One of my colleagues made a statement about marriage therapy I believe is important to pass along. She said, “I think people need to work on themselves first and clear up their individual issues before the couple counseling can be effective.” As I thought about this, it is true in all relationships and not just in marriages. In a friendship or in a work relationship, if we have personal issues centered around poor self-esteem, controlling others, poor boundaries, etc. it effects the relationship.
Steven Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” outlines the 7 habits in working first on taking care of the inside of ourselves and then dealing with the outside or public. I would like to reference these habits for those who have not read the book, as a reminder of the importance of dealing with yourself first and the steps in doing so.
The first three habits:
(1) Be Proactive
(2) Begin with and End in Mind
(3) Put First things First
All deal with our ability to govern our life. Being proactive means taking responsibility for your life and thinking before you act. Beginning with the end in mind means defining your goals and your mission in life so your direction in life is clear. Putting first things first means to prioritize and do the most important things first so that your life doesn’t become cluttered.
The next 4 habits are centered on being able to interact effectively with others. Habit (4) is about thinking or working for a win-win. It is an attitude of mutual respect for the opinion of others as well as your own. Habit (5) is seek first to understand and then to be understood. All have a unique insight and we need to listen with intent to understand rather than to reply. Habit (6) is to synergize. When we work together with an attitude of success for all we will achieve more. Finally habit (7) is sharpening the saw. Sharpening the saw is about taking care of you and renewing yourself physically, socially/emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
I would love to hear ways you take care of yourself first so you can in turn have healthy relationships with others. Email me at with questions or comments.
Richard Y Moody, PhD
Clinical Psychologist


Last fall, I talked about three areas of recovery.  The first is a need to be committed to the process of recovery and to doing the hard work required.  And, it is tough work.  It is “my” work and no one can do it for me.  Therefore, I am accountable for my choices and consequences of my choices.  The second area was balance and the six areas of balance were identified:  physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and financial.  The third area is living in today or “the present moment”.

My last blog post I talked about the book, My Stroke of Insight, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.  She talks about the amazing healing power of the human body and brain.  There are amazing gifts to each of us.  Believe it or not there is a need for balance of the right and left hemispheres of the brain.  Prior to her stroke, Ms. Taylor states that she lived much of the time in the left brain of analytical thinking.  Since the stroke was in the left brain, her right brain now became dominant.  She describes this as “gaining access to the experience of deep inner peace in the consciousness of my right mind when the language and orientation association areas in the left hemisphere became nonfunctional.”  She further states that her goal during her process of recovery has been to find a healthy balance between the right and left hemispheres, and also to be aware and in charge of which (right or left) dominated her perspective at any given moment. 

In recovery work, there is a saying of needing “to talk the talk and walk the walk”.  We also refer to how our head (left hemisphere) as the thinking part and it is telling us to do one thing while our heart, feelings or intuition (right hemisphere) is telling us the opposite.  There are numerous ways to describe the two hemispheres and she believes they are very separate and distinct.  Therefore, it is important to honor both thoughts and feelings and to find alignment here.  She used the phrase “step to the right” when she found she was over thinking and needed to relax and allow the feeling/intuitive right brain to come forth.  Just spend some time checking in with yourself?  Which hemisphere of the brain is more dominant?  Can you choose to “shift to the right”?  Often addicts, substance abusers (alcohol/drugs) use their addiction to avoid the right hemisphere feeling brain?  How comfortable are you with your feelings?  How comfortable are you with working with feelings and thoughts and finding that balance? 

Sue Judd, MSS, LSAC 

Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor


I am often amazed at how little people think of themselves. I recently had a woman who was injured several years ago by a fall and who relies on her family for care say, “I am such a burden and I have little to offer to anyone around me”. She and many others often believe they have little to offer to others and their opinion does not count.
Let me make it very clear, your opinion always counts! I say this because of the way each of us is put together. We all come from hundreds of millions of different gene combinations from our parents and grandparents and genetically none of us is alike. All of us are raised in a different environment even if you come from the same family as your siblings and are all raised in the same town and home. No one ever has the same experiences as their siblings or friends.  We may all go to the same place or be in the same accident or have the same physical experience but because of our genetics and experience to that point in our lives we see it in a different manner and it impacts us in a different way.  Thus our sense of the experience is different. Because of all of the factors affecting our lives on a daily basis we are all singularly different.
As a result I would be a fool not to listen to someone’s opinion no matter their age or situation because theirs is a unique perspective. 

Richard Y Moody, PhD
Clinical Psychologist


Have you ever come home to a frustrated spouse? What about arriving to work only to be greeted by an angry boss? How are you affected by the negative energy they are giving off? Most addicts in recovery would agree using drugs and/or alcohol can make dealing with the negative energy of others manageable. This poses a problem for the recovering addict: How do I deal with other’s negative attitudes without using?

Attitude is like a virus, untouchable even by the strongest antibiotic. Antibiotics have the power to slow, and even kill, the growth of the deadliest bacteria, nevertheless are powerless when confronted with the smallest virus. This leaves many of us overcome by another’s attitude, which infects us like a virus. Our smiles turn to frowns and laughter to anger as we let another’s negative attitude infect every cell of our being. There is no way to cure a virus, just like we cannot control another’s attitude. In the past we have used drugs and/or alcohol to suppress the virus multiplying inside us, and as long as we kept using our drug of choice, the virus remained suppressed and continued to multiplying under the surface.

In recovery we have made the choice to abstain from drugs and/or alcohol, leaving us vulnerable to the virus of a negative attitude which we are confronted with on a daily basis. This is why we must prepare ourselves with an arsenal of antivirals. Antivirals, unlike antibiotics, do not destroy their target, they inhibit development. Another’s attitude cannot be controlled and a virus cannot be killed. However, you can inhibit the development of another’s negative attitude within yourself. Support, meetings, counselors, groups and self-care are all antivirals we must use in our recovery in order to inhibit the development of a negative attitude within ourselves and maintain our sobriety.

So if attitude is a contagious virus, what kind of virus are you spreading to others?

Ally Neppl, CSAC, ES
Certified Substance Abuse Counselor
Equine Specialist


I have been challenged to blog once a week and I am making a commitment to do so.  No, this was not originally one of my New Year’s Resolutions, however, it now is. 

I recently finished reading the book My Stroke of Insight, a Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.  At age 37 she suffered a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain.  She states it took 8 years, however, she has now healed her brain completely and her book recounts her journey.  It is a powerful read in further understanding the brain, the right and left hemispheres, and the brains amazing capacity to heal. Since alcohol and drugs also affect the brain, I learned some important tools that can apply for healing the brain in recovery from addiction.  In her Appendix B at the back of the book, she lists Forty Things I Needed the Most.  I am not going to repeat all 40, however, I am going to paraphrase the first 5 and compare healing in recovery from addiction. 

Number 1 – I am not stupid, I am wounded.  Please respect me.  When someone is wounded physically it is easy to see and be empathetic, however, when one’s brain is wounded, it is hard to see and appreciate just how severe the wound may be.  In the process of recovery, it is important to respect ourselves and how we have wounded our brain enough to do the work of healing.  Dr. Taylor spent eight years working and challenging herself to heal her brain completely.  She is living proof, it can be done!  Yes, she had a great support group, however, she did the hard work. 

Number 2 – Come close, speak slowly and enunciate clearly.  Here she talks about how energy can be positive or negative to our healing.  Those who are loud and speak fast with nervous energy is counter-productive.  How is our own energy and how is the energy of others around us. 

Number 3 – repeat yourself, assume I know nothing and start from the beginning over and over. So many times I hear from client, “ I know all that, I have been to treatment before”.  Perhaps repetition is needed for my brain to internalize and for me to take action? 

Number 4 – Be patient with me the 20th time you teach me something, as you were the first.  The average for treatment experiences by clients with addictions is 8.  How patient can we be with ourselves and with others in the recovery process? 

Number 5 – Approach me with an open heart and slow your energy down.  Take your time.  Hopefully, we can approach our recovery and healing with an open heart and offer the same to others. 

Again, any thoughts and comments from others is greatly appreciated.

Sue Judd, MSS, LSAC
Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor


It is important for us as human beings to remove the value statement of “Wrong” from the adversity we experience throughout our lives. So many times as I have worked with clients, the fear of being wrong has played a significant role in their ability to take healthy risks, progress, let go and heal.  It is critical for us as human beings to change the way we see adversity. 
We have grown in our understanding to believe that adversity comes because of something we have done wrong or believe it is some form of cosmic punishment.  The reality is adversity is the potential energy that growth needs to occur.  Just as a germinating seed will grow within its husk, pushing itself to the point where it eventually bursts through; the strength and energy it now has after working through adversity creates the capacity to then penetrate through the soil under which it finds itself. 
Our adversities are no different in that they contain the same energy which will propel us forward. Our understanding and confidence building will increase to prepare us for the journeys that lie ahead.  To stifle or avoid it is to deny progression.  Avoidance comes through the fear of not wanting to be wrong or feel discomfort.  We find ways to avoid through addictions, blame, self-loathing and other forms that keep us numb.  The solution comes through embracing adversity and understanding that it is potential energy that promotes growth.  
Simply put, here are the steps to moving through adversity:
1. Change the way you see adversity. Adversity is potential energy that promotes growth.
2. Remove the fear of adversity by seeing the value in it.  Adversity is needed to progress.
3. Build a tolerance for the discomfort that adversity creates.  Let go of the fear of being wrong.

Dean N Nixon
Seminar Director, Life Coach


The willingness to commit ourselves to a path that brings both knowledge and growth requires commitment.  It is our commitment that opens the doors and guides our feet as we set out on a journey to progress and heal.  It is through the commitment to the path that intention is born. 
The intention that we carry in our hearts will always guide our focus and give us the ability to see the subtle answers that we normally would miss day to day.  As we walk with a hunger in our hearts and an appetite for whatever it is we seek, our senses are more open to finding, consuming and internalizing the steps we need.  As we progress through our days, if we commit to ourselves to set healthy boundaries with those we love and do not let fears or insecurities interfere, we will be more alert to the subtleties. We will have the ability to discern how and when to set boundaries even when we find resistance in it. 
Commitment is what pushes through the barrier of resistance and allows us to refocus on the intention of keeping relationships healthy.  We do not allow discomfort sway us from the ultimate path we are on. 

Dean N Nixon
Seminars Director, Life Coach


Humans have a tendency to be extremely adaptable. This has been proven simply by the ability we have to live and survive in the extremist of conditions. At times I think to myself, “We have no business living in the desert when it’s 125 degrees.” Then I see those who live in Antarctica or the Arctic Circle and not only live but thrive. This is true of all climates.
It is this adaptability that often times becomes our demise.  A few weeks back I was pulling oranges from a box. I was intrigued by the fact that round oranges had flat sides where they had pressed next to another orange very tightly in this box.  I pondered how the natural shape of this orange had been changed by its need to adapt to the temporary living conditions prior to being consumed.  It was then that I realized we are also like these oranges and our natural shaped behaviors, thoughts and feelings can all be shaped by the environment that we allow ourselves to be in. 
I have often said that we are easily defined by our 5 closest friends because it’s these 5 closest friends we allow to influence our shape.  Take a look and see if you can learn something new about yourself.  Are you like the orange?

Dean N Nixon
Seminars Director, Life Coach


What does this mean???

TurningLeaf has founded this motto based upon the understanding that the majority of human social issues come from trying to change who they are, to be of value to somebody else, rather than taking who they are and growing the strengths that are inherently theirs. 

Our philosophy is derived from the two ways that people are motivated. Fear or Love. We have learned that fear, as a long term motivator, is a defunct system and that over time, breaks down, creating repetitive unhealthy behaviors.  Love or “Value Based” motivation creates long term healthy behaviors, simply by helping people understand why they are doing what they are doing. 
Value Based Living increases the understanding and need to continue healthy behaviors.
Currently we implement value based living in all of our services. Specifically, if you have thought about attending our Value Based parenting class but wanted more information, follow the link which will bring you directly to our web page that gives a breakdown of this 8 week course.  (Value Based Parenting)

Dean N Nixon
Seminars Director, Life Coach


The restlessness of the day disturbs the stillness of the quiet mind.  It is within the silent moments that we can find answers to the struggles we are working through.  By increasing the stillness or the quiet moments we will connect to our discernment.  Just as the stillness of water reflects our image, the stillness of our minds will reflect the answers we seek. 

Dean N Nixon
Seminar Director, Life Coach

TurningLeaf Wellness Center