Wednesday, November 15, 2017

weekly theme :: FAMILY DYNAMICS

Author: Sifu Matt Carver

In preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, this week's theme will focus on Family Dynamics.  Let's incorporate the genogram and have clients reflect on what their ideal family environment looks and feels like and how they can play a part in nurturing the ideal family environment for the holidays.  Here's some motivation from our Clinical Director/Therapist, Ryan Thompson.

As humans, relationships are integral to just about every aspect of our lives. What has been the quality of those relationships? Early in life, our family of origin, whether it be in a nuclear family, adoptive family, or institutions such as boarding homes or foster homes have been our first experiences of learning to engage in relationships. These early experiences of family dynamics often have a lasting impact on the quality, types and patterns of our future relationships. Maybe some relationships have been healthy and supportive while others have been a source of pain, mistrust, disappointment and sadness. These relationships are a significant factor in the formation of our lenses of perception. If our relationships have been of a toxic origin, how do we change them, how do we become aware that "normal and expected" is often a formulated perception based upon familiarity even if toxic or volatile relationships is the norm. 
In life, we will run into other people moving on their path of life whom have developed their own relationship styles, systems and strategies. In order to stop repeating toxic and maladaptive relationship patterns that maintain substance use disorders through codependency, enabling, resentments, in-authenticity and manipulation we must raise awareness of the dynamics we have learned from our early family experiences. Then we must learn the characteristics and techniques that lead to healthy relationship dynamics such as trust, respect, effective communication, authenticity and how to set healthy boundaries. As we move forward in life and as we meet the other people on their journey we have an opportunity to forge relationships that are made of denser and more reliable material.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Thank you for attending Zen Recovery path's Open House. It was a big success. We invited all healers, helpers and professionals in the substance abuse treatment community to join hands in the united effort to extinguish addiction. 

The attendance was generous and the Ane Thanh Lion Dance took the audience's breath away.
We look forward to seeing everyone next year for the "JOIN OUR HANDS" annual program which hopes to create a network that can use their combined intentions to put an end to the opioid epidemic that currently plagues the United States. Your support is helping provide critical assistance to those in need, their families and entire communities. On behalf of those that benefit from your caring, thank you for your support.

With Appreciation,
Sifu Matt Carver

Monday, November 6, 2017

weekly theme :: INSPIRATION

Author: Sifu Matt Carver

Ask yourself, "What is my Why?" 

Inspiration comes in many forms. Getting inspired by something or someone get our hearts and minds focused on a single subject. This is great practice for folks with scattered thoughts and lingering ADD. Early in recovery, it is hard to get excited about anything. Our brain receptors are a little fried from over use. But as we begin to settle back into who we are, inspiration becomes a welcomed old friend.

Now, waiting around to be inspired is a little presumptuous. I find when you take a step back and ask yourself, "Why?" the discovery begins. Besides, inspiration can be cultivated and accentuated. Putting ourselves in new creative environments and surrounding ourselves with inspiring people helps propagate inspiration in our own lives.

Getting sober can feel like a backwards fall into boredom and dullsville. But it doesn’t have to be. Finding ways to get excited about life begins as a practice and a routine. Exploring different cultures, or music you never listen to, or learning a language or taking a dance class. Engaging in these new pursuits and flights of inspiration help fill the void left in early sobriety. Often times it is not just the drugs and alcohol that disappears, but an entire lifestyle and identity. Rebuilding this bedrock and filling this vacancy will require inspiration (and some footwork).

Sharing what gets us personally excited is one way to help others find their spark for life. Trying new things and experiences is another. This week let’s have discussions about what makes life so rich and inviting. What makes us want to engage and create? Help our clients rediscover that zest for life that addiction and compulsive behavior extinguished.

Call or stop by Zen Recovery Path. We will be inspired with Art Projects, Kung Fu Classes, Tai Chi, Music group and Movie with Meaning.

126 E. 16th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(800) 759-1930

Monday, October 30, 2017

Zen Recovery Path :: Art Therapy :: Halloween

Author: Sifu Matt Carver

Expressive Pumpkins.
The Use of Art Therapy in the Addiction Treatment Process

Art therapy is a form of experiential therapy, an approach to recovery that addresses emotional and spiritual needs through creative or physical activity. It is not necessary to have a background in the arts or artistic talent to participate; individuals only need to be open to the experience and to engage actively to benefit from these sessions. Many clients find that art therapy is a relaxing and enjoyable way to address some of the more complex aspects of treatment. Creative activity provides a way to process some of the stressful emotions and anxieties that can emerge during treatment. Post treatment, activities like painting or drawing, can be used throughout the individual’s life as a way to express feelings, explore creativity, and reduce stress.

According to Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, clients can use artistic activities to uncover the feelings of guilt, unmanageability, or shame that led them to treatment. Zen Recovery Path therapists often use fluid media, like paint, to help clients experience the sensation of being out of control, which in turn helps them admit their need for sobriety.

In our most recent Art Therapy group session, the clients participated in a seasonal project to carve and paint a pumpkin that best suits their personality. Enjoy the gallery of photos.

weekly theme :: MEDITATION

Author: Sifu Matt Carver

This week we will explore meditation more deeply. 

If there is one skill we hope to pass on to those we treat, it is the meditation skill. This silent time with one's self is pivotal. It sets the stage for all other discoveries, epiphanies, and successes we strive towards. How can we navigate cravings, obsessions and destructive thought patterns if we cannot endure our own company in silence for 5 minutes? How do we build a new life free from the bondage of addiction if we do not know who we are or what we want?

Meditation is, in the beginning, time set aside and devoted to listening to that soft, still voice inside ourselves. Meditation is an act of revolt against distraction and delusion. It is time spent honestly. As we progress, the meditative state of mind encompasses all we do. No need to set time aside to meditate, because we will have achieved a perpetual "nowness" quality to our conscious lives.

We were born with two brains. One is obvious; your mind. The other is you gut. Our guts, namely our digestive system takes up a lot of real estate. And for good reason, its job is to fuel our bodies. Without it, all is lost. This constant supply of energy, however, needs guidance. This leadership comes from our minds. It guides the energy to where it is needed. Thoughts, dreams, hair, skin cells, bone, bone marrow, laughter and love all require energy. Our gut supply it and our mind guides it. But what happens when our mind fails to do its job? Energies begin to be misappropriated. Thoughts and obsessions run wild. Neurosis set in. Only through mindful meditation practice can we attune these two brains and have them working in harmony.

This week we will explore various meditation techniques: from simple breathing patterns, to active awareness practice, to “nowness” integration. Even listening to others is a form of meditative practice. Groups will be centered around the idea of self-mastery through non-action or wu wei (Chinese for no-mind) which is just a clever way to say spontaneous free actions and thoughts void of worry, second guessing and hesitation. Saddled with this newfound skill, our clients will have a huge advantage when dealing with daily struggles and challenges.

Monday, October 23, 2017

weekly theme :: PERSONAL IDENTITY

You are an individual, uniquely created with a soul and spirit that has emotions, intellect and will, all residing in a human body.  

This week at Zen Recovery we will explore the concepts of what is Personal Identity —
Personal Identity is a mixed bag.  Genetics plays a small part.  Gives us some basic patterns and boundaries. We then borrow heavily from our immediate family and caregivers, making those first few neural connections hardwired.  Environment plays a factor.  As do role models, movies, characters in books we read, t.v. shows, etc.  All of these outlets we pull personality details from and apply to our own patchwork personality or identity.  But is this the real you? 

Certainly, there must be more to it.  If our personalities are a gumbo medley of odds and ends then we should be able to change our recipes at will.  Just find new ingredients and source material?  Maybe so.  Always seems harder in practice, to try to change who we are.  If we pretend to be someone or an aspect of someone long enough, will be become what we pretend to be?  Kurt Vonnegut would likely agree. 

Finally, are we our egos?  Are we multiple egos wrapped up in wads of skin and bone?  Or is there more to who we are? Who is the essential “I”?  Where did it come from?  And where is it going?

We would like for you to join our discussion, Call us at (800) 759-1930