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

When in Doubt Say Something Bizarre

No matter what progress we may have made in taking better care of ourselves in our day to day lives, we are in danger of leaving that progress behind when we pack for our holiday trips — whether the trip is cross country or just across town. Consider the strange phenomenon of instant age regression when you step across the threshold of your parents’ home. You may be 42 when you step onto the porch, but once inside the house your psyche automatically shrinks to 12. Or think about the certainty with which you feel that you “have to” be … Continue reading

One Home, Many Hearts*

by Elaine Taylor A few years ago, I was whining to my daughter about my imminent crossing of that dreaded Rubicon: the Big Five-O. “The best of my life is behind me. I’m entering the period of throat wattles and colonoscopies every five years … and uselessness. Irrelevance.” Being both blunt and wise she said, “Ya know … someone who feels as sorry for herself as you do ought to go out and do something for someone who’s got real problems.” Whoa! A knife to the heart of my pity-party. But how could I not take her advice? Two weeks … Continue reading

It’s Never Too Late for Treatment

“Too bad you didn’t get treatment for alcoholism earlier in your life,” said a young man in the discussion group after hearing my addiction story. “Let’s face it,” he continued, “your best years are behind you.” A big guy with a voice that didn’t match his 6’1”, nearly 300-pound frame, this opiate addict had a tendency of saying things that can be taken the wrong way. Sensing this was one of those occasions, and based on the bewildered look on my face that indicated I had indeed taken it the other way than he intended, he quickly added, “But you … Continue reading

WORDS from readers and writers

Poems by Francisco Narvaez and Mike A Jackson Touched by changes Impasse after impasse Cars drift by billowing smoke in the night sky Poison! Poison! We yell as we laugh inhaling the sick gas The piff pass as I sit back Demons dastardly convince me im not cashed Ask God why and Allah Jehovah puts his arm around my shoulder Not high They say son just listen You’re powerless so don’t get to no bickering I start sniffling Cus I know I know Unfortunately my mind goes and goes Back to the original plan of attack Its like my mind … Continue reading

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