Buddha and Meditation

January 19, 2014


Marti MacGibbon Tells Her Story

January 16, 2014

Marti MacGibbon
Author and Motivational Speaker

By Marti MacGibbon

My name is Marti MacGibbon and I am an addiction treatment professional, award-winning author, a professional humorous, and an inspirational speaker. I specialize in addiction, trauma resolution, recovery, resilience, and all forms of inspiration.  I am also a person in long-term recovery from addiction, with 18 years chemical-free. I entered treatment for Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when the symptoms became unbearable in sobriety.

I am writing this blog for two reasons:

– To summarize my story of personal recovery which I told in detail in the book Never Give Into Fear, and
– To express my gratitude to Terence T. (Terry) Gorski for his life work.

Terry has dedicated his life to creating practical systems of recovery that are describe step-by-step skills that can be learned and used. He presents these skills in clear, easy-to understand, and no-nonsense language. He has always put recovering people and their families first. His primary goal has to help people to live sober and responsible. His methods have always fostered a movement from dependence, to independence, and then to interdependence. His methods are always collaborative and respectful. He believes in rational thinking and sober responsible living.

Terry Gorski has dedicated his life
to helping addicted people and their families
to learn effective skills
for helping themselves to recover.

My Story Encapsulated

In my active addiction, I might have been described as one of the hopeless cases, and looking back now, I know that both childhood sexual abuse (first instance at 14 years old) by authority figures, and the extreme trauma I survived in adulthood fueled my addiction. Knowledge is power, and this is especially true in recovery.  Organized knowledge is even better. The more I learn about the disease, the stronger my recovery grows, and the more positive action I can take to build a better, more enjoyable lifestyle and share experience, strength, and hope with others.

Knowledge is power.
Organized knowledge is even better.
~ Terence T. Gorski ~

In 1984, I was a successful standup comic (check out part of my act on YouTube), with a scheduled appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, but I struggled with addiction. I’d been a heavy drinker in an attempt to cope with emotional pain and self-loathing, but couldn’t perform well on stage under the influence of alcohol, so I’d begun experimenting with stimulants.  That’s when I discovered methamphetamine, specifically crystal meth, and it was “game on!”

In the manner described in Gorski’s book, Straight Talk About Addiction, when I used meth I had an addictive brain response that released the brain chemistry of self-confidence. I felt more in control on meth, and I felt excited at the prospect of a new drug of choice that seemed to benefit me. I met a man¾a handsome criminal with lots of contacts in the drug world. The relationship went downhill fast, morphing into a classic abusive relationship. My downward spiral became a power dive, resulting in my being trafficked to Tokyo and held prisoner by Japanese organized crime figures. I endured rape and physical abuse, and lived under threat of death, but someone helped me to escape, and I returned to the U.S.

There’s a good reason
not to get intimately involved with a criminals.
That reason is … Ummm?
Well, the reason is they’re criminals.
As a general rule criminals can’t be trusted!
~ Terence T. Gorski ~

At that point, I began using my drug of choice as a means of coping with the trauma I’d experienced, and, as many trauma victims do, I returned to the abusive boyfriend. He beat me up and almost killed me. After that, I spent a year and a half homeless, sleeping under bridges and in abandoned houses. I lived in terror of reprisal from the traffickers I’d escaped. I suffered from nightmares. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was suffering from PTSD.  (See Gorski’s Approach To PTSD)

Eventually, I met the man who is my husband today. We’ve been together for 26 years, and although we experienced active addiction together for several years, we both entered recovery during the 1990s, and we still enjoy strong recovery today. When I got clean, I returned to professional standup comedy for some years, and I know the power of laughter as a healing force! For me, gratitude, laughter and fun are mainstays in my recovery program. As I motivational speaker, I still do standup comedy, I just call myself a humorist and my audiences are sober people who enjoy a message of hope delivered in a way that helps them life at the ironies of life.

I always wanted to be a comedian,
but I lacked one thing – Talent!
So I did the next best thing.
I became a therapist!
~ Terence T. Gorski ~

Recovery Is An Action Plan

Recovery is a plan of action that creates motivation, which in turn creates more positive action. During my first few days clean, I took a look at my daily schedule and saw that my average day in addiction consisted of a series of bad habits, negative thought patterns, and self-defeating behaviors. At that point I instinctively knew I needed to learn more effective skills and practice them in every area of my life until they became habitual. When I was addicted, I was driven by the automatic and unconscious habits involved in getting ready to use, using, and recovering from using so I could start the cycle again. I didn’t have to think about it. It was a habit – and habits don’t require thought.

I managed to put the complex behaviors required to get and use illegal drugs under automatic habitual control – and I did it during a drug war, while I was homeless, suffering from severe PTSD, and surround by dangerous people. I certainly could develop a set of automatic/habitual recovery skills when I had a safe place to live, food to eat and meetings filled with sober and responsible people willing to help me.

So I rolled up my sleeves and got started. I replaced bad habits with good: began an exercise program, focused on a healthy diet, learned about cognitive distortions, began using positive affirmations and mantras, and started building a sober support network. The results came quickly and my success filled me with enthusiasm for my new lifestyle and the healing process. One success built upon another building momentum until I had moments of genuine well-being which I call spiritual experiences. The recovery process was a similar but opposite to the process of addiction. When actively addicted one failure built upon another until hopelessness crushed the soul.

Recovery is a plan of action that creates motivation,
which in turn creates more positive action.
~Marti MacGibbon ~

After ten years in recovery, I entered into therapy. I still had nightmares from the experience in Japan, and the additional trauma during my homeless period on the street.

Therapy has been, and still is, a game changer for me.  The healing is deep and profound. After therapy, I knew I wanted more than standup comedy, so I obtained education and training in addiction treatment. My goal was to be able to carry the message of recovery to others who suffer. During my studies, I discovered the work, of Terry Gorski. I learned about his Relapse Prevention Certification School. After earning my CADC-II, I enrolled in the RPT training and earned the ACRPS. I have worked with special populations, (Women and Homeless Veterans), and in outpatient, inpatient, and transitional housing settings.

Terry Gorski’s books provide education about the disease of addiction. His material is well organized. He presents valuable information for therapists and recovering people in plain language that anyone can understand.  When I read his books Learning to Live Again, and Understanding the Twelve Steps, I knew I’d discovered valuable recovery tools! Terry didn’t really say anything I didn’t know. He did, however, give me a better way to put what I knew intuitively into words so I could explain it more clearly to others.  I’ve purchased the two books for sponsees and friends in 12-Step programs as gifts they can use as additional resources and companions to the Big Book and Twelve and Twelve. The women I have shared these resources with have always been enthusiastic about the results they achieve when they study the books and take action.

While reading many of Gorski’s books, and in my addiction treatment training, I was thrilled to learn that fun and laughter are important to recovery even though the evidence for relationship between humor and health is not as strong as many believe it to be. This idea, however, continues to electrify me. Although I do not currently work as a counselor in a facility, I maintain my certifications and work to carry the message about recovery.

Today I am producer, founder and host of Laff-Aholics Standup Comedy Benefit for Recovery, an annual fundraiser in Indianapolis featuring nationally headlining comedians. The purpose of the show is to provide a fun event for people in recovery, with social connectivity and plenty of healing laughter. Newcomers learn it’s possible to have fun in recovery, that our community comes together for our most vulnerable members, and “old-timers” are refreshed and inspired. 100% of the profits from the show go to facilities that provide transitional housing and access to treatment for those who have little or no financial assets. We prefer to benefit facilities that will take clients who have “only the shirt on their backs,” so to speak.

Now I am launching a talk show on a recovery radio network called Pure Motive Radio. The show is on Blog Talk Radio, and it’s called, Kickass Personal Transformation with Marti MacGibbon. The purpose of the show is to provide entertainment, education, and tips on personal development in recovery. I’m booking comedians, authors who write about recovery, and thought leaders in the addiction treatment field. I enjoyed the two guest appearances that Terry Gorski made on my show. I am excited because he has agreed to do more in the future! My listening audience will be fascinated, educated, and enthralled!

Terry’s generosity to the recovering community is extensive. His many books, lectures, and the services of The CENAPS® Corporation provide a wealth of resources for those of us who suffer from the disease of addiction. He’s a brilliant clinician with a keen sense of humor and his contribution to recovery has made it possible for countless lives to be saved, healed and improved.  Terry Gorski Rocks! ~ Marti MacGibbon

C2953-MacGibbon Cover-Mini

Mari MacGibbon’s inspiring story of recovery.

Marti’s MacGibbon’s Website:

Marti’s MacGibbon’s Blog:

Managing Post Acute Withdrawal (PAW): Five Things You Can Do

January 16, 2014

By Terence T. Gorski, Author
January 16, 2014


Five Things You Can Do!

This is an Excerpt From The Book: Straight Talk About Addiction
By Terence T. Gorski

Post Acute Withdrawal (PAW) can be a serious problem for nearly 90% of people in recovery from chemical addictions. There is hope. There are some simple recommendation that can help you manage PAW symptoms. In severe cases and when coexisting disorders, especially depression, are present, there are medications that can help. Don’t be too quick to start medications. The consistent use of five simple and straight forward steps can make a big difference in reducing the frequency and severity of PAW symptoms episodes. Here are the recommended steps in managing PAW:

1. Accurate Information: Explain PAW and have the person do a self-evaluation of PAW and review the results. This will give them words and ideas to explain what they are experiencing. It will also help people to stop feeling crazy, judging themselves for having the symptoms, and being anxious and afraid because they don’t know what is happening. Everything that needs to be covered in a comprehensive recovery education program on Post Acute Withdrawal is presented in the Comprehensive Guide to PAW.

2. Stress Management, Relaxation and Meditation: PAW is stress sensitive. This means the symptoms get more severe when experience high stress and less sever under low stress levels. Mindfulness Meditation has been shown to be especially effective. (See the Blog: Mindfulness Made Simple)

3. Proper Diet: Have an alcohol and drug free diet. Eat a high protein, complex carbohydrate meal plan. The closest diet plan is a hypoglycemic diet. Ask a nutritionist or look it up the internet. Avoid foods high in sugar and limit your caffeine intake. Supplement with multiple vitamins,Vitamin B-12, and broad spectrum amino acids. (Eating Right To Live Sober is a book on solid no-nonsense nutrition principles that have stood the test of time.)

4. Aerobic Exercise: Doing heart-measured aerobic exercise at least twenty minutes  per day, a minimum three-days per week in a heart-measured aerobic zone improves psychological well-being and overall health. To determine you aerobic training zone, subtract your age from 220. 80% of that number is you minimal training zone. 80% is the max). Too high or too low don’t seem to help much.

5. A Recovery Program: Have a regular schedule of recovery activities that put you in places and around people who support your recovery and where you can honestly talk about yourself without judgment. It is also important to having a sponsor/mentor and therapist trained as an addiction professional.

These practices seem to help stabilize brain chemistry, lower stress, and improve levels of self-esteem.

Don’t leave PAW management to chance.
Get a plan.
Work the plan.
If it doesn’t work, get additional help.

Please don’t spread the mistaken belief there is nothing that can be done to reduce the frequency and severity of PAW symptom episode. IT’S JUST IS NOT TRUE. The brain is plastic. It grows in response to experiences especially when stress in managed well during the experience.


This is an Excerpt From The Book: Straight Talk About Addiction

By Terence T. Gorski


Flowers for Algernon By Daniel Keyes

January 16, 2014

20140116-011301.jpgA Book Review
By Terence T. Gorski, Author
January 15, 2014

A friend of mine gave me the book entitled Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. She asked me to read it and tell her what I thought.

The main character was a severely retarded young man named Charlie Gordon, who becomes the first human subject in the trial of an experimental drug for treating mental retardation.

Algernon was one of a large group of rats that were bred to be retarded in order to test the new drug. All the rats developed and maintained long-term dramatic improvements. All of them except Algernon were sacrificed and dissected to confirm the success of the drug with no side effects.

Charlie became the first human subject to use the new drug. The researchers let Charlie build a relationship Algernon and teach him new skills. Charlie fell in love with Algernon.

Charlie kept a daily journal as part of the experiment and the book is written as if it were developed from Charlie’s journals. The book presents Charlie’s first person account of his life as a retarded (severely cognitively impaired) person. Then described his growing self and environmental awareness as he progressively developed above average cognition.

Charlie was functioning well and the researchers thought they had found a cure. Suddenly, Algernon, who aged far more rapidly than humans, regressed. Charlie knew it would happen to him also. He applied his knew-found genius to figuring out what caused Algernon’s regression.

He couldn’t figure out what went wrong. His journal reflects his descent back into severe dementia. Algernon dies Just before Charlie regressed back into severe intractable retardation. Charlie asks the researcher to get FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON and put them on his grave.

When I asked my friend why she wanted me to read the book, she said: “Terry, I think you already know!” And she was right. I did know. I thought of my father who disappeared before my eyes, a victim of progressive and untreatable dementia.

Flowers For Algernon gave me insight into what people suffering from progressive dementia must experience. It was a realistic sensitive and compelling look at a serious and far too common condition plaguing humanity.


On Becoming A Writer

January 15, 2014

Write your life away. It’s important!

By Terence T. Gorski,  Author, Blogger
January 15, 2014

You become a writer much like you become a jogger. You are a jogger when you put on running shoes and start running — and the shoes are optional. You are a writer when you start writing and sharing your work with others — sharing your work is optional. Nobody gets stronger by not lifting weights. In the same way writers don’t get better by not writing or by refusing to publish their work.  Today it is easy to publish yourself by starting a blog. This will get your writing in front of others.  The mechanics of publishing yourself with a blog is so easy and inexpensive that there is no excuse for not doing it — except fear.

In theory, it is easy to start a blog and see if you can build a following.  Every writer should do it. In reality, it’s not the mechanics of posting a blog that stops writers from sharing their work — it is bold naked fear. It is terrifying to put your heart and soul into your writing and then throw it out in public to see what happens. Writers, however, need to develop a thick skin. Everyone can be a critic. It is the rare few that have the discipline and courage to express their personal truth in clear and simple language and put it out for critical review. This is why it is so important for writers to network with and support each other. One writer can help another and both can build a bigger combined audience. The more hot links in your blog, the higher it gets ranked in the search engines. Everybody wins.

It is the voice of writers echoing through the halls of history that allows ideas to take on a life of their own.  Writing is all about the search for truth and expressing what you find in a beautiful way. Truth must be rediscovered anew by each generation. Writers of older generations pass forward their truth to younger generations. We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before. The next generation will stand on our shoulders.

Old writers tell their truth to the next generation. Young writers interpret that truth and express it to their own generation. By doing so they pass it forward once again. Hopefully, the new voices of each generation will build upon and transcend the core message of truth that was expressed by older generations.

“There is nothing new under the sun.
All that is happening now, has happened before
and will happen again.”
~ Ecclesiastes ~

There is, however, one important glitch. Most great writers are not widely recognized until after they die. Don’t let this frighten you, however. Writing won’t kill you. So if you want to be a writer, here’s what you need to do. Write and keep writing. Share your work and keep sharing it. Never stop because writing is important — YOUR writing is important. Write it even if you believe you have nothing important to say — because whether your believe it or not you do. Every person has a story. All true stories express an aspect of truth. Write about what you know. Express your truth. That’s all any of us can do.

I believe that all of recorded history lives in the brain/mind of every living person. Art allows us to feel that flow of history within our own soul. Science allows us to structure knowledge in a way that it can be used. Writing allows us to pass it forward through time and space to future generations. Writing is a form of faith. You have to believe that somehow, to someone, your writing will make a difference. Writing can truly make us immortal. Look at the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We don’t know their names. Their work was buried in the desert for centuries. Yet their voice is known to all humanity and teaches us of their time. Their work shows us our past and, if viewed correctly, will point the way to our future.

Now I want to talk about some important nuts and bolts I’ve learned about writing over my career.

1. When expressing ideas, shorter is better, as long the meaning is retained. The best advice I ever received was to write my first draft and then mercilessly cut unnecessary words and find the “turn of a phrase” that expressed the idea more concisely.

2. Reduce your ideas from paragraphs, to sentences, to phrases, to words and then build them back out again. My best work has come when I have reduced ideas to short bullet points that could be understood, at least intuitive, without being explained. Here are some examples: Craving is a hunger for drugs; Everyone suffers from addiction, either their own or that of someone else. Read these simple phrases and pause after each. See if they communicate a meaning beyond the words used to express them:

  • Early Relapse Warning Signs;
  • Triggers for Craving;
  • High Risk Situations;
  • Self-defeating Thinking;
  • Addictive Insanity 

These short bullet points literally force the minds readers to gather previously unrelated thoughts into an epicenter of understanding. Unrelated ideas become a unified concept. Concepts become the calmness at the eye of the storm of mental confusion. Finding these precise bullet statements is  time-consuming part. It is, in my opinion, the most difficult part of writing about non-physical realities of the mind and spirit. These bullet points make the nonphysical concrete by embodying it in a thought. There is good news.

When the concepts are stripped down to their bare essence and the bullet points are engraved in writing,  you will have a really good set of power point slides. The process of reducing complex ideas to a single word or phrase that encompasses the essential meaning is called conceptual integration. This will be the focus of a future blog, so keep following! There is another problem! Clear concepts are necessary, but alone they are not enough.

3. Good writing must be humanized. All great novels both paint vivid pictures in the mind of the reader and make powerful conceptual points that shoot into the mind of the reader like a bullet of thought that links the imagery with the idea.  The difference between a novel, and a readable non-fiction writing is the primary organizational structure. The novel is built around a blot that progresses as characters grow and develop in response to challenges. The information and philosophical principles of life and living are definitely there but are secondary to the compelling plot line and the characters that you either love or love to hate. Non-fiction is organized around presenting information and ideas. It is humanized by giving examples that areas vivid and compelling as any scene in a great novel. Then comes the hook.

4. The hook is the simple trick that makes people want to read the next paragraph. The hook goes fishing for the reader’s curiosity. If you can make the reader curious about what comes next people will keep reading and you will have written a page turner. Do I do it?

You will have to judge for yourself by checking out my blogs: www.terrygorski.com 

If this were a class, I would ask you to go back, read this blog again, and notice all of the hooks. I would then ask you to determine if I am better at summarizing ideas or illustrating ideas in compelling examples. Share this blog with a colleague who is a writer, do these two assignments, and then discuss them.


Gorski On Charting Featured By Behavioral Healthcare Magazine

January 14, 2014

gorski-on-charting-blog-1-art-work1The blog Gorski On Charting, sponsored by Medivance Billing, is being featured on the Behavioral Healthcare Magazine Website. The blog will be a bi-monthly series. Who ever thought clinicians could actually get excited about using assessment, treatment planning and documentation to become better therapists.

“There is a  coherent process that underlies effective documentation. The relationship between charting and effective treatment is highlighted at every step. This is why treatment professionals can get excited about this system. It explains a complex process in clear and easy to understand language. Charting is linked to what clinical professionals want to do — help their patients to recover.” ~ Terence T. Gorski

Terry Gorski’s Published Books — In A Constantly Updated List

January 12, 2014

I am frequently asked about how many books I have published. In the past I had to say that I honestly didn’t know. I felt dumb every time I gave that answer. As an author I should know how many books and book chapter’s have been published. The truth is that I never kept count. Then yesterday I came a big surprise.

Today the great internet god poured a blessing down upon my head — actually it was printed on my computer screen. I accidentally found a website named www.ranker.com. I typed my name and there they all were — 27 books, in the order of popularity as measured by sales.

Ranker: Gorski Books

Here is a
to everyone who enjoys and uses my work.
Your support allows me to do even more.
Please Subscribe To My Blog: www.terrygorski.com
I am starting to call this
Gorski’s Legacy Archive
This is where I am posting all of my archival documents
that have been published throughout my career.

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