Chapter 2 Blog 2: Getting High: The Adrenaline Surge

Brazilian Footballer

Relief and comfort are two of the key attractions inherent to any addiction, and one that ultimately sustains an addiction. The relief and comfort derived and attained from the addiction keeps us tied and dependent to the substance, the person, or the behaviour. It will be one of the factors that keep us coming back time and time again to the addiction we are dependent upon.

Relief and comfort are components of what is generally termed in addiction as the high. All addiction, whether it is addiction to drugs, gambling, flirting, coffee and caffeine products, internet use, watching sports or working late at night has a high. Relief is the outcome of the addiction’s attempt to attend to the needs and concerns of anxiety. Adrenaline is the ultimate prize. Continue reading

Chapter 2 Blog 1: When We Grasp On To Something

I have never been a comfortable flyer. Having traveled, over the years, on numerous flights around the world, and, on occasions coped with turbulence and severe storms especially on small planes, I have learned to base my safety on my assessment of the flight attendants’ behaviour. If the airplane hits turbulence and the attendants are going about their business as usual then all must be well, the plane is not about to crash and I am not going to die.

In the summer of 1996, on a flight that was forty-five minutes in the air leaving out of Newark, New Jersey, one of the engines made a sound that took me back to the time when I was seventeen. Driving my dad’s car a mere week after passing my driving test, I ignored the orange oil light illuminating the dashboard. Completely out of oil, the car engine eventually emitted a loud high-pitched whine that rapidly descended into a low groan, then died. I could tell all was not well on that plane, because the plane’s engine emitted a similar whine and groan before seeming to die. One of the flight attendants carrying a tray of drinks stopped dead in her tracks and mouthed soundlessly, “What the hell was that?” Another ran full tilt to the back of the plane, while another left the passenger she was serving to urgently pick up the phone hanging on the wall at the front of the cabin presumably to call the crew in the cockpit. Continue reading

Chapter 1 Part 4: Stepping Onto Your Personal Growth Journey

The hero’s journey has been told from times when stories were first told. We read tales of the journey in some of the most ancient and the most modern of books: Homer, the Book of Exodus in the Bible, The Lord of the Rings. Even Harry Potter books tell us of the search to understand, to resolve, to seek and find something that each of the searchers hope will be for their betterment.

We are a curious people; the need to know, to find and discover inhabits each one of us. Curiosity has sailed men on ships in seas that were once said to lead to the very edge of the world itself. People have traveled in tiny capsules to the Moon to satisfy an ancient and insatiable desire to intimately know the silver, bright orb that each of us have at one time or another contemplated and wondered about. Some have taken such journeys in the hope they will find reward and fame for the betterment of their own lives. The reward of gold was the catalyst of many a maverick explorer. Gold was the exploitation of the Incas of what is now South America. Spices were the tantalizing scent for the European explorers of Asia. Slavery brought American and European ships to the shores of Africa. The hope for something more is an important incentive in understanding the reasons behind any journey, though many such journeys were tragically taken out of an incentive of greed.  Continue reading

Chapter 1 Part 3: The Encounter at the Border

Some years ago I was driving into the United States crossing the U.S.- Canadian border into Montana to drive on one of the world’s most spectacular and scenic drives, The Road of the Sun in Glacier National Park. I had been asked to play the piano at a friend’s wedding in Seattle, and so since I was teaching a course the weekend before in Saskatchewan, Canada, I decided to make a trip out of it and spend a leisurely week driving there.

Having taught a class, my car was pretty loaded up with a three by two feet whiteboard, an easel to support the whiteboard, a fold-up table, the stool I use when teaching, as well as other necessary teaching materials. So when I approached the customs booth at the border, the lady at the U.S. customs window took one look at the collection in the back of the car, asked me if I had intentions to work in the U.S. and if I did, what work was I intending to do. Then, disbelieving me when I said I was going to play for a wedding, she unceremoniously hauled me into the immigration building for further inspection. Continue reading

Chapter 1 Part 2: Is Trauma Guiding Your Life Without You Knowing It?

It is easy to attach survival based fear or anxiety to those people who have suffered recognizable physical, emotional or mental traumas in their lives: being beaten by the parent, experiencing unwarranted parental control, sexual abuse, or the extreme absence of an aspect of parental care. Given these conditions, it would be expected that a child will feel uncertain about her environment and unsafe. However, having worked, as a therapist with hundreds of therapeutic cases, I hold the opinion that we all carry differing levels of survival-anxiety, because each and every one of us has experienced an encounter with trauma. Continue reading