Addiction: The ELEPHANT in the Living Room


Imagine an ordinary living room: chairs, couch, coffee table, a TV set, and in the middle — a LARGE GRAY ELEPHANT.

The ELEPHANT stands there, shifting from one foot to another and slowly swaying from side to side. Imagine also the people who live in this house: a child, along with a mother and/or father and maybe some sisters and brothers. All members of the family have to go through the living room many times each day and the child watches as they walk through the room very… carefully… around… the… ELEPHANT. Everyone avoids the swinging trunk and the enormous feet.

Since no one ever talks about the ELEPHANT, the child knows that she’s not supposed to talk about it either. And she doesn’t. Not to anyone.

But the child wonders why nobody is saying anything or doing anything to move the ELEPHANT. After all, it’s a very big ELEPHANT and having to keep walking around it all the time is not easy. The child may even wonder if other people really see the ELEPHANT or if perhaps she made it up. But since she can’t ask anyone about the ELEPHANT, she just keeps walking around it and worrying.

She wishes she could talk to somebody about the ELEPHANT.


Addiction counseling with Southwest Counseling Srvice

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Southwest Counseling Service wants to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover.

We want people to know we offer a variety of helpful classes and support services for those impacted by addictions.


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