The wounds of war last long after the soldiers return.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Military parades don’t tell the whole story.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Today is Veterans Day in the United States. Various countries will celebrate their military veterans on other days.

On each of those veteran’s day’s, there will be parades and speeches and sometimes a lot of saber-rattling on the part of politicians.

It’s appropriate for people who served in the military to be honored today. Some will march in parades, and some will be honored with flags placed on their graves.

What we shouldn’t do is forget about these veterans the other 364 days of the year.

The physical wounds of war have become more pervasive.

The list of wars America has fought continues to grow. They used to be periods of peace between our wars, and we tried to believe that future generations wouldn’t have to fight. Unfortunately, across my lifespan, the periods of peace have grown shorter. We have reached the point where Americans have been fighting somewhere in the world continuously for the longest time in American history.

Many of the physical wounds of war today’s soldiers endure, traumatic brain injury, for example, are much more common today than they were in the past. It’s fashionable to spend money and manpower to win a war. It is a much lower priority to spend money and effort caring for the wounded warriors of America’s many conflicts across the remainder of these veteran’s lifespan.

The invisible wounds of war appear more common now than before.

PTSD and other psychological injuries are more common among today’s veterans than they were in past generations. At least that’s what the statistics tell us. It’s very likely that many cases of PTSD went unrecognized or underrecognized among veterans of World War II and Vietnam. It’s also probable that the more protracted wars, more frequent deployments, and the changing nature of warfare has made PTSD more common than it was before.

Homelessness among veterans remains much higher than it should be.

Politicians are far too willing to appropriate funds for new weapon systems to fight wars then they are to provide adequate resources for treatment and housing of those who have made the sacrifices to fight those wars.

Alcoholism and addiction are an occupational hazard among military veterans.

Medical facilities, particularly the VA, see many patients who are former military and whose medical issues have been caused by or made worse by, untreated alcoholism or drug abuse.

Substance abuse treatment facilities encounter a significant number of former military personnel who has struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction during and after the military service. For some former military personnel, drugs and alcohol have been their way of coping with the traumatic experiences they encounter during their military career.

However you celebrate Veterans Day, I hope during the day of parades, speeches, and ceremonies you don’t lose sight of the long-term personal costs borne by those who served their country, their families and friends, and the rest of our society.

Next week’s post will pick up where we left off in the series of posts about what drug counselors do on the job and the core functions of substance use disorder counselor.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Most read mental health blog posts in 2018.

Image

By David Joel Miller.

Counselorssoapbox.com most read articles.

Six months into 2018 and time to look at the top read articles on counselorssoapbox.com

Some of these were new articles this year but many have been popular year after year. I wish I could say I knew which posts would be popular when I wrote them but I am frequently surprised. If you have questions or suggestions for future blog posts let me know. I will continue the search for information. Here is the list.

How much should you tell a therapist?

Levels or types of Borderline Personality Disorder

Is nicotine a stimulant or a depressant?

What do drug dreams mean?

Do therapists have to report a crime?

Do people really forget what happened when drinking? – Blackouts

6 ways to recover from Complex Trauma or Complex PTSD

What are the six kinds of hallucinations?

Hyperthymia, Hyperthymic Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder.

Do therapists like, fall in love with their clients? Why don’t they tell them?

Can you force a teenager to go for therapy?

What if you go to the hospital drunk or high?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Memorial Day.

Post by David Joel Miller.

Veterans.

Memorial Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Memorial Day.

“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

― Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Letters

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

― Abraham Lincoln

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”

― Abraham Lincoln, Complete Works – Volume XII

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

Maybe the world needs more dictators.

By David Joel Miller.

Has democracy outlived its usefulness?

Dictator

Does America need a dictator? Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Recent events, not just here in the United States but worldwide, have me wondering if the idea that decisions should be made to benefit everyone might be an idea whose time has come and gone.

Across the globe, there seems to be a movement toward strong leaders who can take control of the population.

Strongmen everywhere seek to convince the population the elite need to rule.

Is it possible that ending slavery was a mistake?

Is economic slavery any less oppressive?

Shouldn’t the rich and powerful be entitled to more?

We are barely ten years past the last financial crisis and already were moving back towards the good old days when the banks could charge high interest, charge you for accounts you didn’t open and foreclose at will. As a societal value, the ability of the large banks and corporations to make huge profits seems more important than protecting the wage earner from financial ruin.

The conventional wisdom now appears to be that the rich need to make thousands of times what the average person makes. The emphasis seems to be on enriching those who have and illuminating “wasteful programs” aimed towards those who have the least. To maximize the benefits to society, they cut the taxes on people who are paid by corporations and trust while attempting to reduce the wages, in real terms, of those who try to exist on minimum age. The giveaway to corporate interests is permanent. The tax cut for the middle class looks like a temporary bribe and will expire in a couple of years.

To pay for the perks of the wealthy, those in power propose to reduce the programs for the neediest. Why waste money on food stamps, disability payments, services for children and homeless when we can increase the availability of expensive furniture, first-class travel, and golf courses for the wealthy?

I believe it was Huxley in Animal Farm who expressed it in the phrase “everyone is equal, just some are more equal than others.”

Are people inherently evil?

The founding fathers of America seem to have made a mistake by trusting the average man to make decisions. Recently I notice some leaders were quick to tell us that left to their own devices people will do awful, terrible things. What we need is a strong government, lots of laws, and a really large number of people to enforce compliance with those laws.

Laws are, of course, designed primarily to regulate the masses who cannot be trusted to control their own lives. Laws, we are told, should be enforced most rigorously on those who are either poor or different.

We have especially been told that those people who leave one country and go to another do so with evil intent. Good people with stay in their country of origin working as hard as possible to make their rulers happy and rich. People who go elsewhere seeking a better life are probably murderers and rapists and a danger to the stability of society. A well-functioning society, so we are told, needs to have a ruling class, who controls the dangerous masses.

Do most people need to stay in their place?

There was a time when the belief was widespread that the nobles were more important than the common man. Some people seem to want to hold onto this idea. Here in America, we don’t use titles of nobility the way they did in medieval Europe. There does seem to be a resurgence in the belief that the poor deserve their state in life. This resistance to raising the minimum wage coupled with the belief that the rich contribute more to society than the average person.

In many ways, our system is designed to keep the poor in poverty, to require the mentally ill to stay sick, and to house large numbers of the poor, minorities, and the mentally ill in criminal justice facilities. The belief that the people at the top of society deserve to be there and those at the bottom need to stay in their place, appears to be the prevailing view these days.

Are we bringing back the era of “law and order?”

I remember, in my younger days, the expression “law and order.” This expression was a particular favorite of some politicians during the Nixon era. Law and order did not mean just and fair rules for all. What it did mean was suppression of dissent. Increasing efforts to impose rigid rules on society resulted in cataclysmic divisions in society. Remember that Nixon, a veteran of the McCarthy hearings, resigned not because of what he had done or left undone but because in his words “I have lost my political base.” I fear a return to those values. Is it possible that America has forgotten the lessons learned from the incident at Kent State?

Today morality is being defined as telling people their religious faith is the correct one, rather than telling people there are right and wrong ways to treat others. Tell people how great they are, and you get a pass on bad behavior.

Is the right to have lots of guns more important than the safety of the children of the masses?

America’s had a huge problem with gun violence. Sometimes it happens in schools and sometimes on the streets. One way to mitigate the problem of gun violence in schools is to encourage the wealthy to send their children to private schools or educate them at home.

The rest of us are encouraged to buy more guns and shoot it out on school campuses the way they used to settle disagreements in the old West at high noon.

Is the “me too” movement misguided?

I remember a time when a woman who slept with a man outside of marriage was called a great many disgusting names. Men, however, who were able to sleep with a large number of women were idolized. While some men have lost their positions because of their sexual behavior, the more powerful you are, the more likely sexual indiscretions will be forgiven. Inappropriate behavior comes with a price tag and a nondisclosure agreement. Maybe the rich and powerful are entitled to a different standard of justice.

The truth is no longer useful.

Recently someone sent me an email saying that a person who disagreed with them had done all sorts of awful things. A quick Internet check of the “facts” in their email established that none of the things they said had ever happened.

Did they apologize? Not at all. The response to me was “I don’t like him; wouldn’t it be wonderful if all those things were true?” The “truth” has now become a synonym for unconscionable, hate-filled speech. “Truth” is now defined as those things said repeatedly and loudly by the people in control.

Rather than a rational discourse about facts and policy, our public conversations have become the occasion for bullying and name-calling. Want to discredit someone? Call them “fat, ugly, loser.” The bullies no longer run the playground, they run the planet.

Please pause the moment before you reply.

Before you report this post to the “thought-police” asked that it be banned as “fake-news” or frantically search for the phone number of the blacklist committee, there’s something you should know.

A good deal of this post is facetious and sarcastic. If you don’t know what that means, borrow a dictionary from someone who still owns one.

Remember, I’m one of those antique people who still believe in the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The matter how bleak things look right now, whatever your difficulties, I believe you can recover from life’s challenges and have a happy, meaning-filled life.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Acting Presidential – Presidents’ Day Inspiration.

Acting Presidential.

Post by David Joel Miller.

President Lincoln

Acting Presidential.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

― Abraham Lincoln, Great Speeches / Abraham Lincoln: with Historical Notes by John Grafton

“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather

it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”

― John F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy 1917-63: Chronology-documents-bibliographical aids

“America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.”

― Barack Obama

“I don’t want some mom, whose son may have recently died, to see the commander in chief playing golf.”

― George W. Bush

“the government both in the executive and the legislative branches must carry out in good faith the platforms upon which the party was entrusted with power. But the government is that of the whole people; the party is the instrument through which policies are determined and men chosen to bring them into being. The animosities of elections should have no place in our Government, for government must concern itself alone with the common weal.”

― George Washington, The Complete Book of Presidential Inaugural Speeches: from George Washington to Barack Obama

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Question and answer feed on mental health.

David Joel Miller will be hosting an AMA (ask me anything) about mental health issues this coming week. The question-and-answer session is hosted on the AMAfeed.com website. People have been submitting questions and the answers will begin to appear on Tuesday, January 30th.

Hope you will drop by, maybe ask a question and definitely check out all the questions others have submitted and my answers to them.

The link for upcoming health AMA’s is:

https://healthama.com/upcoming

Hope you will join me on Tuesday.

Does your life need a hero?

By David Joel Miller.

What does it take to be a hero?

Hero?

What does it take to be a hero?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Now, more than ever, we need some heroes. Unfortunately, the greatest heroes often go unrecognized. Being rich, famous or popular doesn’t make you a hero. Sometimes well-known people are heroes, but it’s not their wealth, fame, or popularity that makes them a hero. The hero in your life could be someone no one else recognizes. The hero who transforms your life might be that elementary school teacher or the college professor who believes in you when others didn’t. The hero in your life might be the parent who works two jobs so that you can have a better life. The hero in your life story, the one who changes things in your family for the better might be you.

Storytellers throughout the ages have studied a phenomenon they call the hero’s journey. Sometimes it’s hard to identify a hero until you get to the end of the story. You may only recognize the heroes in your life by hindsight. Others may never see the heroism it takes for you to live your life. What makes someone a hero?

Heroes don’t have it easy.

It doesn’t take much courage or heroism to accomplish things when you live an easy life, and everything’s coming your way. Every genuine hero has had to face an incredible challenge. Heroes do the hard stuff; the things other people would rather avoid. They do the necessary tasks day in and day out whether anyone else recognizes their struggles. They often must do unpopular things because it’s the right thing to do. Great heroes are often ordinary people who do extraordinary things when the challenge comes.

Heroes don’t start out planning to slay dragons.

The greatest heroes, those in stories and legends, and those we will meet in our lives don’t go out looking for struggles. A hero doesn’t go up and down the street looking for someone to fight. The heroes we most admire are the ones who would’ve preferred to a live quiet, peaceful life, but when the challenge came, they didn’t run from it. Heroes don’t undertake their quest for the round of applause. Heroes do what they do because something inside of them will not let them turn away from the struggle.

Heroes face problems others run from.

What separates heroes from those who run from problems is the direction they face. Many people spend their whole life avoiding challenges. It’s easy to escape into hopelessness by telling yourself there’s nothing you can do about the problems you and your world are facing. Some people use drugs, or alcohol, to avoid dealing with the struggles of life.

It’s never too late to change your direction from avoiding problems to tackling them head-on. The most admired heroes are those who reluctantly tackled a challenge. If you’ve ever asked yourself “why me?” You may be a hero in waiting. The question heroes eventually asked themselves is often “why not me?” There’s something inside of them that drives them to face this challenge even though they wish they could avoid it.

The life of a hero is never easy.

The pathway to being a hero will be filled with obstacles. Reaching their goals will require overcoming many impediments. There will be times when the hero in training seriously considers giving up. Often the way forward will seem bleak, dark and impossible. The hero may find their path a lonely journey.

Many other people may have come this way, stood face to face with a great struggle. Less heroic people reach this point, and they give up, they turn back. Heroes come in all sizes, and shapes, and roles in life. Heroes don’t avoid the challenges; they just don’t give up no matter how dark today appears.

Heroes go on even when life seems hopeless.

Member that old saying “it’s always darkest before the dawn?” That’s an apt description of heroism. People endure struggles trying to make the world a better place even though they may not be able to see the fruits of that struggle. It’s tempting to give up doing the right thing when it’s hard.

It’s easy to find excuses for avoiding the hard things in life. You could tell yourself you don’t have the abilities, the position, where the money needed to accomplish great things. What you should be asking yourself is how can you use what you do have to make things better. Regardless of how many failures you’ve had in your life, you shouldn’t tell yourself that nothing better is possible. Every day new stories are being written about people who overcame life’s difficulties, who turned themselves around and got their life headed in the right direction. Heroes don’t let their past or their disabilities determine their future.

The journey of life changes heroes.

Many people start out life with everything going for them. They may come from wealth or privilege. Some have great talents. What separates these privileged people from the heroes of life, is that many don’t struggle. Many people who could accomplish great things in life take the easy path, turned back when the going got rough. The process, the journey of life, changes the people who do the hard work of facing life.

Can you identify the heroes in your life?

Are there people you admire? People who have struggled on, regardless of the challenge? People you’d like to be like, not because of their wealth, or status, or power, but because they never gave up and persevered in facing the trials of life. Will there be people in your life, your children, your friends, or society in general, who will recognize your heroism? It’s never too late to shift from avoiding the problems in life. Maybe today’s the day you will move from telling yourself all the things you can’t do and begin to take on the task of doing the things you should do.

Are you ready to start your hero’s journey of life?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.