Sierra Tucson

Tonight, I had the honor of being invited to a dinner hosted by Sierra Tucson and share an evening with many wonderful clinicians in the addiction field.

It is always fascinating to learn about how each persons story led them to the world of psychology as well as inspiring to hear them share why they are passionate about being of service to others. It is truly a gift to come together as a community and support one another in our mutual effort to help individuals learn to live a life of recovery and strengthen the relationship with themselves and those they love.

If you are newly sober and in need of a more intensive level of support, I encourage you to contact Sierra Tucson. They have a wonderfully effective program due to their dedicated and talented staff.

If you are newly sober and in need of longer term support on an weekly basis or have been in recovery and wish to strengthen it, feel free to view my website Dr. Mary Spease or contact me at 858.888.3261. I’d be happy to speak with you and see how I can best be of service.

Father’s Day

To all of the dads who make the choice each and every day to unconditionally love their children, be their strength, their protector, their place of refuge, and who display kindness and support, know that you are appreciated and oh so loved!

Hoping every wonderful dad had a lovely Fathers Day!!!

And to my dad, I love you with all my heart. I feel so blessed to have a father who has always been and continues to be such a wonderful source of love, support, and encouragement. You have enriched my life in more ways that I can count and I am forever grateful.

Learning to Detach

Whether you suffer from the effects of alcoholism or not, detachment can be a valuable skill. It can increase one’s experience of serenity as well as improve dynamics within relationships. However, many of us find this difficult to do as learning to practice self-care and setting healthy boundaries can be uncomfortable and at times seem mean or selfish. More often that not, we have been taught that if we care about someone we will do whatever it takes to help. However, the kind of help we offer may not always be what fosters growth and forward momentum for our loved ones or ourselves. It may just in fact keep someone stuck and perpetuate our feelings of frustration.

However, it is possible to learn new and more adaptive behaviors by working with a psychologist and/or attending Al-Anon meetings. The following is an except from one of the many offered Al-Anon pamphlets that provides information about what can be learned:


• Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people

• Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another’s recovery

• Not to do for others what they can do for themselves

• Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink, or behave as we see fit

• Not to cover up for another’s mistakes or misdeeds

• Not to create a crisis

• Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events”


“Detachment is neither kind or unkind. It does not imply judgment or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. Its simply a means that allows us to separate ourselves from the adverse effects that another person’s alcoholism can have on our lives.” (Al-Anon Literature)

Whether you grew up in an alcoholic home or were effected by alcoholism later in life, many find it difficult to separate themselves emotionally from the behaviors of their loved one, especially when they are hurtful.

Despite efforts to improve our relationship or situation, many of us have developed patterns of behavior that do not serve us well and often perpetuate the very dynamic we wish to change. For example, we may not like conflict yet find ourselves engaging in an argument when the alcoholic is not in a rational state of mind. In addition, we may try and force them to see our point of view or validate something we said or did. (Ever hear the phrase “it’s like going to the hardware store for bread”?). Further, we often allow ourselves to personalize alcoholic messages or behavior that have nothing to do with us and everything to do with the alcoholics current mindset.

However, with the help of a mental health professional and/or Al-Anon (or another related 12-step program), we can begin learning how to loving detach from those who are actively in their disease while still maintaining a connection. It is important to keep in mind that detachment does not always mean severing a relationship, although in certain cases that may be the appropriate course of action. It also does not imply a lack of caring. In fact, we do so because we care about our personal well-being and we care about cultivating healthier dynamics with our loved one. It is merely a way to keep ourselves from suffering the consequences of alcoholism.

Choosing the Right Therapist

In my practice, I typically spend some time on the phone with potential clients in order to best determine whether or not we will be a good fit for one another.  However, it is always best to meet with a therapist in person as being in the room with them can help you experience their personality as well as style/approach.  In addition, it is usually helpful when those you know have provided a personal recommendation.  More often than not, it helps to create a sense of confidence in pursuing services when we know that those we trust have found the therapists services valuable. Therefore, if you would like to write a review (even if you are a colleague or friend and are familiar with my work), I encourage you to share your experience as it may help another who is considering taking the first step towards change .

Should you wish to do so, you can choose any or all of the following of my professional pages:


Google Page

Google + Profile


Psychology Today


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