My promiscuous relationship with punctuation.

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

Man writing

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Periodically I get in trouble with the punctuation police.

If you’re one of those people who has memorized the entire Code of Federal Regulations section on proper punctuation, you probably have little sympathy for my proclivity for loose relationships with punctuation.

I will plead guilty to abusing commas and neglecting my hyphens, but with an explanation.

I came from a home filled with dysfunctional punctuation.

I grew up without a good role model for punctuation. What I know about her I learned on the streets from certain undesirable types who use punctuation purely for oral communication. I learned early, that people who came from proper punctuation homes followed a certain code. But when you learn your punctuation for use in ordinary conversation, you’re likely to ignore some of the punctuation etiquettes.

Someone who is effective as a public speaker inserts frequent pauses for dramatic effect. The resulting (pregnant pause) often is in no way related to (pause) the proper use of Miss Comma. If you’re used to the looser variety of commas, you would prefer that they spoke plainly, telling you what they mean rather than hiding behind a fan of proper punctuation rules.

Why has Miss Comma fallen out of fashion?

I find it disconcerting, when reading aloud the text of the speech that someone gave, to encounter Miss Commas smiling face in places where the speaker would never have permitted her while eschewing to allow that same Miss Comma to continue to maintain her ongoing relationship with that person’s speech. I realize that proper punctuation is all the rage these days. I prefer my punctuation to be plain speaking, saying what she means and meaning what she says rather than hiding behind her cousins, dashes, colons, and semicolons.

No matter how much the dictates of fashion might change, my taste seems unchangeably fixed. Despite the current proclivity towards severely underweight women, I continue to prefer women with a little meat on their bones. Likewise, despite frequent opportunities to date some of these newer punctuation marks, I would rather spend my sentences was several commas than to engage in a dalliance with even a single frivolous dash.

I trust you will forgive an old man for this philosophical digression.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. (Non-Fiction) 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, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, 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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Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLJ Day 2015

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The time is always right to do what is right.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wanted to share some thought-provoking quotes with you.

Today seemed like a good time to do this.

The wounds of war last long after the soldiers return.

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

Veterans.

Memorial Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Military parades don’t tell the whole story.

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.

Most read mental health blog posts in 2018.

Image

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

Counselorssoapbox.com

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, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Dictator.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Has democracy outlived its usefulness?

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.