• Hazelden Renewal Center

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

Is 50 the New 35? It Depends

older man addiction

Baby Boomers, the generation that is 77 million strong, born between 1946 and 1964, have always assumed that they would live longer and healthier than their parents’ generation. The promise of ongoing youth, health and vitality was the accepted belief. However, there are some rocky obstacles on this road to healthy aging that have roots in lifestyle, genetics, and the inevitable aging process itself. In 1992 the National Institute on Aging (NIA) sponsored a Health and Retirement Survey of 20,000 Americans age 50+. Results show that chronic pain plagues many in their early to mid-50’s. Respondents reported poorer health, more … 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

What Are the Odds?

I sometimes get asked this question, usually in reference to drug addiction. “What are the odds that my son or daughter will become a drug addict when they grow up? My husband is a “normie” and I’m an recovering alcoholic,” the query begins. “It depends,” is the response, “on so many things. And even with all factors being favorable — genetics, social and home environments, school systems, mental health — there is still no guarantee.” And then I witness a nearly imperceptible shift signaling disappointment. Eyes cast downward, heads nod oh-so-slightly as the parent digests the understanding that they’ve been … Continue reading