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A memorable and insightful article written by an anonymous female professor at an American research university in 2002. The entire article is shown below, or you can view it on the University of Arizona website here.

Dear Jeff and Debra, Our 29-year- old daughter is just completing inpatient treatment for alcoholism. We think she’s done well in treatment, but she doesn’t seem interested in her aftercare plan. What can we do to encourage her?  –Anxious Parents Dear Anxious, What’s your aftercare plan? The best help you can give your daughter at […]

Want to have some great non-alcoholic beverages to offer your friends and family this holiday season? We’ve got you covered. For many years, AAA has published “The Great Pretenders” holiday drink guide, with creative and delicious recipes.

Festive Peppermint Cocoa Cocktail
Submitted by Erle Webber – Executive Chef Formerly The Ritz-Carlton,
Dearborn MI

Ingredients
6 each peppermint stick candy or candy canes, crushed
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup non-dairy powdered coffee creamer
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
Whipped cream/peppermint patty candy for garnish

Directions
Place 3 crushed peppermint sticks in a food processor until fine powder. Add sugar, creamer, and cocoa and pulse until mixed. Add 1/4 cup mix to 3/4 cup boiling water for each serving. Use remaining 3 crushed peppermint sticks to rim your glass. If you like, serve topped with whipped cream and garnish with a peppermint patty candy.

Dear Jeff and Debra,

I’m feeling overwhelmed. I finally got my wife into a residential treatment program for her alcoholism, but I’m being asked to go to Al-Anon and begin something called Structured Family Recovery. In addition, I’m supposed to work a program of some kind myself, and stop enabling. It seems like too much. Haven’t I done enough?
– Harried Husband

Dear Harried,

Treatment is a launching pad, not a cure-all. It may feel like you’ve reached the goal line by getting your wife into treatment, but it’s really just the beginning of the process.

Dear Jeff and Debra,

My daughter is an alcoholic, and she refuses to get help. People tell me there’s nothing I can do until she hits bottom, but she has two small children, and I just can’t bear to watch this go on much longer. Is hitting bottom the only way? – Worried Mother

Dear Worried,

Why not raise the bottom to right now? You don’t have to wait for a drunk driving or a medical problem or an accident with the children. You don’t have to wait for something terrible to happen. You can take action right now, without waiting for her to hit bottom (whatever that means).

Here is an article I wrote for Human Development magazine, focusing on burnout in the helping professions. It contains a cautionary tale, an action plan, and a success story.
––Jeff Jay

“Make me a channel of your peace….” —Prayer of St. Francis

We can all admire the prayer attributed to St. Francis, no matter what our pastoral, teaching, or care-giving role. But what can I do to keep my own channel clear? Having worked as an addiction counselor for decades, I know something about crisis management and unrelenting stress. For most of us, they’re part of the job description. What can I do to keep the channel clear and avoid burnout?

The neglect of this question killed a co-worker of mine, shocking everyone in the organization. It was early in my career, and burnout was not yet well understood. As a staff, we dismissed the notion of self-care, but our nonchalance withered as his funeral approached.

A letter from one of our readers…
Dear Jeff and Debra,

My little brother is successful in business, but his life is being ruined by alcohol. He’s already lost his marriage because of his drinking and verbal abuse, but he’s still playing a blame game. Some of his friends and I tried to talk to him about his drinking, but he wouldn’t listen. Some people say I should cut him out of my life until he accepts help. Should I stop talking to him? – Big Sister

Dear Sister,

Just the opposite. When a person doesn’t accept help for an obvious problem, it’s usually more effective to increase communication. Alcoholics usually want to isolate themselves from concerned family members and friends. They do not want to talk about their drinking. When forced to talk about it, they will reframe the issue and blame others for their dilemma.

Dear Jeff and Debra,

Our adult daughter’s life has been shattered by addiction, causing hurt and harm to everyone around her. She’s been through residential treatment twice, and is now living in a sober house, far from home. She asking us to trust her and allow her to come back to live with us, but we’re not sure what to do. How will we know when we can trust her? – Wary Parents

Dear Wary,

Your daughter is making a common mistake in asking you to trust her, and you are making a similar mistake in pondering the question. She is pulling at your heartstrings and asking for a favor. In most circumstances, her request might be reasonable, but in light of her addiction it could have life or death consequences.

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