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After many years of searching for the ability to like myself and cope with my everyday problems, I am quite confident I have found it here at Serenity Lane.  If any ever asked me when my birth date is, I shall answer May 3, 1973.  After my stay here at Serenity Lane, I feel like I have been born again.

~ Serenity Lane's first patient


Serenity Lane ALUMNI

Welcome to the Serenity Lane Alumni web site. The purpose of the site is to inform you of upcoming Alumni events and allow you to connect with each other and share your experience, strength and hope in your recovery.

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In more than 20 years at Serenity Lane, I've been fortunate to be part of the lives of thousands of people who have made lasting changes. When they don't succeed, it seems like there are at least 10 reasons why. We might call them the "ten best ways to fail." Any sound familiar?

  1. They try to be perfect. Treatment professionals, nutritionists and coaches of all kinds know that very few people make major lifestyle changes without some setbacks.
  2. They set unreasonable goals. When we have weight to lose, a few pounds at a time is the only way it's going to happen. For addictions, focusing on being sober today works best. Big goals are achievable, but they only happen one step at a time, one day at a time.
  3. If they're dieting, they weigh every day. Because healthy weight loss occurs slowly, daily weigh-ins insure that they'll be frustrated, discouraged or downright depressed when things don't go as fast as they'd like.
  4. They focus on what they're missing, not on their successes. Celebrating the small successes becomes the motivation for setting - and achieving - new goals.
  5. They stay around people who aren't changing for the better, and expect their family to give wholehearted support. The reality is that friends and family are often threatened by the changes we make - even positive ones.
  6. They expect to always feel good about their changes. Initially, we all have enthusiasm about a healthier lifestyle. But giving up destructive patterns involves some sense of loss. It also exposes the uncomfortable feelings that got us into the behaviors in the first place. A few weeks into a new program the discomfort can go way up.
  7. They try to go it alone. Each of the ten ways can lead to failure by itself - but this one especially so. Real, lasting changes just can't be made alone.
  8. They convince themselves that the discomfort they're feeling will last forever. The truly frightening thing about this one is that if we spend time dwelling on it, we will fail. Our fears will have become a reality.
  9. They get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. In recovery circles, we use the acronym HALT. Changing bad habits requires faith, courage and patience. Failing to take care of these basics undermines all three.
  10. They refuse to give up current activities to make room for better ones. A great way to fail is to pile on things to do without giving up anything. As in not giving up an extra hour at work or an hour in front of the TV for a sensible exercise program.

If you're having trouble, you're probably doing one or more of these things. The good thing to know, however, is that they're optional. If we're aware of them, we can do something different. We'll then have a much better chance of getting what we want - and becoming who we want to be.


As the statewide coordinator of employer services for Serenity Lane, Jerry Gjesvold helps companies throughout the state manage their drug-free workplace programs. More information is available on the Serenity Lane website at The opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer.


Instructions for Life in the new millennium from the Dalai Lama:

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go some place you have never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
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