some kind for thousands of years and it is associated with every kind of mood and event you could image. Need to celebrate? Drink. Need to deal with an awful boss? Drink. Your kids are draining on you with their tireless demands? Drink. You just ran a 5k? You DESERVE a drink! From a very young age, we are bombarded with images and messages around drinking to cope with life’s ailments. Questioning this behavior and alcoholism is often seen as being a prude ... Read more

Collecting Outcomes Data

As an advocate of outcomes data, I am often asked… ”Why don’t treatment programs collect more data?”  I cannot pretend to answer for all of my colleagues across the world, but I can answer from my experience.  First and foremost, there has been widespread disagreement over what needs to be measured and on how we define, or operationalize, the broad construct of recovery. Second, there has been disagreement on what measures to use.  Well-meaning individuals have attempted to develop their own, yet many of these are absent of the psychometric standardization that is necessary to have empirical rigor. And lastly, ... Read more

Anti-Racism in the Workplace

Racism is a topic that makes most people feel very uneasy. It is not a good conversation starter in the break room, and it is rarely part of the work gossip around the Keurig. But it is something that is very much alive and present in our country and often our work environments. Our country has been called into the arena to face, well, ourselves! This is a call to vulnerability and discomfort, so we can all be better. The first step toward anti-racism in the workplace is to first acknowledge that racism exists, even in our most diverse work ... Read more

Creating New Positive Attachment

At Makana Path, one of our primary goals is the empowerment of clients with the skills and strategies they can independently use daily. These skills help clients work through and cope with clinical struggles and lean on their sober support network, much like their 12-step work. Empowerment, as it pertains to attachment work, is what made the Ideal Parent Figure (IPF) protocol developed by Daniel Brown, PhD and David Elliott, PhD so appealing. We deliver the attachment module at Makana Path in a three-day intensive, as research shows IPF has proven to show significant progress with attachment issues within three ... Read more

It Takes a Village…

I was a little hesitant to use this title. It’s taken from the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and I didn’t want to give the impression that I viewed addicts and alcoholics as children. I do not. I am in recovery myself, and I would have bristled (or worse) at being labeled a child when I entered treatment at the ripe old age of 39. However, were you to have asked my family at that time if my behavior or approach to life was immature, their response would have been a resounding, yes! What I ... Read more

Attachment: A Closer Look

Do you remember the first three years of your life? This period most of us don’t remember. This is when we learn how to attach to our caregivers; it sets the groundwork for our relationships for the rest of our lives.  Attachment is defined as the deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969). During the 1950s, when attachment theory was just developing, hospitals caring for babies on neonatal units were concerned about keeping their units sterile. To keep infections out, they would not allow the parents on the units ... Read more

What Is Outcomes Research?

I graduated from Snyder High School in Snyder, Texas, in 1996.  Not an enormous city by any means, but certainly a small town full of interesting characters, eccentric personalities, and more than a few real-life cowboys.  The biggest thing most of my peers wanted was to get out of there and to see the rest of the world. Some people left and made it big, some left only to decide they wanted to come back home, and some moved to a place not so distant from Snyder, but still not there. I realize this may seem a strange way to ... Read more