Dear helping professionals:

Some of you are in recovery yourselves. Congratulations! You are the shining examples that recovery is attainable. You are the role models, the rock stars. Some of you are not in recovery, but through experience, education, and passion, you are on the front lines just the same.

Make no mistake; this is war. This is a fight for the souls that have been taken. There is big money involved here, and that makes for a big war. As much as we want to win, truth be told, we are losing. The statistics are mind-boggling. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2007 stated 22.3 million Americans met the criteria for substance dependence, but 71.5 percent make no effort to get into treatment! Out of that 71.5 percent, a whopping 40 percent said they were not ready to stop using. Of these, 34.5 percent said cost or insurance barriers kept them from treatment. 21.6 percent reported stigma attached to admitting they needed help. 13.9 percent said they did not need treatment to stop and that if they were ready, they could do it alone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies stigma as one of the main barriers to seeking treatment.

Again, make no mistake; there is a relationship between homelessness and substance abuse.

Even though we are not winning the war, we cannot raise a white flag. The successes for us are everything, albeit far and few. The people who return to treatment time after time are not failing; rather, they are to be commended. When I find out during my intake that they are in rehab for the second, third, fourth time, I tell them I am proud of them because this shows they are not taking no for an answer! There has not been one time they do not take this pride I have offered to them by smiling and often with an acknowledgment that they never thought of it that way, and it makes them feel empowered instead of feeling the multiple attempts make them out to be failures. Several people have become misty-eyed when I say I am proud of them. They know I mean it.

It is my hope that you find some techniques/ideas here to incorporate into your therapies. The therapists I have worked with tell me that the clients are receptive to hearing and learning some of these new approaches, and in some instances, the therapists have seen successful outcomes.

I welcome comments at or

To save one life is to save the world.

Thank you for reading.