This wasn’t anything like The Lost Weekend. For those of you too young to remember, The Lost Weekend was Hollywood’s first movie directly focused on Alcoholism. It came out in 1945 and won four Oscars including best actor who was Ray Milland. Another interesting factoid was that the leading lady was Jane Wyman who went on to be Ronald Reagan’s first wife. Director Billy Wilder’s movie showed with great rapidity and clarity just how quickly a life can fall apart, a life riddled with shame, guilt and remorse. It’s the same life that most of my men are living when they come in my room. This NMS weekend was a living, breathing example of experience, strength and hope, the true antitheses of lost.
NMS was blessed this weekend to have as our guest Mr. Michael Morton, MA, LMFT. Michael is the Keystone Center Extended Care Unit (ECU) family therapist. He is a therapist and educator with over twenty years’ experience. He is a licensed family therapist in Pennsylvania, a clinical member and Approved Supervisor of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and a clinical member of the American Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. Michael formerly worked with the Keystone Center ECU under the clinical supervision of Dr. Patrick Carnes and he is now back in the “house” for a second tour of duty at Keystone ECU.
If you would like to listen to the audio of this workshop click here.
Many of our men over the past two years have had Michael as their family counselor and he was the main therapist dealing with their spouses. Often our couples can point to the work they did with Michael in Keystone ECU as being pivotal in the reconciliation process. Over the past 13 years nearly 50 NMS men have gone to Keystone ECU for primary treatment. The experience for most is priceless.
On Friday I had the pleasure of playing tour guide for Michael. With Seattle summer weather as pristine as ever we walked along the downtown water front, ate fish and chips overlooking Puget Sound and went for a drive through the Capitol Hill area. Back on the Eastside we made a pit stop at the Kirkland beach to show him how Seattle looks from Lake Washington. We ended up in Redmond at my office for a two hour meet and greet for some local therapists who are familiar with NMS. Hearing them talk shop was interesting and engaging.
Saturday morning from 9 am until noon Michael presented a three hour workshop entitled: Disorders of Desire, Sexual Addiction and the Fear of Intimacy. The sixty or so men and women were mesmerized by his awareness, caring, compassion and precise manner of defining and addressing such a complex topic. The time just flew by. Many of his former clients came to listen and reconnect with this very special man. We also had four new couples in attendance who are first now beginning the recovery process. The wives are still in the middle of reeling from the betrayal and deception in their marriages. For them Michael offered a way out and some practical solutions. Later that day we took a drive out to Dr. Hilarie Cash’s first of its kind in America inpatient treatment center for internet gaming addiction called reSTART. We all loved it and Michael was impressed by the facility.
On Sunday NMS had our 9th annual outing to see the Seattle Mariners Baseball Team play. Fifty of us made our way to the ball game with wives, kids and other family members in tow. How normal of us. It’s a great way for our alumni and current members to bridge and develop deeper relationships and for our more social anorexic members to start addressing their intimacy disorder in a non-threatening venue. The sun stayed bright and against all odds the Mariners even won. As it says in the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book, “We are people who normally wouldn’t mix,” but on this day we did and a piece of the shame melted away in the joy of the day.
All together 29 either current or former NMS members participated in our two planned weekend events. Eight NMS men brought a total of 14 children to the game and one man came with his dad. What a great turnout, something for everyone. We were blessed to have Michael out here to partake and witness exactly what it is we do.
As I always say, Misery IS Optional.
We once were lost but now we are found!
Definitely this was anything but a lost weekend!