Blessed to be Alive

On Friday last week, I was involved in a collision at 65 MPH.  I was headed south on a four-lane highway, in the right lane, cruise control set at 65, speed limit 70 in a 2010 Grand Marquis.  I was hit, ever so gently, by a lady in a Kia Sorento, on the door and just above the rear wheel well.  She had drifted into my lane as she was passing.

The only apparent damage to my vehicle, and hers, looks like it could have been done by a shopping cart in the grocery store parking lot.  A good wash and wax should take care of most of the damage.

As someone who has persistently struggled with faith, this was just another evidence that something bigger was looking out for me.  I might be mistaken; but, thinking a bit differently makes me appreciate living the life that I have just a little bit more.


I am centrally located in North Little Rock’s Argenta District, at the corner of 4th and Maple Streets, on the back side of the First Presbyterian Church.  Although I rent office space from the church, my business is not a faith-based enterprise.SAP North Little Rock Location

GPS does pretty good directions to 201 West 4th Street, North Little Rock, AR 72114.

From I-30, take the Broadway exit and head West, past Verizon Arena.  Cross both Main and Maple Streets (both have traffic lights) and turn Right on Orange Street.  Take Orange North, crossing 4th and turn right onto the alley.  You will see a large vacant lot and a community garden on your right.  Park in the lot and walk down the alley towards Maple.  Enter through the second door, below the sign for Infrared Studios.  This is the door.

Counselor Drug Little Rock


If you are using the bus, take either the 4 or 10 routes.  Inbound the bus runs directly in front of the church, on Maple Street.  Outbound, it is on Main, one block East.  The Blue Line (trolley) also runs on Maple with stops at both Broadway and 6th Street.

Unfortunately, there is not a bicycle rack; however, if you are on a bike, I am sure that we can find some way to secure it, provided that you have a lock, and a bike of course. I am not so sure about personal helicopters, jet packs or teleportation devices; but, if that is what you are driving and you want to come see me, bring it on.

See you there, Chris

Addiction Counselor North Little Rock SAP sign

Substance Education Class

I am starting a Substance Education Class on February 23, 2016. This is something intended for first time, low-level offenders that have had relatively minor drug-related infractions such as possession, public intoxication, etc. I taught a similar class for an agency in North Little Rock for a number of years and it seemed to make a difference in some peoples’ lives to have some information as part of their consequences, in addition to fines, incarceration and community service.


Substance Education Class
Offered by Christopher Gerhart, LLC
401 West 4th Street
North Little Rock, AR 72114
(501) 478-0182
High quality, three-hour substance abuse education classes.
$50 per class
I take cash, money orders or credit cards.
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00-noon
Unless you have pre-paid, plan to arrive by 8:45 AM.
Nobody will be admitted after 9:00 AM
On bus and trolley lines.
From Little Rock, take Route 4 or 10, outbound, stop at 4th and Main, walk one block west.
From North Little Rock, take Route 4 or 10, stop at 4th and Maple.
The Blue line runs in front of the building, stops at Maple and 6th, or Maple and Broadway.
If you are driving, there is a large, free parking lot behind the church. The easiest way to get there is from Orange Street.
Enter through the door on the alley that runs between Maple and Orange, below the sign for Infrared Studios.
Although I rent office space from the First Presbyterian Church, I am in no way affiliated with the church, nor is this a religious program.
Classes start February 23, 2016

Having taught a class like this, I was always amazed at how many people in the community would approach me at the grocery store, hardware store or many other public places and comment on how that class had an effect in their lives.  Sometimes they had a change pretty quickly, others not so much; but, it did plant a seed.

I also offer private, confidential substance abuse counseling services including a range of assessments, individual counseling and tobacco cessation services.

Reviewing the Situation

A month into my own business and I am just beginning to be profitable.  I have paid the rent for February and have already had paying customers this month.  The mixture of excitement and terror about making my own way is nearly an addiction of it’s own.

Most of the business I have had so far has come from my online presence and advertising.  When I started laying the groundwork for this venture in November and December, I got myself this website, a facebook account and gmail.  I already had a linked-in page; but, had not done much with it.

I figured out that whenever I post so much as a photograph, I need to tag it with something related to my business using a number of key words such as counselor, substance abuse, North Little Rock.  There is some sort of algorithm that is used to figure out which posts get put on top.  Some of it has to do with the number of views; but, some of it is promoted by meeting certain criteria.

One thing that I need to do is make a youtube video that promotes my business.  I have been told that I have a face for radio, so I may use my daughter’s stuffed animals as prospective clients seeking services.

Anyway, that’s about all for now.  I have to get back to actual work so that I can keep this thing going.




The 4 L’s

There is a brief diagnostic tool that I use with many clients that are questioning if they have a problem with their use of substances.  The short answer for me has almost always been if it causes a problem when you do it, or when you don’t, then it’s a problem.  This model goes a bit deeper and can also help to shape a treatment plan and even establish some concrete goals to address early on, and later, in the therapeutic process.

Anyway, it is “The Four L’s” Liver, Lover, Livelihood and Legal.  These are four main areas that are usually affected by an individual’s use of a substance, combination of substances, behavior(s), etc.   When there are impacts in these areas related to a specific behavior, then that behavior is often the problem*.  That is not to say that there are not difficulties in these areas due to other factors such as the human condition, the economy, weather, acts of God…..

Liver, or any physical complication, is sometimes one of the easiest to diagnose.  When a man in his early 30’s who drinks heavily and frequently is diagnosed with cirrhosis, this is an obvious one.  There are more, and less, subtle symptoms to consider.  An assault, on either side of it, is frequently painful and damaging.  From personal excessive drinking experience, in the last several circumstances where I was part of an a## whipping, I provided at least 80% of the a## that got whipped.   This may also show up in more extreme cases as malnutrition, obesity and other health issues.  An intoxicated person is far more likely to be involved in a car crash, an assault, a domestic battery or any other form of violence than someone who is sober.  Think about the crazy, stupid things that people will eat just before going to sleep it off and it is no wonder that there are significant health problems.

This brings us to lover, or any interpersonal relationship, that has been negatively impacted by substance use.  Like the medical area, this may be overt such as divorce, loss of child custody, or lack of positive, pro-social connections.  Or, it may be more covert and even aggravating.  The client may not drink unless his wife nags him about his drinking, so he provokes her to nag him so that he can drink.  When a client tells me “Everybody drinks (smokes, gets high, etc.)” that tells me that his worldview is limited to those people that do what he does, effectively normalizing his level, frequency and intensity of drug or alcohol use.  If the only place where a person has fun with other people is at a bar, then not drinking is going to be a really hard sell.

Livelihood, or employment, the means of making a living are so important in our culture that in many cases it is one of the last bastions to fall to addiction.  There is so much ego and identity tied up in one’s profession that it is often held on to as a means of denial.  Just try asking someone in line at the grocery store, church, or gym “What do you do?”  Chances are that they will respond with their profession.  Most of us spend more than 25% of our week actually doing our jobs and countless hours commuting, preparing and recuperating.  Having a career is also a way of providing funding for substance abuse, while a mechanism for denial of the problems caused, or aggravated by, the use of a substance.  Losing a job is fairly easy to quantify; however, being passed over for a promotion, not being able to work in certain professions and poor performance are sometimes overlooked.  I had a client that could not pass a simple urine drug screen that would have given him a promotion along with a 75% increase in his salary, because he was unable, or unwilling, to stop smoking cannabis.  Drug problem?  You better believe it.

Legal problems are one of the areas where substance abuse problems become abundantly apparent.  Judges, as do police, probation and parole officers, have a way of bringing to someone’s attention the error of their ways.    A single, lifetime, DWI arrest could be a mistake; several probably are not.  Drug possession is almost always illegal, as is distributing medications without a prescription.  These are criminal charges; but, also consider the civil matters that are at stake with a substance use disorder.  Would the client be going through a divorce, child custody issue, dispute with a neighbor if they were not intoxicated?  This is not to imply that these circumstances are not always the result of drinking or drug use; however, if drinking or drug use is the cause, or impairs the amicable resolution of these issues, then the using is at least part, if not the only part, of the problem.

Finally, these issues intertwine and overlap, overshadowing one another.  For instance, if a person gets a DWI arrest, there is an obvious legal issue.  There will be a significant financial issue for fines, fees and lawyering.  Even a first DWI can run into the thousands of dollars.  Their job may be in peril, especially if they missed days from work due to jail or court.   Their status as an employee that represents their company may be compromised.  Some professions, such as truck drivers, physicians and pilots, have specific penalties for substance-related infractions.   The impact a night in jail has for someone’s status as a parent is incalculable.  As mature, responsible adults, we are rightfully expected to be someone who can be trusted, respected and accountable.   Not showing up for supper, a child’s ball game or other social commitment because of an arrest is inexcusable and injurious to a relationship.  Finally, jail is a bad place to be physically.  The client may find himself sleeping on the floor, either there or at home, neither of which is all that attractive or pleasant.


*Note:  I seldom like to use the work “problem.”  I prefer to use the terms situation, challenge or circumstance because I can turn one of them into a problem just by sprinkling a little dope or liquor on top of it.  Similarly, by staying sober, they can become accomplishments, trials and points of growth.