March 2011

Lies Of The Not-So-Beautiful People

by Bill Brenner March 31, 2011 Communication skills for the crazy

I’ve been hooked this week on the new Sixx A.M. song “Lies of the Beautiful People.” The video includes a lot of the photography that inspired the upcoming album and book, “This is Gonna Hurt.” Note: The videos below, when you click on them, will direct you to watch on YouTube. Please do, since you have to see it to get the point of this post. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxMHtjQW6ZQ&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0] In interviews, Nikki Sixx describes his passion…  [Read More]

Good Anonymity Vs. Bad Anonymity

by Bill Brenner March 30, 2011 Addiction

In the halls of recovery and in my daily work I deal a lot with anonymity. People hide behind it for good and bad reasons. This is where I separate the honorable folks from the cowards. Mood music (Click the “Watch it on Youtube” link. It’s worth it): [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxMHtjQW6ZQ&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0] I’ve met a lot of inspirational people who prefer to keep their identities hidden with good reason. In the 12-Step program I embraced to overcome…  [Read More]

How I Can Be Happy Despite Myself

by Bill Brenner March 29, 2011 Addiction

I see a lot of moody people out there on Facebook and Twitter these days. Though I try not to put random complaints on my wall, my darker moods often come across in this blog. But in the big picture, I’ve found ways to be generally happy despite myself. Mood music: Allow me to share. But first, a couple acknowledgements: 1.) I stole this post’s title from somewhere. 2.) I readily admit that despite what…  [Read More]

Change Is Pain, But Not Impossible

by Bill Brenner March 28, 2011 Addiction

Last night’s 12-Step meeting reminded me of just how hard real change is. I used to measure change by who won the next election. I’ve realized that the only real change that matters is within myself. Naturally, it’s the hardest, most brutal kind of change to achieve. Mood music: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqkxDgCIsOw&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0] Last night’s AA Big Book reading focused on steps 8, 9 and 10: 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and…  [Read More]

Sean and Duncan Discover The Pixies — And More

by Bill Brenner March 25, 2011 Children's issues

I’m in the long car line in front of the kids’ school this morning. Stuck in park, I put in The Pixies Greatest Hits. The intro to “The Bone Machine” fills the car and I start drumming on the steering wheel. Mood music: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJfCIQHwQT8&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0] “Dad, how did you get so good?” Sean asks. I’m not very good, but to an almost 10-year-old it doesn’t take much to impress. “I dunno. I guess it comes…  [Read More]

The Saugus, Mass. Crowd

by Bill Brenner March 25, 2011 Lessons from the past

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the circle of friends I used to hang out with in Saugus, Mass., the town next to my home turf of Revere. Mood music: I’ve recently been back in touch with some of the friends from those days, and it reminds me of a few regrets I’ve carried over the years. Saugus was as much a home to me as Revere for the simple reason that my father’s…  [Read More]

We Were Cool Kids

by Bill Brenner March 24, 2011 Coping tools

I’m not sure how it started. I guess I was just looking for some old background music while I worked. Next thing you know, I’m listening to this: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQMwY66HdLk&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0] That’s right. Kix. Those of you who are familiar with this band will think of songs like “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and “Blow My Fuse.” Those came off the one platinum album they were able to muster in the late 1980s. Once they went platinum,…  [Read More]

The OCD Fidget, Caught on Video

by Bill Brenner March 22, 2011 Mental disorders

I went back and forth with myself on whether I should do this. Sure, I’ve made this blog about exposing my quirks so the masses can get a better understanding of disorders like OCD. But did I really want to show a video of me showing the signs in a work setting? Well, yeah. Not because I want you to see me as a freak or feel sorry for me, but because there’s something for…  [Read More]

Boston Rock: A History of Survival

by Bill Brenner March 21, 2011 Coping tools

My friends from the local band Pop Gun have finally put some performance video online. Listening to it takes me to a happy place, when life was tough but Boston-based rock kept me sane and strong. Boston has always been fertile ground for rock n roll. The obvious comes in the form of Aerosmith, The Cars and Godsmack (the latter actually has roots in my home turf — the Merrimack Valley). But the lesser-known bands…  [Read More]

Good Grief, Bad Grief

by Bill Brenner March 21, 2011 Grief management

TIME Magazine book reviewer Mary Pols wrote an excellent review of two books about grief in the February 2011 issue. The points she makes are exactly in keeping with how I try to conduct myself in this blog. Mood music: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkRYWZ_lhqE&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0] She reviews two books about grief — “History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life” by Jill Bialosky, and Joyce Carol Oates’ “A Widow’s Story.” She finds a lot more value from the former than…  [Read More]