“There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. ”
                                                       — Nelson Mandela

Welcome to the Winter 2014 edition of Westside Notes. When I wrote down the date as 2014, it seemed surreal. As I nostalgically reach the half century mark this year, I'm reminded that life does seem to move by more quickly as we get older, yet hopefully there's also the opportunity to take in the meaningful moments one at a time. One of my intentions for the coming year is to be more mindful of the deep connections in my life and to open-heartedly receive the love that surrounds me. Along those lines, our featured article explores the "addiction to busy"—one socially-endorsed form of intimacy avoidance.

Featured Article:
Are You Addicted to "Busy?"
by Maria Gray, M.A., M.Ed.

I am fascinated by our constant need to be occupied or busy; I like to think of it as an overall "addiction to busy" with technology playing a predominant role. Brene Brown calls it "crazy-busy." If we are always busy, we don't have time to feel the unpleasant feelings (or pleasant ones) that come up throughout the day; we numb out.

In my prior career, I felt compelled to check my email and phone before, during and after work. After work, my home computer would alert me to new messages. I would glance at the screen, intending to answer one or two messages and return to whatever I was doing; before I knew it thirty minutes had passed. I was exhibiting one of the symptoms of internet addiction, spending more time online than I had intended. Today I check email several times a day and no longer use alerts on my home computer.

Read more of Are You Addicted to "Busy?" . . .

Announcing Maria's
Second Stage Recovery
Psychotherapy Group

I am very pleased to announce that my associate, Maria Gray will be leading a weekly Second Stage Recovery group in our West Los Angeles office. It will be a safe and productive space where men and women will explore themes of Second Stage Recovery including: developing and enjoying more satisfying relationships, cultivating interests and hobbies, discovering your authentic self and a wide range of related issues.

The group will be an ongoing process group open to men and women with a minimum of two years in recovery from addiction and/or codependency. The group will meet on Monday nights from 6:15pm to 7:45pm beginning in early spring, and the cost will be $65 per week. For more information, please contact Maria directly at 310.319.6500 or maria@mariagray.net.

Men's Group Openings

I started my men's psychotherapy group a little more than 11 years ago, and it's always been one of the highlights of my week. Being witness to men supporting other men is a rare occurrence in our world today and as the honesty, trust and intimacy continues to deepen, the members of the group experience more and more honest, satisfying relationships in their overall lives. Currently, I have two available openings, and as many of you know, I enjoy working collaboratively with other professionals to provide more clinical perspective to our mutual clients. Please let me know if you have any questions—the group meets weekly on Wednesday nights from 7-8:30pm, and the fee is $75 per group.

Doors Opening, Doors Closing:
The Bridge Santa Barbara

After more than 2 years of residential workshops healing codependency and trauma, the Bridge to Recovery in Santa Barbara has closed their doors. As many of you know, I was involved in the development of their weekend workshop series, but unfortunately, the program has chosen to consolidate back to its original campus in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Although it's a bittersweet ending for me as I say goodbye to the ranch perched high above Santa Barbara, the love and gratitude will live on. I especially want to thank John Stenzel for inviting me to be a part of the program, Rawly Glass and Terra Holbrook as my clinical role models and my interns, Annabel, Maria and Eddie who freely gave their time and energy to the weekend intensives.

Here is the announcement from the recent Bridge newsletter:

A Tribute to The Bridge to Recovery Santa Barbara

There is one truth in life that never changes—and that truth is change is inevitable. On that note, it is with deep and profound sorrow that I announce that The Bridge to Recovery Santa Barbara has closed its doors. Due to unforeseeable circumstances involving our lease agreement, we had no choice but to cease operations in Santa Barbara. The circumstances had nothing to do with the efficacy of our clinical programming or the integrity of our business model. It was simply a matter of logistics regarding the tumultuous real estate market.

Read more of Doors Opening, Doors Closing . . .

If you prefer not to receive future mailings, simply unsubscribe below and I look forward to connecting in other ways. In the meantime, I wish you all a healthy, fun and fulfilling 2014.



Winter 2014

In This Issue:

  • Featured Article:
    Are You Addicted to "Busy?"
  • Announcing Second Stage
    Recovery Group
  • Men's Group Openings
  • Doors Opening, Doors Closing:
    The Bridge Santa Barbara

About Andrew Susskind

Andrew Susskind, MSW, SEP, CGP is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Certified Group Psychotherapist and Life Transition Coach who brings more than 22 years of experience to his work.


Annabel Raymond, M.A.

Maria Gray
Maria Gray, M.A., M.Ed.

Schuyler Ha, M.A.

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