• Hazelden Renewal Center

Identity and Parenting: Role With It

man with child

I recently attended a workshop where the speaker asked participants to list ten items that define them. My silent reaction: Ah, I hate this kind of stuff. But I began to write. It was actually fairly easy. I had six items before I ran out of time.  Number six was a little cheesy: “citizen of the world.” Two through five read “teacher, counselor, musician, friend.” In my number one spot, I had proudly penciled “parent.” Many parents today—including me—are having children later in life. Often these parents are set in their careers, have saved a little money and invested in … Continue reading

Doing With Less: Is It Really All That Bad?

less is more neon sign

Let’s face it. When you’re about to lose your house to foreclosure or a job due to layoff doing with less is a bitter pill to swallow. The resulting heartache and worry may make us very reluctant to imagine any good coming from such setbacks. Yet most of us have a different type of tribulation. We have no idea of what it means to be down and out. We aren’t having our houses repossessed, we don’t live in the bombed out neighborhoods of Iraq and we don’t have to scrounge for food on the tundra of Africa. We in fact … Continue reading

After Treatment, Then What?

what to do after treatment

Treatment for addiction is only the beginning of recovery. What happens when you go back home? If you even have one anymore. Here are four stories of recovering addicts in midlife and how they meet their daily challenges while staying sober after treatment. Chris Arrowsmith Bagdon smoked off-the-street cannabis for two years to relieve ongoing pain from a brain concussion and to offset war combat flashbacks. One night he hit a batch that he suspects was laced with the drug PCP. “I started freaking out,” says Chris. It took four cops and a taser to intercept his violently out-of-control behavior. … Continue reading

A Good-bye and Thank You

Julia Edelman

“You’ve got to know when to hold them. Know when to fold them. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.” — Lyrics by Don Schlitz, 1976 Used to be, I enjoyed risks. The higher the stakes, the bigger and better the adrenaline rush. The bigger and better the adrenaline rush, the higher the enjoyment. It was the perfect cocktail: risk plus adrenaline = fun. And thus, the pleasure center in my brain got used to a healthy dose of thrill-seeking adventures. In my youth, I enjoyed the dopamine surges provided by outdoor water sports. A perfect day … Continue reading

Three Stories of Hope

first person testimony

The following testimonials are from Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge in Minneapolis. Some edits have been made for length. Tiffany’s story I struggled with a 15-year addiction to meth, opiates and alcohol prior to coming into Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge (MnTC). My physical health was in shambles and my mental health was unstable. I overdosed and was hospitalized. I had been in over 15 treatment programs. I was disconnected and homeless. I lost my career as a drug and alcohol counselor. I destroyed my relationships with my family members to the point where no one had contact with me. … Continue reading

Social Phobia: When You’re Too Scared to Show Your Inner Life to Others

I hate being in a group of people I don’t know. If I can find a way to get out of such gatherings I will. My mind gets nuts with anxiety. I fear that I will be seen as abnormal—that people can see my flaws. My voice usually cracks, sweat pours off my forehead, and I have a hard time thinking of what I want to say. I wish I could be cool like my brother—the golden boy—who can walk into a room and have everybody eating out of his hand. It’s so easy for him; so dreadfully hard for … Continue reading

A Look at Peer Recovery

Esteemed recovery historian, scholar and advocate William White notes that the concept and principles of peer recovery support has deep roots extending back to the original mutual self-help group Alcoholics Anonymous and spanning forward from that time to be a fundamental aspect of the substance use recovery movement. In 2019 Peer Recovery Support Services (PRSS) have become a recognized and integrated part of addiction treatment in many areas of the country. However, despite the extensive education and advocacy efforts of Recovery Community Organizations (RCO) such as the Minnesota Recovery Connection, Peer Support Services have only become formally recognized in the … Continue reading

Channeling Your Addictive Energies: Enabling Possibilities

addictive energy

When we are immersed in recovery, our healing journey is a moment by moment experience. Over forty years ago, I was introduced to the Twelve Step program because I wanted my husband to quit drinking. It was evident his behavior was destructive. The Al-Anon program revealed that mine was crazy too. Unaware that my fears were at the heart of my co-dependent behaviors, I was sure that if he changed, I would be happy. When I started recovery, I wanted simple things like having enough money to support me and our three children. Often on Friday nights my husband would … Continue reading

More Help for Problem Gamblers in Minnesota

You don’t have a gambling problem. You don’t even know anyone who has a gambling problem. So just ignore this and go to the next article. After this one question: Did you know that of all addictions, problem gamblers have the highest suicide rate? Maybe you did. Yet, some people don’t even think it’s a “real addiction.” I have to wonder if they ever met a “real problem gambler.” One who is on their way down. After they started losing. And running out of ways to keep others from finding out. And couldn’t stop. And kept gambling. And spent every … Continue reading

Good Grief

girl letting go of a heart balloon

“Life is growth in the art of loss.”- John O’Donohue I live forward and backward. In, then out of the present moment. Time unbound. The past is present and the present is lost. The future is behind a veil through which I cannot see. My sister died. My youngest sister. Too soon and too fast. I am riding the messy, painful, very human roller coaster of grief. I’ve been here before. My parents died. Close friends died. Sadness comes in waves, drags me into its riptide. Normalcy appears like a mirage of fresh water in the desert of now. The … Continue reading