Memorial Day – What are you remembering?

By David Joel Miller.

Today here in America we are celebrating Memorial Day.

Memorial Day Commemoration 2008

Memorial Day Commemoration 2008 (Photo credit: davidyuweb)

This day, officially called Memorial Day here in the United States of America, is reported to be the descendant of several past holidays where people remembered those who had gone before and had sacrificed to create the life we have.

Established on this the last Monday in May by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, it occurs on this last Monday in May more as a concession to long weekends than any particular remembrance. It appears to be the most closely related to the former “Decoration Day.”

While we now tend to think of Memorial Day as strictly a remembrance of those who died in Military service in earlier times we are told it was a more general remembrance of people who had established our way of life.

Wikipedia reports that this time of year had long been celebrated as the beginning of the spring good weather and families would gather to hold family reunions often at family owned graveyards to celebrate those ancestors who created their lives.

Decoration Day came to be a time to remember those who died and were therefore decorated for their war service. It came to prominence after the American Civil War or The War Between the States as it is sometimes called, largely because that war beyond all other American wars touched everyone in the country. There was almost no family who had not had a member that served in that conflict.

Ancestors and those who gave their lives in the Wars of our country are not the only people who should be remembered on this Memorial Day.

The Memorial Day Massacre of 1937.

On May 30, 1937, police opened fire on a demonstration Of Union Members and their families. In the aftermath, 50 were wounded and ten died. Dorothy Day, an eye-witness, reported that 100 demonstrators were clubbed.

Today union strikes are less likely to be met with violence and death but in those days you risked your life as well as your livelihood to become a union member.

Today as we celebrate Memorial Day it is fitting to remember those who made sacrifices so that we could have the lives that we are able to enjoy.

Whether those you remember are Military members who gave their lives, family members who endured hardships to give their descendants a better life or union and political activists who sacrificed for those to come, we all should take time, in between the barbecues,  to remember that those blessings we enjoy were won by the sacrifices of those who went before.

Hope you are having a good Memorial Day.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – 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 the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Advertisements

Mental Illness or Mental Health?

By David Joel Miller.

Do people have a mental illness or are they in poor mental health?

Mental Health or Mental Illness

Mental Health or Mental Illness?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The language we use influences the way we think about things. Talking about mental illness or talking about mental health is a prime example of this issue. While the two expressions turn up in much of what is currently being called “Behavioral Health” literature the implication embedded in these two terms influence what we expect and how we react to the people being referred to.

The mental illness paradigm.

The older, traditional way of looking at the subject of mental illness was to assume that there were two types of people – the “normal” folk and then those other “mentally ill” people.

One implication of this concept was that people with a mental illness were not able to do things other people could do. The result was programs and policies that assumed those with a diagnosed mental illness would need lifetime help to manage their lives.

There was a time when those with a mental illness were lumped together with those who had significantly lower I.Q., once called the “mentally retarded” or “developmentally delayed.”

If we think in terms of mental issues being a disease or disorder then the first line of treatment as with physical illnesses, should be medication and surgery, the standard treatments of choice for physical illnesses and conditions.

Despite over half a century of treating mental illness with medication and surgery the number of people who are diagnosed with a mental illness continues to rise. Fewer seem to be getting cured but everyone now gets diagnosed.

The Mental Health option.

If we think in terms of mental health, then many other things follow. Many of the things we have been referring to as mental illnesses become a matter of degree rather than an illness that you have or do not have.

Something bad happens to you, you lose a family member or a job, you become sad, a normal human emotion, then eventually you should get over sadness no treatment needed. Should you become too sad or the sadness persist too long then the label and the corresponding treatment would change.

Sadness or grief becomes Major Depressive Disorder when it gets out of hand.

Another example – Anxiety.

We have a range of Anxiety disorders. Now anxiety is a close cousin to afraid or scared. So if people are shooting at you I think you should be scared and duck behind something. That scared, anxious, avoidance of things may save your life.

But should that anxiety begin to get out of control, every time you hear a car door slam or see someone on the street, if you become too anxious to leave your house, that is a problem.

Clearly, most of the things professionals diagnose as an anxiety disorder are much more severe than the things we consider normal but it is easy to see how the two overlap.

Wellness and recovery.

The concepts of wellness and recovery have challenged the way we think about this issue. If we allow that people can move back and forth on the continuum of mental health then there would be times when a particular person was mentally ill and other times when they were in better mental health.

Rather than thinking exclusively in terms of mental illness and diseases we should be thinking about mental health as similar to physical health. There are times we are in better health than at other times. Someone could have “poor mental health” and be in need of prevention or restorative services long before they reached the point of what we have been calling a mental illness.

The Mental Illness Violence dilemma.

The news has been full of accounts of people who became violent and harmed others. The common discussion revolves around whether they were “mentally ill” and why no one had detected their illness beforehand and prevented that violence.

What if that person had been in poor mental health for some time and then eventually their mental health deteriorated to the point it could have been diagnosed as what we are currently calling a mental illness?

Could an intervention have been conducted while this person was in the pre-mental-illness stage that would have prevented their condition from deteriorating to a mental and a behavioral issue?

If the mentally ill are somehow different from the normal people then no, no prevention is possible but if there is such a thing as mental health that gets better and then gets worse and then better again there are things that can be done to prevent relapses into active mental illness.

We have had that violence – mental illness connection wrong.

A little more on the mental illness violence connection. Those with a mental illness are far more likely to be the victim of crime rather than the perpetrator.

Most of those workplace and school shootings? Those were often the result of someone who appeared normal or close to it until they were fired from their job, served with divorce papers or found out their partner was cheating on them.

Remember, as reprehensible as it is that even one child died in a school shooting, each year for every child who dies in a school shooting, from ten to twenty children are shot at home by a biological parent who then shoots themselves.

Rather than having had a long-term diagnosable mental illness I believe there is good evidence that many of these violent incidents were the inability of this person to cope with an identifiable stressor. Their problem was not a long-term severe mental illness but their inability to cope with stress that pushed them into a poor mental health state.

Many have suggested that the mental illness is just the way they are not to blame them for their having a disorder. I agree that they are not to blame for having gotten a mental illness. I doubt that anyone chooses to be sick mentally or physically.  That does not mean that the mentally ill have no hope and need to resign themselves to always being too sick to function. Recovery can happen. We see it happen every day.

Throughout the year I want to talk more about some of the tools that can be used to keep yourself mentally healthy and to reduce the impact of illness when it does occur.

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.

6 Ways to be a bad father

By David Joel Miller.

Being a bad father may be easier than being a good one.

Bad Father

Bad Father

Tomorrow is Father’s day.  In this run-up to that occasion, I thought we should take a look at the topic of good fathering and bad fathering. How to be a good father, that is a tough thing to define and even tougher to do. But being a bad father, there seem to be some easy, common, ways to do that.

I am not one who thinks that parents, mothers or fathers, are superfluous to raising children. I have great respect for single parents, male or female, but I continue to think that children benefit from having good role models for both roles. Children do need to have a father or father figure in their lives.

I am not one to blame all the ills of our world on men, being myself of the male persuasion. I think men have gotten a bad rap when it comes to child rearing. It seems fashionable to attribute all the problems children face these days to being the man’s fault and any man who spends too much time around children is suspect these days.

We men are having a difficult time filling this father role. What it takes to be a “good father” has changed and what we did learn about these skills from our fathers does not work in this changed modern world.

Based on the things men tell me and the things I have learned from my own experiences, here are some easy ways to be a bad father.

1. Donate sperm to a woman who you would never want to have to spend time with afterward.

You can break up with your girlfriend, divorce your wife, but your babies’ mamas are forever.  Once you create a child you are their father permanently and this means you and they are stuck with that mother forever.

Do not expect or depend on her for the birth control. Yes, you have urges. So does she, but once you create that child you are their father. Use birth control.

Her saying she can’t get pregnant more likely means she hasn’t yet. When drinking, do you remember to take your vitamin pill? Do you think she could forget, accidentally or on purpose, to take that other pill?

2. Expect to phone or mail it in.

A phone call on birthdays and Christmas is not being a father. It is being a stranger. Even weekly calls are not the same thing as being a part of that child’s life.

Checks in the mail do not say, love. They say guilt.

3. Making lots of money is not being a father.

Lots of us men fell for this one. We thought that working really hard, making money so our kids, maybe even our families, had what they wanted was what being a father was all about.

I repeatedly hear from fathers who worked long hours, two even three jobs and now their children resent them for never being there. You can’t buy their love. And do you really want your children thinking that your and their love is for sale?

Kids want all the latest designer brand names. They all think they need to have an X-phone and an I-station like their peers. But years from now most will not remember that you bought them all that stuff. What they will remember are the things you did with them.

4. Don’t Listen to what they say.

This is one of the hardest things to do in any relationship, especially with your kids. You hear something and you know, or think you know, the things that they have not learned yet. You feel the need to tell them.

Most of the time what they really need is to be able to talk with you and know that you will love them anyway.

One exception to the do not think buying them stuff is being a good father is if in listening to them they tell you how much they want or have always wanted something. One thing kids tell me is their parents got them all kinds of things they did not want, but that they never got that one thing, often an inexpensive thing that they really did want.

5. Be their friend, not their parent.

Being a good parent means listening to what they say and accepting them no matter what it does not mean becoming their best friend and condoning what they do.

You need to convey some sense of right and wrong. We adults do not get this correctly a lot. Sometimes we do wrong things, but sharing your drugs with your child does not make it up to them.

6. Wait till they get old enough to do things together.

As children get older they pull away from their parents. Mother often gets to spend more time with the child so the pull away can be less dramatic.

Dads find they work hard to get financially secure and then about the time they want to take their child golfing or hiking in the Sierras that child has friends or even a romantic interest. At that point, they do not want to spend the weekend with their father they want to be with their friends. Ultimately you have to fit into their life or lose the connection.

This loss of connection is especially hard for the non-custody father. He is still expected to send the check but his child and their mother no longer want to see him.

There are 6 ways to be a bad father. There are probably a lot more ways but this is something to think about as we approach the one day a year families appear to like their father.

As for being a good father, well keep trying someday we men may find a way to get that one right.

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.

Were you happier drinking?

By David Joel Miller.

Did you quit drinking, but your life did not get better?

Alcohol

Alcohol

You quit drinking but nothing is better. Life was more fun, you were happier when you were drinking, at least you tell yourself you were. Now you wonder why after you quit nothing is getting better.

In the beginning Alcohol, like any drug seems like the magic cure to all that ails you. Old Ethel, Miss Alcohol, is better than having a cape hanging in the closet. Each time you take a drink it makes you feel like a superhero. The result of that drink is absolutely predictable and miraculous, at least in the beginning.

Then something happens. The magic is not as a strong. You need to drink more to get the same result. You begin to think that maybe you should stop drinking, only how would you have fun, how would you cope without your best friend the bottle, by your side.

As the negative consequences of drinking mount up you may think that if only you stopped imbibing all your problems would be cured. So you stop and nothing changes. That hoped-for happy life has eluded you.

You couldn’t find a way to be happy before the drinking or you thought you needed the booze to heighten your enjoyment. Now you can’t be happy with or without the liquor.

You don’t want to be an alcoholic. Who would willingly sign on for that job? So you try to control your drinking. If you could just return to being a social drinker you think then drinking and life would be fun again. Normal people do not have to control their drinking. People with a problem are the ones who try to get back control.

If you are like many an alcoholic, you know you need to stop. The negative consequences are piling up. You may have DUI’s. There may be all manner of wreckage, divorces, broken relationships and lost jobs. So with all the bad, that has been happening to you when you were drinking you expected that when you stopped things would be better. You thought you should be happy and your life on track. What went wrong?

What you find is that the problem was never the alcohol. The alcohol was your solution, only now that solution has stopped working. The solution has become a new problem, one you didn’t have before. The new problem is called addiction, or alcoholism. But you still have the problem that you don’t like your life, maybe you don’t even like you when you are not drinking.

The solution is not to learn to control the drinking. The solution is to learn to accept and cope with life. Just because you stopped drinking your other life problems have not been miraculously solved.

Changing your life involves changing you. You need to learn to cope with life’s problems without leaning on a substance. That substance will only hold you up for so long and then it becomes the thing that holds you back and holds you down.

Living your life on Alcohol is like living in a dense fog. You go through life not seeing or feeling anything and eventually you lose your way. When you live life numbed out on alcohol or painkillers, you don’t feel anything so you go on hurting yourself.

Is it time for you to start the process of changing yourself?

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.

What if you see your therapist in public?

By David Joel Miller.

What should you do – What should the therapist do?

Counseling or therapy is a very special relationship. It is also very confidential. One problem is what happens if you see your therapist out in public.

Mostly what happens is up to you.

Professionals are trained to avoid saying anything or doing anything that would identify you as a client in treatment. What if we see you and you are with your wife or girlfriend? Do you want them to know you are or have been in therapy?

What if you are at work and we come into that workplace? Do you want your boss or coworkers to know you are in therapy?

Since we can’t be sure, the customary practice is to say or do nothing, just walk right on by. The professional should not do anything to identify you as a client.

You, on the other hand, are under no such obligation. If you chose to say hi then we can respond and say hi back. If you chose to introduce us it is up to you to decide how to identify us.

While we can talk with you if you initiate the conversation what we do not want to do is start another dual relationship with you.

We can shop in a store where you work; to avoid your workplace would penalize you for being our client. We do not want to ask for special discounts or deals you can’t or wouldn’t make to other customers, which would confuse the relationships and run the risk of interfering with the primary relationship, the one between therapist and client.

So if you see your therapist out in public and they do not say hi do not take this as they do not like you or they are rude. Believe that they are pretending to not know you in order to protect your confidentiality.

Thanks to the reader who asked that question.

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.

6 Ways to overcome low self-esteem

By David Joel Miller.

Want to feel better about yourself? Here are some ways.

Self Esteem

Self Esteem.
“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

The problem of low self-esteem is way more common than any problems resulting from feeling too good about yourself. My view is that this whole rating yourself thing is way overrated.

There are a great many ways to overcome your low self-esteem issues. Some of these methods are concrete and some are more global. There are things you can do and there are ways to change your thinking.

The simple ones are not always easy and the easy ways are not always simple.

The doing things are more specific but the being methods are more globally effective. Pick what works for you and see the results.

1. Work with a counselor or therapist.

Professionals are specifically trained in mental health issues and have all sorts of methods to help you. As you get more mentally healthy you should see a corresponding increase in your self-esteem.

Seeing a counselor does not mean you are “crazy.” The best athletes have coaches and there are some life problems that need a counselor. Most counselors are in the field because we like people. That liking is one of our “core conditions.” We call this “unconditional positive regard” which means I like my clients and have a belief that they can get better, do better and have a happy life.

Would having someone who believes in you on your team help?

2. Learn a new skill.

Knowing that there is something that you are able to do is a huge boost in your self-confidence. Take a class on any subject you would enjoy and as you learn more about that topic you will find you are able to talk about that topic with others and you feel more confident.

This could be an academic class but I find many people prefer a non-graded class or activity. Learn a sport; take a cooking or yoga class or even something practical like a parenting education class.

The more skills you learn the better you will feel. And please do not fall into the trap of needing to be the best at everything so you can feel OK about yourself.

You do not need to become a master chef. You can aim for a “good enough” chef and just make something new that does not get people sick. You also do not need to be parent of the year. There is such a thing as being a “good enough parent.” Be that good and your kids will think you are the best mom or dad ever.

3. Making more friends increases self-esteem.

Friends are often the result of shared activities. The “learn a new skill” above can help you meet new people and develop more friends. Consider also a church or other religious activities. It is nice to be around people who share your values. One caution. Do not turn your religious practice into another way to isolate and withdraw from anyone who is different from you.

Consider also making friends via volunteer work. Seek out chances to help in your community. You will make friends, help a cause and feel better about yourself.

4. Become your own best friend.

So very many clients I see treat themselves in ways they would never let anyone else treat them. Stop beating yourself up. Learn to like yourself. In fact, learn to love yourself.

You make it difficult to like you any more than you like yourself. Think better of yourself and you will find that others around you treat you better. If they don’t catch on to this change in the rules, that from now on you are doing things to make yourself like you, then you need to get them out of your life or at least minimize their influence on your self-esteem.

5. Do an image breaking exercise.

This one came from Albert Ellis; it has been modified and used by lots of other people. He tells of having clients walk a banana through central park on a leash. Once you have done something that wild and crazy it is hard to take the day-to-day activities all that seriously.

Need to always be right and do the best at everything? Try taking a class you know you will fail. Once you failed one class and see that nothing life threatening happened it becomes easier to take the risk of taking a class that you have a chance of passing and not feeling the pressure to be the best, perfect or you are no good. (That one is from Milton Ericsson by way of Haley.)

Remember every great person has failed at things. One writer (Joanna Penn) sums it up as “Fail early and often.” All writers have some pieces that get read and others that do not attract much attention. The more you try the more you will fail but the more you will also succeed.

Treasure those successes. It is way too easy to discount what you do right by thinking only of your faults. But remember to give yourself credit for the things you do well and keep on trying.

Someone said those who matter do not mind and those who mind do not matter. Do things to please yourself not others. Take credit for the good and if you get more things right than wrong you are at the head of the class.

One way to think of this is that most lawyers lose more cases than they win. There is at most one winner. More often both sides got less than they wanted and both think they lost.

For every person who is elected to office, scores or more run for that office. Lots of people try and some few get there. Be one of the ones that keep trying and you will start to roll up the wins.

6. Stop rating yourself.

I left this one for last. Actually, this is the most powerful method. You are a worthwhile person just because you are you. Let all the rest go. Stop evaluating yourself and you will instantly feel just fine about what you do. This comes under the heading of radical acceptance in my book. (The one I live by not the ones I am writing.)

Hope those suggestions will help those of you who feel you have low self-esteem, anxiety or depression to learn to improve the way you see yourself and to go on to have that happy life you deserve.

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.

What should your tombstone say?

By David Joel Miller.

How do you want to be remembered?

Tombstone

Tombstone

This question of what we will be leaving behind does not occupy our thoughts very much, especially in our younger years. It is a topic older people think about more even when they may find it difficult to put into words.

When you are gone who will notice? What will they say about you? What do you wish they would say?

I am hoping that none of you are expecting or planning on quitting on life just yet. If you are please talk with someone, there is help available. Look for a suicide prevention line and call it or see a local professional.

One thing I have noticed from working in locked psychiatric facilities, frequently with suicidal people or people who have attempted suicide is that most often those who lived were glad for the second chance.

Those crisis moments when we almost die can put life in perspective. Those who have had near-death experiences describe them with a religious reverence as something which changed their way of seeing the world forever. Do you need to have that near death experience to stop, pause and think about what you want your existence on this planet to have meant?

What really matters to you? What do you want to leave behind?

Some of you, if they were to write your obituary – that piece would read something like

“They had a good time, but didn’t care who they hurt.”  Is that what you would want your obituary to say?

Or how about the person of whom it is said they “they sure were unhappy all the time, it was a downer just being around them.”

One way to gain perspective on your life is to try this simple exercise.

Write your obituary. What has your life been about, where have you traveled and what impact have you had on others. No one is ever too close to the end to rewrite their obituary. You can be that grumpy old person who hates everyone laying there in your bed in the hospital, the one that made life miserable for the staff at the nursing home or you can be the one who always had a smile and a thank you on their lips. You can choose to be miserable or a blessing.

Once you have finished that obituary, pause to reflect on it. What is the one most important thing you have said about you? Condense it down. What is the short sentence they will inscribe on your tombstone?

Now tuck that obit away and work on making the good things in it come true. Use whatever time you have left, a lot or a little, to create those things.

That positive saying for your tombstone, I suggest posting that somewhere where you can see it every day.

Live every day as if this is your last chance to make that saying you want on your tombstone to come true.

What do you want people to say about you when you are gone?

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.