Thank You’s Received from Alumni

In the spirit of sharing over the holiday season, we thought we would share a couple of recent ‘thank you’ cards received from alumni just this past week that made the staff feel warm and fuzzy inside.

“Thank you all so much for being my friend.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had real friends that love and care for one another, who show kindness and compassion, all wanting the same thing:  to be free and to live their lives the right way. And to help and be there for each other as much as we can.

There is nothing more beautiful than seeing all of you come together to help one another, even if you think you did not do that much.  Kindness and positivity go a long way in helping to set the perfect environment for recovery.  Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart.  I came here a broken man, so depressed that I wanted to die, even on anti-depressant medication.  I wasn’t able to see a future worth living.  Thank you for giving me hope and showing me how to love and believe in myself and my future, and showing me that there is still good in this world.  This pen would run out of ink if I wrote down everything you helped me learn about myself, and all of the little things you have all done to help me get through the day.  Just know that I’ll love you all and cherish every moment we had together, and I will never forget you.

P.S. To my friends still at Vinland: the most important part to learn is how to calm yourself no matter what.  The key is mindfulness. Give yourself time to find your key. I have no doubt that you all will succeed. Like in a scary movie, something is coming to kill you and you’re too shaken up to find your key – so you die.  Learn to calm yourselves, my friends. Use your key to unlock your potential. I want to see you all succeed.

P.S.S. To the staff at Vinland: You are all doing wonderful work. Thank you for being a light of hope in a dark world.  You save people, families, and tormented souls. I think of you all as my angels. Thank you for fighting for me.”



“Well, it’s that time of year again and I am pleased to share that I am/have continued to stay clean and sober!  I am still going to AA meetings once per week and studying at home. The rest of my time is spent working at (deleted for confidentiality) and two other jobs.  I even lead AA meetings once a month!  I just want to keep in touch with you at Vinland and hope that you can tell my story so it might help others.

Thank you for all of your help and support throughout the years.

Sending you warm wishes for a very special holiday season,”





Hi Tim!

       Life marches on. It hasn’t gotten any simpler, but progress continues to be made. I still continue to watch people come and go. Some have gone so far that they will never make it back, if you know what I mean. For all I have a certain compassion, but at times for some I tend to feel less, due to the opportunities afforded them and their actions in face of these. Some are even very, very enabled by their families and friends.

       I do, however, find balance in the consideration that for quite some time I was one of these. Perhaps I should say that I still am. This being said, I find myself ever more willing to help those still suffering in whatever way I can. Though it has only been a brief 14 months (and never will be enough) my sponsor is suggesting that I begin to sponsor others. I somehow feel that I would tend to be something of a taskmaster, but he and others feel that I would make a good sponsor. I do know that I still can’t afford to take anyone out for coffee.

       I continue to proudly wear the remnants of my Vinland t-shirt. At times people recognize it, like at the YMCA or at the train station, and we share a few words about how Vinland helped us or someone in their family. I never want to be without that shirt, Tim. I was hoping you would help me to obtain another extra-large Vinland t-shirt and one of Vinland’s 2018 pocket calendars. I still use both but both are rather worn and about to expire. I can send any cost plus shipping at any time.

       My last Christmas was spent sober at Vinland, and I still have the gloves and socks I received there, the first sober gift I had received in a long, long time. Once again and always I thank all those at Vinland for their effort in helping this beat-up, old soldier realize that he might just be worth the “trouble” of saving. I hope and pray that your efforts continue to bear abundant fruit.

      A most blessed Christmas Season to all. May you and your loved ones be always safe.




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Vinland Article in Phoenix Newspaper

In honor of National Recovery Month (September), Vinland National Center’s  Program Services Manager, Tom Beckers, wrote an article for the Phoenix Newspaper.

The Phoenix Newspaper is a monthly publication for people actively working on their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. They are committed to providing articles, advertising, and information about recovery, renewal, and personal growth to help people experience life in a balanced, meaningful way. 


We are proud to have Vinland represented there, reminding others that with a specialized substance use disorder program for people with brain injuries and other cognitive disabilities, Vinland offers individualized programming at both a residential and an outpatient level, that empowers people to overcome multiple barriers to independence

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September is National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.

Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Since these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate these accomplishments.
Each September, tens of thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around the country celebrate National Recovery Month. They speak about the gains made by those in recovery and share their success stories with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues. In doing so, everyone helps to increase awareness and furthers a greater understanding about the diseases of mental and substance use disorders.

Now in its 27th year, Recovery Month highlights the achievements of individuals who have reclaimed their lives in long-term recovery and honors the treatment and recovery service providers who make recovery possible. Recovery Month also promotes the message that recovery in all of its forms is possible and encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those in need.

The Recovery Month theme is carefully developed each year to invite individuals in recovery and their support systems to spread the message and share the successes of recovery.

Materials produced for the Recovery Month observance include print, Web, television, radio, and social media tools. These resources help local communities reach out and encourage individuals in need of services, and their friends and families, to seek treatment and recovery services and information.

Materials provide multiple resources including SAMHSA’s National Helpline 1-800-662 HELP (4357) for information and treatment referral as well as other SAMHSA resources for locating services.

Over the years, National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) has inspired millions of people to raise awareness about mental and/or substance use disorders, share their stories of recovery, and encourage others who are still in need of services and support.
Recovery Month began in 1989 as Treatment Works! Month, which honored the work of substance use treatment professionals in the field. The observance evolved into National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in 1998, when it expanded to include celebrating the accomplishment of individuals in recovery from substance use disorders. The observance evolved once again in 2011 to National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) to include all aspects of behavioral health.

Review the Recovery Month: 20 Years of Excellence and Achievement Timeline – 2009 (PDF | 357 KB), which showcases the many strides the treatment and recovery field has made and details the campaign’s success and evolution of Treatment Works! into National Recovery Month.

Support Organizations
Currently, more than 200 federal, state, and local government entities, as well as nonprofit organizations and associations affiliated with prevention, treatment, and recovery of mental and/or substance use disorders, comprise the Recovery Month Planning Partners’ group. The Planning Partners assist in the development, dissemination, and collaboration of materials; promotion; and event sponsorship for the Recovery Month initiative.

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May is Stroke Awareness Month


A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, is a type of brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen to a part of the brain resulting in tissue death. Strokes can be caused by a ruptured blood vessel (hemorrhagic) or by a clot that blocks blood flow (ischemic).

According to the American Stroke Association, in the United States there are:

  • 7 million stroke survivors.
  • 795,000 strokes each year.
  • 425,000 women suffer from stroke each year, 55,000 more than men.
  • 137,000 people who die from strokes each year, making stroke the third leading cause of death.

Substance Abuse and Stroke

High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. Alcohol and certain types of drugs increase blood pressure. Some drugs cause stroke by directly affecting blood vessels in the brain, while others do it indirectly by affecting other organs in the body, such as the heart or the liver.

Drug abuse is a leading contributor of stroke among people ages 18 to 25. Young people who abuse amphetamines are five times more likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke than people the same age who do not use amphetamines.

Excessive drinking may cause atrial fibrillation, which is a quick irregular heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation can cause the blood to form clots. If a blood clot travels to the brain, it may cause a stroke. In time, alcohol abuse can lead to high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of stroke.

Long-Term Effects of Stroke

Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability. Depending on the area of the brain that was affected, a stroke can cause speech impediments, paralysis, vision loss, and memory loss. Damage to the right side of the brain can cause impulsive behavior, while damage to the left side of the brain can lead to cautious and indecisive behavior. Strokes occurring in the brain stem can affect physical movement on both sides of the body, but often do not impair cognitive function.

Get Involved


Join the Minnesota Stroke Association for their annual Strides for Stroke walk on May 21. This year, the walk will be held at multiple locations throughout Minnesota. Vinland is a proud sponsor of this event. For more information, visit

Spread the Word

Stroke Awareness has created a variety of materials to help spread awareness about stroke and stroke symptoms. You can download the materials, including these Act FAST posters, at



Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Stroke Association, American Stroke Association

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Finding Fun in Recovery


How do you help clients at Vinland Center learn how to have fun while in recovery?

You start with respect.

“You treat everyone with respect so they feel good about themselves,” said Tom Everett, who works in Vinland’s Fitness and Wellness Program. “We try to incorporate fun into activity. We want to find the fun for each client so they don’t dread doing things.”

What does Vinland provide for fun?

“Kayaking, canoeing, ping pong, pool, volleyball, basketball, Wii, snowshoeing, walking, and yoga,” said Vinland Fitness and Wellness Manager Jeff Willert.


But why is it important for clients to learn how to have fun again sober?

“These clients haven’t had any fun that’s clean and sober,” Willert said. “No one’s treated them very well or been kind to them much or it’s been a long time since anyone’s been good to them. They will try harder to work on recovery if they see that we genuinely care about their future.”

An important part in helping clients is ensuring they feel comfortable.

“They get comfortable here fast,” Willert said. “They finally get to take a breath and relax.”

But the challenge also posed is that as comfortable as clients are able to get, their time at Vinland can feel too brief.

“When clients start to see results it’s very cool for them,” Willert said. “But it’s such a short time here in comparison to the lifetime of use they’ve struggled with and nothing to look forward to. Here, they look forward to each day more.”

Another challenge for clients to learn how to have fun in recovery is facing constant cravings to use substances, Willert said.

“That’s a huge obstacle for so many to get through when they come here,” Willert said. “But they enjoy therapeutic exercise. Many say its the best hour of their day. They like to come in here and blow off steam, move around, and interact.”

IMG_1737 (1) (1)

Willert and Everett agree engaging clients is the most important part of helping them learn to have fun in recovery and learn what they like to do without using substances.

“For clients who have been there, done that, we are often they’re last stop or last hope,” Willert said. “Our counselors are exceptional and have to be innovative and make things fun.”

The outdoor recreation aspect available to clients at Vinland is a great benefit to helping them on the road to recovery. By respecting, engaging and making things fun for clients, Vinland staff also enjoy what they do. And when the outcome is a positive path to recovery, everybody wins.


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We’re Hiring

Vinland Center is growing and we have an immediate opening for a part-time Licensed Nurse Practitioner OR Physician’s Assistant. The open position is at our facility in Loretto, located 20 miles west of Minneapolis in western Hennepin County. Vinland is a 61-bed residential chemical dependency treatment center for adults with a dual diagnosis of MI/CD and cognitive disability.

Vinland Center has been named one of StarTribune’s Top 100 Workplaces for the last four consecutive years. Vinland offers competitive wages and benefits, including health, vision and dental insurance; Simple IRA; generous paid time off (PTO) plus holidays; CPR training; tuition reimbursement; on-site cafeteria; and on-site fitness center.

Qualifications include:

  • Current licensure as a Nurse Practitioner OR Physician’s Assistant.
  • Knowledge of people with disabilities and chemical dependency.
  • Ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team.

Responsibilities include:

  • Functions independently to perform age-appropriate history and physical for complex acute, critical, and chronically ill perioperative patients.
  • Orders and interprets diagnostic and therapeutic tests relative to patient’s age-specific needs.
  • Prescribes appropriate pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment modalities.
  • Implements interventions to support the patient to regain or maintain physiologic stability.
  • Monitors the effectiveness of interventions.
  • Facilitates the patient’s transition within and between health care settings, e.g. admitting, transferring, and discharging patients.
  • Collaborates with multidisciplinary team members by making appropriate referrals.
  • Facilitates staff, patient and family decision making by providing educational tools.
  • Participate in the pre-admission/intake assessment for all prospective program participants evaluating the medical status of the patient.
  • Supervise the process of admitting participants to the Vinland program completing the health assessment.
  • Supervise the completion of the health status evaluation for each new participant, identifying and ranking problems/needs requiring active intervention; establish measurable immediate and long term treatment objectives in cooperative with the interdisciplinary treatment team.
  • Perform and supervise all necessary nursing services, including the administration of medications and special treatments which may be ordered by the participant’s primary physician and ordering medications.

To apply, mail, fax, or e-mail cover letter and resume to Rick Krueger, Clinical Director, Vinland Center, Box 308, Loretto MN 55357; fax: 763.479.2605; e-mail

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A Big Walkabout Announcement


After seven years of the Winter Walkabout, we have decided to move the event from winter to fall. We will miss the snowshoeing part of our annual event, but we already have some fun new activities planned for the fall event!

Here are a few reasons why we are moving the event from winter to fall:

  • This year was the second time in seven years when there was no snow for the Walkabout.
  • Event day temperatures ranged from the teens to the 40s. Sometimes strong winds kept people from going outside. A fall event will (hopefully) have milder temps.
  • We will be able to accommodate more people in our space with an outdoor event.
  • September is National Recovery Month, and we would like our annual fundraiser to be a part of the recovery awareness events.

We hope to see you there on September 23, 2017!

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Meet Our Intern Angela Trenda


Angela Trenda is a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) intern at Vinland’s residential program in Loretto. She is working on getting her MSW through University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine’s University’s School of Social work. She is on track to graduate in May 2017.

Why are you interested in your field of study?

I have a background in investments, marketing and communications. So, this was a career change for me that evolved over the years. Once I left the corporate world, I moved into consulting for non-profits in marketing and development. It was through those experiences that I saw the wonderful work that many social service agencies do and I wanted to work more directly with clients. My colleagues encouraged me to get my MSW. My classes and interning at Vinland have reaffirmed that getting my MSW is the right path for me; we’re doing heart-centered work.

Why were you interested in an internship at Vinland?

I knew from the moment I walked in that Vinland was a special place. It quickly became apparent that Vinland is dedicated to helping clients work on recovery in all aspects – mind, body and spirit. The staff is amazing. There’s a lot of laughter, joy, compassion, and positive work going on here.

What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy biking in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter. I’m a true Minnesotan – I like being outside in all seasons. I also have a passion for doing abstract paintings.

What is your favorite part about working at Vinland?

There’s so much that I love about working here. I enjoy collaborating with and learning from the staff, and I’m learning a lot from the wisdom and strengths that the clients have too. Many of the clients have experienced difficult circumstances and I am in awe of their determination to work through those challenges. One of the things I like best is working in partnership with clients and staff to help clients discover the capabilities they have in changing their lives.

If you could have dinner with someone alive or dead who would it be and why?

I would like to have dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt. She is inspirational to me in the way that she traveled across the U.S., directly learning about the hardships and resilience of the people. She was the voice for people who felt they had none and helped to create and change policy and programs that positively impacted so many in our country.

How do you deal with challenges in life?

I take challenges one step at a time, break them apart, and look for the possibilities.

What is your favorite music on any given day?

I like to mix it up and listen to music from the 80s through what’s currently on the radio. I turn up the volume for Coldplay and Adele.

If you never had to worry about money, what would you do with your life?

I’d do what I’m doing; no question.

What movie have you seen and enjoyed? What book are you reading now?

I most recently saw “The Martian” and I read a lot for school but one of my favorite books (which was made into a mini-series) is “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. It’s got it all – good, evil, struggle, triumph, lots of twists and turns.

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7th Annual Winter Walkabout A Success


Winter Walkabout 2016

It was a beautiful, sunny day for the 2016 Winter Walkabout. So many happy faces were seen at the Vinland Center in Loretto, especially the raffle prize winners.

Thank you to everyone involved for making the event a success! Thanks to the support of sponsors, raffle donors, fundraisers, and attendees, we raised nearly $41,000! We also had more than 50 raffle prizes given away!

Thank You Sponsors!

Still Time to Donate

If you were unable to attend the Winter Walkabout, you can still support Vinland Center with a financial donation! Look for this orange button on the Walkabout’s CrowdRise page.


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Update: Seven Things To Know About the Winter Walkabout Feb. 27


Want to plan a fun weekend? Then look no further: the 7th annual Winter Walkabout event is coming up this Saturday, Feb. 27, at Vinland Center in Loretto, Minn. Here’s seven things to know about this year’s event:

1. Registration and sign up begins at 10 a.m. You get a T-shirt at this time. A short program is at 10:30 a.m. and you can go for a walk on our beautiful trail starting at 11 a.m. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and you can enter to win numerous raffle prizes starting at 12:30 p.m. until the end of the event at 1 p.m.


2. You can never predict the Minnesota weather any time of year! So whether it’s sunny or snowy, we’ve got you covered for the Winter Walkabout. Since predictions are coming in for nice weather, snowshoes will not be available. You can enjoy our paved walking path that winds through beautiful scenery next to Lake Independence. Enjoy the nice weather and take a leisurely walk. If it feels like spring, you’ll be able to tell on our beautiful grounds in Loretto!


3. Or maybe you like to stay warm and cozy indoors? We’ve got you covered! As a participant of the Winter Walkabout you will also get a delicious lunch to enjoy inside our lovely accommodations that include our facility and a heated tent. You are welcome to relax and enjoy the view of the spacious cafeteria looking out at the landscape while listening to some music.


4. Bringing the family? Great! We have some fun activities and games planned for all ages. We will have kids’ games and prizes as well as face painting. Remember, kids ages 12 and under are free to attend!


5. Want to win some money or great prizes? Look no further than the Winter Walkabout! Our 50-50 raffle drawing guarantees the winner at least $1,000. The entire pot is split half between the winner and Vinland Center. Last year, the winner won more than $1,500!


6. You can also enter to win a number of raffle prizes including event tickets to Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Paul Bunyan Land, the Science Museum of Minnesota, Guthrie Theater, Ordway Theater, Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and more! Plus, our creative staff and generous business donors continue to amaze with the raffle prize basket donations they supply each year. Seriously, you don’t want to miss out on these prizes. There’s something for everyone!


7. You could win a Go Pro Camera by playing our Heads or Tails game. Who will win? Come find out! Sign up here, today and don’t miss out on this fun-filled day!

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