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 […]

What Does it Mean to Fail? Open Up to Imperfection!

Confronting the “F” word in early recovery… In addition to my clinical work, I also do freelance gigs in the community. Over the weekend, I had one such engagement.   For whatever reason, I wasn’t quite myself that night. Walking into the workshop, I felt uneasy – dread creeping in. You see, I have a […]

Art Prize 2018 – Disease Does Not Discriminate (Work in Progress)

Another drizzly Michigan autumn, another excursion to Art Prize. It’s all over but the memory…   But this year, we took a special interest in art with a greater message: making misery your mission. The women of Sanford House at Cherry Street had an opportunity to hear Leyna Luttrull’s recovery story. She is the artist […]

Reviewing the Controversial Dr. Jordan B. Peterson

According to clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, global change begins with self-awareness and self-improvement. “If you can’t even clean up your room, who the hell are you to give advice to the world?” Peterson writes and lectures on personal responsibility, mythology, and mental health.   I had the opportunity to see Dr. Peterson speak […]

Addiction – The Power of Prediction and Prevention

  It’s finally July and Grand Rapids has blossomed into the bright, bustling community I love. Families are spending evenings on the porch… watching kids draw with chalk… grilling all manner of meats and veg. These days, it can be easy to slip into a habit of mid-week drinking, what with holidays and get-togethers and […]

Structure, Schedule and Safety in Recovery

  On our website, we describe Sanford House at Cherry Street and Sanford House at John Street as “structured environments in which to recover.” And although this sounds like a small detail, it holds a great deal of weight. Sanford House clients adhere to a busy schedule. And following the chaos and unpredictability of active […]

Enabling VS Empathy – It’s a Fine Line – Interacting With Addiction

  Even if you aren’t familiar with addiction treatment, you’ve probably heard the term “enabler”. Enabling describes how loved ones interact with a person with a substance use disorder (SUD). And although many of us have heard the word, few of us know what it actually means.   Enabling behavior is anything that supports an addict’s […]