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

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Dr. Gabor Mate Is Coming!!!

Dr. Mate Is Coming!!!

I feel like the Beatles of Mental Health and Substance Use are coming!!!

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Posted in Addiction, Brain Pathways, Mental Health, Neurobiology, Opiate Use, Reconnect with self!, Wellness


This website is currently under construction!  If all goes well we will be connecting again soon!!!

My Grace Filled Life After Addiction!!!


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David Whyte Is So Far Out!!! I could not resist sharing him with you!!!

In a Grace-Filled Life after Addiction We Are Truly Never Alone!!!



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Annette, DayBreak Youth Services Director and Tara, Former Miss USA!

Annette, DayBreak Youth Services Director and Tara, Former Miss USA!

Daybreak Youth Services delivered today!!! Tara spoke eloquently about her

visit with the youth – their stories, her past, the need to listen to young people

at their level to truly understand that addiction is not a choice. How could we

shame a 14 year old for having a disease? Tara reports the youth at Daybreak

are brilliant. “They saved my life yesterday.” She was so impacted she

returned to her hotel room cried for an hour, prayed for 30 minutes and wrote 5


Annette, Director of Daybreak added that addiction among other things is an

outcome of the stress filled lives young people are faced with on a daily basis!

Tears welled up in Tara’s eyes as she pleaded with us to meet youth where they

are at and above all listen to what they have to say and we will hear what they

go through – if you dare you will hear stories of emotional and physical abuse

they endured and the cutting and using substances a feeble attempt to self-

medicate in order to cope with the pain. The immeasurable shame that follows

is palpable…Tara goes on stating “I dare anyone to accuse another of choosing

to be an addict when at tender age of 14 years young they are exposed to

trauma and being asked to keep it a secret – hence the muzzle.

Tara was asked about Donald Trump – She expressed her gratitude for helping

her get into treatment. “He saved my life.” It allowed her to move forward.

When he referred to people as “druggies and rapists” Tara shared how she felt

he set us backward many years.

Tara shares a final thought – “I needed someone to validate my pain so I could

move forward.”

Tara, Former Miss USA with Shelby, Aspiring to be Miss USA!!!

Tara, Former Miss USA with Shelby, Aspiring to be Miss USA!!!

The Director of Daybreak added the history of how Daybreak came to be with a

vision and not a clue of how they were going to make it happen. It is cheaper to

pay for someone’s college than prison. Let’s right this wrong!

It costs $309 dollars a day to incarcerate someone – Daybreak receives

approximately $188 – they depend on beautiful people – philanthropy to keep

providing services to their youth!

56 million people are affected by addiction.

Daybreak lost 4 treatment providers.

If it costs $500 billion a year – the money will come from the savings we recoup

from preventing addiction.

Treating adolescents at 15 is much more feasible than an adult deep into their


Talking to youth in middle school is the best – they will still open up about

their alcoholic parent. If we wait until they are in high school it is too late

because they have had “the shame muzzle put on them.”

Addiction kills three times more than cancer.

Anonymous People a great film that reminds us we need to shift our focus from

thinking of addiction as a man under a bridge to the need to talk to our kids.

Early intervention empowers our youth.

80% of prisoners were addicts – there is also a need for services as they get


My heart was so delighted to see one of my all time favorite people, Shane!!!

It was so groovy to catch up with each other!!!  Shane thank you for all that

you do My Friend!!!  You continue to impress the heck out of me!!!

I was so blessed to see my great friend and mentor - Shane!!!

I was so blessed to see my great friend and mentor – Shane!!!

I met with Tara afterward and thanked her – she was very kind.

Squeal!!! Tara takes time out to share her heartfelt passion to empower young people!

Squeal!!! Tara takes time out to share her heartfelt passion to empower young people!

She demonstrated with her actions her passion to inspire others as she spoke

with Shelby a beautiful young person who is also aspiring to be a Miss  USA.

As I left with a huge smile in my heart to enjoy this amazing meal that fed my

hunger on so many levels I got a little lost and Shelby was so gracious to help

me find my way!!!  We walked out into the parking lot together – Shelby shared her

thoughts on substance use – “I never considered using because it would get in

the way” of everything she hopes to achieve!!! 23 years young as she waved

goodbye and climbed into her hummer…picture perfect…

Shelby Future Miss USA!!! Thank you for being such a role model to our youth!!!

Shelby Future Miss USA!!! Thank you for being such a role model to our youth!!!

Squeal… thank you

Daybreak Youth Services!!!

My Grace-Filled Life After Addiction Is!!!


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Healing Shame: The Heart of the Recovery Process

Please excuse my delay – This golden opportunity to gain excellent and useful tools and processes takes place TOMORROW!!!  FRIDAY, October 9, 2015
Tim Craley, MA, Addiction Studies, CADC II, CD Professional II, Hazelden in Newberg

Tim Craley, MA, Addiction Studies, CADC II, CD Professional II, Hazelden in Newberg

“Shame and Addiction” via tTim Craley!!!”
“Addiction and shame go hand in hand. It is hard to understand where one starts and the other ends. Addiction leaves us feeling powerless, isolated, and unworthy. There is a strong sense of secrecy and silence about addiction. It is something that is easier to hide and just not talk about. Understanding our shame allows us to move into self-acceptance and healing.”

Goal of Training
Shame lies at the very heart of the disease of addiction. The goal of this training is to give clinicians, or anyone in a therapeutic relationship with addicts of any kind, the knowledge and tools to both recognize and effectively treat shame. Participants will be able to understand the various synonyms for shame, which they can use in their practice. The trainer will present on the work of Brene Brown as well as the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and all its various iterations. Participants will have the opportunity to demonstrate an awareness of how to provide empathy for their clients and how to direct clients to nurture it within their own relationships. The participants will understand the common belief systems and shame patterns in Adult Children of Alcoholics as well as the concept of “Carried Shame”. Research presented will include but not be limited to Brene Brown, Mark Williams, Jon Kabat Zinn, Ernest Kurtz, Janet Woititz and the AA and NA programs respectively. This training is appropriate for all skill levels and combines elements applicable to each of the NAADAC Eight Counselor Skill Groups.

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

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Oh My Gosh!!! The Conference Was So Incredibly Memorable!!!

So the drive was fierce!!! I arrived at 11 pm on Thursday night….I was so impressed with Eric’s presentation – lots of new info and Bless His Heart he agreed to present for us at the Chemical Dependency Training Consortium of the NW!!!  That is one you do not want to miss!!!  More details to come!!!

There was a gentleman Mark who shared the importance of talking to our legislature… or else what ever happens will happen to us!!!  Then another new favorite presenter is Dr. Kelly Olson – she provided a heartfelt presentation on synthetic and emerging drugs!!!  Gosh – An example is young people are taking a string and dipping it in cough syrup that has DXM and sucking on it…It supposedly makes for a greater high…Gosh – Then Susan shared her passion working with people who struggle with addiction and helped us expand on the four square – pros and cons of using and not using!!!

Then I was up and presented on Self Care – and as I put this presentation together and attended a board meeting where we talked about numbers of attendees ebbingg and flowing and it appears there are many reasons for this – however I noticed it kind of pushed my buttons.  I have been with the Consortium for a while and as most of you know I select jobs based on their willingness to allow me to attend the board meeting and educational professional growth opportunities…a lot of the feedback appears to be – the agency won’t allow it because it affects their bottom line – or they won’t pay for it so the employee would need to use their PTO and or own finances to cover the costs.

My button got pushed – because it almost feels unethical – like being kicked out of a residential treatment center for using…if many of our counselors are in recovery…they need that connection with other professionals – All professionals who work with vulnerable populations are vulnerable themselves – for example vulnerable to burnout or compassion fatigue, relapse or even suicide.  Offering their own trainers is a bit better however offering web in-service education is so deficient of the networking, support, camaraderie that promotes and develops the best counselors ever!!!

So – this little video may reflect my thoughts a bit strongly – To keep it on the positive note …Thank you to agencies who do promote mental health wellness to their counselors via supporting their professional growth!!!

A Grace Filled Life After Recovery Includes Continued Education, Networking and Support!!! Right???


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Squeal!!! It is Eric Martin Time!!! I am totally counting down the days!!!

Eric Martin - Making a difference!

Eric Martin – Making a difference!

I am once again so blessed to be a part of this amazing world!!!  Last I saw Eric he reported he had shown us all he had as one of our favorite presenters at the Chemical Dependency Training Consortium of the Northwest!  Hearing that my immediate response at the time was – then I will have to follow you!!!  Not knowing the hows – I applied The Secret and visualized seeing him present!!! Thank You Scott -you made it happen for me!!!  I will be helping out and I will be the speaker during our lunch!!!  Squeal – I am so incredibly stoked, and nervous!!! And especially tickled how the universe works!!!



Quality Inn and Conference Center

1700 Canyon Road

Ellensburg, WA I-90 exit 109

WSAIOP FALL CONFERENCE Oct 2nd & 3rd, 2015

Chemical Dependency Professionals of Washington State


Topics Include:





Eric Martin, MAC, CADC III, CRM, CPS,

Eric is the Past President and Director Emeritus of the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of Oregon (ACCBO). He is an adjunct faculty member with the University of Oregon and a contract instructor with Oregon’s Child welfare Division. Eric is a state and nationally certified addictions counselor with 29 years of clinical experience in Inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, residential and outpatient addictions treatment, and prevention. He is an international presenter, has served on several Governor’s advisory boards, and has produced a number of videos currently being used nationwide. He is the recipient of the Governor’s Council Award of Excellence and the NADAAC Award for sustained and Meritorious service at the national level to the profession of addiction!!!

 Rose Ness, LMHC, CDP

Rose received her MA in Systems Counseling from Bastyr University in 2001, and a BS in Developmental Psychology from Eastern Washington University in 1995. As a consultant, she specializes in SBIRT, Suicide Prevention, Clinical Supervision, Co-Occurring Disorders, and Counselor Ethics. She has received the Pioneer Human Services Dick Hudson award for Outstanding Counselor, is a member of the Skagit Valley County Behavioral Advisory Board, an Adjunct instructor at Skagit Valley College, and was a member of the ITA task force in 2014. She has been a CDP since 1997, and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor since 2005!!!

Kelly Olson, PhD

Kelly is the Associate Director of Clinical Affairs at Millennium Health. She is an experienced researcher in molecular neuro-pharmacology, as well as in clinical biology in the areas of mental illness, sleep, adrenal fatigue, and addictions. Dr. Olson has authored/co-authored a number of peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and presentations, and has lectured extensively internationally, nationally, and locally. Dr. Olson has spent the majority of the past 7 years in integrative medicine, helping to improve patient clinical outcomes!!!

 Mark Loes, MBA, CDP

Mark is the Quality Assurance Manager at Sundown M. Ranch, the president of the Washington Department of Health CDP Advisory Committee, and a CARF surveyor. As a surveyor, he has experienced many treatment modalities in different states, and is well versed in state and federal laws relating to counselors!!!

Sharon Fenton, BSW, CDP

Sharon is the Clinical Director of Assessment & Treatment Associates. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work in 1993 and became certified as a CDP in 1996. She is also an instructor at Bellevue College in the Alcohol and Drug Counseling program teaching classes on DUI assessment, Family Systems, and Introduction to Counseling!!!

Guadalupe Aragon, BA, CADC I, RC, Veterans’ Home Based Navigator, CDPT

Guadalupe received her Bachelor’s Degree from U.C. Berkeley. She is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor 1, President of the Chemical Dependency Training Consortium of the Northwest, a Recovery Coach, Recovery Coach, a Certified Transformative Life Coach and an instructor at Portland Community College – Nicotine Cessation. As the founder of Grace On You, LLC, she specializes in self care, brief intervention, counseling, teaching healthy living skills.  She is the creator of Mindful Smoking – a harm reduction approach for professionals to help individuals reduce their tobacco use!!!

Please Contact

G. Scott Sims BS, CDP 
President, WSAIOP
Program Manager 
Columbia Treatment Services
7017 NE Hwy 99 Suite 114
Vancouver, WA 98665


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Oh my goodness!!! I am overcome with a mixture of emotions!!!

Hello Everyone,

It has been a tremendous few weeks with community events, providing groups, preparing curriculum and finally – adding a first to my list of accomplishments – teaching the first Nicotine Cessation Class at PCC.  It started with a bang – students waiting outside the class – I invited them in early and greeted each one, thanking them for choosing this class!!!

A total of 44 students showed up Yikes!  All appeared to be enthused to help some one quit or reduce their tobacco use or use the tools to help themselves!!!  You know me that was music to my ears!!!  We talked about the benefits to being a counselor in recovery vs what society refers to as a “normie!”  I shared Katie Evans literature – in early recovery an individual may appreciate a counselor in recovery – However – according to Ms. Evans – a counselor not in recovery may work twice as hard to learn every possible road to recovery and he or she is not likely to be attached to any particular one – thus a person may appreciate choosing from a variety of options – practicing their independence for the very first time!!!  Bottom line they both are beneficial and we celebrated both!!!

My roommate – I’ve kept her a secret far too long – she is an young, amazingly intelligent person with a passion for learning, helping others and a huge vision of what she wants her life to be like with her every move being intentional to achieve her goals!!!  She writes inspiring quotes on the whiteboard!

Tonight I am especially grateful as we made a run – cookie dough, spicy popcorn, grapes, yogurt and cottage cheese as she helped me grade papers and create a spreadsheet to track my students’ progress!!!

I am so fortunate – I seem to attract such positive individuals in my life – Della, Patti, Lisa, Helene, Robert, Reed, my children and grandchildren, Kurt who teaches at PSU helped me when I let him know yesterday that I was scared!  He was so kind stating that the fear was good however he said I give you 15 minutes and you are going to love it – he was so right. and Mary ( she may not be here now however her positive energy lives on in any life she touched – I’m sure).  I know there are many more people I am grateful for – And now I can add each one of the students at PCC I am fortunate to work with!!!

Oh – I met the Division Dean of Allied Health and Emergency and Legal Services, John Saito, MPH who had the most delightful stories of his travels and educational journey and was kind to ask me about my own life experiences!!!  He is a beautiful Japanese gentleman from Hawaii!!!  Another beautiful person Corine Hiebert, Lead Administrative Assistant to Allied Health and Emergency and Legal Services!  We laughed so hard and listened attentively to Mr. Saito’s thoughts as we recalled old outdated films about drugs.

Sarah in student services who took my picture – she was so kind however my picture turned out – scary – I had no idea I could look like I have an overbite!!!  You know you are healthier when you can laugh at yourself!!!  I was going to post it but no way – it looked so bad my very wonderful person who was my first contact at PCC -Jeri Reed even asked “What Happened?”  and added “I am not going to lie to you” and gave me directions to return next week when the lines aren’t so long to plead for a retake!!!

Another Angel that happened my way is Ruth McKenna, MA, LPC Counselor at Disablity Services – took me under her wing and showed me the do’s and don’ts when serving individuals with the need for accommodations!!!  I thanked her profusely as she shared tips that helped her when she was a teacher!!!

The beautiful day matched the positive climate of the PCC Campus!!!

I am so grateful to so many – because of you I am experiencing My Grace-Filled Life After Addiction!



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A Day Late But Filled With Love! Celebrating One Life!!! Happy Birthday LeiLani!!!

If you know me you already know that I love chronicling the life events of loved ones!

One reason is because Denis Waitley talks about how with memories our brain doesn’t know if something is currently happening or happened in the past!

As I bring together these pictures with music I relive the wonderful times we are honored to share!!!

And according to Denis we release the exact same chemicals as when the events occurred!!!  If it is a good experience we get good chemicals….I’m all about the delicious life affirming natural chemicals!!!

LeilLani thank you for giving us an abundance of good – delicious – life affirming chemicals!!!  We are so blessed to have you in our lives.  And a special thank you to all the family and loving friends who have contributed to this one person!!!  It takes a village…

In this case,

Guadalupe aka “Grandma G”

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Guadalupe Aragon
Grace On You

(360) 334-2626

Self Care Is Imperative For Caring Professionals
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