May 27, 2020

Finding Friendship at the Renewal Center

By Gayle N

I first came to Hazelden on September 6, 1987.  I spent 32 days on the old Lilly unit, where I heard many interesting slogans. I kept coming back because these stories stuck with me.

Walking around the grounds I kept seeing folks standing out on the deck at Renewal. They were happy, laughing and healthy looking. They looked like all the things I wanted and hadn’t found yet. Told myself “if” I stayed sober I was coming back next year. As I struggled through the next months, facing the judge, paying the consequences, trying to find my way, I kept thinking “keep coming back.”

I did, the next September. Then another, until 28 years later I’m sitting at Renewal on this beautiful late August day writing this.

I’ve met hundreds of wonderful people and made friends with the loving staff. The second year at Renewal I met a great gal from Boston and we clicked. We both agreed to return the next year.

We just keep coming back. Three others joined up with us and for a long while we all made it every year. We call ourselves the Labor Day ladies.  Depending on who you ask, it’s been 25 or 26 years. This year at Renewal is number 28 for me.

The Labor Day Ladies have stayed friends and stayed sober; we’ve survived cancer, loss of loved ones, problems with loved ones and everything else life can throw at us. We working good programs and share the love of another trip to Minnesota, to visit the staff, the workers, and everybody else who has helped us along the way.

Hazelden got me sober, meetings keep me on track, and trips to Renewal each year enhance my life more than I can ever say.

For more information on Hazelden’s Renewal Center, click here



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