Issue No. 19: January 2012

“I have seen what a laugh can do, it can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.”
– Bob Hope, Comedian, Actor

We are nearly out of the Red Zone (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day), during which time expectations run rampant, and depression soars.

I was driving home from a meeting when I saw this board, “Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle!” (above). Yes, I laughed and stopped to take this photo. This ad is a cute way to allude to the madness of our holidays. Meanwhile, did you know that suicide rates are the highest during the holidays in December and the July 4th long weekend? If you’re one of those rare people who totally loves the holidays and can’t grasp why some people don’t, please continue to enjoy your unique bliss and scroll down for more joyful and inspiring news bits.

For the rest of you, congratulations on still being alive and hopefully well, even thriving now. If the pressure of flying/not flying to visit family, eating/not eating, drinking/not drinking, shopping/not shopping, sending cards/not sending cards didn’t activate an addiction, trigger cravings, or homicidal and/or suicidal thoughts, bravo! You are truly in a good place, feel the gratitude, you are getting healthier…As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

For those of you who did struggle with your substances, compulsive shopping, harmful people pleasing activities and other anxiety provoking challenges, I hope you are getting the support you need.

If you haven’t tried one of the ubiquitous free 12 Step programs yet, I strongly suggest you do a web search for your special need with your zip code and see what comes up. There is a treasure chest of free tools and methods to get well in these programs, and these groups can be a wonderful enhancement to your regular therapy or other plans for change.

When I was in graduate school in 2001, I recall one professor mentioning that at the time there were 140 varieties of 12 Step programs meeting in New York City on a weekly basis…by now there might be double that as the definition of addiction and abuse broaden to include brain chemistry shifters, such as sex, love, shopping, internet, television, sports, workaholism and exercise addiction.

For your convenience, here is a list of some of the more common programs with web sites which include local meeting lists and literature sources:

Alcoholics Anonymous

Al-Anon Family Groups (for friends, loved ones of alcoholics)

Debtors Anonymous

Gamblers Anonymous

Nicotine Anonymous

Overeaters Anonymous

Pills Anonymous

Underearners Anonymous

Workaholics Anonymous

May you or your loved ones find your way to one of these excellent gateways to health…if you have any questions or would like to understand the broad brush of these programs, feel free to give me a call or email me at your convenience.

Good health is wealth, go for it!