2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
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Guest Post: Love and Kisses from My Padded Cell by Ellie Katz

Today I’m very pleased to introduce you to the phenomenal Dr. Ellie Katz, an amazing and inspiring figure in the field of holistic psychotherapy. I have her books very near the top of my To Be Read pile, so you will get reviews on those soon, but in the interim, I wanted to make sure you were aware of her and her work so you could check it out on your own. Enjoy!

Love and Kisses from My Padded Cell
by Dr. Ellie Katz

In my books and blog posts, I often reiterate the notion that addictions, habits, and irresistible urges tend to be rooted in the desire to produce an underlying result: to become calm, or to become excited; to fill up a void, or to seek relief in oblivion from physical or emotional pain.

One motivation I haven’t discussed much is curiosity. For example, a bored individual may check out the darker sides of the internet, whether it be in the realm of sexuality or violence. This activity may have a slight tinge of the dangerous, which gives the viewer a thrill, or it may simply be catchy, colorful and entertaining. The next time, they already have some degree of familiarity and expectation. They’ve convinced themselves that what they’re doing is okay and that they can handle it. No harm done.

Or perhaps someone with no history of eating disorders goes on a binge one day and then wonders, rather innocently, what would really happen if they tried vomiting up the contents of an overfull stomach. Having had their cake and not paid the price, they now know that they have a sneaky solution to fall back on.

No one sets out on this journey with the idea that they will fall into a habit they can’t break and proceed to ruin their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Instead, at the bottom of it all lies the belief that these actions or substances can DO something for you, that they can give you something you want.

This belief isn’t always completely ridiculous. It might start out quite reasonably. One could be suffering from anxiety and turn to the local doctor for a prescription for tranquilizers, to be taken “as necessary.” Certain types of personalities or brains will enjoy this enormously and start to up the dosage to get a little more out of the medication.

If you read my memoir, or just live in the world today, you’ll know that food, which is supposed to be a benign substance, a necessary daily interaction, can grow to be lethal and dangerous to the person who develops an uncontrollable relationship with it. Plain old potatoes can wind up the object of someone’s unbridled consumption: potato chips, French fries, a side order of mashed, and more. Actually, the food industry is banking on this. Food engineers are called in to jack up the flavor, reach the right degree of sweetness or crunch to hook you into buying the product again and again.

In this day and age, things can go too far before you even realize there’s a problem. You can indulge in extreme behaviors without getting up from your easy chair.

Even though logic tells you to stop, cautions you that you are about to get sick, lose your reputation, or hurt your family, you may be too far gone with your obsession to think along logical lines.

Then, when you’re down already, it’s entirely conceivable that you will add more addictions to your repertoire. The gambler loses more than he wins but can’t seem to stop playing. His humiliation and self-destruction feel inevitable. What’s the difference if he takes on cigarettes, alcohol, and compulsive porn watching? Who cares? He has nothing more to lose.

Is this downward spiral unavoidable? To my knowledge, after decades of experience with addiction, I wouldn’t assume anyone is above falling into the abyss. If you’re human, you’re susceptible.​

There are, of course, people who manage to curb their own enthusiasm, whether for food or for risky behavior. Things don’t get out of hand for them. They aren’t led down a path of destruction for themselves and their families.

Yet someone else will tenaciously repeat and repeat the same act. My heroin users have often articulated that their first few times were horrible. You have to wonder what in God’s name kept them trying until they got somewhere. Who didn’t ever hear that the opiates are the devil? And yet, every day on planet earth, there are newcomers to heroin, while somewhere else, the victims are being buried.

The human mind is a funny thing.

I’d be hard pressed to come up with a profile or any set of predictive traits. I honestly believe anyone can develop a bad habit and struggle to let it go. Just try taking a pacifier away from a little kid or tell them they’ll be punished if they continue to bite their nails.

The red flag here is the thinking, even more than the doing. If you find yourself musing about using, put on the brakes. If you begin to feel that this is bigger than you, look for help. There are Twelve Step programs all over the world helping all kinds of addicts. The sky is the limit. The programs really work. Bless the souls of those first alcoholics who formulated the Twelve Steps and gave them, free of charge, to humanity.


Dr. Ellie Katz is a leading practitioner of holistic psychotherapy. For the last forty years, her eclectic interventions have featured innovative approaches to using meditation, guided thinking and the Bach Flower Remedies. Dr. Katz has lectured at Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center, the University of Istanbul, First Beijing Medical Center, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has been a senior staff member at the Retorno rehab facility since 2003.

The author spends as much time as possible with her dozen-plus grandchildren, who only know her under the alter ego, “Gwammy.” She continues to write and produce creative work, and even has a novel or two up her sleeve among her upcoming projects. You can check out her website for more details and will find all her latest food for thought, clinical tales, and reflections on her experiences on her blog.

My Last Summer as a Fat Girl is Dr. Ellie’s frank and honest portrayal of herself confronting a lifetime battle with food – what it did for her and what it did to her.
Love and Kisses from my Padded Cell is a lively, engaging work explaining how ten men and women wound up in the mire of addiction, addressing the common threads among many different kinds of compulsive behavior.

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