Layne Staley, 14 Years Later

by Bill Brenner April 5, 2016 Addiction

“What’s my drug of choice? Well, what have you got?” —Layne Staley, Alice in Chains This week marks 14 years since Alice In Chains frontman Layne Staley was found dead. Mood music: Like Kurt Cobain, Staley had a big impact on me in the early 1990s. But while I identified with Cobain’s depression, I identified with Staley for his inability to keep his addictive demons at bay. I can’t tell you how many times I listened…  [Read More]

Skinny Like A Fool

by Bill Brenner August 22, 2015 Addiction

At dinner with friends one night, a conversation about weight control got started. It reminded me of how hard I used to work to stay thin, and how dangerous some of my methods were. Examples: –In my late teens, I got the bright idea that I could party and drink all I wanted on the weekends with no danger of weight gain if I starved myself during the week, often living on one cheese sandwich a…  [Read More]

RIP, Renee Pelletier Costa

by Bill Brenner March 12, 2013 Courage

This morning I received the sad news that Renee Pelletier Costa passed away after a long and courageous battle against cancer. Mood music: [spotify:track:3UjJmliWxuobgMSdX5bN3R] Updates:  Renee’s memorial service will be held Saturday, March 23, 1:30 at Faith Lutheran Church, 360 South Main St., Andover MA 01810 In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the: Renee L. Costa Memorial Fund, account #8371787589 Care of: TD Bank 280 Main Street Groveland, MA 01834 or any local TD…  [Read More]

How To Avoid Becoming #RSAC Roadkill

by Bill Brenner February 19, 2013 Coping tools

Last year was a first: I had a stay-at-home vacation a week before flying out to a big conference. We took the kids to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and did a lot of relaxing. It worked so well I’m doing it again. Mood music: The kids are on their February school vacation, which was my main reason for choosing this week. That it fell the week before RSA — one of the…  [Read More]

Chris Christie’s Obesity Isn’t the Issue

by Bill Brenner February 5, 2013 Fitness

This morning I caught MSNBC’s Morning Joe, which was looking at N.J. governor Chris Christie’s obesity and whether it makes him unqualified to be president someday. Mood music: [spotify:track:7j0eQhCrpbOwucAolLJ0t8] I’ve struggled with obesity in the past. Some of the struggle was the result of being on Prednisone, which stretched my appetite to horrific levels. I would work out to try to control the weight gain, but it wouldn’t last long. I have friends who are…  [Read More]

Starting Over

by Bill Brenner November 9, 2012 Fitness

In a lot of ways, I feel like I’ve been starting everything over this past week. Not in big, drastic ways, but in little ways that will hopefully add up to something good. Mood music: [spotify:track:3IRovqSVYx3CNtDWRebsET] There’s the afternoon tea I’ve been drinking instead of Red Bull and more coffee. There’s the meditation and yoga. And there’s the significant tightening of my food plan. What’s the reason for all this? I attribute some of it…  [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]

Small Victories

by Bill Brenner April 15, 2012 Coping tools

Duncan and I took my father on a little walk around Deer Island yesterday. Dad still struggles from the stroke he had last year, but days like yesterday I admire his fighting spirit. Mood music: I’ve been reluctant to take him on long walks, mainly because I don’t want him taking a nasty spill on my watch. But it was a beautiful spring day and he was eager, so who was I to argue? Deer…  [Read More]

Crude But True

by Bill Brenner April 4, 2012 Addiction

This pic, making the Facebook rounds, is crude. I’ve always hated the “T” word. But the overall message is the truth. McDonald’s is where I binged again and again when my compulsive overeating was at its zenith. But I’ve never blamed the fast-food chain. Buying their food — my heroin — was my choice and responsibility. When you have young children, you have far more control over what they put in their bodies. If you’re…  [Read More]

Depressed? Remember To Sleep, Eat And See A Doctor

by Bill Brenner March 30, 2012 Depression

In my response to the reader who claimed wanting to die 5 out of seven days a week, I forgot something critical: It’s not always “in your head.” In other words, withering depression is also the result of physical trouble. Mood music: A friend reminded me of that after she read this morning’s post. She wrote to me: May I also suggest to said young man to seek an MD’s opinion. There are numerous physical…  [Read More]