Category: addiction

The wrong-way DUI driver and her victim: an addiction counselor's view

Recently fellow ChicagoNow blogger Erin Massey  was badly injured in a wrong-way DUI crash on I-55. She and her family and friends face pain and hardship as she recovers. The driver will face – what? Criminal penalties no doubt, with legal fees. And whatever form of personal reckoning she is capable of. That’s right, I... Read more »

How are you going to spend your 168 hours this week? A quick priority check

We each get only 168 hours each week to spend, 24 per day times 7 days. How we choose to spend them has everything to do with how satisfied we are. There is lots of advice out there about how to divide those hours up: brain exercises and socializing to prevent Alzheimer’s; balancing between learning,... Read more »

Robin Williams and Mrs. Doubtfire: Comedy and tragedy entwine

I saw “Mrs. Doubtfire” twice, first in the movie theater, second on a rainy Saturday afternoon alone at home. The first time I saw a comedy, silly, implausible, bold. The second, I saw the tragedy underneath, and cried the entire length of the movie. The plot was the same each time of course – a... Read more »
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It's still Mental Health Awareness Month: Why so negative?

Yesterday’s post brought together the negativity of a Debbie Downer with some suggestions about how to get over it. Today’s will celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month by exploring sources of stubborn negativity that won’t yield to such suggestions.  Negativity is no mystery. It has its purposes, as outlined below. Negativity is often used in the... Read more »

Mental Health Awareness Month meets Debbie Downer

Do you know Debbie Downer, Sad Sack Sam, Misery Loves Company Mary, the Prince of Pessimism? These are the people who send you climbing out the window to escape their visits. If they do get in, the dark cloud that hangs over their heads starts to drift toward yours. For Mental Health Awareness Month, I... Read more »

Dismantling alcoholic denial piece by piece: someone you know needs to know this

Someone you care about is slipping into an alcohol problem, and it might be you. He or she (or you) can’t see the problem and gets mighty touchy when anyone brings it up. So this is the denial you’ve always heard about. At first, denial seems like a high stone wall. There is no getting... Read more »
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Handling denial: for the addict (who is anesthetized) and the loved ones (who are not)

I’ve spent a good long time talking to people who have addictions, years in fact, trying to be helpful as the addiction counselor. It was always a struggle, not between me and my client, but between the both of us and the addiction. Here’s a slice of what I learned, in honor of Alcohol Awareness... Read more »

A guide to walking into your first AA meeting with an open mind

Here is some of what 30 years as an addiction counselor taught me: There are at least a thousand reasons not to go to AA. My clients have believed them all, until they no longer believed them. If you know someone who might benefit from trying out AA, especially if that person is you, have a... Read more »