Accomplisher, Unificator, Creator!

Accomplisher, Unificator, Creator –

AUC! This is my new Ethic Vision!!!  Thanks to Jim Jensen who presented Aspirational Ethics through Ranier Springs!!!

Okay let me back up!!!  If you have not heard of Ranier Springs in Vancouver – You Must!!!  The presentation prior helped me learn about PTG – Post Trauma Growth!

Oh my gosh – learning about PTG helps me feel like I have finally found a home!!! My current read is a book loaned to me by a colleague at work.  Post Trauma Success by Fredrike Bannink!  It has a quote in there about how psychology has focused on people from a what’s wrong with them approach which takes people who are miserable and makes them less miserable!

I am Guadalupe Aragon and a bit of a self professed MisFit!!!  I am NOT your use only EBP (evidence based practices) kind of person! 

Instead we use beach balls,  bowls of water, burial sites, Dr. Jack Stump’s Life Time Line and recalling your first bike to; honor your uniqueness, help you to sit still long enough to meditate, help you reconnect you with your baby pink lungs, and help you beautiful person fully understand from where you come and remind you or have you learn for the very first time your brain has the ability to create glutamate and or empower you to reprogram your glutamate!!!  As Dr. Kevin McCauley states life is and should be “better than expected!”

I do respect all those T’s and do sincerely believe they are extremely helpful – OMGosh – DBTs Wise Mind and Emotional Regulation – over the moon – yes and I want more for folks!!!  I am learning in PTG that recovery is bringing people back to their prior state of being before the PTSD. I have always felt people who experienced trauma have the ability to feel more joy than people who have never experienced any trauma!  Mind blowing joy!!!  Who the heck needs drugs when you can tap into your own glutamate, endorphins and enkephalins!!!

Sign me up!!!

I announced my stance at Jim Jensen’s presentation on Aspirational Ethics – so I suppose this is a little more detail to help you understand my comment – if you were present – I am not a mental health counselor – I stated I am an Alcohol and Drug Counselor – I left out – I tend to lean toward Life Coach!

One of my greatest values is do no harm!  I am blessed beyond the moon to be working in a facility that has mental health providers and medical doctors present!  In addition to all of the required EBPs I do my awful best to provide – the groovy work I have found helps clients get more out of their work with their mental health providers!

As Dr. Gabor Mate states It’s not why the addiction? It’s why the pain?

Jim Jensen was phenomenal!!!  All of his work is beyond the moon!  I still use his Essential Needs – like needing to pee and equating it to needing the drug with all of my clients and when honored to work with the families!!!

I truly am the most blessed person in this world because I feel like I have gone beyond surviving.  And now I choose to go beyond recovery!  I choose to thrive!

Accomplisher – because I have a ton of exciting projects I will accomplish!!!

Unificator – because I choose to invite All Beautiful People to join me in this adventure!

Creator – because who uses beach balls, water bowls and burial sites to empower beautiful people to be their best selves!!!

What do you use???

Sincerely, and Respectfully


I also want to give a tremendous thank you to Royal Oaks Golf Course in Vancouver, Washington!!!  What a great venue with the most ahmazing staff and delicious food!!!

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Posted in Addiction, Dr. Kevin Mc Cauley MD

Beginning At The End!

Did my child dream this… to be?

Where I end my day depends on where I begin.

Every gesture. What I right about.

Dancing, Singing, Playing  like the world is watching.

Everyone is watching when I dare to be.

Feel the all and none there is.

Play the end of the beginning souls of feet running.

Answers to questions never asked.

Imagining tomorrows without … the solution be self, by self, my self.

Whenever that … comes to mind imagine the soul intertwined with Creator in mind.

Look back no more will stop feeding the goal prior.

The pine replaced by the fruit of a brand new vine.

The grapes of wine that made life taste bitter replaced for cups of tea.

Or that lovely coffee I learned to create.

NOW order the ingredients what might they be?

The organs will thank thee.

The Happily Ever After has already occurred – what if

Now is the time to call it – I have arrived – I have achieved.

My all, my end begins with this delicious moment.

With the end in mind; every gesture, every skipped heart beat, every thought and what I perceive.

En Cada Cabeza Hay Un Mundo in the words of my Madre.

Did my child dream this all to be?

If so Hooray!

If not Hoorah!

For it’s in acceptance the delicious end begins.

Guadalupe Aragon

This writing came about in memory of our beautiful friend Memory.  With the Out of The Darkness Walk in mind this mixture of emotions insisted on being released.  No I am not suicidal.  It is more about the more we talk about suicide the less likely it is to occur!  SQUEAL Suicide Questions to Understand, Evoke and Affirm Life.  Do you really want to die or do you want the pain to stop?  1.800.SUICIDE OR 503.923.HELP.

Posted in 1.800.SUICIDE, Mary, SQUEAL, Suicide, Wellness

Jim Jensen Emerging Drugs

Squeal!  An over the moon thank you to Rainier Springs for making this incredibly informative training possible!!!  Also Royal Oaks Golf Club ambiance was sweetness all around as was their beautiful staff and talented chefs who delivered scrumptious food!!!

Jim Jensen covered a lot of useful information; emphasis on approaches to reduce stigma so individuals feel safe talking to us about their use. He reviewed the sympathetic and para sympathetic systems and the how the axon/dendrites and neurotransmitters work in our brain including how drugs are slippery liquid solubles that trick the brain into allowing them past the blood brain barrier!  He was thorough beyond belief to make sure we were all on the same page!  He recommended we have a copy of Uppers, Downers All Arounders by Dr. Daryl Inaba to refer back to!

He provided groovy examples to help us understand how drugs alter our brain. For example a first time snowboarder who used meth and decided to snowboard as if she had done it many times before only to tumble all the way down the slope. “It’s like a dose of bad judgement.”  How our pupils dilate open because we want to see everything!  How the limbic part of our brain is where the reward area is.

He offered an example of “having to go pee”.  We wait as long as we can. The longer we wait the more we have to go.  Going pee is an “essential need” he points out.  When we finally go pee we experience what? The riveted audience lets out a sound of tremendous relief!  That is what drugs become to us when we cross over into addiction.  Drugs become an essential need.  “Our brain literally says thank you for doing something that is essential.” 

We giggled and laughed at the thought of our pee moment bringing about a mild “euphoria!”  We laughed some more and talked about it as we stood in line following a much needed break!  I recall thinking imagine if we were not allowed to go pee.  That would be horrible.  If drugs are like that – mental note to remember that as I sit across a client who is jonesing for their drug as they go through the post acute withdrawal symptoms.  Jim Jensen helped us be more empathetic and gentle towards others.

Plus, you know me – I absolutely loved that he spent a significant amount of time on smoking as well as vaping!

“You lived on the streets. You stopped injecting…! Can you quit smoking? Nope.”

Jim helped us to understand why smoking and now vaping is so hard to quit!  He brought up how vaping is going through very similar history like cigarettes.  History that took years to evolve; cigarettes are safe, later found to be unsafe and then deadly.

Hence it was great when cigarette use among teens was found to be significantly dropping with each study.  Counselors celebrated!  However it was short lived as we are now seeing significant increase in e-cigarette use among youth.

Jim brought up a study at a school where using nicotine was high.  Students were asked if they knew if their e-cigarette contained nicotine.  60% of the students believed their e-cig had nicotine and 40% believed they were vaping nicotine free e-liquid.  It was found that 100% of e-liquid they were using contained nicotine.

Last example;  is vaping safer than smoking?  Jim shared a hypothetical situation.  Imagine I say I am going to drive 100 mph going backward down Fourth Plain.  You would think that person is crazy, right?  Well imagine the exact same scenario but this time I am going to wear a seat belt!  Mhm – less crazy???

The Mindful Smoking includes a vaping assessment.  One of the questions asks if the vape was harsh on your throat the first time you vaped.  Then asks is it no longer harsh?  Many PCC students have reported that it was harsh – some continued to use nicotine in vape form while others went back to cigarettes because it was too harsh.  I looked it up and the recommendation from websites that promote vaping acknowledged that is a common experience.  Their solution “Vape more?”  Yikes!

We know so little about vaping it will be interesting to look back 20 or 30 years from now!

Jim Jensen covered so many other drugs in such detail!  I would strongly recommend you make it a point to attend one of his presentations!!!  In fact he will be presenting on Ethics in the near future!  Check out Rainier Springs for more details!



Posted in Uncategorized



It all began in the bathroom!  I became a runner in the bathroom!!!

I try to run every day – at least 1 mile and on good days 3+ miles!

It started out small.  I watched a Ted Talk where a gentleman encouraged viewers to add one itty bitty change to something you already do.  Go pee – Do one push-up! He got up to 80+ push-ups a day!  It Was Simple and Effective.  It worked for me too when I was at home a lot  – and not so much in public bathrooms.

But it started something within me because the running followed!

Someone – To this day I do not know who –  ordered two magazines for me- A Woman’s magazine that featured Barbara Streisand on the cover.  And the other magazine was a Runner’s magazine!

I put the Runner’s Magazine in the bathroom!

I know this is TMI however it’s worth sharing because it changed my life and perhaps it can change yours too!

I’m always in a rush but when I sat… and began reading I was moved by the stories – a group of runners who ran in the streets of Chicago, A woman in Africa who ran 8 miles a day to get to work to save money, tips on warming up before a run by spelling the alphabet with your feet, the best rated running gear…you name it – if it has to do with running this Runner’s magazine has it!

I have bad knees and it saddened me when my knees began to hurt.  I didn’t give up.  I ran until they hurt, then walked until they stopped then ran again!  Sometimes I walked more than ran but each day I read more I ran more!!! I am so blessed to be able to run three miles without stopping!

The pencil drawing came about after I attended a training through the Cedar Hills Hospital Professional Events – The topic was art therapy – it moved me too!  I will share more but for now I am hoping this little bit of life experience will move you too!

I encourage you to add one itty bitty thing to something you already do!  To find a favorite read to inspire and yes put it in the bathroom!!!  And dare to draw about it or sing about it – but do it – while you can – because you can!!!

I still wonder who did it – who ordered these two magazines for me – I would love to know because it seems to have changed my life –  I would love to say thank you to you!  If it was you who is reading this now – My heart thanks you!!!



Posted in Uncategorized

Dr. Gabor Mate!

Dr. Gabor Mate and Me

Okay please read with caution – This is my truth – Right now I feel vulnerable as all heck. However I am so eternally grateful for the insight Dr. Mate brings to the world and I found no better way to share it with you than to make it personal.  In applying what I learned from him through the many hours of viewing him on You Tube, reading In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and attending the NWIAS conference / meeting him in person!!!  I am discovering myself.

  1. 20.2017

Okay – I no longer want to be the baby on the floor board of my father’s red Ford pick-up truck. The one that get’s left behind at 5 am as my family goes to work the fields. The baby who cries out as the temperature drops from a warm comforting heat to freezing cold by the time I am found at noon.  Blue lips, eyes swollen shut and soiled from head to foot.  I don’t want to be that baby anymore and I finally get that I am that baby.

Abandoned, cold, feeling unwanted, oh that’s not a feeling – that’s a perception. Feeling unloved – no that’s not a feeling either that’s a perception or interpretation or a message I made about my worthiness or the lack of it.

Dr. Mate would say what’s the truth?  The truth is my parents had to work – my mother had to do what my father told her because women listened to their men.  Her – or them leaving me had absolutely nothing to do with me or how they felt about me.  Even though their behavior demonstrates lack of love only they knew their intent.

I was scared, frightened, feelings of terror that no one would come for me.  The truth is I had a right to feel all of the painful feelings I felt. I can cry now for my experience. And  I can show love to the little baby that never got it.  I can hug her goodnight and write songs about how valuable she is.

“I am the oxygen that I need to breath.”  When I first wrote the song it started by saying – You are the oxygen that I need to breath. I rewrote the lyrics after meeting Dr. Mate!!!

Hearing Dr. Mate say to all of us at the conference in his soft soothing and assuring voice “Awe I get it – you hurt right now”  reminded me of my dear friend Lafa who also talks soothingly to little Diego as he cries out loud as if in tremendous pain – her saying – “What’s the matter little mister” with such love in her voice. My heart leaps for joy that little Diego will grow strong and sure of himself!!!

I can talk to my little baby inside me like that.  Reassure my baby – Awe I get it…my heart hurts, I’m lonely, I need connection – in the past the connection came at all cost.  Today the connection I seek is with me.

Reliving this experience is a tremendously lonely and painful time – but I do get it.  For so long I didn’t want to be that baby left behind on the floorboard and I am that baby left behind on the floorboard.

That is what Dr. Mate was trying to say.  It is that awareness coupled with learning the real truth from that experience.  Not from an adult perspective that also dismisses the baby infant experience but from a compassionate space where I can give the baby the love it yearns for so hungrily.  I finally get that baby can now get its needs met best by me.

Dr. Mate demonstrated another perspective of the truth when he asked the audience to add other perspectives of the scenarios shared. It was enlightening!

Another truth for me is that my parents had to work – that was their priority – AND I am still valuable, lovable, even whole.  I am complete.  When I crave that man love or feel the tremendous grief and loss from lost love – I commit to reminding myself that I am whole – I always have been – I always was – it was my interpretation of the experience that made me feel less than or broken – which again are not even feelings.  Scared, hurt, frightened.  Oh my goodness. This is big.

This is big because I get it now that every time I yearned for a man it was the baby on the floor board reliving the pain and suffering from the interpretations I made in my head.  It f….. hurts right now but it is as if for once this hurt is an intentional walk through Pain Avenue to get to Destination Wholeness – Coming Home!

My grace filled life after addiction -I get to hang out with me – the wholeness me – which is who I really am!  Thank you Dr. Mate and everyone who played a part in bringing him to Portland!!!

Guadalupe Aragón

Posted in Uncategorized

July 2017 is turning out to be a Fire Cracker Month with ample opportunities to network and learn!!!

Listening across Culture, Social Position and Power

Friday, June 30, 2017 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT at The DoubleTree Hotel
This workshop highlights that the therapeutic alliance occurs within social, historical, political, economic and cultural contexts. Counseling professionals will take a closer look into how discussions about difference can be heard from particular social positions.
Presented by
Michelle Maher PhD
Michelle Maher, Ph.D.

Legal Cannabis: Facts & Clinical Skills
Friday, July 14th, 2017 9 a.m to 4:30 p.m.
6 CEUs
Sponsored By
Chemical Dependency Training Consortium of the NW
The Water Resources Education Center
4600 S.E. Columbia Way, Vancouver, WA
Questions about directions to the Water Center, please call us at 360-487-7111

Goal of Training
The legalization of medical and retail cannabis creates unique challenges for those working with individuals in the mental health, addictions, and corrections fields. This training will review the effects of cannabis on the mental and physical health of adolescents and adults, including discussion about recent research and reporting. To engage clients in productive discussions about their cannabis use, the evidence-based strategy of Motivational Interviewing will be shared and practiced.

Behavioral Objectives
Participants of the training, will:

  • Gain understanding of the varied forms of cannabis,
  • Understand current research findings on the effects of cannabis on mental and physical health,
  • Learn about cannabinoids and their interest to medical science,
  • Practice evidence-based clinical skills to talk with clients about cannabis, and
  • Increase knowledge of educational resources for cannabinoid research.


Janis Crawford, PhD, LPC, ACS

Janis Crawford, MA, LPC, ACS.   As seen on a Sussex Directories Inc site

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Breaking Free with Accelerated Resolution Therapy: The New Paradigm for Trauma-informed Treatment

Friday, July 14, 2017 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM PDT
This workshop for counseling and healthcare professionals will change your expectations of how you help your clients transform trauma. It will introduce Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), an emerging brief therapy that delivers outcomes typically seen in longer-term treatment.
Presented by Dave Ebaugh, LCSW
The DoubleTree Hotel
Dave Ebaugh, LCSW

Wednesday-Friday, July 19-21, 2017
Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Friday 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

43rd Annual Northwest Institute of Addictions Studies Conference Overview

Everyday Attachment in Recovery: Creating Healthy, Connected Communities

New Location!: Red Lion Hotel on the River, 909 N. Hayden Island Drive, Portland, OR 97217.
Click here for information on discounted room rates and accommodations

2017 Keynote Speakers:


Wednesday:  Gabor Mate, MD, Addiction and Wellness Expert, Author and Professional Speaker
Thursday:  J. Stuart Ablon, PhD, Director, Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry
at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology
in the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Friday:  Joy DeGruy, PhD, MSW, Author, Lecturer and Consultant in the area of social justice,
Assistant Professor of Research, Portland State University


The CEUs earned at this conference are acknowledged and accepted by ACCBO.

Full Conference – 18 CEUs
Single Day (Wednesday or Thursday) – 6 CEUs
Single Day (Friday) – 4 CEUs

This conference is co-sponsored by the Professional Mental Health Counseling — Specialization in Addictions Program and the Center for Community Engagement at the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling.


Our mission is to encourage high standards of competence in the treatment of alcohol and other drug dependencies by sponsoring educational programs to improve the skills and knowledge of practitioners in the field. Learn more at or find NWIAS on Facebook.

Posted in Uncategorized

Friday, May 12th, 2017 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 6 CEU Hours

The Opioid Epidemic

Sponsored By
Crestview Recovery
PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
Health Education Center off Mill Plain and 92nd Ave
600 NE 92nd Ave., Vancouver, WA 98664



Marcus De Carvalho, M.D., Dr. Marcus De Carvalho is a Medical Doctor who specializes in addiction medicine and psychiatry. He is board certified and is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. Dr. De Carvalho is the president and founder of The Center for a Healthy Mind and Wellbeing and is the Medical Director for Beaches Recovery, a residential rehabilitation facility that specializes in addiction medicine, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient addiction treatment. Dr. De Carvalho is also credentialed at local hospitals where he treats patients who are in need of medical detox from addictive substances or are in need of psychiatric stabilization.

Goal of Training
Recently the CDC has classified the opioid crisis in the United States, “An Epidemic”. Dr. De Carvalho will outline the opioid epidemic and the catastrophic implications it has had on the United States from a morbidity, mortality and financial perspective. He will also walk you through the pleasure reward pathway (PRP) and how this system, once introduced to opioids, has been “hijacked” and left to believe it needs opioids to survive much like food and sleep making it difficult for patients to maintain sobriety. Dr. De Carvalho will also detail different modalities of treatment including medication assisted treatments and behavioral therapies, specifically acceptance and commitment therapy which is mindfulness based, cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. Dr. De Carvalho believes that addiction is not a “moral failure” but in fact a medical illness with genetic, developmental and social ramifications and will speak on this topic as well. Dr. De Carvalho is very passionate about addiction and has committed his practice to helping individuals with addiction issues regain their lives once again.

For Information Contact:
Chemical Dependency Training Consortium of the

Lisa Westlund
Phone: 503-805-0989
Fax: 1-360-557-5032 (vFax)

Posted in Addiction, Addictive Illness, An Update on the Neuroscience of Addiction, Brain Pathways, MAT, Medication Assisted Treatment, Neurobiology, Opiate Use, Reconnect with self!, Uncategorized

Mindful Smoking in the Community!


Day One of Mindful Smoking out in the community!

Today I will meet with four individuals in their home.  I went to bed early 8 pm.  I woke up early 4:30 am.  I made a nice breakfast of shredded wheat, slivered almonds, ½ a banana and organic milk.  I also had a cup of coffee with one of my remaining guilty pleasures 1 teaspoon of heavy whipping cream.  (No Sugar)

If I am going to do this – helping others reconnect with their tobacco/nicotine use – in the form of life coaching – I am going to do my best to live the life I wish for others.

My daughter Sherry said “Mom, You had an idea – Mindful Smoking.  You put the process together and now you’re teaching it at PCC.”  This will be another part of that!

So now a lovely person and one of my dear friends and colleagues have made it possible for me to begin this work in the community!  It appears the universe is coming together nicely!  And well – I am showing up!!!

Today I will be meeting with four beautiful young adults in their home.  They all use tobacco/nicotine of some form and they have all agreed to be an integral part of this adventure we call life!

And now I will be sharing this adventure with you.  I will be adding a tab titled In The Community where I will post the evolution of Mindful Smoking as it evolves and jells!

I welcome questions, comments and feedback – So let’s do this.

My Grace-Filled Life Truly Is!


Posted in Addiction, Grace On You, Mindful Smoking, Mindful Smoking In The Community, Reconnect with self!, Tobacco Reduce Your Use, Wellness

Treating the Personality in the Addictive Personality: A Neuroplastic Approach

Friday, April 14, 2017 8:00 am to 12:00 pm @ the Double Tree Hotel – Lloyd Center


Presented by: Anthony J. Mele, Psy.D

 The co-occurrence of borderline personality disorder and substance abuse disorders are well-documented and pose specific treatment challenges. While borderline personality disorder is often conceptualized as the behavioral manifestation of early life events amenable to intensive psychotherapy rather than biological approaches, more recent research suggests that BPD is a disabling brain disease as well as a personality disorder. Neglecting the neurobiological underpinnings of BPD may render psychotherapeutic intervention only partially successful, thereby reinforcing the cycle of affective instability that often characterizes BPD. This presentation suggests that some individuals with BPD who also have specific deficits in certain brain structure and function might benefit from a neuroplastic approach to BPD and substance abuse treatment.

Posted in Uncategorized


Dr. Gabor Maté is a medical doctor recently retired from active practice. He was a family physician for two decades and for seven years he served as Medical Coordinator of the Palliative Care Unit at Vancouver Hospital. For twelve years he worked in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with patients challenged by hard core addiction, mental illness, HIV and related conditions. For two years he was the onsite physician at Vancouver’s unique Supervised Injection Site, North America’s only such facility. He is internationally known for his work on the mind/body unity in health and illness on attention deficit disorder and other childhood developmental issues, and his breakthrough analysis of addiction as a psychophysiological response to childhood trauma and emotional loss. He is the author of four best-selling books published in twenty languages on five continents, including When The Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection and the award winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction. Gabor is the recipient of an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Simon Fraser University and an Honorary Degree of Law from the University of Northern British Columbia, among other awards. He frequently addresses professional and lay audiences in North America and internationally on issues related to childhood development and parenting, physical and mental health and wellness, and addiction. He is Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Criminology, Simon Fraser University. His next book, Toxic Culture: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a World of Materialism will be published in 2016.63786_gabormate-colour-low-3

Posted in Uncategorized
Guadalupe Aragon
Grace On You

(360) 334-2626

Self Care Is Imperative For Caring Professionals
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