Individual counselling

Codependent’s counselling

Intervention family or workplace

Couples and family counselling

Group counselling for individuals in recovery or those interested in stage two recovery

Couples group

Anger management/rage reduction

Emotional release counselling

Experiential therapy


Treatment referrals

12 step support group

All addictions recovery counselling

Reparenting work

Communication for relationships

Dealing with anger in relationships

Recovery books, tapes and videos

Weekend workshops


Please feel free to ask questions.


Say no to drugs


Some common names and classes of addictive drugs and substances

Caffeine, Chocolate, Cocaine, Crack cocaine, Codeine, Methamphetamine (crystal meth.) Marijuana, Speed, Heroin, PCP, Psilocybin (magic mushrooms) LSD, Nicotine, Speed, Banana cream pie, Benzodiazapines, Barbiturates, Non-barbiturate sedative-hypnotics, Inhalants, Sugar, Steroids, Opiates, Over the counter drugs, ex: antihistamines and other cold remedies, Vanilla extract.


A factor influencing drug addiction is a gene mutation that leaves individuals with fewer than normal receptor sites for the neurotransmitter dopamine.  Dopamine, a feel good endorphin with a deficit of receptor sites diminishes a person’s normal activity. An individual who has a rise in dopamine activity through an addictive drug or addictive experience has an intense high. Once experienced the brain adjusts, creating more receptor sites which diminishes the intensity of the high. The addict continues to chase that intense high.

There is evidence that suggests stress, abuse and trauma triggers similar responses as those above setting up individuals for all types of addiction. Genetics and brain function determines which addiction(s) will be acted out.

Addicts have a real or perceived need for the drug, which manifests itself in continued use even when the results are harmful.

The addict comes to need a drug for normal functioning after adapting to its presence in the body and develops physical disturbances or illness (withdrawal reaction) if the drug is stopped.

Signs indicating potential alcohol or drug problem


Decreased concentration, judgment and timing is off, depression, confusion, short-term memory loss, increased aggression, lethargy distorted perceptions, reaction time slowed, communication skills declined, daydreaming,


Hoarse voice, bloodshot eyes, acne, psoriasis, itchy dry thin skin, spidernevi (breaking of small facial veins), rum nose, breast development in males, loss of muscle mass, pale complexion, purple tint or dark red lip color after binge, odor of alcohol on breath, unsteady gait, tremors, balance and coordination off, pupils dilated, inappropriate and unusual laughter, nausea, Vomiting, dizziness, tremors, incoherence

Behavioral or social:

Marital problems, financial problems (borrowing money), family problems (teenagers acting out), withdrawing socially, decrease in hobbies and other interests, moodiness and irritability, exaggerated highs and lows, sporadic work patterns, increased sick time and illness, increased injuries, tardiness, unreliability, legal problems increase, personal grooming deterioration, decreased ambition, anxiety increases, paranoia increases, anger outbursts increase, chews gum or breath mints.


karpman drama triangle


Untreated enablers involved in this type of relationship are called codependents. See if you identify with any of the following common characteristics:

My good feelings about who I am stem from being liked by you.

Your struggle affects my serenity.

My mental attention is focused on solving your problems

My mental attention is focused on you

My mental attention is focused on protecting you

My mental attention is focused on manipulating you to do it my way

My self-esteem is bolstered by solving your problems

Relieving your pain bolsters my self-esteem

My own interests are put to one side and replaced with yours

Your clothing and personal appearance are dictated by my desires as I feel you are a reflection of me.

Your behaviour is dictated by my desires as I feel you are a reflection of me

I am not aware of how I feel I am aware of how you feel

I am not aware of what I want I ask what you want I am not aware I assume

The dreams I have for my future are linked to you

My fear of rejection determines what I say or do

My fear of your anger determines what I say or do

I use giving as a way of feeling safe in my relationship with you

My social circle diminishes as I involve myself with you

I put my values aside in order to connect with you

I value your opinion and way of doing things more than my own

The quality of my life is in relation to the quality of yours

If you answered yes to three or more you may be codependent

We need to look at ourselves and determine the difference between helpings vs enabling by asking ourselves these questions

How do I feel when I offer help?

What’s in it for me?

What are my motives?

Am I thinking of them or me?

What have my actions changed?

Do you need to change and are you willing?

Codependency recovery for enablers is changing the focus to us. The object of our enabling is less likely to succeed if we relapse into our old behaviours. Working on us may seem selfish and difficult to do but remember it is an act of love. It is excellent modeling behaviour for the addicts in our lives.

To stop the codependent enabling relationship we begin with an admission that I am powerless over others (the addict in my life) and that my life has become unmanageable.

We need to enter into our own program, develop our own recovery plan and be open to a new way of being in relationship with others and ourselves.

We will then:

Learn that change is possible in our relationships. Learn what a healthy relationships looks like! Learn what part we can play in creating change. Learn this process that requires time


Welcome, my name is Ralph V.W.  I created this site as an educational tool for the many people I receive calls from in the Calgary and surrounding area. I am a certified addiction counsellor and experiential therapist in private practice. The information in this website has been compiled over the last twenty plus years from both professional and personal experience. This site is a work in progress. If you find anything difficult to accept, take what you like and leave the rest. If you have any question(s) regarding any part of the information please email me at

This recovery information is for people inquiring about addiction for himself or herself or someone they are in relationship with. My hope is this site will educate and encourage all in the addictive relationship to understand the need for their own recovery by providing information regarding the nature of the addictive system and our recommended treatment.

All people involved in addiction lose parts of themselves to the disease (state of dis-ease). The addict loses him or herself to the substance or other/ behavioural addiction in terms of self- respect, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. The same is true for those in relationship with an addict including spouse, children, parents, friends, coworkers and society at large.

This recovery program is designed to assist:

Any alcohol, drug, or otherwise addicted person Those concerned with an addict in their life. Recovering addicts, dry drunks, chronic relapsers Family and friends exploring their own recovery Parents of addicts who want contribute to recovery Enablers & codependents Adult children of alcoholics Survivors of abuse Any individual interested in stage 2 recovery Behaviour addicts

This program consists of support group meetings, group therapy and individual counselling. If you are wanting to learn more about the recovery program you are welcome to attend the support group meetings which consist of a video followed by a discussion of the recovery process. Meetings are made up of members in the program and are held at room 200 A 200 Haddon Rd. S.W. on Saturdays at 11 am and Sundays at 10 am and are each 1.5 hours in duration.

If you are interested please email me with your name, phone number and date you would like to attend and we will contact you.

If you are in crisis and need to speak to someone directly email your name and phone number and we will call you asap.

Group therapy consists of weekly two hour meetings for both addicts and codependent parents, spouses and children. Suitable participants who decide to join are required to attend for a minimum of four months as groups are ongoing year round. We deal with unresolved past, present and future problems using various techniques and methods that achieve change and growth. Group provides a wealth of support as group members model recovery for each other and provide much needed wisdom, safety and strength as they walk through the process together.

Individual counselling is done on an as needed basis to assist clients with their own recovery work as well as with couples and families struggling with the ongoing challenges.


Introduction to addiction and codependency recovery awareness group: for all those interested in increasing their knowledge of the process of recovery from all types of addictions and those in relationships with addicted individuals. As well this would benefit any addict experiencing relapses or looking for more in their recovery.

These groups are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 pm to 9 pm and consist of a 45 to 60 minute video followed by a discussion.

The videos are created by leaders in the field of recovery and healing ie Terry Kellogg, Pia Mellody, John Bradshaw, Fr. Martin, Melodie Beattie, among others. The topics range from relationships and trauma to family of origin as well as substance and behavioural addictions.

If you are interested in attending these sessions please call Sydney at 403.919.2750. Address is located at 200 M 200 Haddon Rd S.W. which is just west of Mcleod trail and the LRT tracks between Southland Dr and Heritage Dr. S.W.