Hey Dr. Phil! We are not “Idiots.”

Mentally ill? For most of recorded history the treatment was barbaric. Labeled as witches, we were burned at the stake or weighted down and thrown into icy water. If we floated we were “guilty.” Fished out and sent to said burning stake. Sink to the bottom? Well then we were “innocent”… and dead. England saw […]

god, meds and recovery

So 12-step recovery suggests I find a God (or god) of my own understanding. That’s a hard enough task for your average alcoholic or addict. But when bipolar mania, coupled with psychosis, once had you convinced that you were God… of rather that more obscure member of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, that is some […]

And it begins like this…

I’m taking a whiz in an inappropriate place again. Apparently five plus years of sobriety have done little to suppress “the world is my toilet” viewpoint that I subscribe to. Tonight it’s the side of a forest-green Waste Management Dumpster behind a Fry’s supermarket. The street sweeping company I drive for has sent me to […]

The Reason for Suffering and Struggles

Imagine I take my one-and-a-half-year-old grandson Oliver to the doctor. A vaccination is on the docket and a sharp shiny needle pierces his tender arm. Oliver belts a horrifying shriek and whimpers. He doesn’t understand that the shot is intended to protect him from a life-threatening illness. He only knows he’s in pain and grandpa […]

Overcoming Shame–A Personal Story

If only shame were fleeting and impermanent. But it’s not. It’s sticky. Hard to remove. Crippling. Unlike justified guilt, which just tells me I did something wrong, shame says I am wrong-–defective to the core. Avoid me. Shun me. Whisk the children away at my coming. Guilt, if heeded, can be productive. I change my […]

Seeking Outside Help

Agggggggghhhhhh! According to the Journal of the American Medical Association about 37 percent of individuals with alcoholism and 53 percent of individuals with drug addiction have at least one serious mental illness. Flipping it around, 50 percent of individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness have an issue with substance abuse. We are some crazy mutha […]

Does One Don Cologne Before Heading Off To Jail?

As with any bipolar worth the salt known as lithium, I am not unfamiliar with that local fine dining establishment known as county jail. Not any jail mind you. My home is just southeast of Phoenix, Arizona, so Maricopa County’s infamous Lower Buckeye Jail (LBJ), erected by that pink-underwear-loving humanitarian Sherriff Joe Arpaio, was my […]

Wear the world as a loose garment

“Wear the world as a loose garment, which touches us in a few places and there lightly” –attributed by some to St. Francis of Assisi, but probably made up by some guy named Fred Wearing the world as a loose garment. It’s a phrase not uncommon in the rooms of Twelve Step recovery due to […]

Quieting the Committee

As I have alluded to in previous posts, tapping into our internal blueprint for living–God’s will if you prefer–requires quiet, thoughtful introspection. Just one issue with that, when I attempt to get quiet I notice that my mind typically doesn’t easily settle into a serene, introspective state. Instead there is chatter. Not one or two […]

The First Principle: Acceptance

Nothing clarifies my thinking, brings peace of mind or put me in a position to effect positive change like acceptance–acceptance of everything as it is right now; no vain attempts to rewrite the past or worrying about a future that may not materialize. But there is a catch. While acceptance implies that I am fully […]