Work of a Clinical Addictions Specialist Focusing on Relationship Addictions [transcript] [audio]

Guest: Roseann Rook, CADC  

Presenter: Neal Howard

Guest Bio: As a Clinical Addictions Specialist, Roseann is responsible for conducting psycho-educational and process groups as well as providing individual counseling for addiction treatment including co-occurring disorders such as Eating Disorders and Mood Disorders at Timberline Knolls. She specializes in Process Addictions with a strong focus on Relationship Addictions. Roseann was instrumental in the development of Timberline Knolls’ Addiction Program and the implementation of addressing Process Addictions into the curriculum. As a member of Timberline Knolls’ Clinical Development Institute, she has presented locally and at National conferences. Roseann has worked in the addictions field for 23 years starting at Aunt Martha’s Youth Service as an addiction counselor moved on to counsel MISA clients at Grand Prairie Services followed by working for the YMCA Network for Counseling and Youth Development as an Addictions Counselor and Crisis worker. She returned to Grand Prairie Services for a brief stint to develop and implement an out-patient program before joining Timberline Knolls in 2006.

Segment Overview: Roseann Rook, CADC, discusses her work as a Clinical Addictions Specialist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, located just outside of Chicago. She specializes in Process Addictions with a strong focus on Relationship Addictions.


Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to the program. I’m your host Neal Howard. Our guest is Roseann Rook, here to discuss her work as a clinical addiction specialist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center and that’s located just outside Chicago, Illinois. She specializes in process addictions with a very strong focus on relationship addictions. Welcome to the program, Roseann.

Roseann Rook: Thanks, thanks Neal. Thanks for having me. I think that this is a topic that’s extremely important and often not addressed.

N: Now you’re a CADC, is that something that you’ve always been interested in or was there something personal that drew you to this particular profession?

R: There was a point, believe it or not I was a travel agent for 14 years and knew that wasn’t a passion and I needed to do something and myself actually, I am in recovery, had been for 31 years. I felt like it took me to a path. I started to go to school and looked at it, knowing there was more to someone than just drinks too much or does too many drugs. I knew there was so much more to that. So as I got into that and much more the clinical aspect that is where my drive was. When I started to get into the field, I knew that was my passion but there is always, there’s something’s missing. Something’s missing in our whole field of addressing substance abuse. In the beginning it was all about drug and alcohol, that was my main focus. That’s what I looked at. So that’s where it started, that’s how it got me into that.

N: Now you’re in recovery. I’ve met counselors who had no experience whatsoever with addiction on a personal level. It’s all been clinical. Having talked with other therapists, do you feel that you were at an advantage experientially when it comes to dealing with other addicts?

R: In some respect. One, what’s really difficult is when you’re dealing with clients or residents, they put too much emphasis on that. They always want to know they’re recovery. They think you’d only understand them if you were in recovery and I make it very clear but we’re basically all in recovery from something. Underlying issues that bring people to use substances or any process addiction, we all have those. Some people just choose unhealthy coping skills. So, the only advantage I feel that I have it’s sometime my terminology, it’s kind of like I feel like people, I realize it like in meetings, I always used to say like everybody in there, you could be making no sense, everybody’s kind of shaking their head because they get it. And I’m not saying a clinician wouldn’t but sometimes I think even, one thing I end up saying, “I end up letting a normal recovery.”, because I often say WE. Instead of having to say you or addicts, it’s kind of like, “We think like this” and I could explain what somebody’s thinking and they’re like, “Oh my God, yes”. So there are moments I noticed that that my experience but I definitely make it clear that does not make me a better clinician. I just think there is an advantage in that area.

N: Define process addiction for me.

R: When we talk about process right, that’s actually talking about moving and events. Basically, we’re talking about behaviors, action or behaviors that become addictive and they have the same characteristics. In fact, they fit the exact same criteria as substance abuse and most commonly known obviously would be like gambling, work, sex, love and relationships, technology has gotten huge in every aspect not just the computer and the phones. So there’s so many in being in a residential setting like we are and being where I’m working more of a clinical aspect in my group. What’s great about it is that as people talk you can start to realize that they are using certain other behaviors in the same exact way that they were using a substance and really they’re pretty unaware of it.

N: Does the counseling and and treatment are the drug addicts with the alcoholics, with the sex addicts with the workaholics, or do you separate based on the different nuances of each addiction?

R: No. In fact, I think what’s really, really important is not to be separated. We have a large population of women with eating disorders, self-harm … Also the people that are there for mood disorders with depression, anxiety and bipolar. It’s very common for people who are addicts anyway who keep saying, “Well, they don’t understand me or I don’t have that problem.”, especially with the eating disorders. You’ve got the substance abusers saying, “This is all about the eating disorders. I don’t understand it.”. I think one of the benefits anybody in recovery has is to be eventually realize that everybody is dealing with the same thing. So sometimes like in my group, I kind of make it clear and I say it, “I don’t care because right now in this group nobody is drinking, drugging, cutting, overeating, not eating, throwing up or in that”. So outside of that we’re all sitting in the same stuff. Everybody in here has pain, and shame and guilt in a history and that’s when you’re here is that commonality is what we need to address. Everybody just you’re acting in a different behavior and that’s what’s important to understand because I know many people just don’t understand addiction and that’s okay because it doesn’t make sense. To look at something is like we’ll stop it but to understand I mean really, if this is what’s happening, but I think to hear and that’s another advantage because I can see anything as an addiction and exactly give a parallel to any substance. And with that, I think there’s a sense of, “Wow! It’s not really that I made this choice to go do this. It’s these issues and look at how many people have the same issue.”. And I think that I’ve seen that that it’s really nice because what I learned by coming to Timberline Knolls and treating all of these rather than purely substance is even my whole language changes because I don’t just say, “I don’t even like to say addicts because that isn’t even in the DSM 5. Alcoholic is not a diagnosis. Addict is not a diagnosis. So I work really hard for them to take that title away because that’s what they’re fighting. I don’t know. Let’s not worry about that name or this name. Let’s worry about, “Do these particular behaviors cause you a problem. Let’s look at this.”. And I’ve also told people like, “Okay, look problem up in the dictionary. Do you want another one?”. You’re here, so it’s kind of like okay, so problems need to be addressed, so let’s just address it. It’s kind of like getting the boxing gloves awesome. I’m not defining any of this and there’s a sense of being able to sit back and look at it differently. I think that that part of it is important and I’ve been just really amazed by me just using the terminology as I call pretty much acting out behavior. Any behaviors because that way nobody’s sitting there thinking, “Oh, that doesn’t include me or that’s not me. It’s like this.”.

N: That’s another question that have been running around in my mind. I want to ask you this question. From the standpoint of a person in recovery, how do you steer the conversation with someone else who has that mindset, “I’m not as bad as him or her I. I only snort cocaine. I don’t use it intravenously or I only use edibles. I don’t smoke weed.”, things of that nature. How do you get past that?

R: Well, first of all, it’s never late. Old school was confronting. That absolutely doesn’t work and it’s important there’s an awareness. I often, I can be very well I’m known to be extremely blunt but caring enough that people usually are very appreciative that I could call them out on it. Sometimes it’s more of a sarcasm, when some will say, “Well I only do this.”, and I’ll kind of say like, “Yes, people only steals small items. They don’t steal big ones”. What I mean, kind of looking at. I also often bring that up and like we’re in a group talking, I do something now that’s a newer group called the “Process of Addiction” which is different than process addiction. This whole angle comes that instead of having an addictive personality that the personality develops as a result of the addiction and you start to realize that people need to start manipulating right in line and doing these things they do to be able to keep the addiction going. So basically, they’ve been hiding. So when I work from this point and let them think this is what brain starts to tell you and then I’ll give you example before they say it like, “I only do this and it’s not as bad as that.”. I’ve also, when someone says and state of it, “I’m not as badass”, so doesn’t that mean you’re bad. … I’m not as badass, so that means it’s bad. So does it because it’s not here, does that mean you don’t treat it? Because this person has a gunshot wound, this person has a knife cut, but stabbed I mean this one badass, so does that mean the other ones not treated?

N: I’d like to go online and get some more information about what you do there at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center. Is there a website where we can go and get much more information?

R: Absolutely. It is and there’s just a wealth of information not just on what we do but the articles that we post. You could get on to their web list, mailing list to constantly have articles going in many, many different topics which is helpful for those that aren’t real educated, often for family members because there’s so much they don’t understand and like I said, because it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So there’s a lot just in the website to people realize and how much we treat, how well-rounded, the amount of different type of therapies that are used. So it’s really informative.

N: I appreciate you coming in and talking with us today Roseann Rook. I’m hoping you’ll come back and talk with us in the future.

R: I would look forward to that. Thank you very much Neal.

N: Thank you. I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of the program are available at and also at

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