Resentment move over…

25 May

Why are you hanging on to it? Are you getting some type of satisfaction from it? 

What am I talking about? Resentment which I define as holding onto a perceived or real hurt caused by another or yourself. 

If you didn’t know, the Big Book of AA stated that resentment is the number one offender of alcoholics. Meaning, if they don’t deal with them appropriately, they will drink again. And for them drinking means death or institutions. 

Resentment is one of those burning thoughts/emotions that likes to hang around. It’s like we are programmed to play around in the muck that resentment causes until we finally have had enough. 

I was hurt badly and deeply last October when my employer said to me in a letter that they no longer needed my services. What? Huh? What did I do deserve that? Absolutely nothing except trusting another person’s word. And to top it off, to add insult to injury, they replaced me with the person they had fired (cause she had her termination overturned). Ouch!

I mean I really liked this job. I liked the residents. I liked my work day.  The pay and benefits were nice too. I even said to myself and out loud, I plan to retire (when I am 80) from here. Boy, oh boy was wrong. Here I thought I was doing God’s will. Helping soldiers when I am a strict pacifist. But I was just being open minded…

I had run up against a justifiable, huge reason to have a resentment. But I really didn’t want it, but my head said to keep it and stoke its flames. But I didn’t want too so I reached out to a long-time friend and colleague for advice. Even he, with over 60 years of professional social work experience had to “get back to me” on this one. 

By the time he did (24 hours or so), I had already decided I needed to move on from this resentment before it caused me too much misery. I did what I was taught in AA, forgive the person and/or situation that I am resenting. This was a very tall order for me but I asked God (as I understand him) for strength to forgive and he did just that. 

Remember forgiveness is to help you move past it, not for the other person so that should make it easier to do at times. I strongly advise you to “deal” with all of your resentments as soon as you can. Open your heart and mind to forgiveness and you can too can move on, instead of being stuck in the muck of a resentment.

Time to Move…

24 May

Oklahoma made the national news this week. Not for something good, of course. The central part of Oklahoma was hit AGAIN by a 200 mph twister. The same town, Moore that was hit in 99′, was hit again. 

I live in the northern part of Oklahoma where a major bad-boy tornado hasn’t visited in a long, long time. 

The natural disaster left behind more questions than answers for me. First, why would you choose to live in Tornado Alley? Especially, after you were just hit 14 years ago and had to rebuild. Second, why wasn’t the school that suffered loss of lives have a safer place for its inhabitants than “following the tornado drill?” 

Third, if you choose to live in “Tornado Alley”, it should be mandatory to have a safe room or storm shelter on your property. Lastly, why would you choose to put your family and animals in the path of frequent tornadoes? Does that make any sense? Parents are so careful in so many other ways but then they place their families in a high risk area like Moore, OK. It’s crazy. 

I just don’t get it. The governments (local, state and federal) regulate just about everything in our lives but they allow its citizens to live in high risk, dangerous places like New Orleans, near major fault lines in California, on ocean banks (i.e. sink holes), and of course allowing people to reside in the “Tornado Alley”. 

This is very similar to the observation made by late comedian, Sam Kinison who joked that people who suffer from hunger live in the desert (in Africa). He remarked, if you don’t want to starve, move out of the desert. Makes sense to me. 

 

 

 

My Life…Your Life

5 May

Good Sunday afternoon! If you are a Bulls and/or Thunder fan, it is definitely a good day.

Today I want to start a new dialogue. Quite simply, instead of referring to one’s “past”, let’s just refer to one’s “life”.

U see I get tired of hearing about how “your past” affects your present. How “your past” shapes who you are. How you must let go of “your past” to move on. Move on to where?

So what I am proposing is looking at “your life” as a whole not in parts (past, present and future). For example, during “my life” I have done some good things and not so good things. During “my life”, I have learned a lot about LIFE.

By taking this angle, you get out away from blaming others and events from “your past” for how you ended up “today”. You simply look at your life as a bunch of experiences, some good and some not so good. Really, when it comes down do it, that’s what life is: “our experiences”. 

I experienced being part of a great team of friends and competitors back in high school and college. That experience really didn’t make me who I am today. It was simply “my experience” as part of “my life”. I experienced many years of higher education and again those years didn’t make me who I am today. It was simply an experience of learning and socializing. 

Part of this “my life” angle is the premise that I really don’t think you can truly “let go” of anything. Everything that I experienced in “my life” is still a part of me, rather small or big.

The other part of this angle is that “my life” has gone so fast. I remember vividly receiving my high school diploma (some 29 years ago) and really it feels like just yesterday. Where did all of that time go? It just went and I had experiences. Some good and some not so good.

Think about what I have just postulated. Instead of fretting about the past or the future, just strap in and experience LIFE to the fullest of your abilities, interests and whatever else!

God Bless U!

 

Satchel Paige

1 May

With the recent release of the movie 42 about the first Black man to play major league baseball (officially), it got me thinking about where did the Black man play before April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Well, my research led me quickly to a guy I have never heard of which is quite sad. It is amazing how the media can get us to focus on what it wants us to focus on. It’s like this guy I found didn’t even exist.The remarkable man is LeRoy Satchel Paige (born Page).

I got most of my intel from Larry Tye, the author of Satchel, the Life and Times of an American Legend.Satchel was born in 1906 and ended up stealing some trinkets which led him to be placed in a reform school for “Negros” (I hate that title). Yea, they had institutions just for Black youngsters. However, Satchel’s destiny was sprung from this placement because he met a man who taught him how to pitch a baseball.

Satchel signed his 1st “professional” contract as a pitcher in 1926 for the “Negros” league. Yea, that is where the Black man was while only the White man was given the right to play in major league baseball. Unbelievable! But true.Satchel would go on to play baseball, 12 months out of the year. That means he didn’t take a rest like players do today. And he didn’t just pitch every few days like they do today, he pitched almost daily at times.

Satchel pitched against many of the greats like Joe DiMaggio who said that Satchel was “the fastest pitcher” he ever faced.Satchel had such great control, that he could knock down match boxes placed at home plate from over 60 feet away. He was a great self promoter (kinda like Deion Sanders was a few years back, I suppose). Satchel said, “I gave White people what they wanted.”

Satchel finally got his chance to play in the majors in 1948 with the Cleveland Indians. He was the first Black man to pitch in the majors. In his first seven games, Paige went 6-1 with an ERA of only 2.48 (at the age of 42, the oldest “rookie” ever).

The MLB record books record Nolan Ryan and (66′-93′) and Cap Anson (1871-1897) as having the longest major league careers at 27 years. But our legend, played professionally for 39 years. He played his last baseball game at the age of 59 in 1965. Incredible! Satchel was rightly voted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 71′. Tye said that Satchel had “baseball’s most prolific career” ever.

Suicide can be Prevented!

10 Apr

Two recent suicides got me thinking….and you know what that means…I have to write a post or two.

The first person who put a firearm in her mouth and pulled the trigger “had” been a successful country singer. She leaves two young children behind.

The second person was the son of a pastor of a very large church out West. He was only 27 years old.

What did these two people have in common, I believe? They both suffered from severe depression. Not the “feeling blue” or “down in the dumps” crud but the real deal.

Severe depression in this country is taken so lightly because it is (like many illnesses) misunderstood or not understood. Severe depression keeps a person from finding joy in their daily life. Severe depression keeps a person unmotivated to do anything, including taking care of basic needs.

Severe depression has many causes. Some of the causes that change the brain’s chemistry are: guilt, shame, and anger. A lot of people are abused in some form or another in this country and all three causes mentioned usually come along with that abuse.

Generally, people who suffer with severe depression “attempt” to self-medicate with alcohol or illicit drugs. However, whatever chemical it may be, it only provides short term relief for the sufferer but that doesn’t stop the person from continued use of the substance.

For some fortunate souls, their severe depression is “cured” or in remission per say. They have usually dug to the root cause(s) of their heavy cloud, deal with it and move on. Others like the two I mentioned at the top of this post just don’t dig deep enough and/or soon enough which leads to the tragic results of untreated or mistreated severe depression.

I get so tired of hearing that suicide is a selfish act. For the sufferer they “believe” they are a burden to others and they just can’t take any more pain, so ending “their” life seems like the only option at the time. That’s why it is so important to intervene when someone is suicidal (thinking and talking about suicide).

So I implore you, take the illness of severe depression more seriously and if you or someone you know is suicidal, intervene and get the help they truly need.

A-N-G-E-R

23 Mar

The five letter word that no one wants to talk about.

“I am not angry. I am just a little upset.”

“I am just pissed but I am not angry.”

“I got aggravated but not angry.”

It is ok…to get angry.

Getting angry is part of being a living, breathing person.

The reason people don’t want to talk about “it” is because they are afraid of anger.

They see anger like when the big, bad wolf got angry in the child’s tale.

I am angry right now as I write this because my laptop screen keeps collecting little particles on it and it “irritates” me. Yes, irritation is anger.

I think the most common level of anger people experience is “frustration”. Due to peoples’ limited amount of patience and tolerance for things that don’t go their way, frustration tends to sneak in often.

Since I am a “professional” mental health provider, I have heard and read a lot that anger is just the “secondary” feeling, covering for the “primary” feeling that lies under it.

Meaning, if I show anger, there is something else going on underneath that anger like “disappointment” or “hurt”. I don’t buy that, really.

I think disappointment can cause anger but one can experience anger without any other feeling.

So most of us were exposed to the big, bad wolf and how mad he got when the three little pigs wouldn’t let him in their homes. The wolf became so mad, that it turned into rage which is usually when bad things happen.

When one escalates to rage, he usually loses control and causes damage to someone or something like when the wolf “blew” the houses down.

IF we don’t cope with our everyday “anger” properly, it can turn into rage eventually.

I believe that is what happened with O.J. Simpson when he killed his ex-wife, back in 94′. Yes, O.J. did finally confess to killing her in a book that he helped put together. O.J., in his own words, had been trying to cope with Nicole’s unstable behaviors for years. She was up and down and all over the place. But, on that night, the perfect storm of anger formed and O.J. blacked out and killed her. I have to give to him credit though, he really attempted to cope with her the best he could for years but finally snapped.

I believe that is the reason behind so many other domestic killings, especially the murder-suicide types. The spouse attempts to endure and endure but one day he or she snaps, unable to cope anymore with their anger toward that person and probably the world as well.

The same thing happens with child abuse. The parent, unable to keep coping with their child’s “unwanted” behaviors, that he or she severely abuses the child they say they love.

So I have looked at the downside to anger, but what about the upside?

When used properly, anger can be the catalyst for change. If one doesn’t get angry, why should he want to change?

Do you think Abraham Lincoln was angry about the practice of slavery? Damn right he was! When he first witnessed slavery as a young man in New Orleans, he was so angry with how one person mistreated another just because of their skin color, it motivated him to WALK all the way back to Illinois. From that point on, his anger pushed him to end slavery as we knew it.

Yes, my friends, the next time you get angry, don’t suppress it, use it for good. And if you are having difficulty doing that or coping with someone or some situation, share it with someone you trust. It is simply amazing what can happen when we share our struggles with the right person.

God Bless you!

“Talk” Therapy anyone??

1 Mar

I just read an interview with Jimmy Kimmel (late night talk show host) that he participates in “talk” therapy twice a week. I think I heard that Dave Letterman has also participated in “talk” therapy. “They” say (whoever they are) that comedians are generally pretty depressed people so it makes sense that they would seek therapy.

Ok, I hope you get the message that this post is about psychotherapy not physical, occupational or any another other type of therapy. I will now just use the word therapy the rest of this way.

Recently, in a “meeting”, a guy said that he knows a guy who has been sober (from alcohol) for over 35 years and he is in therapy. Oh know, watch out, since the “old-timer” is in therapy, that means he is just inches away from a relapse. Not…it probably means that he is healthy and sane enough to know he needs a “listening ear” in this world of “non-listening ears”.

I had a phone conversation with an “long-time” friend this am and she had posed some questions about therapy. I thought my words were useful and insightful so I decided to share them here.

In my humble opinion, one of a therapist’s tasks with a client is to help them “see” what their potential could be if they are so inclined in pursuing it. The next task is to help the client see the roadblocks to their potential so they can make needed changes in their environment if they so choose to do so. Personally and professionally, seeing a person not strive or reach their potential is very sad. I believe our creator, God put us on this earth to find and reach for our potentials, among other stuff.

Now comes the rub, people love to talk about their potentials but they don’t like to talk about the roadblocks. You mean I have to give up using alcohol? You mean I have to end that unhealthy relationship? You mean I have to stop spending money on that so I can have money to further my education and/or training?

Yes, to all of the above and more. Then there is the basic utility of therapy, listening to their client’s share their life struggles and how they are coping along the way. I actually took a “listening” course in my undergraduate studies. I thought it would be an easy A but it wasn’t, the instructor was good. However, then and there, I learned about the importance of listening in this world of talkers.

Please honor and respect someone who is participating in therapy. The therapeutic process may end up saving their life or changing it for the better. Take care..of yourself and each other.