20 Dec Interview: Ron N. Gad, PhD-c, LMFT
Ron Gad was born and raised in Los Angeles. At age 18, he left Southern California on what ended up being a multi-year, life-enriching adventure away from LA. He lived in New York state, where he graduated from Syracuse University and remained to teach high school English. Leaving the cold for sandy beaches, Ron moved to St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands. In the Caribbean, he immersed himself in the cruise ship and vacation industries learning the art of sales, marketing, and the nuances of what motivates people. Over the next few years, Ron managed two different jewelry companies, which grossed over $30 million dollars annually and owned his own, which grossed close to a million dollars a month. He left retail, and traveled the world providing educational and motivational lectures to cruise ship passengers and coaching retail and business owners on the psychology of sales, marketing, management, and success. Noticing that his true gift was his ability to help individuals realize their desired potential, Ron shifted his focus to counseling psychology. After completing his MA (summa cum laude) at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA and acquiring his Marriage and Family Therapist license, Ron worked at various clinics, agencies, and residential and outpatient treatment facilities back in his home town of Los Angeles. Today, Ron is a dissertation away from his doctorate in clinical psychology and an internship away from being eligible to license as a psychologist in the state of California. He is a topic expert and contributing writer for GoodTherapy.org and has presented on theory and practice at the American Psychological Association, California Psychological Association, and various regional and local psychological and addiction-based conferences. Ron left the world of mental health agencies and addiction treatment facilities to put his professional and clinical expertise to symbiotic work. He founded The Beverly Hills Therapy Group in order to help artists, creatives, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and medical and mental health clinicians strengthen their senses of self, solidify their selfconfidence, and move beyond the anxieties, excessive worries, and self-doubt that hold them back from maximizing their personal and professional goals.
INTRO: What is Emotional Sobriety?
Many people in the world of recovery look at emotional sobriety as an emotional state of positivity – can you be happy, feel good, enjoy your life? Unfortunately, that’s only a part of it. Emotional sobriety, to me anyway, is the state of being connected to, open with, and being able to honor your emotions – good or bad.
Question: Why is emotional sobriety so important in addiction recovery?
The thing about addiction is that it is a path of resistance, and a process of escape – not just from the people and things that make you uncomfortable, but from the parts of yourself that are most difficult to sit with. And while giving up the drink or drug is crucial to the recovery process, it merely paves the road for the actual work to be done. The work is… the goal is to obtain emotional sobriety.
Question: How to achieve and maintain emotional sobriety during recovery?
This is the million dollar question. Like I said, it isn’t just about about giving up the substance of choice. True, longstanding recovery, which can only come alongside emotional sobriety, needs to be attained through deep insight and understanding. The first step, and a very difficult part of the process, is to get sober, to stop drinking or using, but that is only step one. What really allows a life to change is the ability to look deep at the core issues that cause the escape in the first place. On the path toward recovery, you need to be willing to ask the hard questions about resentments, fears, animosities, and notice where they come from – look back into your personal history so that you can move forward toward living the rest of your life.
Question: What are the signs of emotional sobriety?
You can tell that someone has embraced a state of emotional sobriety when he or she is able to face life issues. When times are tough, and you can process the pain, when it’s time to celebrate, and you can enjoy the happiness, when there is sorrow, and you are in touch with the sadness within you, that’s when you know.
Question: What are your final thoughts on Emotional Sobriety?
Sobriety isn’t a thing – you don’t reach it; you don’t become it; you never are it, in my opinion… it is something that you continue to work on, grow into, make sense of. And nothing is more true to that than the notion of emotional sobriety. It is almost impossible to know exactly how to act or behave or respond to an emotional situation. So doing it right is never the goal. Being connected to how you feel, however, is.