To My New Nephew

by Bill Brenner February 4, 2013 Love

The family has been blessed with a new addition: Hunter Wild Anderson, born Saturday to my step-brother Brian and sister-in-law Sharane. Mood music: [spotify:track:7q36HE7sjosbeD8AHoOjRL] Hi, Hunter. I’m you’re Uncle Bill, the one who’s going to show affection by teasing you a lot. I’ll do my best not to go too far. I listen to really loud, offensive music. I can’t wait to expose you to that. Your cousins have been eagerly awaiting your arrival. Sean and…  [Read More]

Celebrating Erin

by Bill Brenner June 30, 2012 Love

Today is Erin’s birthday, and it feels like a national holiday to me. My life is crammed with blessings because of her, so it’s perfectly appropriate to celebrate her life this way. Mood music: [spotify:track:4L8oqhumLHOrIVVKJKBk7r] A few things you should know about Erin: She’s the best mom on the planet. Our two boys have hearts and minds of gold. Their faces are always buried in books, they pray to God daily and spread joy everywhere…  [Read More]

Fatherhood Saved Ozzy, Eddie & Me

by Bill Brenner May 4, 2012 Addiction

Yesterday I watched the “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne” documentary, which focused heavily on how his addictions maimed him and his family over four decades. Though my addictive behavior pales by comparison, it still struck a chord. Mood music: [spotify:track:6xb9RiyqpDXWF4wUYPDwI2] What hit me deepest is how Ozzy finally decided to get real sobriety after his son Jack had kicked drugs and alcohol. It took his son to show him the light. There’s a similar plot in…  [Read More]

Me and My Dysfunctional Twitter Family

by Bill Brenner May 1, 2012 Communication skills for the crazy

It feels like Twitter has been with us forever. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s still a relatively new toy we’re learning to use.  I see it as my second dysfunctional family. Mood music: [spotify:track:2eedJzR1h4Nxk7pGhhoJlb] My Twitter house has 3,262 people crammed into it; many from the information security profession. Some of the smartest people I know sit around the kitchen table every day, bantering without ever getting tired. As it is with…  [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]

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]

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]

Godspeed, Barney Gallagher

by Bill Brenner April 12, 2012 Adventures in writing

Update: Barney Gallagher passed away this morning. He was a wonderful man who lived his life in a way we should all learn from. Godspeed, Barney. Like everyone else who has worked at The Eagle-Tribune, my life has been touched by Barney Gallagher, an old-time journalist who reminded us young ones what the profession was about. Mood music: I’ve been informed that Barney is gravely ill. This post is to honor the man and ask that…  [Read More]

A Confession (Or Four)

by Bill Brenner January 30, 2012 Coping tools

This is for those who believe in a higher power — especially the messed-up Catholics among us. Those who might take offense should go away and come back tomorrow.  I won’t think any less of you. In the Catholic Faith, there’s a Sacrament of Reconciliation — modern language for going to confession. Duncan did it for the first time Saturday. Sean, Erin and I used the occasion to do it, too. Because you tell your…  [Read More]