• NUWAY Annual Picnic 2018

The Avivo ArtWorks Collective Artists Thriving in Community

Housed in a basement art studio in Avivo’s Minneapolis Community Support Program, we organize together as the Avivo Artworks Collective. If you ask us who we are, we would say we are artists – first and foremost. What brings us together is the goal to create community so that we can support one another. Our mission statement reads, “As a collective of artists, we embrace diversity, build community and present publicly. In doing so, we are challenging mental health stigma, and demonstrating that people living with mental illness can achieve success in art and life. We also aim towards building … 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

Stress: How Mental Distress is Your Signal to Make a Change in Your Life

mental stress

Physical or mental distress can be challenging at times. We certainly don’t go out of our way to acquire it, and we generally try hard to prevent it, but like Murphy’s Law if something can becoming challenging and distressful it will, and probably at the most undesired time. Just the idea of distress is frequently distressful. Our minds act in concert with our bodies in how they handle or respond to our specific environments. When our bodies are perceived to be under attack from, say, a virus, the hypothalamus – the area in your brain that acts as your body’s … Continue reading

Offering Love to People Who Are Dying

hope for the dying

In the past few days, since news was shared that a beloved friend is dying, several people have come to me to ask what they can do. This friend is such an exquisite human; it is no surprise that so many people want to help and that there has been such a beautiful outpouring of love and kindness. After almost 18 years in the rabbinate, I’ve learned a few things about dying and loving and grieving and getting back up again. Here are some thoughts and suggestions that may be of help. I’m not an expert. This is simply what … Continue reading

Living with no Ending

by Susan L. The ending began in the fall of 2016. I went to an appointment and this ignited a series of steps. After a second x-ray and an ultra sound, an indication of a mass in my breast was determined. Mass — what a mediocre word for the ugly word tumor. The radiologist in the small clinic wanted to do a biopsy. I wanted to think about it overnight. The reason I wanted to think about it? I knew I would be moving back to the metro area within two weeks. At first I thought I’d have the biopsy … Continue reading

Sharing the Love is Happiness

When I was in high school, I swore I would get rich working on Wall Street. I knew if I had a lot of money I could get whatever I wanted to be happy. My parents would tell me that this wasn’t the case, but I knew better. In college I majored in economics because knowing how money works helps you make more money. Duh. Well, thankfully, some things shifted, and I began a deeper exploration of what it means to be human and of where happiness comes from. From my studies of Buddhism, I turned on to the view … Continue reading

Sanity in the Age of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple: Reclaiming our Lives

The traditional objective of yoga is union — to connect the mind to body, and the self to soul. That’s what the yogi masters say in the ancient scriptures — connect to your higher self, realize that we are all connected, and transcend the ego. In the modern age, sometimes many of us feel like we are disconnected from our bodies, our emotions, and from all those around us. Sometimes we may feel like we are stifled by our own egos, suffocating in lonely desperation. Some identify our technology as a source of our disconnection. It’s true, because when we … 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

What Does Nourishment Mean to You?

I have always associated the word nourishment with food—and eating. The word nourish actually means to provide food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition; to promote growth needed for nourishment (including spiritual nourishment); and to maintain/ support/strengthen. What is interesting about the definition is that it makes the distinction among the ways that we nourish ourselves, i.e. our whole selves — mind, body and spirit. Understanding this concept—of nourishing one’s whole self—is so important for people in recovery because the minute we put down drugs and alcohol, we pick up food. It is a rite of … Continue reading

Vitamins, Minerals, Hormones: How to Find your Spiritual Adrenaline

How many of you paid attention to what you were eating in active addiction? Not many I bet. I certainly didn’t. When you’re in active addiction, the only thing that matters is chasing the next high. As soon as it wears off, it’s right back at it. The vicious cycle keeps repeating itself and everything else becomes irrelevant. For me, I remember not eating for days at a time so I could buy cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. When I ate, I often gobbled down comfort foods, usually from fast food joints. My relationship with food was completely dysfunctional. In sobriety, … Continue reading

Ticket to Ride

I have a blue paper ticket that I carry in my money clip. Every time I pull it out to withdraw another dollar bill to spend, I see it. It’s the very same kind of ticket that we have all seen a million times before. The kind of ticket that you get at any bakery—it’s paper, it’s blue and it’s got a number on it. We all take theses tickets and we wait in line. When your number is called, you get served. Familiar, huh? I see this ticket every day. My ticket is like all such tickets but something … Continue reading

Minding Your Questions

Questions that are asked with genuine curiosity, with a sincere desire to gain information, are valuable tools. Questions asked rhetorically, often with the intention of insult, can be quite damaging.Too often we ask questions rhetorically to make a point. There is nothing wrong with that, is there? Well, of course not. That is, of course, not to a certain point. When rhetorical questions are thinly veiled put downs (i.e. Why did you do that?! , What makes you think this is any of your business? , How do you manage to always mess things up?), communication ceases to be a … 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

Parenting the Addict: 5 Key Strategies to Help Parents Thrive

by Barbara Krovitz-Neren Parents need support. An epidemic of drug addiction with our kids today is scarier then ever. Every day on national and local news, more and more stories keep pointing to the opiate epidemic, overdoses, and addiction of our young people. These kids have parents whose hearts are breaking and need ongoing support and strategies to take back their parenting from the addiction of their teens and young adults. I believe no parent ever intentionally wakes up each day and decides to harm their kids. Yet, with the affects of addiction on their parenting, most of these parents … Continue reading

The Path to Wellness is Not Always Straight

It was the summer after my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—a year of small successes and setbacks, ongoing struggles with anxiety and depression, and a budding addiction that I wouldn’t admit, much less address, for another two years. Substance use hadn’t consumed my life yet, but things were moving in that direction. I was able to hide outward signs of addiction behind academic success and the norms of a campus culture that thrived on alcohol. My GPA said “functioning student;” the bottles and cans that filled my trash screamed “alcoholic.” But I didn’t look much worse than the … Continue reading

How to Keep Your Sanity During the Holidays

I hate the holidays. I know that seems like a strong statement, but — even at nearly six years sober — I still find the holidays incredibly challenging. It’s a time loaded with expectations, increased tensions in relationships, competing priorities, stress, and good old family dynamics. As if that isn’t enough, we can start to feel sensory overload in every direction: sounds, crowds of people, flashing lights, food everywhere. Conscious of my limitations and sensitive nature, I just want to crawl into a ball and hibernate at this time of year. That said — like anything in recovery — we … Continue reading