Dr. Raju Hajela , MD, MPH, CCSAM, FASAM, FCFP President, Medical Director
Raju is a co-founder and principal of Health Upwardly Mobile Inc. He received his MD from Dalhousie University in 1982 and his Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1988. He has practiced Transcendental Meditation since 1986, completing his training in Maharishi Ayurveda in 1994 and has provided continuing medical education programs for physicians regarding the benefits of this form of meditation.
Raju served in the Canadian Forces from 1979 to 1995, reaching the rank of Major in 1987. His assignments included Field Medical Officer, Flight Surgeon, Staff Officer-Occupational Health/Surgeon General’s Office and Director, Addiction Rehabilitation Centre in Kingston, Ontario. Raju is a Certificant of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), as well as the Canadian (CSAM), American (ASAM) and International Societies of Addiction Medicine (ISAM). He is a Certified Medical Review Officer and has been a Civil Aviation Medical Examiner in the past. He is a Fellow of the CFPC and ASAM; and a Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM). He has held faculty appointments in Family Medicine and Psychiatry at Queen’s University (1992-2001) and has taught medical students and residents at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and the University of Calgary. He has held leadership positions in national and international medical organizations. He has received numerous honours and awards for his leadership and community work. He has academic publications and numerous invited conference plenary presentations and workshops to his credit. He routinely provides training for health care professionals and does presentations for corporations, government and the general public.
Sue Newton , BA, BScN, MN, RN Vice President, Operations Director
Sue is a co-founder and principle of Health Upwardly Mobile Inc. She completed both her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Lakehead University in 1988 and received her Masters Degree in Nursing from the University of Calgary in 1996. She has been nursing for 24 years in Calgary, Alberta. Sue worked for Alberta Health Services for 19 years in both acute care and public health in a number of clinical and management roles. Since completing her Masters, Sue was involved with several new health initiatives with Alberta Health Services as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Researcher and Project Coordinator dealing with very low birth weight infants and their families. In 2001, Sue was one of the investigators in a randomized clinical trial funded by the Federal Health Transition Fund.
In 2008, Sue left Alberta Health Services to work as the nurse manager for Sykes Assistance Services, an integrated health and wellness company in Calgary focusing on Occupational Health and EFAP. Her key roles included overseeing daily operations and the delivery of integrated occupational health services for individuals and client organizations. She was also involved in disability case management for several companies. Sue’s clinical role at HUM includes nursing assessments for both new clients and independent medical evaluations (IMEs) and group therapy co-facilitation. Sue’s other roles includes Operations Director, presenter and facilitator for educational workshops and training. She also practices Transcendental Meditation having completed the course in 2011.
Paige Abbott, Registered Psychologist , BA, MSc, RPsych, CCH Clinical Services Director
Paige Abbott is a Registered Psychologist who specializes in individual, couple’s, family, and group counselling for addiction, mental health, and chronic pain. Paige utilizes a holistic model of treatment that incorporates biological, psychological, social, and spiritual perspectives from a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused counselling, and motivational interviewing. This approach allows for a focus on an individual’s inner strengths and resources and promote healthy coping with a variety of life struggles.
Paige completed her Master of Science degree in Counselling Psychology at the University of Calgary in 2007. Paige completed her Master’s level practicum at the Mount Royal University Student Counselling Centre (2006-2007) where she worked with students dealing with a variety of issues, as well as co-facilitated workshops promoting wellness and personal development. After graduation, Paige worked at an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) from 2008-2012. During her time at the EFAP agency, she worked as a Staff Psychologist and took on the additional role as Manager of a number of different programs, including Crisis Management Services, Wellness and Workshops, and Professional Services in Southern Alberta. Paige has been a member of the HUM team since 2011 and is a co-author of the book ‘Addiction is Addiction: Understanding the disease in oneself and others for a better quality of life‘ (2015).
In 2014, Paige completed her hypnotherapy training and is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. Hypnosis is a valuable tool to use along one’s recovery path with many conditions, including stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, insomnia, trauma, and chronic pain. It is offered at HUM as a complement to individual psychotherapy and can be incorporated into ongoing treatment for clients who have completed the initial comprehensive assessment.
Paige has been a Registered Psychologist since 2009 and is a current member in good standing with the College of Alberta Psychologists and the Canadian Psychological Association. She is available as a supervisor to those pursuing their registration hours with CAP.
What people are saying
I just wanted to thank Dr. Hajela, Sue and everyone else at the clinic for teaching me so much on this very short elective. I can see the tremendous difference your clinic makes in the lives of its patients, and it’s very inspiring.
“I am forever grateful for the opportunity and the staff. Each played a crucial role on my journey in recovery. It’s a safe place to be knowing I will be met with understanding, honesty, and compassion.”
“Exactly what I needed-a holistic approach to recovery. Fantastic team approach by the HUM team. Would highly recommend HUM for a successful start to recovery.”
“It was nothing like what I had expected, it was even better and where I am in my journey was originally unimaginable. Thank you for helping me find hope and curiosity!”
“I see that IOP gives me a chance to hear, absorb, integrate, and practice new ways of thinking and acting. Each phase and the time in between also allowed for this knowledge to start to become practical.”
“I really appreciated the professionalism of all the staff. The environment and the people are very welcoming”
“I am convinced this is the single most important program I have and ever will attend. Phenomenal!”
“I’m so impressed with how [Paige] and Dr. Hajela SO understand addiction, and how to help me see the blind spots, release some shame (or at least see it!), gain insight and connect with actually FEELING what is going on with me and how the disease shows up for me ….so amazing… Thank-you very much.”
“[The IOP] was an amazing opportunity. I liked the topics that were covered and the group therapy.”
“[For the IOP] I liked the balance of education, self-care, and sharing. I really like the ongoing discussion in the education sessions and sharing during this time, as well as in group [therapy]”
“[The IOP] was great-not just for recovery, but for life”
Anonymous Evaluation Form
“[IOP] group was great for opening up and constructive feedback”
Anonymous Evaluation Form
“[The IOP was] informative, interactive and entertaining. Keep up the great work!”
“Thank you for the very excellent group [therapy session]. The small change in perspective of my communication is making waves.”
“The newsletter sent to me was a reminder to thank you for your weekly video messages. They are quick but helpful bits of info which give you food for thought! Keep them coming!”
“The Family weekend [of the IOP] was incredible for me personally. Thank you many times over for this wonderful opportunity.”
Rebecca Foster, Foreward Reviews
The mixture of practical information and reassurances make this essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
With their first book, Addiction Is Addiction, Raju Hajela, Sue Newton, and Paige Abbott aim to foster “more open and honest dialogues about the role of Addiction in society, without stigma or judgment.” This comprehensive, well-organized guide discusses the features of addictive thinking and feeling, suggests holistic recovery methods, and offers useful definitions, diagrams, and case studies.
The authors are affiliated with Health Upwardly Mobile Inc., a health and wellness company based in Calgary, Alberta. Tracing the history of addiction back to the eighteenth century, when it was first known as “alcoholic disease syndrome,” they present an expert view of the disease’s symptoms and outlook. By stressing that addiction is a “chronic brain disease” rather than a “moral failing or personal weakness,” they evince a compassionate perspective that will encourage patients and their family members to examine their emotions and take a proactive, spiritual approach to recovery.
Addiction is influenced by both genetics and environment, the former accounting for perhaps 50 to 60 percent of incidence. Trauma does not cause it, but can aggravate it. Although the book is full of such relevant background details, the facts never become overwhelming thanks to the variety of materials included. Intriguing case studies, most of them narrated in first person, are set in italics, and diagrams and tables illustrate patients’ likely feelings, relationship roles, and recovery stages. Reading this should be an interactive experience, what with self-assessment questions and affirmations, a journaling template, and a recovery activities checklist with a sample schedule. Extensive endnotes and bibliography plus a helpful glossary provide ample resources for further research, and chapter summaries will ensure that all the take-home messages sink in.
Sometimes the book goes into too much detail for laymen. However, this means that it can be used by professionals as well as patients. An appendix on chakras seems out of place, even with the book’s focus on spiritual means of recovery. The authors have also made the unusual decision to always capitalize Addiction, “to emphasize that it is a proper noun and the name of a serious disease.” That’s as may be, but in practice it can look like a repeated typing mistake. Information appears to be specific to North America, especially when it comes to funding limitations and patient advocacy, but the general principles of care should be applicable worldwide.
This book is strongly recommended to those who have participated in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The mixture of practical information and reassurances will make it essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Review make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Three health care professionals present an approach to treating addiction as a disease having both physical and psychological components.
In this debut health book, Hajela, Newton, and Abbott address the challenges of addiction from a holistic medical and social perspective. The book opens with an explanation of addiction—which the authors capitalize throughout, part of their effort to mitigate the stigma associated with the word—as a condition that impairs the functions of the brain. They address the physical and behavioral symptoms associated with it, using pathology as a framework for understanding and treating addiction. Without blaming the patient for developing the condition in the first place, the book attempts to acknowledge the role of personal responsibility in managing a condition often attributed to individual shortcomings. The authors address medical treatments that can be effective for some forms of addiction, like alcohol and opiates, as well as the role of psychotherapy in treating underlying psychological problems and combating the thought patterns that lead to addiction behaviors. While much of the book is aimed at people dealing with addiction, later chapters discuss the roles of friends and family and treatment providers, along with strategies each group can employ in supporting the patient. For the most part, the book advocates a balanced, reasonable approach to dealing with addiction in its many forms, drawing on research and standard practices developed by mainstream organizations. As a result, it is disconcerting when the text introduces energy healing as a component of treatment: “It is important to understand that when people are out of balance in any of the energy centres, or chakras, people run at either a higher or lower level of energy.” Although an appendix explains the concept of chakras in more detail, energy healing is not essential to the book’s mission, and skeptics will still find it a useful resource for developing an approach to treating both the mental and physical aspects of addiction and understanding it as a chronic disease.
Comprehensive approach to treating addiction as a condition affecting both mind and body.
I have found HUM very supportive and non-judgmental, yet I have been challenged every step of the way. The spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual teaching has been clear and consistent but never forced.
My experience has been mainly positive for the most part. Anything negative or perceived as negative, I have been able to discuss with staff and it is professionally dealt with.
I value my weekly [group therapy] sessions at HUM greatly. My personal experience there means more to me than I can describe in one paragraph. It helps me really understand my recovery and my life when sometimes I feel that everything is lost or in a state of confusion.
I was very fortunate to hear about HUM and then become a patient. I may well have averted death if I did not receive the guidance and support of HUM. Having the backing of HUM as I returned to work and went off again was invaluable. Dr. Hajela listened to me and had the knowledge and understanding that gave me the confidence to be patient in my early recovery. I was never judged though I expected to be. I am grateful beyond words for the help I received in battling my addiction.
Very professional , discreet, and honestly committed to helping people in recovery.
Thought provoking sessions that focus particularly on my addiction. Understanding a problem and all of the subtleties that come with it are crucial to my recovery.
I felt very safe and comfortable and I felt truly cared for by the staff and never judged
[The HUM IOP] was great, I learnt so much
I am very satisfied with the services I receive at HUM. I feel that I am recognized and acknowledged by the staff…I feel very comfortable coming to HUM and appreciate the team approach. In closing, I must say that I feel very supported by the professionals at HUM.
The HUM group is a great asset for any person struggling with addiction as well as the complicated issues that surround them.
I really like how open the staff are. They are easy to connect with and talk to.
The IOP is awesome! This was life changing for me
I appreciate the attitude that recovery is approached with
The IOP provides fantastic support and the feeling that problems are manageable, there is hope in recovery, and it is never too late to seek help