• Hazelden Renewal Center

My Story: Getting Clean Young

getting sober young

I’m a person in long-term recovery from addiction. What that means to me, is that I haven’t picked up an alcoholic drink or drug since October 1981. I know to some of you that seems like eons. But to me, it still feels like yesterday. The pain of the end of my use was so acute that I couldn’t imagine surviving it. I had lost everyone — friends, colleagues, family — and the consequences of my use came down on me like a dump truck of bricks on my head. The onslaught of consequences was as relentless as my use … Continue reading

Laura’s Story

first person testimony

I grew up in a house with both parents and my older brother. Overall, I was a happy kid who liked school. But there was an undercurrent of pain, a secret I kept: I was abused as a young child. I never told anyone. I learned to hold onto that secret. I was introduced to weed and alcohol when I was 15 years old but since I was the good girl no one suspected me. The secrets kept building. I blamed my parents, I wanted to be a rebel. I moved out at 18 and danced in bars and nightclubs … Continue reading

How to Keep Your Sanity During the Holidays

how to keep sanity during holidays

I hate the holidays. I know that seems like a strong statement, but — even at nearly six years sober — I still find the holidays incredibly challenging. It’s a time loaded with expectations, increased tensions in relationships, competing priorities, stress, and good old family dynamics. As if that isn’t enough, we can start to feel sensory overload in every direction: sounds, crowds of people, flashing lights, food everywhere. Conscious of my limitations and sensitive nature, I just want to crawl into a ball and hibernate at this time of year. That said — like anything in recovery — we … Continue reading

Broadsided: Dealing with Life’s Unexpected Setbacks

unexpected life

Recently I had some catch up time with a supportive person at our regular meeting spot. While chatting she told me that she and her husband were out driving recently and unexpectedly another driver broadsided them. This incident has since caused them inconvenience due to having to take time for car repair as well as some personal damage in terms of their sense of comfort while driving. How easily things can change. One minute, as with my friends, you are riding along and things are “normal”. The next minute, another motorist, who, for whatever reason, hits you broadside. Shock! Fear! … Continue reading

Free at Last: A Local Chef Breaks the Chains of Addiction

first person testimony

My life was ruining my life. The things I once loved had begun to consume all my time, all my relationships and all of me. From an outsider’s perspective, I looked as though I was at the peak of my profession. I’d traveled, met some amazing culinarians both here and abroad, been in magazines and on TV, worked in some fantastic kitchens, and now I was a chef in a well-respected restaurant at the heart of a city. Inside, though, I was a mess. I was riddled with anxiety and depression. I felt unlovable and alone, even in a crowded … Continue reading