Our Local Neighborhood Newspaper, The Acorn… The Acorn recently ran an article noting that alcohol use was on the rise among physicians, nurses and teachers. They could have added that drinking levels have increased in about any demographic you can imagine. Still, healthcare workers and teachers are especially hard hit, partially because they can’t take time off to get help and if they do they will be severely penalized.
And Now What? As I write this on Thursday, November 5th, the election is both over and not over. However, I, for one, am pleased that so many of us did turn out to vote – the most, both in numbers and percentage, in history. That’s an accomplishment regardless of motivation. That brings me back to a common theme for those of us who are struggling, regardless of what it is with. How do we stay motivated, especially in these uncertain times – though realistically, and individually, all times are pretty uncertain. And that is a key consideration.
VOTE! “For evil to triumph it is only necessary that good (wo)men do nothing.” - John Dunne Not voting, writing in your dog or cat’s’ name, voting for a third party candidate?
VOTE! Realistically, I can’t think of any one thing more important that all of us can do. My memory of presidential elections goes back to Harry Truman’s 1948 upset of Thomas Dewey and runs through any number of shameful campaigns and candidates, but they all fall far short of this year’s referendum on what this country stands for.
Understanding AA as a Political Front I follow a few of the “Anti-AA,’ “Leaving AA,” etc. groups on Facebook as a way of keeping up on what the opposition forces are saying. Much of what they say is right: “it’s a cult,” “it spreads lies,” “it exploits the vulnerable,” “it embeds myths into the public consciousness,” and other valid complaints. But then some turn their anti-AA crusade into the flipside of these same complaints with the same strident rants. That’s easy to understand as they usually come from people who have only recently left the cult and are either embarrassed that it took so long to catch on, or that they are fueled by the actual abuse and exploitation they suffered at the hands of Steppers.
What Will I do With All of These New Habits Post-Covid? If one thing is clear, many, if not most, of us are drinking a lot more these days and, while that is understandable, how are we going to fix it once the habits have become our new “normal” and are deeply entrenched? Yes, the usual suspects are in play: boredom, loneliness, relationship friction, isolation, and old habits that are easy to reinstitute or expand. Remember when cocktail hour meant 5:00 p.m.? Now 4:00? Or 3:00? Or with the 3 martini lunch revived from the 1950s?
No, You Don’t Have to Want To. My Physical Therapist, Pilates Trainer, Orthopedic Surgeon, and Doctor all agree on one thing: The most important exercise I can do in reclaiming (or not) my knee is called a sit-to-stand. That’s pretty self-explanatory: sit in a chair, feet flat on the floor, thigh and calf making a 90 degree angle, and without using my arms, stand up straight and sit back down. This is done in a controlled set of motions: stand smoothly and sit down smoothly. Do not jerk up or plonk down. With me so far?
Covid19, Elections, RBG, & Other Things Over Which We Have Little or No Control Most of us like the illusion of personal control and take comfort in ideas which suggest that we can predict the outcomes of most of our decisions. So how well did you do at predicting Covid19 at all, or any of the ongoing effects? How well are you doing at predicting the outcomes of many of this year’s elections and what will happen depending on who wins what? While the death of the Honorable (certainly far more honorable than most) – and Notorious – RBG was predictable, the results are completely unknowable at this time.
Beads of Blood… Once again, it’s early Monday morning and I’m facing the challenge reflected in the plaque a friend gave me years ago: “Writing is easy. Just stare at a blank piece of paper – or screen – until beads of blood form on your forehead.” Some weeks it doesn’t come to that thanks to random articles I’ve recently read or emails you’ve sent or calls that ask new questions.
A Bit of History Mary Ellen and I met nearly 20 years ago and spent a couple of years putting together a personal, confidential program for people who were over medicating with alcohol. Much of the research for the program came from graduate work I had done at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in the early 1990s and at the time my advisors noted that what I was designing – a research based approach, not a religious cult based approach – was 20 years ahead of the times. Sadly, nearly 30 years later, we’re still 20 years ahead of the “times.”