Lessons from the past

‘Fixing OCD’ Article Is Badly Misleading

by Bill Brenner May 2, 2012 Adventures in writing

An article in The Atlantic called “5 Very Specific Ways to Fix Your OCD” blows it from the start — in the headline. OCD sufferers know damn well that you can’t fix OCD.¬†You can only learn to manage it and make it less of a disrupting force in your life. Mood music: [spotify:track:74gJqWYjsfTyG4tSjhkoh7] Knowing that as I do, I’m dissapointed that the writer would give OCD sufferers false hope, followed by five pieces of advice…  [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]

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]

Teddy Roosevelt Did It All. What’s Your Excuse?

by Bill Brenner October 27, 2011 Courage

Today is Teddy Roosevelt’s birthday, which I bring up because his is the ultimate story about staring adversity in the face, grinning and spitting in its eye. Mood music: TR was a sickly boy whose asthma often left him struggling for breath. He could have used that as an excuse early on to avoid life’s big challenges. Instead, he lifted weights obsessively and built himself into a bull of a man who would live what…  [Read More]

How To Talk To A Liar Who’s Been Caught

by Bill Brenner October 12, 2011 Addiction

A reader who recently found the two posts I wrote on addicts as compulsive liars had a sad story to share. Her husband, a compulsive spender, gambler and drinker, lies to her all the time. He apparently sucks at it. She always finds out. Mood music: How, she asked me, does she deal with a person like this? She still loves him, and in many respects he’s still the great guy. But lies are a…  [Read More]

Faith: An Excuse To Duck Personal Responsibility?

by Bill Brenner October 5, 2011 Communication skills for the crazy

A friend and reader is unconvinced when it comes to my posts about surrendering to a higher power as part of recovery from addiction. Here’s what she said: “Bill while I agree with a lot of what you say in this article. I fail to see the “surrender to a higher power model.” In fact, that is one of the many flaws I find in AA styled groups. I have no addictions (well maybe caffeine),…  [Read More]

Beauty And Gratitude In Every Bad Thing

by Bill Brenner September 25, 2011 Adventures in writing

In the battle to manage OCD and all its byproducts, I’ve learned something that’s helped me a lot: To always see the blessings hidden within the bad stuff. Mood music: –When I lose people close to me because of death or resentment, I try to remember the good stuff we got to share and how lucky I was to have known those who eventually left me. –When I feel my addictions starting to creep up…  [Read More]

I Miss The Fighting

by Bill Brenner September 13, 2011 Communication skills for the crazy

In yet another sign that I’m not playing with a full deck, I realized this morning that I miss the fighting between my best friend and his father. Mood music: It’s another stray memory that came to the surface as I went to the wake and funeral for Al Marley. Al and Sean used to have some blistering arguments at the dining room table over religion and politics, appearances — you name it. At the…  [Read More]

Deal With It, Get Over It And Get Out Of My Way

by Bill Brenner September 12, 2011 Addiction

It’s been an emotional few days. I came to the edge of a relapse. A father figure died. Then there was the 9-11 anniversary. This stuff can burn a person down to nothing. But I don’t burn like I used to. Mood music: It’s funny how people react not only to their own adversity, but that of others. Some people become incapacitated with grief when a pet dies and some of us want to say,…  [Read More]

My Brain Is On The Pavement. But At Least I Showered

by Bill Brenner September 9, 2011 Addiction

It’s hard to pinpoint the moment my recovery started getting wobbly and I started getting sloppy. I don’t know if it’s fully accurate to call this a relapse, but it’s pretty damn close. Mood music: One thing is certain: I’m in a shaky place lately, and this is as good a place to sort things out. Talking is always better, but sometimes I have to write it. I’ve been very tired lately, and in my…  [Read More]