Tag Archives: Katherine Gordy Levine

How to Know If You Have a Drinking Problem

As every holiday approaches the roads fill with happiness seekers. Too many drink as part of their quest. Problem drinkers turn into problem drivers. Think that is not you? Check that out with these seven safe drinking rules.

Emotional Fitness Training Poster

Download this poster from the EFTI store.



The first  rule  recognizes that teens are at greater risk to the lure of drinking than older and supposedly wiser humans. A generalization as some teens are smart enough to drink safely, and some adults are not. The main problem with teens remain peer pressure and the tendency to go against parental teachings.

The next two rules keep your level of alcohol consumption at a level that does not reduce your functioning to dangerous levels. Examples:

Single and getting a little too happy on a date? At best you might have unsafe sex and at worse you are more vulnerable to predators.

Some people only drink on weekends, but then do so at dangerous levels. These may function well during the week, but get out of control on weekend.

There are also drinkers who can abstain for long periods of time, but one drink and all safe drinking is put aside. The old movie “Lost Weekend” demonstrates this type of drinking problems.

Finally, a number of teenager and adults drinking like teens, die each year from over-dosing in chug-a-lug contests. When someone passes out from drinking, 911 needs to be called immediately.

A sad fact related to the above rules is that the media encourages violating these rules. Bars are in the of selling drinks, not getting you to stop at one drink or to  buy only one an hour.

The fourth and fifth rules serve to decrease the build up of tolerance so you have to drink more and more to feel the desired for reactions.

One sure sign of major problem drinking is no longer drinking to get happy, but to feel somewhat normal. The happy drunk is not a happy drunk but a desperate one.

The sixth rule keeps your body from over dosing on alcohol as well as helping you observe the first five rules.  A too little known fact: Smoking pot reduces nausea and  keeps you from vomiting. Vomiting is nature’s way of ridding your body of things that could kill. Too much alcohol kills.

Wondering if the rules apply to drugging. Yes and no.Yes: As Harm reduction programs seek to help those using drugs to do so safely. So there are safe drugging rules. No: as the rules vary in many respects. So if you are worried about drugs go to the above link to learn more.

The seventh rule should be self-evident, but sadly many violate it under the delusion they are sober when they are not. 


Emotional fitness tip one: If you party hard, try abiding by these rules throughout the next week-end. No sweat doing so, no problem. Deviating even from just one?  A problem.

Emotional fitness tip two: If this small self-administered test reveals even the lowest level problem, face facts. You do not have to be a full-blown alcoholic to indulge in harmful drinking.

You do need to get straight in one way or another if you cannot drink safely. AA is one alternative, but not for all. A group of therapists have developed what is called Motivational Interviewing that takes a softer approach as do  EFTI’s Safe Drinking rules.

Finally, just finding a partner or two that share concern about how much they are drinking and joining together to support a SMART goal of abiding by the safe drinking rules might be all you need. The person to help  might be a drinking buddy or a loved one that worrying about your drinking habits.

Emotional fitness tip three: Worried about someone else’s drinking habits? First take the test yourself. If you are violating any rules, state that you are going to work on becoming a safe drinking.

Then take the test  as if you were the other person. Share both results and ask the other person what he or she thinks about what the test says about you and about them.

Don’t get into an argument. Problem drinkers are Gotcha Warriors and want to divert attention from you by making you argue to the point where you get out of control. Go here to read about how to deal with a Gotcha Warrior.

Listen do not judge. Also know that denial is part of problem drinking. So do not expect an instant “Aha.” Some studies show that it takes five or more serious encounters to get an alcoholic into recovery.  You are a link in a chain. Stay strong and caring, don’t support bad habits and that means not supporting denial.

Denial cartoon

Thank you Carl D’Agostino for letting me use your cartoons. Love this one.

Already a safe drinker and the other person is not, when faced with denial, and seeing a violation of one of the rules, state gently, “I am worried, I need you to stay safe and I think when it comes to drinking, you are at risk.”

A thought for parents: if it is a teen that is not drinking safely, imposes sanctions. Definitely stop from driving.  More advice is found in my book eBook When Good Kids Drink and Drug.

Much of the same advice is available in my book When Good Kids Do Bad Things. You can get that as an eBook or  in print on Amazon. Either will  cost a bit more than a movie, but might help you save the life of a  child you love.

Pressed for cash, the old versions can often be found on Amazon for under a dollar. Even then that helps me for while I need to earn a bit of money, my main mission is sharing knowledge that  I know is helpful .


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.



Post inspiration

Mostly related to the coming holiday, but has a bit of relatedness to this Daily WordPress promptLinger: Tell us about times in which you linger — when you don’t want an event, or a day to end. What is it you love about these times? Why do you wish you could linger forever?

Obviously, when we feel good, we want those feelings to linger. And that is precisely why we need to be aware of the ways in which drinking and drugs are a slippery slope and lingering too long in their presence puts you at risk. .

A personal note, the tendency to drink and drug to excess has three primary  causes. First a genetic pre-dispostion linked to  depression, but also anxiety, particularly social anxiety. My family tree is filled with those who are so predisposed to fall into the lure of chemical solutions to such problems.

The other known causes: the culture surrounding drinking. Today’s media culture is deadly in terms of its promotion of chemical solutions as a path to feeling better. Not helpful.

The third cause is the slow build up of tolerance by daily drinking.

I hope you will share this post if you found it helpful. Thank you again for all you do.


Most of the links cited in this blog post relate specifically to other resources about the main topic of this particular blog post.  From now on these links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.


Three Things You Need to Know About Therapy

In therapy, but nothing seems better? Thinking you need therapy? First some jokes about therapy, then some thoughts  and to[s about therapy.

Three jokes about therapy

All three jokes relate to what you need to know about why therapy might not work.  In the first joke, the therapist remains locked in personal problems and more help to him than his clients.

Most therapists are drawn to the field out of a personal need to both better deal with their problems, as well as to help others. Many therapists have been patients and found therapy personally helpful. Having had problems solved in therapy often makes for a better therapist. However, not always and so it seems with joke number one.

In the second joke, the psychiatrist is so busy diagnosing others, he seems to have lost the more common human capacity to offer compassionate help. In real life, in the same situation, hopefully most psychiatrists would also offer practical help. However, many therapists are all too focused on what’s wrong, finding someone to blame, attaching labels, and seeing only weaknesses.  Not helpful.

The third joke reflects a bit of the second joke, but also on the need for good reality checking. Therapy cannot solve all problems and is not a cure-all.

Bad habits can be turned into good habits, but sometimes the bad habit is the only way a person can survive. When the person lives in a war zone,  therapy will not work until safety is establish. War zone  does not just mean bullets are flying, someone is being treated violently in other ways: think of domestic violence or bullying by peers at school. Finally, biological problems, either genetic or caused by illness, brain injuries, or trauma, often make change impossible.

The third joke also serves as a reminder to all seeking therapy. Therapy is not  magic.  You  need you to do the work.  Which is the subject of another joke: How many thearpists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one if the lightbulb is willing to change. However, even doing the work may not find you are being helped the way you want.

Emotional fitness tip one: Whether in therapy or thinking about therapy, get clear about your expectations. The best way is to set a SMART goal for therapy and share it with the therapist. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and time limited.

Emotional fitness tip two: Measure progress.  Here’s an easy to use Goal Measuring Poster.  Give therapy time to work, but also be clear with yourself and your therapist about how things are progressing.

Measuring goal progress

For more tips, exercises,  and inspiration browse the EFTI Store.

Emotional fitness tip three: Get realistic. In order to get the best from therapy,  become an educated consumer, make sure you are getting competent care. Next  be honest about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Then do all the things everyone is told to do to stay strong–eat properly, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, have balance in your life between work and play, keep up social relationships,  take any prescribed medications as directed.  Add Emotional Fitness Training Exercises  to your daily routine. Finally, don’t let stigma keep you from seeking therapy when nothing else seems to be working.

If everyone worried more  about being kind to self and others, instead of whether someone was mentally ill or not; many of the world’s problems would be solved.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.


POST INSPIRATION:  Today’s WordPress Daily prompt: State of Your Year
How is this year shaping up so far? Write a post about your biggest challenges and achievements thus far.

It as not been an easy year. Why? One reason? Aging and what cannot be changed and what has to be lived with as we move forward.  Particularly frustration personally is that I am stalled in my efforts to get more eBooks out. Then there is the state of the world. Finally, there are the everyday minor and major  problems that hurt you or those your love.

My biggest achievement is that I keep going and doing what I can, when I can.


Three Ways to Be the Best You

First think about this: being loved for who you appear to be is not love at all. Appearances matter little when it comes to true love.

Beauty rocks and roots (2)

Here’s a joke on my. Hubby had a mustache. Shaved it off. Did I notice? No. Three days with a naked upper lip and he finally asked me if I missed his stache.

Emotional fitness thoughts

John Newmark,  a Facebook friend, pointed me to the definition: “In political jargon, useful idiot is a term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause. ”

Applies to all of us as the sellers of things and purveyors of hope well know.  What to do?

Emotional fitness tip one: Be aware, think more particularly about what matters.  Make doing good your everyday fashion.

Emotional fitness tip two: Consciously practice imperfection. Wrote about that a day or five or more ago.

Emotional fitness tip three: Do hold to some standards. Not every thing matters, but it kindness to others means respectful dress and hygiene.

Parenting tips

These will now be included in as  a link of interest. Some will point to a related Parents Are People Blog and some to other parenting advice I have found of value. Today’s link: Things parents of small children should not worry about. 


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.

Thank you.


POST INSPIRATION:  Today’s WordPress Daily prompt: How important are clothes to you? Describe your style, if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself.

One of my favorite students had perfected balancing appearance and who she was.  She had a small wardrobe: Black pants, black shirt, black shoes and socks, black outer wear.  Her hair was gray, long and simply pulled togethered and fastened on top of her head.

I am trying to get there. I wear my hair as she does. I wear no make up most of the time, and hope  soon to have a uniform set of black pants, off set with colorful tops and sweaters or jackets of black.

However, I do not begrudge those who can and do buy the latest fashions. I do wish they would pay full price, and donate last year’s stuff to the thrift shops. Why? Keeps the economy going and people employed.



Three Tools Used by Talented Procrasinators

How talented procrastinators turn “To Do’s” into “Done.”

Joking aside, knowing when and how to procrastinate keeps your “To Do” list from ruling you. Procrastination is a skill and skills are learned tools for living the good life.  The following emotional fitness tips highlight the best tools of the Professional Procrastinator: Knowing what matters, practicing imperfection, and having strong self-soothing skills.

Emotional fitness tip one: Know what matters. What matters most is doing your best to bring Peace on Earth. Not what the advertizers and sales people want you to believe. Dis-satisfaction creates sales opportunities.

However, working to make the world a better place is  what both the sages of the ages and the modern researchers know leads to  the good life. Doing so is what Emotional Fitness Training means by The Mission.

Using rating scales keeps you focused most clearly on what matters.  Anything and everything can be rated. Here is proof of that:

A Rating Scale

The simplest way to work toward Peace on Earth is to practice kindness and gratitude.  Every time you sincerely thank someone for what they do for you and others makes them appreciated and that is what all seek.

I make it a point to thank all the police, servicemen and garbage collectors I meet when  out and about. I also find something nice to say to those who serve me fast food or ring up my groceries, hold a door for me, or in any other way give me a gift of kindness.  The smiles I get in return warm me.

Emotional fitness tip two: Practice Imperfection.  This aids in holding to The Mission. No one person can bring Peace on Earth.  However, every person can bring a bit of peace to the bit of earth they occupy.   That requires thinking not perfect, but “Good enough” or “The best I can do right now.”

Practicing imperfection is easier if one takes the time to focus on the small acts that you can do easily and well enough to make a difference. Across all ages various sages have known and preached this:

Lao Tzu said: Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

Then there was body builder Charles Atlas who said, “Step by step and the thing is done.”

Then along came Warren Buffet who made billions and noted, “I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.”

Finally, more recently Thich Nhat Hanh also suggests the smallest step mattered, “Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.”

Worry not about doing things perfectly, just do what you can the best you can, but always with the greater good in mind.

Emotional fitness tip three: Strengthen self soothing skills.  Practicing Imperfection and holding to the Mission are not easily accomplished tasks.  EFTI’s eBook    Self-soothing, Creating Calm in You Life, is this blog post’s sale pitch.  Remember EFTI’s eBooks all cost less than a movie, most less than a latte.  Also remember you can get a tool from Amazon that lets you read any eBook sold there in a desktop or Ipad or cell phone.  Here is a free and  quick introduction to Emotional Fitness Training Easy Exercises.

Parenting tip

As usual practice all of the above, then teach each skill to your child as appropriate to her or his age and stage. The best way to start is teaching your child how to rate things as soon as s/he begins to toodle; then each hurtful fall becomes a teachable moment.  Go here for a related  Parents Are People Blog post.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.

Thank you.


POST INSPIRATION:  This  WordPress Prompt which was:  Those Dishes Won’t Do Themselves: What’s the household task you most dislike doing? Why do you think that is — is it the task itself, or something more?

The something more relates to this post which is the failure when I procrastinate of someone else – hubby for example, to step up to the plate and to it for me. My solution with it comes to many a house hold task is to practice imperfection and calming self-talk.

Links of INterest