A Conversation About Revenge Porn and Other Forms of Technology Facilitated Sexual Assault

*This presentation is no longer eligible for a CE credit

This presentation will overview online forms of sexual abuse, including revenge porn, sextortion, and other forms of tech-enabled abuse. The presentation will discuss the latest trends in abuse technology, the mental health effects of being victimized online, and how psychotherapy can treat PTSD from this unique form of harm. The presenter will overview the legal climate nationwide, current psychological theory and trends, and review important research on the topic.

Kristen Zaleski, Ph.D., LCSW
Clinical Director
The Mental Health Collective

Kristen Zaleski, Ph.D. LCSW is a nationally-recognized author, researcher, and psychotherapist on trauma-related disorders and an expert on sexual trauma within civilian and military cultures. Dr. Zaleski is the author of two books and multiple research articles and is a consultant and trainer on trauma disorders and survivorship to entities such as Meta (Facebook) and the U.S. Department of Defense. She was a featured author and panelist at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in 2017 & 2020. Dr. Zaleski is the Clinical Director of the Mental Health Collective after a decade-long tenure at the University of Southern California as a Clinical Associate Professor for the Suzanne Dworak Peck School of Social Work. Dr. Zaleski continues to be affiliated with USC as an adjunct professor and Founding Director of the USC Keck Human Rights Clinic, a pro-bono organization offering forensic evaluations for survivors of international human rights abuse.

For More Information about The Mental Health Collective in Newport Beach, CA, please visit:

The Retreat: An Integrated Community Approach to Addiction Treatment

The “Minnesota Model” of addiction treatment was created in a state mental hospital in the 1950s by two young men who didn’t have prior experience treating people with substance use disorder (SUD). The abstinence-based model spread first to a small non-profit organization called the Hazelden Foundation and then throughout the country. 

“The key element of this novel approach to addiction treatment was the blending of professional and trained nonprofessional (recovering) staff around the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA),” wrote Anderson, McGovern, and DuPont in their study on the origins of the Minnesota model. “There was an individualized treatment plan with active family involvement in a 28-day inpatient setting and participation in Alcoholics Anonymous both during and after treatment. The education of patients and family about the disease of addiction made this a busy program from morning to night, seven days a week.”

In 1991, The Community of Recovering People (CORP), a non-profit organization consisting of dedicated professionals and recovered individuals, shared their commitment to creating a continuum of affordable, accessible, and effective residential recovery services to help people recover from addiction to drugs and alcohol.

The result is an innovative residential recovery continuum that provides time out for those in need. The Retreat represents a non-clinical, mutual-help approach to recovering from substance use disorder. This supportive, educational setting is grounded in the spiritual principles of AA. By providing a safe and supportive environment to study and practice these principles, The Retreat opens the door to a life of contented sobriety.

In a recent webinar for Harmony Foundation, the co-founder and CEO of The Retreat, John Curtiss, provided a brief overview of addiction and a historical context of the founding of the Minnesota Model.  

More than 23 million people in the United States are addicted to alcohol, and more than 15 million Americans misuse prescription opioids, depressants, and stimulants each year, Curtiss told his audience. More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 14.2 million people met the criteria for cannabis use disorder in 2020. 

The annual bill for America’s addiction crisis is an estimated “$600 billion in healthcare costs, low productivity, disability payments, welfare, crime and punishment, legal costs, family breakups, child abuse, and the array of social interventions both public and private to deal with addiction in our society,” Curtiss said. “The cost of NOT treating the 90 percent of those in need of help is far too detrimental to the good of this country to ignore.”

The Minnesota Revolution

Curtiss explained how the movement to reform Minnesota’s state asylums for the mentally ill emerged in the 1940s and ’50s. Luther Youngdahl, Minnesota’s governor from 1947–51, took legislative leadership of the mental health reform in the state. At the time, people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) were “warehoused in deplorable conditions with terrible outcomes.” Youngdahl undertook reforms of the state’s mental institutions with a view to rehabilitating the patients rather than merely “warehousing” them. “Follow-up studies over a two-year period showed a 60–80 percent death rate in the 1940s,” Curtiss told the webinar participants and then quoted Dr. Carl Menniger, who stated in 1948 that he would sooner have a young relative “be schizophrenic than alcoholic, at least there’s hope for the schizophrenics.”

Curtiss acknowledged that the Minnesota reforms owe a debt of gratitude to the Alcoholics Anonymous program. “AA is the real pioneer in this account. Without it, nothing might have been done to help the still-suffering alcoholic and their families.”

With the help of two AA members from Chicago, Pat Cronin launched AA in Minneapolis in 1940. Eight years later, the Pioneer House followed, and in 1949 the Hazelden Foundation. Key assumptions about AUD were established: that it is an illness with identifiable signs and symptoms, that it is a primary, progressive, chronic, and often fatal disease, and that it is multidimensional with physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects.

The concept of dual diagnosis began to emerge as well. If there is a comorbidity, it needs to be addressed in treatment together with substance misuse, as there is typically strong interaction between the two issues. “It’s a no-fault illness, patients and their families are to be treated with respect because blaming and punishing just doesn’t work,” Curtiss said. The key to the AA approach and the Minnesota model is total abstinence and good physical, social, emotional, and spiritual health. 

Furthermore, the healing process should involve the community. “Education and intervention must begin in the community.” Treatment should help patients recognize their illness and admit that they need help. Treatment should let them know they have a disease rather than a moral issue and that there is a solution: recovery is possible.

The Retreat

After 19 years with the Hazelden Foundation, Curtiss became one of the principal designers of The Retreat model. This year, The Retreat in Minnesota celebrates twenty-five years of service in the addiction treatment field. The model aims to return to a simpler, more basic approach to helping people recover. The focus is on spirituality and 12-Step facilitation, and creating a caring community. According to Dr. Bob’s dictum, it’s all about “love and service.”

The mission of The Retreat is “to improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities affected by alcohol and drug dependency by providing affordable and effective services grounded in the Twelve-Step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous,” explained Curtiss. 

“Grounded in evidence-based, time-tested principles of recovery, The Retreat serves adult men and women in a non-clinical, supportive-educational, mutual-help approach to recovery that emphasizes a spiritual community-based solution to the problem of addiction.”

Harmony Foundation has long utilized a holistic approach to healing addiction. Comparable to the philosophy of The Retreat, Harmony’s treatment program promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, empowering patients to embark upon a lifelong recovery journey.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction or have questions about our programs, call us today at (970) 432-8075 to get the help needed as soon as possible. Our experienced staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Harmony Offers Gender-Specific Alumni Retreats to Support Recovery

When clients walk out of a rehab facility after a few weeks of treatment their recovery from addiction is really just in the early stages. They must continue working on their recovery for the rest of their lives because addiction is a chronic disease. In order to be successful they need a strong support network.

Harmony Foundation can look back on more than 50 years of excellence in treating substance use disorder (SUD) in a residential setting. A lot of improvements have been implemented over those decades and we now offer treatment in gender-specific settings by trauma-informed staff. 

Harmony has also created a vibrant alumni community. The value of an active alumni program cannot possibly be overrated. One of the tools Harmony is offering its alumni is an app called The Hub (available for Android and iOS devices). We have also started to offer short retreats for alumni to reinforce their recovery efforts.

The Harmony Alumni Lodge Weekend Retreat in March was designed to promote and strengthen the bond of brotherhood and self-awareness of people in recovery who identify as male. The event at the Harmony Retreat Center included two nights of lodging, five meals, and a fire ceremony. 

“Not many rehab programs in the United States are able to offer retreat spaces like this,” explains Tabitha Miller, Harmony’s director of alumni and recovery support services. “Many of our clients cherish the time spent with their ‘brotherhood’ while in treatment at Harmony, and we wanted to recreate that to strengthen bonds and help them continue finding new avenues to grow on their recovery journey.”

The retreat included plenty of outdoor activities—including a trek into the Rockies—and for that purpose, Harmony partnered up with Adventure Recovery. AR is a mental health and recovery-focused adventure guide and coaching service specializing in wilderness activities. 

“They led a fire-starting ceremony for our alumni,” recalls Miller. “That was definitely a highlight, symbolizing that the whole weekend was centered around sparking the flame. It was also a great way to introduce our alumni to other pathways to recovery.” Adventure Recovery utilizes outdoor skills as the foundational learning tools for awareness, growth of skills, and personal transformation. 

“The group of participants was a great mix,” says Miller. “We had people with two and three years of sobriety, someone who came via an intensive outpatient program, and then we had one participant with double-digit years of recovery, so it was quite the range.”

Next up is the Swickard weekend retreat at the end of April for alumni who identify as female. All facilitators and instructors on this retreat will be female. There will be a focus on the connecting aspect of divine feminine power and peer support by the sisterhood. People in recovery with non-binary gender identification may choose which retreat they would like to join. 

Harmony Foundation has long utilized a holistic approach to healing trauma and addiction. All staff at Harmony have been trained in trauma-informed care. Realizing that addiction is a biopsychosocial and spiritual disease, Harmony’s treatment program promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, empowering patients to embark upon a lifelong recovery journey.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, or you have questions about our programs, call us today at (970) 432-8075 to get the help needed as soon as possible. Our experienced staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A Community-Based Approach to Recovery

*This presentation is no longer eligible for a CE credit

As the co-founder of The Retreat, John Curtiss will provide a brief overview of addiction in America. He’ll provide a historical context of the founding of the Minnesota Model of Treatment and describe the trends in the addiction treatment field that ultimately led to the creation of The Retreat Model of Care 25 years ago. John will outline the key principles of The Retreat’s Caring Community model and the robust Twelve Step community that has been crucial to its success. Recovery happens in the community, and John will share how The Retreat has been shaped by the “love & service” spirit of a recovery community that exists throughout the United States and abroad. Continue reading “A Community-Based Approach to Recovery”

How Not to Get Entrapped by Rehab Scammers

Harmony Foundation in Estes Park, Colorado can look back on more than 50 years of excellence in treating substance use disorder (SUD) in a residential setting. While treatment modalities for addiction have significantly improved over the decades, Harmony and its clients now have to contend with difficulties that didn’t exist in the 20th century.

The internet can connect people and provide a good deal of useful information but it can also be abused by bad actors taking advantage of desperate people looking for help.

In September 2017, the technology website The Verge published an expose on how vulnerable people were targeted by ads on search engines for treatment centers that were scams. “Google is the biggest source of patients for most treatment centers. Advertisers tell Google how much they want to spend on search ads per month, which keywords they’d like those ads to run against, and then pay Google every time someone clicks on their ad,” Cat Ferguson reported for The Verge at the time.

While many treatment centers market themselves ethically, there are also significant numbers of bad actors using deceptive and even illegal tactics to get “heads into beds.” Google has tried to stop scammers but it’s a complicated struggle and nefarious practices continue.

In recent weeks, Harmony Foundation became aware of several unethical attempts to defraud people with addiction seeking treatment. “A woman called us seeking admission for her husband,” recalls Justin Barclay, the director of client support services at Harmony. “After listening carefully to the caller, the Harmony representative suggested they start the process of admitting her spouse to the program. To his surprise, the woman answered ‘But we already started the process on a previous call.’ She had talked to someone called ‘Timmy’ but nobody by that name works at Harmony. She had talked with an imposter.”

When Barclay called that number himself, they kept up the charade until he identified himself as a Harmony employee at which point they quickly hung up. “A gentleman who recently called Harmony about treatment for himself had also initially been redirected to a fake phone number.”

How to Be Safe

How can you make sure you’re being connected to the party you actually want to reach? Step one: be aware that scammers exist and use caution when making internet searches. Sadly, there are unscrupulous people out there who prey on the vulnerable.

Don’t necessarily trust the first number offered in a Google search on your smartphone. Sometimes callers even get connected to someone claiming to be with an admissions department who then tries to sign them up for an illegitimate program.

Always check the actual website of the organization you’re trying to contact. Our website is and our phone number (866) 686-7867 can be found on that website. We do not have satellite facilities in Florida or Arizona—if you get connected to somebody who claims that, you’re not talking to Harmony.

“It’s really sad when people with addiction who are trying to launch their recovery journey are met with subterfuge and deceit,” says Barclay. “It’s a process that requires courage and integrity. Recovery should not start dishonesty.”

Our admission process begins when you submit an online form to help you understand what is covered by your insurance plan or by calling one of our admissions specialists at (866) 686-7867. We’ll have a conversation to better understand your history so a recommendation can be made by our medical and clinical professionals on the appropriate residential or outpatient level of care.

When you call Harmony Foundation or any other legitimate provider, it is important to be honest and upfront about your substance use and not hide aspects of your condition as we will base our assessment of your needs and level-of-care requirements on your information. And avoid the temptation of going on one last binge before checking into rehab. Addiction is a dangerous disease. Beware of scammers, find a treatment program that is right for you, and start your recovery as soon as possible.

Recovery Coach Training at Harmony Foundation

Recovery coaches can be important aides on anyone’s recovery journey. They may not offer primary treatment for addiction, do not diagnose, and are not associated with any particular recovery method. But they offer critical support and facilitate positive change—especially in early recovery. 

With the help of CCAR, Harmony has been providing recovery coach training for some time now. Tabitha Miller, Harmony’s director of alumni and recovery support services, recently became a recovery coach professional through CCAR, and she is now an official recovery coach training facilitator. 

The CCAR Recovery Coach Academy© is a 30 CEU four-day intensive training academy that provides individuals with the skills needed to guide, mentor, and support anyone who would like to enter into or sustain long-term recovery from an addiction to alcohol or other drugs. The CCAR Academy prepares participants by helping them to actively listen, ask really good questions, and discover and manage their own stuff.

According to addiction expert William White, recovery coaches provide emotional and informational support, assistance in task accomplishment, and companionship, that is, “helping people in early recovery feel connected and enjoy being with others, especially in recreational activities in alcohol- and drug-free environments.” 

All valuable skills for anybody connected to the recovery community—not just official recovery coaches. “We’re offering this training to all our staff at Harmony as well,” says Miller. “We have people in admissions and nurses that have gone through the training. We have somebody in finance who’s interested. And all the proceeds minus the event hosting expenses go to our alumni programming.” 

Many people can benefit from recovery coach training that offers interesting new perspectives on recovery. It may help them better understand the disease of addiction, even if they don’t intend to switch careers to make recovery coaching their full-time job. 

“Really, anyone can take this course and benefit,” says Miller. “Alumni who want to strengthen their own recovery journey or learn more about how to work better with others; people who would like to educate their technical staff about recovery; or people who do not themselves identify as being in recovery but would like to help people with addiction as allies—that includes their family members and friends.” 

Who can be a recovery coach?

  • Credentialed addiction professionals
  • Treatment center support staff, volunteers, and alumni
  • Staff from behavioral health and government agencies
  • Representatives from inpatient and outpatient centers and sober living homes
  • Individuals, family members, and advocates of recovery

If you are interested in helping people sustain their recovery from addiction, the next CCAR training academy program is scheduled to begin at Harmony’s Recovery Center in Fort Collins, CO on April 13.


A Family-Centered Approach to Treating Addiction

Addiction is a family disease. Few know that better than Michael Barnes, Ph.D., LAC, LPC. Throughout the past 35 years, Dr. Barnes has served as an addiction professional, program administrator, family therapist, and counselor educator. He has been the chief clinical officer at the Foundry Treatment Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for the last three years. Dr. Barnes speaks nationally on families, trauma, addiction, trauma-integrated addiction treatment, and compassion fatigue. His publications in books and scholarly journals have focused on secondary trauma and clinical work with traumatized family systems. Continue reading “A Family-Centered Approach to Treating Addiction”

Brainspotting for Recovery

There is a strong correlation between trauma and addiction. Trauma and other mental health conditions are frequently co-occurring with substance use disorder (SUD) because many people with addiction are primarily misusing substances to self-medicate emotional pain caused by trauma.

If trauma is an important driver of addiction, it follows that trauma should be addressed in addiction treatment. One available treatment modality is a new trauma therapy known as “Brainspotting.”

In a special two-hour webinar for Harmony Foundation, Joanne Baum, Ph.D., LCSW, CAS, explained the benefits of using Brainspotting therapeutically with people on their recovery journey. Dr. Baum believes that all people have the ability to heal from the inside out. She has been trained as a family mediator and divorce coach and is a certified Brainspotting therapist. 

Brainspotting was developed by David Grand, Ph.D. His clients include survivors of traumas such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and active combat, as well as professional performers, athletes, and business leaders. “Brainspotting is one of the increasing number of what are known as brain-based therapies, treatments that go beyond the mind to gain direct access to the brain,” he wrote in Brainspotting (2013). 

“Signals sent from our eyes are deeply processed in the brain. The brain then reflexively and intuitively redirects where we look, moment to moment,” Grand wrote. “But trauma can overwhelm the brain’s processing capacity, leaving behind pieces of the trauma, frozen in an unprocessed state. Brainspotting uses our field of vision to find where we are holding these traumas in our brain.”

Grand’s method was developed to enable a person to have “new, thoughtful responses become automatic, rather than repeating their old trauma reactions in an involuntary, unhealthy pattern,” explained Dr. Baum in the webinar. 

Brainspotting is an attunement model with the therapist attuned to the client, the client attuned to the “brainspot” they have found, and to somatic cues in their body. “Maintaining an eye position—the brainspot—with those three attunements in place seems to down-regulate the person’s internal triggered reactions,” Baum said. 

Her two favorite things about Brainspotting: “It begins with the premise that your body knows how to heal yourself and sharing that belief with clients is empowering to them.”

“Brainspotting allows us to harness the brain’s natural ability for self-scanning,” wrote Dr. Grand, “so we can activate, locate, and process the sources of trauma and distress in the body.”

“Brainspotting heals on deep levels and can lead to lasting change,” explained Baum. In the context of addiction treatment that means “it enhances recovery and helps prevent relapse.”

Being in a traumatized state, “contributes immensely to a person using to deaden their pain,” Baum said. “It contributes greatly to relapse because the person is trying to relieve or escape pain which they find overwhelming. Experiencing their unresolved pain causes dysfunctional, automatic, emotionally painful reactions that alienate them from themselves and others. We enhance a person’s recovery and functioning by healing their trauma.”

Unresolved trauma can put the person into a permanent state of low self-esteem, inducing mood swings, rampant stress, uncontrollable anxiety, insomnia, and other signs and symptoms. Brainspotting can “down-regulate a person’s autonomic nervous systems,” explained Dr. Baum, “effectively turning off or reducing the emotional reactivity of an implicit memory while seemingly creating new neural pathways and healing that which used to trigger and no longer does. Healing from the trauma, the person is able to be fully conscious in the present moment and respond in a mindful, thoughtful way, rather than react involuntarily to past trauma.” 

Harmony Foundation has long utilized a holistic approach to healing trauma and addiction. All staff at Harmony have been trained in trauma-informed care. Realizing that addiction is a biopsychosocial and spiritual disease, Harmony’s treatment program promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, empowering patients to embark upon a lifelong recovery journey.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction or have questions about our programs, call us today at (970) 432-8075 to get the help needed as soon as possible. Our experienced staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Families, Trauma, and Addiction

*This presentation is no longer eligible for a CE credit

What would happen to our treatment outcomes if we were to treat addiction like the chronic disease we say it is? This presentation will apply lessons learned from how chronic disease is treated in integrated medical environments through the lens of medical family therapy and transgenerational and family system trauma theory. The goal will be for attendees to consider the need for a paradigm shift in how families are incorporated into the addiction treatment process. Attendees will learn about the phases of the chronic disease process and the developmental tasks for families in each phase. Dr. Barnes will discuss clinical implications and briefly introduce a family system, a family-centered clinical program for treating families struggling with addiction. The ultimate goal of this model will be to include the client in family services to create family healing and improve treatment outcomes.

Michael Barnes, Ph.D., MAC, LPC
Foundry Treatment Center & Michael Barnes Family Institute

Throughout the past 35 years, Dr. Michael Barnes has served as an addiction professional, program administrator, family therapist, and counselor educator. For the past three years, he has served as the Chief Clinical Officer at Foundry Treatment Center in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Before working at Foundry, Dr. Barnes was the Manager of Residential Services and Clinical Educator at the Center for Dependency, Addiction, and Rehabilitation (CeDAR) at the University of Colorado Hospital. Before that he was on the MA Program in Counseling faculty at the University of Colorado in Denver. Dr. Barnes earned his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy at Florida State University, his M.Ed in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Pittsburgh, and his BA in Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is a Master Addiction Professional (NAADAC), Licensed Professional Counselor (Colorado), and Diplomate in the American Association of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Dr. Barnes speaks nationally on Families, Trauma, and Addiction, Trauma Integrated Addiction Treatment, and Compassion Fatigue. His publications in books and scholarly journals have focused on secondary trauma and clinical work with traumatized family systems.


For more information about Foundry Treatment Center & Michael Barnes Family Institute, please visit:


Connecting Spirituality, Principles, and Recovery

Constructing meaning from life’s events is an essential human characteristic, “a critical element of psychological well-being, and one that can lead to physical and mental discomfort if blocked or unfulfilled,” wrote Laudet, Morgen, and White in 2006 in their study “The Role of Social Supports, Spirituality, Religiousness, Life Meaning and Affiliation with 12-Step Fellowships in Quality of Life Satisfaction Among Individuals in Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Problems.”

Scientific literature strongly supports the notion that spirituality can enhance health and quality of life. “In a review of 200 + studies, positive relationships were documented with physical and functional status, reduced psychopathology, greater emotional well-being, and improved coping,” wrote Laudet, Morgen, and White.

Understanding the core of belonging centers on the spiritual energy within. Substance misuse and disorder block that vital energy. In a recent webinar for Harmony Foundation, Annetta Sutton, MA, AAPC, discussed the critical role a spiritual outlook can have in recovery from addiction. Sutton is the author of Catholic Alcoholic: A Witness to Addiction and Redemption, an inspiring autobiographical work about how alcohol use disorder touched every area of her life as a family member, spouse, parent, and professional. She is also the founder and CEO of Five Point Consulting. With over 40 years of recovery experience, 12-Step spirituality, and transitions, Sutton’s greatest passion is helping the human spirit recover and transform trauma, grief, and addiction.

At the beginning of the webinar, Sutton identified spiritual blocks to recovery such as dishonesty, despair, grief, unwillingness, isolation, arrogance, shame, irresponsibility, shame, and anger. “We’re seeing those constantly in our society,” she said. “In fact, it’s been exacerbated in the last few years. In recovery, we ask ourselves, ‘How can this change?’ What I like about places like Harmony is the principle of the spiritual journey that they use.”

Spiritual blocks are countered by a value system of spiritual principles. These include honesty, compassion, hope, courage, integrity, humility, willingness, perseverance, and service. “Everybody has a value system,” Sutton said. “It comes from our parents, teacher, and coaches. Often, it takes only one person to give us a value system, but when we’re in the throes of the disease of addiction, it goes away because our attitude and our behavior change.”

Maintaining a functional value system is a process: we never arrive at a state of perfection where this spiritual endeavor would be finished. It requires work every day. “In recovery, our attitude changes again and we find back to our spiritual principles,” Sutton explained. People in recovery tend to look for things they are grateful for instead of focusing on things that make them angry.

The Role of Trauma and Grief

Sutton then explained two issues “that have surfaced the most” in her own work. The first one is trauma—especially childhood trauma and abuse. “When this happens to a child, they lose the spark. They lose their energy. To bring it back is a major accomplishment.” If you add drugs and alcohol into the mix, the impact gets even worse.

That explains how addiction has a high probability of perpetuating itself: a troubling 75 percent of adults in treatment grew up with addiction in their families, Lindsey Chadwick, manager of the children’s program at the Hazelden Betty Ford Center, explained in a Harmony webinar in 2021. Children living through abuse, violence, and other traumatic events, such as parental substance misuse, often suffer the ill effects of what is known as “adverse childhood experiences” (ACEs) for the rest of their lives.

The second area is unprocessed grief resulting from traumatic experiences. “We sidestep this issue too often, but of all the spiritual blocks, it will control more of our lives if we don’t have the tools to work with it.”  Sutton cited the example of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson who experienced multiple ACEs in his childhood that contributed to his subsequent substance use disorder because he didn’t have the means to process that traumatic grief.

In therapy sessions, Sutton frequently starts by asking about a client’s grief.” It’s confusion, abandonment, and anxiety, she said. “Every person’s grief is very individual and very personal.”

For Sutton, the answer is the 12-Step way of life with the ultimate aim of a spiritual awakening (Step 12). Making a fearless moral inventory (Step 4), admitting our wrongs to ourselves (Step 5), being prepared to have God remove our character defects (Step 6), and humbly asking him to remove our shortcomings (Step 7) are important stages for Sutton on the 12-Step journey.

Finally, Sutton emphasized the importance of Step 11: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of

His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

“When you listen to yourself, and you quiet the mind—that’s what meditation is—when you live in the present moment and concentrate on your breathing and let go, you relieve all that tension and stress,” Sutton said. “How simple is that?”

Harmony Foundation has long utilized a holistic approach to healing trauma and addiction. All staff at Harmony have been trained in trauma-informed care. Realizing that addiction is a biopsychosocial and spiritual disease, Harmony’s treatment program promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual healing, empowering patients to embark upon a lifelong recovery journey.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, or you have questions about our programs, call us today at (970) 432-8075 to get the help needed as soon as possible. Our experienced staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.