Author: Pat Samples

Getting Through the Dark Times: Two Stories of Hope

Living with an emotionally distant, rageful father left Deanna Broaddus hungry for attention and solace. Men – lots of men – were her first recourse, and then alcohol and drugs. Except for a suicide attempt at age 18, Broaddus did well, working and pursuing a master’s degree so that she could follow her passion to …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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