Found any P-E-A-C-E Lately?

How peaceful are you feeling? After all, peace is the theme of the holiday season. And serenity is commonly championed in Twelve Step programs. Shouldn’t peace be showing up everywhere these days? If seasonal serenity is eluding you, I invite you to join me in taking a fresh look at the word peace. Let’s consider what its letters could stand for that might induce a more peaceful state. P = Possibility and Passion The first “P” word that comes to my mind is possibility. When I’m not feeling serene, it’s often because I think there is only one answer – … Continue reading

Parenting the Addict: 5 Key Strategies to Help Parents Thrive

by Barbara Krovitz-Neren Parents need support. An epidemic of drug addiction with our kids today is scarier then ever. Every day on national and local news, more and more stories keep pointing to the opiate epidemic, overdoses, and addiction of our young people. These kids have parents whose hearts are breaking and need ongoing support and strategies to take back their parenting from the addiction of their teens and young adults. I believe no parent ever intentionally wakes up each day and decides to harm their kids. Yet, with the affects of addiction on their parenting, most of these parents … Continue reading

When We Live Without an Observing Self

John Driggs

The oblivion we once hid from danger has now become our invisible prison. — Anonymous Have you ever said “Why can’t he see what he is doing? Isn’t it obvious to everybody!” or “Gee I never saw it that way before. Maybe you’re right” Most of us have moment of cluelessness, especially in matters pertaining to ourselves. However when we are continually out of touch with seeing ourselves or not aware that we don’t see ourselves very accurately we have a serious problem on our hands. If this is the case for you then you are certainly in good company. … Continue reading

from the publisher

Perception Sometimes from happiness I stop And look about me to take in the next delight The next raindrop That looks more full More pregnant than the last Raindrops and then Snow! Makes me giggle while it falls and mingles with its brethren each in its own playful pile. Sometimes from wonder I start To examine things like Candlewax pooled in softwarm puddles Or fingertips as their whorled patterns disappear into the furry hair of my dog Each sometime a fragment a shard A slow blink from a sultry eye. Happy Holidays from all of us at The Phoenix to … Continue reading

The Path to Wellness is Not Always Straight

It was the summer after my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—a year of small successes and setbacks, ongoing struggles with anxiety and depression, and a budding addiction that I wouldn’t admit, much less address, for another two years. Substance use hadn’t consumed my life yet, but things were moving in that direction. I was able to hide outward signs of addiction behind academic success and the norms of a campus culture that thrived on alcohol. My GPA said “functioning student;” the bottles and cans that filled my trash screamed “alcoholic.” But I didn’t look much worse than the … Continue reading

How to Keep Your Sanity During the Holidays

I hate the holidays. I know that seems like a strong statement, but — even at nearly six years sober — I still find the holidays incredibly challenging. It’s a time loaded with expectations, increased tensions in relationships, competing priorities, stress, and good old family dynamics. As if that isn’t enough, we can start to feel sensory overload in every direction: sounds, crowds of people, flashing lights, food everywhere. Conscious of my limitations and sensitive nature, I just want to crawl into a ball and hibernate at this time of year. That said — like anything in recovery — we … Continue reading

The Power of Love

By Osho St. Martin’s Press Osho is a spiritual teacher known for his contribution to the study of inner transformation. Regular readers of this publication may remember a previous review of Trust, another book in the OSHO Life Essentials series. He states in the introduction of this book, “My whole effort here is to release your love sources, to ignite your love flame. And once that is there, then it takes care; then your life will become creative of its own accord.” Searching for love? Widen your view. If you have a book you’d like reviewed or have an old … Continue reading

Life Lessons: 125 Prayers and Meditations

By Julia Cameron TarcherPerigee Julia Cameron does it again. She is an accomplished artist and active in advocating the exploration and development of creativity. She encourages everyone to improve working on their spiritual path. Readers know her for writing The Artist’s Way and Finding Water. This book provides readers who want to improve their conscious contact with a Higher Power a variety of short prayers and meditations to facilitate that action. Cameron says, “God is not distant and different; rather, God is near and easy.” Stop struggling and enjoy a deeper relationship with your HP. If you have a book … Continue reading

The Self-Love Experiment: Fifteen Principles for Becoming More Kind, Compassionate, and Accepting of Yourself

By Shannon Kaiser TarcherPerigee Kaiser offers readers 15 Self-Love Principles such as Be Who You Needed to Be When You Were Younger and Things Don’t Happen to You, They Happen for You. She shares her personal story of how she changed her relationship with her body and healed it. She gives loving advice to sufferers of depression, addiction, eating disorders, and corporate burnout. This includes journal prompts and a free audio mediation. The self-love experiment encourages readers to put themselves first and live a passion-filled life. If you have a book you’d like reviewed or have an old favorite you’d … Continue reading

Beyond The Imprint: A New Modality for Mental Health Practitioners and Those Seeking Their Help

By Kate O’Connell This book is an introduction to the science of epigenetics and how our DNA and environment influence thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. O’Connell uses her own family tree to describe how she was influenced by familial behaviors and patterns. Mental health professionals may find value in this approach to understanding how individuals are imprinted by their family and dysfunctional patterns are formed. Each chapter concludes with a summary such as O’Connell’s statement regarding the Therapeutic Relationship and compassion fatigue, “Fatigue, exhaustion and second-hand trauma develops from the conscious and unconscious identification that what is occurring in the moment … Continue reading

Enkindling Kindness

“Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato I have started tracking kindness – noticing her as she gently touches the ordinary of my day. I see her at the bus stop as the first grade big sister greets the eager-to-have-her-home little brother. I see kindness in the neighbor who mows two lawns beyond her own. I see her in the gentle touch of the care-givers at the senior housing when residents gather for weekly prayer. Kindness can be simple and fleeting – a quick recognition, a knowing smile, a gentle touch. Kindness can also be robust … Continue reading

I’m Going to Stop, I Mean It This Time

As a detox clinic nurse, Diane watched the revolving door of repeat drunks. Some she knew she’d see again, having failed at sobriety one more time. Others seemed so very promising. One patient, when ready to leave, so clearly talked the talk and walked the walk that she was sure this one would make it. The next day he committed suicide. Relapse is the ever-vigilant hound nipping at the heels of people with addiction, often leading to depression and despair. But some addicts get past it and slam the door on relapse forever. They quit using, find relief from their … Continue reading

Returning to the Basics after Traumatic Brain Injury

“Traumatic Brain Injury is an important public health problem in the United States. Because the problems that result from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), such as those of thinking and memory, are often not visible, and because awareness about TBI among the general public is limited, it is frequently referred to as the ‘silent epidemic.’” Marilynn Lash: The Essential Brain Injury Guide (4th Edition) The Brain Injury Alliance of America, 2007. When I was new to the practice of chemical dependency counseling, I worked at Fairview Recovery Services. One morning a rushed counselor breezed past me and handed me something from … Continue reading

Dating in Recovery: It’s Complicated

Dating in recovery is a complex subject. We come into recovery as broken people; detached from ourselves, and from our feelings. We’re told, ‘the good news that you get your feelings back.’ One of those feelings is our sexual instinct. We’ve all been there at a meeting when an attractive person walks in. Come on, we’ve all found someone attractive at some point or another! I recall an old sponsor who would take one look at the sparkle in my eyes, and would immediately tell me, ‘look at the floor, Olivia!’ Feeling berated, I often did what I was told. … Continue reading

Seeking Treatment: Where do we go when we are Finally Ready?

Fill in the blanks: Where do/does ________ I/my partner/child/friend/relative go for help with _______ my/his/ her __________ addiction/mental health needs/co-occurring disorder? The options are ____________confusing/mind boggling/ daunting. A first step toward getting recovery and mental health services often begins with a phone call. From there, an intervention may be appropriate. Or a meeting with a chemical health assessor or psychologist. The information gleaned from such a professional will help inform the next steps. Financial considerations, medical and psychological histories, and willingness to make a commitment to change play vital roles in determining next steps. These professionals also will discuss with … Continue reading

Reclaiming Your Body: Healing from Trauma and Awakening to Your Body’s Wisdom

By Suzanne Scurlock-Durana New World Library Scurlock-Durana has over three decades of experience teaching and using Cranio- Sacral Therapy and other bodywork modalities to help people heal from trauma by physical and emotional disease. In this book, she provides clear instructions to help readers understand how to reconnect with the wisdom of their body. She includes individual’s stories to help describe the process of using one’s intuitive self to recognize the things that might be causing harm and the necessary steps to make changes. Each of the main wisdom areas, identified as the heart, gut, pelvis, legs and feet, and … Continue reading