Venturing into Vulnerability

venturing into vulnerability

I have had to slow down recently for health reasons. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Everything and everyone around me still whirls at a 21st century tempo and my body heals at a 16th century pace. Slowly. Step by step. Day by day. I am having a timeout, initiated by my body. Just as we give children a timeout to let them self-calm and reflect on their behavior, so the universe is doing for me. Sometimes these timeouts are welcome, other times not so much. This period to recover feels more like a time to uncover. I uncover … Continue reading

Recovery from Sex Addiction

sex addiction

People who struggle with sex addiction face a challenge unlike recovery from drugs or alcohol. With chemical addictions, recovery is hard but at least sobriety is straightforward: recovery means complete abstinence from the substance.  Sex addiction is more complicated. We will always be sexual people, and most addicts will engage in sexual activity throughout their lives. The question is what constitutes healthy-as opposed to addictive-sexual activity? In this sense, the challenge is more like that faced by food addicts.  As the saying from Overeaters Anonymous goes, “Trying to eat abstinently is like trying to take a tiger out of a … Continue reading

Money Woes

money woes

“Money makes the world go ‘round” may be a great song title, but all it seems to do in your household is make things come to a screeching halt. Let’s say it’s the holidays, and you can’t believe you and your wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend are fighting about money-again. She goes out and buys a ridiculous set of unbelievably expensive ornaments for the tree, which thank-you-very-much will only be seen for two weeks out of the entire year, and then she has a fit when she finds out you bought a remote control that allows you to coordinate the VCR, TV, and half … Continue reading

Developing a Forgiving Attitude Sets You Free

forgiveness

David Richo, in his book, The Five Things We Cannot Change, claims that we must accept certain realities.  Among these are: All things change and end. Things do not always go according to plan. People are not loving and loyal all the time. Pain and suffering are a part of life. Life is not fair. I will add some additional realities. All of us will inevitably make some mistakes.  We will sometimes hurt someone else, and also ourselves. We have all experienced pain and disappointment because others have either intentionally or unintentionally hurt us.  This might include parents, siblings, teachers, … Continue reading

7 Spiritual Lessons from 23 Kindergarteners

lessons from kindergartners

“Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardour, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision.” Aldous Huxley Volunteering in my daughter’s kindergarten class has become an annual tradition, and so on a recent Monday morning I found myself eagerly awaiting the bell that would signal the start of the day.  The bell rang, the kids marched in and no sooner had I reminded Laura she was free to put me to work doing anything, than a five-year-old boy walked in and sheepishly presented his teacher with his shoe covered in dog poop.  I … Continue reading

Beating Bitterness

overcoming bitterness

Recently a convicted felon wrote columnist “Dear Abby” lamenting he was “on a one-way trip down a road that leads nowhere.”  The man said he felt hopeless about his future behind bars and signed his name “Inmate on a Dead End.” A few weeks later, another reader of the column wrote to say: “I want ‘Inmate’ to know that one is never beyond hope.  Prison may be the best thing that ever happened to him—it was for my husband.” She signed off as “Proud Wife in New Jersey.” That proud wife explained her husband is “living proof that you don’t … Continue reading

Beyond 12 Steps: There Are Many Paths to Addiction and Many Roads to Treatment and Recovery

beyond twelve steps

When we think of recovery programs for substance use disorders or addictive behaviors, many of us automatically think of the Twelve Steps. No surprise, since millions of people throughout the world embrace this philosophy that sprung up in the 1930s when the first Twelve Step group, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), was founded. Today there are Twelve Step mutual support groups for individuals and families that focus on other drugs, such as cocaine, marijuana, nicotine, or prescription pills. There are Twelve Step groups for those with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders. There are Twelve Step groups for people addicted to gambling, … Continue reading

Resting on Our Laurels

resting on our laurels

She sat next to the bed. I hadn’t touched her in months. She didn’t seem to notice – she didn’t say a word. I felt guilty. I felt ashamed. I felt like I had been unfaithful. There had been so many excuses. “I’m too busy. I’m too tired. I’ve got more important things to do.” Excuses all… Finally, I reached over and gently brushed off the dust from her jacket. I opened to the bookmark and started my daily readings – again. Page 85 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous reminds us that we mustn’t let up on those daily activities … Continue reading

Fast-Tracker Connects People Directly to Treatment

fast-tracker website

To mark Recovery Month in Minnesota, I want to tell you about substance use disorder treatment reform, a website, and a mother from southern Minnesota. Let’s start with a hypothetical mother from southern Minnesota. Two years ago after much discussion, she finally gets her son, a heroin user, to agree to treatment. The mother, who knows the system, called the county for an assessment — which is exactly what she is supposed to do, and her son made an appointment. Only problem: the appointment is 20 days away. While this is hypothetical, it is also common. It can take up … Continue reading

A Note on Gratitude

I’m in treatment. Again. This time it’s my elbow. Fell on road bike, shattered the olecranon, a body part that apparently I don’t need anymore, so it was taken out during surgery. Surgery led to the question of opioids, for pain management. Codeine makes me sick. So does being in excruciating pain. This caused a major dilemma for me, even 25 years into recovery from drugs and alcohol. The ethical conundrum was simply this: Take pain medications which made some percentage of my addict brain start to salivate and drool, or take what my addict brain considered to be a … Continue reading