December 29, 2015

Arriving Safely

A few days ago I had the opportunity to talk with someone about his inner craving and desire to engage in behavior that we know of and call an addiction. As we talked about how the past two weeks were for him, we validated and affirmed the actions he had taken to create safety and peace for his mind and body, and we also discussed and brainstormed about the other moments during the week that were not so successful for him.

At some point in our conversation, I mentioned to him that his craving and desire were a natural and normal reflection of who he is, and were a necessary and valuable part of him that he intends to enjoy with the woman he will wed in six months. I reminded him that although he has experienced problems in the sexual domain of his life, his sexual passion that he wants to be intentional with is never something to be pathologized. Like a powerful river, his sexuality is a beautiful part of who he is and is to be respected, honored and celebrated, per the values he and his fiancé have for themselves.

As we continued to talk, we likened his current struggle to him trying to navigate a raft on a white water rafting experience. On his daily trip, we spoke of him being able to honor the power of the water (his sexual desire) while also being able to avoid the rocks and other elements (addictive triggers) that are unpredictable in appearance and perilous to the journey and would definitely impede his effort to arrive safely at the destinations in life that were important to him.

As we stayed with this analogy, we spoke of how progress was made when he was aware of and working in any of the 7 Core Areas of his life (His Spirituality, Cognitions, Emotions, Physical/Biological, Sexuality, Social/Relationships and Environmental).

His spirituality helped him when he engaged in prayer, study and reflection, which helped him to experience peace while also enhancing his clarity and focus when he needed it the most. This helped him to make better decisions regarding simple things like eating and sleeping (exercising good self-care) while also helping him to regularly stay in contact with people in his recovery system for guidance, encouragement and skill enhancement as he applied the tools that were necessary to successfully navigate the river.

By “living in consultation” he listened to and practiced what he heard from his guides (a very safe practice to employ during the rafting experience) and subsequently he reduced the slippery and challenging spots where he could have experienced self-harm had he not integrated the counsel. In short, he was able to navigate the power of the water and arrive safely to and through his daily checkpoints when he intentionally used his tools that were available to him.

Later this afternoon, tonight or sometime during the new year each of us will be faced with choices regarding how we will navigate our own personal river, which is simultaneously natural and powerful yet could be perilous at the same time. On a day like today (New Years Eve) or on any day, my hope is that you will consider what tools you will employ to help you to arrive safely to the destination(s) that are important to you and to those who love you. Have a safe but enjoyable New Year and above all, arrive safely!

Raft 2

Thanks for visiting and please visit the other blogs written by Dr Ken McGill: Dr Ken McGill’s blog and Daily Bread for Life for additional information that could be helpful. I welcome your comments below or via email and your favorites, your retweets and your “+1’s” if you have a brief moment and find the information helpful. Again, it is my desire to provide the very best info for your consideration.

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About Dr Ken McGill

Dr. Ken McGill is an ordained minister and has been involved in counseling for more than 25 years. Dr. McGill holds a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University), a Certificate of Completion in the Alcohol and Drug Studies/Counseling Program from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Dr. McGill received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in May, 2003. Dr. McGill's dissertation focused on the development of an integrated treatment program for the sexually addicted homeless population, and Ken was "personally mentored" by dissertation committee member Dr. Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in the field of sex addiction work. Dr. McGill authored a chapter in the text The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction, with his chapter addressing the homeless and sex addiction. Dr. McGill is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the States of Texas and California and Mississippi, and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, through the International Institute for Trauma and Addictive Professionals (IITAP). Dr. McGill had a private practice in Glendora, CA (Aspen Counseling Center), Inglewood, CA (Faithful Central Bible Church), and Hattiesburg, MS (River of Life Church), specializing in the following areas with individuals, couples, families, groups and psychoeducational training: addictions and recovery, pre-marital, marital and family counseling, issues related to traumatization and abuse, as well as depression, grief, loss, anger management and men's and women's issues. Dr. McGill also provided psychotherapeutic treatment with Student-Athletes on the University of Southern Mississippi Football and Men's Basketball teams. Dr. McGill served as the Director of the Gentle Path Program, which is a seven-week residential program, for people who are challenged with sexual addiction, sexual anorexia, and relationship issues. Dr. McGill also supervised Doctoral students in the Southern Mississippi Psychology Internship Consortium with the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. McGill was inducted into the Azusa Pacific University Academic Hall of Honor, School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, in October, 2010. Dr. McGill currently works as a Private practice clinician with an office in Plano, Texas, providing treatment with people who are challenged in the areas mentioned above.

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