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Urge Surfing: Using Mindfulness in Addiction Recovery

Background Urge surfing is a technique developed by Dr. Alan Marlatt, Director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, as part of a program of relapse prevention for people recovering from addictions to alcohol and other drugs. The technique can also be used to help with any destructive impulse, such as…

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Practicing Forgiveness

Definition: Forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to let go of anger and the desire for vengeance toward those who have harmed us, regardless of whether or not we believe they actually deserve it. It is really three practices: forgiving others who have caused me suffering; being open to, or seeking out, forgiveness from those…

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A Few Notes on Anxiety

Anxiety is a fact of life. It evolved to protect us from danger and is built into the nervous system. That means that we cannot prevent ourselves from experiencing some anxiety in our lives. We cannot achieve complete control over it. When we try to control it or stop it we usually wind up making…

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My Final “Examined Life” Column

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing this column, twice a month, for more than three decades. While at 71 I remain healthy and not quite ready to retire, I’ve also come to realize that I have said all that is in me to say, and that it’s time to let go. Endings can…

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Are Gay Men Homosexuals? (SF Bay Times, October 3, 2019)

In his insightful new book, Out of the Shadows: Reimagining Gay Men’s Lives, clinical psychologist Walt Odets begins by asking “Are gay men homosexuals?” Who are we as gay men, and what happens when we identify ourselves as “homosexuals?” Gay men have been called “homosexuals” since the late nineteenth century, when the previously little-used term…

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My Avoidant Boyfriend (SF Bay Times, August 8, 2019)

Q: When I read your columns on attachment theory [3/2/2019 4/07/2019 4/18/2019,] I realized that your description of the avoidant attachment style fits my boyfriend exactly. I completely love him, but I do have to put up with his “time outs”, and his need for “space”, and the fact that he’ll sometimes take days to…

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Make the Most of Your Regrets (SF Bay Times, July 24, 2019)

Recently I watched an interview in which a celebrity said something that lots of people will support. He boasted that he had “zero regrets” about anything that he’d done in the past. Many self-help gurus will also approve of this approach; they’ll tell you that harboring regrets about the past is useless and self-destructive, and…

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