Methadone

In February of this year, Points, the blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, had an interesting post by Sam Roberts which explored the history of methadone treatment in the United States. Roberts looked at the history of a 1976 documentary, Methadone: An American Way of Dealing to explain the complicated history of addiction treatment.

I worked in a methadone treatment center for four years and thought that it was helpful for preventing some people from relapsing and going back to heroin use. Since the time I worked  in the clinic, more treatments, especially buprenorphine, have become available. Buprenorphine has the advantage that a doctor, after training, can prescribe the medicine, freeing the patient from daily attendance at a clinic.

After my experience with Noom, which is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), I have mixed feelings about people seeking addiction treatment not having to attend a clinic daily. In my quest to lose weight, one of the most effective things I did was weigh myself daily. This helped me develop a habit of thinking consciously about my food choices, Attending a methadone clinic daily could have the same effect for some people.

Support while one is changing behavior is critical for success. How to provide and maintain that support is the open question in the area of opioid addiction.

 

To Tweet Or Not

On Sunday, after I learned that Elon Musk had reinstated Donald Trump. I started thinking more seriously about stopping my own presence on Twitter. Deactivation of my account seemed like an extreme move and I wasn’t ready for that yet. Instead, using the focus tools I have access to, I blocked Facebook and Twitter 24 hours every day except Friday. My plan is to continue posting about my blog on both sites.

My habit for the past few months has been to tweet my Wordle and Nerdle results every evening after I have played each game. On Sunday, after I completed Wordle in six tries, which is the maximum, I looked for another platform to post my results.

I thought I would try Instagram but it was beyond my technological abilities. While I was googling how to post on Instagram, I came across Charles Blow’s article about his experiences reducing his access to Twitter. Reading it confirmed my desire to disengage.

I am at the beginning of my journey to disentangle myself from social media. I plan to explore other ways besides Facebook and Twitter to promote my blog, Brewing Battles and, hopefully, a published Dames, Dishes, and Degrees. I will let you know what I come up with.

What to Write

Today is Wednesday and I am at Nerissa’s writing group. I have missed a bunch of meetings and it feels like I have been gone for much longer. I most often use this time to write a blog post, but I am at a loss of what to write.

From the third week of October to the beginning of November, we traveled. We arrived home on November 7th, the day before Election Day. I had so much anxiety about what was going to happen during the midterm elections, as well as worry about the relative I visited in Florida, and no sense of what I should do next on my book.

Although we have been home nine days, the first week back was a wash. I had a lot of trouble reintegrating myself into my daily existence despite being thrilled to be home. In Florida, where we spent 10 days no one wore masks, and it seemed like no one cared about COVID anymore. Once we got home, back to saner western Massachusetts, more people were wearing masks and seemed to realize that COVID hasn’t gone anywhere. A cruise ship that just embarked in Australia had eight hundred passengers with COVID.

So far, my husband and I have escaped getting COVID which is amazing. It feels like everyone is going to get it at some point. On the other hand, since my husband has asthma, I have tried extremely hard to protect and prevent us from getting the virus.

Before I left for Florida, I had finished a second draft of my manuscript. I also have a few queries and proposals to some publishers. I had originally intended to do NaNoWriMo when I returned from Florida, but now that I’m back I have decided not to. I didn’t work on the book at all the first week we were back, but two days ago I did start working on the introduction.

Introductions and conclusions – I haven’t written any conclusion yet- are the hardest parts of a book to write. The standard introduction to a nonfiction history book where the author tells you what is in every chapter doesn’t feel like the kind of introduction I want for my book. Having said that, I don’t really know what kind of introduction I do want

My plan is to continue to work on the introduction and then read aloud the eight chapters to see if they hold together as a book. In other words, if a reader finishes chapter one do they feel compelled to go to chapter two and so on. I am also going to try to send out more queries and book proposals in my, as of yet, never-ending attempt to get a publisher. As always, I will keep you posted about my progress.

Internal Revenue

Yesterday, President Biden announced that he was appointing Daniel Werfel to be the new Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Both his confirmation and the reform agenda Biden wants Werfel to pursue could be in jeopardy if the Republicans gain control of Congress.

The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) earmarked eighty billion dollars for revamping and modernizing the perpetually underfunded agency. A Republican Senate might be reluctant to confirm Werfel. If he does get confirmed, a Republican House might chose to apply intense scrutiny to the way he and the IRS spend the money allotted to them.

There are many reasons for rooting for the Democrats to retain control of both houses. Getting an efficient well-run IRS which would then succeed in collecting more taxes from both individuals and businesses is just another reason to hope Democrats win.

Because it is so important to retain Democratic control of at least the Senate, I encourage everyone to work to get Reverend Raphael Warnock reelected in the Georgia runoff on Dec. 6th.

Skate America

I am watching Skate Canada while I am writing about my attendance at Skate America last week. Both competitions are part of what is known as the Grand Prix figure skating series. The International Skating Union (ISU) sponsors this series of competitions each season.

Skate America was the first in the series and was held at the Skating Club of Boston’s beautiful facility in Norwood, Massachusetts. I was extremely excited to go to this competition for several reasons. My coach is on a synchronized skating team from Skating Club of Boston, so I was really interested to see where she skates every Monday.

I was also anticipating seeing such athletes as Ilia Malinin and Gracie Gold compete. Although it was a lot of days and sometimes the rink was frigid, I had a wonderful time. I saw Ilia complete his quadruple axle which was thrilling beyond words.

I found Gracie Gold’s performance very moving. She has shown such grace and determination in her brave attempt at a comeback. Gracie is really an inspiration to anyone who has ever suffered defeat, mental or emotional distress, or physical disabilities.

I also had several celebrity sightings and interactions which made the event even more exciting. The first day there I had a nice conversation with Jackie Wong from Rocker Skating about media coverage of skating and how  the USFSA doesn’t always appear to be aware of  the best way to maintain and grow its’ fan base.

I spoke to Ilia Malinin after he had finished his practice and before he went on to the ring to complete his competition which included his successful quadruple axle. I also had conversations with Ashley Wagner and Mirai Nagasu. I attended the 2016 Worlds in Boston in Boston and saw Ashley Wagner when she won her silver medal, I have always been a fan of Mirai Nagasu, and it was nice to have a brief conversation with her.

The last big competition I attended was Nationals in San Jose  2018. I went with my cousin Marla who died this past June. May her memory be for a blessing.

It is always inspiring to see skating in person and Skate America was no exception. However, it was very draining so I may wait a few months or maybe a few years to attend another big competition in person.  Worlds will be in Montreal in 2024 and in Boston in 2025. Those two will probably be the next opportunities for me to go to something in person.

We came home from Skate America on Monday and tomorrow we are going on another trip. My next blog post will be November 11.

Book Progress

I completed my second self-initiated NaNoWriMo today. It is a little confusing because I thought I was going to stop yesterday when I set up the counter in NaNoWriMo, but I worked two hours today. NaNoWriMo will not let me add the two hours without creating a new goal, so I am not going to bother.

I worked for twenty-one days out of the twenty-seven because I had to take a few days off for the Jewish holidays, some other activities, and a personal matter. I worked approximately ninety-eight minutes a day for a total of over thirty-four hours.

I now have a second draft of all the chapters except one. I hope to complete the revision on the first chapter by the end of this month. I am not going to start the official NaNoWriMo until Nov. 9th or 10th and then will work the remainder of November.

Next week I will be attending Skate America which is in Boston so I will not have a blog post Friday, Oct. 21st. Tune in again on Oct. 28th.

Angela Lansbury

My original plan for today’s post was to update you about progress on my book. However, on Tuesday, Angela Lansbury died,so I have decided to say something about that today. Tomorrow, which will be the last day of my latest self-initiated NaNoWriMo, I will post about that process.

As my faithful readers will remember, from the end of 2021 to the beginning of 2022, I watched every episode of Murder She Wrote and read a book by Angela Lansbury. More recently, I read a book that had Jessica Fletcher as the heroine.

When Angela Lansbury died this Tuesday, the New York Times ran an obituary which included  a mini documentary about her life. It featured her speaking. Something she said was very meaningful. “I’m an actress not just a pretty face.”

She was a woman of character and immense talent, and I really admired her. You can read my post about Murder She Wrote here.

ATF Appointment

This past July, Steven Dettelbach became the first permanent director that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and explosives has had in seven years. Dettlebach was not President Biden’s first choice, but he turned out to be the nominee who the Senate was willing to confirm. You can read about that here.

The ATF has always been a federal agency under attack from the NRA and the gun lobby. President Obama also had trouble staffing the Bureau. You can read my blog post about that, from 2013, here.

Dettelbach’s appointment pleased gun control and safety advocates who also had a victory with modest gun legislation passing this past summer. President Biden’s agenda for the ATF under Dettelbach includes cracking down on ghost guns and better oversight of federally licensed gun dealers.

This past week news broke that indicates Biden and his new director are making a difference. The revocation of guns has occurred at the highest rate since 2006. You can read more about the ATF’s work here. Hopefully, both the appointment of Dettelbach and President Biden’s commitment to meaningful gun control will lead to a reduction in gun deaths and mass killings.

Reading Report

I had originally planned to do a post about my summer reading. Because I have been working so hard on Dames, Dishes, and Degrees and just posting about that, the blog about my reading kept getting postponed.

Now it is Fall so I have produced a new plan. I will just tell you about some of the twelve books I read  from the end of June until September 19. The book ranges from the ridiculous to the sublime. My brain is often so full of the manuscript and revisions that, in the evening, when I am trying to relax, I want to read unexacting books.

In that vein, I read a Hannah Swensen mystery, Christmas Cake Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke. The Hallmark movie series, Murder She Baked is based on the Fluke books.

As you may remember, a while ago, I watched all of Murder She Wrote with Angela Lansbury. There have been almost sixty spinoff novels that the series inspired. I read Skating on Thin Ice by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain. Obviously, I picked that one because it was about skating.

I also read Maggie’s California Diaries by Ann M Martin. It is about characters from the babysitter’s club series. These three books were all easy reads and there was nothing unpleasant to think about.

I also read several nonfiction books which were ostensibly more serious and maybe more taxing. Three of them –  They Called Us Girls; Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men by Kathleen Courtenay Stone, All Stirred Up: Suffrage Cookbooks, Food and the Battle for Women’s Right to Vote  by Laura Kumin and Educated American Women: Self Portraits by Eli Ginzburg and Alice M. Yohalem.

I read these books for insight into how to organize my manuscript into a publishable book.  They Called Us Girls and Educated  American Women were okay. All Stirred Up was terrible. It was a mishmash of recipes and rehashed history. Reading these three books was not that helpful an exercise, so I   have put on hold reading more books for that purpose.

My favorite book from this reading journey was Small Marvels: Stories by Scott Russell Sanders. I loved this book. The writing was particularly good,  and the author conveyed the humanity of the characters beautifully. Both funny and sad, Small Marvels shows that ordinary people can do extraordinary things by the relationships they have and what they do for and with the people in their lives. I could have kept reading more about Gordon Mills and his family. I was sorry when it ended.

ALS Walk 2022

On September 11th of this year, I participated in the annual ALS Walk. I had signed up in June and had a goal of $250 for my fundraising. I actually raised $515 in a relatively brief period of time. I then got very busy, as you may remember, working on my book and didn’t do any more work towards raising more money.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow, and breathe. The life expectancy of a person with ALS averages 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis. ALS can strike anyone, and presently there is no known cause or cure.

Both my brother, Fred Mittelman and my first cousin, Lowell Stewart died from this terrible disease. I pray no one else will.

The fundraising effort is continuing, and I would like to encourage all my readers, especially those who are so interested in meths drinking, to donate some money. With your help, we will be able to make a difference in the lives of people affected by this disease. This is the link to my Facebook fundraising page.

 

%d bloggers like this: