The very qualities that defined Burt Nordstrand as an addict also made him an entrepreneur extraordinaire. He hit “bottom” when, for all appearances, he was fit and happy. No longer willing to live a double life of outward success and inward devastation caused by multiple addictions: compulsive overeating, diet pills, nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, irresponsible sex, gambling, over-exercising, etc., Nordstrand pursued recovery at age forty and his personal life began to turn around.
At age eighty, he reflects back on the distance he traveled in pursuit of serenity and peace of mind. Most addictions can be addressed with abstinence; however, that is not possible with food addiction. Burt Nordstrand must continue Living with the Enemy. He has learned how to live healthfully with food and if you struggle, you can too.
Burt Nordstrand has been in recovery from compulsive overeating for thirty-six years. While struggling with food and other dangerous addictions, he started SSG Corporation in 1971 and transformed the gas-and-convenience-store industry nationally. In 2016, he sold the company he founded forty-five years earlier for more than fifty million dollars. Along with his continued successful ventures in real estate development, Nordstrand is an athlete and avid sailor. He and his wife, Yvonne, live in Florida and travel widely. The couple has five children and eleven grandchildren. They are active in philanthropy through the Burt Nordstrand Family Fund. In 2011, Burt created COR Retreat, an affordable, residential, 12-Step recovery program for food addicts. By 2018, COR had served more than 1,000 people from around the United States and the world. Burt turned eighty in 2018.
“As America faces an epidemic of overweight, addicted, and compulsive children and young adults, I recommend this book to families, teachers, and therapists. Burt Nordstrand offers solid help and insight into the nature and complexity of addiction.” —The late George Mann, MD, founder of St. Mary’s Treatment Center and co-founder of The Retreat, Minnesota
“I have had the privilege and, at times, the challenge of hearing the stories of a number of extraordinary people. I am heartened to read how Burt Nordstrand has put his life and achievements into perspective. He demonstrates that healthy recovery from an eating disorder is achievable.” —Mike Schiks, CEO, Project Turnabout Addiction Recovery Center, former executive vice president of Hazelden Treatment Services for twenty-one years
“Burt Nordstrand is a pioneer and a successful entrepreneur who has been a major contributor to the health and future of Hudson, Wisconsin, and other communities. I admire his passion, creativity, and perseverance, but mostly his honesty and his commitment to his family, friends, and community.” —Ken Heiser, president of First National Bank of Hudson, Wisconsin, for twenty-eight years
“This is a radically honest book and a marvelous spiritual text. Burt Nordstrand describes his secret trials with addiction and how he leads a very intentional and inwardly evolved life today. In writing this book and creating COR Retreat, Burt is helping many others who struggle with food addictions.
“I have been involved in spiritual work for forty years. I have learned that we are all part of the human condition and therefore we are addicted to our false selves. Recovering addicts call this ‘stinking thinking.’ Every human develops an ego and a false self, and these are necessary for survival. We are driven to seek survival and security, affection and esteem, power and control, and we often do it through alcohol, drugs, food, money, sex, recognition, being powerful and in control, being right. But nothing in this tangible world—by spiritual design—can ever deeply satisfy our deep longings. Nor can these tangible things heal us or ease our pain for long.
“How do we transcend the false selves we are born with? Burt discovered that an active, engaged spiritual life was vital to his recovery. If we want to stop self-destructive behavior prompted by our false selves, I believe we need a higher power—both within and without.
“I strongly recommend this book not only as a fascinating read, but also as an invitation to become further healed, joyful, and free!” —Dr. Bob Mischke, retired physician, spiritual teacher