give me liberty or give me death

Give me liberty, or give me death.

I don’t know if there’s a more fervent statement in our nation’s history than Patrick Henry’s impassioned declaration at the 1775 Virginia Convention, when he asserted: “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying our country’s liberty was that easy to win. Henry didn’t just say it and “POOF!” we’re free! Oh no. King George III wasn’t about to hand over his “new world” to the colonists. It took strength, bravery, resolve and courage for the early colonists to fight for liberty. It took making a stand and then acting on it.

Our country’s liberty and the courage of those early Americans has so many parallels to our addictions. That’s because there’s a common thread with freedom – sometimes, you just have to fight for it.

Freedom from addiction is worth the cost, the risk, the challenge to achieve a life liberated from harmful behavior. The road to liberty is not easy – but once you make the first move, we promise, you won’t regret it. Here are some steps that you can take to get started:

DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE – In 1776 the Continental Congress declared that the original 13 colonials were done with the British Empire. British rule (like an addiction) was just too much of a burden. So just like Patrick Henry, you have to say it out loud. You have to say it with resolution. Whether its drugs and alcohol, pornography or shop lifting, admitting that “enough is enough” is the first step in declaring your independence from addiction.

ASK FOR HELP – The colonists didn’t fight for their freedom alone. Independence was a battle that was too big for their scant resources and experience. They brought in allies, like the French, to help them be strategic in their approach. Our team is your ally. We can help you defeat your addiction, and through our Life Development program, help you achieve enduring freedom from destructive habits.

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT – The colonists wanted their independence more than the British wanted their afternoon tea. They didn’t win every battle. But because they kept fighting, they won the war. Fighting addiction can be a long, engaging war. It can feel overwhelming on a day-to-day basis. Don’t give up. FIGHT for it!

CELEBRATE YOUR WINS – Fireworks. Picnics. Hot Dogs. Hamburgers. Family. Close friends. July 4th is a day of celebration. Every win over an addiction deserves a celebration. Maybe you resisted the urge to drink at the party. Maybe you decided to turn off the computer rather than look at porn. Celebrate those wins. Tell someone who knows you’re struggling that you won today. Share your successes and revel in them – those celebrations will become the motivation that pushes you through the next time your addiction resurfaces.

Today is the day to declare your independence from addiction. And we can help you stand resolute in that declaration. Please call us if you’re struggling with addiction. We’ve seen and heard it all. You won’t embarrass us. You won’t offend us. You won’t surprise us. We can help. Please call us today.


HR 2646


This month we celebrate our nation’s independence. But, did you know that nearly 20% of our population is struggling with their individual freedom from mental illness?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported that nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (43.8 million)  experience mental illness in a given yearref.  Despite the impact it has on our country, the topic has often been ignored or brushed aside. That is until events over the last several years have put mental illness in the spotlight.

Turn on any evening news program (or just scroll through your Facebook or Twitter Newsfeed) and you’ll see the controversy swirling around mental health. From gun control and terrorism to hate crimes, mental illness has become a mainstream conversation. Finally.

The importance of mental health has even caught up to the federal government (again).  There’s been some “across-the-aisle” collaboration in the House of Representatives in the form of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 (H.R. 2464).

Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, who sponsored the bill (also known as the Murphy Bill), outlined how he hopes H.R. 2646 will help fix the nation’s broken mental health system. Here are a few goals of the bill:

  • Empower parents and caregivers: Break down barriers for families to work with doctors and mental health professionals and be meaningful partners in the front line care delivery team
  • Drive evidence-based care: Creates an Assistant Sec. for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders…to elevate the importance of mental health
  • Drive innovation: Drive innovative models of care, develop evidence-based and peer-review standards for grant programs
  • Improve transition of care: Require psychiatric hospitals to establish clear and effective discharge planning to ensure a timely and smooth transition from hospital to appropriate post-hospital care and services.
  • Alternates to Institutionalization: Incentivize states to provide community-based alternatives to institutionalization for those with serious mental illness, such as Assisted Outpatient Treatment and other assertive-care community approaches

Of course H.R. 2646 is more extensive than this. (You can read Murphy’s full memo here or the actual bill here).  But it passed out of the House of Representatives on July 6th with an impressive 422-2 vote. It goes up to Senate for next consideration.

While this month gives us a reason to celebrate our country’s independence – it’s also a great time to reflect on the work that’s still ahead of us to provide some freedom to those who struggle with mental health challenges. This bill, current events and increasing news coverage is making it possible to openly discuss mental health issues without fault. It’s certainly worth our efforts to #JoinTheConversation.




If you follow anyone in their mid- to late-20s on Twitter and Instagram, you might be familiar with these hashtags. As young adults leave college and enter the so called “real world,” certain problems become a trending topic, from having their name spelled incorrectly on their Starbucks cup to figuring out how to do taxes and pay off student loans.

Often, this period of time is referred to as a Quarter Life Crisis. Similar to a mid-life crisis, the Quarter Life Crisis is a period of young adulthood in which 20-somethings struggle with their new found independence. Unemployment, job satisfaction issues and trouble in friendships and romantic relationships can all add a lot of stress to a person, especially when it all comes down on them at once.

People have often joked about the struggles of millennials, claiming them to be insignificant and selfish, and sometimes they are. However, many times these issues can cause feelings of insecurity, restlessness, depression, anxiety, loneliness and uncertainty – feelings that shouldn’t be overlooked. Instead of seeking help, these young adults might wallow and end up harming relationships with their families, spouses, friends and coworkers.

July is a month of celebration. Of independence. Of Freedom. For those emerging adults who are struggling to find their independence, our team can help. Because early adulthood can be an overwhelming time in life, we work with the whole family to help develop healthy routines, tangible goals and behaviors, and a broader understanding of the emotions associated with this season. We offer young adults and parents a new approach for this phase of life so that families can flourish.

Summer College Program for Emerging Adults
This summer we’re offering two summer college programs, one for young adults and another for parents. Our programs are not “therapy” in a traditional sense.  They’re really more educational.  We focus on expectations and developing plans and strategies to successfully navigate your student’s transition into and through their college years.

We offer a 2 ½-day program that walks through the fundamentals of adjusting to college – and managing the independence that college offers maturing young adults. If you or someone you know is struggling with emerging adulthood – whether they call it a Quarter Life Crisis, anxiety, confusion, etc. – please contact i360 today. You can reach us in Dallas at (214) 733-9565, or in Austin at (512) 710-5533.

FOX4 News Depression

Dr. Gilliland Discusses Depression Treatment on FOX4 News

Dr. Gilliland was recently featured on FOX 4 News in Dallas to discuss depression treatment. You can watch the video here.


Read Kevin Gilliland’s Dallas Morning News OpEd

Dr. Kevin Gilliland’s recent OpEd: “Facing the Cunning, Baffling, Power Nature of Substances and Addiction” was published in the Dallas Morning News on May 27th. Read the full article here to understand how prescription drugs are holding our society captive.


Depression and Susan Hawk, Good Day Talks to Kevin Gilliland

In case you missed it, Dr. Gilliland was featured on this morning’s Good Day (Fox 4 News) to discuss mental illness and depression. Click here to watch the interview on Fox 4 News!


Mythbusting: Why people resist alcohol treatment

In a prior post, we shared some questions to help assess whether you or a loved one might have an alcohol addiction.  But once denial is out of the picture and someone realizes that they have a problem with alcohol, many people still resist getting help.  In fact, although an estimated 25 million Americans struggle with addiction, less than 10% of them will seek treatment.

Here are some of the most common objections we hear when people come close—but don’t actually commit—to getting help for an alcohol issue.  Spoiler alert: none of them are valid reasons to delay getting on the road to recovery.

“I can do it on my own.”
Self-efficacy—your belief in your capacity to succeed­ at accomplishing something—is a great thing when it comes to achieving goals.  In fact, it is probably why you have been successful in work, sports, and challenges in life.  However, it can also be a serious stumbling block for someone struggling under the power of an addiction.  The notion of self-efficacy is especially strong for high achievers battling alcoholism—they’re accustomed to feeling capable and in control. We often believe we can ‘out think’ or ‘out run’ an addiction without any outside help.  The reality:  except in rare cases, going it alone to treat an addiction usually doesn’t work.

“I can’t stop working/taking care of my family to get help.”
Getting treatment for addiction doesn’t always mean that you’re going away and checking into a residential facility. ‘Rehab’ isn’t the only—or the best—approach for everyone with an alcohol issue. Your daily routine doesn’t necessarily have to come to a halt.  Effective alcoholism treatment can take many forms, such as at-home support or a hybrid approach combining counseling and lifestyle changes.  This is what our ‘Treatment in the Midst of Life’ philosophy is all about—being alongside you to make positive changes within your unique environment.

“I can’t afford treatment.”
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, and with the right guidance from a reputable professional, everyone should be able to find a treatment approach that fits their budget.  Plus, when you consider the financial alternative to letting a serious addiction spiral out of control, even ‘pricey’ treatment starts to look like a bargain.  Think about it.  Divorces and custody battles are expensive. DUI convictions are expensive.  Doctor visits for alcohol related physical problems are expensive.  Actually, I’m not sure you can afford to keep drinking the way you do.

“I’m not a ‘group therapy’ type of person.”
While support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are excellent recovery outlets for many people, they’re not a ‘must’ for everyone in recovery.  One-on-one counseling is sometimes the best fit.   And once they are detoxed and have a clear head, even folks who previously swore they’d never be caught dead in an AA meeting develop a new appreciation for the support of a community.

“I’m ashamed/embarrassed.”
It can be frustrating to be unsuccessful in trying to quit something or to try to make a healthy change in life.  You feel two ways about it:  you enjoy certain elements and you really dislike others.  It’s frustrating to feel that way and can lead to feelings of sadness and shame when we act in ways we don’t want to.  That is often the power of an addiction.  And there’s no denying that a degree of stigma exists around addiction.  But fortunately, as more and more of our friends, neighbors and loved ones are joining celebrities to publicly share their stories of recovery, our society is starting to chip away at the unnecessary shame around addiction. Plus, the reality is that alcohol treatment can be as discreet as you want it to be.

“I’ll lose my job.”
You might.  You might also lose your job if your alcohol use continues to escalate out of control.  Legally speaking, your job shouldn’t be at risk (yes, key word: shouldn’t).  There are two pieces of federal legislation, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act, that guarantee that addicts and alcoholics who undergo treatment for substance abuse will be given the time they need to do so by their employers, and that their jobs will be secure when they return.  And again, some problems with alcohol don’t require “going away”.  There are other options.

Not convinced?  We believe that addiction treatment works.  And the unique way we do it may just surprise you and shatter a few more myths you might have about recovery. We encourage you to reach out to us to learn more.


Seriously, this is no joke.

So, this probably comes as no surprise that I’m a bit of jokester. I love pulling an all-in-good-fun prank on an unsuspecting friend or colleague. Just a few weeks ago, for example, our team pulled a great prank on Chris Epstein, our Clinical Director. What made it so funny for all of us involved, was that he had NO idea he was being played. (When you get a chance, ask him about it!)

So naturally, I love April Fool’s Day. (Although making a national holiday out of pranking kind of ruins the element of surprise for guys like me.) Really, what’s the fun if someone knows it’s coming?

And while April Fool’s Day gets a lot of love in April, there’s something far less funny that’s also being recognized this month. April is National Alcohol Awareness Month.

Yes, yes. I know EVERYTHING gets its own month or a day to celebrate.  Ferrets (April 2), chicken cordon bleu (April 4) and barber shop quartets (April 11) are also celebrated this month. It’s like we’re all in search of our happy rainbows. Oh wait, April 3 is National Find a Rainbow Day. So there you are.

But, let’s take this opportunity to recognize that alcoholism really is no joke; and this is a great opportunity to talk about it. Because, despite its prevalence in our society, alcoholism is still largely misunderstood.

In fact, one of the most common questions I hear is, am I an alcoholic? Well, if you have to ask, yah there’s probably a reason you’re asking. But, man, that’s a loaded question too. Because there really is a difference between my drinking is ruining my life, my drinking causes me problems in my life, and I don’t like the way I think about drinking.

So we’re going to take this month to walk through some key points about alcoholism with you.

And to get us started, here are a few general “self awareness” or “reflective” questions I think would be a good lift off point:

– What’s your drinking pattern? On any day in the past year have you had more than 4 standard drinks (men) / 3 standard drinks (women)
– On average, how many days a week do you drink alcohol?
– On a typical drinking day, how many drinks do you have?
– Does alcohol cause you to neglect your personal or professional responsibilities?
– Do you have alcohol related legal problems? (domestic violence, DUI, public intoxication)-
– Do you fight with your friends or relatives when you drink?

Again, these are just a few questions to ask to get you started on the journey of thinking about the role that alcohol plays in your life. If you do have concerns, please reach out to a professional who can help you walk through your struggles. Or, if you know somebody who you feel is struggling with alcohol, you may also be their lifeline.

If you’re not sure where to start, please call us and we’ll begin the journey together. And stayed tuned to this month’s emails. We’ll pack them full of helpful insights.


A Season of Second Chances

Have you ever heard someone say I EARNED a second chance? Or I MADE a second chance? What about I CREATED a second chance? No, not really. Generally, we say we GOT a second chance. So why is it that we feel we GET second chances?

Because we do! We all GET second, third, fourth…countless “second” chances. Just take a look around you. Brown lawns are turning green. Bare trees are growing leaves. Flowers are blooming. The sun’s filling the days with more light. Spring rains are washing away the winter.

It’s like the earth is saying, “Hey guys, I know it’s been dark and cold for the last few months, but that was just a season. We’re turning this around now.”

Spring is a season of second chances. It’s a time to break cycles. Change behaviors. Start fresh.  And even if you’re not religious, it’s a time of resurrection – rebirth, new life. Because it really doesn’t matter how many times we fall, it matters that we keep getting up.

Here are three things you can do now to take advantage of this season of second chances.

Forgive. Few things impede development like blame. Learn to forgive AND accept forgiveness.  Withholding forgiveness usually does more harm than good. It often leads to bitterness, anger or resentment that ultimately takes a toll on our physical, emotional and mental health. Forgiving yourself – or accepting someone’s forgiveness – is also a critical part of shedding burdens that weigh us down.

Hope. Depression, anxiety and addiction can lead to feelings of helplessness. This can leave us feeling vulnerable and strip away our hope.  So it’s critical to find and embrace hope. Hope comes in lots of forms. It may be in a conversation with a good friend, attending worship services, professional counseling or a morning run. Wherever you find hope, embrace it.

Serve. Nothing helps us look past ourselves like helping others. A religious man once said, “He who gives money gives some. He who gives time gives more. He who gives of himself gives all.” Serving others through volunteerism can be rejuvenating. Some studies have suggested that a part of our brain lights up when we help others. That part of our brain produces feel-good chemicals like dopamine that may lead to reduced stress, anxiety, possibly even mild depression.  Find ways – everyday – to incorporate small acts of kindness or help bear someone else’s burden.

Take this time of year to start fresh and embrace your second chance. If you’re suffering from depression, anxiety or addiction, this is another opportunity to find hope, new life and a resurrection from your old self. If you have trouble finding that hope, please call us and let us walk that path with you.


Strategies for Coping in a Climate of Fear

In the wake of the horrific attacks in Brussels,it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by sadness — and fear.

These are times that we’ve never seen on such a global level, and that’s part of the challenge with coping—we’re in uncharted territory. There are countries that have lived with the daily reality of terrorism and violence for decades or longer.  But for many parts of Europe and especially for us in America, this is something relatively new that we’re learning to live with.  The other challenge is that when a terrorist attack happens, we have an overabundance of information and images at our fingertips.

The two mistakes we don’t want to make are looking for something terrible to happen everywhere we go—or—acting as if those things will never happen. So how do we live with the in-between?  How do we balance that tension and guard against irrational thoughts and fears in this new reality?

A few ways to cope:

Be responsible with information and limit how much we take in
24-hour news and social media expose us to an overload of information that can actually magnify an event in our minds. When something horrible happens, we almost immediately have access to graphic pictures, iPhone videos, eyewitness accounts and seemingly endless news stories.  We see things up close in a way we never did before.  So one of the things we have to do is manage how much of our mind and our time we occupy with it. It’s critical to limit how much we watch and take in, and guard against obsessively reading or reviewing coverage.

Be mindful of our thoughts
When a violent attack like yesterday’s or those in Paris or San Bernardino happens, it’s easy to slip into a mindset of fear and start looking for a threat around every corner.  Because these events are so shocking, they strike us at an emotional level.  So we have to step back and let our rational thoughts mix in with our emotional thoughts to have a realistic perspective on our safety and the probability of danger.  Think about getting on a plane soon after reading news of a plane crash.  We all know that statistically, flying is much safer than driving around our own neighborhood, but at an emotional level our thoughts can get the better of us.

Be aware of what is driving our choices
When we find ourselves limiting our activities and what we do and where we go because of fears, we need to check those things out.  Without pausing to examine the reasoning behind our choices, we risk making our world so small that we are missing out on life.  It’s the same as not getting on an airplane because sometimes airplanes do crash.  If we continue to let fear make our world smaller and smaller, we’ve allowed our thoughts to irrationally affect how we move about and how we live (exactly what terrorists hope we’ll do).

I’m not saying we should be reckless and careless.  But we shouldn’t swing the other way and think we live in a world where there is no safe harbor.  Because the reality is that terror attacks, plane crashes and other horrible tragedies simply don’t happen as often as we might think. And it’s our thoughts and our conscious choices that can help us navigate this uncharted territory without the burden of fear.

If you try these strategies and are still feeling overwhelmed by fear or are experiencing obsessive thoughts, we encourage you to reach out to us or another professional.