“If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies.”
The above quote has special meaning for me ~ before caterpillars become butterflies, they have to sit in “bug juice” for a while. I sat in my own bug juice for many years before I was finally able to spread my wings and become a butterfly.
In 1973, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. Before that time, I had always been healthy and active, so this diagnosis came as quite a shock. Within a year, I would find myself in the throes of prescription drug addiction.
My Crohn’s Disease diagnosis came at a time when the medical community had a very limited understanding of the disease and how to treat it. As a result, the treatment included some very addictive medications such as valium, demerol and codeine which I took faithfully for a number of years.
And, of course, I quickly became physically addicted to these medications, although I was not aware of that until many years later.
By that time, I was having serious problems with other drugs as well. I discovered that marijuana took away a lot of my physical pain and helped me to escape from feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness, and isolation. In no time at all, I became a daily pot smoker and had one more addiction to deal with. To make matters worse, when I ran out of pot I abused alcohol which caused me even more physical pain!
Finally, after 14+ years of abusing substances, I reached my “bottom” in 1987. I began my journey of recovery and self-discovery. I was learning, for the first time in my life, who I actually was.
Because my own extraordinary journey has included both 12-Step and 16-Step meetings, as well as time in detox, residential treatment and therapy, I have personal experience with a wide variety of treatment options. I know the ins and outs of what my clients are experiencing as they go through their own difficult and courageous journeys.
Over time, I have learned how to manage chronic pain without abusing addictive substances. I have healthy relationships in my life today, with both family and friends. Although life is never “perfect” for anyone, my life is now a pleasure to live, and I feel very grateful every day. I am happy and proud to be clean and sober today, celebrating over 25 years of recovery, one day at a time.
My sobriety and overall enhanced health has even caused my Crohn’s Disease to improve considerably over the years, much to the astonishment of my doctors. Rarely have they seen a case like mine improve so dramatically.
I have worked as an Addictions Counsellor in the Downtown Eastside area of Vancouver, BC since 1991, working with addicts, alcoholics, and the family and friends who love them.
In 2001, I graduated from the Adler School of Professional Psychology with a Masters degree (M.A.) in Counselling Psychology. I have now been in private practice for over 20 years, helping clients understand their addictive behaviours of choice, such as unhealthy relationship dynamics, problem gambling, internet addiction, disordered eating, and substance abuse ~ because it is only when we understand why we use addictive behaviours that we will be able to stop using them.
Therapy is about change. It is about choosing to explore our options and deciding to make healthier choices for ourselves, so that we can get out of our own bug juice.
As you can see, I have chosen to do this in my own life.
I feel both blessed and honoured to be able to assist others in their own journeys of recovery and healing. I have a lot to offer clients because of my knowledge of addictive behaviours, from both a personal and professional perspective. After 25 years of recovery and over 20 years of working with clients, I still enjoy my work so much that I cannot imagine doing anything else.
If you are looking for a way out of the self-sabotaging addictive behaviours that have been plaguing you, I can help you.
If you want counselling for Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, Problem Gambling, Internet Addiction, Nicotine Addiction or Compulsive Spending, please call me for a free 15-minute telephone consultation.
You can reach me at 604-677-5876, or if you would prefer to email me. I would love to hear from you.
My office is located in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I provide therapy and counselling services for the Greater Vancouver area including Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, North Vancouver and West Vancouver.