• Hazelden Renewal Center

Are Sports Conducive to Recovery? [Opinion]

competition and recovery

I am a big sports fan. I like to play sports, although I don’t do that as often as I used to, and I follow all of the major sports. I talk sports at work, and listen to sports talk radio and sports center on T.V. just about daily. I think that I am aware of the arguments in favor of sports for a variety of healthy lifestyle reasons. But recently I have given some deeper consideration to sports as it relates to recovery. Some weeks ago I went to watch a basketball tournament put on by a local radio … Continue reading

The Road to Resilience

tree in the desert

Our knee-jerk reaction to the idea of being depressed is that it is a terrible state in which to find ourselves: sad, discouraged, stressed out, fatigued, puzzled, hurting, lonely, afraid. It sounds pretty awful. So why is it that some doctors and philosophers put a positive spin on depression, saying that it can frequently be good for us? Why is it that most psychiatrists today would not regard the experience of depression as an illness in and of itself? Depression normal? That’s right, and often necessary. There are times when you and I should feel depressed, and there may be … Continue reading

Let’s Just Have Fun and Make Stuff Up

improv

“Some of the funniest people I’ve ever met have been at recovery meetings.” This high praise comes from someone who is in the business of being funny. John Gebretatose, who left alcohol behind 15 years ago, performs and teaches Improv theater. He also mentors others to do the same. At HUGE Theater in Minneapolis, a popular home and incubator for Improv, Gebretatose is the director of diversity and inclusion. He is also the co-founder of an African-American Improv comedy troupe called Blackout, which has performed internationally. What is Improv theater? Improv is a lot like when you were a kid … Continue reading

The Ability to Identify as an Artist First

artability people incorporated

How People Incorporated’s Artability Program Challenges Mental Health Stigma For people living with a persistent mental illness ­— stigma, debilitating symptoms and a lack of self-esteem — can create a misconception that they are unable to choose who they want to be in life. They may feel defined by their mental illness. Daily struggles, confusing emotions and fragmented thoughts, may also make it difficult to communicate how they feel, producing this overwhelming feeling of being misunderstood. There is no choice involved in this particular experience — their mental illness choses them. The good news, however, is that it does not … Continue reading

The Insufficiency of Real Love

insufficiency of real love

Most of us are aware of those sublime experiences of life we call love. We may feel uplifted in being more than we already are through the continued tenderness of a loved one. It’s as good as it gets. We may also have magnificent moments when we have transported a dear one to be a better person through our efforts at kindness. The power of such caring may live in our memories for years as we witness the Higher Power of real love. But what if love is not enough? Sometimes, it just isn’t. It’s no wonder then, that we … Continue reading

Healing Through Music

healing and music

Bob Ross, the infinitely relaxed host of The Joy of Painting famously said, “We don’t make mistakes, we have happy little accidents.” And I believe Bob. If you are a musician or performing artist and you live with crushing panic, anxiety, depression, and are paralyzed with fear and self-doubt, I hope you believe Bob too. Although I am not a full-time musician, I recently released a solo EP and am currently writing and rehearsing for a new album with another band that I play in. I understand the grind, the hustle, and the exhaustion of the music business. There seems … Continue reading

Art Heals

art is healing

“Art is a wound turned into light.” ~ Georges Braque, 20th Century French Artist I am not surprised that healing and art are connected. I know the calm I feel as I play piano or focus on a favorite painting or indulge in a luscious piece of poetry. Art is an oasis in the hurry of my life, whether it is my art or someone else’s. Healing is soul work. Our wounds cry out for healing and light. The slow work of healing is a process of making whole, but it does not necessarily return us to what was. Nor is it … Continue reading

Amber’s Story

first person testimony

I haven’t always been known as a person in recovery, as a matter of fact a label that many knew me as is would be addict, meth-head, felon, thief, liar, and many more. I spent 14 long years loyal to a drug that should have killed me. Yet, I stand. My Life Then By the time I was 19-years-old, I had two children by two different fathers, was in college pursuing a degree, all the while working at 3M as an intern hoping that I would one day become an employee. I had always dreamed of working for such a … Continue reading

Basket Making 101

basket weaving

About this time last year I ventured to the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN, for three days of basket weaving. Yep, Basket Weaving 101. Ostensibly, the adventure was to create and take home our very own, personalized, Birch Bark Berry Basket. In reality, the trip was much more profound. None of us knew quite what to expect, having never attended any of the wide-ranging offerings at the North House Folk School. And so we all packed for three days of being together in a cabin up north, collectively making dinners, catching up on each other’s lives, and … Continue reading

Finding Happiness

happiness lemons

“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.” Albert Schweitzer I am happy to report that after much searching I have at long last found the key to happiness. Well at least I’ve unlocked my personal definition of contentment and I’m happy to share it. It wasn’t long ago I believed happiness could be found only after I’d reach certain goals. The problem with that logic was that when a goal was met there were always others to strive for. If  I failed to fulfill a certain wish did that mean I was doomed to eternal despair? … Continue reading