Bridge into the Woods

Read My Story

My Story

We All Get to Graduate
I believe that Life is a School and that we all get to graduate. What I mean by that is…every situation, whether we judge it to be a joyful or challenging experience, is an opportunity for growth. That’s not to say that we should ignore it, on the contrary, the way that we grow from any situation is to express what happened, give ourselves permission to feel our emotions, get support and ask ourselves what is our Higher Power trying to teach us or challenging us with? In other words, how can we grow from this experience and move away from feeling depressed, hopeless, shame and feeling stuck in the same dark & despair place. Carl Jung once said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but making the darkness conscious.” It is my mission in life to help individuals face their demons, heal their pain, find their purpose in life and reconnect with their True Self.

My Journey
By all accounts anyone could say that I grew up in a “normal” household. Both my parents were loving, caring and provided me with everything that I needed.  So, how did I become an addict? I learned very early that emotions such as anger, shame and sadness were not allowed in my home and that we needed to put on a façade of a happy, well-behaved family to the outside world. I could not share the pain, shame & confusion of the trauma that I experienced as a 9-year-old boy, instead I learned to bury my emotions and pretended to be a well-rounded, happy little boy. When I moved to the United States as a 12-year-old, I felt sad & lonely in a culture that I didn’t understand and felt I didn’t belong. With the challenges of sustaining my charade, helping my mom maintain a household (even though I was the youngest of my brothers) and focusing on my studies, I turned to drugs, alcohol, food and sex as a way to cope with my internal chaos up until I found recovery in 1996.

A Child in an Adult Body
Even though I managed to graduate from high school with honors and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architectural Engineering, I felt like a 12-year-old boy in a grown man’s body. I was still battling my many addictions, always pretending to be this upstanding guy that everyone liked, but inside I had this belief that I was worthless and that if you really knew me…you wouldn’t like me. In 1996, after being married for 12 years to a beautiful & loving wife and with three wonderful children, I finally crashed. I could no longer keep up my charade. I began to participate in outpatient therapy to address my childhood trauma and family of origin issues and started attending 12-Step meetings. A year later, I participated in this intensive Men’s Work weekend retreat that helped me understand what a man is supposed to be - to be accountable and live in Integrity. Ever since I started my recovery in 1996, I have gained more insight on the nature of my illness, experienced a new freedom, have a different outlook upon life and have reconnected with my Higher Power. In June 2018, my wife and I celebrated our 34th Wedding Anniversary with our four beautiful children. I now have faith that G-d is guiding my life and my task is to keep growing and do G-d’s Will…it has been a long, challenging and rewarding journey.

 

My Spiritual 2 x 4
After being in recovery for six years and with a couple of setbacks, I was basically clean from drugs & alcohol and was abstinent from all of my destructive, demoralizing sexual behaviors. The truth was that I was not taking care of myself, I was working too much, had gained a bunch of weight, was neglecting my family and had no real spiritual connection with my Higher Power. On October 20, 2002, at the age of 42, I found myself in a hospital emergency room after suffering a stroke. Lying in that hospital bed & not being able to talk, walk, or form my thoughts, I felt my life was over. In that place of despair and hopelessness, I heard G-d saying to me “this is your second chance.”  Soon after I got discharge from the hospital and got laid off from my engineering job, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a therapist. I got a job at a social service agency as a case manager helping the homeless and went back to college to get my Master degree in Counseling.
 
My Experience
I obtained a Master Degree in Counseling Psychology with an Emphasis on Spirituality from the University of Santa Monica (USM) in Santa Monica, CA. After graduating from USM, I completed my internship at the Houston Council on Alcohol & Drugs where I helped many adolescents address their trauma and deal with their alcohol and drug addiction. While working at the social agency and at the Council, I also obtained my license in Marriage & Family Therapy as well as my certification as a Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT).  I received my training from Dr. Patrick Carnes, PhD and Dr. Kenneth Adams, PhD, both leading experts in the field of sex addiction. My work experience also included working as a primary therapist at the Texas West Oaks Hospital in Houston in charge of the Adolescent Men Psychiatric Unit. In 2012, my family and I moved to Santa Fe, NM where I headed the Sex & Love Addiction Program for Men at the Life Healing Center in Santa Fe.  In 2015, I moved back to Texas to work as a primary therapist at The Last Resort Treatment Center helping young men deal with their drug & alcohol addiction and address their trauma & relationship issues.

My Philosophy
During my professional training and personal recovery, I have learned to take care of myself, let go of resentments, feel my emotions, be grateful for my life and to love myself. My mission is to help you address your current issues and heal past wounds. It is my objective to provide a safe & nurturing environment to assist you in achieving stability in your life. I will help you find your True Self and rediscover your Spirituality. It is my belief that You are a Divine Being with all the inner resources to effectively deal with your situation, and I will be there for you to guide you on your journey.

" Keep trying.  Stay Humble.  Trust your Instincts.  Most importantly, Act. 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it"

~  Yogi Berra

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Irving Najman, MA, LMFT, CSAT

3102 Bee Caves Road, Suite 100, Austin, Texas 78746

Please call/text me at (512) 222-8838  or send me a message

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