Don’t blame me; the alcohol made me do it

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Photo by Umur Batur Kocak on Unsplash

Every “problem drinker” has had more than their fair share of alcohol-related excuses.

If you really think about it, alcohol is like a little magic wand. Drink a little too much and, guess what, all bets are off.

Expect me to be reliable? Fancy that. Timely? Try again. Honest? HA! Composed? Um… Emotionally mature? You know where this is going.

As I said: All. Bets. Are. Off.

Reliable is basically the last thing you can count on.

Fun at a party? Acting like a lunatic? Liable to embarrass myself? Likely to piss off my girlfriend? Possibly forget how I got home?

Scarcity and its Discontents

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Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

If you don’t act fast, you’re going to miss out. This is a once-in-lifetime, limited-time offer, and the clock is ticking. Everyone else is taking advantage. What. Are. You. Waiting. For?

Do you ever wake up and feel like the clock is impatiently gnawing away at your day?

Before you even get out of bed, you can feel like you’re already behind. If phone alerts aren’t jolting you into action, then it’s your email, or your calendar, or your Sisyphean to-do list. Or maybe it’s just the good, old-fashioned cacophony of demands, obligations, and commitments racing through your mind.

Many Americans have fallen into a social trap. We believe the myth that time is scarce. If we don’t seize the day right now, we will be wasting our lives away slothfully. We believe that productivity means doing as much as fast as we possibly can. …

No, little orange man, your words are violence

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The “Save America” Trump Rally Photo by John Minchillo/AP

For the last four years, Republican leaders nationwide have attempted to benefit from the “as seen on reality TV” presidential theatrics while shielding themselves from blame or accountability for their association with the little orange man in the big white house.

Over and over, in the face of embarrassing temper tantrums, belligerent bullying, thinly veiled lies and the public endorsement of misogyny and racism, Republicans in Congress stood by the president — excusing away his incendiary and bigoted remarks on the grounds that he’s an idiosyncratic DC outsider with an unconventional approach or dismissing his remarks altogether as “just rhetoric.”

In reality, they were making a trade. …

And its consequences

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Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

Do you ever stop
And ask if you’re
How about sad?

Do you yell and scream
Before you recognize anger?
Does anxiety well up
And suffocate you inside?

Or do others tell you
How you feel?
Or do you
Read yourself?

If you’re literate
In your language,
How much do you
Speak to you?

More than your cellphone?
More than your email?
More than your TV?

Why do others have
More access to you
Than you?

Are you always racing
Against the clock?
Are you always running
From your thoughts?

What makes your life real?
Is it what you feel?
Is it when you hurt? …

How 2020 Exposed America’s Inner Alcoholic

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Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

I reject 2020 as the Year of the Rat. In my mind, there can be no question that it was really the Year of the Drunk.

To be clear, I’m not talking about liquor stores being deemed “essential businesses” during the pandemic. I’m not talking about whether or not alcohol consumption spiked in the U.S. either. It did, according to research, and previously “normal drinkers” will likely need to be treated for alcohol use disorder, but that’s not my focus.

I’m talking about emotional intoxication. It should be fairly obvious that last year’s events enabled us to very publicly manifest the worst, ugliest, most cringe-worthy and flat out deplorable human traits that stew within us all. …

A poem about America

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Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

The curtain’s always drawn,
The show never ends.
I entered mid-scene, and I know
I can be yanked from the cast
At every moment.

So, I bleed my roles,
I overplay my hands —
Hoping I signal my allegiances,
Strong enough.
I deconstruct the disbelievers —
Tearing them from life, from limb.

I find security in my tribe.
I seek comfort in a common enemy.
My hate and my rage hold down
The fear of the cut that wells up inside.

I stick to the script, but
I forget my lines. …

Coping with the Chronic Grief of Irreconcilable Loss

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Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

If you’ve had serious, untreated mental illness within your family, then you know how difficult it is to explain the complexity of emotions to someone unfamiliar with this experience.

And, if you’re like me, you might even have difficulty articulating your own often-conflicting emotions to your therapist.

In fact, for many years, many (most) psychologists were incapable of helping families attempting to cope and the emotional repercussions of a family member developing a severe mental illness like schizophrenia or bi-polar affective disorder.

It was assumed that the mental illness had been caused by a dysfunctional family system, and the prevailing wisdom up until the late 1970s was to seek the roots of mental illness within family dynamics. …

Context Matters More Than You Might Think

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Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash

If you’ve ever struggled with addiction, then you’ve thought about what that A-word means.

I’m not just talking about Google searches and one-night, web rabbit holes into addiction. I’m talking about deep philosophical thought. You might not think you’ve engaged in armchair philosophy, but you have.

See that’s the thing about diagnoses. They convey meaning; they shape our interpretation of ourselves, our actions and our condition. Mental health or substance use diagnoses work two ways. They can feel like a cramped jail cell that constricts individual self-regard. …

Remember the dirt

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Photo by FORREST CAVALE on Unsplash

Less important than a grain of sand. That’s all we are. We are the dust we try to brush off our shoulders. We are the annoying loose grit chafing against the sole of our shoe. We are the dirt. We are the mud. We are the stain that can’t be washed away.

And yet we call ourselves a “fine patina.”

We name the stain we leave behind. We label the damage we do as evidence of greatness. We’ve left our mark. Destruction and devastation signal our domination. Patriotic perversion shows our power. Exploitation and extinction, proof of our exceptionalism.

You can have your history, and I shall have mine. …

If abstinence were easy, everyone would do it

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Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

Everywhere you look today — it seems we’re surrounded by confusion, bedlam, and pandemonium. The year 2020 is dark, and it is filled with terrors. The jaws of chaos have opened wide, baring putrid fangs, ready to snap us like twigs and swallow our sanity whole.

The world just doesn’t make any sense today. Stocks are soaring while companies go bankrupt. The rich ride updrafts while jobs, homes and apartments are ripped out from under the rest of our feet. Law enforcement is taking the lives of innocents (and dodging punishment). …


Russ W

Recovering agency leader. Brand builder. Industry agnostic. MSW/EMPA Student. Writer. Thinker. Creative. Human. Hit me up:

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