Reclaiming Yourself

Elana Chasser, LCSW, CSAT, CPTT, CMAT
516.489.2652

Reclaiming Yourself

Do you feel as if you don’t recognize yourself anymore?

Has addiction affected your self-esteem and overall well-being?

Do you feel distant from experiencing personal fulfillment and joy?

Do you feel disconnected from your values, true essence, authentic self?

Are you looking to reconnect with your authentic self and regain a sense of balance and well-being in the face of addiction?

Feeling connected to our true selves is essential for experiencing joy, satisfaction, and contentment in life. Many people can relate to the feeling of being pulled away from this connection by life's challenges and hardships. Whether it's your own struggle with addiction or you’re supporting someone else through it, there's a shared experience of feeling disconnected and emotionally numb. It feels like you’re putting all your energy into survival mode, often at the expense of your relationship with yourself and others. Please know that this sense of disconnection is a common and normal reaction to the difficult situation you’re in. Trust that there's a way to heal and reclaim yourself — a journey that can lead you back to experiencing vitality, love, and satisfaction in relationship with yourself and others.

In recent times, there has been a shift in the way we perceive and address individuals affected by addiction. For many years, the term "codependence" was commonly used to characterize individuals in addictive relationships, who were described as using unhealthy behaviors as coping mechanisms. A newer model called "prodependence," emphasizes a perspective that sees individuals in relationship with someone struggling with addiction as motivated by love, support, and care. It's essential to explore the distinctions between codependence and prodependence to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges associated with living in the presence of addiction and the journey towards experiencing a safe and loving environment in relationships.

Feeling connected to our true selves is essential for experiencing joy, satisfaction, and contentment in life. Many people can relate to the feeling of being pulled away from this connection by life's challenges and hardships. Whether it's your own struggle with addiction or you’re supporting someone else through it, there's a shared experience of feeling disconnected and emotionally numb. It feels like you’re putting all your energy into survival mode, often at the expense of your relationship with yourself and others. Please know that this sense of disconnection is a common and normal reaction to the difficult situation you’re in. Trust that there's a way to heal and reclaim yourself — a journey that can lead you back to experiencing vitality, love, and satisfaction in relationship with yourself and others.

Codependence vs. Prodependence
Codependence is a deficit-based trauma model that views loved ones of addicts as traumatized, damaged people who stay in their relationships, contribute to the problems of the addiction, and enable the addict.

Prodependence is a strength-based attachment-driven model that views loved ones of addicts as heroes for continuing to love and continuing to remain attached despite the debilitating presence of addiction.

Codependence describes loved ones of addicts as behaving in ways it considers pathological and unhealthy. It says they:
1. Get too involved in others' problems: They may become overly wrapped up in the lives of those they care about, losing sight of their own needs.
2. Struggle with setting boundaries: It's tough for them to say "no" or distinguish their own needs from others'.
3. Go out of their way to please others: They might sacrifice their well-being to make others happy, often out of a fear of being rejected.
4. Seek self-worth from others: They rely heavily on others' approval to feel good about themselves.
5. Feel anxious and hypervigilant: They're often overly worried about what others think and may constantly monitor and worry about relationships.
6. Minimize, ignore, or deny problems: They might downplay or excuse issues within their relationships, avoiding facing reality.
7. Behave based on past traumas: Use coping mechanisms developed in response to difficult or traumatic past experiences.

Prodependence acknowledges these behaviors in relationships with troubled loved ones but interprets them positively. When loved ones of addicts face crisis due to addiction in their lives, they may indeed exhibit behaviors that seem unreasonable. This is a normal reaction to a chaotic and difficult situation. However, amidst the chaos, they often show remarkable strength in trying to maintain normalcy by keeping up with house, kids, work responsibilities, and much more. These actions stem from a healthy source of energy, love, and care, not pathology.

They highlight the caregiving loved one’s resilience and dedication to their partner and relationship despite the challenges they face. In the prodependence view, love is never considered wrong, unhealthy, or pathological. Prodependence recognizes that individuals are doing their best to navigate challenging situations and that their actions are driven by a genuine intention to support both people in the relationship. This is the heroism of the loved one of an addict.

Consider the following graph delineating traits that are often seen in loved ones of addicts. In his book, “Prodependence, Moving Beyond Codependency,” Robert Weiss lists codependent versus prodependent traits. In the left-hand column are the negative-sounding words found in discussions about codependence. In the right-hand column, similar traits are reflected but reframed as prodependent positives.

My Image

The pain and fear in loved ones of addicts are the same with both codependence and prodependence.

The primary difference is in how we frame the problem. Prodependence validates caregiving as the loving act that it is rather than framing it as unhealthy and pathological. It views loved ones of addicts utilizing their best resources and capacity for love as strength, responding to a chaotic, painful situation as best as they can.

The simple truth is that loved ones of active addicts are perpetually in crisis mode. Naturally, they try to control the crisis. Do they sometimes panic and make bad decisions? Yes, they do. They may overdo. They may help too much. They may help ineffectively. They may appear to be enmeshed. This doesn’t mean they are unhealthy or disordered. It means they are people in crisis, behaving in ways that people in crisis tend to behave. I have utmost respect and awe for my clients and how well they function, despite their circumstances. Together we’ll explore effective solutions for managing the crisis in healthier, more prodependent ways. We will journey towards helping you reclaim your sense of self, joy, well-being, and authenticity. I validate your experience and celebrate you in your pursuit of love, intimacy, and connection.

Adapted from “Prodependence, Moving Beyond Codependency,” Robert Weiss

Are You Looking To Heal Your Relationship After Betrayal?

With over 30 years of clinical practice and having had the privilege of working with many individuals and couples, I've consistently witnessed the incredible drive people have to find relief and heal their pain. It's truly remarkable how we can transform our lives.

If you've noticed patterns in your choices or behaviors that aren't serving you or helping you reach your goals, it's important to approach them with curiosity and compassion. The good news is that these patterns can change!

My approach is rooted in encouragement and support for your growth and healing journey. Together, we will align our efforts with your personal goals to enhance your overall quality of life and your relationships. You're not alone in this, and I'm here to walk this path with you, guiding and supporting you every step of the way.

Reclaiming Yourself Testimonial

I could definitely use the word “blessing” when I think about the deep gratitude I have towards Elana and the work we have done together in therapy. I came to her almost 4 years ago feeling completely heartbroken, terrified, lost and incredibly confused after realizing I had been married to a sex addict for nearly 20 years. These feelings were compounded with shame because I am a clinical social worker, work in the field and “ should have known better”.

When I met Elana I landed in a place I strongly feel God sent me...between her knowledge and expertise in treating men, women and couples who have been impacted by this terrible disease and the COMPASSION she has and more importantly the compassion she taught me to have towards myself...has been the blessing. It did not matter what ugly truth I told her about my partner or myself, she understood and helped me hold myself accountable for my own healing, therefore giving myself all the credit. Prior to coming to Elana I felt very isolated, like I was carrying a deep, dark secret that nobody understood or could help me with. She most definitely helped shine light on what happened in my life, which felt like a breath of fresh air and deep grief at the same time. She has always had a gentle way of grounding me in a reality that I tried to deny for so long and still can.

In the work I have done in therapy I feel much more equipped to face challenges and my pain. Elana has helped me define myself in very empowering ways. I feel like I have been brought back to a more whole, healthy version of myself, which feels like “ a girl I once knew and loved”. Elana has a beautiful way of remaining professional, but making you feel deeply cared for at the same time. She also can have a very funny sense of humor at times, which makes her so real, I like real in people. She has offered endless support and reassurance of who I am and was made to be. Her work with me has helped me help others, which is truly all in God’s plan.

With much appreciation, Thank you Elana - Michelle

SReclaimimg Yourself
Elanna Chaser Headshot

Elana Chasser,
LCSW, CSAT, CPTT, CMAT

About Elana Chasser

Working as clinical social worker for over 30 years.
Work history: Residential Treatment Facility for emotionally troubled adolescents, domestic violence shelter, outpatient mental health clinic – supervisory role, private practice since 2005.

LCSW Licensed-Clinical-Social-Worker
CSAT Certified-Sexual-Addiction-Therapist
CPTT Certified-Partner-Trauma-Therapist
CMAT Certified-Multiple-Addiction-Therapist

Licensed in:
New York and Massachusetts

Elana Chasser, LCSW, CSAT, CPTT, CMAT
516.489.2652

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