• Hazelden Renewal Center

After Treatment, Then What?

what to do after treatment

Treatment for addiction is only the beginning of recovery. What happens when you go back home? If you even have one anymore. Here are four stories of recovering addicts in midlife and how they meet their daily challenges while staying sober after treatment. Chris Arrowsmith Bagdon smoked off-the-street cannabis for two years to relieve ongoing pain from a brain concussion and to offset war combat flashbacks. One night he hit a batch that he suspects was laced with the drug PCP. “I started freaking out,” says Chris. It took four cops and a taser to intercept his violently out-of-control behavior. … Continue reading

A Good-bye and Thank You

Julia Edelman

“You’ve got to know when to hold them. Know when to fold them. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.” — Lyrics by Don Schlitz, 1976 Used to be, I enjoyed risks. The higher the stakes, the bigger and better the adrenaline rush. The bigger and better the adrenaline rush, the higher the enjoyment. It was the perfect cocktail: risk plus adrenaline = fun. And thus, the pleasure center in my brain got used to a healthy dose of thrill-seeking adventures. In my youth, I enjoyed the dopamine surges provided by outdoor water sports. A perfect day … Continue reading

Social Phobia: When You’re Too Scared to Show Your Inner Life to Others

I hate being in a group of people I don’t know. If I can find a way to get out of such gatherings I will. My mind gets nuts with anxiety. I fear that I will be seen as abnormal—that people can see my flaws. My voice usually cracks, sweat pours off my forehead, and I have a hard time thinking of what I want to say. I wish I could be cool like my brother—the golden boy—who can walk into a room and have everybody eating out of his hand. It’s so easy for him; so dreadfully hard for … Continue reading

Channeling Your Addictive Energies: Enabling Possibilities

addictive energy

When we are immersed in recovery, our healing journey is a moment by moment experience. Over forty years ago, I was introduced to the Twelve Step program because I wanted my husband to quit drinking. It was evident his behavior was destructive. The Al-Anon program revealed that mine was crazy too. Unaware that my fears were at the heart of my co-dependent behaviors, I was sure that if he changed, I would be happy. When I started recovery, I wanted simple things like having enough money to support me and our three children. Often on Friday nights my husband would … Continue reading

It’s Only a Game. Or Is It?

gaming addiction

Gaming disorder, recently recognized by the World Health Organization as a disease, affects only a small proportion of people who engage in digital- or video-gaming activities. But for those affected, the addiction can be all-consuming, controlling the mind. Gaming addict Julian Struksheats tells his story in this interview with The Phoenix Spirit. The interview has been edited for length. How did your interest in video games begin? We got our first video game console – an Atari system– when I was five or six. Then we got Nintendo. I remember playing that a lot without any real problem. Around the … Continue reading

Cultural Myths That Undermine Our Happiness and Well-being

Myths are metaphoric stories that can inspire or demean us. Believing in magical elves in forests may make our imaginations soar; thinking that people with dark skin are inferior to us only devalues us. The most destructive myths are those that operate in our lives while remaining unexamined. They do bad things to us without our being aware of them, and surreptitiously undermine our well-being. This is especially true when other people also believe the same myths as part of a cultural ethos and we just go along with the crowd. In fact the longer I’ve lived the more I … Continue reading

When a Friend Has Faith

friends and faith

I told my friend I thought my life was a waste. She shook her head no. Through my endless use of profanities, and despite my angry outbursts toward her she still believed in me. She kept calling me back to her side. She never abandoned me. Still, my spirit was raging with fear that my life would never heal from the pain caused by circumstances that were beyond my control, and self inflicted. Then one day my friend’s eyes shone with care, she smiled at me, and for the very first time I heard her gentle words of hope for … Continue reading

A Father’s Love

man with son

June is the month we celebrate fatherhood and fathers everywhere. It seems to me that Father Love is very strong—both love from fathers and love for fathers. Two brothers, ages 24 and 27, recently had a reunion with their dad. For the first time in a long time, the father flew into town and visited them in their environments. He “hung out” with them, stayed at their homes, and visited them at work. Most importantly, he acknowledged and validated their successes as young men. It meant a lot to these brothers. There was laughter, tears and acceptance. Two other brothers, … Continue reading

Rising Above After a Breakdown

“Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed and rearranged to relocate us to the place we are meant to be.” Life on Purpose – Mandy Hale When I had a nervous breakdown, I was in a bad way. The world I thought I knew had fallen apart. I was supposed to be something else, someone else. Life had passed me by and gradually the world seemed strange and unfamiliar. I had spent my whole life gearing towards an acting career but it never happened. Instead, at 40, I found myself doing nothing of what I wanted to … Continue reading

As Good As It Gets

snowy scene in minneapolis

There are times that feel bigger than life itself. When these times happen, we may be filled with immeasurable inspiration as we escape the usual routines of ordinary living. Many of the tensions of daily stress and world turmoil disappear in the abundance of such special moments. Some magic moments we never forget — the birth of our first born, the day our beloved parent took a last breath, the day we awoke from a coma after a bad car accident, seeing the panorama of colors of the Grand Canyon for the first time, being reunited with beloved old friends … Continue reading