Mindfulness & Addiction


Psychiatrist Judson Brewer studies the relationship between mindfulness and addiction in his TED Talk. He explains the processes involved in habit formation and proposes a profound approach to removing the connection between thought and behavior through the use of mindfulness. Although Brewer utilizes smoking and eating as examples during his talk, the underlying mindfulness process is readily adaptable to all forms of addiction. Watch below!

Thomas N. Pfister, B.S.

Creating Boundaries

road lines

For family members, setting boundaries with a loved one who struggles with an addiction may be difficult at times. Dr. Fran Simone Ph.D. discusses the difference between setting boundaries versus building walls with family members. Dr. Simone gives scenarios that demonstrate how difficult setting boundaries can be for family members and how difficult it is to remain consistent with those boundaries. She even shares examples from her own life during a time when she had trouble setting boundaries with her adult child who had been in and out of recovery. At the conclusion of this article, Dr. Simone encourages us to continue to be flexible and to remain open. If you find it difficult to set boundaries, then you’re not alone and hopefully the examples offered in this article will help. Here’s to new discoveries!

Read the article here. 

Sara Saunders, SAC-IT

Hari's Journey in Addiction

In the Ted Talk below, Johann Hari shares his personal journey, one that took him around the world, where he surveyed novel perspectives of factors that can influence the development of addiction, and provides examples of how addiction can be treated. Hari discusses the need for humans to bond and the way in which this can lead to the development of addiction. He also offers alternative means for treating addiction, through compassion, love, and understanding. 

Listen to Hari speak here.

Tom Pfister, Graduate Intern

Relapse & Momentary Perspectives

watch on desk

There are two thoughts often preceding a relapse - it's a special occasion or this is the last time. Both sentiments come from what Dr. Shahram Heshmat calls a "momentary perspective."  This perspective favors immediate gratification over the long term satisfaction that comes from a "big picture perspective." The major takeaway is realizing that while one relapse may not cause a great deal of harm there will absolutely be damage from the repeated pattern.


Read more here. 


Inside the Brain

starry sky

West Grove Clinic staff discovered a unique website founded by Paul Henry, a researcher of the neuropsychology of addictive behaviors, who is also a recovering addict. The site features a collection of articles discussing what the creator and his writing team believe about addictive behavior, neurobiology, and the relationship of stress/emotional regulation to addiction. The site offers information and support to both people experiencing addiction, and those who simply wish to learn more about the addiction.

Click below to check it out:

Inside the Brain

Happy reading!


Spirituality, Religion, & Addiction

yogi on ledge

Is spirituality the same as religion? And what does spirituality have to do with addiction? Religion and spirituality are different. Spirituality is a path taken to discover who we are and what our life is about. This knowledge can be used to guide individuals in their recovery from addiction. Spirituality leads to our moral compass, our values and beliefs about ourselves, and even our perspective on ourselves and others. We don’t have to be religious to be spiritual. Spirituality can be an important aspect of recovery from addiction. Look at the article below on spirituality and addiction to get more information.

Read More Here

By: Jean H. Moral, SAC-IT

Exercise & Recovery

man stretching

Most of us are aware that eating, sleeping, and connecting with others are basic human needs. What is not necessarily common knowledge being how addiction steps in and places itself first in the brain’s list of survival needs. The process of allowing the brain to heal and relearn its true survival needs can be aided through a routine exercise practice. Use the link below to learn more about how consistent exercise fosters a healthy hippocampus, and how this positively impacts recovery.

Read More Here

By: Caitlyn Hummel, SAC-IT

Women & Addiction

woman on bench

Men are from Mars women are from Venus, right? Well, when it comes to addiction recovery that shoe fits. According to Brenda Iliff, “2.7 million women in the United States abuse drugs or alcohol.” Many women don’t get treatment because they don’t want to lose their kids or be separated from their family, or they may view their use as being a social habit. If you have ever felt like this then don’t worry, you’re not alone! According to Iliff, “women start using for different reasons, get addicted differently, progress faster, recovery differently and relapse for different issues.” There also is more of a stigma and more shame when it comes to women and substance abuse. Women even metabolize alcohol and drugs differently than men. There’s hope, Iliff says that recovery is natural for women. Women are wired for connection and relationships, so women may find support groups like 12 steps or other peer support groups helpful because they give women an opportunity to build and recover within the context of relationships. Check out the link for information on the difference between men and women when it comes to recovery! Copy and past this link to read the full article:

Sara Saunders BA, SAC-IT

Anxiety & Substance Use Disorders

girl in storm

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety in their life at some point. However, individuals with substance use disorders (alcohol or other drugs) are 2-3 times more likely to also suffer from anxiety disorders. But which comes first? Often, alcohol and other drugs are used to “self-medicate” for anxiety. On the other hand, anxiety disorders can be a result of the use of alcohol or other drugs. The attached article from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, addresses this relationship in addition to the most effective treatment options for these two co-occurring disorders. Copy and past this link to read the full article to see how this practice can be used:

By: Jean Moral, SAC-IT

Finding a Mindfulness Practice

meditation rocks

Implementing a mindfulness practice can sound like another item to throw onto your already packed to do list, but The Mindful Pause is really just that though, a pause, in your day.  

Here’s how it works according to Dr. Niemiec (2016):

1.) Pause and feel your in-breath and out-breath for 10-15 seconds.

2.) Conclude with a question: Which of my character strengths will I bring forward right now?

This super short, and easy to use practice is perfect for transition moments in your day, or when you just need to refocus and tap into a more helpful emotion.

Read more here:  

By: Caitlyn Hummel, SAC-IT