Dr. Carol Clark

Be In Light

The offspring of a customized orbiter
Dr. Carol Clark is a Board certified sex therapist and addictions counselor, president and senior instructor at the Sex Therapy Training Institute and is an adjunct professor at Carlos Albizu University in Miami, Florida.
Our over-stimulated lifestyles have led to a disconnection from each other and the Universe. The themes and exercises in this book will help you to Connect and be present, leading to a more fulfilled and peaceful life.
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I was watching the news the other night and marveling at the extent of what to me is irrational thinking and behavior. Specifically, those people in Texas who believe that President Obama is massing our forces to take over Texas and/or stay in office beyond his proscribed term.

What would make people actually devote time to protesting this seeming absurdity? What would make the Governor of Texas actually buy into this?

As any of my students could tell you, the greatest motivator of human behavior is the need to belong to the group.

People will repress their personal values and override their innate intelligence in order to belong to their group. The result can sometimes be the creation of a positive problem-solving team, a group that affects healthy change, or a disciplined military force that protects our way of life.

The result can also be destructive gangs, mind-deadening cults, mob violence, and just the paranoic flight from rational thinking that distracts people from very real issues.

Examples of this need to belong to the group in spite of overwhelmingly painful or destructive consequences can be found around the world. The people in Africa who engage in female genital mutilation will cite a myriad of reasons, ranging from fear that unmutilated genitals will smell bad to fear that if a baby’s head touches the clitoris during birth the baby will die. The most compelling reason, however, is that any female child who is not mutilated will be exiled from the community and be good for nothing except prostitution. Closer to home are the men and women who serve in law enforcement and will keep silent about a fellow officer who violates that very mandate they all swore to uphold: “Protect and Serve.”

This premise that “Crazy is Normal” comes up on a daily basis in my practice. When I’m working with couples and they are fighting over something seemingly insignificant (yes, crazy), I will discuss this need to belong to the group and then explore with them from where that originated. Let me connect the dots.

In childhood, we take in messages about ourselves in relation to others. We don’t yet have the capacity to distinguish that what is going on externally is not a judgment on our internal identity, and so we develop beliefs such as “I’m not good enough” or “I’m unimportant” and then carry those beliefs into our adult lives, often unknowingly. For instance, when a well-meaning parent says “You need to bring that B up to an A, just work harder, I want to see that A next time!” and the child takes in “I’m not good enough to please my father/mother and never will be.”

As we engage in relationships with others, we look for groups that will accept us, in spite of those negative beliefs. I once asked someone in Scientology what was the motivation for being part of an organization that alienated her from her family and cost her a great deal of money and she replied, “They accept me as I am.” Of course, there are many other conditions for acceptance that she had to fulfill, but they continually assured her that she was good enough and important enough to belong with them, which was and is her greatest motivation.

Back to our couples who are fighting over who’s not taking out the garbage or washing the dishes, it comes back to the underlying message in this way: If you don’t do the dishes, it means I’m unimportant, or if I take out the garbage every day and you don’t appreciate me, I’m not good enough.

There is a little more complexity to this (see past article Intimacy by the Numbers) but the distancing created by this need to Connect (be part of the group) and the fear of not being good enough or important enough to be accepted leads to the irrational thoughts and behaviors that we see in our relationships and on the news. If we focus on the “Crazy,” we will miss the underlying motivation and therefore the ability to address it in any meaningful way. If I enter into a right/wrong position about whose job it is to do the dishes, I will perpetuate a fight that only serves to disconnect the couple. Just as when we try to convince someone that the president is not going to invade Texas, that person will just dig in and we are going to butt heads.

Instead, when we can discover the underlying meaning and own it, we can then make different decisions and look more rationally at the situation. We can first decide how much energy we are going to give. We can explore what our real goal is and generate different options for achieving it. We can decide if the group (be it a group of two partners or a group of hundreds or even thousands) is the one to which we want to belong.

People acting crazy is really normal. Through our need to belong to the group, we are all Connected. The trick is to not disconnect while seeking Connection.

Be In Light

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You’ve heard the expression “Nature Abhors a Vacuum,” right? Basically, a vacuum, or empty space, cannot exist in nature. Something has to fill it. If you sucked all the air out of an enclosed space and then opened up a hole, air would be sucked right back in.

The same is true in our lives. When we say “I am not going to….. (take drugs, watch online porn, get angry) we create a vacuum. In the absence of anything else with which to fill that empty space, whatever it was we tried to remove from it will be sucked right back in. That is how Addiction Loves a Vacuum. No matter how hard we try to NOT do our addictive behavior, if we leave a vacuum, the addiction will fill it again.

So we need to frame our desires in a positive way. What do we want to do instead of our addiction? Pretty much everyone is able to do whatever they put their minds to, as long as it is framed concretely. “I will eat dinner with my family,” “I will go to a meeting,” or “I will take an hour-long yoga class.”

It is about Intention – the Intention to live in Recovery, the Intention to do those behaviors that are prosocial and health-promoting.

Start each day with an Intention for how you want your day to be, rather than how you do NOT want it to be.

Use the Intention for a Good Day from Addict America: The Lost Connection to make this day a good one!

INTENTION FOR A GOOD DAY

The power of intention is strong indeed. Begin each day with this pledge:

This Day

Will be a good day

I will be present and mindful

I will smile at everyone

I will listen to others and understand their world

I will nurture myself with good food, exercise, and fresh air

I will be nurtured with hugs and smiles

I will trust in the good intentions of those who love me

I will send Light to anyone from whom I perceive harm

I will be the person I want to be

I will be Connected

Addict America: The Lost Connection can be found at Amazon.com.

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Taking It Personally

There is a great bit in the movie “You’ve Got Mail” when Meg Ryan’s character is talking to Tom Hank’s character about the falsity of telling someone “it’s not personal” when of course, it is affecting her on a very deep, personal level.

The line “don’t take it personally” or “it’s not personal” can be a great way for someone to relieve their own sense of responsibility for another person’s feelings by blaming them for the hurt they are experiencing. This is very disconnecting for both people – let’s call them Meg and Tom. Tom’s acknowledgment of that hurt would be far more effective way of empathizing with Meg and by recognizing that they are both feeling disempowered. This, paradoxically, leads to empowerment. In other words, Meg “taking it personally” is feeling out of control because the Tom is doing something “to” her. Tom, who has done the bad deed, is feeling out of control to relieve Meg’s the hurt and pain. Something as simple as “I see that this is hurting you and I’m sorry that what I am doing is causing you distress” can be far more relieving than “don’t take it personally.”

On the other hand, for Meg, the aggrieved person, recognizing that she has the power to “not take it personally” can be an enormous step in taking responsibility for her feelings. The situation (her store that was going out of business due to Tom’s new big business) was only the surface issue. The meaning for her was that she was losing her connection to her mother, her childhood, and her life’s work. Those were what made this personal and it really didn’t come from Tom and he was not doing anything “to” her, he was doing something that was meaningful for him, and the consequences were neither intended nor under his control.

As it was, Meg was able to move forward in her life and begin her own journey of becoming a writer, so with no change in actual circumstances, she was able to respond in a different way.

It is a natural part of the grieving process to blame others for creating an unwanted change. It is our responsibility to make the decision to accept our own part in causing our own pain.

Addicts experience this all the time. Initially, they don’t want to change - they blame, they fight, and they push away. Eventually, in recovery, they live the Serenity Prayer and take responsibility for their own destinies. In so doing, they eventually move from resenting their addiction to being grateful for it, because it brought them to a far better place.

Be In Light

Addict America: The Lost Connection

The Serenity Prayer

God, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The Courage to change the things I can,

And the Wisdom to know the difference

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I grew up in an alcoholic home and had a drug addicted boyfriend at one time, so I wanted nothing to do with addicts when I became a mental health counselor. The Universe had other ideas for me, however, and when I couldn’t find work anywhere else, I ended up in a substance abuse treatment facility. My father and ex-boyfriend went into recovery around the same time and made amends and I experienced a profound shift in perspective. Over the years, I became a Certified Addictions Professional and when I specialized in sex therapy, working with sex addicts was the next progression for me.

After years of working with couples and individuals, sex addicts and others, I formulated a conceptual framework of treating everyone that was based on Recovery principles. When I realized I was saying the same thing over and over as I educated clients and students about how we create barriers to intimacy by using addictive thinking and behavior, I decided to write it all down and voila! Addict America: The Lost Connection was born. It actually gestated for seven years but it eventually was completed and then translated into Spanish.

Working and teaching in the sex therapy field, I have been exposed to a few sexologists who are fundamentally opposed to the concept of “sex addiction.” They have posited various reasons for this, including opinions that sex addiction treatment professionals are “sex negative,” into “reparative therapy,” and religious fundamentalists. For me, none of this is true. A few other professionals are less oppositional but still questioning. While I try to avoid going head-to-head with anyone who is obviously not really interested in a discussion, I am happy to engage in more academic discourse on the subject. Still, I find myself fighting twinges of defensiveness and last night, as I explored this, I was able to move to a completely different place of perspective, which I want to share.

I am blessed to be able to work with addicts. Addicts, no matter the drug or behavior, go through hell and it takes enormous courage and willingness to change in order for them to begin Recovery. As they learn new ways of living, make decisions about everything from what shoes to wear to where to eat, work, play, to relationship choices, they are evolving to a higher spiritual plane. When addicts are living in Recovery, they are present and grounded. They have made choices as to what kinds of people they want to be and they live congruently with that identity. They have made choices regarding their values and what is important in life and are living according to those values. They are fully able to be in intimate, Connected relationships, whether with a committed partner, a child, a friend, a coworker, or someone just passing on the street. For each moment, there is Connection and awareness of Connection. They have Connected to a higher power and live the Serenity Prayer without rationalization, minimization, or intellectualization. They can truly say, and often do, that the worst day in Recovery is better than the best day in addiction. They are my heroes and my role models. I am humbled and grateful to be a part of their journeys.

We all have it in us to be in addiction or be in Recovery. I know when I am not present, not Connected, and not in harmony with the Universe. I know when I’m rushing around, angry or irritable, and blaming others. That is an addictive place. I also know when I am grounded, in the moment, and have a sense of myself and others in Connection. I know who I am and am responsible for myself. That is Recovery. It is where I strive to live.

Be In Light,

Carol

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“I spent too long wanting what was taken from me and not what was given.”

King Caspian, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

What a powerful message this is! It goes to the heart of addiction and recovery. Addiction is wanting what we lost and often what we never had. It is about seeking fulfillment and validation from external sources, always looking for something to fill that hole in our souls.

Recovery is about seeing what we have, the beauty around us, the love of whatever people are in our lives who truly care about us.

As we move into this season of crazy commercialism and family pressures, pay attention to what you have and let go of what you think you are lacking. This isn’t a new message, it’s just something we all need to be reminded of.

While you have some time off, watch the movie. It’s a good one!

Be In Light

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There are so many meanings to these words: I lost my voice. In my case, I caught a bad cold and had three days of laryngitis, so I actually lost my voice. It’s a scary feeling to open one’s mouth and have no sound come out. There was literally an emptiness in my throat. I’m talking total loss – no croaking, no hoarseness, no squeaks. Nothing, no voice at all.

I had never really thought about what it would mean to lose my voice. I couldn’t answer the phone, I couldn’t call my dog, and I couldn’t do my job. I am a counselor and a professor. I talk for a living. I’ve often thought that I’m fortunate in that if I ever became disabled, perhaps in a wheelchair or blind, I could still do my job. No voice, though, how can I teach or counsel?

So here I am writing. I can do that. It is a different medium and the words are comprehended in a different manner entirely. I hear in my head what I’m typing but you will be giving my words different inflections and intonation. There is so much meaning conveyed when we use our voice to emphasize, to convey humor or gravity.

The new technology is grasping this and we use emoticons to try to convey more accurate meanings with our words. Smiley faces, “lol,” and winks help to fill the gap of not hearing a voice. There is still a disconnect though.

Losing one’s voice has deeper meanings than just not being able to talk. It can mean that I have lost my identity, lost my equality, and lost my power. If I am in a group of people discussing the topic of the day and I cannot talk, then I have lost my voice insofar as even being a part of the conversation. I am an outsider – listening, nodding, smiling or frowning – there, but not there, physically in the circle, but not a part of it. Can I write my opinions or gesticulate my thoughts? That would not last long. People would grow tired and bored and move away. The biggest motivator of human behavior is belonging to the group and I would lose that belonging without my voice.

Minorities, disenfranchised groups, and individuals who do not have equal rights in society have lost their voices. They form their own groups not just for a sense of belonging, but so they can strengthen their collective voice and be heard by the dominant group. We often think of people who are using loud voices as wanting to dominate and control, but maybe they just want to be part of the conversation and have been excluded. They are crying out to be heard and to assert their identity. They want to Connect.

My voice is back and I now have a new understanding of what it means to lose it. I have a deeper compassion for those without a voice. My challenge is to listen through different senses and allow the Connection that needs no voice.

Be In Light

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I’m struggling with Ego issues at the moment, so it seems apt to write about this topic.

The reason I’m struggling is because someone made some disparaging remarks about one of the programs I developed and in which I am deeply involved. The comments were not truthful and frankly unfair and my first response (still lingering, hence the struggle) is from my Caveman Brain, where dwells the limbic system containing all emotions. I am also experiencing some physical reactions caused by the adrenaline and other neurotransmitters that make life interesting.

My daily work as a counselor is with people who find it difficult to deal with exactly this – an external event that triggers emotional and physiological responses that in turn lead to undesirable behavior. I know that our emotions are the result of unconscious thoughts that stem from negative childhood experiences. For example, being brought up in a dysfunctional alcoholic household where my very identity was largely dismissed and ignored led to the ingrained thought “There’s something wrong with me.” That, in spite of my own therapy and my years of personal and professional growth, is still the occasional default, as happened today.

When I work with clients, we go back and uncover those negative beliefs and re-process them. I use EMDR, but other therapists utilize other interventions successfully. I know that people like the one who was mean to me today (see how easily I revert to childhood!) have their own issues and that my higher self wants to be kind and compassionate and forgiving.

It takes practice, mindfulness, true desire, and also an awareness of just how powerful that Caveman Brain can be. The limbic system is where addiction moves in and takes up residence. We get “high” off all that adrenaline, enkephalins, dopamine, etc. When my blood is thundering in my ears (ok, maybe just pulsing a bit, I’m being melodramatic) I feel powerful. I’m on high alert and damn the torpedoes! I am able to recognize this and see the paradox of power – I am, while in that state, not powerful at all. Rather, I am truly in control of myself when I can make a decision how to respond based on my values and own sense of self.

People can become addicted to anger and drama just as they do to sex, gambling, shopping, and drugs. Anger can fuel the other addictive behaviors by giving permission to act out. How easily I could have said “I really need a drink now.” There was a time when I would have smoked half a pack of cigarettes.

Instead, I made choices. First, not to act in a way I knew I would be sorry for later. Then to look for meaning and personal growth. Hence, this article. Finally, there is the possibility of Connection in this.

I started out talking about the Ego. There is another paradox, which is so common when we talk about addiction and recovery. Our Egos are how we identify ourselves, what makes each of us who we are. Our Egos are also what keep us in addiction in that we turn inwards and focus only on the “rush” that allows escape from the pain of our disconnection. Letting go of the Ego allows us to Connect to the Universe and every living thing in it, including the people who piss us off. The paradox is that each of us is Connected and so our Egos are a part of that. We don’t need to lose ourselves, deny ourselves, or act against ourselves for the greater good. Everyone’s good is my good. My compassion for that mean person is compassion for myself, because we are Connected. And of course, I need that compassion and understanding. I’ve been there and done that when it comes to being thoughtless and even mean. So in the end, my Ego brought me back to Connection. I’m calm now and ready for sleep.

Be In Light

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I thought about suicide last night.

I was taking a bath after a long, swelteringly hot, strenuous day in the yard. Actually, jungle is a more apt word. I live in Miami and the heat and the rain this summer have turned my gardens into overgrown rain forests, with vines choking the flowering bushes that are flowing over their borders and smothering those plants residing closer to the ground. The sun was brutal and in spite of my husband’s admonition, I “overdid it.”

With a pounding head and aching muscles, I tried to find comfort in our oversized tub, but without anything to lean comfortably against, I finally just lay back and let myself float, mouth and nose barely above the water surface.

In time, I relaxed and my head felt better. I sat up and opened the drain. With my head bent, watching the water begin to run out, I thought of how easy it would be to die. I imagined just fading away to darkness, to emptiness. For long moments I allowed this release of all struggle, of all pain, of all need to do anything. Just let go.

I thought of Robin Williams, who recently gave in to this feeling. I thought about what I knew of him, which is only what any of us knew – his stardom, his addictions, his struggle for sobriety. I thought of how the world has been mourning and questioning what would bring him to that place of just giving up when he had so much for which to live. For a few moments, I thought I knew. He just let go.

Of course I didn’t let go. Not in that way at least. I’m not really suicidal, but I work with people who struggle with addiction and depression, with pain and hopelessness. At times, in spite of all my years of education and experience, I simply give them to God. The answers, however, sometimes come, as they did last night. Answers that I already had but needed to feel in a different way.

Just let go. Just give up the struggle. Not by letting go of life, but by letting go of trying to live in a way that forces us to struggle for some external reward that gives us a sense of worth.

Just like addicts, so many of us struggle with “white knuckling” it. We want to maintain our lifestyles but without the addiction – the obsessive, compulsive behavior that keeps us from just enjoying the moment. We want everything to stay the same – friends, activities, jobs – and just not drink, or drug, or sexually act out, or gamble, or overwork, or any of the other activities in our lives that become out of control. Change is hard. For everyone, not just addicts. I want my lifestyle and everything that comes with it. Yet sometimes, it overwhelms me and I want to just let go.

This is why I look at us all as addicts. Those thoughts and behaviors that are about what comes next and fill us with anxiety are addictive and disconnect us from what is really important. When we Connect with each other, in this moment, then we are living life in recovery and health. This is what the Serenity Prayer and Step One are all about – letting go. Making decisions for a good life comes down to this question: “Is this for my addiction or is this for my recovery?” Life becomes very simple this way because we always know. We know what is really important and it is not fame or money or possessions. We can use this question whether or not we identify as addicts.

Last night I thought about suicide and then I got out of the tub, dried off, and went in to sit on the couch with my husband.

Let go and just live.

Be In Light

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Nature Abhors a Vacuum

 

This quote, attributed to Aristotle, is the underlying principle for changing one’s life.

 

How many times have you tried to change your behavior by removing something? “I won’t eat sugar and carbs,” “I’m going to stop smoking cigarettes,” “I won’t look at porn tonight,” or “I’m not going to drink more than one drink at the party.” All examples of removing something and leaving a vacuum.

 

Since nature abhors a vacuum, when you create one with using a negative and removing something, the vacuum will suck back in whatever is most available, which is the very thing that you just tried to take away.

 

So instead of deprivation, frame your intention with a positive action that will contribute to you becoming the person you want to be. When I quit smoking for the fifth (and last) time, I finally took on my new identity as a non-smoker. When I craved a cigarette, I said “I am a non-smoker!” and simply turned my attention back to what I was doing in that moment.

 

Schedule your day and fill your time with the activities and behaviors that are congruent with your desired self. Let go of fighting what you want in the next moment and notice what is present in this one, which is already what you decided you want.

 

I am exercising, I am talking to a friend, I am walking my dog, I am breathing.

 

Be In Light

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When Counting Sheep Doesn’t Work

By Dr. Carol Clark

Have you ever lain awake at night, wanting and needing desperately to sleep, but your thoughts keep going a mile a minute? Of course you have, we all have, and it just makes it worse when we try to stop it by arguing with ourselves, getting up and down, tossing and turning, and thinking about how fast the morning will come.

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I work with sex addicts.

I’m a Board Certified Sex Therapist, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and Certified Addictions Professional. I’ve been in the field of psychotherapy for more than 20 years. I’ve written a book – Addict America: The Lost Connection – in which I discuss how addictive thinking and behavior affects our brains and leads to a disconnection from each other and our spiritual Connections. So far, my book has resonated with everyone who read it and my therapy practice is full. I also have my own training programs so I can pass along the knowledge and expertise I have gathered over the years.

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  I am a bit driven. Private practice, teaching at a university, teaching my own sex therapy and addictions programs, supervising students and trying to have a personal life. My husband takes care of everything at home and would get an outside job, but then I would have to do some of what he does and I don't want to, so it works out. Except that I have to make a certain amount of money to pay for everything. I'm generally okay with my life and enjoy what I do and so overall give the impression that I have it all together. My assistant was therefore taken very much aback when I had a complete meltdown after she said "Why can't you just......?" I don't even remember what she was suggesting, I just know that at that moment, to do anything more would have been the proverbial last straw. I couldn't do another thing, no matter how seemingly minor, and I was unfairly angry at her for even thinking I could. 

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Couples come together out of an equal fear of intimacy.

This is the answer to many questions about how people end up with each other.

“I want to be in an intimate relationship, so why do I keep choosing emotionally unavailable partners?”

“Why do I keep finding great guys who live somewhere else?”

“Why do all the women I meet want me only for my money?”

“Why do all the partners I meet turn out to be addicts?”

So how does it happen that a person who says he or she wants to be in an intimate relationship has such difficulty? Part of the answer to that is in my book, Addict America: The Lost Connection. Here is an excerpt:

They both have that inner child who holds on to the messages of “I’m not good enough,” “I’m a failure,” “I’m a bad person,” “I’m worthless,” and so on. Each person subliminally recognizes that the other will come so close and no closer, matching each other’s comfort level. They will unconsciously strive to keep that distance. For instance, when they are close sexually, they will be emotionally distant. As they become emotionally close, they will pull apart sexually. They will employ any number of mechanisms to maintain the status quo.

When we are children, we personalize everything, which is where those messages come from. Whether it’s from something obvious, like being abused, that leads to the belief of being a bad person or being worthless; or something more subtle, like bringing home a B instead of an A on a report card, which leads to the belief of not being good enough; we grow up with that sense of having to maintain a certain distance from others. If they get too close, they will see our inner selves and run away.

Of course, this is happening on an unconscious level. The Limbic System (what I call the Caveman Brain), where our emotions reside, is motivating much of our behavior without us even realizing it. Our Prefrontal Cortex (Enlightened Brain) is where the thinking takes place. This is also the part of the brain that says “I want to be close, intimate, and Connected!” Meanwhile, the Caveman Brain is pulling back in fear.

So let’s give this fear of intimacy a number. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the farthest away you can be emotionally and 10 being completely Connected, let’s say you are a 5. Maybe your parents got divorced and you hardly saw your father after that. You waited in vain for him to show up but he never did. You took in the message that you are not important. You say you want to be in an intimate relationship with a man, but you don’t trust that any man will really be there for you. If you meet a man who is a 7, he will be trying to get closer than you feel comfortable and you will be (unconsciously) pushing him away. If you meet a 3, you will be trying to get closer to him and he’ll be pulling away until one of you gives up. Generally, when numbers are mismatched, they won’t even get together. The vibe just isn’t there.

So what happens when you meet another 5? It will work for a while. You will both feel comfortable with being so close and no closer. The problem is, we are spiritual beings who are innately Connected to each other and the Universe and our Enlightened Brains want us to be as close as we can get, so we are always striving for real Connection. We want to be known and accepted fully as we are and yet we are scared to death of that. We engage in the dance of Power and Control as we try to maintain the status quo even while growing and evolving.

We need to recognize our fears and then take responsibility for them. We can make that decision to not bring the past into the present. Therapy can help with this. We can take the scary risk of being open to intimacy. We can believe that we are lovable. We can each choose to be a 10!

Be In Light,

Carol

           Dr. Carol Clark, author of Addict America: The Lost Connection

 

 

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When I first saw the movie “Avatar,” I was struck by the beautiful greeting the Na’vi use with each other, which is “I see you.” (That is also how the people from Swaziland greet each other, thank you internet).

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The secret to happiness lies within the Serenity Prayer, in that it helps us to understand that the only thing we are able to control in life is our own thinking. When we can truly grasp and then accept this premise, we gain awareness of our true power within all relationships – personal, business, community, and spiritual.

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The U.S. Supreme Court decided last year that corporations are people and so, to some extent, they are.

Corporations are certainly run by people and those people often think and behave addictively, as defined in my book Addict America: The Lost Connection.

 

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For many years now I’ve noticed that in the Fall – October and November – I and a lot of people I know complain of feeling tired and with that tiredness comes a sense of depression. As a therapist, I’m aware of clients coming to see me and wanting my help with this. That’s my job, right? To help people with depression and fatigue?

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Last month, I spent two weeks in Ecuador taking a Spanish immersion program.  Ecuador got its name because it is on the equator and during an excursion to La Mitad del Mundo (the Middle of the World) I was literally standing with a foot in each hemisphere.

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During the years when I was writing Addict America: The Lost Connection, my focus was on how we, as Americans, are so caught up in our "more is better," "over-the-top" lifestyles, that we live in a state of addiction and disconnection.  In our current times, when our country is so extremely divided, it is more apparent than ever that we are living in a state of addiction that is driven by fears created by groups who wish to control us.  This is nothing new.  Religions, political groups, and any other special interest group - including any company or individual trying to sell us something - will first create a fear and then tell us how they can relieve that fear.

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There is a huge debate in the therapeutic community, especially among sex therapists, about the existence of sex addiction. As a sex addiction treatment provider, I am sometimes drawn into these debates, but they often prove non-productive because for some reason, while the pro-sex addiction crowd is generally open to discussion and the inclusion of others’ ideas, the nay-sayers seem entrenched in their beliefs and unwilling to entertain any thinking other than their own. As far as I’m concerned, a rose by any other name……….Call it what you will, there is a certain chemical process in the brain that occurs with stimulation from any number of sources, such as cocaine, gambling, or masturbating to internet porn. There are definable thought processes, behaviors, and feelings that are common among all addicts and form an identifiable pattern. Finally, there are treatment protocols and interventions that work well with addicts, no matter the drug of choice.

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My book, Addict America: The Lost Connection, took me almost five years to write and the messages it contains are by no means original.  I talk about Connection – between individuals, communities, and all life – and how our fears prevent us from experiencing the joy and fulfillment of Connection.

The Kaballah, the Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, and countless others have all taught us about Connection.  I subscribe to newsletters from Abraham-Hicks, Yehuda Berg, and Andrew Cohen of EnlightenNext and all of their messages are about Connection.