God and the Tandem Bike

As a child I was introduced to the angry, judgmental God of the Old Testament. He sent floods, rained down fire and brimstone and sent armies to destroy people whose only fault, it seemed, was living in a land predestined for “chosen” people. In trying to get sober I was a little concerned when advised […]

Ideas of Reference

Nothing is more disheartening than making resolutions that are broken by January 3rd. For this reason I didn’t even begin my list of resolutions until Fall. This way, I can look at my behaviors and say, “I haven’t done X yet, maybe this is the year I won’t do X at all.” In making my […]

Personal Religion–CliffsNotes Version

“People want to be religious.” asserts scholar Karen Armstrong. That may be true, but organized religion, on the whole, has done a pretty lousy job of marketing itself as of late. Wars, beheadings, focus on the collection plate, homophobia, pedophilia, intolerance, scandals … I could list dozens of reasons why the each emerging generation identifies […]

Get the Right Perspective on Lack

A story is told of the father of a very wealthy family who took his son to visit a distant relative living in the country with the purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent the weekend on the farm of what would be considered, by most standards, a very poor family. […]

The Games Children Play

So one might ask what it’s like for a bipolar alcoholic to be involved with rearing children. Well, Breanne, my eldest daughter, only tried to send me to prison once. I often wonder if it was intentional. She was only four. It’s hard to gauge the motives of those little buggers when they are that […]

My Recovery Rocks Interview

So check out an interview I did for Veronica Valli… and check out her fantastic blog. http://veronicavalli.com/2014/09/recovery-rocks-rick-bernhisel/  

What is Spiritual Maintenance?

As is often stated in the rooms of recovery, we are granted a daily reprieve [from our addiction] based on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. But what does that mean? As I learned in years spent developing software for oil refineries, maintenance can take one of two forms: preventive and “oh-crap- it’s-broken.” Refineries are […]

Surrender to Win

I’ve only held the prongs on an electrical cord once while plugging it in. The attic room I called home as a child had an in-wall air conditioning unit that had come unplugged. It was dark. I was trying to align the plug with the socket. The resultant shock was sufficiently jarring to alter my […]

First Manic

The old man–a hitchhiker I had picked up on I-10–marinated the warm burgundy interior of my Nissan Maxima with a stench that lingered for weeks. I labeled him a hitchhiker although he hadn’t proffered the universal thumbs-up ride seekers are known for. He was just wandering a few hundred yards away from a broken down […]

Pray to Die

The slugfest began with my first 12-step meeting.  I was 28. I was 42 when I put the bottle down and called it quits. After first acknowledging a problem, I spent more than a decade in the ring fighting a disease that knocked me down more often than not. A professional boxing match lasts 12 […]