Walking Through an Empty House/New Life in Recovery

In the span of six days, I moved house and purchased a new vehicle. I’m still rummaging through boxes for socks and toothpaste, eating off paper plates. I drive a Forester now, which may as well be a truck compared to my old subcompact. And in the midst of all of this rapid change, I’ve […]

Quit Brooding – Be Happy

  I’ve been feeling down lately. I won’t burden you with the details. And sure, there’s nothing wrong with feeling down. I practice coping skills to move through the rough parts: physical exercise, following a routine, and asking for help. I’m also fortunate to have a handful of folks who bestow help when I ask. Sometimes […]

Recovery Expectations vs Reality – I’m Sober, What Now?

  We have a nasty habit of glamorizing “getting well.” Our recovery expectations envision peak health… how our lives will look (perfect) and bodies will feel (also perfect)… The thoughts we’ll have and the ones we won’t. Sometimes, we use the idealized and far-off future to excuse our behavior. Once I’m clean, then I’ll tackle […]

Shame – Being VS Doing Something Wrong …

I struggle to facilitate conversations about shame. And I’m transparent about that with my clients. This is for a few reasons: shame is difficult to conceptualize. Unlike “coping skills” or “aftercare planning,” shame is nebulous. Open for discourse. Dependent on our unique perspectives and past experiences. Additionally, I’ve yet to master managing shame in my […]

Artist In the Art Therapist: Sanford Excursions

  Over the weekend, Sanford residents attended the local art show Artist in the Art Therapist. The show features artwork by Sanford Art Therapist Leara Glinzak. And examines Leara’s varied roles as artist, Art Therapist, and business woman.   I noticed a difference in my personal art and the art I made in my role […]

Gracefully Welcoming Change: Recovery in an Ever-Changing World

Change. Many of us struggle to navigate it gracefully. To create meaningful change, we have to do things differently. We must engage in some self-reflection. And practice self-awareness. And admit our shortcomings… It’s a lot of work.   I could draw a metaphor, here, about the changing seasons (it’s finally starting to feel like spring […]

Coping with Life’s Ordinary Moments in Recovery…

Are things honestly ever “just fine” in early recovery?   At Sanford House , we begin group therapy sessions with a check-in. Clients are asked to identify how they’re feeling today. (Sure, sometimes therapy is just as on-the-nose as one may imagine.) I challenge my clients to reframe answers like “fine,” “good,” or “I don’t […]

Honoring the Unique – The Life Story Project at Sanford

I visited Seattle recently, and stayed in a hostel for the first time. When I got home, I struggled to describe my trip. “My perspective is a little different now,” I said.   Different names for the same place… honoring the unique, dynamic, peculiar, and predictable In truth, all of our experiences shift our worldview […]

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (for Recovery)?

The holidays present a whole slew of stressors, including financial pressure, over-commitment and the expectations of hosting a “perfect” event. For individuals new to recovery, the holidays may also present a surplus of triggers. Celebration of any kind, be it a birthday, promotion, or end of the week meet-up, often includes alcohol. (We’re reminded of […]

Body and Mindfulness Treatment for Trauma

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the “Somatic and Mindfulness Treatment for Trauma” panel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This event was led by Bethany Ackley DeBlaay, Dr. Jessica Gladden, Dr. Brittnie Finkbeiner, Raechel Morrow, April Kaiserlain, and Beth Mellema. It was hosted by The Body Mind Being Project and Grand Rapids Healing Yoga. The panelists spoke about […]