• Hazelden Renewal Center

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

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

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

Rising Above After a Breakdown

“Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed and rearranged to relocate us to the place we are meant to be.” Life on Purpose – Mandy Hale When I had a nervous breakdown, I was in a bad way. The world I thought I knew had fallen apart. I was supposed to be something else, someone else. Life had passed me by and gradually the world seemed strange and unfamiliar. I had spent my whole life gearing towards an acting career but it never happened. Instead, at 40, I found myself doing nothing of what I wanted to … Continue reading

Too Much To Do

woman on elevator mountain of books

I am relaxed when I stop at the library, having dissolved a truckload of tension on a massage table. The library, not far from the spa, seems like a good place to kill some time before my next appointment. Good chance to pick up a novel and maybe a movie. Oh, here’s a good movie. Looks like it anyway. I’d better get another one just in case. Well, here are two that both sound promising. I’ll just take all three. Maybe I can get to all of them this week.  The CDs catch my eye. Oh, good thing I came … Continue reading

First Responders Need Help Coping With Stress

first responders and stress and substance abuse

For most of us, our first responders-police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics-are part of our local fabric. We may nod to the cop on the beat, wave to a crew of firefighters as they pass by or pull over obediently when an ambulance races by us.  But, we generally take these men and women for granted. We just trust that they will be there to help us through whatever disaster or crisis may befall our home or our community.  But who is there to help these helpers? We got a glimpse of how stressful a first responder’s job can … Continue reading

Women in Recovery offer Connection

Their backgrounds are unique, their stories vary and their recovery programs may differ, but they are all women in recovery that come together to heal, transform and most importantly to connect. Women in Recovery (WIR) is a monthly speaker series held on the fourth Wednesday of the month at The Retreat in Wayzata. Their mission is to create a caring community that provides education, spiritual insight, and growth opportunities for women in all 12-Step recovery programs. Each month, WIR gathers to learn and grow around issues of universal concern to women in all forms of recovery. From relationships to health … Continue reading

Confessions of an addict

by anonymous Im sick when Im sober My wife doesnt understand how far Ive fallen,She hates me drunkShe loves the sex after Ive smoked weedShe doesnt know why Im so distant on adderallShes happiest when Im on opiatesShe says my soul is a good one, but I dont believe itI never lie if she asks, but she rarely asks I dont drink often anymore, Ive had my 10 yr binge. The sicklymornings, heaving in the shower, walking around all day with a wadof TP in my butt. Crapping 4 times before I have to leave for work.Not having a hang … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor

Letter to editor: Mary Lou Logsdon’s reflection on the ginkgo trees that line her street (“Letting Go,” November/December, 2014) was a reminder that many meaningful life lessons are gleaned by observing nature.  Her comments about “letting go,” based on the metaphor of trees losing their leaves in the fall, were not only thoughtful, but lyrical, as much akin to poetry as prose can get.  I’m saving her piece, so that I can share sections of it as the opening words for a future service at our Unitarian Universalist church.

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor: Though I regularly find useful and supportive advice and information in The Phoenix Spirit, I was shocked by the tone of John Driggs’ latest column, which, in defending parents, came across as very blaming and shaming of (adult) children. Here are a couple quotes that were especially troubling: “… no matter how problematic our childrens’ childhoods were there is absolutely no justification for their rejecting us today from their lives.  If they do so, they are doing so out of their own spite and cluelessness, not because they were harmed in childhood. ” “All of us are obliged … Continue reading