Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Q.  I grew up in a very dysfunctional family. I’m an adult child of an alcoholic. My father was an abusive alcoholic and we feared him. I’ve had many problems, but thought I had overcome them. Now I keep getting involved with boyfriends who drink too much. My friends say I’m codependent because I don’t see the problems in these men until I’m already involved.

Adult Children of Alcoholics Carry Baggage
A. Often adult children of alcoholics have many problems even if they don’t drink. They may feel intense guilt because an alcoholic parent directly or indirectly blamed them for problems. They may have difficulty expressing their feelings or even being aware of their feelings. They also may have difficulty trusting others and forming close relationships. 
Childhood Baggage
All of us carry into adulthood the patterns we learn as children. As children we do whatever we must do in order to survive physically and emotionally. Children of alcoholics learn to ignore very inappropriate behavior and abuse on the part of their parents. They learn to not ask questions and they learn to not feel, or think or trust. Dr. Claudia Black, a psychotherapist, has identified four roles children assume in alcoholic families. These roles are also seen in any dysfunctional family.
1. The Adjuster does whatever he is told. He disassociates from his thoughts and feelings. He is a “good” child but grows up not knowing himself.
2. The Responsible Child grows up too fast, taking of the care of younger siblings, doing many jobs parents usually do. He is an over achiever. As an adult this person will continue to take care of others, but may also be controlling and bossy, trying to stay in control. 
3. The Placater is very sensitive to the pain in the family, learns to worry about others and ignore his or her own pain. The placater avoids conflict; walks on egg shells, and always tries to please.

4. The Rebel or Scapegoat expresses anger early in life, is often in trouble and may begin drinking even before the teen years.

As an adult these roles help you avoid inner pain and give the illusion of control. Your chosen role helped you survive a chaotic and abusive childhood, but keeps you from forming warm, close relationships. Adult children of alcoholics are often isolated and afraid of people, especially authority figures. They lose their identity in trying to please others. They are very sensitive to anger and criticism. 

Many adult children of alcoholics have low self-esteem and judge themselves harshly. They often have intense fears of abandonment. Adult children of alcoholics are at risk of either becoming alcoholic or marrying an alcoholic. They may have an addiction to work, sex, drugs or food or they may marry someone who does. 

See a Counselor
Professional help can teach you about normal feelings and behavior. You had no model for this in the alcoholic family you lived in. Be sure to find a counselor with special training in treating alcoholism and codependence.

Join an Al-Anon Group
Joining an Adult Children of Alcoholic group (Al-Anon) is essential also. In a codependent group you will learn you are not alone and you are not to blame. You will learn that your anger, confusion and fear, are natural. You will experience safety in a group, perhaps for the first time. Most importantly, you will learn to turn to God (your “higher power”) for healing and forgiveness. A Christian group called Celebrate Recovery is similar.

Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” Jeremiah 17:14 NIV

Blessings, Dottie

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Three Excellent Books about Attention Deficit Disorder

Below are my reviews of three books about Attention Deficit Disorder. The first one thoroughly explains what the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD means and how it plays out. The second one is written for adults with ADD/ADHD and offers very specific ways to manage this condition. The third book shows how to organize your home to help a person with ADD/ADHD. All three books are outstanding.

Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder From Childhood Through Adulthood

By Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D.

This is an excellent and comprehensive book about ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder. It could be useful to students, parents and patients alike. Dr. Hallowell defines Attention Deficit Disorder as “A neurological syndrome whose classic defining triad of symptoms includes impulsivity, distractibility, and hyperactivity or excess energy.” Pg 6 Hallowell first learned about ADD in a medical school class. His life was changed from that lecture as he realized he had ADD himself! “I had the greatest ‘Aha’ experience of my life.” xii

Hallowell presents case history after case history illustrating what ADD is. He explores ADD in children, in adults, in couples, in the family, subtypes of ADD, the steps toward diagnosis, the treatment and the biology of ADD. Many of the individuals in the case histories have an overwhelming response of relief and joy when they receive the diagnosis. They thought they were to blame for their problems and blamed themselves. Instead they learned it’s a neurological problem. They couldn’t help their behavior any more than a person who is near sighted could see well without glasses.

The symptoms for children with ADD are spelled out in the DSM III abbreviated here: Often fidgets or squirms in seats, easily distracted, difficulty waiting, difficulty concentrating, difficulty following instructions, often shifts from one uncompleted activity to another, difficulty playing quietly, talks excessively, interrupts others, doesn’t listen well, often loses things. Hallowell also comments on the fact that children with ADD are usually very bright and original in their thinking. They often feel shame about not being able to conform and often are punished and blamed in their family for their erratic, disorganized behavior. They need help overcoming these issues.

The adult symptoms of ADD are: A sense of underachievement no matter how much has been achieved, difficulty being organized, chronic procrastination, trouble starting, involved in many projects without following through, says what comes to mind inappropriately, trouble focusing attention while reading or conversing but may be hyper focused at times, creative, intuitive, highly intelligent, doesn’t follow procedures or channels, impatient, impulsive – spending money, changing plans, worrier, insecure, mood swings. 89 Many highly creative people in history had ADD including Mozart, Edison, and Einstein.

Hallowell feels strongly that the key to diagnosis is the history. The doctor must spend much time getting to know the patient. There are no definitive tests. “This is old fashioned medicine, not high-tech.” pg 242

In recent years doctors have discovered that about a third of ADD patients out grow it and two-thirds have it throughout their life. About 85 percent of adults with ADD benefit from medication and 15 percent do not. Hallowell says that medication is not all that is needed to help patients. He describes the ins and outs of treatment and says this should include educating the patient, helping them modify their behavior, therapy and coaching.

Your Life Can Be Better
Using Strategies for Adult ADD/ADHD

By Douglas A. Puryear MD

This is an outstanding book which can easily be read by a person with ADD. The print is large, the chapters are short and the steps to change are explained and illustrated. And every chapter ends with a summary. Dr. Puryear is a psychiatrist and he himself has ADD so he speaks from his own experience. Sections include: Problems and strategies, Simplify and organize, Time, Habits, Unpleasant states of mind, Personality issues and more. He also includes interviews with two ADD patients.

Puryear writes about his own issues with ADD and with steps he uses to over come problems. For example, in the first chapter he tells about losing track of his car keys. He and his wife would search almost daily for his keys. His wife finally suggested he ALWAYS put them on the table by the front door. He explains the steps still needed to make that a habit for him with ADD.

Throughout the book he writes with humor and dismay about his own problems even now with being organized. He describes his difficulties writing this book and getting it organized and proof reading it. There are ten appendices with good information also especially one on how to study to really learn something. And another on how to not forget information you need to learn. Remember he went through med school!

The author also includes good news about people with ADD who have many great qualities as shown in this:

Top Ten ADD Advantages of a Hi Tech Career 
by Pete Quily

1. The ability to hyper focus.
2.  Rapid fire mind.
3. Multitasking at will.
4. High energy level.
5. Highly creative.
6. Quick learner.
7. Stimulus seeking brain.
8. Constantly scanning your environment.
9. Great in a crisis.
10 Risk taker.

This is a valuable book for people with ADD – and maybe it will help most of us!

Organizing Solutions For People with ADHD: Tips and Tools to help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized.

By Susan C Pinsky

This is a fantastic book. It’s beautifully designed with many illustrations and pictures to help you understand what is proposed. I am a very organized person but I have trouble letting go of stuff. This book has helped me purge in a big way, helping me be better organized than ever.

Susan Pinsky has clever ideas that will help the ADD person be able to keep his or her stuff in order. Each room in the house has a chapter, even the bathroom and the laundry room. She also includes a chapter on calendars and scheduling, storage spaces, and packing and moving. She cuts down the steps that are needed to do most clean up chores thus simplifying life for everyone in the house. For example she suggests every child over eight can do their own laundry one day a week. Give them their own laundry basket and even their towel can be washed in one load by them and then returned to their room with no sorting of clothing of other family members. Sheets can all be done in one day and returned to the bed without folding. 

The information here is invaluable even if you only use a few of Pinsky’s ideas. Parents with an ADD child will find it especially helpful.

“It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self control than to conquer a city.” Proverbs 16:32 NLT

Intelligent people are always open to new ideas. In fact, they look for them.” Proverbs 18:15 NLT

Blessings, Dottie

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Revelation 1:8 I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation 1:17-18 Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One. I was dead and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Revelation 2:8-9 These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your affections and your poverty yet you are rich!      

Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Jesus says he is the Alpha and the Omega, the Almighty, the First and the Last, the Living one. And he says he holds the keys of death and Hades. What a promise! He is the one and only God of the universe, the Creator, the Redeemer. 

Alpha is the first letter of the Greek Alphabet and Omega is the last. Jesus is saying he is supreme. He is the first and the last. He encompasses all knowledge and all wisdom and all power. He is in control of every person, every event, and every particle of the universe.

We thank you that you are the ALL Mighty God. We thank you for this promise that you are the beginning and the end. We thank you for giving us some understanding of what an ALL MIGHTY God you are. We can hardly grasp your eternal, almighty, everlasting power and glory. We praise you for revealing yourself to us. We praise you for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master and the Master of the universe. We bow before you and praise and love you.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Q.  Why is it that some people accomplish a great deal in life while others with similar talent and ability waste themselves in dead end jobs, TV viewing, and shopping at the mall? My life falls between these two extremes as I do help out in some community groups and in my church. I wish I had pursued a more interesting career and that I had the courage to do something that would really make a difference in the world. 

A. It’s never too late to pursue a dream. It’s never too late to pay attention to our inner self and what we are “called” to do. Our strongest, most persistent wishes or dreams are about God’s plan. Whether you see this as following God’s call for your life or being true to your authentic self it involves using your talents to create or do something of benefit to others. It involves having a vocation – not just a job. The world vocation means God’s call.

What stops us from pursuing our dreams? What keeps us from answering God’s call? Often we don’t want to put in the effort and time pursuing our dream will require. We don’t want to live a less affluent life, we don’t want to sacrifice. Nor do we want to take the risks involved. 

Another reason we don’t pursue our dream is because we think we aren’t as capable as others. If you worry about having the talent to accomplish your dream, remind yourself that this is your calling. God calls us and then he equips us. Your talent will grow as you take the risk and exert the energy to accomplish it. If this is a “divinely inspired” project then God will give you what you need to accomplish it as long as you do your part. Your part is being willing and giving God your all.

Following our dreams involves risking. When we don’t take the risk we protect ourselves from both success and failure. Most of us play it safe in the way we live our lives. We bury our talents instead of using them. Or we spend our talent in a job that pays us very well but isn’t our dream vocation. Believe in your vision, work hard and take the risks involved.

Another road block we throw up is concern about what others will think. “You’re giving up a good job and going to college at age 41? Are you crazy?” To launch out in the direction of our dream means ignoring what others think or say and it requires listening to our God inspired desires and hopes. It means knowing God’s call and being true to it.

When you begin your new direction don’t tell others about it at first. Tell only those you must tell. Also, expect to receive negative comments from those you do tell, even from those closest to you. They will think their criticism of your plan is for your own good and because they care about you. But negative comments about God’s call on your life are really designed to keep things the same. Others do not want us to change as it forces a bit of change on them. Remain confident within yourself that this is what you are meant to do.   

To understand God’s call further read my adaptation of 1 Corinthians 13 and the Beatitudes to vocation. I wrote these when I was in my twenties!

Vocation and I Corinthians 13
Though I speak the language of secretaries and stenographers, but have not love for my work, I am like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal simply attending to details with no joy in the doing.

And though I have the prophetic powers of a newspaper editor or understand all the mysteries and all the knowledge of a chemistry teacher or though I have the faith to be a minister able to remove mountains of secularism, but have not love for my work, I have not found my true vocation.

Though I give away all I hold dear to become a foreign missionary and though I sacrifice my entire life to live in a foreign land, but have not love for my work, I have not found my true vocation.

One’s true vocation is challenging and creative.
One’s true vocation makes use of talents and abilities to the full.
One’s true vocation helps to meet needs in the world.
One’s true vocation is not necessarily easy or well salaried.

Love for your work should never end; as for your talents and your abilities they should continually grow; as for your training on this you must work. For your abilities are imperfect and our training is imperfect but when one loves one’s work the imperfect is perfected.

When we were children we spoke as children, we thought as children, we reasoned as children saying we would be a fireman or a doctor or a teacher. But when we grow up we seek God’s will and our true vocation.

Vocation and the Beatitudes
Blessed is the one who chooses his vocation wisely, for he shall help build the Kingdom of God.

Blessed is the one who chooses his vocation in terms of the needs of the world rather than the money it pays, for he shall find joy in serving.

Blessed is the one who evaluates his abilities and talents before choosing his vocation for he shall be well suited to his job.

Blessed is the one who adequately prepares himself for his life work for he shall do a more competent job.

Blessed is the one whose work is a joy and a delight for he shall be truly happy.

Blessed is the one who, having made a mistake in choosing his life work has the courage to find his vocation for he shall be satisfied.

Blessed is the one who seeks to discover the will of God for his life work, for he shall know the meaning of vocation.

Blessed are you when you carefully and prayerfully evaluate your capacities and interests before choosing your life work; when you diligently and purposefully prepare yourself for your chosen vocation; when you throw yourself unreservedly into your chosen work – to meet the challenges and the needs presented as best you can.

Rejoice and be exceeding glad for your life will be a meaningful adventure and God will be with you.  
Blessings, Dottie


Q. At the beginning of each year I think about the past year and make plans for the New Year. I intend to make better use of my time. Each year I plan to learn new things, change old habits and get involved in more worthwhile activities. Instead there’s never enough time or I’m too fearful to try something new or I’m busy just getting done what must be done. How can I change? How can I use my time better this year?

A. Many of us struggle with how we use time, often wishing for more time, often pressured by time. Human beings are different from any other creatures on this earth.  We are aware of time. We are also blessed with both memory and imagination. We can remember the past and we can imagine our future. These enable us to live thoughtful and creative lives. 

However, our memory and our imagination can create problems for us. We are influenced by our memories and by negative, imaginative thoughts of the future. Our memory reminds us of past fears, worries, guilt, hurts and discouragement. It warns us, “Don’t do that new thing.”  It may say, for example, “Remember how foolish you felt when you tried something new in second grade and the class laughed at you.” And so we back away from change because of our memories.   
Memories, conscious and unconscious, may cause us to be fearful in the future. Many of our fears, worries, and jealousies, are created by our negative imaginations. And our imagination is often inspired by our memories. Someone has said that worry about the future is interest paid on a debt that may never come due. Worry changes nothing and keeps us from growing.
How do we not worry since the world is complex and the future unpredictable? We can use our minds, our memories and our imaginations to remind us that God’s in charge and that his purposes are good. Relying on God we can then make prayerful conscious choices. We can remember the past but we don’t have to be bound by the past. With God’s help we can use our will and determination to set priorities and to move toward them. 
There are only three ways to spend the present. We can waste it, spend it or invest it.  Time wasters include worry, fear, sleeping more than we need to and busyness that accomplishes little. We also waste time on petty anger, procrastination, indecision, complaints and pity. These confuse us and keep us from accomplishing our dreams.

Spending time might be described as merely existing. Our life has no purpose or direction. We simply do what has to be done, no more. We sleep, work, eat and little more. Our life is dull and routine. Most of us have many “chores” and “work” that require our time; these are necessary routine things we must do. We can do them with a song in our heart and a prayer on our lips – and then this time brings glory to God.
We invest our time when we know that our life has purpose and meaning beyond our own self-interest. We invest our time when we do something which touches the lives of those around us, when we offer a smile, a helping hand or a kind word. We invest our time when we help a worthy cause. We invest our time when we pray and when we worship God.
To make changes this year learn to live in the present. Learn to make conscious choices about your priorities in life and then take small steps each day to pursue your God given dreams. The more time you spend in His Presence the easier it will be to live in the present and to be intentional. Someone has said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”

“You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” Psalm 16:11 NASB

Blessings, Dottie