Category Archives: Questions

Robin WIlliams

Robin Williams, Requiem for a Heavyweight

Robin Williams 1951-2014

Requiem for a Heavyweight

Robin Williams was certainly a heavyweight in his life. His comedy burst on the scene when he was quite young and successfully continued until his death. He became one of the chosen, and as a result of his celebrity he didn’t have to play by the rules of mere mortals. Or did he?

The press is full of his memories, and there are no shortage of tributes. As a local of Marin County he was frequently visible and, we felt, one of our own. In the days following his death I’ve yet to encounter a local who has a bad word or nasty comment about him. I remember a private performance ten years ago at Bicycle Odyssey in Sausalito, one of Robin’s haunts, where he entertained me and Tony Tom, Odyssey’s owner, for ten minutes. Tony and I were in stitches, and yet I have no recollection what he was ranting about. That was Robin, always performing and always on top of his game, yet I wonder if he was ever able to turn the performance off.

It’s no secret that Robin Williams suffered from addiction as well as mental health issues—obviously a lethal combination that became his downfall. Who among us doesn’t suffer from some form of depression and anxiety, even trace amounts? What is the difference between being blue, funky or down from depression? Similarly, what is the difference between nervousness, worry and anxiety? Clearly these traits are facts of life in Western society, and most of us find ways of coping.

The addict or alcoholic doesn’t have the same options for coping with mental health as the “normal” person. Admittedly a couple of beers or tokes are handy and possibly healthy means of dealing with stress. But what to do if your lifestyle doesn’t include these options? Robin made his method clear in a 2013 Reddit AMA: “My favorite thing to do is ride a bicycle. I ride road bikes. And for me, it’s mobile meditation.”

As an addiction specialist I find one of my greatest challenges with clients is introducing and exploring methods of coping with life. Once clean or abstinent, we don’t get a pass on the never-ending challenges. Drugs were an escape, and for a few hours we were able to forget our problems. Now that we don’t have that option, it’s essential to discover alternatives, for without them we too will end up like Robin.

Discovering techniques for stress reduction is one of the key elements of achieving and maintaining sobriety. I truly wish Robin could have taken a few more rides, not for my entertainment but for his own serenity.

Paul Pribuss MFT
Choosing the path to your therapist

Make the Right Choice in Choosing Your Therapist

The time to find a therapist has come, and the prospect seems overwhelming

The Various Labels

  • Psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Social Worker

Don’t Forget the Credentials

  • PsyD
  • MFT
  • PhD

How do you find the person who is right for your needs?

We believe it’s most important to consider the actual individual with whom you’ll place your trust, rather than accept a random assignment.

Consider these following traits to determine if your therapist or counsellor is the right match for you.

  • Available; Able to schedule a convenient meeting time on a regular basis.
  • Location; The more convenient the location the less apt one is to miss appointments.
  • Knowledgable; Is the therapist well versed in the speciality of the field.
  • Experience; Has the therapist been involved in the field for a sufficient amount of time. Do they have their own history, their own therapy.
  • Connection; Do they seem trustworthy and likable. Would you feel comfortable discussing intimate issues with them.
  • Affordable; Do you feel you can afford therapy for an extended period of time.
  • Responsive; Have you found the candidate to be responsive and prompt in the exchange.
  • Referral; Have friends or family had a positive experience with this therapist.
  • Gender; most people have a preference. Follow your intuition.
  • Licensed; verify online and check for infractions.
  • Phone; take the first step and see how it feels to talk to this person.
  • Do you know who your primary counselor or therapist really is?
Take some time to explore the above considerations with Paul Pribuss MFT, at Marin Drug Recovery. The correct choice will certainly change your life.

Why not try to get sober on my own?

Typically when we start looking for help with our drug and alcohol problems there has been some recent incident which causes the search. At this stage, if the truth is told, there have been many independent attempts to alter the pattern with which we use. How many times have we said “I can stop whenever I want” only to find those brave words were not long term? These attempts have led to the current situation and these current predicaments. Immediately after the incident which causes the search for help we have great remorse and are willing to take any steps to rectify the damage. Within a few days we start to physically feel better and possibly some of the scrutiny surrounding the event is reduced. This is the critical point in the process. The addiction wants to continue and any form of delay is detrimental to recovery. Wanting to try it on our own is another form of delay and will more than likely lead to the same results. How bad does the situation have to become before we decide to address the problem? The best time to change is today!
Fun without Drugs

Is there any fun in life without drugs or alcohol?

In the beginning there was usually a great deal of pleasure, excitement and commaradie associated with the use of drugs and alcohol. It became one of our primary activities and we devoted a large amount of our daily routine to it’s pursuit. Often the habit had originated in our formative years when we were desperately searching for acceptance and the drug became the ‘admission ticket’ to seemingly fulfilling life. As we progressed many of our daily activities had some connection with using. Yes were on vacation, at the ball game, entertaining friends, promoting business, relaxing with co-workers but the drug had become the common denominator. The people places and things associated with the drug would not have near the same significance without it! As the years progress the level of fun diminishes and the problems increase. The habit starts to develop and our thinking confuses the pursuit of fun with desire/ need for the drug. This need can be physiological and or emotional. We tell ourselves we have control and can quit or reduce our consumption at any time. What we are starting to find is that the fun is illusive and the problems are continual. Denial plays a major role in this stage and it’s hard to admit we have become unhappy and need change. Developing a pleasurable life without drugs is no easy task and in truth the most difficult part of recovery. Drugs are quite effective at blocking out painful feelings i. e. boredom, sadness, loneliness, frustration, stress. To achieve a life that is continually pleasurable is unrealistic and learning to cope with the difficult times is a primary task of sobriety. The pleasure we now seek doesn’t involve the adrelene rush and exhilaration of the past but a more even, serene and balanced lifestyle. Is it worth trading the hectic pace of the past for a dependable life of recovery?

Can I learn to control my drinking?

Is it possible to control my problem and drink normally again? Clients will often initiate treatment with the intention of learning to manage their situation with alcohol rather than abstaining. Their hope is that they can drink similarly to a time in the past when it didn’t seem to be such an issue. Usually there will be some problem with work, school, family, relationship, legal or medical as a result of their drinking and some authority has required or demanded they get help as their lives have spiraled out of control. Hopefully they can change so their association with alcohol will become normal and the problems will end. At Marin Drug Recovery we believe that this option is viable and totally dependent on the level of participation involved. We don’t believe in overly diagnosing clients and feel they deserve a chance to achieve their stated goal. It is important to note that by the time one realizes they need help the options have become limited and cessation is typically the only viable one.
  • Are the odds in your favor that control drinking is possible; are the consequences worth it?
  • Public perception has created a mystique with alcohol, romanticizing its use
  • Are you rarely content with one drink and typically desire at least a few more.
  • In honest reflection, the paring of wine/ beer/ ale with a wonderful meal was never the primary intent, but rather to achieve a feeling of well being, stress reduction, buzz.
  • Once the pleasure receptors are opened is is very difficult to control our desire for more
  • How many times have you tried to control the problem only to fail again, and again?