• Hazelden Renewal CenterNUWAY Annual Picnic 2019

What You Should Know About Addiction

In 2008, an estimated 20.1 million Americans aged 12 or older used illicit drugs within a month prior to a survey done by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA). This estimate represents 8 percent of that population. During that same time an estimated 22.2 million persons (8.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older) were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year based on criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV). Of these, 3.1 million were classified with dependence on or abuse of both alcohol and illicit … Continue reading

Searching For a Job? A Dozen Strategies For Success

This column provides 12 tangible tips for unemployed readers seeking employment. 1. Grief Process Grief guru Elizabeth Kubler Ross penned five stages of grief that apply directly to job loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression then acceptance. It’s normal to experience a wide range of intense feelings after being laid off, including relief if you disliked your job. Find someone safe to process your emotions with, so negative emotions don’t spill over into your job search. Never bad mouth a former employer to a prospective one…ever! 2. Holistic Approach You bring body, mind and spirit to the job search, so take … Continue reading

It’s Only a Game. Or Is It?

gaming addiction

Gaming disorder, recently recognized by the World Health Organization as a disease, affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. But for those affected, the addiction can be all-consuming, controlling the mind. Gaming addict Julian Struksheats tells his story in this interview with The Phoenix Spirit. The interview has been edited for length. How did your interest in video games begin? We got our first video game console – an Atari system– when I was five or six. Then we got Nintendo. I remember playing that a lot without any real problem. Around the … Continue reading

Cultural Myths That Undermine Our Happiness and Well-being

Myths are metaphoric stories that can inspire or demean us. Believing in magical elves in forests may make our imaginations soar; thinking that people with dark skin are inferior to us only devalues us. The most destructive myths are those that operate in our lives while remaining unexamined. They do bad things to us without our being aware of them, and surreptitiously undermine our well-being. This is especially true when other people also believe the same myths as part of a cultural ethos and we just go along with the crowd. In fact the longer I’ve lived the more I … Continue reading

Video Gaming: The Next 12-Step Frontier

first person testimony

She’s anxious at work because she worries that her boss will catch her playing solitaire again. He’s up at 2 a.m. completing a task in the epic multiplayer game while his wife sleeps. She’s distracted watching her kids at the pool because it’s hard to put down the phone. He’s obsessed with rank and makes appointments for “raids” at family dinner time, causing constant stress. These are just a few ways in which compulsive multi-player and other computer and cell phone gaming are making people’s lives unmanageable. Is it possible to be powerless over technology in the way that many … Continue reading

How Gambling Disorder Distorts the Brain

brain image

Addiction — of any kind — is often difficult for many people to understand. But gambling disorder, a compulsion in which no chemicals are actually ingested into the body, can be particularly confounding. Gambling disorder refers to the uncontrollable urge to gamble, despite serious personal consequences. In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 grouped gambling disorder into a category of disorders that also includes substance abuse. This change was made in light of new neuroscience research and brain imaging studies that show that people with gambling disorder have a lot in common with drug and alcohol addicts, including the … Continue reading

Gardening Lessons

garden with flowers

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” Claude Monet I greet my overflowing garden each morning with amazement and humility.  My garden is a miniature paradise, the closest I get to being an artist.  In the garden I partner with the natural world, giving me a palette to experiment with wonder and delight, failure and recovery. I learn so much in my garden.  The other day I removed two trees – one an elm, the other a cottonwood.  Lest you think I have been muscle building at the gym, they were seedlings – each standing about six inches above the ground in my flower bed. … Continue reading

Think About It: The Power of Positive Thought

positive wall sign

I can’t help but wonder what in the world was I thinking when I reflect on some of the major decisions I made in my young adulthood. I can only presume that I wasn’t thinking at all. My concept of contemplation was to deal with any consequences of my decisions “Later.” Such cognitive carelessness led me to marry at 18, again at 21 and once again at 29. In essence I was choosing not to think in those moments. I paid the price for my thoughtlessness with much unnecessary hardship and heartache. I manage to get myself in all kinds … Continue reading

When a Friend Has Faith

friends and faith

I told my friend I thought my life was a waste. She shook her head no. Through my endless use of profanities, and despite my angry outbursts toward her she still believed in me. She kept calling me back to her side. She never abandoned me. Still, my spirit was raging with fear that my life would never heal from the pain caused by circumstances that were beyond my control, and self inflicted. Then one day my friend’s eyes shone with care, she smiled at me, and for the very first time I heard her gentle words of hope for … Continue reading

Tending and Mending a Wounded Heart

broken heart

Many years ago on February 13, a first year representative to the New York state assembly received an urgent telegram at his Albany, N.Y., office containing a single three-word sentence: Come home now! The day before, his wife had given birth to a baby girl. Now, as the train made the five-hour trip back to his home in New York City, the new father wondered if something had gone wrong. As he read and reread the telegram, he prayed that all would be well in his household. Walking into his home, the man’s brother greeted him with this sad lament: … Continue reading