Happy – and Safe – Holidays to You & Yours

Regardless of your religious preference, including none – we hope that the likelihood of the coming year being a much better one than the one we have endured, as well as our sympathy to those of you who have lost loved friends and family – losses we wish could be stopped but which will continue for months to come.

This year it should be easy for every one of us to give the most important gift we can ever bestow – the gift of life, quite literally the gift that will keep on giving.


  • Defer gatherings;
  • Postpone travel;
  • Wear your mask;
  • Maintain distance;
  • Share resources with those who are experiencing ruination;
  • Believe science, not some ignoramus on Facebook or Twitter;
  • Donate whatever you can, be it food, money, or simply tokens of concern.

We in the U.S. could lose another 250,000 or more before the vaccines takes hold. That will bring the total to a number that exceeds those lost in World War II.

That’s not a hoax – that’s a fact.

Do You Have the “Alcoholic” Gene?

Among the many myths that surround excessive alcohol use is the one that suggests that there is a gene that’s responsible. This is a popular variation on the “disease” model and, again, its primary purpose is to absolve the drinker from responsibility, just as AA’s “powerless” model is designed to do. Yes, Dorothy, the devil made you do it.

However, the “gene model” does have at least a shred of support though it doesn’t really get you an “out of responsibility free card.” There are genetic factors which make some of us more likely to “go there.” These include:

  • Liking the taste;
  • High tolerance;
  • No hangovers;
  • High risk taking propensity;
  • Impulsivity.

I don’t know about you, but I score 4 out of 5 (I’m not that fond of the taste). But genes, in this case, are not destiny. They will make it easier to “go there” in the event of trauma, PTSD, and other stress related disorders. But you can relieve or channel these tendencies in other ways.

For some people, athletic sports provide an outlet. I’m a lousy team player – lack the skills and the inclination – but great at motor sports. Motorcycles, snowmobiles and sports cars as well as rock climbing and spelunking always did it for me when trauma overwhelmed me. Even then, these inclinations showed me the way back out.

Next week, I will dwell a bit on a far more important component: family habits and your personal definition of “normal.”

Until then – stay safe, be careful, stay home, live to celebrate another year.