My mother was a gentle soul. In her best disciplinary voice, a whisper at most, used one time during my teenage years, she said, "Bill, I wish you would not smoke -- it's bad for you."
I cannot even imagine what losing a child to drugs would be like. Lord knows I've thought about it a lot. For a while, I was terrified that it might happen to me. And I'd be lying if I said it's not something I still think about from time to time when I allow my mind to wander out of the moment.
The truth is, I still struggle. But, I'm happy to say that there are more good days than bad ones now. As they often say in AA, it's about "progress, not perfection." I have made progress.
I'll let you in on a little secret. Drinking coffee, for me, is more like a great love affair. Yes, I said it, a L-O-V-E affair. Why not love? I mean,...
I caution that we take a long, hard look at the permissive tidal wave in favor of marijuana legalization. As for condoning recreational use, we need to be careful before we unlock that door. Because, in a tidal wave, once you open a door, it may not be so easy to close.
Anger was my go-to guy the minute drugs showed up in my life. I spent years being angry with Austin, being angry with myself for all the mistakes I made as a parent, being angry that addiction made itself at home in my life at all.
While we do not know all the facts on the ground in Ferguson, we know that militarization on a national level can often do more harm than good. It has eroded trust between law enforcement and ordinary citizens, and it certainly hasn't eradicated the drug scourge from our communities.
Consider how deep you are in social media dung right now, and consider how hard it would be if you just let all of it go, today.
Certainly our conversations this week should remember the genius of Robin Williams. But we should also be talking about how to help prevent yet another tragedy. The way to help is to start seeing addiction as more than the craving for a substance relief.
The butterfly effect here is that this later-life suicide of one struggling person set in motion a public response including character attacks that, in turn, by extension, feel like an attack on all of us who struggle to stay sober and alive each day.
The reason so many people don't get the treatment they need is simple: Mental illness and addiction are still shrouded in stigma. It's 2014, but people suffering from mental illness often times don't want to ask for professional help because they fear being labeled as "crazy" or a "whack job."
Suicide is still such a taboo that most people are afraid to open up about what's going on with them without fear of some kind of judgment. It's important to be able to confront these incredibly scary issues without so much fear.
Parents of children who suffer from addiction are a special group. They're members of a club nobody wants to be a member of. In this case, membership doesn't really have any privileges.
In order for these headlines to stop and for people to stop taking their own lives, we can't just bat our eye at the subject anymore -- and we certainly cannot continue to perpetuate a negative stigma around both mental illness and addiction.
Being told to do things I don't want to do is very difficult for me. I think, Surely I deserve to chew on these lordly thoughts a bit before they go.
Robin Williams infused genuine pathos into complex characters. He could split your gut with laughter in one movie, then cross the comic chasm and mercilessly tug on your heartstrings in the next. Williams was both a worthy hero and a convincing villain.