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Road to recovery leads to book

Alcoholic puts theory to page

Recovering from any addiction can be a struggle and the journey looks different for everyone. Cloquet native and now author Doug Norgren said priority and passion fueled his successful recovery.

Norgren started journaling at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings about 16 years ago. From Day 1, he said, he spent time reading, note taking and diving deep into spirituality. It all led to his decision to pull it all together and in a book. Years later, the Covid-19 pandemic gave Norgren time and motivation to finish the book.

"Kiss Spirit" was published in January 2023 while Norgren was in the middle of moving to Duluth.

It's a 91-page book that is packed with acronyms that aim to "trigger sober-mind thoughts in order to drown out all your alcoholic-mind thoughts," Norgren wrote.

The HOPE acronym is a big one, Norgren said. It stands for "Hang Onto Positive Expectations." Norgren says that he remained in a state of HOPE by immersing himself in recovery and becoming a SOS, meaning a Student of Sobriety. There are two other SOS acronyms that complete the three main sections of the book: Student of Spirituality and Student of Sanity.

Simplicity and spirituality act as the bedrock for "Kiss Spirit." Norgren said keeping it simple meant not getting too deep in his writing.

"You get into things deeper, then it isn't simple," Norgren said. "Let the readers write their own story rather than me getting in deep and express how they should be doing it. Just get them started on the right path."

Norgren said he has transformed himself spiritually. "God did for me what I could not do for myself," he said. Norgren rarely ever went to church, but he believed God had heard and answered his cry for help.

Norgren described a moment when he had heard God's voice telling him to write a book. He has a handful of acronyms that include God, such as GM (God's Magic) and GMC (God Manufactures Coincidences).

Norgren believes spirituality is ingrained in all we do, "our sanity," he said.

Norgren explained how addictions are about thinking. He simplifies 12 spiritual steps in his book that can change thinking, but he claims thinking is a part of your spirit.

If you have the spirit, it makes recovering from addiction priority No. 1.

"Get involved in whatever your recovery program may be, enjoy it and learn a new way of life from it," Norgren said. "Keep that passion for a new way of life and then you get it."

Passion was the easiest thing for Norgren writing his book. "When you have passion, there's less hesitation and less procrastination," he said. "I had passion for my own recovery and compassion for other people's recovery."

His main purpose for writing was to help people and help himself. "Anybody can do it," Norgren said. "Work on that priority and passion."

Norgren is a numbers guy and writing was more of a challenge for him. He preferred multiple choice and true-or-false questions on a test versus essay questions.

"I wasn't born a writer," he said.

Norgren's friend, Barb Lund, helped with typing and formatting. "If it wasn't for her, I'd still be typing," he said.

Norgren is also "a computer infant." He is slowly starting to get his feet wet with social media and other platforms to promote "Kiss Spirit." Find his book online at Amazon.com, Apple iTunes store and Barnes & Noble.