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My Public Apology to Everyone Hurt by Alcoholics Like Me

I'm deeply ashamed about these things I did.

Just a couple of short weeks ago, I celebrated being clean and sober for 31 years. Yes, it's been a long time, which can make it very easy to dissociate with the addiction-riddled man I was all those years ago.

Don't get me wrong, that's not entirely a bad thing. I don't want to live in the constant memory of who I was then and the things I did in my addicted years. I got sober to save my life, and I stay sober to have a life. My present is very good, so I don't live in the past.

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3 Steps for Tolerating the Pain of Painful Emotions

We can pretend our painful feelings don’t exist. We can ignore them. We can judge and resist them. And so many of us do, because we think that this will soften the blow. This will help us bypass the discomfort of our hurt, sorrow, agony, anger, anxiety. We assume the feelings will just go away (and they might, but only temporarily).

It might not even be a conscious, willful decision. Avoidance might be a habit we picked up throughout the years, and now feels like an old sweater. Comfortable. Reliable. Our go-to security blanket. When we’re cold, we automatically put it on.

But unaddressed pain persists.
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How to Rewire Your Brain for Happiness

We all want to be happy. It’s a desire almost as strong as our need to breathe. Some would rather not be alive than to be alive and miserable. Our instant gratification generation is obsessed with chasing happiness, like it’s some kind of achievement or ultimate goal in life.

With such high expectations for being happy, it’s natural to feel that we’ll get there only through monumental effort. It doesn’t...
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Responding to Humanitarian Crises

According to World Vision, more than 12 million are affected by the crisis in Syria. That is far more than those affected by Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, and the Indian Ocean tsunami combined.

Recent events remind us of a dark time in Europe when other refugees were denied haven and abandoned to fate. Once again, large numbers of people are targets of violence and trauma. After years of suffering, they have left their homes and everything they love and care for because life has become intolerable. They have endured a hellish journey to find safety. And then they have been greeted by faces and hearts of stone.

Thankfully, it seems that voices of compassion are prevailing and refugees are being allowed to proceed to refuge, as international law guarantees civilians fleeing war.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Could Sugar Make Depression Worse?

I have a theory: Many people who suffer from chronic severe depression and anxiety are allergic to sugar and foods like white flour that the human body processes like sugar.

Like most of my theories, I have tested this one on my 13-year-old son, because his brain is most like mine in our family (poor guy). After he has consumed three pumpkin muffins, his character completely changes, like the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) in "Spider-Man."
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Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: September 29, 2015

I heard an insightful passage this weekend with marriage and family therapist Bonnie Badenoch for Sounds True's Psychotherapy 2.0 Online Training Summit. Badenoch shared Colorado psychotherapist Matt Licata's blog post on how we have a tendency to want to solve people's problems instead of doing what truly works, which is to simply be with them. I thought the passage was inspiring and wanted to share it with you here:
“In speaking with a friend this morning, I was reminded of the great bias in our culture toward the light and away from the darkness. When we meet with a friend who is depressed, feeling hopeless, shut down or otherwise not beaming in joyful, we can become convinced quite quickly that something is wrong. That some mistake has been made which needs fixing. We scramble to put them back together to remind them of all the gifts in their life to let them know everything will be better soon and that it will all turn out okay. It is possible the kindest thing we can offer our suffering friend is to sit in the darkness with them removing the burden that they change, transform, feel better or heal in order for us to love them.”
Maybe someone you love is enduring hardship or change. Maybe they are courageously confronting some of the topics our bloggers mention here. Although it's tempting to want to make things better for them, take note of Licata's post and try being present with them instead.
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Anxiety and Panic

Affirmations for Reducing Negativity

"Be the change you want to see in the world.” -- Mahatma Gandhi
Do you cringe a little when you hear affirmations? There’s nothing wrong with them, they just seem to be missing substance. You hear a cliche instead of something meaningful.

“You are much more than your opinions of yourself.” I know I’m definitely the kind of person who would roll my eyes at that statement, although I know it's true. It takes a little untangling...
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Is Your Therapist Helping You Enough?

Is your weekly appointment just a time to vent? What do you do when your therapy seems to be going nowhere?

Chances are you came to therapy because you wanted something you felt you couldn’t achieve on your own. You were unhappy or discouraged; maybe you felt hopeless about your career or relationship. You sought change. So you searched for a therapist, paid your hard-earned money, and started examining your life.
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The Biggest Threat to a Marriage

Someone asked me recently, “How do you know when you’re repressing a feeling or if you’re just letting it go because it’s not really important enough or necessary to bring up?”

I said, “See how you’re behaving later, in a few hours, a month or two, or longer.”

You may have heard of this kind of couple: Their relationship is fine, thinks one spouse -- until the other asks for a divorce, has an affair, or suddenly moves out. Typically, the surprise happens after a long period of silence by the grudge-holding partner who opted out of the relationship.

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Best of the Web

21 Mental Health Doctors & Therapists You Should Be Following on Twitter

There are a lot of fascinating therapists, psychologists, counselors and psychiatrists online today -- a far cry from what things looked like 20 years ago when Psych Central was founded. So we thought we'd spend some quality time culling Twitter for some of the more interesting folks whose Twitter feed is full of good conversation and information.

Below, in no particular order, you'll find what we consider to be some of the best mental health doctors and therapists you should be following on Twitter. We at Psych Central are proud to provide lots of great content, but realize that we can’t be the only source of information on the vast internet. Some you may recognize and already follow, while others will be brand new to you.

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