Having had my own dance with substance abuse, I have become quite passionate about helping others who struggle with addiction. At first, I did not understand why I was abusing substances and checking out so often. It was simply the only way I knew how to deal with my pain.
Fortunately, I became tired just running on auto-pilot. I thought I was frustrated with life, but I was actually frustrated with myself. Eventually, I channeled these frustrations into something positive. I began to see a psychotherapist. I studied with numerous therapists and teachers in varying arenas of life. With support and guidance, I started to feel better about my behaviors -and in turn, myself. When I started to put my energy towards understanding, rather than judging myself for making the ‘wrong’ decisions, I began to understand that my destructive habits with drugs and alcohol were my best attempts at loving myself. I was trying to take care of myself, only I wasn’t very good at it back then. I was hurting so bad inside that I was willing to do anything to avoid feeling it, even when I knew that it was hurting me and the people that were closest to me.
When I had this realization, it became much easier for me to invest in my own healing process. I began to see how the way in which I was relating to my past emotional pain and traumas was causing me to engage in self-destructive patterns, over and over again. With increased self-understanding, I gained empowerment and influence over my actions. My patterns of abusing substances began to fall away naturally. I did not have to tell myself “NO” all the time. Rather, I had to just keep loving myself and deepening my understanding of why I did the things I did. Through self-exploration, support, and perseverance, my life came into balance.
Once I began to create inner and outer balance in my life, I became excited to help others who I could see were hurting in the same way that I once had. This excitement guided me to complete my Master’s in clinical psychology and later my PhD in the same field. This path led me to Passages Malibu, Addiction Treatment Center. Throughout my five years at Passages, I held a variety of roles from coach to counsellor to group facilitator. I worked with thousands of people from all over the world. My clients taught me that we are all dealing with similar core issues; lack of connection, self-love, belonging, and purpose seem to underlie everyone’s struggle with addiction and substance abuse. With each client that I met, I gained a more complete understanding of the collective issue of addiction that plagues our culture. With this ever-increasing body of wisdom around substance abuse, it was an easy choice for me to collaborate with Mark to create a wellness center in Toronto that would offer a holistic approach to treating addiction. It is with great honor, that I became the clinical director and co-founder of Helix Healthcare Group. I look forward to helping you on your own healing journey.