Better Way of Living: A Personal Story of Recovery

During Recovery Month, observed nationally every September, we remember the lives lost to the disease of addiction and celebrate with those who found the treatment they needed to get well. Here is one of those stories, as told by an alumnus of First Step Recovery of The Village: It was May 2015, and I was scared. My health was suffering with several short hospital stays for pancreatitis (too much alcohol for too long) and ketoacidosis (high blood sugars for too long). My career was in stress and legal problems had been the reason for several job offers being pulled. In short, I knew I was in [...]

An Amazing Journey: One Client's Story of Growth and Change

A woman walking down a winding road with an open field and clouds in the blue sky
When Molly* first came to The Village’s Moorhead office, she had no idea how much it would come to mean to her. Now she describes it as a “place of miracles,” where she feels safe to share honestly, ask questions, be challenged, break down walls, learn, and grow. Molly wrote a letter thanking her counselor, Joni Medenwald, MSW, LICSW. Here’s Molly's story, in her own words: I first met Joni at the end of 2012. In August of that year, I started a new job. I was very excited about the new position, but I soon came to realize that I was in way over my head. I was getting super stressed and [...]

What Does Recovery Mean to Those Affected?

First Step Recovery wall covered in slogan submissions surrounding the words Recovery Wall
September is Recovery Month! Recovery Month is the perfect time to recognize what recovering from substance use really means. Take a closer look at the effects of addiction and celebrate those who have started on the pathway to long-term sobriety. The Village’s First Step Recovery program provides a caring environment for adults struggling with substance use disorders. Slogan Contest This month, First Step is celebrating Recovery Month in a number of ways. One of those ways was a slogan contest. The First Step team set up a wall in their office where clients could write their ideas for a [...]

Nothing Helped, Then The Village Entered Their Lives

animated family sitting on couch hugging
Sandy Nelson’s daughter was running away and cutting herself. She’d had suicidal thoughts. Nothing was helping her. She was getting worse. That’s when The Village Family Service Center entered their lives. Through In-Home Family Therapy, Outpatient Counseling, and mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters, the West Fargo family is less stressed and better able to relate to one another. Sandy adopted her three children from foster care. Her 11-year-old son came to her at birth. Her daughter came to her at age 6, and is now 16. Sandy adopted her daughter’s brother when he was 2½. Now he’s 11 [...]

Meet April and Xander

Xander leaning his head on April's shoulder
From an early age, Xander's behaviors were frustrating for his mom, April. The aggression. The anger. The family sought help and a diagnosis, but the answers they got never added up. Years passed, and they were still struggling. After April and Xander moved to West Fargo, they began receiving In-Home Family Therapy services from The Village Family Service Center. With their therapist's help and guidance, Xander received testing and an appropriate diagnosis. They now have access to the resources they needed to get along and communicate better, and for Xander to take positive strides in his [...]

3 Suicides, 18 Months

sad girl sitting on floor contemplating
1 out of 5 Americans suffer from behavioral health-related illnesses each year, resulting in strained relationships, lost wages, and even death. The consequences can be devastating, as one local family knows all too well. In the span of just 18 months, they lost three loved ones to suicide. Through in-home family therapy and school-based mental health services from The Village Family Service Center, Rachel* and her children gained the coping skills and tools they needed to start the healing process. Here is their story, in Rachel's own words: January 23, 2018, was a day that changed our family [...]

Xavier's Journey from Battleground to Playground

With the help of therapy Xavier overcame the symptoms of trauma
In his short life, Xavier* experienced so much trauma. His parents battled substance use disorders, which caused him and his siblings to be neglected. Child Protective Services became involved, and Xavier lived in several foster homes before moving in with his adoptive family at age 5. As a result of his early childhood experiences, Xavier was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His body and mind were in constant fight, flight, or freeze mode. He thought adults could not be trusted to meet his needs. He had difficulty sleeping and would hide food to make sure he wouldn’t go [...]

Jessica Found Her Confidence as a Mom through IOP

IOP helped Jessica find her confidence as a mother
With an induction, long labor and post-delivery complications, the birth of Jessica’s first baby was nothing like she imagined. “It was honestly a traumatic experience for me,” Jessica* says. To make matters worse, Jessica developed postpartum anxiety, which made it difficult for her to enjoy life with her new baby. “I was convinced I was not cut out to be a mom and (my baby) would be better off if adopted,” she says. “I thought if I didn't have a baby anymore my life would be back to what it was before giving birth and my anxiety would magically be gone and life would be good again.” A nurse [...]

From Hardships to Healing

Joshua Grondahl standing in a group therapy group room
Joshua Grondahl has had many losses in his life. Even at a young age he suffered from depression. He attempted suicide in sixth grade. The years 2015 to 2017 came many hardships. He lost his dad. His house burned down. He divorced. He felt the ultimate low and knew he had to do something before going down another dangerous path. Joshua participated in The Village’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), a program in which clients receive education and support, develop coping skills, and problem-solve life’s ongoing stress and challenges in a group setting. Joshua says The Village taught him that [...]

Crumb by Crumb: First Step Recovery Saved Thad's Life and Family

Thad Stafford standing with arms crossed in front of First Step Recovery sign
In 2018, Thad Stafford was arrested for driving while intoxicated in his hometown, the city where he’d served on the police force for more than two decades. He entered treatment as a means to save his career, to ensure he could continue to provide for his wife and four kids. But shortly into his stay at an inpatient center, he realized there was more to his story. The stress and trauma of his job as a sergeant who investigated child abuse cases had created deep wounds that he had buried. The drinking was a symptom of greater issues. “Over 20 years, crumb by crumb, it starts to pile up. I wasn [...]