• Hazelden Renewal Center

Do Manners Still Matter?

“Stop the insanity!” That’s what I wanted to yell at the woman who sat across from me at the beauty salon a few Saturdays ago. She insisted on having her laptop computer in her lap, which forced her stylist to work twice as hard at coloring her hair, because she had to fight to keep the dye from dripping onto the device. After this customer shut down her computer, she stayed in true self-absorbed form, placing call after call on her cell phone, and speaking in such a loud voice nearly everyone in the salon was subjected to her conversations. … Continue reading

My First Sober Holiday

How three leading women in the recovery community handled their first holiday season sober. Holidays aren’t always picture perfect, with families sitting around the dinner table, laughing and joyful. This is especially true of families in recovery, as the effects of addiction weave throughout the family unit: Dysfunction, codependency, stress, and burnout are common themes among recovering families. This scenario can be especially challenging for anyone in recovery to navigate, but particularly so for those in early recovery who are less practiced. It is possible, however, to get through a Holiday, maintain your recovery, and keep your sanity. Who knows … Continue reading

Letter From the Editor: A Season For For-giving

The Holiday season is traditionally a season of giving. But what greater gift than giving could there be but for-giving? One of the definitions of the word forgive in Webster’s New World College Dictionary is “To give up resentment against or the desire to punish; stop being angry with; pardon.” Yet, if someone has “wronged” us how can we possibly remove that sense of anger, or desire to punish, when they have created such an effect in us? How can we let go, and move on? Or, what if the person you are asking forgiveness from doesn’t give you the … Continue reading

The Devastating Consequences of an Addiction

It’s hard to imagine myself drinking or using again. It’s been so long since the last time I got drunk or high that it seems like an alternate life. The old me is a far away, distant memory. No more hangover headaches punishing me for the previous night. That past life of alcohol and drugs is gone and I’m so much happier for it. My battle with addiction started as a battle with depression. I started having depressive thoughts in 8th grade and, over time, those thoughts slowly ate away at me until my depression became all-encompassing. I began to … Continue reading

Living a Better Financial Story

In his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller tells a powerful story he calls, “How Jason Saved His Family.” After returning from Los Angeles, where he took part in a storytelling workshop, Don got together with his friend, Jason, and learned of some trouble Jason and his wife were having with their 13-year-old daughter. She was dating a guy who was bad news; she was even experimenting with drugs.With the workshop fresh on his mind, Don made an offhand comment that Jason’s daughter “wasn’t living a very good story.” Jason was intrigued and asked Don to … Continue reading

Alcoholic’s Who Are Deaf Can Now Access A.A.’s Updated ASL Translation of “The Big Book”

ASL interpreter for AA Big Book

With over 35 million printed copies sold, the book Alcoholics Anonymous is now available in an updated abridged translation into American Sign Language. Commonly referred to as “The Big Book” this basic text of the worldwide Fellowship that bears its name is now available on DVD to the Deaf community, the Hard-of-Hearing community and the hearing community as well. https://5c8bc2b386.site.internapcdn.net/aa/ASL-aaws/AAWS_2019_Long.mp4 DVD features: Professional ASL signers and DVD video production Updated translation inspired and reviewed by A.A. members who are Deaf Audio track and subtitles for use among ASL and non-ASL users The basic principles and practices of the Fellowship that have provided a … Continue reading

Recovering the Joy of Giving

With the Holiday season drawing near, my thoughts are turning to Christmas gift-giving. Who should be on the list? What should I give? Do I have to give a gift to co-workers? Bosses? Mail delivery persons? In the midst of all this mind chatter I like to slow down, think and get clear about the spirit of gift-giving. Why give gifts and what is gift-giving about? I’m not even a practicing Christian anymore. What does Christmas mean to me? In our culture, it’s become a secular Holiday as much as a religious Holiday and has become conflated with gift-giving. Sorting … Continue reading

The Gift of Self-Forgiveness

“If I had to live my life again, I’d make all the same mistakes—only sooner.” — Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968) One of the most hidden and powerful aspects of human identity is how many of us have shame and harsh judgments towards ourselves. Some of us are barely aware of our self-contempt; others are drowning in a sea of self-revulsion and have no way to save ourselves. Most of us alternate between denial and harsh self-criticism. We are so overwhelmed by this self-devaluation that we often unconsciously choose to not acknowledge it in ourselves. Often, we don’t know why we hate … Continue reading

Prayer Primer

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God….” Step 11 What is prayer? Prayer is conversation with an inner voice, a higher power, a felt presence. Many call this conversation partner God. Some use other names: YHWH (Jehovah), Allah, Gaia, Spirit. Whatever the name we give it, we seek contact through prayer and meditation. I learned the basics of prayer as a child. Since then I’ve learned to read beyond Dick and Jane and solve problems beyond arithmetic. Too often our prayer skills stop at a third grade level. As I age, my conversations with friends … Continue reading

Overdoing It With Kids: Is It Really All That Harmful?

Our children will not go to hell in a hand basket if we occasionally spoil them. All of us could use a little pampering and a day off work from time to time. Children who are given excess attention and protection are at least getting the message that they’re loved. Unfortunately that’s only half the message children need to learn from parents. The other half is at least as important…our children also need to be taught to love themselves. If we regularly make our children’s lives too easy for them they will feel loved by us but they will likely … Continue reading