Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolution? Start Your New Year Right

The peer reviewed and internationally awarded online addiction and
mental health recovery program, the Life Recovery Program -, is providing a "PAY WHAT YOU CAN" option from January 1-23, 2011 to enable everyone to reach their recovery goals especially those in need of support yet struggling financially and unable to receive it.

"New Year's is the time of year when people are most motivated to
change" says Radkowski who is the CEO/clinical director of the online
program. Radkowski's Life Recovery Program hopes to have a positive impact on persons who are suffering from chronic stress, addiction, depression issues, or any other destructive behaviours (ranging from alcohol and drugs to eating, gambling, spending, anger etc.), post holiday season and into the new year - that would not otherwise be able to afford to get help.

Many people are entering into the holiday season already burdened
with tremendous debt which means higher financial stress, resulting in increased addiction and an increase in so called "therapeutic" spending. It's also a great option for those in remote areas where resources are few and people are unable to meet with someone in person.

Effective January 01, 2011 - January 23 (midnight PST), 2011 - anyone who visits The Life Recovery Program and chooses to take advantage of this option will be able to pay a minimum amount of $23 for access to three months of his online program, instead of the usual fee costing the client an investment of several hundred dollars. "Money is emotional" says Radkowski "And we want to ensure people have some emotional investment in their recovery".

Increased demand for mental health services is forcing more people to look for alternative supports as therapeutic demand is exceeding the supply. The Life Recovery Program is an alternative service available to immediately fill that need through its 24/7 access and groundbreaking techniques.

"The issue of shame and stigma is huge for many people who want help. It makes sense to have an online option so people can start their recovery, especially if they don't have any kind of health insurance or are struggling financially" Radkowski comments.

Creating the online Life Recovery Program won Radkowski the 2008
Outstanding Addictions Professional Award from the International
Association of Addictions and Offender Counsellors.

Please visit:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Five Ways to Prevent a Christmas Coronary

While the holiday season is associated with the indulgence of food, spending, festivities and the "spirit(s) of Christmas" (i.e. something involving frequent visits to the liquor store), it can have its downside as well... a little cheer disturber called stress. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say the "stress of indulgence".

According to the alcohol industry watchdogs, 25% of the annual profit for liquor sales occurs between late November and January 1st, between American Thanksgiving and the New Year (Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, 2007).

That's right, one quarter of the annual sale of alcohol occurs in just over a month's time. Perhaps even more disturbing is the increase of cardiac arrest that occurs within this window of time as well.

In fact, coronary deaths are 33% higher between December and January than they are from June through September (L.A. Times, December 17, 2007). While this spike of heart attacks during this time period has been known in the medical field for years, it was at first attributed to people who would possibly overexert themselves by shovelling snow and have a cardiac event. Not so, as folks in southern and warmer regions (no snow available) are equally effected.

The two riskiest days for heart related deaths... Christmas day and New Year's (December 25 and January 1).

Such things as: alcohol, increased intake of rich (salty and fatty) foods as well as the all too often Christmas rush of getting from one social obligation to the next; not to mention the family tension and concerns that occur, for example, when you might wonder if "uncle Fred will go off at the mouth again" after having too much of the spiked eggnog, are all contributors to making the next party, possibly your last.

Your Five Christmas Cardiac Survival Tips:

1) Avoid excessive eating of salty foods

2) Avoid excessive eating of rich/creamy/fatty foods (avoid excessive eating period!)

3) Avoid excessive alcohol consumption (depends on age, weight, gender, history etc.)

4) Maintain some level of physical exercise or activity throughout the holidays i.e. go for a walk, take the stairs vs. elevator etc.

5) If social obligations require you to be around difficult family members, have a boundary of how long you will stay at the event, take your own car if you feel the in-laws will act up again and/or have another "out" in terms of being able to leave the event.

Perhaps the most important tip: if you or someone you care about feels a shortness of breath, chest pain and especially for women, symptoms such as indigestion, sleep disturbances, or weakness in the arms, etc. Don't just ignore it and think "another drink should fix that".

Listen to your body and get medical attention. This information could save a life.

Do take care over the holidays. Be mindful of excessive drinking, eating and over exerting or stressing yourself with too many social "obligations". The greatest "obligation" you can have is to a long and healthy life where you are there for your loved ones for years to come.

Season's Greetings, best wishes and best of health!
Paul Radkowski

Monday, November 22, 2010

Keeping our Youth and Our Future Healthy

Building Resilience to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues
For Immediate Release – (Waterloo)
The Waterloo Wellington community is working diligently to ensure that young people who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues are getting the help they need. But treatment is only one part of the equation. When it comes to addiction and mental health issues and youth, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

The Education and Training Working Group of the Waterloo Wellington
Addiction and Mental Health Network
is turning the focus to prevention by bringing Dr. David Wolfe, a psychologist and author specializing in issues affecting children and youth at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Centre for Prevention Science, to Waterloo on November 26th to speak about youth risk and resiliency.

The event being held at Luther Village is at capacity, with over 170 community members registering to attend including City of Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran and Kitchener - Waterloo MPP Elizabeth Witmer.

Approximately 26% of Ontario students in grades 7 through 12 used cannabis in the past year, peaking at 46% in grade 12. A quarter of grade 12 students report being drunk or high at school within the past year. These statistics from the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (2009, CAMH) are just the tip of the iceberg.

Our young people are also experiencing emotional and mental health issues at disturbing rates. More than 30% of students in grades 7 to 12 reported elevated psychological distress. About 10% of students reported they had seriously considered suicide in the past year.

Being resilient is no guarantee that a person will not experience challenges. Resilience means having the ability to face difficulties and move forward from them. Resilient youth tend to be empathetic and adaptable with good communication and problem solving skills. They tend to have future goals and be hopeful about what they can achieve. Young people’s resilience is determined by a number of things including individual characteristics, the characteristics of their families, and the physical and social environments where they live.

Building resilience in our young people is not easy but we can teach them skills that will help them cope with problems they may encounter. By developing these skills and creating supportive relationships, young people are more likely to be protected from life’s challenges, including substance use and mental health problems.

Dr. Wolfe’s presentation will address coping and resilience, review best practices for development of effective substance use and mental health prevention programs, and provide examples of community and school based initiatives that help youth build healthy relationships.

The Education and Training Working Group intends for this event to be a starting point to increase collaboration, coordination, and impact of youth substance use and mental health prevention in Waterloo Wellington.

For more information, please contact Paul Radkowski,


The Addiction and Mental Health Network is made up of many people with lived experience, families, agencies and committees within Waterloo Wellington who are committed to working together to develop a seamless and integrated system of mental health and addiction services. The Network works in partnership with the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network to ensure that the Mental Health and Addiction priorities identified in the Integrated Health Services Plan are achieved. For more details about the vision and objectives of the Network, please

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If in doubt.... Breathe!‏

When we get stressed, we often breathe in a panicked way. Panicked thoughts create panicked breath creating more thoughts of… panic. When we feel our breathing is out of control, we really feel out of control! We all struggle with control at times. We all feel panicked at times. We can slow our thoughts down and it starts with our breath.

One can survive without food for a number of weeks. One can survive without water for a number of days. We cannot survive without breath for more than a few minutes. People who are masters of meditation are masters of their breath and therefore every corresponding system within the body/mind. If in doubt, bring your awareness to your breath.

If you find you are in 5th gear at 10,000 RPMs with panicked thoughts and panicked breathing, you do have power! You do have control to breath deeply and slowly and “shift” yourself down to a more relaxed place. If you are a loved one of someone with an addiction, breath deeply before (during and after) any struggle/confrontation you may have with someone who is addicted. It will help you to be in a better, more relaxed place and to make better choices.

Also, drink lots of water throughout the day as it will help lymphatic drainage (ie detox you) and will help prevent your mind/body from shutting down and entering a stress/thirst/fight or flight response. By the time you “feel” thirsty, you are already de-hydrated! Visualize yourself breathing in and drinking the purest air and water as fresh as the purest mountain air and stream.

Constantly check in with yourself. What is your body telling you? What are your thoughts saying to you? Despite what is going on around you or even within you, be aware of your power, the power of your living breath. Recovery is a lot like life, its one breath at a time.

Best health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Gift Within Your Flaw

In a season of Thanksgiving, I was very taken by an email a dear friend had sent me with a ancient parable and great lesson in life.

Many of life's challenges can lead you to feeling beat up, feeling bad about yourself and perhaps leave you with a feeling of failure.

I encourage you to read the following....

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.
But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'

The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?'

'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.'

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'

Each of us has our own unique "flaw". But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. This is often the gift found from our so called flaws.

Self esteem begins with acceptance, of yourself and others.

Best of health and Happy Thanksgiving!

Paul Radkowski

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You Have Already Survived the Worst & There is Hope!

As the overlap between trauma and addiction is so strong, I wanted to provide you with another post on the trauma and addiction perspective.

Research indicates that 55-99% of folks who struggle with addiction is due to underlying issues of depression or anxiety often as a result of trauma (Fullilove et al., 1993; Grice et al., 1995; Miller et al., 1993; NaJavits et al., 1995; Rounsaville et al., 1982; Yandow, 1989; Ouimette, Kimerling, Shaw & Moos, 2000).

If you experienced trauma, be gentle with yourself. Remember you have survived the worst and there is hope. Many people have become stronger and more resilient after recovering from trauma. That which may weaken us today can make us stronger in the future. An analogy: how your body responds to a cold-bacteria:

When you have a cold, your immune system activates T-cells and B-cells to fight off the foreign invader. Your body also has the awareness of memory T-cells and B-cells that will recognize the bacteria it fought off before and neutralize it before it can do any damage again. This is why you can never get the same cold-bacteria twice.

There are many people who have lived life richer and fuller than they ever had before and used their pain from the past to connect more to themselves and others, to move toward greater personal healing and growth. You can too!

Remember your feelings aren’t facts, they’re information not instruction. You may be feeling angry, hurt, overwhelmed, afraid or have an impulse to act out in some destructive way etc.

These feelings are information and an invitation for you to be “gently curious” with yourself (i.e. what’s going on with you right now? How can you honour that need/feeling in a way that is in your highest and healthiest interest?). It means to be gentle with yourself, you still have some healing to do.

Feelings are not instruction or an “acting out ticket” to engage in destructive behaviors or addiction. Your recovery begins with the power of choice.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trauma & Addiction Recovery Begins with "Being Gentle"

I thought I would make another post in keeping with the theme of trauma and addiction.

Trauma is much like a "3rd degree emotional burn" which can effect you long after you have "gotten out of the fire". The past does impact the present. Yet, whatever happened in your past you have survived the worst. Something about you, inside of you… a strength and perhaps sheer will to survive got you this far.

If you have had a heart attack and are still here, you have survived. If you have had trauma in your past and you are here now, you have survived it!

What is in your highest interest to create long-term health and healing for you? You cannot heal a physical burn or “emotional burn” by being brutal with yourself. It all starts with being gentle, by being aware of how your trauma experience affects you in the present.

Each time you might feel “triggered” just breathe and say to yourself: “Whew! It looks like I’m feeling a strong survival response as my body feels tensed up. It looks like I’m being triggered by something from my past. I understand this now and have choices and healthier ways of coping in the present.

I’m going to be gentle with myself and just breathe, write down what’s going on with me and what I need to do right now. It looks like I still have some healing to do and that’s ok. Disappointment is just a trigger, not a catastrophe”.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Making the Shift: Trauma and Addiction

I had recently done an interview for a colleague outlining the correlation between trauma and addiction. I want to thank Michele from for the opportunity.

You can hear the entire interview in terms of how trauma is defined (it's probably not what you think) and how it impacts your beliefs, health, relationships etc.

You will learn about:
* Definition of trauma, plus its impacts
* Definition of addiction, plus how to recognize it
* Ideas for recovery

Trauma is a dark, heavy energy. You will notice most children’s and adult’s drawings and depictions of trauma is usually colored in black and red.

Trauma gets encoded and stored in the body, essentially locked and frozen in a state of “survival mode”. The mind/body say’s “I don’t like what happened. I don’t ever want to experience this again and will be on red alert to make sure I don’t get as blind-sided again”.

When this happens, neural pathways and synaptic connections in the mind/body will work overtime to encode the memory, essentially to protect itself from future violation. However, that which will protect, will often imprison, i.e. getting stuck in the memory, feeling, and sensation of the trauma which I call “3rd degree emotional burn”.

The body is the sub-conscious mind. That’s why it usually takes a number of mind/body modalities like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which alters the neuro-circuitry and challenges the core beliefs of the “world isn’t safe, can’t trust, I’m damaged etc”, which then alters the neuro-chemistry, i.e. mind/body releases feel good chemicals, growth hormones (vs. stress hormones), feeling less beat up etc.

You get more information on some of this with some of my recent blog posts

Because the body is the sub-conscious mind, it also requires some form of energy psychology/somatic intervention, as well as addressing the sub-conscious mind (which often keeps playing out… “Don’t you try and tell me I’m safe, I know better and will continue to keep things on red alert”) through hypnosis etc.

Trauma effects us on many modalities so it often requires more than just one modality (i.e. “talk therapy”) to effectively address it.

You can download a rather comprehensive free ebook and get additional info. from

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

- Success is about progress, not perfection

Monday, July 19, 2010

12 Step or 16 Step Addiction Recovery? Part II

Recovery groups can provide you with powerful support and accountability.

While the 12-Step model works well for many people, others find it problematic especially with some of the language of the model i.e. the concept of powerlessness" for one (especially for those with a trauma history who already feel pretty "beat up" and powerless).

The 16 steps are considered to be more inclusive, wholistic and

The 16-Steps:

1) We affirm we have the power to take charge of our lives and stop being dependent on substances or other people for our self-esteem and security.

Alternative: We admit/acknowledge we are out of control with/powerless over ________ yet have the power to take charge of our lives and stop being dependent on substances or other people for our self-esteem and security.

2) We come to believe that God/Goddess/Universe/Great Spirit/Higher Power awakens the healing wisdom within us when we open ourselves to the power.

3) We make a decision to become our authentic selves and trust in the healing power of the truth.

4) We examine our beliefs, addictions and dependent behavior in the context of living in a hierarchical, patriarchal culture.

We share with another person and the Universe all those things inside of us for which we feel shame and guilt.

We affirm and enjoy our intelligence, strengths and creativity, remembering not to hide these qualities from ourselves and others.

7) We become willing to let go of shame, guilt, and any behavior that keeps us from loving ourselves and others.

We make a list of people we have harmed and people who have harmed us, and take steps to clear out negative energy by making amends and sharing our grievances in a respectful way.

9) We express love and gratitude to others and increasingly appreciate the wonder of life and the blessings we do have.

10) We learn to trust our reality and daily affirm that we see what we see, we know what we know and we feel what we feel.

We promptly admit to mistakes and make amends when appropriate, but we do not say we are sorry for things we have not done and we do not cover up, analyze, or take responsibility for the shortcomings of others.

We seek out situations, jobs, and people who affirm our intelligence, perceptions and self-worth and avoid situations or people who are hurtful, harmful, or demeaning to us.

We take steps to heal our physical bodies, organize our lives, reduce stress, and have fun.

We seek to find our inward calling, and develop the will and wisdom to follow it.

15) We accept the ups and downs of life as natural events that can be used as lessons for our growth.

We grow in awareness that we are sacred beings, interrelated with all living things, and we contribute to restoring peace and balance on the planet.

Support is a vital part of addiction recovery. Which choice is right for you?

Best regards, Paul Radkowski

Monday, July 12, 2010

12 Step or 16 Step Addiction Recovery?

Studies suggest there's greater success of recovery by being active in groups such as 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous etc as well as other recovery groups found in local hospitals, churches and various community agencies.

Recovery groups can provide you with additional strength through ongoing support, accountability and the powerful validation and interaction in hearing and sharing stories with others.

While the 12-Step model works well for many people, others
find it problematic especially with some of the language of the model i.e. the concept of "powerlessness" for one (especially for those with a trauma history who already feel pretty "beat up" and powerless).

The 16 steps are considered to be more inclusive, wholistic and
empowering. It's developer Charlotte Kasl states

“The 16-step empowerment model is a wholistic approach to overcoming addiction that views people in their wholeness-- mind, body and spirit. At its core, this model is based on love not fear; internal control not external authoritarianism; affirmation not deflation; and trust in the ability of people to find their own healing path when given education, support, hope and choices.”

There are choices out there. Support is a vital part of addiction recovery. Which choice is right for you?

Best regards, Paul Radkowski

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New "Internet Drug" Mephedrone Hitting the Schools & Streets

Colleagues and I have seen the emergence of a newer drug that is really making an impact on youth and the school system.

Its called Mephedrone, street name is UK2, meph, 4-MMC, MCAT, Drone, Meow or Bubbles. A stimulant closely related to
amphetamines and has an effect similar to ecstasy.

Bottom line is its new, cheap and available on the internet
(substance has been legal in the US & UK). A dose costs about $4.50.

Because its new on the scene folks have had a difficult time recognizing what it is and what kind of damage it can do. Its going throughout the schools and club scene, most commonly found as a white powder in
glass vials.

Long term results are not in yet as to how toxic this drug is but the
anecdotal evidence is that it is quite addictive. It can create some
intense side effects for new time users (vomiting) and is especially
popular with kids who are shy and introverted.

Users describe the drug's high as falling somewhere between that of ecstasy and cocaine. The drug is sold legally in the U.K. as a plant food; it is a powder that can be taken in pill form, snorted, mixed with liquid or even injected.

Side effects include headaches, heart palpitations, and nausea.

I've worked with a number of parents who've taken their kids to emergency because of this stuff in just the last week.

There have been reports where some teenagers have experienced seizures, stopped breathing and even falling into coma.

Best regards, Paul Radkowski

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goals Without Obstacles?

This is one of the realities of life- Every time anyone sets a goal, there are also going to be obstacles. Obstacles of "I don't have enough time, money, energy, resources etc."

Obstacles can feel more real than goals; they seem to have weight and dimension. Because goals are further away and self defined, they may seem "less real". Please don't fall for the optical illusion.

Once you've identified the barriers to achieving a goal, it's often difficult to stop focusing on them rather than the goal itself. The reason is simple? the obstacles are closer to you. It's important that you learn to look up and over them so you can focus on the prize.

"Act as if" you have already achieved them, keep accessing the resources available to you and keeping moving forward. Remember that the things you're working towards are just as real as the items you need to overcome.

Think of one small thing this post may inspire you to do differently. Apply this inspiration to your scheduled activities today. Make it more real by writing your answer in your journal or on a post-it note.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

"Life is made up of millions of moments, but we live only one of these moments at a time. As we begin to change this moment, we begin to change our lives"
D. Trinidad Hunt

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Depressed, Anxious or Distorted? Part 3

In the previous posts we explored how your negative thoughts can create anxiety, depression and the conditions to act out in addiction. There is something you can do about these pesky personal demons, you can begin to challenge your thinking!

Review the 2 Cognitive Distortion lists outlined previously.

Next, do these steps by writing them out. Better yet, share and do these steps with someone you care about as you can help catch each other distortions.

What are your top 3 Distortions?

Often the more distortions we have or the more
intense they are, the more beat up you will feel.

Step 1: Write down negative thoughts rather than let them fly around in your head (writing the down will help you really catch them and more objectively see them, so you can then more objectively challenge them).

Step 2: Read over the cognitive distortions and note which ones apply to you.

Step 3:
Replace cognitive distortions with objective thoughts.

Let’s run through an example…

Step 1: Cognitive Distortion- “It’s my fault my partner is depressed”

Step 2: What fits from the list?- Personalization

Step 3: More objective thought- “I’m not in control of my partner. I’m not able to “force them” into a depression”

Challenging your automatic, distorted assumptions will change the neuro-circuitry and neuro-chemistry of your brain. Meaning, it will help you overcome
depression, anxiety, stress etc where you won’t feel hijacked by your thoughts and feel more in control of your life and better about yourself.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Friday, April 9, 2010

Depressed, Anxious or Distorted? Part 2

Last time we explored how your negative thoughts can create anxiety, depression and the conditions to act out in addiction. There is something you can do about these pesky personal demons, you can begin to challenge your thinking!

Research shows that engaging in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or taking
prescribed medications (i.e. anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds) will BOTH work on the basal ganglia of your brain (i.e. the area in your brain that controls motor control and learning).

In other words psychotherapy and engaging in the act of challenging your distorted thoughts will change your brain’s neural pathways.

Here is Part 2 of the Cognitive Distortions List

Share and do these with a loved one:

Magnification or minimization:

Exaggerating your errors and belittling your
successes or exaggerating other people’s
success and minimizing their flaws.

Emotional Reasoning:
“I feel it, therefore it must be true.” Assuming
that negative emotions reflect the way things
really are.

Trying to motivate yourself because you think
you “should” “must”, “out to” or “have to” do


Attaching a label to yourself instead of
describing the error. Instead of thinking “I
left the water running” you think, “I’m such a

Seeing yourself as the cause of a negative event
you did not cause.

Any of these sound familiar to you?

In an upcoming blog I'll share how you can take action
to change your thinking and change your life!

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Depressed, Anxious or Just Distorted?

Most of us to some degree struggle with distorting reality, seeing our world with a lens that reflects more of a cloudy mirror of the past (and all our hurts, traumas, disappointments etc) and this can often distort our reality in the present and/or anticipate the same negative outcome by distorting how we perceive the future.

These "negative" thoughts can create all kinds of self-fulfilling prophecies of painful perceptions of reality that appear familiar to us. When these distortions dominate our way of thinking, this will lead to depression, anxiety and addiction as "beliefs become biology" effect our emotions, perceptions, attitude, behaviour etc.

There is something you can do about these pesky personal demons, you can begin to challenge your thinking!

Research shows that engaging in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or taking
prescribed medications (i.e. anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds) will BOTH work on the basal ganglia of your brain (i.e. the area in your brain that controls motor control and learning).

In other words psychotherapy and engaging in the act of challenging your distorted thoughts will change your brain’s neural pathways.

Here is Part 1 of the Cognitive Distortions List

Share and do these with a loved one:

All or Nothing Thinking

-Seeing everything as black or white, right or
wrong. If your performance falls short of
perfection, you see yourself as a total failure.
Using words such as “always” or “never” in
your self-talk or vocabulary is all or nothing.

You see a single negative event as a neverending
pattern of defeat.

-Disqualifying the positive
Insisting that positive experiences don’t count

-Jumping to Conclusions:
Arriving at negative interpretations of events
without evidence to support the conclusions

-Mind Reading:
Randomly concluding that someone is
reacting negatively without investigating. ie “I
KNOW my boss gave me that strange look
because they KNOW that I was playing poker
late last night”

-Fortune Telling:
Anticipating negative outcomes then acting as
though they are already established fact. This
is also known as “negative outcome
expectancy”. ie “What’s the point in even
trying for that audition, there’s no way I’ll get the

Any of these sound familiar to you?

In an upcoming blog I'll share more of the
most common distortion and what you can do about them

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Monday, March 1, 2010

An Olympic "90 Day Challenge"

Hi folks, Paul Radkowski here just checking in with an update to my 90 Challenge (for reference- a previous post was made with the details of this challenge)and my commitment to doing things differently. I was inspired by some of the recent Olympic games which helped me overcome something that had been challenging me for some years now. More about that in just a bit.

My 90 day health challenge has been going well. I feel I have some decent momentum going now that I'm at the half way mark. Also, the greater sense of self control and confidence that I've developed led me to do something I haven't done for 3 years. I got on my skis and went cross country skiing Thursday morning.

I injured (ripped would be a better word) my knee July 2007, which really changed my activity level (which is pretty high) and my life.

Earlier this week I was inspired by a number of the stories of various Olympic athletes. Folks overcoming all obstacles, injuries, surgeries, setbacks. Injuries are a part of the game and pretty much all the athletes have experienced their own need of recovery.

One downhill skier's story really got to me. These folks go down
a mountain at 120 KM/hour! One of the skiers had not 1,2,3... but 6 knee surgeries, yet he kept going.

I can only imagine the setbacks, the emotional as well as physical pain these athletes endure. I found it difficult enough to recover from my one knee injury, the doubts, fears, the core beliefs of "I can't... I'll never be the same..." etc. I had to really challenge my thinking and work on my mind, my attitude as well as my body. And here was someone who skied professional do that six times and still go on to participate in the Olympics.

It also became obvious to me, that to do well in sport or life you need to first win in your mind. Its about challenging and confronting the distortions, dis-beliefs, Acting As If and seeing yourself already crossing the finish line, before victory is won.

We pretty much all have a recovery story. Recovering from an accident, illness, addiction, break up, loss, trauma etc. All these events can lead us to feel pretty beat up with all kinds of pain, doubt and fear.

I was tired of living in fear, fear of re-injuring my knee and starting all over again. I felt the fear and did it anyway. I went skiing and it was exhilarating in every possible way.

I'm glad I've challenged myself and I look forward to sharing with you again. Thanks for listening. I look forward to hearing about your journey.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How S.A.F.E. is Your Behaviour?

After recently attending a mental health and addiction workshop, I was reminded of the work of Dr. Patrick Carnes and his expertise in the field of behavioural/process addiction.

I thought this post was particularly relevant given some of the recent "acting out" behaviour of such celebrities as Tiger Woods and David Duchovny and their ties to sexual addiction.

A behavioural addiction is one that does not involve a substance like drugs, alcohol or nicotine. A behavioural or process addiction is when someone is involved in an activity that they have difficulty controlling and that has destructive consequences. Some examples would be sex, gambling, internet, porn, shopping, over or under eating, or even toxic relationships etc.

These are also know as impulse/control issues where someone has difficulty controlling the destructive behaviour and/or has a compulsion to engage in these behaviours despite their negative consequences.

Patrick Carnes provides the following quick assessment using the acronym S.A.F.E.

Secretive - Are you involved in a process or a behaviour that is secretive? Is it something you do not want to talk about openly?

Abusive - Are you involved in a process or behaviour that is abusive? Is it harmful to yourself or another?

- Does this process or behaviour separate or remove you from your feelings? Is it the only area of your life in which you experience feeling?

Emptiness - Does this process or behaviour, after you have engaged in it awhile, now leave you with a sense of emptiness?

This is only a brief assessment. If you have said "Yes" to 2 or more of these, you might be struggling with an addictive pattern of behaviour and it might be in your highest interest to seek help.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A 90 Day Challenge!

As it is early New Year with many resolutions going around, I'm bigger on results than resolutions. That being said, I would like to introduce to you the "90 Day Challenge" which I'm going to explain here. It is essentially an abstinence contract (i.e. I'm not going to engage in my destructive behaviour for such a time).

Here's how it works-

1) Start the challenge when you're ready (the sooner the better)

2) Identify the behaviour you want to "challenge"/stop for 90 days e.g. no sex (with self or others), no junk food, alcohol, gambling etc.

3) Notice your thoughts i.e. when you have a using/doing fantasy (e.g. "I can just imagine myself pouring a bottle of red wine into my favourite glass and...") there is a 3 second rule to STOP the thought/fantasy. NOTE: You can even say to yourself out loud "STOP!"

4)If you have a partner, get their support (especially if it is a "no sex" challenge which often involves another person/partner) and let them know as well what the expectation/rules are for this challenge.

5) If you have a major chemical addiction/dependence, please see the Addiction ebook provided in our program regarding some new treatments for withdrawal and cravings that might also help.

This challenge will do a number of things for you. It will retrain and rewire your brain toward abstinence. It will stop you from getting triggered and "hooked in" each time you have a thought about using or acting out. You will begin to realize you can survive without the addictive behaviour.

You will notice other beneficial things occur when you take on this challenge as well. I know some of you have gone without your addictive hook i.e. sex/alcohol/gambling/junk food etc for 30, 40, 50+ days. You've done it before! Believe you can do it for the 90 days, i.e. extend your threshold!

My Life Recovery Contract

In the highest interest of my being and for the purpose of my recovery, I ________________ (name) choose to commit to the following observable behaviours for the next 90 days________ __________ ___________ ________________________ (e.g. exercise, attend counselling, AA, grief group, stop yelling at my kids etc...)

To help me along my journey I will ask/recruit the following ____________ _______________ (e.g. mom, dad, sibling, friend, co-worker etc..) for the following____________ ¬________________ (e.g. to exercise with me, to remind me of my counselling/group appointments, to be my go to/safe person for me to share my feelings) etc…

To be realized by this date____________ 90 days from now.

________________________ ________________

Signature Date

________________________ ________________

Witnessed by Date

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski