Joe has been increasing his alcohol use for several years, and now he’s drinking an entire bottle of wine or more, four to five nights a week. He doesn’t think he’s impaired; after all he’s built up a high tolerance. But his family is angry and embarrassed. Joe doesn’t drink at work, so he doesn’t think he has a problem. “So what if I like to have a couple of glasses of wine at the end of the week or on Saturday night”. He’s not like his uncle and his mother who drank heavily during the day and died from liver failure. But his family has an entirely different story about his alcohol use.... Read More
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Family Talk Blog
The other night I was tired, hungry, and feeling overwhelmed when I got home from work. It was a long day. My wife, who had a cold for several days, asked me to do something. I barked back at her.
I felt terrible.
How often do we lose our temper at our children or our spouse? It frequently happens at the end of the day when we are exhausted. The kids ask us to do “one more thing” and we crack. We find ourselves yelling at a little kid, who looks back at us with an innocent, hurt look in his eyes.
We feel like ogres.
Dinner times can be tough too. Getting home... Read More
When my oldest daughter was 3 years old, I had my first (pre)school conference. The teacher kindly explained to me that my daughter was “shy”, but otherwise was “no problem”. I was stunned. My entire parental life flashed in front of my eyes. She must be shy because we moved when she was 6 months old. Perhaps I was too strict, or maybe not strict enough? What had I done to make my daughter shy? I must have done something wrong. I was wracked with self-doubt.
After a few hours and more than a few gray hairs, I recalled that I was shy as a child too. My natural shyness didn’t ruin my... Read More
Why me? It’s a natural question when a family member dies before their time, when a relationship ends, or when we lose a job.
At first, we feel stunned. Deep inside, we expect that our lives should unfold uneventfully. We believe that we should be the master of our fate. Tragedy happens to others, but not us.
At the same time, our culture is filled with pictures of happy, satisfied men and women pursuing their dreams. When we are the victims of misfortune, we can feel let down by life. We may feel that something is wrong with us. We may feel that we did something wrong.... Read More
Several weeks ago, I was home recovering from a cold. Unable to do much, I found a manila envelope filled with letters I wrote to my mother when I was in my early 20’s. She kept these letters, and returned them to me when she was cleaning out a closet. They were typed on onionskin paper or handwritten. This is how we communicated in the 70’s. We called each other rarely—long distance calls were expensive. Some letters were from when I was college, but most of them were from my early years in graduate school in San Francisco.
When she sent me the letters in the mid 1990’s, she... Read More
How many times have you considered making a change in your life?
Joe doesn’t really like his job much anymore, but it’s secure, pays well and has good benefits. He wants to do something different, but can’t seem to get started.
Sarah wants to start an exercise program. She knows that being so sedentary is bad for her health, and her doctor has encouraged her to go the gym, but she never seems to get there.
Harold wants to take a yoga class, but he feels stuck in the same old daily rut and hasn’t even taken the first step to find out where he can take a class.
... Read More
Every day in the United States, thousands of baby boomers are turning 65. No wonder many of us hear about friends and family that are retiring or at least talking about it. I have several friends that took the big step.
Recently, I had lunch with two of those friends, long time Everett residents, Tracy Spencer M.D., retired physician and Jack Courrier D.D.S, retired dentist. Both practiced in Everett for over 30 years! Tracy and his wife are taking care of his mom, Dixie, who is turning 96 this summer. They love to chase after three grandchildren that live right down the street.... Read More
Remember the big four areas of conflict in marriage? My wife reminds me about the fifth one--the division of household labor, aka housework!
I grew up in a family of three boys. (I have no idea how my mother survived! No wonder she gave up after a while!) Her vision of an independent adult male was a guy that knew how to cook, sew, iron and clean. So, she made sure that all three of her boys were well versed in domestic affairs. She included us in all of her cooking, and made sure that we understood how to combine ingredients, follow and then diverge from recipes, and clean up too!... Read More
In the last year, it seems like our community has experienced more than its share of adolescent suicide. Each death tears at us, and brings fear to our hearts. We worry about each and every one of our children.
The facts and figures of suicide are daunting. Based on the last survey completed in 2013, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) noted there were 41,149 deaths attributed to suicide (as compared to 30,000 plus deaths related to auto accidents). It’s the tenth leading cause of death. The suicide rate went down slightly between 1986-2000, but has risen again since then. In 2013... Read More
Recall the big four sources of conflict in marriage: Children, sex, money, and in-laws. Today’s blog is on resolving issues related to your relations.
I was very fortunate. I had great in-laws. They liked me immediately, respected me and felt that their daughter was fortunate to find me. I liked them too. They were generous, kind and easy to get along with. Over 30 years, our relationship grew close.
My wife, on the other hand, was less fortunate. She had mother-in-law problems! These problems waxed and waned over three decades. They were worse when the kids were little. My... Read More