April 2012

A Few Degrees South Of A Relapse

by Bill Brenner April 30, 2012 Addiction

My recovery program for compulsive binge eating hasn’t been right lately. This is where I come clean about something many go through after extended periods of abstinance and sobriety. Mood music: I haven’t been to many OA meetings lately. I haven’t called my sponsor in awhile. I was getting to a point a couple weeks ago where I realized I was also getting sloppy with the food. It’s always the little things you get reckless about: Instead of…  [Read More]

Addiction — And Security Journalism — Showed Me That Anonymity Matters

by Bill Brenner April 27, 2012 Addiction

Journalists like me have never been particularly comfortable using anonymous sources. When you don’t name names, someone inevitably questions if your source is real or imagined. But after dealing with some addictions in recent years, I feel differently about it. Mood music: There are some important distinctions to be made from the outset: I’ve written opinion pieces in my day job as a security journalist that have been critical of the hacker group Anonymous for…  [Read More]

This Should Sadden Boston Bruins Fans More Than Losing

by Bill Brenner April 26, 2012 Communication skills for the crazy

Though my home team made the playoffs, I didn’t care. I’m all for the morale boost fans get from winning. Hockey just isn’t my thing. What’s more important to me is how fans conduct themselves, win or lose. Mood music: After the Bruins’ overtime loss to the Capitals last night, some Bruins fans failed in the class department. They gave a black eye to the team and the vast majority of fans who handle defeat gracefully….  [Read More]

The Monkey Will ALWAYS Be On Your Back

by Bill Brenner April 25, 2012 Addiction

I’m standing at a bar in Boston with my wife and stepmom. They order wine and I order coffee. My stepmom beams and says something about how awesome it is that I beat my demons. I appreciate the pride and the sentiment. But it’s also dangerous when someone tells a recovering addict that they’ve pulled the monkey off their back for good. Mood music: Here’s the thing about that monkey: You can smack him around,…  [Read More]

A Crohn’s Disease Attack, Put To Music

by Bill Brenner April 24, 2012 Coping tools

During a severe Chrohn’s Disease attack in the mid-1980s — around the time I was discovering Van Halen‘s older albums — I found one song that really personified what I was feeling. It’s the final song on the band’s debut album from 1978, which is also the year I was first attacked by this disease. As I’d spend the early-morning hours sitting on the toilet in the upstairs bathroom of 22 Lynnway, Revere, losing blood,…  [Read More]

Strong Too Long, Or Weak Too Often?

by Bill Brenner April 23, 2012 Addiction

There’s a saying on Facebook that depression isn’t a sign of weakness, but simply the result of being strong for too long. Somewhat true — though weakness does feed the beast. Mood music: I’m feeling it this morning. I’ve always taken a certain level of satisfaction from my ability to stay standing in the face of death, illness, family dysfunction, depression and addiction. Sometimes, I get an over-inflated sense of survivor’s pride. People love to…  [Read More]

The Wit And Wisdom Of Sean Brenner

by Bill Brenner April 21, 2012 Children's issues

Today is Sean’s 11th birthday, and we’re all very proud of him. In honor of this special day, I share with you some of my favorite Sean-isms. Mood music: –Heard in the bathroom: Sean singing to no one in particular, “Your butt’s too big to be real…” –Me: “I missed you Sean. I love you.” Sean, staring intently at the drawing he’s working on as I tell him this: “Dad, go get me a pencil”…  [Read More]

I Don’t Really Practice Before Writing And Speaking Anymore

by Bill Brenner April 19, 2012 Uncategorized

It’s odd for an OCD case, but I don’t practice before doing the public speaking that has increasingly become part of my job. Crazy, you say? Perhaps. But hear me out. Mood music: My preparations for a speaking event — even if it was just moderating a panel, which is mostly what I’ve done of late — used to look a lot like the preparations I’d engage in for a writing assignment: When I started…  [Read More]

A Death Survival Guide For Novices

by Bill Brenner April 18, 2012 Children's issues

A friend is reeling from the death of a grandparent. Outliving your older family members is considered part of the natural order, especially if it’s a grandparent. But if it’s your first taste of death, it’s got to be pretty devastating. Having experienced more than my share of friends and family dying, I figured a few words are in order. Mood music: http://youtu.be/z1yUvdQnERk I got my first taste of death the hard way, losing my…  [Read More]

When The Going Gets Tough, I Disconnect

by Bill Brenner April 17, 2012 Addiction

I’m leaving my weekly therapy sessions with a headache these days, because I’m working through another deeply embedded flaw in my soul. Mood music: It’s not nearly as bad as the therapy I had in 2004-2006, when I had to endlessly churn the sewage of my childhood memories in search of clues on what was wrong with me and how I got that way. Back then, I didn’t know myself very well. Now I do….  [Read More]