• Hazelden Renewal Center

Social Integration Will Add Years to Your Life

young adults interacting

Smile and say hello to a random stranger today — social integration and personal relationships lead to longevity. Face-to-face connection releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters that reduces stress, including dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps give you a natural high and may relieve pain. It’s been found through various long-term studies that the top two predictors of living a long life are social integration and close relationships. Social Integration means interacting with everyone you come into contact with such as the barista, grocery clerk, a stranger, and people in your neighborhood. Close relationships may be the people that you can … Continue reading

When You Want Somebody Else to Change

wanting others to change

When we want somebody else to change we often make mistakes.  We either get too passive and expect change to happen without any effort on our part.  Out of fear of rocking the boat we may excuse another’s behavior by saying “Well that’s just the way the other person is.” Alternatively we may try to strong-arm another into change.  We may use coercion and threats to get someone else to alter their habits. We may declare, “If you don’t change, then such and such terrible thing will happen to you.” Unfortunately neither the passive or aggressive approach works when it … Continue reading

Naivete: Believing Someone Cares About You…When They Really Don’t

naivete

Oh, who among us can forget the wonderful world of childhood innocence?! The world was our oyster. Good overcame evil. We were protected and safe. Life was simple. At least that’s what we thought at the time. Obviously not all of us had such experiences. However those of us who were well protected undoubtedly went through such childhood pretense. Even today as adults, we can still believe in magic. We may dress up for Halloween and eat our children’s candy. We may dance around the Christmas tree wondering how many presents are for us. Just like the good old days. … 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

In Al-Anon…

woman-standing-in-field

There was a period in my life where I spent most of my time doing one of two things: I was either worrying to extremes, or praying about what I was worrying about. My prayers were desperate. I often prayed, “Please let him come home safely.” Sometimes I prayed for something to change. At other times, I would make bargains. I would plea for resolution, and make promises in exchange. My prayers all had one thing in common: I would pray with a specific outcome in mind. “Please make him stop drinking.” “Please help him to find a job.” “Please … Continue reading

When Good-Hearted Men Marry Selfish Women

“The Knife and the Wound Both Need Each Other.” — Sheldon Kopp, Psychoanalyst and Writer I’ve been married to Laura for 25 years and I’ve never been able to please her. We go for a period of time with things going well between us. Then out of the blue she gets bent out of shape over some imagined worry that preoccupies her. I understand that I may not be the most sensitive husband at times but Laura goes nuts and exaggerates how bad things are between us and rants for hours. She slams doors and usually wants nothing to do … Continue reading

In a World Without Empathy

world without empathy

Imagine living in a world where no one is capable of understanding anybody else’s feelings. In such a world, someone could grasp how you feel only if he or she had exactly the same experiences you’ve had. If they hadn’t had those experiences they would have no idea what you are talking about. Consequently, you’d likely feel all alone in your solitary circumstances. Of course then you would have no way to feel loved since the experience of true love is about someone else accepting us as we really are and not for how we match up to their expectations. … Continue reading