Through The Storm

by Bill Brenner May 18, 2015 Coping tools

Work is crazy busy. I’m visiting my father in hospice a lot. Helping Dad tie up some loose ends on his real-estate interests has become a full-time job in itself. It would be easy, in this crazy time of life, to skip doctor appointments, binge-eat or climb into a bottle. Mood music: Admittedly, my eating has been less than stellar. It’s the opposite of binging at this point; my appetite cuts out a lot and…  [Read More]

Forgiveness: Trash Removal for the Soul

by Bill Brenner September 24, 2014 Personal Growth

Seeking and giving forgiveness is essential if you want to become a better person. But it’s hard and often seen as a green light for more abuse. Mood music: For you to understand what I’m about to get into, let’s review the AA 12 Steps of Recovery, which has been an important guide on my own flight from madness: 1. We admitted we were powerless over [insert addiction] — that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came…  [Read More]

Tools to Fight Your Demons at #Defcon, #BlackHat and More

by Bill Brenner July 11, 2014 security drama

This isn’t a post about how I think you should behave at DEF CON. I’ve already said my bit about the drama aspect and shared my experiences being a sober guy at security cons. This isn’t an anti-drinking tirade or a lecture about the treatment of women at these events. It IS a resource for those who have demons they’d like to control during our so-called Security Summer Camp. Mood music: There’s been some talk…  [Read More]

Binge Eating, Heroin Overdoses and Suicide

by Bill Brenner May 14, 2014 Uncategorized

My first full-time reporting gig was for The Stoneham Sun newspaper, part of what was then Community Newspaper Company. (It’s now Gatehouse Media.) It was a fun job, giving me a priceless education in local politics, public safety and criminal court proceedings. But in some ways, it was the darkest year of my 20s. Mood music: It was a year of vicious binge eating, 80-hour workweeks for little money, depression, anxiety and the suicide of my best…  [Read More]

A Hacker Walks Into a Vape Shop…

by Bill Brenner April 10, 2014 Compulsive behaviors

A while back, I wrote about my use of electronic cigarettes as a way to avoid tobacco products. Since then, the phenomenon known as “vaping” has taken off. It’s especially popular in the security industry I work in. There’s some symbolism in that, as I’ll explain shortly. But first, a self-assessment. Mood music: E-cigs have gotten me over smoking. True, vaping looks like smoking, and even feels like it to an extent. But I’m using…  [Read More]

The Addict Still Has a Responsibility

by Bill Brenner February 5, 2014 Addiction

Mötley Crüe and Sixx AM bassist Nikki Sixx has always been a hero of mine, largely because of the raw honesty he displays when writing about his addictions. Yesterday on his radio show, he discussed the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Mood music: The hardest thing for Sixx to swallow is that Hoffman was clean and sober for more than 20 years before he relapsed. Sixx has been sober since 2001. Before that, he had…  [Read More]

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]

The OCD Diaries, Four Years Later

by Bill Brenner December 5, 2013 Adventures in writing

This weekend marks four years since I woke up in a funk and started this blog on a whim, figuring I’d at least feel better if I spilled my guts. It did the trick. But in the years since that day, it has become something far bigger than I could have imagined at the time. Mood music: I didn’t expect so many people to connect with the writing. I figured it would be no big…  [Read More]

It’s Never Too Late to Renegotiate Your Life

by Bill Brenner September 13, 2013 Crime and punishment

When you have legal problems, mountains of debt, bad relationships and a job that makes you unhappy, it’s easy to feel like there’s a point of no return, that this is how your life turned out and that’s that. I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. Mood music: I can say that, because I’ve lived it. I’m thinking about this after talking to a friend who allowed an addiction to get out of hand to…  [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]