Habitat for Humanity Gives South Florida Residents a Way to Donate with a Phone Call

Habitat for Humanity Gives South Florida Residents a Way to Donate with a Phone CallImagine an entire family confined to a garage. Working hard, they still cannot put together the money to move into a real home. Instead, they are living in a relative’s garage: adults and children, all sharing the same small living space.

While it sounds implausible, it is the reality for many families around the country. Habitat for Humanity is working to help these families achieve the dream of home ownership by providing low and interest free homes that they can afford.

In communities around the country and around the world, Habitat for Humanity is organizing people with the common purpose of creating these homes. Volunteers from different walks of life and those with the expertise to build a home are working together to build the homes. Working alongside these volunteers are members of the families who will ultimately occupy them, putting in the sweat equity to make their own dream a reality.

Time alone does not build a home. It takes money to secure the supplies to build one from the ground up. One of the ways that Habitat for Humanity raises money is through ReStore, a large chain of thrift shops around the country that helps keep the mission of Habitat alive through funding.

In Boca Raton, FL, making a donation to Habitat for Humanity just takes a phone call. An unwanted couch or dining set can be picked up and taken to the ReStore for resale. At the store, volunteers and paid employees stock the store with donated items. Just like any other store with a variety of goods, people are needed to keep the shelves neat, put out the items or even help to create decorative displays just like you might see in a furniture store.

Each little bit helps make the items in the store more appealing, which means more money in the register. A donated knick-knack that can be re-sold for $10 dollars means another box of nails or light switch to be installed in a brand new home for a deserving family.

In South Florida, where many people have second homes, the store can see brisk business as people look for bargain furniture to decorate a second home. While these bargain couches or chairs mean more money in the pockets of those buying them at low prices, it also means more of the important pieces to make another dream of home ownership a reality for a deserving family.

Making Mistakes Is Sometimes Part Of Recovery

Making Mistakes is Sometimes Part of RecoveryEveryone makes mistakes. We hear it over and over again in our lives. We would just go crazy if we did not have the comfort in the simple notion “to err is human.”

Mistakes can be part of the recovery process. Many people try to recover and make mistakes along the way. Many of us have attempted to remain sober before only to have mistakes lead us back into active addiction.

Mistakes in recovery happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we take shortcuts, sometimes we do not have all of the information we need to make the best choices, and sometimes we overestimate ourselves.

When we make mistakes, it is okay to use them as part of our ongoing journey in recovery. We should not beat ourselves up over mistakes, but instead we should use the mistake as a tool to tell us something about ourselves. We can use our experience to make changes so that it does not happen again.

One of the dangers for people in recovery is to think that when they make a mistake that they begin to think that they can never get it right. Nobody is perfect, and we just have to try again. It is important to focus on what we learned and how to apply it in the future instead of dwelling on the past which is beyond our control.

Our mistakes cannot derail our progress in our ultimate goal of long-term sobriety and a happier, healthier life. As we take steps in our journey of recovery, we sometimes stumble. We must remember that we should find out why we stumbled and then get up and keep walking instead of staying down for fear of falling again.

World Trade Center Memorial Offers New Perspective

IMG_0961There are several landmark dates in American history that define an era. December 7, 1941 marks the attack on Pearl Harbor and American entry into World War II, November 22, 1963 represents the end of a romantic period in American history with the assassination of President Kennedy, and September 11, 2001 pierced a sense of safety that Americans had that their own soil could not be a battleground for terrorists.

While the attacks of 9/11 seem very recent because of the long-standing implications to the way we live in America, it has been more than 11 years since that day. It is difficult to imagine that American soldiers who have died overseas in the two wars spawned by 9/11 were at bus stops around the country waiting to go to elementary school on that Tuesday morning more than a decade ago.

I was at work that day: wrapping up producing the morning news at a television station in South Carolina. After a long night of work, 8:30 a.m. feels like dinner time, and that is exactly what I was thinking about when I saw the first images from Lower Manhattan.

Those first images were just a hint of the horror that would come throughout the next two hours. Attacks on both of the World Trade Center Towers, an attack on the Pentagon, and a fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field as passengers valiantly fought back that morning.

But they were images— just images.

Despite the intellectual awareness that the attacks of September 11, 2001 are real, the reality of the event does not fit into a television screen. Once you remove the unmitigated human tragedy of the attacks, September 11 looks like a scene from a horrific disaster film.

The images fit neatly into a television screen, where they can be played over and over again. They can be stopped, rewound, paused, and ejected. If video of 9/11 is on television news, simply change the channel and it ceases to enter the consciousness through the one way that many Americans know it: television.

To actually grasp the true scale of September 11, 2001, I visited the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan last week. From the moment I stepped onto the grounds near the footprints of the Twin Towers, 9/11 ceased to be an event that fits inside a television screen and became a cataclysm that is impossible to fully absorb.

Standing next to the North Tower footprint, you can look up and use the new structure as a scale for the size of the Towers. The widths of the footprints are a close approximation of the Towers, and the size of the event quickly transcends the television images that are easier to digest.

And then there are the names.

Surrounding the footprints, bronze plates engraved with the names of the victims of the September 11 attacks and the 1993 North Tower truck bombing are a reminder of the sheer humanity of what happened. Documentaries over the years have offered a few of the names and their stories, but at the Memorial they are all assembled: passengers and police, firefighters and financiers, traders and tourists.

Then 9/11 sinks in. It sinks in by getting bigger. It sinks in by getting more horrific.

It becomes more comprehensible by simultaneously becoming more incomprehensible.

As the events of September 11, 2001 crystallize at the Memorial, there is another reality. There is the din of construction just next to the footprint reflecting pools. The new One World Trade Building has now eclipsed the Empire State Building as the tallest in New York.

Standing next to the Memorial to those who perished in the North Tower, I looked up 185 feet— just higher than the truck-bomb resistant, fortified concrete base of One World Trade. In the post 9/11 world, it is the new design reality for a high-profile building situated on such hallowed ground.

There was one worker, behind a safety net, banging away at one small task that is part of the larger effort to rebuild the area and make it better than it once was.

In his own way, his work with a hammer is just as shining a memorial to the events of September 11, 2001 as the footprints far below his feet.

South Carolina Gamecock Fans Hear the Whispers

South Carolina Gamecock Fans Hear the WhispersOver the last few years, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks have made the slow and steady climb to national prominence in football. Along the way there have been hiccups, most memorably the drubbing at the hands of eventual national champion Auburn in the 2010 SEC Championship Game.

A season and change remove from the apocalyptic 56-17 trouncing from Auburn, South Carolina fans have renewed hope again. A start against Vanderbilt that ended in a less-than-impressive win and an injured quarterback has given way to an increasingly impressive list of wins.

Granted, no one will confuse East Carolina, University of Alabama-Birmingham and Missouri as the most challenging opposition, but each week has brought a silver lining to go along with the scoreboard.

The East Carolina and UAB games showcased a surprising backup quarterback with the ability to stretch the field while the Missouri game was highlighted by a 20 for 21 passing performance by returning starting QB Connor Shaw.

Considering those performances, why would Gamecock fans be nervous this week? It is only lowly Kentucky.

The answer is simple: Navy.

In 1984, the Gamecocks were widely considered one of the best teams in the country. Impressive wins over Georgia, Notre Dame and Florida State punctuated a rise in the polls, only to have dreams of a national championship dashed on a rainy night against Navy.

The Gamecocks should have won. They should have won in a runaway. Instead, upset minded Navy capitalized on the Gamecocks looking ahead to Clemson. The final score was 38-21.

Fans who remember listening Bob Fulton call that game from a rain-soaked stadium in Annapolis, Maryland can remember how shocked they felt when dreams of a title were dashed.

Even though 28 years have passed since that game, fans still hear the whispers when the Gamecocks start fast: “Navy in ’84.”

Trap games have become the new lexicon now for the games a team is supposed to win but is seemingly ripe for an upset.

In 2010 South Carolina was the trap in the trap game— No. 1 ranked Alabama fell to the Gamecocks in a game the Tide was supposed to win in their defense of their 2009 national title.

In what was at the time Steve Spurrier’s signature win at South Carolina, Gamecock fans were able to bask in the joy of toppling a number one team while simultaneously witnessing another horror of the trap game.

The Gamecocks have been at both ends of the cruelest moment in the college football season when all seems within reach when it ultimately implodes. The Gamecocks were on the losing end in 1984 and the winning end in 2010.

Incidentally, what happened after South Carolina won that game against Alabama in 2010? The Gamecocks went to Kentucky— another rainy night, another trap game and a loss handed to South Carolina by the lowly Kentucky Wildcats.

And here it is again: another fast start, another great performance at home against Missouri, another top-10 ranking in the polls. Each one of those things is an ingredient for the trap game.

The whispers are back in Columbia, SC.

“Navy in ’84, Navy in ’84,” they say, reminding fans of a demon that has yet to be vanquished nearly three decades later.

Fans know the demon is lurking. They also know the demon holds them from their hopes of a title.

The Gamecocks cannot win a championship without excising the demon.

The Gamecocks cannot win a championship without beating Kentucky.

The trick is that those two concepts might ultimately intersect in Lexington on Saturday night.


Post Truth Politics and Equal Time

Post Truth Politics and Equal TimeAt some point over the last couple of years in the run-up to the Presidential election, someone coined the phrase post-truth politics. It is an interesting phrase, and speaks volumes about our political system. In an era where more than a combined $1 billion will be spent by both sides in an effort to win the White House, truth has largely gotten lost in the money.

Each side is willing to throw dubious attacks at the other with little concern for being caught being slippery with the truth, or even worse blatantly being dishonest.

One of the more interesting growth industries online is the rise of the fact checkers. Every speech, statement, interview answer and news release is parsed, dissected and tested for its veracity. Rarely does any statement receive the complete endorsement of the fact checkers and seemingly far too often a statement will receive the dreaded “pants on fire” truth grade.

However, even though a given statement can fail when being tested for truth it will still manage to make its way onto the airwaves of cable news.

In an effort to maintain the appearance of equal time, campaign surrogates for both sides will be allowed to peddle positions that have been proven false. Campaign talking points can often be freely distributed as the news outlets give equal time to two sides of a debate regardless of the inequality of the facts.

In politics, it has become the norm. Why is that?

In a country that sits roughly 46% Republican and 46% Democrat, each news outlet wants to be sure that both sides are represented on television. Even partisan news outlets like MSNBC or Fox News will at least create the illusion of equal time despite a disparity in accuracy of each side’s claims in a debate.

The equality of time despite disparity of facts extends to newspapers as well. Despite a stipulation from both sides in the Pennsylvania Voter ID Law challenge that in-person voter fraud is not a pressing issue, the New York Times ran a story last week continuing to give both sides of the voter ID law equal time.

The Times story incited a vocal response from readers of the paper, prompting a column from Margaret Sullivan explaining the paper’s position.

In the end, the idea of equality of time or column inches despite inequality of facts probably will not change as long as there is a constituency for the less truthful position.

On other issues, where there are certainly vocal defenders of a less believable position their ideas are often shut out because there is a lesser constituency.

As of 2009, six percent of Americans believe the Apollo moon landings were faked. While that six percent might believe it just as fervently as the 94 percent who do believe the landings happened, they are still out there.

During the reporting on Neil Armstrong’s passing, the networks did not offer moon landing doubters time on the air to dispute the historically accepted accounts.

As recently as 2001, eight in ten Americans believe that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in the assassination of John Kennedy. However, news organizations do not bring surrogates from both sides of that argument in every time the assassination is discussed.

The difference is there is no downside to not giving equal time. Eight in ten Americans plus the six percent of the Moon landing hoax constituency will not stop watching the news if they see their position ignored discussing those topics.

When it comes to politics, it is a different game. People are more passionate, and viewers or readers will take it personally.

American politics are polarized. No network can afford to lose a large piece of its audience due to completely ignoring one side of a debate regardless of the veracity of the claim.

But what is the responsibility of the news organization?

That is a serious question editors, producers and news directors will be facing in the post-truth political world. Is the responsibility of the news organization to give equal sides to either position regardless of the fact that one side may have been debunked, or is it the responsibility of the news organization to accurately inform viewers of what is accurate and what is not?

Those questions could be a paradigm shift in American journalism.

Already, some of the mainstream journalists are trying to work in a post-truth environment. Norah O’Donnell has already capitalized on the new fact-checking regime in journalism to call politicians on the carpet, though some might question her motivations.

O’Donnell is the newest anchor at CBS This Morning and the surest way to draw attention to a foundering morning show is to make waves by bludgeoning politicians. For Norah O’Donnell and CBS it could be a quest for truth or a quest to revive a weak morning program driving the post-truth interview tactics.

After the election will be the surest test. While attacking politicians makes for great television during a campaign season, what happens after the ballots have been counted?

Which groups will be able to espouse unsubstantiated positions on television or in newspapers and which ones will not?

Will journalists continue their move back to being part of the public trust or will they not trust the public enough to continue to ask hard questions?

Time will tell.

Why Mitt Romney is Losing: Fox News, the Blogophere and the Barack Obama Internet Meme

Why Mitt Romney is Losing: Fox News, the Blogophere and the Barack Obama Internet MemeI don’t pretend to know the outcome of the coming election. Events could change the dynamics of the race. Events in the Middle East could take a nastier turn, they could turn for the better, another national or international crisis could happen and the debates are still looming. Any of those things could change the fundamentals of the race, and nobody knows what that could mean.

What is certain at this point is that President Obama holds a lead over Mitt Romney. In both the horse race polling and in the battleground state polls, the President appears to be opening up a lead over Gov. Romney.

Of course, Fox News doesn’t buy that. They only believe what they think must be true. That’s why they dismiss polling that shows President Obama ahead. It must be wrong.

To be fair, some of that lead is an indicator of a bounce resulting from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Some of that bounce is going to recede, and weekend polling seems to show some of that. In addition to the daily poll for the candidates, the right track/wrong track polling number seems to be moving in the President’s favor as well. While still less than 50 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the right direction, the numbers are starting to trend to the right track number.

Gallup Daily Tracking Poll

President Obama now holds the biggest lead he has enjoyed since the spring.

For many on the right, these polls contradict their theory of the race. From the beginning, the most vocal critics of the President believed he would be a sitting duck, ripe for the GOP to vanquish President Obama to Illinois, Hawaii or Kenya to hear many of them talk about it.

So why isn’t it happening? Isn’t he’s a foreign socialist Kenyan immigrant hell-bent on installing Sharia law who has no regard for the American way, American troops or the American people?

Many of them believe that– and that’s why Romney is losing. He’s a prisoner to their thinking.

The right wing blogosphere has created this internet meme of the President that seems perfectly believable inside their echo chamber but seems just as implausible to the rest of the world.

Think of most anyone in public life: a celebrity, an athlete or a politician will do. Our perceptions are formed by their body of work in many cases. A series of tiny bits of information that overall create a sense of who a person is. Through publicizing what they do or hiding what they do, it creates an image.

What the right has done to the President is no exception.

Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin is one of the key architects of the distorted image of President Obama perpetrated by the radical right.

Here’s a small example. On Friday, Michelle Malkin, one of the right’s most vicious and ludicrous yarn-spinners when it comes to the President, posted the President’s schedule for the day on her blog. She mentions the President’s security brief, meeting with the US Olympic and Paralympics athletes and lunch with Vice President Biden. She jumps from there immediately to a campaign fundraiser held Friday night.

She skipped something. Did you catch it? If you were near a TV on Friday afternoon or picked up a newspaper on Saturday you saw that the President’s afternoon was consumed with another event. It was an event that she knew about because she pulled the official schedule from the White House.

The President’s afternoon was primarily spent at Joint Base Andrews to welcome home the four Americans killed in Libya on Tuesday.

It’s a small detail, and doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme, but it’s the details that paint the right wing’s bizarre online meme of Barack Obama. Its intent is to somehow hide the fact that Obama is the President and does care about American lives. It instead paints a picture of the President as a man consumed with the fun stuff of the Presidency and his efforts to hang on to the White House through fundraising.

This week, the right wing media capitalized on the attacks on US interests in Egypt and Libya to peddle another one of the pieces of the image it has created for the President: he’s weak and aloof.

The argument crystallized in the reporting on right wing news site newsmax.com which was quick to point out that President Obama reads his Presidential Daily Brief and sometimes does not participate in an in-person security briefing.

While the claim is structurally true, what they fail to point out is that the President can ask questions of the intelligence people who create the brief at any time by secure telephone and online video conferencing. Having the briefer who delivers the PDB in the room has no impact on security in the end. It’s useful to point out that on Aug. 6, 2001, President Bush received an in-person PDB in Crawford, Texas headlined “Bin Laden Determined to strike in US.”

Ask yourself if having an in-person briefer there that morning made a difference. Different people consume information in different ways.

Over the last few days Fox News has tried to peddle the charge that President Obama is somehow weak on security and terrorists. Ask al-Qaeda how they feel about that one. One of the worst kept secret programs of the Obama administration is the devastating Predator drone operation that has decimated al-Qaeda since the President came into office.

Predator drone

The not-so-secret Predator drone program run by the Obama administration has dealt a crippling blow to al-Qaeda leadership.

“Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical,” according to the New York Times report.

The right wing also has asserted that the President got a gift from al-Qaeda in the form of Osama bin Laden. On Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh asserted that the terrorist group gave bin Laden up so that he could be killed by the Obama administration.

Why? Because al-Qaeda wanted President Obama to “look good.”

So there’s the right wing meme of the President: he’s an aloof, ineffectual celebrity President without awareness of the world around him who has little regard for American lives. He might also be part of an al-Qaeda conspiracy.

So where does that leave Mitt Romney?

He’s chained to it.

Political analysts of all stripes and ideological leanings will tell you that this is largely a base election. Politico reports that there are between six and eight percent of voters in the electorate who are undecided. In 2008 there were about 11 percent undecideds going into the general election campaign.

Both the Obama campaign in Chicago and the Romney campaign in Boston know getting out the base is the key to victory. Alternately, keeping the other side’s base away also helps out, which is why GOP legislatures around the country are trying to enact voter ID laws to suppress  Democratic voters among the poor, the elderly or minorities.

For the candidates, a base election means that keeping every vote on your side of the ideological divide is crucial to winning. For Romney, it means pandering to the people who believe the internet meme of President Obama.

Reince Tweet

GOP Chairman Reince Priebus tweets about the attacks in North Africa.

On Tuesday night, the Romney campaign pounced on an attack on the US diplomatic outposts in Libya and Egypt in an attempt to characterize the President as sympathizing with those who would attack Americans, fundamentally accusing the President of treason.

“The Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” said the release.

Emailed to reporters just after 10PM EDT, the statement was embargoed until midnight to keep with the recent tradition to refrain from negative campaigning on 9/11.

GOP chairman Reince Priebus tried to keep it classy too, waiting until 12:01 on Sept. 12 to send out his screed against the President.

The trouble is that the statement about “sympathizing with the attackers” refers to a communication from the Cairo Embassy before the attacks had happened. Diplomatic staffers were simply trying to respond to the incendiary film that was believed to be the catalyst for the unrest.

Despite having more information on the attacks Wednesday morning, including the news of the death of US Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya, Romney doubled down on his false attack in a hastily arranged press availability timed to beat the President’s Rose Garden statement to the air.

Accusing the President of “apologizing for America,” Romney perpetuated his own part of the false mythology of President Obama that he originally injected via his book “No Apology,” in which he accuses the President of beginning his administration by going on a global apology tour. Like most of the other claims by the right, this one has been roundly debunked by researchers.

But it’s a base election, so mobilizing the base is key, and that means doubling down on any false attack from the right that drives the phony mythology of President Obama.

Romney has also tied himself in knots over the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare has long been the most hated piece of legislation pushed by the President. The law will provide insurance to thousands more children, college students and poor people while also eliminating the ability for insurers to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions.

The law also eliminates copays for many preventative procedures like mammograms, blood testing for cholesterol levels and checkups.

The right fears Obamacare because it could be another constituency for Democrats much like civil rights, Social Security and Medicare spawned.

When health care reform was injected into the public debate, it became a rallying cry for the Tea Party, originally a group of tax activists who have morphed into cultural warriors and the most strident believers in the Obama Mythology. They are also a vital grassroots constituency for Republicans.

Cleaving to the notion that President is a closet socialist (another debunked claim), the right has consistently claimed that Obamacare is socialized medicine (it’s not, it simply creates a more equitable market environment for consumers of private insurance).

Last Sunday on Meet the Press with David Gregory, Romney stated that he liked parts of Obamacare and would keep them in place as part of his own healthcare reform. Unfortunately, complete repeal of the law is the rallying cry of the right. By Sunday afternoon, Romney had walked back his statements because of fears it would offend the right.

Of course, it’s useful to point out that all of the pieces of the law he wanted to keep were the parts that had already been phased in and have proven to be popular, despite the claims from Republicans that the law would undo the very fabric of our country.

Twice in the last week, he has been forced to cleave to the image of the President perpetuated by the right.

First, he was forced to walk back his statements that some of Obamacare was a good thing because the right believes that the President’s legislation is socialist (though for the life of me I’ll never know why being able to get a mammogram without a copay is an evil plot).

To many Americans, that makes him look like a flip-flopper going against his own convictions evidenced by his own healthcare legislation in Massachusetts.

Second, he was forced to double down on the accusation that the President is “apologizing” for America because of a statement issued by US foreign service workers half a world away trying to quell anticipated violence.

In this case, he looks like a crass political opportunist trying to capitalize on an incident where Americans were killed abroad.

In both cases, he just looks like a guy who has no belief system other than the one prescribed by the right wing media monster and its distorted view of the President. He seems to be a man who has no rationale for his candidacy other than “I want to be President so you should fire the other guy.”

That’s just in the last eight days.

It’s useful to remember that despite his overwhelming funding advantage in the primary, more Tea Party friendly candidates like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum gave Romney fits. The Tea Party and the extremists on the right never bought Mitt Romney.

Now he has to sell himself to them all over again.

Inside the right wing echo chamber online, in think tanks, and in pockets around the country and particularly in the south (here’s looking at you South Carolina), there is a sense that the majority of the American people line up with the Obama mythology. People in the Romney campaign think that too evidently.

At each fork in the road, the Romney campaign has chosen to cleave to the views of the right instead of the popular strategy of tacking to the center in the general election.

They seem to think that moving to the right is where to find the voters, but they’re missing the point by driving the Obama internet meme. The people they’re trying to pick up already believe all of it, while the people Romney needs to pick up don’t believe any of it.

Meanwhile, that narrow band of six to eight percent of undecideds don’t believe it. If they believed that President Obama was a secret terrorist sympathizer who had no regard for Americans and was planning to socialize the country, they’d be in the Romney column.

So would a lot of Democrats– they love their country too.

The Republicans and the Romney campaign don’t seem to get that. They’ve decided that the true patriots, believers of the internet myth who hate the President, will propel him to victory. In the right wing echo chamber, if you’re not a Republican you’re un-American. In fact, you’re probably a communist. At least that’s what Rep. Allen West (R-FL) thinks.

Republicans think they’re the last bastion of freedom. That is, unless it’s a woman choosing to do what she wants with her body, allowing each citizen to vote, allowing people of all faiths to worship where they choose or allowing people to marry who they love or any number of places that freedom doesn’t matter.

The only freedoms they seemed to be worried about is the ability to carry an assault rifle to the movies or be unburdened by the taxes to pay for the wars they seem so anxious to begin anew or continue.

If you think that makes the Democrats a bunch of pacifists for bringing up the wisdom of the war in Iraq, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. What is the truth is that the Romney campaign has filled itself with neoconservative foreign policy hands who were the architects of the ill-conceived Iraq War. Google Dan Senor and try to figure that one out.

The new radical right also thinks everyone is free to live in poverty and go hungry and slip through the cracks without healthcare, education or a fair shot to get ahead in life.

They rant about the debt and forget their culpability in it. Two wars, a prescription drug benefit and a tax cut all in the Bush administration placed the economy on the road to ruin that culminated in the financial collapse four years ago this weekend. They promote more tax cuts to fix our woes when there is not much evidence to support tax cuts as a solution.

That’s why Romney is losing and that’s why the GOP-dominated House of Representatives fails. All of us are Americans and less than half of us are Republicans or believers of the Obama internet meme to which Romney clings.

On Saturday, Rick Santorum addressed the Values Voter Summit in Washington.”We will never have the elite, smart people on our side,” he said.

If you believe the polling, you’re right Senator. More than half of Americans don’t buy any of it.

Follow Hank Epton on Twitter @HankEpton

Hank can also be reached at hankepton@yahoo.com.

Acting Today to Make a Difference

Acting Today to Make a DifferenceOne of the things that many of us do in addiction is procrastinate. We will often put off things that we believe can wait until another day. Often we will also put off things that must be done immediately.

For some of us, that mindset keeps us from our recovery. We are told that recovery is possible and that help is available, but we decide “maybe tomorrow.”

To accomplish our goals, to move forward in life, and to end our addiction, action is required. While long term sobriety seems like a far off and unattainable goal, it begins with the small goal of getting help and managing not to use drugs or alcohol today.

Goals require work, and it is up to us to put in the work to help us recover from drugs and alcohol. Others can offer us guidance on what we should do to help us recover, but ultimately we must do the work— our friends, our family, and our therapists have to ultimately allow us to do our own lifting when it comes to building a new life.

Early in recovery, the idea of long term recovery can seem daunting. In the days after deciding to stop using drugs, alcohol, and other substances, forever seems like a long time and can be overwhelming.

There is an old phrase that teaches us to never bite off more than we can chew. It is better to take small bites. For many of us, just asking for help is an enormous victory. It is just a first step, but without it the next step is not possible.

Avoid the temptation to think too far down the road in recovery. When the builder begins the house, the lot must be graded before the foundation can be placed, and the foundation must be placed before the house can rise up. In treatment, remove the dark forest and get the lot graded, and then lay the foundation that allows you to build the house over time.

Remember, building a house looks like hard work, but it is a series of smaller tasks that makes it happen. Do not procrastinate because the house seems too large; just grab the first brick in the foundation.