Homeless for the Holidays

On a cold December evening in 1962, I was walking home along Nicollet Avenue enjoying the elaborate holiday displays when I saw a man leaning against a store window. His wellworn wool coat was fully buttoned against the cold air and one boot was slit open to accommodate a bandaged foot. He held pencils in one hand and a metal cup in the other. I put a dollar into the cup and accepted a pencil. He spoke softly, something I couldn’t make out. I leaned in and asked, “What was that?” Louder he said, “Thank you; God bless you.” I … Continue reading

The Holly- Frazzled Parade

Emily Roiphe Carter

It’s that time of year already — the gatherings, the food, the family — and, what I’m personally looking forward to most of all. The resentments. Gathering over the Thanksgiving table, around the Menorah, the Christmas Tree, the Harvest Spruce, whatever, is the perfect time to take out all those unresolved little wounds and give them a polish. After all, there are relatives around you may not see again for another year, some may be older, some may be living overseas and who knows when you’ll get your next chance. Of all my most cherished resentments my favorite could be … Continue reading

Tell Me A Story

A young mother in residential treatment uses her words to share her story with her 3-year-old son I am Michelle O., a 23-year-old recovering alcoholic, and mother of a three-year-old little boy named Cooper. During my time in residential, my counselor gave me one last treatment assignment: He asked me to write a book explaining my addiction in a way that my son would understand. Although this seemed intimidating at first, as I began to write I recognized more ways that I could personalize the story in a way that would be familiar to my son. I found ways to … Continue reading

From the Publisher: Uber Proactive

Julia Edelman

We’ve gotten uber proactive in our culture. Kids learn about sex and drugs at earlier and earlier ages .  This is good, I thought, until my son’s seventh grade sex-ed assignment was to go to Walgreens and buy a condom. This wasn’t so good. We teach them at school, at church, and synagogue about the hazards of tobacco and obesity. We tell them that weed really is addictive and then launch into stories of second-cousins twice removed that 20 years later still mow lawns in the neighborhood. They lost a toe one year due to a combination of illegal substances … Continue reading

Forgiving Yourself When Your Children Suffer

John Driggs

Imperfect as we are, parents today deserve all the credit in the world for raising children in challenging times. Many of us fret over how we’re doing as parents. Examining our part in our children’s pain can be the most painful thing we do in life. Seeing our kids suffer today due to our own failings is often more than most of us can bear. We can hardly stand to think about such topics. It’s especially hurtful when our children are aloof from or conflicted with us today due to the wrongs we have done them in years past. Often … Continue reading

Gratitude? Yes, Please

“Enough is a feast.” — Buddhist Proverb One rainy afternoon while I sat reading in the den of my home with a warm mug of coffee to one side, and a purring cat on the other, I came across a little gem of a story. It spoke to me about resiliency — the ability people have to bounce back after tragedy or trauma. It was also about Abraham Lincoln, and an account documented in the early years of the Civil War: A young man living in Kentucky had been enticed into the rebel army. After a few months he became … Continue reading

Living in the Wake of Addiction: Lessons for Courageous Caregivers

Many people in recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD) say that being restless, irritable, and discontent began long before they ever tried to medicate those feelings with their first drink or drug. Until they experience recovery, these emotions can sometimes make the person feel like everyone else but them has received a different instruction manual for life. But what about the person who is in a relationship with someone with a SUD? How do they learn to handle the extreme anxiety, stress, worry, and need to control that they might feel when their loved one experiences SUD? Where is … Continue reading

Holiday Poems

Poetry by P.A. Trebnick and Mary Cowette Crossing the Bridge My Bridge of worry, fear and fret, I need courage to beget, To cross that Bridge that seems so far away, Yet, here I cross it every day. Early each morning, nature beckons me. The birds, the city still awakening, I strap up looking forward to another roll. Sunlight shining, the crisp fresh air, I say, Thank You Dad! Thank You Day! How much I appreciate this time to reflect while I play. My favorite is passing over the bridge. I pause to capture the reflections upon the lake, The … Continue reading

When in Doubt Say Something Bizarre

No matter what progress we may have made in taking better care of ourselves in our day to day lives, we are in danger of leaving that progress behind when we pack for our holiday trips — whether the trip is cross country or just across town. Consider the strange phenomenon of instant age regression when you step across the threshold of your parents’ home. You may be 42 when you step onto the porch, but once inside the house your psyche automatically shrinks to 12. Or think about the certainty with which you feel that you “have to” be … Continue reading

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion

By Elle Luna Workman Publishing In this colorful book, Luna describes the process she went through to get to her must, which is painting. Accented by her drawings and sketches, Luna provides her personal journey. This book is intended for artists; fortunately, all of us have an artist within. She describes the differences between should, what we feel we ought to do, and must, what we dream of doing. Mark Twain stated, “The two most important days in our life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Luna provides techniques to help the reader … Continue reading