Individuals in recovery have generally spent a lot of time avoiding their painful, shameful or fearful reality. Using chemicals, relationships, busyness, spending, eating, not eating, fantasy, gambling, sex, etc. to escape reality.
Relationships are hard. There’s no getting around it. Put more than one person in the same place for long enough and you’re sure to have problems. It’s as certain as death, taxes and computer problems. In his book Your Brain on Love, Dr. Stan Tatkin says that “there really is nothing more difficult on the planet than another person…nothing.” I tend to agree with him. My personal history with relationships and my work as working as a Marriage and Family Therapist seem to confirm that there’s nothing that will complicate your life more than another human. As much as we desire and need other people in our life, we simply cannot avoid the pain and conflict that inevitably comes when we enter a relationship. It’s a catch-22 of the human condition.
Emotion Explorer is an interactive site for processing emotions. I designed it to give people a place to go to process a feeling the minute they were experiencing it. As a therapist I was concerned about the hour's in-between sessions, I was aware that loneliness drove many of my clients to surf the internet in the wee hours of the night where they sometimes got into trouble. I wanted to provide something to do online that might help. Emotion Explorer is a creative, interactive site that uses a series of exercises to identify, explore and process feelings. I’m keeping this simple for today; we’re breaking things up into a few steps. So sit back and relax, take some deep breaths and have fun looking more deeply into a feeling!
“This year I will…” These are familiar words uttered by millions at this time of year. January 1st is seen as a new beginning for a large part of the population regardless if you share these goals on social media platforms, or keep them to yourself. All you have to do is look at TV commercials, advertisements, and billboards on the side of highways from Boston to Miami, San Francisco to Anchorage. Almost overnight, a shift occurs from indulgence to deprivation. Where there once were ads touting delightful sweets and 80% off sales from stores open 24-hours, there is now a call for renunciation—eat less of this, do less of that, push harder, work longer, make more, spend less.
There is nothing quite like the holidays to bring a family closer together…or to drive them even further apart. Families and holidays can be wonderful. However, they can also be painful and traumatic. Even the best families can have some holiday drama.
Grief is a fact of life. As much as we hate it, fight it, or hide from it, it still lurks in the background. Allowing time and space for grief is not something I have always done.
The Get Connected Toolkit is the result of a public-private partnership between the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Council on Aging (NCOA). The organizations met with older adult consumers and health and aging services providers to gather information on how best to engage the aging services network in addressing the alcohol and medication misuse and mental health needs of older adults.
My father’s and my favorite dish was lamb and green beans, “arni fasolia” in Greek which is what we called it. My father would take me into the kitchen if he’d made it and give me a spoon to taste immediately, we always thought it was our best try ever. And it always was.
Laying your personal struggles out for the world to see cannot be easy for anyone, but we applaud those who face their issues and seek help for recovery.