The Brand, Spanking New!

Finding Resilience to Live in the Moment Again I like new things. I like them so much that I seek after them all the time. Well . . . I’ll be honest—I lust after new things. Things like new cars. I love new cars. That new car smell is the best. Even the new, used-car is fairly cool. But the fun-factor gauge definitely goes past “eleven” when you buy a new, new car. You know how it goes: You think the moment you drive it off the lot that everyone is looking at you. “Holy shit—look at that guy! He’s … Continue reading

Art Exercises Help Boost Self-Esteem

Every day, we’re bombarded with so many ideas about who we should be and how to look and act that we often lose sight of who we truly are. We all struggle with self-acceptance every once in a while, and need to remind ourselves to love who we’ve become. Creative Arts Therapist Mallory Denison says art can be therapeutic in helping people to become more compassionate with themselves, and ultimately with others. “People who work on tapping into their true, authentic selves may find themselves happier,” she explains. “Connecting inward is an absolutely core exercise for people who want to … Continue reading

From Mozart to Motown Music Reignites Memory

“Music is my sanctuary. Music kept me alive.” Sir Elton John, in a recent CBS News profile, could have been speaking for all of us. But most of us are more likely to take music for granted because, well, it’s just always there. Natalie Angier, in a February 8, 2016 New York Times article, wrote, “We marry to music, graduate to music, mourn to music.” In other words, music is a fundamental part of our lives and has always been, as evidenced by the archaeological finding of carved bone flutes dating back bout 40,000 years. Our immigrant ancestors carried rudimentary … Continue reading

Sobriety Travel Plan: Don’t Leave Home Without It

As I prepared for my first Spring get-away since becoming a recovering alcoholic, I accepted that I can’t do the things I did before or stay in the type of places that appealed to me when I was drinking. Regardless of where I was going I had to build my sobriety into my travel plans; I realized that I needed to take steps to ensure a sobriety- and-travel mix. Fundamentally, I believe it’s possible to vacation and have fun just as I did when drinking. Sure, there will be temptations and cravings that go beyond the normal stress of traveling. … Continue reading

Art Therapy – Top 10 Benefits

by Joan French In my therapy practice I treat clients of all ages who enter treatment for a number of different reasons. I consider my general approach to be Experiential, employing a broad range of interventions. As part of my offerings – I include art therapy. Many clients I encounter haven’t heard of it, and are unfamiliar as to how it might be able to help. I felt it was important to highlight the benefits of using art in therapy, so I’ve composed this, ‘Art Therapy – Top 10 Benefits’ list: 1. Art Therapy can provide a forum to express … Continue reading

Art Therapy can benefit anxiety and stress at work

Our nation seems like it’s always in the grips of a stress epidemic. Stress and anxiety are disorders that affect more people than ever before, with research suggesting that work related stress costs the American economy $300 billion each year as a result of related health care costs and missed days at work. According to 76% of those individuals suffering from stress, money and work are the leading causes of the condition. Workplace stress can have a myriad of adverse effects. It can lead to physical and psychological systems (with one in ten strokes being attributed to stress) and, at … Continue reading

Women in Recovery offer Connection

Their backgrounds are unique, their stories vary and their recovery programs may differ, but they are all women in recovery that come together to heal, transform and most importantly to connect. Women in Recovery (WIR) is a monthly speaker series held on the fourth Wednesday of the month at The Retreat in Wayzata. Their mission is to create a caring community that provides education, spiritual insight, and growth opportunities for women in all 12-Step recovery programs. Each month, WIR gathers to learn and grow around issues of universal concern to women in all forms of recovery. From relationships to health … Continue reading

Happily Ever Now: Four Ways To Be In Love In The Present Moment

We all know that Happily Ever After doesn’t always pan out. Tinderella and Prince Match.com don’t always ride off into the sunset, and well, that doesn’t mean it was a complete failure after all. Many times people come into our lives for a moment of time to help us grow and expand; then their duty is done. Unfortunately we often get so caught up in obsessive future planning of the “what if’s” and the “might be’s”, that we miss the magic of the moment. Which essentially is all that really exists. What about this…Happily Ever Now. Being present with your … Continue reading

Good Health. If it’s so easy, why is it so hard?

“Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford In 2009 Rip Esselstyn published The Engine 2 Diet – The Texas Firefighter’s 28-day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds. He had followed a plant-based diet most of his life and credits it with giving him the necessary strength and stamina to be a successful world-class triathlete and later a firefighter. His Engine 2 Diet is the result of his offer – and promise – to help a fellow firefighter lower a dangerously high cholesterol level. The dramatic results prompted him to … Continue reading

Progress, Not Perfection

We are well into the New Year now, and we’re either slogging through our resolutions and changes, or they’ve been tossed aside as old habits come creeping back. Whichever side of the coin you fall on, inspiration and motivation for better health isn’t hard to find. It seems everyone around you is on your side — there’s a mass exodus to the local gym, the break room at work is stocked with healthy snacks, and there are about 400 nutrition and exercise blog posts popping up on your news feed. While this support can be helpful, it also has the … Continue reading

Sobriety Resolutions for 2016

Doing the right thing and expecting the same results is the principle behind my Sobriety Resolutions for 2016. I closed out the year sober and realized I needed to take steps to help ensure I will end this year clean. My thinking is that if I do what worked to stay clean I will get similar results. This is not the traditional “resolutions” that didn’t work for me in the past. I gave up on setting New Year’s goals years ago because I finally accepted that I was setting myself up for failure and disappointment. I really have only one … Continue reading

Winter is the time to give your kidneys some love

In the healing philosophy of the Far East the energy flow in our environment is reflected in our bodies. In the system of the Five Elements, it is the Water Element that corresponds to the night-time in the daily cycle and the winter in the yearly cycle. The organs associated with water and thus winter are the kidneys and the urinary bladder. Isn’t it amazing that your two kidneys, which are the size of your fists, can filter you blood, all one and a half gallons of it, 400 times a day! The adrenals are associated with the kidneys and … Continue reading

Homeless for the Holidays

On a cold December evening in 1962, I was walking home along Nicollet Avenue enjoying the elaborate holiday displays when I saw a man leaning against a store window. His wellworn wool coat was fully buttoned against the cold air and one boot was slit open to accommodate a bandaged foot. He held pencils in one hand and a metal cup in the other. I put a dollar into the cup and accepted a pencil. He spoke softly, something I couldn’t make out. I leaned in and asked, “What was that?” Louder he said, “Thank you; God bless you.” I … Continue reading

Tell Me A Story

A young mother in residential treatment uses her words to share her story with her 3-year-old son I am Michelle O., a 23-year-old recovering alcoholic, and mother of a three-year-old little boy named Cooper. During my time in residential, my counselor gave me one last treatment assignment: He asked me to write a book explaining my addiction in a way that my son would understand. Although this seemed intimidating at first, as I began to write I recognized more ways that I could personalize the story in a way that would be familiar to my son. I found ways to … Continue reading

Gratitude? Yes, Please

“Enough is a feast.” — Buddhist Proverb One rainy afternoon while I sat reading in the den of my home with a warm mug of coffee to one side, and a purring cat on the other, I came across a little gem of a story. It spoke to me about resiliency — the ability people have to bounce back after tragedy or trauma. It was also about Abraham Lincoln, and an account documented in the early years of the Civil War: A young man living in Kentucky had been enticed into the rebel army. After a few months he became … Continue reading

Living in the Wake of Addiction: Lessons for Courageous Caregivers

Many people in recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD) say that being restless, irritable, and discontent began long before they ever tried to medicate those feelings with their first drink or drug. Until they experience recovery, these emotions can sometimes make the person feel like everyone else but them has received a different instruction manual for life. But what about the person who is in a relationship with someone with a SUD? How do they learn to handle the extreme anxiety, stress, worry, and need to control that they might feel when their loved one experiences SUD? Where is … Continue reading