September is National Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month, a campaign organized by SAMHSA to “promote the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrate people in recovery, laud the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promote the message that recovery in all its forms is possible.”

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

These disorders can affect someone regardless of age, race, gender, ethnicity, or income status. Behavioral health conditions are estimated to surpass physical conditions in quantity by 2020. Mental health and substance use disorders are found to be linked with chronic health issues such as diabetes, asthma, and heart conditions.  With that in mind, it’s especially important to know the facts and resources in order to prevent and treat those who need help.



Knowing the signs and symptoms of a mental health and/or substance use disorder are key to proper prevention and early treatment. Symptoms usually occur before an actual disorder develops, thus offering a valuable window of opportunity. Various symptoms may include change in eating or sleeping habits, social withdrawal, feelings of extreme highs and lows, and unexplained change in personality. Family and friends play a key role in speaking up and offering support when it comes to prevention.


The key to effective treatment is encompassing all aspects of an illness: biological, psychological, and social. Depending on the nature of the disorder, different treatment programs may be appropriate.  This could include anything from outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment to meditation and yoga. Treatment is proven to work, but it is only effective with the will and want to recover.

While the overall outlook on mental health and substance use disorder recovery is positive, it only works with the right attitude and support system around you. This September, let us all be more aware and informed about this prevalent health issue and work to help those affected to recover fully.

Recovery Celebration Events

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Vinland is proud to sponsor the following Recovery Month events in Minneapolis, organized by Minnesota Recovery Connection.

  • Rally for Recovery, September 2, Target Field
  • Spirituality Breakfast, September 4, Augsburg College
  • Walk for Recovery, September 20, Lake of the Isles

Source: Graphics and select text used with permission from

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Client Success Story

Chemical Health Graduate Johnnie Shares His Story of Success in Recovery

johnnieOne of 13 children, Johnnie grew up in Mississippi. Childhood was not easy for him. When he was 12 years old, he sustained a traumatic brain injury after being accidently hit in the head with an ax. The injury left him with permanent short-term memory issues. Johnnie was placed in a special education program, but he only completed the sixth grade.

Johnnie started drinking at a very young age. When he was six years old, he used to steal his father’s liquor. He drank from then on.

When he was 18, Johnnie moved to Chicago, and then later Detroit, where he lived for several years. He drank heavily during this time but never considered that he had a problem.

Johnnie moved to Minneapolis 16 years ago. He found work in construction, and he fell in love with a woman who already had children, whom Johnnie helped raise.

Four years ago, Johnnie was approached by an undercover police officer and asked to sell him drugs. Johnnie did not have any, but he arranged for the police officer to buy drugs from someone else. Johnnie was arrested and charged with drug possession. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years probation.

For the first time ever, Johnnie learned that alcoholism is a disease. As part of his conviction, he was court ordered to enter a substance abuse treatment program. He was referred to Vinland Center because of his traumatic brain injury.
Unfortunately, Johnnie did not stay sober the first time he attended Vinland.

“The first time, I was not serious. The second time, I did anything I was asked to do,” Johnnie said. “Vinland is a good program, but it’s up to you to accept the tools.”

Johnnie completed his second round of treatment at Vinland two years ago, and he has remained sober since then. After treatment, he moved into an assisted living house owned by Sojourn in a suburb of Minneapolis.

Now that he’s sober, Johnnie describes his life as “a whole big turnaround.” He gets along better with other people, including his mother and girlfriend. He enjoys living in the assisted living house, where he volunteers to help the less-mobile residents.

Due to his success in recovery, Johnnie was granted early discharge from his probation earlier this year.
“In recovery, you get to make yourself a better person than you were before. Being at Vinland really helped me.”

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Families Dealing With Addiction


When someone you love is fighting an addiction, it doesn’t only affect them, but it also affects you. Many times, the family is overlooked during the recovery process, but they need support too. Sometimes, loved ones become co-addicts as well. This means that while they don’t share the actual addiction to drugs or alcohol, they live in a negative space by “placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.”

The key word in a co-addiction discussion is ‘enabler’. It’s easy to want to make excuses for and always support your love ones during addiction and/or recovery, but there’s a point where they have to take control of their own lives.

Families dealing with addiction have been shown to have some of the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Suicidal tendencies

The best way to thwart these problems is to reach out for help. There are many resources available including a clinical psychologist, support group, religious or spiritual leader, addiction specialis, or family doctor.

Rick Krueger, clinical services manager at Vinland and director of the organization’s Family Program, explains the importance of resiliency as well as: “The use of discipline in a positive, guiding way and the importance of play from a developmental perspective. The importance of reducing stress and self-care for the child-care provider.”

With the right approach, addiction treatment for your loved one doesn’t have to bring you down, and instead, you can help lift them up.


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Chemical Health Webinar

Webinar IconVinland is pleased to announce the next webinar in our chemical health webinar series. The series offers valuable information on chemical health services for individuals living with cognitive disabilities. The free webinars are held quarterly, with recordings available for viewing on our website here.

Registration is currently open for the next webinar in the series. Registered attendees will receive 1 CEU credit.

Active Case Management and Discharge Planning Makes a Difference for Clients with Cognitive Deficits and Addictions
Presented by Tim Grathwol, BA, JD, LADC, CBIS, Chemical Health Case Manager at Vinland Center
When: Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Cost: FREE
Register: Click Here
Overview: Clients with cognitive deficits and addictions often struggle to find a lifestyle that supports their attempts at recovery. Chemical dependency treatment and mental health services provide them with information and coping skills. Beyond that, many clients need community support for housing, employment, and ongoing healthcare. Chemical health case managers and counselors can do their clients a valuable service by actively seeking out and connecting clients with community support to give them a better chance to succeed in recovery.
  • Participants will have a better understanding of the issues clients and counselors face when working in treatment with CD clients with cognitive deficits.
  • Learn how to start planning for “life after treatment” from the beginning of the treatment experience. This will give clients a better chance for success after leaving the “bubble” of treatment.
  • Give participants ideas of how to contact and build a network of community resources clients can use to help them succeed in recovery.
Speaker: Tim Grathwol has worked as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor since 2003. He has been a Chemical Health Case Manager at Vinland Center since 2005. He is also a certified brain injury specialist. Tim has seen that for many of Vinland’s clients who have been through multiple treatments, “lack of information is not the problem.” Tim has worked on finding ways to set clients up with community resources such as housing, medical and mental health services, employment or volunteer opportunities. This is based on a belief that clients are more likely to succeed in recovery when their fundamental needs are met.
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Women and Prescription Drug Abuse

Women have been abusing prescription drugs throughout the years to help them deal with stress, frustration and anxiety compounded with the responsibilities of being a mom, wife and career woman. ABC News says that in the past decade there has been a 750 percent increase in the use of Adderall (a drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) among women 26 to 39, and not all of these women have the ADHD. Adderall can give you a huge boost of energy, allowing you to get a ton of tasks done while still smiling as serenely as a Stepford wife.

Mothers on Drugs Infographic
Source Recovery Connection

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Meet Our Intern Rachel

DSC_0453 copyRachel McGuigan is a marketing intern at Vinland’s main campus in Loretto. She is currently earning a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications from the University of Minnesota with an expected graduation date of December 2014.

How did you become interested in strategic communications?
I enjoy interacting with people. I want to make a positive impact through communication.

Why were you interested in an internship at Vinland?
This internship offered an opportunity to work for an organization that helps people. Vinland also seemed to offer a different internship experience, and I liked that Vinland was a Top 100 company.

What are your goals after graduation?
I am looking for a non-profit communications job in the Twin Cities.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to read, play tennis, and hang out with friends.

Where did you last go on vacation?
Studied abroad in Rome for a semester last year.

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?

What is your favorite TV show, movie, or book?
Book: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

TV: Modern Family

If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?
Swim underwater in the ocean

If you could witness any even past, present, or future, what would it be?
Creation of the universe

What is your favorite quote?
“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” – Roald Dahl

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Meet Our Intern April

April Van Iseghem is an intern in Vinland’s residential chemical health program. She is currently earning a bachelor’s degree in alcohol and drug counseling from St. Cloud State University with an expected graduation date of August 2014.

How did you become interested in substance abuse counseling?
I think that people are more capable of change than they actually realize, so seeing people make an effort and learn new things about themselves is really rewarding.

Why were you interested in an internship at Vinland?
I didn’t know what population I wanted to work with, but I have family members that have cognitive impairments so I knew this was an experience I wanted to be a part of.

What are your goals after graduation?
I’m hoping to find a job and eventually go back to school to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).

What do you like to do in your spare time?
What spare time, haha? I have two kids and full-time school that keeps me busy. :)

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?

What is your favorite TV show or movie (or both)?
Movie: Crazy Stupid Love

TV Show: New Girl

If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?
Base jumping

If you could witness any even past, present, or future, what would it be?
The knocking down of the Berlin Wall.

What is your favorite quote?
“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. ” –Charles R. Swindoll

What is one question you wished more people asked you?
To genuinely ask how I am.

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