Is 50 the New 35? It Depends

older man addiction

Baby Boomers, the generation that is 77 million strong, born between 1946 and 1964, have always assumed that they would live longer and healthier than their parents’ generation. The promise of ongoing youth, health and vitality was the accepted belief. However, there are some rocky obstacles on this road to healthy aging that have roots in lifestyle, genetics, and the inevitable aging process itself. In 1992 the National Institute on Aging (NIA) sponsored a Health and Retirement Survey of 20,000 Americans age 50+. Results show that chronic pain plagues many in their early to mid-50’s. Respondents reported poorer health, more … Continue reading

Naivete: Believing Someone Cares About You…When They Really Don’t

naivete

Oh, who among us can forget the wonderful world of childhood innocence?! The world was our oyster. Good overcame evil. We were protected and safe. Life was simple. At least that’s what we thought at the time. Obviously not all of us had such experiences. However those of us who were well protected undoubtedly went through such childhood pretense. Even today as adults, we can still believe in magic. We may dress up for Halloween and eat our children’s candy. We may dance around the Christmas tree wondering how many presents are for us. Just like the good old days. … Continue reading

First Responders Need Help Coping With Stress

first responders and stress and substance abuse

For most of us, our first responders-police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics-are part of our local fabric. We may nod to the cop on the beat, wave to a crew of firefighters as they pass by or pull over obediently when an ambulance races by us.  But, we generally take these men and women for granted. We just trust that they will be there to help us through whatever disaster or crisis may befall our home or our community.  But who is there to help these helpers? We got a glimpse of how stressful a first responder’s job can … Continue reading

Volunteering Is Good Medicine

volunteering good medicine

Volunteering is like a happiness pill. At least that’s true for Ruth, a recovering addict who lives at Knollwood Place, an apartment building for older adults in St. Louis Park. Ruth likes going to what she calls her “happy place” — helping others living in the building with recreational outings, special lunches, and other activities. She also likes helping adults with disabilities and children with Down syndrome at nearby community organizations. “It’s such a gift for me to volunteer,” Ruth says, even contributing to her sobriety and peace of mind. “It’s a distraction from the merry-go-round in my brain. I … Continue reading

Free at Last: A Local Chef Breaks the Chains of Addiction

first person testimony

My life was ruining my life. The things I once loved had begun to consume all my time, all my relationships and all of me. From an outsider’s perspective, I looked as though I was at the peak of my profession. I’d traveled, met some amazing culinarians both here and abroad, been in magazines and on TV, worked in some fantastic kitchens, and now I was a chef in a well-respected restaurant at the heart of a city. Inside, though, I was a mess. I was riddled with anxiety and depression. I felt unlovable and alone, even in a crowded … Continue reading

The Benefits of Giving Unconditionally

giving unconditionally

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill Some might say that giving unconditionally is the path of true abundance. Stepping beyond our self-interest and thinking of others is a gift in and of itself, especially for those in recovery. It is not only scientifically proven to make us happy, but it is also recommended by some of the world’s greatest leaders, spiritual and religious figures, and psychologists. I spoke to recovery scientist, researcher, and therapist Austin Brown about the benefits of giving unconditionally for people in recovery. By … Continue reading

Show the World All the Love in Your Heart

A recent night on the town found me next to the bars of yesteryear, at the Orpheum Theatre’s staging of Beautiful, a “jukebox musical” highlighting Carole King’s prolific songwriting and singing career. Before long, I was transported to the green shag rug and purple and blue stereo of my junior high school days, and the image of a young girl flopped on the bed, listening over and over again to the strains of the Tapestry album and imagining what life had in store. The power of Carole’s music, at that time, at that place in my life, was pivotal. Her … Continue reading

It Takes a Village: Naloxone Training for Overdose Prevention

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” Helen Keller The opioid crisis has affected me both personally and professionally. If you are reading this article, chances are the crisis has had an impact, great or small, on you as well. Many of us wonder what part we can play to help. “It’s such a large and looming problem,” we think. “What impact can I possible have and where would I even … Continue reading

Choosing Joy

choosing joy jumping women

You ever have that day where everything is going great, you’re excited for the day and then something comes up that just throws off everything?! A text, a call, something someone says to you… Lovely. Now my perfectly good day is ruined. All thanks to one person. One thing. You know what I’m talking about? I think we all actually go through experiences like that daily, but the one thing that differentiates one person’s experience from another’s is a thing called choice. In those hard moments we all have a choice to make. You can either let that person or circumstance dictate … Continue reading

Helping You and Your Children Have Good Moral Character – Part 2

raising moral children

Editor’s note: In the last issue of The Phoenix Spirit, John Driggs lent his more than 40 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families, to the topic of how to help foster moral character in children. Driggs aptly acknowledged that parents and other caregivers are not wholly responsible on how kids turn out, nor should they take complete credit for their successes. Caregivers do, however, play a major role, and Driggs believes that it’s never too late to improve our relationships and work on building good character. Following is part two of Driggs’ insightful article. What can we … Continue reading