• Hazelden Renewal Center

The Devastating Consequences of an Addiction

It’s hard to imagine myself drinking or using again. It’s been so long since the last time I got drunk or high that it seems like an alternate life. The old me is a far away, distant memory. No more hangover headaches punishing me for the previous night. That past life of alcohol and drugs is gone and I’m so much happier for it. My battle with addiction started as a battle with depression. I started having depressive thoughts in 8th grade and, over time, those thoughts slowly ate away at me until my depression became all-encompassing. I began to … Continue reading

My Recovery Story

Hi, my name is John Tolo. Here is my recovery story. I grew up in the toughest ghetto in New England outside of New York City. My family was the only white family in a neighborhood that was mostly Black and Hispanic. We moved there in 1972, at a time when racial tensions were high. Many Afro-Americans were angry and some felt pushed to the point of a violent lashing at the systems they believed were abusing them. I was nine when my father became part of an inner-city church and we moved into the middle of the area. It … 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

When a Friend Has Faith

friends and faith

I told my friend I thought my life was a waste. She shook her head no. Through my endless use of profanities, and despite my angry outbursts toward her she still believed in me. She kept calling me back to her side. She never abandoned me. Still, my spirit was raging with fear that my life would never heal from the pain caused by circumstances that were beyond my control, and self inflicted. Then one day my friend’s eyes shone with care, she smiled at me, and for the very first time I heard her gentle words of hope for … 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

Amber’s Story

first person testimony

I haven’t always been known as a person in recovery, as a matter of fact a label that many knew me as is would be addict, meth-head, felon, thief, liar, and many more. I spent 14 long years loyal to a drug that should have killed me. Yet, I stand. My Life Then By the time I was 19-years-old, I had two children by two different fathers, was in college pursuing a degree, all the while working at 3M as an intern hoping that I would one day become an employee. I had always dreamed of working for such a … Continue reading

My Story: Getting Clean Young

getting sober young

I’m a person in long-term recovery from addiction. What that means to me, is that I haven’t picked up an alcoholic drink or drug since October 1981. I know to some of you that seems like eons. But to me, it still feels like yesterday. The pain of the end of my use was so acute that I couldn’t imagine surviving it. I had lost everyone — friends, colleagues, family — and the consequences of my use came down on me like a dump truck of bricks on my head. The onslaught of consequences was as relentless as my use … Continue reading

Laura’s Story

first person testimony

I grew up in a house with both parents and my older brother. Overall, I was a happy kid who liked school. But there was an undercurrent of pain, a secret I kept: I was abused as a young child. I never told anyone. I learned to hold onto that secret. I was introduced to weed and alcohol when I was 15 years old but since I was the good girl no one suspected me. The secrets kept building. I blamed my parents, I wanted to be a rebel. I moved out at 18 and danced in bars and nightclubs … Continue reading