The failure of addiction treatment.

The formula for addiction treatment failure is:

  • + More need for addiction treatment than ever before

  • + More addiction treatment centers than ever before

  • = More addicts dying and more families suffering than ever before.

Why is this happening?

The increased demand for addiction treatment has attracted treatment hustlers.

What are addiction treatment hustlers?

Here is a short list:

  1. Addicts that got clean in treatment, and saw the opportunity to use the hustling skills that they used in their addiction in a new hustle: instead of hustling drugs, they hustle “recovery” from drugs.
  2. Professionals that were disgraced, arrested, or disbarred from various professions, and found a new opportunity to make money in a field where, according to an old friend, “a felony looks good in a resume”.
  3. Investors creating, or buying, treatment centers with the sole purpose of reselling them for profit.

What are addiction treatment hustlers?  

Why do their treatment centers fail?

Hustlers are not educated in what constitutes high quality Therapy. Hustlers are not educated to discern the qualities that a person needs to have in order to hire talented therapists. The most common practice is to hire clinicians on the basis of how
good they are in marketing, passing licensing requirements, rationalizing bad treatment, and saying yes.

Who’s Bossing You Around?

Meet the New Boss Same as the Old Boss

People that preach old values say that we shall not eat pork, display skin, or be sexually liberal. According to their traditional dogma it’s unthinkable to go through life without the guidance of a Priest, Rabbi, or Imam. They preach that our human nature is sinful and they sell us “salvation” as the remedy for our sinful selves.

People that preach new values say that we shall not eat carbs, display fat, or be sexually repressed. According to their modern dogma it’s unthinkable to not rely on the direction of a spiritual teacher, Guru, Coach, or Therapist. The New Bosses of political correctness and enlightenment sell “self-improvement” as the remedy for flaws in the political incorrectness of our view and lack of spiritual enlightenment.

And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong

The Who. (1971). Won’t Get Fooled Again. On Who’s Next

If you go beyond the apparent difference in their positions, you will find that they have the same agenda: they both want to boss us around and tell us what to do. In the words of The Who: “Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss.” (1971).

Both Bosses believe that they own the truth. They both promote commandments that are impossible to satisfy—because they are in opposition to human nature. They both see our failure to meet their irrational and inhuman demands as proof that we are deficient and we need them to fix us. They both believe—or want us to believe—that they know how to improve on the process of creation and evolution of which we are the product.

The majority of us have bought the message of one, or both, of these Bosses at some point. We have felt guilty, inadequate, and lacking as a result and have looked to them to save us from our perceived flaws so that we could be ok. When we did so we were scammed. Describing the spiritual scam of all merchants of salvation and spiritual enlightenment, the great thinker and writer Allan Watts wrote “…anybody who tells you that he has some way of leading you to spiritual enlightenment is like somebody who picks your pockets and sells you your own watch” (c.1955). This is a great description of the Bosses and their business practices.

When we awake enough to see through the self-degrading message of the marketers of salvation and enlightenment, we clearly see the obvious and powerful truth that all that is wrong with us is arising out of our mistaken beliefs about who we are—not from our Original Nature.

Our Original Nature was created by God/Tao/Nature/Evolution, or whatever other name you choose to call it. If we have been living hurting others and ourselves, and shortchanging our potential, it’s not because our humanity is sinful or lacking. We bring on suffering when we disown our true Nature, and even come to hate it, because we come to believe that it is sinful or morally defective.

When we buy into the idea that our Nature is sinful and in need of redemption, and we reject it, we reject the true source of our personal and spiritual power. When we alienate ourselves from ourselves we become helpless. When we become helpless we become vulnerable to be scammed by both Bosses.

Here is the real deal—our humanity doesn’t need to be fixed. Our humanity needs to be re-discovered, re-owned, accepted, embraced, and celebrated. A true path to living joyfully is a path that leads to the discovery, acceptance, and celebration of our true Nature—not a path of denigrating and hating it. When we fully accept our humanity we realize that we are a manifestation of the eternal. When we realize our Nature we clearly feel that we are not a mistake.

The awesome and indescribable source of all creation that made us does not make mistakes. We were born with a body, a mind, and a spirit designed to live connected with the force that created the entire Universe. When we become conscious of the fact that we are connected with the whole of creation, wake up to the truth of what we really are, and embrace our true worth, we will stop seeking people who stole our watches and ask to buy it back from them. We will stop being bossed around by any Boss.

My Teacher’s Death Poem

John Heider

There is an ancient tradition in Taoism and Zen of writing a death poem to leave behind. My Teacher John Heider wrote this poem ten days before he died. His teachings are at the heart and the foundation of Adaptive Center, so I wanted to share this heritage, our heritage, with you.

I love and miss him, and I’m grateful for all his gifts.



I diminish.

I diminish inexorably.

I lose weight as an
iceberg loses weight –
sloughing rivulets off me –
running into the sea.

I lose weight as an unbelled
garden loses songbirds.

I lost 100 lbs and had
to be told to look in a mirror.
I could not feel a difference
in the lightness of my step.

When I did look, I was
shocked to see a survivor of
a camp or a march.

Did I remember how weak I felt?
The missing muscles mass
is simply gone, I don’t know where.

I don’t know where I have gone.
I’ve joined my glacial runoff.
I’ve joined songbirds in another garden.

The Vinegar Tasters

Taoism is a philosophy that emerged from China around 2,500 years ago, and it is beautifully illustrated in an ancient painting called “The Vinegar Tasters”.

The Three Vinegar Tasters – Confucius, Buddha and Lao-Tsu
Rafael Desquitado Jr. – Deviant Art – rndmtask


In the painting you see 3 figures that represent the 3 great philosophies of the East: Buddhism, the teachings of Confucius, and Taoism. Each of the 3 philosophies are represented by the figure of their founders, so one of the figures in the image is the Buddha, another is Confucius, and the other is Lao-Tse—who is the founding philosopher of Taoism.

In the image the 3 figures are standing by a vat of vinegar, which represents life. Each philosopher has dipped a finger into the vinegar and has tasted it.

The Buddha appears grimacing after having tasted the vinegar because the First Noble Truth of Buddhism is that life is suffering: for the Buddha life was bitter.

Confucius is also grimacing after tasting life. He taught that the world was out of order, and the only way to bring it into harmony again was through discipline, honor, duty, and worshiping the ways of our ancestors: for him also life was bitter.

Lao-Tse, after tasting the bitterness of life, is smiling because, according to the Taoist view, life can be indeed bitter—so what?

On the other side of bitterness you will find sweetness, and if you had never known the bitter, how would you know the difference?


For a Taoist bitter suffering is just one side of an event or a situation, its opposite is joy, or knowledge, or experience, or any number of positive things. A Taoist believes if we did not know the bitter side of life, we could not know the sweet.

In the Taoist view of life male and female, hot and cold, success and failure, gain and loss, and birth and death are parts of the same whole, dictated by Creation, and its designer: Tao.
Nothing can exist without its opposite, because it wouldn’t be whole.
Vinegar is bitter, but also delicious when added—in the right proportion—to the right food—so is everything in life.

Adaptive Center, the “David” in the Addiction Treatment Field, Goes up Against the Giants

MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Adaptive Center, a Miami-based addiction treatment center, was notified that it has earned the Gold Seal of Approval®for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation by The Joint Commission, the agency that accredits the best hospitals in the world. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s capacity to provide safe and effective care.

“We commend Adaptive Center for its efforts to elevate the standard of care it provides and to instill confidence in the community it serves.”
– Tracy Griffin Collander
LCSW Joint Commission representative

“We see this recognition of excellence as a reward and a weapon,” says Juan Lesende, Adaptive Center’s founder. “We want people looking for treatment to have a clear sign that can guide them to good treatment, and away from the scam artists that have populated our field. The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal is such a sign.”

Adaptive Center is probably one of the smallest treatment centers in the healthcare field: it services only 12 clients at a time. And yet is going against big treatment centers, fueled by money, from big business and individuals attracted to possible big profits.

“Almost any other treatment center in the field has more capital and a lot more beds than us,” says Lesende. “This provides them the opportunity to invest fortunes in advertising, and buy control of internet searches, to attract people into centers that deliver mediocre treatment. All we have to fight against this hijacking of information is excellence in treatment. That is why the accreditation from the Joint Commission is so significant to us.” Further proving this point is the comment by the Joint Commission representative, Tracy Griffin Collander, LCSW, who wrote in her report, “We commend Adaptive Center for its efforts to elevate the standard of care it provides and to instill confidence in the community it serves.” Lesende continues, “Ms. Griffin stated our mission perfectly. We will continue to fight for standards of care with the Giants in the industry, no matter the odds.”

About Adaptive Center: Adaptive Center is a JCAHO Accredited addiction treatment center in Miami, Florida. It is one of the smallest, yet most effective centers of its kind, treating less than 12 clients at a time. Adaptive Center is small by design – to provide the most intimate and effective treatment experience.

To learn more about Adaptive Center, call: (888) 925-0782.

Painkillers are not heroin but they lead to It

In Adaptive Center we treat a lot of opiate addiction. Painkillers and heroin belong to a family of drugs called opiates. Many of the painkillers that are prescribed for back pain, post surgery, and dental procedures are opiates, and close relatives of heroin.

In the last few years two factors have contributed to an epidemic of heroin addiction:

  • The cracking down of “Pill Mills” or “Pain Clinics”
  • The low price of heroin

Here’s what happened.

Opiates are very addictive. Many people that were prescribed opiates for chronic pain became addicted to them, and when doctors refused to continue to prescribe them, they found “Pain Clinics” in which by simply reporting symptoms of pain, and paying a fee, they could get prescriptions for any amount of opiate pills they wanted. These “Pain Clinics” became known as “Pill Mills”.

These Pill Mills spread like fire. In Florida, for example, they were so available, that drug dealers from other states would bring bus loads of people, line them up in front of these “Clinics,” and have each individual person get prescriptions that amounted to thousands of pills that the drug dealers would sell—illegally—back home.

As a result, many young people—and people medicating chronic pain—began buying these pills from the same drug dealers that had previously sold them marijuana and other “party drugs,” and became addicted to opiates very quickly.

The Cracking Down of Pill Mills

The existence of Pill Mills became so scandalous that law enforcement cracked down on their operators very hard. The majority of the Pill Mills were closed, and many of their operators faced legal consequences. However, these effective law enforcement measures cut the supply of pills to the drug dealers, and following the laws of supply and demand, as the supply of pills ran out, caused the price of pills to go up.

So, people addicted to opiates in pill form experienced the pain of withdrawing from them, and the pills harder to find. The drug dealers, however, had plenty of heroin.

The Low Price of Heroin

As the availability of opiate pills was going down, and their price kept going up, heroin was becoming cheaper. More and more heroin began to be manufactured in Mexico, instead of the old—and more distant—sources in the East and Europe. Mexican heroin was cheaper to make and easier to smuggle into the U.S. As a result, the supply of heroin sky-rocketed, and—again—according to the laws of supply and demand, the increasing amount of heroin made it cheaper.

The low price of heroin made it possible for people who were addicted to opiate pills to escape the pain of withdrawal by medicating them with heroin: it was cheap, and the drug dealers had a lot of it. Unfortunately, by reaching out to heroin as medication for opiate withdrawals, opiate addicts discovered what one of my clients described as “the King of the Opiates.” And the story that followed is tragic.

Here is the tragic story of the descent into Heroin addiction, as told to me by the majority of heroin addicts that I have known: First they began using heroin as a substitute for opiate pills that had become too expensive and too hard to find. Usually, they started by snorting it, in the same way that cocaine is used. However, soon they found that they needed to constantly buy more in order to escape “getting sick”: the withdrawal symptoms that follow the drug use. During their use, they met a more experienced user who taught them that if they injected the heroin it would be more potent and the effect would last longer—and eventually—even those that had been “horrified,” “disgusted,” and had looked down on people that injected heroin as “junkies,” tried it. And when they did, they report, that life as they had known it ended.

They report that life became an endless seeking of heroin—using—and seeking again. They became unstoppable and ruthless in their seeking—and they were stopped only by profound despair, death, or treatment.

Today this story is being lived by millions of people from all races, ethnicities, religions, and socio-economic status. While you were reading this article many died, and many want to stop because they can’t stand the despair of living for the sake of a drug, and many of those are looking for treatment to be able to stop and stay stopped. And it all began with Pills. They are not Heroin, but they led to it.

It’s our hope that this information may be of help to you and your loved ones, and that it may empower you and those you care about to avoid the trap of Opiate/Heroin addiction. If you think that we may be of even further help, call us.

4 Reasons to go to Treatment during the Holidays


The Holidays are a time of great personal expectations. Your family has high hopes of having the stereotypical happy and joyful Holiday events. Family members that otherwise live separate lives come to visit. The stage is set for your addiction to do great damage to the relationships with your family. What could be forgiven by your family in private, and in the course of everyday life, may be too much to bear in front of others. The damage that you cause may be irreparable.


The Holidays are a time in which many people feel lonely and depressed. These emotional states can cause you to seek the relief of drugs and alcohol, and since they are so plentiful during this time, they can take you to dangerous extremes.


Drugs and alcohol are plentiful, and are all around you. Even people who don’t abuse them regularly do so during this season. You will be surrounded by frequent use and abuse, and you will be encouraged to participate. It will be impossible to resist such an attack for long.


The environment of a good treatment center is not for the sick. It is an environment of support, and of loving embracing of yourself, away from the pressures and expectations that drive you to stress and pressure during this season.

When You Use Adderall…

If you are thinking of using Adderall, maybe it is because you feel pressured by parents, teachers, or peers to do better in school. Maybe you are planning to use it to help give you a boost of energy so that you can stay up all night and study. If you are hoping that Adderall will help you focus and concentrate, you might actually get what you ask for and more—and you won’t like it. You will concentrate and focus for sure. But the problem is that you will concentrate and focus on porn, masturbating, your accelerated heart rate, and obsessing over ideas and people. As a result, all of this hyper-concentrated-focus will make it impossible for you to finish the work that you are supposed to do.

According to SAMHSA, full-time college students were twice as likely to have used Adderall non-medically as their counterparts who were not full-time students, according to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health report released in 2009 (1).

Adderall is a drug designed to stimulate the area of the brain responsible for concentration—in brains where this area works slowly. This is the condition that causes ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder. So, if you have this kind of brain dysfunction, Adderall will boost your brain into normal speed. But if your brain is already working at normal speed, Adderall will throw it into over-drive: instead of concentration and focus, you will go into Obsession and Compulsion. Instead of becoming a focused person, you will become an obsessed and compulsive one.

And then it gets worse.

After sustained use, you will discover that even when the effects of Adderall become negative, and your compulsive porn watching, masturbating, and obsessing screw up your work, relationships, and school—you will have a hard time stopping it. Instead, you will actually begin to seek more, become preoccupied with having enough, and tell yourself and others outrageous explanations about why you really need it. Examples of these completely ridiculous reasons are:

  1. It’s a prescribed medication.
  2. It’s legal.
  3. You need it to function.

The problem with these explanations.

  1. You can always find a doctor that prescribes you anything if you lie to them about your symptoms, and hide from them the truth about how the medication affects you. If you are prescribed Adderall ask yourself if you really do suffer from ADD or if you have been exaggerating to get a prescription. Are you kidding yourself into believing you really need this medication when you know you have not been honest?
  2. Legality has nothing to do with drug abuse. The most addictive and deadliest drugs in the world are nicotine, alcohol, and legal drugs made by pharmaceutical companies. More people die from abusing them than from abusing illegal drugs. Many people feel that overusing their prescribed medications is inconsequential in fact, according to one study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, many Ivy League students asked don’t view ADHD medication misuse as cheating (2).
  3. If you really needed it, it would not be turning you into an obsessive-compulsive person that is experiencing negative life consequences.

Try this:

Do not use any drugs to study for your next round of tests. But don’t just not use Adderall – try a different approach.

  • Set a regular sleep and wake schedule
  • Eat three meals a day at the same time
  • Plan daily study blocks well ahead of the stressful last minute study week

If you end up using Adderall then you may have a drug problem and you will need to address it.

At some point one of two things will happen

You will continue to use Adderall until you lose your job and your relationships and get kicked out/or fail out of school. Then you will have to get help stopping.

You stop bullshitting yourself and pay attention to the reality that with Adderall you are engaging in compulsive behaviors that are not normal, that you are obsessing, and that you are failing at the very tasks that the Adderall was supposed to help you with. Then you act like a smart human being, and you seek help to stop—and protect the most important things in your life.

In order to stop using Adderall, look for a treatment center that is not a “rehab.” Look for a center that is interested in solutions to human problems, and that doesn’t label everyone walking through their doors as an “addict.” You need professional, rational, and scientifically validated treatment.

The first step of this treatment is detox. You have to stop the use in a protected environment, away from the places that you use. In a detox you will also receive medical help to deal with the anxiety and confusion that you will initially feel—don’t worry, it won’t last long.

Then you engage in an effective process of therapy, exercise, and self-discovery to identify what the deal was: How did you get into the Adderall? What were you after? What did you think it was going to do for you? Through the exploration caused by these questions you will clarify your crazy thinking, and will substitute it with rational-realistic-non-bullshit beliefs that will move you to meet your goals and reach success for real.


(1) SAMHSA – Nonmedical Use of Adderall® among Full-Time College Students

(2) AAP Article – Many Ivy League Students Don’t View ADHD Medication Misuse as Cheating

How Does Narrative Therapy Work?

If I ask you who you are, and what you are, and what you do, you would tell me a story. The Story of You.

Let’s start at the beginning.

We all have a story, but how did we get that story? Where did it come from? How did we develop it? And, aren’t we still creating it? If we go about answering these questions, you and I would be engaging in Narrative Therapy.

From the moment that we are born we are collecting information.
In the first years of our lives we had to find the answers to two important questions.

  • How are the people in this place?
    • Friendly?
    • Hostile?
    • Can they be trusted?
  • What is this place that I was born into?
    • A friendly place?
    • A safe place?
    • A dangerous place?

According to our experiences, where we were born, and who raised us—or didn’t raise us—we started coming up with answers to these questions, and the answers became conclusions, and the conclusions became a story. This story became our story. And our story is a very powerful one, because it is a story that guides us through life and determines how we see the world, how we think, and how we feel.

In psychological language, the story that we have created about who we are, how we are, and how we respond to people, situations, and circumstances, is called our “self-narrative.” This self-narrative serves as a filter through which we interpret everything. For example, if the significant people in your life gave you the message that you are incompetent, you would approach new situations and challenges with fear and anxiety.

You would experience fear and anxiety because you would feel that you were not competent to succeed, and would be afraid of failing. Consequently, the more anxious and afraid you would feel, the less you would try new things. Eventually, you would avoid facing the challenges that lead to living, loving, and working in a meaningful way; and this avoidance would guarantee the failure that you feared.

In order to escape this desperate vicious cycle of fear-avoidance-failure-feeling incompetent-and more fear, you may reach for many of the Band-Aid solutions that the world offers: like alcohol, drugs, gambling and other addictions. You would reach for them in an attempt to escape the anxiety, depression, and hopelessness that you feel. Or, hopefully, you may choose to seek a lasting and healthy solution, and seek therapy.

If you chose to seek therapy, and particularly Narrative Therapy, you would embark in the process of exploring your story. If you find a good therapist, he or she would have skills to build trust and create a safe space where you could disclose the details of your self-story. Together, you would analyze the details of the story that you have accepted as true and factual, and you would analyze it in the light of reality. When you discover parts of your story that cannot be proven to be true, or rational, or are incomplete, you would change the false conclusions or misguided ways in which you have interpreted events in your life, and correct them.

Let’s illustrate how this process works, by using the example that we used before: If you would have accepted that you were incompetent, and began to avoid life because of it, while in therapy, you and your therapist would look for evidence in your story that would support that you are, in fact, incompetent. You would explore questions like: Have you ever succeeded at anything? Is there something that you are good at: building something, video games, Ping-Pong…anything? The answer to these questions would provide information that can be used to verify the truth of the story of your life, and make it more complete and realistic. In other words, correcting wrong information could change the narrative of your life, and the beliefs, thoughts, and emotions that the narrative produces.

Like an author writing a novel, you would become the author of the story of your existence, and with a good therapist as editor, you could correct the story of your life, and prepare to write the next chapters with clarity and truth. In these chapters, you will find that you can cast yourself as capable to overcome adversity, conquer challenges, or experience redemption. That is how Narrative Therapy works.

Narrative Therapy is just one of the therapies used in drug rehab at Adaptive Center. For studies showing the effectiveness of this type of drug treatment therapy, see also:

Engaging Clients in Treatment

People come to substance abuse treatment centers for many reasons: to satisfy court orders, save their jobs, or pacify family members—as well as overcome the negative effects of addiction. The ones that come with the intention of resolving a problem—other than their addiction—usually abandon treatment after having resolved their legal issues, meeting the requirement of their job, or having convinced their family to take them back. It is not hard to motivate them to come to treatment—they were already motivated by their own agenda. It is much harder to motivate them to engage in treatment.

Motivating people to engage in treatment demands a high level of skill from therapists and a holistic rehab approach that goes beyond just preaching to them about the benefits of not drinking and drugging. This holistic approach can only be practiced in a holistic drug rehab center environment. So, what are the distinctive features of a holistic rehab approach, and a holistic rehab center environment?

First, a holistic drug rehab approach faces addiction as a disease that has developed in response to a person’s inability to meet their core needs: to have the ability to provide food, shelter, and safety by their own resources and not be dependent on someone else; to be emotionally mature and able to manage their emotions; to attract romantic partners; to have status and be respected; to reach their human potential and become the best human being that they are capable of being.

When people are deficient in their abilities to meet their needs, they suffer from a sense of failure that leads to anxiety, depression and many other dysfunctions. In order to overcome the emotional pain that comes with these dysfunctions, these individuals turn to outside ineffective coping mechanisms, like dependency on others to soothe them and addictions. This is why only removing the ineffective coping mechanism, like addiction, leaves the person facing the original dysfunction—with its original pain—only now without the temporary relief that they found in the dependency, addiction, etc.

An optimal holistic rehab center would present to people the proposition that treatment is not only concerned with the use of drugs and alcohol, but with the whole person (therefore the term holistic). The person in treatment is then invited to explore the whole of their lives: to explore the problems for which the dependency and addiction were the perceived solution; to understand in how many ways this apparent solution backfired on them; and to explore new permanent solutions to truly meet their human core needs.

This approach can truly engage clients in treatment. Then, regardless of the reasons of why they came, they see an opportunity to discover themselves, heal their pain, and become the optimal person that they can become.