The Value of Ourselves

The term, value, generally refers to our beliefs that some things are good, other things are irrelevant, and some things are bad. Our core values define what is really important to us; they give us insight into who we really are. Our core values give us meaning and purpose. 

Knowing what our values are and sticking to them leads to higher self-confidence, good self-esteem and a healthy sense of self.   

When you become dependent on alcohol, drugs or food, you tend to lose sight of your values. Many of those values are compromised such as intimacy, loyalty, honesty, career, health, integrity or education. 

Once you know your core values, you can eliminate activities that don’t align with them. 

People with addiction often discover that once they establish their core values and begin to do more things that align with them, substance use and the activities related to it, no longer play a role in their lives. 

Our team can help you on your road to recovery. To learn moreclick here. 

The Balance of Wise Mind

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) uses the concept of a reasonable, emotional and wise mind to describe a person’s thoughts and behaviors. The reasonable mind is driven by logic, the emotional mind is driven by feelings and the wise mind is a middle-ground between the two.  

Wise mind is an inner wisdom that everyone has; when we access it, we can say that we are in wise mind. Inner wisdom includes the ability to identify and use skillful methods for attaining things we value. It can also be defined as the ability to apply knowledge, experience and common sense to the situation at hand.  

Everyone has the capacity for wisdom. 

In recovery from the disease of addiction, living in our wise mind can help us stay calm and stable. It can make us more likely to make choices that help us on our journey to recovery. 

To learn more about how we can help youclick here. 

Mindfulness: Living in the Moment

Modern mindfulness is the brainchild of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American professor emeritus of medicine. He defines it as: the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.

Mindfulness can be broken down into two steps.

The first is awareness. This involves focusing on the present moment, concentrating on whatever you happen to be doing in that moment.

The second is acceptance or simply being aware of your experience without judging it. So, if you notice that you’re feeling anxious, accept it. If you notice that you’re bored, acknowledge it. If you have pain in your body, allow yourself to sense it, rather than judging your experience. Mindfulness is about experiencing things as they are, without trying to change them.

Research indicates that the benefits of mindfulness are abundant. Some of the current evidence indicates that living life more mindfully can improve immune function and the ability to cope with physical illness. It can also reduce stress, anxiety, depression and sleep problems, generally increasing the ability to enjoy life.

Mindfulness can also help people recover from the disease of the addiction.

To learn more about how mindfulness can help you on your journey to recovery, click here.

Healing from Complex Trauma

For many people on their journey to recovery, as they learn about complex trauma, and consider their own childhood, they begin to recognize that a version of this may have happened to them  

If complex trauma is not addressed, it will continue to influence your life and won’miraculously go away. You will to struggle with memories, overreact to situations and have a hard time with relationships and your general well-being. It has brought you to your addiction and it will continue to influence you until you deal with it. 

While it may seem like it’s going to be too painful to deal with, most people who go through the process of overcoming trauma, say it was nowhere near as difficult as they thought it would be. They say it was absolutely worth it.  

Here are five facts that we know about healing from trauma:  

  1. With help, its possible.
  2. Healing from complex trauma involves reconnecting and resiliency 
  3. You have to pace yourself  
  4. It’s multileveled  
  5. You need self-compassion  

To learn more about how we can help you on your journey to recovery, click here. 

Coping with Complex Trauma

As research on complex trauma continues, we are beginning to learn more about what happens to a child that grows up feeling in danger, pain or constantly unsafe. We talk about the ways this can happen in our last post, Dealing with Complex Trauma.

One thing we know for sure is that pain motivates; it indicates that something went wrong and needs to be fixed.

So, what happens when child grows up in danger, where they are experiencing constant physical or psychological pain?

They want to find a solution, they want to fix it so that they don’t feel uncomfortable. These solutions tend to fall under the umbrella of the flight, fight or freeze.

Fight: If I think I am in danger, I will use anger.
Flight: I am going to avoid the possibility of any pain.
Freeze: I will disconnect from my own emotions.

This survival-oriented process results in people hurting themselves. They live with an underlying sense of fear, missing out on the satisfaction and beauty of living and connecting to the world.

How does this relate to the disease of addiction? One of the most common methods to treat the pain is to numb it with drugs and alcohol. While this is one of the reasons why people become addicted, it is just one piece of the puzzle.

To learn more about how we can help you on your journey to recovery, click here.

PTSD: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s)

Research in the fields of medicine, psychology, neuroscience, and psychotherapy has linked exposure to acute traumatic events and negative childhood experiences to the development of disorders. Research shows that in about 90% of cases of addiction, some form of trauma the person has experienced has played a part.

While the term trauma may cause someone to think of more harmful circumstances, such as being in a car accident or experiencing the atrocities of war, it’s more generally defined as any situation in which a person perceives they are in danger and that they cannot prevent or save themselves from being harmed or killed.

Not having our basic psychological needs met in childhood, whether in obvious or less evident ways, can lead to the development of what we call complex trauma.

Many people who have the disease of addiction don’t think that they experienced any trauma as a child, despite the fact that they may have. Often, they don’t think its trauma because it became normal to them and may think that everyone’s family is just like theirs. It’s possible that your normal may have actually involved some form of trauma, but you just got used to it.

Learning how trauma shapes us, and how to heal from it, are necessary elements in recovering from addiction.

To learn more about our team can help you, click here.


Self-compassion means to act kind towards yourself when you are having a difficult time. Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for your shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal struggles. Most importantly, having compassion for yourself means that you honour and accept that you are human.

Self-Compassion Exercise: How would you treat a friend?

First, think about a time when a close friend felt really bad about themselves or was really struggling in some way. How would you respond to your friend in this situation?

Now think about a time when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself in these situations?

Did you see a difference in how you responded? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that lead you to treat yourself and others so differently?

To learn more about our team can help you, click here.

Dealing with Resentments

Dealing with Resentments Title Graphic

Resentment is one of the emotions that is most significant in addiction and recovery. This is a negative feeling that you can’t let go of and that you replay over and over in your mind. We feel resentment when we think we’ve been wronged by someone, and those feelings of anger, sadness and disappointment don’t go away over time.

Most, if not all, addicts feel resentment towards someone. Those persistent negative feelings can drive a person to use drugs or alcohol as a means of escaping and feeling better.

When a person quits using drugs or alcohol, their feelings of resentment will be high and they may even develop new ones. Recovery should feel good, but resentments are huge hurdle to cross.

These are addictive and toxic feelings. In order to overcome feelings of resentment, you need to acknowledge exactly what they are. A starting place is to write down your feelings. You must realize that resentment serves no purpose but to hold you back. It does nothing but allow the person who hurt you to continue to interfere with your life.

There are so many emotions that happen in the early stages of recovery for both addicts and their families. If they aren’t dealt with, feelings of anger, sadness and disappointment, can become worse. Counselling is a crucial step towards dealing with these emotions.

To learn more about our team can help, click here.

Honesty in Recovery

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A common fact about addiction is that lying becomes a habit in order to get access to the drug of your choice. Being deceitful to yourself, and those who love you becomes second nature in order to feed your addiction. This is a very understandable thing to happen when you become reliant on a substance.

The dishonesty that comes with substance abuse is seen as a necessary evil to satisfy this force that has taken control of your life. Therefore, this is one of the first things we address in our treatment programs. The sooner you can become honest with yourself and those around you, the sooner you are one step closer to recovery. Many people in recovery live by the mantra: we are as sick as our secrets.

People need to pay special attention to honesty in recovery because they have to be truthful to others, and above all, they have to be honest with themselves. People who aren’t honest, are more prone to relapse. This is why honesty has to become an everyday habit until it converts to second nature to achieve recovery for life.

To learn more about our personalized treatment programs, click here.


Understanding Addiction

The first step towards recovery is understanding what addiction is and how it progresses. At EMS we work to teach our clients as much as we can to help them towards recovery.

Addiction is a condition in which a person develops a pattern of using drugs and/or alcohol at an increasing dose and/or rate. This is despite negative consequences including physical and psychological side effects. 

The seven main criteria include:

  1. Trouble stopping or controlling the use of alcohol or other substances
  2. Obsession or being preoccupied with getting, having and using the substance
  3. Increased tolerance or finding that you need more of the substance in order to get the desired effects
  4. Withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not ingested
  5. Using an excessive or inappropriate amount of the substance
  6. Continuing to use substances despite life problems from using and significant emotions of guilt and shame
  7. Giving up important things/activities/friends and violating our own morals and values

If you or someone you love has these symptoms, please contact us to see how we can help.