• Hazelden Renewal Center

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

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

Let’s Just Have Fun and Make Stuff Up

improv

“Some of the funniest people I’ve ever met have been at recovery meetings.” This high praise comes from someone who is in the business of being funny. John Gebretatose, who left alcohol behind 15 years ago, performs and teaches Improv theater. He also mentors others to do the same. At HUGE Theater in Minneapolis, a popular home and incubator for Improv, Gebretatose is the director of diversity and inclusion. He is also the co-founder of an African-American Improv comedy troupe called Blackout, which has performed internationally. What is Improv theater? Improv is a lot like when you were a kid … Continue reading

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

What Have You Got to Lose?

Some gamblers lose everything, even their lives We all like to win. Some people, though, obsess about winning and sacrifice everything they care about to pursue the next big win. They typically go down hard and fast. Money losses are quick and massive. Friends and family react with horror and disdain when finding out they’re victims, too. Felony convictions and suicides are among the tragic results. The Big Win What changes a simple fun activity into a potential prison or death sentence? A big win early on is what often ignites the first magical thinking. Jack had always stuck with … Continue reading

Go Away to Find Yourself

go away to find self

Could you use a break from your daily routine? Some time away for rest, reflection, and renewal? Maybe it’s time to go on a retreat. Whether you take a few hours, days, or months of downtime, going on retreat offers you a chance to unravel your thinking, be kind to your body, and revitalize your spirit. Here are the stories of how four Minnesotans create worthwhile retreat experiences for themselves. Two go on occasional retreats. For the other two, retreats are central to their spiritual life. Get Far Away from the Everyday Since his early retirement five years ago, Mike … Continue reading

Mental Illness Gets a Hearing

“I’m a veteran of mental illness combat,” declares a gray-haired man with years of untrimmed beard from the History Theatre stage in downtown St. Paul. David Beebee is reading from his personal writings to a crowd of friends and supporters of Vail Place, a clubhouse in Uptown for people with severe mental illness where David is a member. “I deserve to be proud,” he reads. “I fought the good fight. I nearly died. I survived.” He notes there is gay pride and black power and the purple heart for the wounded, and asks, “Where is my mental illness pride power?” … Continue reading

Twelve Steps for Slouches

The first thing I want you to know is that I do resistance training. I use resistance bands, weights, and such. OK, that’s on a good day. Truth be told, I probably do more resisting than I do exercising. I’m more inclined to be a slouch on the couch, thinking “maybe later” when it comes to toning my muscles and all those other fine fitness goals. I can also claim with great justification that I have more urgent and more important things to do. I am convinced I’m pretty important, after all. Darn, why is it so hard to just … Continue reading

Found any P-E-A-C-E Lately?

How peaceful are you feeling? After all, peace is the theme of the holiday season. And serenity is commonly championed in Twelve Step programs. Shouldn’t peace be showing up everywhere these days? If seasonal serenity is eluding you, I invite you to join me in taking a fresh look at the word peace. Let’s consider what its letters could stand for that might induce a more peaceful state. P = Possibility and Passion The first “P” word that comes to my mind is possibility. When I’m not feeling serene, it’s often because I think there is only one answer – … Continue reading

I’m Going to Stop, I Mean It This Time

As a detox clinic nurse, Diane watched the revolving door of repeat drunks. Some she knew she’d see again, having failed at sobriety one more time. Others seemed so very promising. One patient, when ready to leave, so clearly talked the talk and walked the walk that she was sure this one would make it. The next day he committed suicide. Relapse is the ever-vigilant hound nipping at the heels of people with addiction, often leading to depression and despair. But some addicts get past it and slam the door on relapse forever. They quit using, find relief from their … Continue reading