• Hazelden Renewal CenterNUWAY Annual Picnic 2019

What You Should Know About Addiction

In 2008, an estimated 20.1 million Americans aged 12 or older used illicit drugs within a month prior to a survey done by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA). This estimate represents 8 percent of that population. During that same time an estimated 22.2 million persons (8.9 percent of the population aged 12 or older) were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year based on criteria specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV). Of these, 3.1 million were classified with dependence on or abuse of both alcohol and illicit … Continue reading

Gardening Lessons

garden with flowers

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” Claude Monet I greet my overflowing garden each morning with amazement and humility.  My garden is a miniature paradise, the closest I get to being an artist.  In the garden I partner with the natural world, giving me a palette to experiment with wonder and delight, failure and recovery. I learn so much in my garden.  The other day I removed two trees – one an elm, the other a cottonwood.  Lest you think I have been muscle building at the gym, they were seedlings – each standing about six inches above the ground in my flower bed. … Continue reading

Think About It: The Power of Positive Thought

positive wall sign

I can’t help but wonder what in the world was I thinking when I reflect on some of the major decisions I made in my young adulthood. I can only presume that I wasn’t thinking at all. My concept of contemplation was to deal with any consequences of my decisions “Later.” Such cognitive carelessness led me to marry at 18, again at 21 and once again at 29. In essence I was choosing not to think in those moments. I paid the price for my thoughtlessness with much unnecessary hardship and heartache. I manage to get myself in all kinds … Continue reading

Tending and Mending a Wounded Heart

broken heart

Many years ago on February 13, a first year representative to the New York state assembly received an urgent telegram at his Albany, N.Y., office containing a single three-word sentence: Come home now! The day before, his wife had given birth to a baby girl. Now, as the train made the five-hour trip back to his home in New York City, the new father wondered if something had gone wrong. As he read and reread the telegram, he prayed that all would be well in his household. Walking into his home, the man’s brother greeted him with this sad lament: … Continue reading

Trust: It Don’t Come Easy

trusting

“A man who doesn’t trust himself can never really trust anyone else” Cardinal De Retz My desire and ability to trust someone seemed unattainable for many years. When I first got into recovery I didn’t trust a soul, including myself, with the possible exceptions being my two young children. The two people I had been able to place my complete trust in to never let me down, my parents, had died a few years after a divorce ridden with betrayal, and I felt very alone. Like most other adults who were over 30, I had been hurt by a few … Continue reading

Jump Sober

collage of books

The author spoke of his earlier self, describing how he so desperately wanted to bring good things into his life to attract the wealth, health and happiness he had always craved. He eagerly and often lined his shelves with tons of books about all things spiritual. This fascinated me, here was someone writing about wanting the same things I did and didn’t start with sterile how-to’s. I was also intrigued with our similar desire for answers — and, I too had shelves filled to the brim with such books. He went on to describe the “ah-ha’s” each book he read … Continue reading

Are Sports Conducive to Recovery? [Opinion]

competition and recovery

I am a big sports fan. I like to play sports, although I don’t do that as often as I used to, and I follow all of the major sports. I talk sports at work, and listen to sports talk radio and sports center on T.V. just about daily. I think that I am aware of the arguments in favor of sports for a variety of healthy lifestyle reasons. But recently I have given some deeper consideration to sports as it relates to recovery. Some weeks ago I went to watch a basketball tournament put on by a local radio … Continue reading

The Road to Resilience

tree in the desert

Our knee-jerk reaction to the idea of being depressed is that it is a terrible state in which to find ourselves: sad, discouraged, stressed out, fatigued, puzzled, hurting, lonely, afraid. It sounds pretty awful. So why is it that some doctors and philosophers put a positive spin on depression, saying that it can frequently be good for us? Why is it that most psychiatrists today would not regard the experience of depression as an illness in and of itself? Depression normal? That’s right, and often necessary. There are times when you and I should feel depressed, and there may be … Continue reading

Basket Making 101

basket weaving

About this time last year I ventured to the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN, for three days of basket weaving. Yep, Basket Weaving 101. Ostensibly, the adventure was to create and take home our very own, personalized, Birch Bark Berry Basket. In reality, the trip was much more profound. None of us knew quite what to expect, having never attended any of the wide-ranging offerings at the North House Folk School. And so we all packed for three days of being together in a cabin up north, collectively making dinners, catching up on each other’s lives, and … Continue reading

Shame on You! Understanding the Shame-Rage Connection

shame rage

This article first appeared in our April 2007 issue of The Phoenix Spirit. Many people believe that punishing and explosive anger is a sign of power, confidence and “being on top of your game.” In face, this is not the case at all. Disrespectful anger and even all out rage actually come out of a deep sense of powerlessness, inadequacy and despair. Another word for that place is shame. Shame is a significant part of all human misery. Shame can lead to a whole host of compulsive, addictive, irresponsible, and demoralizing attitudes and behaviors and is a major contributor to … Continue reading