Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Disease of Choice

by Bill Brenner February 4, 2014 Addiction

Some say actor-director Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t deserve sympathy. He didn’t have cancer or other diseases people get without choice. He died because he chose to shoot up. It’s the kind of statement you get from folks who have been fortunate not to have suffered from addiction. They may know people who are afflicted, but because they can’t identify with the sufferer, they delve into misconceptions. Mood music: Hoffman was found dead over the weekend from…  [Read More]

Find Yourself a Real Doctor

by Bill Brenner November 26, 2013 Addiction

Written in June, 2010. Here’s the thing: Asking me for medical advice is like asking Charles Manson how to be a pacifist. Mood music: [spotify:track:79DVDD46pdqwjYucn91fny] In the months since I started this blog, I’ve noticed something expected but weird nonetheless: People are coming to me for medical advice. Several people who saw my post on living with Crohn’s Disease sent me their phone numbers and asked me to call them. I always do, and the…  [Read More]

Treat Red Bull Like Alcohol and Cigarettes

by Bill Brenner August 14, 2013 Addiction

I’m an avid consumer of sugar-free Red Bull and have been known to down more than one can a day. I see it as one of the only vices I have left after quitting booze, flour and sugar a few years back. So when I saw online protests about the government looking to regulate the sale of such energy drinks, I balked. Mood music: I was originally going to write a post blasting government for…  [Read More]

Coffee Withdrawal as a Mental Illness

by Bill Brenner June 14, 2013 Addiction

Get this: The latest version of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), has added caffeine withdrawal to the list of mental illnesses. Ridiculous, you say? I did at first. But on further reflection, it makes sense. Mood music: Those who know me are well aware of my ability to consume large amounts of caffeine. I drink coffee all morning and, when possible, I switch to Red Bull in…  [Read More]

Return From the Overeaters Anonymous Wilderness

by Bill Brenner April 11, 2013 Addiction

Last summer I wrote a post about being lost in the Overeaters Anonymous wilderness, filled with discontent and a fair amount of self-righteousness. I have no regrets. We all need to step back from time to time and reevaluate pieces of our lives. Now that I’ve done that, I’ve decided to return from the wilderness. Mood music: [spotify:track:4K2Tu79vpqrLNyDVtCvBNR] I’ve made peace with what I see as the program’s imperfections, and I’ve gained the wisdom to understand…  [Read More]

Mindy McCready and the ‘Celebrity Rehab’ Curse

by Bill Brenner February 19, 2013 Addiction

CNN doesn’t say so directly, but in its follow-up coverage of country singer Mindy McCready’s death, it suggests that those who appear on Celebrity Rehab are cursed. Mood music: [spotify:track:1mvEbRAlocvkJvqZIj3zHu] The report notes that McCready is the fifth Celebrity Rehab alum to die in the last two years. She follows former Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr, Real World cast member Joey Kovar, Grease actor Jeff Conaway and Rodney King, who had been beaten by police in 1991, to the grave. McCready’s…  [Read More]

The Shame a Binge Eater Feels

by Bill Brenner January 7, 2013 Addiction

As a recovering binge eater, I don’t necessarily see my own habits reflected in a recently released University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) study about the weird concoctions food addicts ingest. But I relate to the emotions study participants describes all too well. Mood music: [spotify:track:3mYHah7DK3DeWn8guf8CQp] The study says food concocting — making strange food mixtures like mashed potatoes and Oreo cookies; frozen vegetables mixed with mayonnaise; and chips with lemon, pork rinds, Italian dressing and salt —…  [Read More]

Hostess Was My Main Dope Supplier

by Bill Brenner November 16, 2012 Addiction

A lot of people are sad this morning because Hostess, maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, is going out of business after striking workers failed to heed a Thursday deadline to return to work. That’s the company’s official line, anyway. Mood music: [spotify:track:5Sz3tl0ZqkyAg52CSQeVYj] Me? I feel badly that 18,500 workers are getting laid off, though I suspect some other company will swoop in and buy Hostess for a song. The world needs its cream filling,…  [Read More]

Time for Tea

by Bill Brenner November 6, 2012 Addiction

This is going to shock a lot of you, given the steady flow of coffee you’ve watched me drink day after day, but try to stay calm. I’m drinking tea, and lots of it. Mood music: [spotify:track:4NlR3rwvLtLcLuKZxIiYp4] This change wasn’t planned. No doctor told me to do it or risk a heart attack. And I haven’t given up my beloved java. In recent days, I’ve started splitting the day between coffee and tea: coffee in…  [Read More]

Reefer Madness: Vote Yes on Question 3

by Bill Brenner September 20, 2012 Addiction

When Massachusetts residents go to the polls this November 6, they’ll have the opportunity to vote on the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, also known as Question 3. If voters approve the initiative, medical marijuana will be decriminalized in my home state. I’m in favor of this for a variety of reasons. Mood music: [spotify:track:5p4T4XOoXQXPpGVPCEGUzE] For my fellow Massachusetts residents, here’s how the question will appear on the ballot: A YES VOTE would enact the proposed law eliminating…  [Read More]