Sobriety and abstinence

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]

Wherein I Run Afoul Of The U.S. Secret Service

by Bill Brenner January 24, 2014 Communication skills for the crazy

My resolve against the inner demons is tested regularly. Some are little tests, like being put in a room with all the food and alcohol I once binged on daily to see if I can resist the temptation. Some are bigger tests, like getting lost en route to Washington D.C a few years ago with my wife and kids in the car. Getting lost in a car used to be the stuff my anxiety attacks were made…  [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]

Don’t Go Away Mad

by Bill Brenner March 28, 2013 Gratitude

A funny thing happens when people share stories of the not-so-happy moments of their lives: You walk away thinking they’ve experienced nothing but tragedy. In reality, there are plenty of uneventful pages in between the drama. Mood music: One time I was asked to tell my story at a 12-Step meeting. Under the format, you tell your story for about 15 minutes. The first five cover the speaker’s ugly path to addiction, the second five focuses…  [Read More]

Sometimes, Sobriety Sucks

by Bill Brenner June 1, 2012 Sobriety and abstinence

Some days I wish I could have a glass of wine or six. This leaves me with two choices: Fall off the wagon with zeal or stay sober and resent the world with zeal. It’s funny, because binge eating was the addictive behavior that got me into the most trouble and I don’t get this way over the flour and sugar I used to stuff myself with. Mood music: [spotify:track:1LHi4OZluPAa2iCf3QatBJ] Yesterday afternoon I was really…  [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]

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]

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]