I don’t understand the 12 steps.

I am not an alcoholic. In fact, I rarely drink. I don’t take drugs (not even marijuana, which is perfectly legal where I live). I have never had a substance abuse problem, unless you count a former addiction to nicotine (I quit smoking 25 years ago) and a lifelong addiction to caffeine (do NOT get between me and my morning coffee).

I am also an atheist.

So forgive me, but I don’t understand the 12 steps.  Continue reading “I don’t understand the 12 steps.”

Bibliotherapy: helpful, harmful, or pure entertainment?

In mid-September 1990, when I booked myself into the John Bradshaw Center at Ingleside Hospital outside of LA, Mr. Bradshaw was enjoying his heyday as a popular self-help author and television darling. If you tuned to any PBS TV station during the late ‘80s/early ‘90s chances are pretty good you’d see the charismatic Bradshaw lecturing on the relationship of families and shame, especially during fund drives. He was a guest on all the talk shows, including Oprah, Geraldo Rivera, Sally Jessy Raphael, and Phil Donahue. He even hosted his own talk show for a season or two. Bradshaw ended up writing six books altogether, three of which became New York Times bestsellers. Continue reading “Bibliotherapy: helpful, harmful, or pure entertainment?”

I don’t have an inner child.

The therapy I engaged in at the John Bradshaw Center for five-to-six hours a day, seven days a week, for eight weeks focused almost exclusively on remembering and healing childhood trauma. The idea was that we all come from dysfunctional families that caused us pain. If we don’t remember and relive these traumas in a safe setting we will continue to be in emotional pain and, perhaps worse, risk passing all this dysfunction to the next generation, becoming part of the “poisonous pedagogy.” Aphorisms like, “if you don’t work it out you will act it out” and “the only way out is through” were bantered about like gospel.  Continue reading “I don’t have an inner child.”

This thing isn’t going to write itself.

The muse makes her appearance at 6 am.

Daily.

But here’s the rub. I am not a morning person. I am only up at this godforsaken hour because the Chihuahua refuses to acclimate from Eastern time to Pacific Daylight Time. Haley gets up each day precisely at six, jumps joyfully on my head and announces, in her own Chihuahua way, that the day has dawned. Dutifully, and because having a Chihuahua banging at your head is not that pleasant, I get up at six to feed and walk her. The muse is also awakened by the 8-lb monster, and it is during those tweams–the fleeting moments between dreaming and waking when you are finishing up a most delicious dream–that she fills my creative mind with the most brilliant of writing insights. Alliteration abounds and cadence croons. Continue reading “This thing isn’t going to write itself.”

Memoir of a mental patient blog

Two months ago my husband and I packed our Hyundai sedan with the essentials: my husband’s guitar, his ukulele, his big-ass amp, our Chihuahua Haley, a five-day supply of Haley’s organic homemade (by me) perfectly balanced nutrition-packed food, her favorite toys and water bowl, a customized-for-a-Chihuahua baby stroller (don’t judge), a thermos of frozen broccoli (healthy Chihuahua snacks), and every comforter and blanket we own stacked high over the back seat area so said Chihuahua would have a 360 view of the open road.   Continue reading “Memoir of a mental patient blog”