Kristen Moeller on Alcohol and Drug Addiction and The Road To Recovery

bulimia and addiction

Author and former health professional Kristen Moeller has been free from alcohol and drug addiction, as well as a serious eating disorder, for nearly twenty five years now. Her newest book, titled ‘What Are You Waiting For? Learn How To Rise To the Occasion of Your Life,’ tells the story of one woman’s climb from desperation and addiction to fulfillment and purpose.

In a recent interview about her book with The Fix, Moeller so eloquently highlights the intrinsic connection between her bulimia and her substance abuse problems.  She also speaks about the need for willingness in recovery, getting out of one’s self, and being surrounded by like-minded people. Read some highlights from her fantastic interview below:

On her eating disorder problems and how they fed her addiction problems even more:

“I felt I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough – and then decided I wasn’t thin enough. I knew it was a problem when I realized that I couldn’t stop doing the behavior. My drug abuse was more social and about partying, but the eating disorder was something I was ashamed of and kept hidden…”

On how addiction makes one feel trapped, and how being willing to recover is one of the most important aspects to recovering:

“The first rehab I went to in ’87 was a wonderful facility and program, but was solely for eating disorders and didn’t address the drug and alcohol addiction part. Pretty soon after returning to college, I stopped going to meetings– I didn’t want to live and felt worthless and trapped in the way that many addicts feel. It’s what led me to choosing recovery. I was blessed with the gift of being willing to say yes and having hope that something else was possible.  And, I kept saying yes and putting one foot in front of the other.”

On thinking positively and surrounding yourself with postiive people: 

“If we take the proper action and step into our recovery, the gifts will come… The biggest thing is who you surround yourself with… Find people who are living healthy lifestyles. Adopt practices to get you out of yourself.  Find people with whom you can share your darkest worries and fears … Having a spiritual connection where you can tap into something bigger than yourself in order to get meaning is also important.”

Read the entire interview with Kristen Moeller on TheFix here. If you or any one you know is struggling with addiction and needs help, please don’t hesitate to contact Hickory Wind Ranch today or call us at 512-634-8876.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death & What Addiction Really Means

philip seymour hoffmans death and addiction

Philip Seymour Hoffman, notably one of the most gifted actors of our generation, went 23 years clean before he relapsed. This is the sad truth about addiction. You don’t simply ‘fall off the wagon’ or decide to get high over spending time with your family– you suffer from a serious disease that’s a part of you for the rest of your life– one that’s always trying to poke its head out.

Jana Greene wrote a fantastic article about addiction and addicts, inspired by Philip Seymour Hoffman, which you should absolutely read here. She really hits home in this article. Here is a preview:

“We are everyman …. everywoman. We alcoholics and addicts. We are legion…We are not weak. The strongest people I’ve ever met have been recovering alcoholics…We are born with super dopamine-seeking brains, susceptible to a hijacking of our brain chemistry. We know that our choices can keep our disease at bay, but we usually have to learn that the hard way…We don’t want to make excuses for the train wrecks we pilot; we just want you to know they are not by design. We are sensitive, and are often creative forces to be reckoned with…We punch time clocks and live ordinary lives. And truth be told, it isn’t always the pain that makes us want to drink and use, but fear of the ordinary. We love our children fiercely. Yes, we would change “For the sake of the children” if only we could.…We are brought to our knees in a desperation that normally-wired brains cannot fathom. And we can get better – if we stay on our knees.…By simply talking about it, you help strip away the stigma. Because the only thing worse than battling a disease is battling a disease that many people don’t believe exists. A disease that – if treatment is not embraced as a way of life – can be fatal.”

If you or anyone you love is struggling from addiction, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 512-634-8876 today to get the help you need.

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Russell Brand’s Life Without Drugs

Recently, Russell Brand wrote a guest article on The Guardian that is getting a lot of attention, as he aptly tells how his life has changed since he’s been without drugs for the last 10 years. Despite his life “improving immeasurably”, he is still haunted by the lingering pull of addiction, a struggle he deals with every day.

As he puts it:

“It is 10 years since I used drugs or drank alcohol and my life has improved immeasurably. I have a job, a house, a cat, good friendships and generally a bright outlook.

The price of this is constant vigilance because the disease of addiction is not rational. Recently for the purposes of a documentary on this subject I reviewed some footage of myself smoking heroin that my friend had shot as part of a typically exhibitionist attempt of mine to get clean.

I sit wasted and slumped with an unacceptable haircut against a wall in another Hackney flat (Hackney is starting to seem like part of the problem) inhaling fizzy, black snakes of smack off a scrap of crumpled foil. When I saw the tape a month or so ago, what is surprising is that my reaction is not one of gratitude for the positive changes I’ve experienced but envy at witnessing an earlier version of myself unencumbered by the burden of abstinence. I sat in a suite at the Savoy hotel, in privilege, resenting the woeful ratbag I once was, who, for all his problems, had drugs. That is obviously irrational.

The mentality and behaviour of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help they have no hope.”

At Hickory Wind Ranch, we provide the structured help needed to help addicts recover and move on to a happy, connected, and prosperous lives. Contact us today to learn more.

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Jim James – A New Life

We thought this beautiful song was so inspirational, we had to share it with you! Enjoy “Jim James – A New Life.”

“Hey, open the door
I want a new life
Hey, and here’s what’s more
I want a new life, a new life
Babe, let’s get one thing clear
There’s much more star dust when you’re near
I think I’m really being sincere
I want a new life, um, a new life
With you.”


Written by Polly Parsons.


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Reflecting on the Past & Looking Forward to the Future

Hickory Wind Ranch

While 2013 comes to a close and we reflect on our busy and exciting year, we wanted to take the time to thank each and every one of you for supporting our labor of love and mission to build a community of support in sobriety with Hickory Wind Ranch.

Our homes have been filled with wonderful men all coming together with a common goal to recovery, forming new friendships, gaining confidence, and becoming productive members of our community. We are so proud of each and every one of them and their amazing progress.

This year, we were excited to announce that Hickory Wind Ranch expanded our programming to also include some key areas that our many years of experience helped bring about in a very organic way. This includes our nutritional component that teaches residents the relationship of what we put in our bodies and how to feed your body and soul with healthy, fresh, and nutritious food. We also welcomed (with open arms) the brilliant, Rick Treadway-Teran who came on board as our Clinical Director and partner. Rick’s excitement and willingness to become a part of Hickory Wind Ranch was a welcome sign that we are on a ground-breaking path of making extended care an essential part of sobriety. It’s an honor to have someone like Rick on our team helping to support our clients on a path of living life to its fullest potential.

Personally, I was reminded how intimate this story is for me as well with the marking of my father’s, Gram Parsons’, Birthday in November. I was inspired to create a video in his honor. If you are unfamiliar, Gram Parsons was an incredible musician and inspiration to so many, but he was also an addict. His addiction took him at the tender age of 26, and Hickory Wind Ranch was named in his honor. I am proud to continue my father’s legacy in this way.

All of this being said, we are looking forward to 2014 and will continue to create a loving, supportive, guiding program, welcoming those into our homes who are ready to recover and reclaim their lives before addiction took over.

We also can’t wait for the re-opening our women’s program as the demand has been overwhelming. Thank you for letting us know- we are always listening to what you have to say. Please be in touch if you would like to sign up for our waiting list for the women’s sober living and extended care program.

Lastly, mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 12, 2014 when we will celebrate our local musician community with a free day event during SXSW, the beloved giant music festival that Austin is so well known for. Look for us on South Congress and join us for some wonderful music, camaraderie and love.

Peace and Blessings,

Your Friends at Hickory Wind Ranch


Written by Polly Parsons.


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Jason Isbell and The Power of Sobriety

Is Jason Isbell sober?Jason Isbell, perhaps best known for his work in the alt-country, southern rock group Drive-By Truckers, has been turning up on a plethora of the requisite end-of-year “Best of 2013” lists for his latest solo effort, ‘Southeastern.’

Rock critic and NPR’s Kevin Tucker even ranks ‘Southeastern’ as the #1 record of 2013 saying, “No music moved me more, did more to make me think about life a bit differently, than Isbell’s continually revelatory album ‘Southeastern.’ It cohered as a statement about love, regret, loneliness and joy, and also about what it’s like to make vernacular music concerning these themes. It was self-conscious without being self-absorbed.”

American Songwriter also names ‘Southeastern’ as their #1 album of 2013; it tops the Americana Airplay chart and is continuously popping up as one of 2013’s must hear records.

And Jason Isbell is sober.

Artists often feel that their addiction is a necessity in the creative process and shun any thoughts of getting clean and sober for fear of losing their ‘edge.’ But Jason Isbell has proven the opposite. His sobriety allowed him the clarity to really unveil his deepest thoughts and startling honesty.

From NPR’s News Desk:

“He says his drinking brought him ‘close to the point of no return.’ But now, at 34, Isbell says he’s sober and newly, giddily married to singer-songwriter and fiddler, Amanda Shires. On his new solo album, ‘Southeastern,’ Isbell digs deep, drawing on his personal relationships and experiences with sobriety.

The Impact Of Sobriety

Along with sobriety came a whole new set of concerns, which Isbell channeled into ‘Southeastern.’ ‘Live Oak’ begins with the lines, “There’s a man who walks beside me / He is who I used to be / And I wonder if she sees him and confuses him with me.”

“I worried about what parts of me would go along with the bad parts, because it’s not cut and dried,” Isbell says. “It’s not like you make the right decision, and everything’s great, and you’re a better person for it. You are, you know, at least 51 percent better. But there are some things that are lost forever, and that’s just a fact of it.”

He says he was concerned about the impact his sobriety would have on all of his personal relationships.

“I was thinking, ‘Well, what do they like?’” Isbell says. ” ‘Do they like that guy? What combination of those two guys are gonna make those folks stay in my life?’ Luckily, most of the people that I really cared about were there for me. And I think at the core, I still have the same values. I just actually behave according to those values now a lot more.”

We couldn’t be prouder of Jason’s accomplishments in every facet of this story– his record, his love, his sobriety, and his life. Hickory Wind Ranch embraces the creative and Jason Isbell reminds us all that we are more than capable of being our best selves while staying sober. Thank you for the reminder, Jason!

On a side note, we are also super proud of one of our dearest friends, artist Chris Kro, who was responsible for the art direction/package design of Southeastern. He also contributes to Hickory Wins Ranch, Gram Parsons Foundation and anything else we can utilize his talents for!

Written by Polly Parsons.

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Polly Parsons: A Message to Her Father, Gram Parsons, on His Anniversary

On November 5th, 2013, sober living champion, Polly Parsons, announced the expansion of her successful sober living homes to include extended care, and alcohol and addiction treatment for men. Polly has just opened the Hickory Wind Ranch Sober Living & Extended Program, a unique 90-day treatment and extended care program that is customized for male residents to determine the best way to help them beat addiction once their individual needs have been assessed.

Watch her video to her father, Gram Parsons below:

Written by Polly Parsons.

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#YearInAddiction Twitter Chat Recap

Last night, our clinical director, Rick Treadway-Teran participated in a fantastic Twitter chat lead by Anna David of After Party Chat, which also included an array of other great people and places such as The Fix, The Phoenix House, Pasadena Recovery, and Solid Landings. Talk about a fascinating chat! Subjects that were touched on included everything from Obamacare and the financial obstacles of recovery to how addiction is portrayed in celebrity culture and how that affects us as a society. Don’t worry if you missed out though, because you can still read the entire #YearInAddiction Twitter chat by searching for the hashtag on Twitter! Below are some picture highlights from the #YearInAddiction Twitter Chat.

Is Money the Biggest Obstacle for Recovery?

addiction treatment

On Glee actor Cory Monteith’s OD in July: 

Cory Monteith's OD

On Whether or Not Addiction Treatment Actually Works:

Britney Spears Recovery

Tapered Replacement Therapies and Recovery:

Tapered Replacement Therapies

Anyone CAN Recovery!

Can Anyone Recover?

Thanks again to Anna David for hosting such an incredible and honest Twitter chat about addiction and recovery! Just remember, you can recovery from your addiction – no matter how tough it seems. Contact Hickory Wind Ranch today if you or any of your loved ones need help from addiction!

Written by Polly Parsons.

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Have You Ever Had to Ask The Question, “Am I an Alcoholic?”

Let’s face it: It can be really hard to quit drinking, especially when it’s already become a problem. Becoming an alcoholic has the tendency to sneak up on you; you don’t just wake up from one day to the next an alcoholic. It’s something that develops over time, slowly. It can start with a couple of drinks after work with friends and easily turn into drinking a full case at night alone. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to quit drinking once you finally do realize it’s become an issue. We urge you to take a look at this picture below, and if you’re thinking twice about answering some of these questions or you’re afraid to answer them, please contact us at Hickory Wind Ranch today.

am i an alcoholic


Written by Polly Parsons.

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Relearning Creativity, Sober

thinking outside the bottle

“When I got clean and sober, it was like I was a kid again,” he said. “Everything was new. Not to sound corny, I felt like I was born again. I had to learn my writing skills. I was relearning how to rap. I didn’t know if my MC skills were intact. But everything was fun and suddenly I started feeling happy. I hadn’t felt happy for a long time.” -Eminem

Congratulations! You’re sober! You’ve successfully put away the booze, pills, powder, etc. and are stepping into life like a newborn babe, wide-eyed, full-of-potential, but a bit scared. You’re also an artist, and you may have come to view your addiction and creativity as linked. You may have used drugs and alcohol to free you from the constraints of your logical mind, and now you’re intimidated by the possibility that you won’t be able to get “in the zone.” So, if you find your sober self struggling to create, what can you do?

Showing up is half the battle.

It took four of five months for Eminem to feel like he got his writing skills back. What did he do during those months? He wrote. He wrote about what he went through. He wrote about his triumphs and his losses. He wrote about the people he met. He wrote about where he wanted to go and who he wanted to be. So just start writing, start painting, start drawing. If you can’t figure out how to start, pick up the Oflow app, Caffeine for the Creative Mind, or Huffington Post’s Best Creative Writing Exercises for a kickstart.

It’s not about being who you were.

There are a slew of artists and musicians who have sobered up and continued to produce works, to varying degrees of success. Eminem, Elton John, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Kim Deal of the Pixies, and Iggy Pop are a few of the musicians who cleaned up and went on create better art. A whole lot of musicians haven’t been able to surpass their original high (pun intended) sober. Don’t strive for ground-breaking; strive for progress. Find the new you; don’t try to recreate the old you.

When in doubt, imitate.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, so if you’re really having a hard time getting back on the creativity train, take your time. Learn a to play a song by your favorite band; paint like Picasso; retype The Great Gatsby. By engaging in great works, you will be inspired.

Have you had to relearn how to be creative? What advice do you have?

If you have an hour, watch this BBC documentary about The Creative Brain:

Written by Polly Parsons.

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