Archive for November, 2012

my “bridge” story

November 27th, 2012

I wanted to share a more personal account of my unfolding relationship with The Bridge to Recovery which has been quite a journey.  Please take the time to read this at your leisure (it’s rather lengthy), but I really wanted to share some additional context along with more details so you’ll understand the heart-centeredness of this project.

As some of you know, I’ve known John Stenzel, the executive director of The Bridge for several years now, and back in the Spring of 2011, we sat down to breakfast to catch up and brainstorm a bit.  As a part of our meeting, he shared his enthusiasm and passion for this non-profit, mission-driven program (this appeals to me quite a bit) which at the time was based solely in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  He invited me to visit, and in July 2011 I made my way to Bowling Green and was extremely impressed with the down-to-earth, passionate nature of the staff and the sweet rolling hills of Southern Kentucky (who knew it could be so tranquil and healing there?).

After my whirlwind trip to Kentucky, John and I took a road trip to the site of The Bridge-Santa Barbara which had just changed hands from being a yoga retreat to becoming the second location for The Bridge. Having attended more than 20  twelve-step retreats in Santa Barbara, I immediately felt right at home.  John then asked me how I saw myself becoming a part of The Bridge, and I mentioned the idea of weekend workshops which felt like a perfect fit for me.  Not only did he express interest, but John and his clinical director (Rawly) had already been developing this idea.

One thing lead to another, and John suggested I consider enrolling in the Bridge Santa Barbara as a client (which is a requirement of all of his clinical staff) so I signed up and spent 2 weeks as a participant in their inaugural workshop back in October 2011.  The timing was ideal for me because my mom died four months before my stay at The Bridge, and in retrospect, it was the perfect place to safely process my grief and further explore family of origin issues.

As you know, I’m familiar with a lot of the addiction and trauma resources, but I don’t know any other program like The Bridge with their primary focus on codependency, trauma and process addictions — all of which have been an integral part of my personal journey and my practice for many years.  So how does this fit for you?  Many of my clients seem to be functioning well on the outside, but are struggling with self-acceptance, self-compassion and self-love on the inside.  It usually shows up in some of the following ways: entitlement, shame, intimacy challenges, various forms of anxiety and depression, loneliness, rage, and most of all, seeking relief from anything outside of oneself for self-medication and/or self-protection.

Here’s an example of a client I’ll call David.  David was a successful CEO for many years.  He raised a family and accumulated a lot of material success.  But something within him was missing.  As a child, he had been severely physically and emotionally abused by his alcoholic father and became the “hero” in his family of origin which he carried into his adult life.  He had been a very resourceful, goal-directed man until the layers of trauma surfaced resulting in drug addiction, depression, profound shame and a downward spiral in his personal and professional life.

David went to treatment twice and managed to get clean and sober, but the complexity of his trauma healing persisted.  He participated in the 2-week workshop at the Bridge Santa Barbara last year where he found more resiliency and healing, and today he realizes he would benefit from more intensive work in these areas that still weigh him down at times.  David’s story illustrates a particular type of client who has maintained sobriety for a number of years but still struggles with the profound effects of the underlying trauma.  And David is just one example of the profile of client that highly benefits from The Bridge experience.

The 1st Bridge weekend intensive (March 15-17) is called External Dependency and it’s designed for all clients regardless of their involvement or background in 12step recovery. Here are some highlights you might share with others:

  • Experiential workshop (infused with an educational component).
  •  Weekend format (48 hour intensive workshop
  • Residential workshop in a healing retreat setting away from the usual distractions of life.
  • How does the Bridge define External Dependency?
  • Painful dependence on anything outside of yourself  (or disconnection from self)
  • It (external dependency) appears as if the problem is about the relationship—but it’s really about the absence of relationship with self. (Terry Kellogg)

If you’ve taken the time to read this blog entry (which I truly appreciate), I hope you can better understand my heartfelt gratitude for The Bridge, and we’re super enthusiastic to offer the weekend intensives as a brand-new resource.  In the future we hope to develop workshops for professionals (along with CEUs), but for now, please let me know if you or your clients have any questions, and I’d be happy to answer them.



The Bridge to Recovery 2013 Weekend Intensives

November 17th, 2012

I’m proud to announce the Bridge to Recovery Santa Barbara Weekend Intensives

Workshop #1 External Dependency

March 15-17, 2013 (SAVE THE DATE)

  • “Rawly” Glass, LCSW and Andrew Susskind, LCSW will facilitate a small, intimate weekend group experience.
  • Experiential activities engage the whole body and build on your therapeutic work.
  • Interactions in the group provide new experiences and insights.
  • Learn tools for change and renew your investment in your personal development.
  • Understand and learn to work through the dysfunctional behaviors and issues associated with codependency, trauma, and addictions of all kinds.
  • Create awareness by understanding the underlying causes of the core problem. See the big picture.

Location: Workshops are held at our secluded mountaintop retreat center above Santa Barbara.

Fee: $585 per workshop including workshop, meals and accommodations.

For more details, call The Bridge to Recovery at (877) 866 8661.