Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Unintended consequences are unforeseen outcomes that result from a particular and purposeful action or choice. 

For example, in India, government decision makers offered anyone a cash reward for a dead cobra. Apparently, live cobras are rather prolific in India and causing a public hazard. As a result of this incentive program, Indians were killing cobras by the knot full.

This serpentcide led to the near extinction of the dangerous snake in Delhi. Now we can all wander around safely. Barefoot in the tall grass along the Ganges with not a worry in the world, right? Wrong, once enterprising Indians made the connection that a male cobra and a female cobra get together to make pits of baby cobras…ch-ching! Let’s breed cobras! Well, eventually the Man caught wind of this little scheme and declared that they would no longer pay bounties for dead snakes. As a result of this pendulum shift, cobra breeders all throughout India dumped their nests of cobras into the nearest dusty ditch and went off in search of greener pastures. The end result? A lot more damn venomous cobras then we started with! Haha says the tiny anarchist who lives in my heart.

This is an unintended consequence. 

What we planned to achieve from our master plan does not pan out masterfully. We planted a redwood seed and nothing but weeds grew up. Our ability to make choices and plans comes with a very comical backlash: the unforeseen outcomes. 

Learning how to adapt and recover from these unwelcomed results can be the difference between giving up and moving forward. Choices generate the need for more choices. I hate to quote rap royalty but Biggie said it best. Mo’ choices mo’ problems. Or was that mo’ money? We digress…

Forgiving ourself for their choices

Most people in addiction recovery are suffering from a very precise kind of suffering. Many addicts cannot forgive themselves for their choices. We regret going out one more time. We lament the loss of a friend we could have saved but instead hastened to the grave. We wish we could take back so many things we did and said. Or worse, the things we did not do or say. Alcoholism is unforgiving. It holds grudges. But there is hope. The ability to see the unintended consequence for what it truly is, gives us an advantage when dealing with addiction, and in a much wider scope, our lives.

Unforeseen results

Listen, put simply, we do and say things and as a result, stuff happens. Some we intended and a lot more we did not. However, these unforeseen results themselves have unforeseen results, good and bad. As long as we are moving forward and learning from each choice and each word, we then walk an enlightened path. We have to make choices. 

Even when we refuse to choose, we chose. No decision is a decision. And with these choices, we feel the comfort and the sting. Really the weekly theme runs deeper than unintended consequences. Making brave and compassionate choices might be a better title. Or don’t give up ten feet from the finish line. Or, maybe, forgive yourself first, and then we can move on to forgiving the rest.

I know, this week’s theme is “How Can We Practice Having the Courage to Make Better Choices and the Wisdom to Learn the Double-Edged Lessons in Each Choice.”

Monday, April 9, 2018

weekly theme :: What is Wholistic Treatment?

Wholistic treatment

Author: Sifu Matthew Carver

Holistic Origins

The word holistic is misused by wholistic treatment centers, and for that matter, the world at large.  This week at Zen we are going to bring it all back home.  Bring it back down to the grassroots, to its intended meaning and purpose.  Note, holistic can also be written as wholistic even though your spell checker may not agree.  The alternative spelling gives us a much better clue as to the meaning of this misunderstood word.

Holism Philosophy

Holism is where the idea of holistic comes from in the first place.  It is a philosophy that states that the parts that make up a whole are interdependent and contribute to the whole in a way that is more valuable than the individual parts.  “How” the parts connect becomes the important question.  The relationship between the parts.

Keep in mind, each part cannot be understood separately from the whole.  All parts are interrelated thus all parts must be considered.  For example, a person reports they have a shortness of breath.  They are sent to a pulmonary specialist.  The lung doctor only looks at the lungs.  However, he sees that the lungs are being pushed on by an inflamed liver.  Since he is not a liver doctor refers his patient to a liver specialist.  The liver specialist then discovers that the liver is inflamed due to excessive alcohol consumption.  He then refers the patient to a substance abuse specialist who discovers that the reason the patient drinks alcohol excessively is that he is severely depressed.  So, he refers him to a depression specialist.  And so on and so on the drudgery lumbers forward…

A Wholistic Treatment Approach

A wholistic treatment approach to this issue would consider all these factors and contributing forces simultaneously.  See, each issue created a chain reaction that created another series of chain reactions.  How these chain reactions communicate and relate to one another is what wholistic care is all about.  If we isolate a component and only fixate on that singular component it is like giving a free house to a homeless person.  As you wash your hands and pat yourself on the back for “fixing” the issue of homelessness, you cannot help but realize that there is still a potential learning disability, trauma, mental illness, addiction and or a host of other issues that contribute and overlap to the overall identified problem, which is homelessness.  Buying them a house does not remedy the issue.  Only looking at each issue and how it relates to the next can we gain the insight that necessitates and supports true healing and change.    

This week I am going to focus on Chinese Herbal Medicine as a holistic science aimed at treating people for a myriad of health issues. 

I would encourage all staff to think about what special skill or area of expertise you most enjoy and represent and offer that as your contribution to the whole.  Each staff member is a master at a particular group of things.  Present this to the group.  Maybe cognitive therapy is of interest to you.  Or perhaps gestalt therapy is your bag.  Maybe you use music as a way to heal and connect.  Whatever shape this takes please consider how your specialty connects, blends and compliments many others.  Find the connections.

Call or contact Zen Recovery Path. Our community welcomes a fresh start. Recovery will be inspired by Clinical and Holistic Therapies such as; Art Projects, Kung Fu Classes, Tai Chi, Music group, EMDR and Movie with Meaning therapies.
126 E. 16th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627

(800) 759-1930

Monday, April 2, 2018

weekly theme :: NAMING

Author: Sifu Matthew Carver

In my heart and on my mind, love without condition is a truistic sensibility at the onset. It's when variables like definitions, expectations, control or naming adjust our sensibility. For this week's theme, I prefer to go to the proverbial source, David Whyte's book Consolations

"Love too early is a beautiful but harrowing human difficulty. Most of our heartbreak comes from attempting to name who or what we love and the way we love, too early in the vulnerable journey of discovery. We can never know at the beginning, in giving ourselves to a person, to a work, to a marriage or to a cause, exactly what kind of love we are involved with. When we demand a certain specific kind of reciprocation, before the revelation has flowered completely, we find ourselves disappointed and bereaved and in that grief, may miss the particular form of love that is actually possible but that did not meet our initial and too specific expectations. Feeling bereaved, we take our identity as one who is disappointed in love, our almost proud disappointed preventing us from seeing the lack of reciprocation from the person or the situation as simply a difficult invitation into a deeper and as yet unrecognizable form of affection.

The act of loving itself, always becomes a path of humble apprenticeship, not only in following its difficult way and discovering its different forms of humility and beautiful abasement but strangely, through its fierce introduction to all its many astonishing and different forms, where we are asked continually and against our will to give in so many different ways, without knowing exactly, or in what way, when or how, the mysterious gift will be returned.

We name mostly in order to control but what is worth loving does not want to be held within the bounds of two narrow a calling. In many ways, love. has already named us before we can even begin to speak back to it, before we can utter the right words or understand what has happened to us or is continuing to happen to us: an invitation to the most difficult part of all, to love without naming at all."

Call or contact Zen Recovery Path. Our community welcomes a fresh start. Recovery will be inspired by Clinical and Holistic Therapies such as; Art Projects, Kung Fu Classes, Tai Chi, Music group, EMDR and Movie with Meaning therapies.
126 E. 16th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627

(800) 759-1930