Larry, a middle aged man, sits in my office, talking about Al-Anon, the 12-step program fashioned after Alcoholics Anonymous for family and friends of individuals with alcoholism or chemical dependency. He tells me his story---“I got a phone call from my son’s school when Joey was 14 years old. He was caught drinking at school with his buddies. At the time, I thought --“boys will be boys”, and didn’t think much of it. The progression of the disease is slow, so it was hard to see. But as time went on, more signs of his drinking problem appeared. I got called in the middle of the night that... Read More
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Since January 1, 2011, 10,000 adult have turned 65 years of age every day. This will continue for the next 20 years! By 2020, only 8 years away, 54 million Americans will be 65 and over. During the same year, there will be over 23 million Americans who are 75 and over. These statistics show the ballooning number of aging adults in the years to come. But these numbers do not reflect what this will mean for their adult children, who will be in their midlife.
I had coffee with a good friend and his wife the other day. They wanted to talk to me about some of the challenges they were... Read More
I recently attended a meeting where one of the presenters was describing the problem of “burnout” among health care providers. A large percentage of health care workers are struggling with work-life balance, enthusiasm for their jobs, and feeling connected to their patients and colleagues. The same might be said about workers in other fields as well. Despite all of our technological advances, employees in the 21st century feel that they are working harder, longer hours, with less satisfaction from their jobs. Human service providers and educators seem to be particularly impacted by these... Read More
Over the Presidents Day weekend, a close friend of mine, Jim, was skiing with his family in Colorado. On the trip, his 5-year-old granddaughter skied into a tree and broke both of her legs.
What a disaster! Fortunately, she’s young, didn’t hit her head and will heal quickly. That’s a blessing. But Jim was at the top of the hill watching this nightmare unfold. He was responsible for taking care of his granddaughter. He made several mistakes in judgment: the day before the ski instructor indicated to Jim that his granddaughter wasn’t ready for that particular slope, he didn’t ski in... Read More
I have to come clean. I’m not a football fan. Okay, now the truth is out and I feel much better!
But I do have to admit that I have enjoyed our recent Seahawks fever. It’s been wonderful to see so many Washingtonians filled with enthusiasm, excitement, and sheer joy during our gray winter months. But like the other three non-football fans in our fair state, I do wonder-- why is there so much football fever? Why is the average Joe and Jane filled with so much energy over, well…just a game?
If you are a big fan with a closet full of Seahawks jerseys, sweatshirts, scarfs, and... Read More
Increasingly, we are seeing adults (and teens) who are spending vast amounts of time and money looking at pornography on the Internet. Whatever your views may be on the morality of this behavior, these individuals can’t turn off their computers. Is this an addiction? A compulsion? Or what?
The statistics are staggering. Every second, $3000 is spent on Internet pornography. Every second, there are 28,250 Internet users viewing porn. The revenues for the pornography industry are larger than Microsoft, Google, Amazon, EBay, Yahoo, Apple, and Netflix combined!
Those opposed to... Read More
As I write this, I am listening to the rain on my roof. For us North Westerner’s we are no strangers to water falling from the sky. It’s a familiar and soothing sound.
But today, I can’t help but think about the 45 people living in a homeless encampment a quarter of a mile from my home. Tent City 3 had been unable to find a church that would let them camp and so for the first time since 2000, they set up their tents on a small piece of public land near I-5 in North Seattle. They have moved 70 times in the last 14 years. I am sure that this driving cold rain on an early Sunday... Read More
My perfect day is sandwiched between watching the sun rise and the sun set. I am fortunate that I live close to Green Lake. I love to walk around the lake in the early morning and watch the eastern sky glow and finally brighten as the sun rises at 7 a.m. Ducks and geese skim across the calm water. Occasionally, a blue heron, standing on one leg, completely still, waits for breakfast to swim by. It’s been particularly brilliant during these last few clear days. When the sun finally shakes off its nightly slumber and peeks above the horizon, a new day is born.
What will this day bring... Read More
Early this September, my brother (David), an old family friend (Colin) and I, went on our yearly “boys” hiking trip. Growing up, my brothers and I had a tradition of yearly outdoor trips. When I was 11, my two older brothers and I went on a 5-day canoe trip down the Delaware River in New Jersey. When I was in college, we always went on summer backpacking trips. On one trip, David proposed to his girlfriend—they have been married now for 41 years.
We took a break, when our kids were little, but started up again when they were older. Some years, we took along my oldest daughter (she... Read More
Some years ago, a middle-aged patient of mine, Joe, walked into my office, and pleaded, “Paul, please talk me off the ledge”. He had struggled through a long period of work and relationship disappointments and problems with his youngest daughter. He grew up in a family with domestic violence and verbal abuse. He was at the very lowest I had seen him for a long time. He was experiencing the suffering of clinical depression.
Robin Williams’ recent suicide has brought the spotlight to this painful, but relatively common condition. Dr. Kay Jamison, a well-known psychiatrist, who has... Read More