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

Venturing into Vulnerability

venturing into vulnerability

I have had to slow down recently for health reasons. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Everything and everyone around me still whirls at a 21st century tempo and my body heals at a 16th century pace. Slowly. Step by step. Day by day. I am having a timeout, initiated by my body. Just as we give children a timeout to let them self-calm and reflect on their behavior, so the universe is doing for me. Sometimes these timeouts are welcome, other times not so much. This period to recover feels more like a time to uncover. I uncover … Continue reading

Recovery from Sex Addiction

sex addiction

People who struggle with sex addiction face a challenge unlike recovery from drugs or alcohol. With chemical addictions, recovery is hard but at least sobriety is straightforward: recovery means complete abstinence from the substance.  Sex addiction is more complicated. We will always be sexual people, and most addicts will engage in sexual activity throughout their lives. The question is what constitutes healthy-as opposed to addictive-sexual activity? In this sense, the challenge is more like that faced by food addicts.  As the saying from Overeaters Anonymous goes, “Trying to eat abstinently is like trying to take a tiger out of a … Continue reading

Money Woes

money woes

“Money makes the world go ‘round” may be a great song title, but all it seems to do in your household is make things come to a screeching halt. Let’s say it’s the holidays, and you can’t believe you and your wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend are fighting about money-again. She goes out and buys a ridiculous set of unbelievably expensive ornaments for the tree, which thank-you-very-much will only be seen for two weeks out of the entire year, and then she has a fit when she finds out you bought a remote control that allows you to coordinate the VCR, TV, and half … Continue reading