• 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

Sesame Street Uses Muppet to Support Children Affected by Parental Addiction

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, is announcing an initiative to support children and families affected by parental addiction. The initiative features Karli, a 6 ½-year-old Sesame Street Muppet whose mom is dealing with addiction. In new videos and other content, favorite Sesame Street characters like Elmo and Abby Cadabby learn what Karli is going through and help their friend to cope. The resources, which are part of the Sesame Street in Communities program and freely available on www.SesameStreetinCommunities.org, deliver the words children need to hear most: You are not alone. You will be taken care of. … Continue reading

12 Steps to Humility: Seek Progress Not Perfection

12 steps to humility

It’s all very simple. You set a goal for yourself; you determine how you’ll meet that goal, and then you follow some tried-and-true strategies that will help you reach it. Will power! That’s all you need. Determination. Discipline. Ah, if the road to recovery were only that easy. Anyone reading this article, anyone recovering from addiction, anyone seeking the divine in their daily lives knows recovery and re-finding God is more about surrender than struggle, more about journey than destination, more about making progress than achieving perfection. Our puny will power is no match for what God really wants for … 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

How Gambling Disorder Distorts the Brain

brain image

Addiction — of any kind — is often difficult for many people to understand. But gambling disorder, a compulsion in which no chemicals are actually ingested into the body, can be particularly confounding. Gambling disorder refers to the uncontrollable urge to gamble, despite serious personal consequences. In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 grouped gambling disorder into a category of disorders that also includes substance abuse. This change was made in light of new neuroscience research and brain imaging studies that show that people with gambling disorder have a lot in common with drug and alcohol addicts, including the … 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

Emotions Anonymous: Do You Have a Thinking Problem?

do you have a thinking problem

On July 25, it will be two years since I’ve kissed an old, old boyfriend. He is a modern man, with a hyphenated last name. His first name is Johnny and his last name is Walker-Red. I chose my sponsor because she was beautiful, poised, brilliant, a mother (a prerequisite as I have three children)and, most importantly, a “Country Club Drunk,” just like me. Mrs. Rum Pot…just put it on my tab….Everything tastes better in Waterford! The dear woman took on a hell of a lot more than guiding a dazed and confused Hazelden grad when I asked her if … 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

Who Am I to Be Homeless?

homeless encampment

The following was first published in our January 2008 issue of The Phoenix Spirit. Year round, Moxie gets up with the sun. “It’s really the only way to go,” explains the 40-something woman in a grey sweatshirt dappled with gold paint. “I have a lot of stuff to do in the morning, and I just don’t want the cops watching me get out of bed.” No woman would, of course-and Moxie is especially keen to protect her privacy. Her bed-well, one of her favorites-is an old refrigerator carton shrouded by a swirl of brambles near the scrap yards north of … Continue reading

Mindfulness and Equanimity: A Way to Stay Steady in Hope

mindfulness

We know we can’t save anyone from their pain and suffering. We know trying to rescue or change someone in the throes of addiction drains us to the point of depletion; it becomes a never-ending cycle of feeling hopeless and helpless. We desperately want to maintain hope and feel guilty if we give up. The good news is, there is a way to maintain hope without burning out, and it starts from inside you. Having worked with clients with eating disorders, chemical dependencies and other addictions, as well as their families, I understand that hearing, “Well, you can’t change them,” … Continue reading