Monday, November 29, 2010

On Domestic Violence

Thursday wasn’t just Thanksgiving. It also marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It’s fitting that the two should coincide, given the stress often associated with the holiday season. In many homes, this is the most dangerous time of the year.

The topic is hitting a little too close to home for me today: A close friend just confided that the man he has been dating for three months threatened his life and appears to be stalking him. Sadly, perhaps tragically, my friend doesn’t see the danger. The battered spouse syndrome is alive and well.

(An aside: I understand why the international community has focused its attention on women. But of course, domestic violence is perpetrated by, and against, both men and women). 

I used to wonder whether my partner was abusive. That, as it turns out, was a red flag in itself. Fortunately, good therapists helped me sort it out, and with their help I gathered up the courage to leave those destructive relationships.  Later, as an academic librarian, I periodically selected domestic abuse as my topic for the week’s website recommendations. Those sites were among the most popular I showcased.

So, let’s talk. Is your relationship abusive?  Thank goodness we don’t have to figure it out in isolation. Here are some of the resources that I found most useful:

Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships. Great information with lots of links about both physical and emotional abuse.

Personalized Safety Plan. How to protect yourself if you are in an abusive relationship.

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship. This book isn’t specifically about abuse, but it really helped me gain some clarity.

By looking at these resources, I discovered that I wasn’t alone, and I wasn’t crazy. And for me, that was the first step in healing the hurt.

I wish the same for you.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Everyone!

After a fit of loneliness, irritation, embarrassment and self-loathing, which led in turn to a tangible desire to drink and use food, after which I grudgingly got my ass to a meeting and shared, followed by a long conversation with a close friend in recovery and then two episodes of Pioneers of Television, I am happy to announce that I awoke this morning clean and sober, with no regrets.

I love making up on-purpose run-on sentences. 

Anyway, the problems that led up to all that misery and mishugas are still here, and I still have no idea how to fix them. But I'm clean and sober, which gives me one more day to figure the damned thing out. Is the desire gone? Mostly, yes. Maybe a little bit no. But my plans include a meeting at our recovery club, a pot luck, an open house, and a movie-slash-sugar-free ice cream with my fabulous kid, so I am cautiously optimistic that I will get through the day still abstinent and sober.

So that's my good news.

Now for trivia.

1.  Can you name the cars in this picture?

2. Which of these Parker Posey movies takes place around Thanksgiving?
Broken English
Party Girl
The House of Yes

3. In Trains, Planes and Automobiles, Neal just wants to get home for Thanksgiving. On the bus to St. Louis, his traveling "companion" Del leads the other passengers in a sing-a-long of what TV show theme song?
The Addams Family
Green Acres
The Flintstones
The Brady Bunch

I suppose I should mention that I've never seen any of these movies and have no idea what the answers are. It's completely lifted from Buzz Trivia, where you'll find more questions and perhaps even some answers.

The turkey puzzle came from Ivan Katz at the Sports Car Examiner.

Here's to another year sober. And, I hope, to my first abstinent Thanksgiving in a long, long time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is Sarah Palin an Endangered Species?

You wouldn’t think so, after the grim election results of last week. But I hear that fundamentalists of all stripes have been known to eat their young.

Enter Bryan Fischer. Fisher is Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Policy at the American Family Association. He’s somewhere right of, uh… uh… Who’s the furthest-right person I can think of? Phyllis Schlafly? Sadie Fields? How about Fred Phelps? Anyway, Fischer is way, waaaaay on the right end of the spectrum.

Well, Fischer wants to get rid of grizzly bears. You know, the really big, fuzzy kind.  As in, “I did not steal that pick-a-nick basket, Mr. Ranger, sir!” Fischer is ready to do away with all grizzly bears because they have been known to attack people. Let’s get ‘em all, he says. Indeed, he sees something sinister in the attacks:  
God makes it clear in Scripture that deaths of people and livestock at the hands of savage beasts is a sign that the land is under a curse. The tragic thing here is that we are bringing this curse upon ourselves.
Well, yeah, we are. That’s what happens when you insist on building suburbs near grizzly habitats.  

Now, if Yogi makes a run for my kid, I’ll be the first in line to nuke him. Yogi, that is. Not the kid. Attacks from large omnivores lead to tragic results. I totally get that, and my heart goes out to the victims' families. I’m right there with Fischer when he says we should choose an individual human life above the individual life of another species when a choice is absolutely unavoidable. 

But contempt for an entire god-created species? Isn't that a little unchristian? 

Of course it is. But when you come right down to it, Fischer’s diatribe isn’t really about religion anyway. Fischer is really just pissed off that grizzlies are back on the endangered list. And while he's at it, he's pissed off at climate change activists and federal judges, too.

Whatever his motives, Sarah and her Mamma Grizzlies had better watch their Ps and Qs, or their honeypots, or something.