From Illinois to the Caribbean – Treatment Centers Evolve

1879. Dr. Leslie Keeley, who had studied alcoholic soldiers while serving as a Union Army surgeon, founded the Keeley Institute in a small wood frame building in Dwight, Illinois. He claimed his new discovery, Double Chloride of Gold Remedies, to be administered by four daily injections, would cure “inebriety, tobaccoism and neurasthenia.” Many cures were promoted toward the end of the 19th century as the country moved toward prohibition. None was as famous – or controversial – as Dr. Keeley’s “gold remedy.” It is believed that more than half a million alcoholics and addicts took the Keeley Cure between 1880 … Continue reading

EGO Reduction: The change nobody wants to make (least of all me)

Recently a good friend posted a great video on my Facebook wall. It showed a concept of a personal aircraft and it was soooo cool. Here’s the deal: I’m pretty sure I’d kill myself in such a machine, regardless of any high-tech safety features it might afford (and it’s doubtful that I could even afford to buy it, anyway.) Small aircraft are inherently dangerous to fly, because there are too many variables to simplify the process. It’s especially difficult to fly at night or in crappy weather conditions. The old adage with small aircraft goes something like this: “If you … Continue reading

Treatment Programs

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

The White House Honors Pioneer in Addiction Treatment & Rehabilitation Advocacy

Founder of Beit T’Shuvah, Harriet Rossetto, is recognized as a national leader for her work treating addiction A ceremony on May 20, 2015 at the White House honored Harriet Rossetto, founder of Beit T’Shuvah (Bate-t’shoo-vah), as an “Advocate for Action.” Rossetto was selected as a national role model for the unique approach to addiction prevention, rehabilitation and educational programs offered through her residential treatment center. She graciously accepted the award from National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli. “I am pleased to honor the work Harriet Rossetto is doing to make our communities healthier and safer,” said Botticelli. “By promoting … Continue reading

What’s in a Word

The past-tense word recovered is used in several places in the beginning of the book of Alcoholics Anonymous. This was pointed out to me in early sobriety, and in my mind, indicated that if I worked the 12-steps with a sponsor, and service work became a part of my life, that I too will be recovered. I also thought as my life improved and the obsession to drink was taken away that recovered meant that the obsession wouldn’t ever return. I was wrong. In early 2006, I left a relationship of four years when I found out my fiancé was … Continue reading

Finding Purpose in Recovery

For an addict, the prospect of no longer using whatever it is that gets them through each day is daunting. There’s a comfort in knowing what life is going to look like even if all it entails is dragging yourself out of bed, taking a drink, smoke, or hit of crystal meth, and going on with a day focused only on managing the disaster. The dark cloud that surrounds us is obscured by our drug of choice — it’s what makes the days tolerable. The first step of recovery – Addiction treatment sets the table Some of us are sent … Continue reading

Ante Up! All In For Life’s Games

Eleanor Leonard

“You know horses are smarter than people. You never heard of a horse going broke betting on people.” ~ Will Rogers Gambling. What comes to mind? An iconic movie scene? Maybe Daniel Craig’s James Bond staring unflinchingly across the poker table at the villain before Bond’s straight flush wins him $115 million. Perhaps the roulette table at Rick’s Café Americain in Casablanca? Or animated characters in Toy Story 3 placing bets around a Fisher-Price See ‘N Say toy? Or the Enterprise crew playing poker in Star Trek: The Next Generation? Movies have portrayed gambling scenarios from elegant to seedy since … Continue reading

The Game of Catch

I want you to imagine something. I want you to imagine what your perfect day would look like to you. How late would you sleep in? Drawing the curtains open and looking out a window, what would the weather look like outside? Take a deep breath through your nose. What does this day smell like? What would you eat for this day? Who would you spend your time with — or would you be alone? What would you do or where would you go? Anything special happen on this most perfect of days? Close your eyes and imagine this day. … Continue reading

After Switching Therapists

Breathless,lunch-less,my quaking bog bodyspills what it can,fills the room with fear. Arthur says,“You fear what you don’t know.Once you know itit will no longer besomething to fear.” He listens again and says,“I could be wrong,but I think this is aboutanger and power.” I exhale, smile.I can breath again.Imagine, all this crazy, scary shitwhittled downto two common nouns. from Excavation, poems by Janet Jerve published by North Star Press., 2013.  Janet has taught poetry in Minnesota public schools and worked as a writer/editor for nonprofit organizations.

The Impact of Making an Impact

We hit bottom. Then we hit bottom again. Then we wake up and we are 30-years-old and wonder, “where did I go?” How did I arrive to waking up in the gray damp squalor of a jail cell when last I was paddling an orange We•no•nah canoe to the far, far end of the lake. Through the Tunnel of Love and into the shallows with pancake sized lily pads and one two three four five painted turtles sunning themselves on a withered log. I left off somewhere. Where did I end and the party and chaos begin? Ah, yes. Boston. … Continue reading

Don’t Just Stand There – Do Nothing!

Don't Just Stand There - Do Nothing!

“He does not seem to me to be a free man who does not sometimes do nothing.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman lawyer and statesman; 1st century BC The letter confirming the August 1986 10-day retreat in California’s high-Mojave Desert contained the usual details about weather, suitable clothing, facility, housing, and this: “During the conference, there will be no television, radio or newspapers. Office telephone is for emergency use only. Please ensure that all matters at home – family, pets, job, etc. – will be taken care of during your absence so that you can devote full attention to the … Continue reading

Encourage Attitude of Gratitude in Children

Attitude Of Gratitude

What does it mean to feel gratitude? More than just being thankful, a feeling of gratitude can help you connect with the people in your life and the world that surrounds you. Learning to practice gratitude as an adult is often deliberate action, but if we can show a child how to feel gratitude, they would gain an invaluable gift for a lifetime. by Monisha Vasa My brain knows that gratitude is important. I know when I am in a state of gratitude — aware of my blessings, small and big, I feel happier and less alone. I feel more … Continue reading

The Retreat: Not Just for Weekends Anymore

When I first got married, my wife and I moved to a tiny hamlet in eastern Montana. It was her hometown and she had a job at a local community college teaching public speaking. My job was at a rinky-dink bank playing customer service rep and twiddling my thumbs in the back room pretending to work with the computers. It wasn’t bad, but definitely not a dream job. At least I had plenty of time after work to drink when wifey was off teaching in the evenings. We belonged to a church where my wife had been baptized as a baby … Continue reading

create art! make music! explore!

create art!  make music!  explore! It was the holiday season, my day off, and I was up to my eyeballs with things to do. So when my daughter phoned inviting me to make baked dough ornaments, I thought I just don’t have the time. But I really wanted to spend time with her so I happily put tasks on hold. I figured we’d hang out together, make a few ornaments and I’d get back to my to-do list. I arrived to a warm, sunny kitchen where she and a friend already had the first pan out of the oven displaying … Continue reading

Resentments: the Hydrochloric Acid of the Soul

“It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worthwhile? But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of harboring resentment is infinitely grave. For then we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit” —Bill W. in As Bill Sees It I’m a person who is easily pissed off. There . . . I said it. And it’s true. Let me give you an example … Continue reading