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Published on October 15, 2019

Avera Launches Book by Phyllis Jorgenson: “Self-Portrait”

Avera Behavioral Health announces the launch of a newly published book by Phyllis Jorgenson of Sioux Falls titled “Self-Portrait,” which is her personal story of how addiction impacts the family.

Avera is also partnering with Glenn and Phyllis Jorgenson for the re-release of the book that tells their story, “It’s Great to Be Alive: Understanding Addiction and Offering Hope” by Terry Woster.

“Self-Portrait,” published by Throne Publishing Group in collaboration with Avera Health, is available, at the Gift Shop and General Store at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, and Avera Behavioral Health Center Pharmacy. Both books are also available on

“Self-Portrait” will be among materials used in a robust family program at the new Avera Addiction Care Center, which will open in early December.

The Avera Addiction Care Center, located at the Avera on Louise Health Campus, is a voluntary 28-day residential treatment center that uses a variety of evidence-based, individualized approaches to treat alcohol and drug addiction, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing.

Glenn and Phyllis Jorgenson were strong advocates for the development of a residential treatment program in Sioux Falls, and they served on an advisory committee that guided the planning for this center.

“When Phyllis expressed her interest in writing down her experiences for the benefit of spouses and family members, we knew it could be a helpful, inspiring and encouraging resource for the families that we will help through the Avera Addiction Care Center,” said Malia Holbeck, LCSW-PIP, LAC, manager of Avera’s Addiction Recovery Programming.

“Self-Portrait” covers Phyllis’ experiences as her husband, Glenn, suffered through years of addiction, and then began his road to recovery. She relates her own journey of faith and how she had to find her own path of healing while supporting her husband on his.

“Recovering from addiction is an ongoing, everlasting journey of personal growth and development. It is a new life, a second chance, and a rebirth for the addict. But seeking support from others helped me to understand that I needed to begin a lifelong journey of recovery, too,” Phyllis wrote.

“Self-Portrait is a beautifully honest and poignant account of what family members experience when a loved one suffers from addiction. Phyllis wrote it with a heart to help others. Readers will benefit from the very real life lessons she learned as they apply her wisdom to their own journey,” said Thomas Otten, Assistant Vice President for Avera Behavioral Health Services.

Glenn and Phyllis started River Park’s first chemical dependency treatment center in Pierre in 1970. They also helped establish River Park treatment centers in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, with eight outreach offices. River Park no longer has treatment centers, but it continues to educate people about alcoholism and chemical dependency through the River Park Foundation.

To educate the general public about what alcoholism is and its effects, Glenn created a television show called “It’s Great to Be Alive.” Many well-known people donated their time to talk about their experiences with chemical dependency. The show had a major impact in increasing people’s understanding of addiction.

Glenn and Phyllis live in Sioux Falls, and have been married nearly 70 years.

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