6 reasons why exercise won’t help you

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Exercise equipment.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Mistakes we make in setting up an exercise or other self-change programs.

Man exercising

Man exercising

Exercise programs, like lots of other self-change efforts, fail for some very simple reasons.

I first read these points in articles about physical exercise programs but the more I read about them the more I could see that the same principles apply to mental, spiritual and emotional recovery programs also.

Have tried to change only to end up back where you started?

Below are some of the reasons these self-improvement programs often fail.

1. Trying to do too much too fast.

For most people, weight loss is not a long-term project. This exercise or weight loss program is often undertaken as a last-ditch crash activity. You want to lose weight before a special occasion or because your doctor has said your health is at risk.

Most people in early recovery, from whatever they define as their problem, fall into this same trap. The person who has neglected their heath wants to get into shape lose weight and become healthier and they want to do this by Friday.

Recovering from a lifelong issue does not happen in large sudden ways. It begins with some basic changes that you keep doing. It is the maintenance part that is so essential, yet so hard to make a part of any self-change program.

Just as dropping too much weight too quickly may be bad for your physical health, trying to undo years of a problem lifestyle overnight may be emotionally unhealthy.

The first week in recovery many a person wants to get a job, go back to school full-time, start a new relationship and pay off all their back bills. Early recovery is a time to focus on what bad habits you need to weed out of your life and to begin to think about what you want this new life to look like when you are done. Do you want a whole new healthier you or are you just trying to lose the weight by the time of the reunion?

It is easy to overwhelm yourself when you first start a self-change program, the result is that the whole self-improvement program goes out the window.

Make small changes and stay with them. Those small changes in your life repeated often enough result in major life improvements.

2. Not being consistent.

Self-change cannot be done on an on-again-off-again basis. Small incremental changes add up. Sudden bursts of efforts are undone by periods of inattention to your self-improvement program.

If you really want lasting change you need to exchange your habits and building new habits takes lots of repetition. You did not get the way you are overnight and it will take time to recover.

3. Are you avoiding the hard stuff?

We all like to look for shortcuts but the shortcuts do not add much to making you happier or healthier. There is no shortcut to exercise. You have to do it. Some ways of exercising may be more effective than others but they all take effort on a consistent basis.

I think of self-improvement like karma as a form of exercise. You do good things and you become a good person, you do bad things and you become a less good person. Sometimes getting to be a better person takes lots of effort.

4. Spending too much time on the fun stuff.

In any recovery program, some things are more enjoyable than others. We tend to do the things we like. But to really change yourself sometimes you need to start your routine with the hard to do things.

5. You do the wrong exercise the wrong way.

Make sure the things that you are doing in your program are truly designed to help you and that you are doing them in an effective way. Professionals can help here, so can self-help books.

Improperly done exercises result in injuries and those need to heal. A common mistake recovering people make is to run around apologizing for your past errors and saying you are sorry. Others have heard all this before. They do not want to hear you say sorry they want to see real change. Make the changes first and it will be easier for others to accept your apologies later on.

6. You forget to breathe.

Forgetting to breathe during physical excesses undoes a lot of the benefits that come from exercise. The muscles need oxygen to function and to grow. The same thing is true of spiritual exercise. You need to slow down and breathe in the joy and pleasure that comes from doing new estimable things.

In the older self-improvement books, mental health, memory, and success were linked to physical wellness. We have lost some of that emphasis as we put pressure on children to get high test scores and take away their recesses to get those test scores up. Having a healthy body is a big help in being more mentally alert and effective.

Hopefully learning these 6 ways in which exercise will be unhelpful will aid you whether you are trying to lose weight and get in shape or you are on your way to making other changes that are a part of your recovery.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Morning Question # 2 Does Methcathinone help you get big in the gym?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Bath salts.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

NO! No stimulant makes you big and strong, you just think you are.

Not even if you consider someone with anorexia to be overweight. Methcathinone is a stimulant just like Methamphetamine. Different chemical formula but similar results. The people who are telling you this are also pushing the “Jenny Crank” diet. Is losing your teeth your idea of weight loss? The only bulking out you do on powerful stimulants is from the scabs on your face. There is to my knowledge no safe and effective way to get big in the gym other than eating healthy and lots of appropriate exercises. The shortcuts that do work are not safe. The safe shortcuts don’t work.  Want to get big in the gym? Lift more weight, run more miles and eat a lot of health food.

Binge Eating Disorder – the other side of Anorexia and Bulimia

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What is

Binge Eating Disorder – the other side of Anorexia and Bulimia
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Eating yourself to death – Binge Eating Disorder.

We used to ignore Binge Eating and only pay attention to eating disorders that involved inappropriate ways to control weight. Anorexia and Bulimia are well-recognized eating problems that were covered in previous posts.

Other posts about eating disorders and the new DSM-V proposals will be found at:

Binge Eating Disorder – the other side of Anorexia and Bulimia 

Middle class and starving to death in America – An Eating Disorder called Anorexia

Love Hate relationship with food – Bulimia Nervosa

Eating Disorders and Substance abuse  

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

Recently we have started to see how the overeating part can be a major issue even without the effort to control weight. In Binge Eating Disorder the emotional eating component takes place but it is as if the person with Binge Eating Disorder gives up and stops even trying to control their weight.

As in Bulimia, the food is consumed in a relatively short period of time, two hours or less. One episode of this behavior does not make for the diagnosis; Binge Eaters do these behaviors on a regular basis. The strict diagnostic criterion calls for at least one episode a week for at least three months.

Loss of control is a hallmark of this as well as other impulse control problems. It is not simply that the person likes to eat but that they are driven to eat. Even when they try to avoid the excess calories they are unable to control themselves.

Binge eaters eat faster than everyone else, they wolf the food down. And the Binge eater does not stop when full. They are unable to realize they are full until it becomes impossible to eat more. Even when not hungry the Binge eater will continue to eat for the emotional values of the experience rather than for the nutritional ones.

This eating disorder like other eating disorders is characterized by secrecy and avoiding others seeing what the Binge Eater is doing, they will eat surreptitiously to avoid notice. After a binge episode, the Binger may become sad, anxious and have feelings of guilt. They can begin to hate themselves.

Binge eaters are not comfortable with what they are doing, they wish they could stop but efforts to control their food intake are unsuccessful.

Binge eating is not a simple case of overeating, laziness or unwillingness to exercise. It is a specific psychiatric problem that includes the uncontrollable urge to eat even when full and the lack of any energy to attempt to lose weight.

Binge Eating may lead to depression or may accompany a mood disorder. Gradually the pounds are packed on; the Binge eater becomes isolated from family and friends and may begin to hate themselves but still can’t stop without help. This condition requires professional treatment. Treatment for Binge eating may be less widely available than therapy for other eating disorders because the health damage occurs more slowly, but untreated the ill effects on health will certainly occur.

There is a fourth category of Eating disorders, Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) which includes both unusual problems in food and weight loss and those cases that are not quite severe enough to get a diagnosis of one of the three principal types.

Three brief posts to cover four potential problems in the area of food and eating. There is treatment available for all of these issues. If you have experienced an eating disorder and care to share your experience, strength, and hope please leave a comment about anything related to Anorexia, Bulimia Binge Eating Disorder or any other topic related to recovery.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Running hard after recovery.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Ball recovery

Recovery and Resiliency.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How hard are you running?

“I ran real hard after drugs, I’m gonna run real hard after recovery,” the client said. Even after they left I couldn’t get this out of my head. We all run real hard after our problems but how hard are we willing to run after our recovery.

Being a drug addict or an alcoholic is hard work. So are all kinds of other problems we get stuck in. The addict’s life consists of thinking about their drug of choice, all day long. There is not much room for other thoughts.

From the time they get up till the time they crash out the search for drugs is on. Addicts truly work hard to get the money to buy drugs. They do things they thought they would never do. Things they said you couldn’t pay them enough to do until they needed the money for drugs.

Every drug has its culture and the addict stays with his own kind as much as they can. The Heroin addict knows about rigs, going to the cotton and cotton fever. The Meth smoker knows about a hundred ways to make a pipe out of any sort of scraps. The alcoholic, well for them it is types of wines and how to order a drink, on the rocks, straight up, beer back or chaser.

The addict knows how to chase their drug and the lifestyle that goes with it like an Olympic athlete. What they don’t know is how to chase recovery.

One old-timer at a 12 step meeting used to ask the newcomers a couple of simple questions.

How far were you willing to go to get a drink or a drug? How far are you willing to go to get recovery? Shouldn’t you be willing to go farther for recovery than for your addiction?

People practice for years, sometimes decades to become really good at their addiction. Maybe we should call that really bad in their addiction. But something happens when they get into recovery. They think the training is over.

Anyone who has been around meetings knows that while the addict may take a vacation from the disease the disease does not forget the addict. While the alcoholic is taking a break from drinking their disease is growing. The older we get the less alcohol or drugs our poor liver can take. The brain never forgets how to use like an addict.

Recovery is not something you can buy, purchase at the cost of programs and meetings and then tuck it away in a drawer for the time you will need it. Recovery is a set of skills and they need to be practiced over and over.

Americans have grown heavier than ever before. Many of us engage in physical activity by watching it on T. V. instead of participating in the activity. Watching exercise won’t keep you in shape. A shelf full of self-help books won’t help your recovery if you don’t read them and then go on to practice the principles in those volumes. Recovery is something we need to keep practicing.

How hard are you running after your recovery?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Health Improvement programs – what works what doesn’t

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Full ashtray

Smoking cigarettes.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Have you seen any shortage of weight loss programs?

Not from what I can see. Weight loss especially quick weight loss and get in shape fast programs are everywhere. In the vast literature of “self-improvement,” weight loss and fitness is king. Some programs work, at least a little. Many do not, especial in the long run.

SAMHSA recently looked at health improvement programs targeted towards the mentally ill. It is especially difficult for people on psychiatric meds to maintain or reduce their weight. Fitness is a goal that eludes many mentally ill. Psychiatric meds pack on the pounds or demolish the appetite and result in severe weight loss. There seems to be no middle ground.

So what worked and what did not?

Short-term improvement programs did not work!

The longer the program the better! We have all heard about quick weight loss programs. A very few really do take some weight off quickly in time for that reunion. The problem with quick weight loss programs is that the weight comes right back on a, d usually brings some of its friends. The net result – you weigh more after the crash diet than before.

For long-term permanent weight loss, even weight management to stabilize weight, six months was a minimum time. The longer the length of time in the program the more effective it was.

Wellness education by itself did not work!

Reading books and taking classes do not work unless coupled with a set of activates that produce the desired results. Having a guide or a partner who does the activities with you is much more effective than listening to a teacher tell you how to do something healthy and then having to do the activity on your own.

Diet alone rarely works.

Programs that include diet or improved nutrition were only effective when they also included an increase in activities. Conversely, an increase in activity is often offset when the increase in appetite which makes you hungry and you eat more. It takes both an increase in activity and a reduction in food intact to result in significant weight loss.

Interestingly though, people who increased their activity and exercised more, had improved health even when they did not diet and lost no weight.

Conclusions about health improvements programs for the mentally ill.

While these are important ideas for everyone, they are especially important to those with mental illnesses. More than 42% of adults with serious mental illness are obese. Over 80 % of those with schizophrenia do not physically exercise despite the fact the anti-psychotics are notorious for causing weight gain. Research suggests that as little as a 5% weight loss improves health.

It is important to reiterate that more than half of all the cigarettes smoked in America are consumed by someone with a mental health or substance abuse disorder. There has been some research that suggests that nicotine is soothing to those with emotional problems. Anyone who has worked in the mental health field learns to identify the person with psychosis by the scent of tobacco even before they see the client. People with psychosis often are two and three packs per day smokers. Even if nicotine may have an effect on some of the brains receptors and make people with psychosis feel better I remain concerned about the poisonous effects of nicotine. Additionally, anything on fire is likely to cause damage to the body when sucked into the lungs.

A healthy lifestyle for someone with a mental illness should include not just weight loss but an improved activity level and other lifestyle changes that result in a healthier life. Those changes are more likely to be effective when the health improvement program includes others as active participants, continues over a long time frame and involves exercise, diet and improved lifestyle choices.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Willpower Shortage

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Willpower

Willpower.

Willpower Shortage.

Of late it has become standard practice to decry the shortage of willpower here in America, maybe the shortage of willpower on planet earth. How did this worldwide shortage develop?

The shortage does not seem to be of recent origin. Writers from the Plymouth Colony, writing shortly after the founding in the 1620’s expressed their concern that people could not display significant willpower to avoid breaking the laws. I am told that there are passages in the Bible about a lack of willpower though I am not sure if it is found in the book of Leviticus or not. Presumably, this worldwide shortage of willpower has been going on for thousands of years.

If we can find oil deep under the sea and rocks on the moon why is it that there has been no significant discovery of additional willpower in all these millenniums? Perhaps we have been looking for the wrong thing in the wrong places. Behaviorists, like Martin and Pear, believe they have discovered the source of the willpower shortage. They say there are in fact two very different creatures that we are calling willpower and that we keep looking for the wrong one in the wrong place. Could that be?

Determination.

Willpower One might more properly be called determination.  This is the willpower required to do something that we know would be good for us but that is unpleasant or painful while we are doing it. Exercise is a good example. We all know we should do more exercise. It has all those positive benefits, like losing weight and being healthier. But it is hard to think about doing something that involves effort and possible unpleasant pain when there is that nice warm comfy couch sitting there and there are 36 new movies on the cable that beg to be watched.

It takes a special brand of willpower to give up a current pleasure or reward, sitting on the couch and watching movies, to secure far-off benefits like weight loss and improved health. To continue to engage in this effort for a deferred gain we need lots of positive encouragements and reinforcements. This is why people who exercise in groups where they encourage each other are more likely to succeed than those who try to do an exercise program alone.

The problem with shortages of this first kind of willpower is that the current negative of the action does not seem to have much connection to a far-off positive result like weight loss. It is hard to make yourself do something today for a gain a long time from now. This kind of willpower deficiency also accounts for the lack of retirement savings of many citizens.

One way to offset this is to turn the negative into a positive. Instead of exercising, pick a hobby that involves activity. Square dancing comes to mind. You get some positive people interactions coupled with the advantage of exercise and it could be fun.

Self-denial

Will Power Two, maybe we should call this self-denial, is the kind of willpower needed to get ourselves to give up something that we know is not good for us but is so much fun. In this type of willpower, the problem is to skip those extra goodies that put on the pounds. We know that obesity is bad. And we know that eating a few extra calories will over time pack the pounds on. But it is hard to connect in our minds the extra pounds and the health impairment a year from now with the one extra cookie. Usually, the one extra cookie wins out.

In trying to cut down on things like extra cookies or cigarettes the challenge is to give up a current pleasure for a far off good. Addictions fall in this class of shortage of willpower. One behavioral approach is to create a script that you say to your self. Behaviorists call this self-instruction. You might say to yourself that you do not need that drug or that cookie and that you are looking good. Substance abusers find that the more time they spend with people who encourage them to stay sober the more likely they are to succeed.

At this point, we are almost a month into the year. How many of you have given up on your New Years resolution? Did you read my series on stages of change? Think about where you are in this change process and how you might start moving forward.

If you are short on willpower, what positive things could you use to reward yourself for doing those hard to do things? What could you do to make giving up those current pleasures to secure a long-term goal feel less like a sacrifice?

Anyone out there have an experience to share that involves making a change and increasing your willpower?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

The Inside and Outside of Relapse triggers.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Relapse

Relapse.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Relapse triggers, either internal or external, are those things that set off cravings in a recovering person. The failure to do maintenance steps in the process of change increase the risk of giving into triggers.

External triggers are the things outside ourselves that place us at risk to resume old behaviors and give up on the progress of recovery. Shorthand ways of understanding these triggers are people, places, and things.

People are one of the biggest reasons people relapse. There is a huge temptation to look up old friends. Often the only thing that you have in common with an old friend is a history of using drugs or drinking. Sometimes there was a history of other dysfunctional activities, codependency or abusive relationships. If the people you had around you in the past supported your addiction or if they were not affirming, or made you feel bad about yourself, being around them can take you back there. Avoiding people who are bad for you is not being selfish.it is being self-caring. In early recovery it is suggested you not make a change you can’t take back like changing jobs or relationships. Surround yourself with people who support your recovery.

Places are another important external trigger to pay attention to. Alcoholics need to avoid bars; drug addicts should avoid dope houses. But there are other places to avoid. People with relationship issues should avoid revisiting places they used to go with a partner who is no longer in your life. Should someone on a diet visit a candy store? I wouldn’t recommend it. Think about places that you may need to avoid if you want to be secure in your recovery. Is there a family member or former friend who triggers your issues?

Things can also reignite thoughts of returning to an old lifestyle. Music can be a powerful memory trigger, so can some smells. People with relationship issues, sometimes we call these people love addicts, find it hard to let a relationship go. They keep the old moments out. They think about the things they did together. One last call to see how that person is doing is likely to set off a new round of problems. Carrying lots of cash can trigger some people, especially gambling addicts and former drug dealers. Sometimes it is a pipe or a lighter you find hard to get rid of. Is there something that reminds you of your issue but which you find hard to give up?

Internal triggers are the other part of the equation. The things going on inside our bodies and our minds are also relapse triggers. The word HALT standing for, Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired is used as a reminder of those triggers.

Hunger, thirst and many other physical sensations can make you feel restless, irritable and unleash the cravings. Negative emotions are powerful relapse triggers. Feeling anger fear or resentment, any number of negative emotions can cause someone to catch a case of “who cares.” Loneliness sends people back to their disorder quickly. Being tired is likely to upset recovery also. All of these internal triggers have to do with not taking care of ourselves. It is a short hop from not taking care of yourself to thinking you don’t deserve care, after that why should you hang on? Why not go back to the old life? People who don’t provide good self-care don’t encourage others to care for them. They start believing they don’t deserve to be treated well and then they stop treating themselves well.

Another way of understanding internal and external triggers is to look at the two main causes of relapse, romances, and finances. Romances are all about your feelings, feelings of loving and being loved, self-worth and self-esteem. Finances, mostly money, is the ultimate thing. Lack of money can sap our will to change. Having a lot of money makes some people feel they are invincible; the rules don’t apply to them. Pay attention to the healthiness of your relationships with things and with people. When one of these relationships gets out of balance, your life is headed out of balance.

These are only some of the things that might cause you to relapse. We each have our own triggers. What are yours? Knowing your triggers and how to defuse them strengthens your recovery.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.