Meet Our Intern – Rina

Rina Langlie is an outpatient chemical health intern at Vinland’s site in Minneapolis. She is a Psychology major at the University of Minnesota, where she is also working towards her Licensed Alcohol and Drug Certificate (LADC). She is expected to graduate in December.


Why are you interested in your field of study?

I have been in recovery for four years and I wanted to give back to the people that helped me change my life around and to help others.

Why were you interested in an internship at Vinland?

I heard a lot of great things but I didn’t know that much about it before. After accepting, someone told me it was the “Google of treatment centers,” so this is a really great opportunity for me.

What are your goals after graduation?

To work for a year and then go back to school for my LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors).

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In the summer I love to go swimming. In the winter I go snowboarding.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been?

Cozumel, Mexico

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet?

Billie Joe Armstrong – I love Green Day

What is your spirit animal?

A fish – I’m obsessed with swimming. I think I was a fish in a past life.

What is your favorite book, movie, and/or TV show?

TV – the Simpsons (I’ve watched it since I was a kid)

What song best describes your life?

“You Drive Me Crazy” by Britney Spears because everything in my life drives me crazy

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Meet Our Intern – Gina

Gina Breci is an outpatient chemical health intern at Vinland’s site in Minneapolis. She is currently working towards her Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) certificate from Century College. She will graduate from the program in December.


Why are you interested in your field of study?

I went through recovery myself and also worked in human services for a few years. I love working with people and want to give back to the people that helped me. I want to pass along the information, caring, and compassion given to me when I went through treatment. I find the work rewarding and like being able to give back, especially since I understand where people are coming from since I went through this process myself.

Why were you interested in an internship at Vinland?

I worked with people with disabilities before at RISE and group homes. I have always gravitated towards the field and was excited when I learned about Vinland’s program, especially since it fit in with my past experience.

What are your goals after graduation?

I want to land my first LADC job!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to read – I’m a library fanatic! I also love walking with my dog and going on nature walks.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been?

London because you’re never done seeing it since there’s so much to do.

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet?

Bill Clinton

What is your spirit animal?

A turtle – they’re slow but steady

What is your favorite book, movie, and/or TV show?

TV show – Simpsons (I collect the seasons)

Books – anything by Jodi Picoult

What song best describes your life?

“I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash – it is a great recovery song and I like being able to live without chemicals

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Quilt Donation Program Seeking Additional Donors

Quilt Donor Ruth DeVore

Thank you to Ruth DeVore for donating five quilts to Vinland in June!

Vinland strives to create a home-like atmosphere for our clients during their stay, which is why a handmade quilt covers each of the 61 beds in our residential chemical health program. Clients are welcome to take their quilt home with them when they leave treatment.

Last year, Vinland served nearly 500 people in its residential program and received 186 quilts through donations from the local community. Vinland needs additional quilt donors to meet the needs of our growing program.

If you quilt or know someone who does, click here for more information about making a donation.

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Vinland Center Named to Star Tribune’s Top 150 Workplaces 2015

Top Workplaces 2015 LogoFor the fourth year in a row, Vinland Center has been named one of the Top 150 Workplaces in Minnesota based on an employee-based survey project from the Star Tribune. Vinland ranked 10 on the small company list.

For the second time in four years, Vinland was also recognized for as the top employer in Work/Life Flexibility.


“Thanks to all of the staff for making Vinland a Top 100 Workplace for the fourth time!” Executive Director Mary Roehl said. “This achievement is a direct result of your commitment to our clients and each other. I am so honored to work with such an amazing group of individuals.”

The full list can be found on

Top Workplaces recognizes the most progressive companies in Minnesota based on employee opinions measuring engagement, organizational health and satisfaction.  The analysis included responses from over 69,100 employees at Minnesota public, private and nonprofit organizations.

The rankings in the Star Tribune Top 150 Workplaces are based on survey information collected by WorkplaceDynamics, an independent company specializing in employee engagement and retention.

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Client Success Story

Chemical Health Graduate Cyndi Shares Her Story of Success in Recovery


When asked how she started abusing drugs, Cyndi talks about how she liked the street life.

“I was homeless and using dope, and I thought that was what life should be like. I was judgmental about people who worked and had a lot of stuff,” she said. “I thought I had life figured out.”

For several years, Cyndi worked just enough to earn money for her lifestyle. She lived on the streets or in houses with several roommates.

When she was 26 years old, her life changed dramatically. She woke up with a terrible headache and asked her boyfriend to bring her some medicine. By the time he returned, she was non-responsive. She was rushed to the hospital, where the doctors discovered a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) – a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain that disrupts the flow of oxygen to the brain. The cause of AVMs is unknown, but it is thought that people are born with them.

She underwent three surgeries in one month to remove the AVM. Afterwards, she was left with a brain injury that resulted in memory loss, something she continues to struggle with to this day.

“After my brain injury, drinking and using drugs helped me fit in,” she said. “Other people would say they didn’t remember something happening, and I would say ‘me too’.”

Eventually, Cyndi came to a point where she realized she needed help to change her life for the better. During her Rule 25 assessment, her social worker suggested she receive treatment at Vinland Center because of her brain injury.

Cyndi first came to Vinland in 2010, and when she graduated, she felt positive about her chances at recovery. “I was fooling myself,” she said. She convinced herself that alcohol and drugs were not her primary problems, and almost immediately, she was back to drinking and using drugs.

After being confronted by her roommate about her behavior, Cyndi realized she was using drugs all the time and she felt horrible about her behavior. She moved back home to her parent’s house, and her parents urged her to return to treatment.

Cyndi returned to Vinland in 2011, which she knows now was the right choice for her.

“At Vinland, I opened up to people,” she said. “It was a nice experience, and it felt very comfortable. I really enjoyed the outdoor activities, and I appreciated the staff’s sensitivity to Native American traditions.”

Today, Cyndi works at a different treatment center as a chemical dependency technician. She works with women and children in the organization’s residential women’s program.

“Something I’ve taken away from my time at Vinland is the importance of relationships,” she said. “Some relationships take time and effort, but they’re worth it.”

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Celebrating 25 Years of Chemical Health Program

First-of-Its-Kind Chemical Health Program Addresses the Needs of Individuals with Brain Injuries

When Vinland began offering chemical health services for adults with brain injuries in 1990, no other organization was providing a similar type of specialized service. Thanks to advancements in medical technology during the 1980s, survival rates for traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients had more than doubled. Services were evolving and expanding in scope to meet the growing demands of this population.

Recognizing A Need

In 1989, Vinland was awarded a grant from the State of Minnesota to assess chemical abuse among persons with head injuries and other cognitive disabilities. Research at the time showed alcohol and drug use were involved with roughly fifty percent of traumatic brain injury accidents, and of those cases fifty percent of the people involved had a previous history of substance abuse.


Unfortunately, brain injury and drugs and alcohol often go hand in hand. People who abuse drugs and alcohol have a higher incidence of sustaining a brain injury — from falling or driving while intoxicated, for example. And the effects of alcohol and drugs only get worse for people after a brain injury.

A study conducted in 1986 identified four factors that increase the risk for substance abuse following a brain injury: increased free time and boredom, enabling by family and friends, uncertainty about the future, and physical and mood changes.

Vinland realized the need for a specialized chemical health program was there.

Understanding the Challenges

After sustaining a brain injury, many people experience devastating physical, emotional, and behavioral changes. While there are similarities between brain injuries, it is important to remember that each injury is unique. Individuals may have few problems or a combination of several problems.

The most common long-term effects associated with brain injury are impairment of memory, decreased self-awareness, impairment of abstract thinking, short attention spans, inappropriate social behavior, changes in mood, impaired communication skills, and problem solving difficulties. These long-term effects impact the skills that are important in traditional chemical dependency treatment programs, which is why many TBI survivors are unsuccessful in those types of programs. Individuals struggling with abstract thinking impairment are unable to move beyond concrete terms to the abstract meanings of simple sayings. These people tend to struggle with the abstract concepts behind Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12 Steps. In addition, short-term memory issues and inappropriate social behavior might be interpreted as resistance to treatment when a professional is not familiar with the common symptoms of brain injuries.

Innovative Program

In 1990, Vinland started the first-ever chemical health program for individuals with brain injuries. The program was designed to accommodate TBI survivors’ barriers to success and increase their chance for long-term sobriety. The new program placed an emphasis on positive reinforcement and low confrontation as a more appropriate way to interact with people living with brain injuries.


The new program proved beneficial not just for adults living with brain injuries, but people living with other types of disabilities such as learning disabilities and mental illnesses. Twenty-five years later, Vinland remains one of only a few treatment centers that provides chemical health services tailored for adults with cognitive impairments.

Whole-Person Approach

Vinland beliefs integrated treatment offers the best outcome for individuals struggling with substance abuse, mental health issues, and cognitive impairments. There are many barriers to achieving long-term sobriety, so Vinland’s program addresses the needs of the whole person – mind, body, spirit.

Vinland provides a variety of complementary care services to meet the needs of its clients. The therapeutic exercise program is the largest and provides each participant with a personalized fitness program designed under the supervision of a fitness and wellness manager. Vinland’s fitness staff works closely with each participant to improve overall physical health and relieve symptoms of chronic pain.

Vinland also offers psychology and psychiatry services, mental health counseling, family programming, traumatic brain injury groups, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and recreation activities.

Program Today

The chemical health program started out as a residential program with 10 beds at Vinland’s main campus in Loretto. Demand for the program grew steadily, and Vinland expanded capacity to meet demand.

Today, Vinland serves individuals with varying cognitive impairments. The majority of our clients are people living with brain injuries, but an individual does not have to have a brain injury to receive treatment at Vinland.


In 2013, Vinland completed a building expansion at its main facility in Loretto. The expansion added 20 beds, new kitchen and dining room, new office space, and renovated therapeutic exercise center. Vinland also expanded office space at its outpatient location in Minneapolis, making it possible to expand services and serve more clients.

Today, Vinland has 61 beds at its main campus, where 500 individuals are served annually on average. The outpatient program in Minneapolis annually serves 100 individuals on average.


Sources: Vinland archives; Jones, G. (1989). Alcohol Abuse and Traumatic Brain Injury. Alcohol World Health & Research, 13(2); Jones, G. (1992) Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons with Brain Injuries. NeuroRehabilitation, 2(1).

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Year in Review 2014

Vinland’s fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014) was another successful year for Vinland Center. Vinland was able to expand programming thanks to building and office expansions at our main campus and outpatient location. Specifically, Vinland expanded mental health services and complementary care services, such as therapeutic exercise and yoga.

Our 2014 annual report will be published later this month. If you would like to receive a copy, join our mailing list.

2014 Program Highlights

For the third year in a row, Vinland Center was named to Star Tribune’s Top 100 Workplaces, ranking 11 on the small business list.

Total money raised for the 2014 Winter Walkabout was more than $50,000.

186 quilts were donated to Vinland from a variety of local individuals, groups, and organizations.

Vinland served individuals from:


People Served by Program


1 / Residential Chemical Health 459
2 / Outpatient Chemical Health 117
3 / Phoenix Pain Program* 104*
4 / Mental Health Clinic 268
5 / Supportive Housing 35
Total Number of Clients Served 983
*Vinland provides contracted chemical health services at Courage Kinney Rehabilitation Institute’s Phoenix Pain Program (Golden Valley)
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