Rattle Snakes and Addiction: lessons in keeping distance

By Matt Bulkley | Blog Education Series

STAR Guides Wilderness - Rattle Snakes and Addiction - lessons in keeping distance

Our Leo group stumbled upon this four foot long rattle snake this week. For most in the group, it was their first sighting of a rattler in the wild. Encountering this dangerous creature allowed for a process group therapy session around keeping and maintaining distance from dangerous and addictive behaviors.

Earlier in the week, the group found several small water snakes near a spring and enjoyed picking them up and holding them. Seeing the size of the rattler, hearing the noise from the rattlers and watching it coil and posture in a defensive and retaliatory manner was a stark comparison from the friendliness of the small water snakes. Witnessing the behavior of the rattle snake made it an easy decision to back away quickly and keep a sizeable distance from the snake. Everyone in the group realized the significant danger that getting close to the rattle snake posed to their safety and the group was happy to keep their distance from this venomous snake. Being bitten by a rattle snake can potentially be lethal.

This comparison allowed the group to make and process an analogy of keeping distance from dangerous and addictive behaviors including pornography and sexual compulsive behaviors. The group processed the importance of recognizing danger from a distance and keeping a barrier between themselves and addictive behaviors. Group members verbalized a gratitude of being alerted of the danger of the snake by hearing the rattles and likewise group members verbalized a gratitude of having the chance to break free from the addictive and compulsive behaviors that have caused problems in their lives prior to coming to STAR Guides.

About the Author

Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.

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