Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Thankfulness for every day of existence is an attitude of gratitude. Perfection is an unattainable illusion. I have so much abundance in my life. However, I am a realist.

I’m no “Pollyanna” (she refused to acknowledge that the negative exists). Yes, I encounter trials and tribulations every day but a negative attitude will only cause problems. I take responsibility for the problems that I have caused and try to avoid repeating the same mistake. I cannot control every variable in my life, but I control how I react.

Unemployment sucks but I’m grateful for the small unemployment insurance check that I receive on a weekly basis. I’m glad that I practiced frugality during the past two years so that I have some savings to draw down on each month to pay bills. I only purchase necessities and have turned down the thermostat to 50 degrees. The two cats cuddle extra close for warmth, which is nice. I like lap kitties, they tend to purr more and want their tummy rubbed. I miss Momo but I’m glad that she was part of my life for six years.

My physical health is okay. I need to lose weight but other than that I’m okay. My mental health doesn’t like cloudy days but I am happy that I have a full-spectrum light to trick my brain into thinking that the daylight is longer. Seasonal Affective Disorder was diagnosed a long time ago so I know how to reduce the symptoms. It is much better than suffering from the winter blues.

What are you thankful for?
© 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Mitch, a friend of mine, entered treatment for alcoholism. This totally caught me off guard. I noticed that he had glassy slightly unfocused eyes a couple times this summer and smelled alcohol issuing from him one time, a couple weeks ago. I never thought that he might be abusing alcohol. We were going to go out for lunch this week and one topic I wanted to discuss was how to cope with stress. Alas, I now know how he dealt with that issue and whatever else was bothering him.

A high school friend, Sally, learned that her husband was an alcoholic after she married him. He didn’t tell her a lot of things, such as having a vasectomy since he had a hereditary form of muscular dystrophy. She was profoundly disappointed but he agreed to get treatment and if he could maintain sobriety for two years, they were going to adopt or procure sperm from a donor. Jerry went through treatment several times but could never kick alcoholism. The disease had rewired his brain and body. Unfortunately, the story has a very sad ending because he had an accident and died while intoxicated. Sally has remarried but she still misses Jerry.

I hope that Mitch does not meet the sad fate of Jerry. From what I have observed, addiction is complicated and each person is unique as to what caused it to occur. I don’t think that Mitch has a family history of substance abuse. I know that he used marijuana in his 20s but I don’t know if he continued using it. He had bleeding stomach ulcers from over-use of aspirin about eight years ago, which was probably an indication of substance issues.

I have worked with people who have SPMI, serious and persistent mental health, meaning that the symptoms are serious enough to interfere with their quality of life and last for more than one year. It is normal for everyone to experience ups and downs but SPMI means that the roller-coaster of emotions and thoughts are overwhelming. Some folks use chemicals to reduce symptoms or quiet the effects of the roller-coaster. By the time they figure out its SPMI, they have to deal with CD, chemical dependency too. I think that some people stumble into substance abuse because they are too young or cavalier to realize that it is addictive, especially when they are in their teens and twenties. I don’t know what caused Mitch to abuse the substance. Obviously, he was using alcohol to deal with something but it might be physical pain, psychological pain or a combination. The cause doesn’t matter, only how to help him maintain sobriety.

Mitch doesn’t emote very much and is difficult to engage in conversation. I am a bit perplexed about how to support his sobriety, beyond not drinking alcohol in his presence. We were never “drinking buddies”. Our group of mutual friends is more interested in chatting and eating than drinking. We might get a buzz at a party, but alcohol hasn’t been the focus since we were in college. I will search for an Al-Anon meeting in my area to be prepared when he is released from treatment.

Any advice about how to support his sobriety would be appreciated.
NOTE: Names are changed to protect their confidentiality.
© 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


If you are a citizen, it is your duty to vote. No matter how "big" or "small" of an election, you have a responsiblity to travel to the polling place and register your vote.

If you choose not to vote, then you are choosing to ignore democracy. You have no right to complain about anything the government officals do if you don't vote. The vote needs to be from your opinion, you should not sell, trade or be intimidated to vote for or against any candidate or question on the ballot. A free and open election is essential for democracy.

I voted today. Did you? (If you reside where an election is occuring.)
(c) 2010