Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Weekend and a study on alcohol use

We had a nice Easter weekend, going out on the boat and staying from Friday through Sunday.  Although it was windy,  the temperatures were up in the 60's (F) which made it comfortable for walking the beach.

I thought a lot about the meaning of Easter.  And here is my take on it: There was a very giving fellow many years ago. He may or may not be very special to you, but he continued to give as others took. I think of him as an incredible poet that wrote with his actions. And his actions were simply to others took and humiliated him, made jokes of him, his words and others beat him and laughed at his pain, he steadfastly gave...simply gave all that he had to give. I look for that poet today....his body long gone, his poetry remains....Easter is a remembrance of this.
Sunsets are an awesome part of the day on the water

Our Labrador is relaxing after a row to shore and a beach walk
Getting to shore in the dinghy can be exciting when it's windy
Because I am supportive of graduate studies, having been a graduate student myself many years ago, I am posting here a request from CJ who is working towards his Ph.D. in clinical psychology.  Read what he has to say about his research and give him a hand by filling out his survey.  All results are anonymous and you will get to be a part of a study that will hopefully be published.  Good stuff.

Dear Readers of I'm just F.I.N.E., 
My name is CJ and I am a graduate student working towards my Ph.D. in clinical psychology. I am currently working on my dissertation research, which focuses on a partner's role in a person's decision to seek help for alcohol use issues. I first became interested in researching alcohol use issues when I began working at a VA hospital in my hometown. The number of veterans who are returning with problematic alcohol use is increasing at an alarming rate. Working with this population led me to look into alcohol use issues more broadly, and I found that there is a major discrepancy between the number of people who struggle with alcohol on a regular basis and the number of people who seek any kind of help for it (ranging anywhere from participating in online forums to participating in more focused meetings or treatment). This has the potential to be a major issue given that alcohol use can be a risk factor for suicide, domestic violence, and other serious issues with family and employment.

I am passionate now about understanding and bridging this gap between the need in the community and the resources that are available. In my graduate work, I have focused on working with couples in a clinical setting and in my research, and so it was my natural inclination to try to understand this issue from a family perspective. Broadly, I am interested in knowing if and how a person's partner plays a major role in his/her decision to seek help for alcohol problems. Is it often a person's spouse who convinces him/her to speak to someone about alcohol problems, or are other factors more important? Does a spouse's own drinking behavior or help-seeking behavior play a role in a drinker's decision about his/her own behavior? Given the important role of the family in our overall mental and physical health, I expect that a person's partner plays a major role in many of his/her decisions, but I hope to understand this phenomena better, again to find ways to bridge the gap between those who may need to make a change and the services available to them.

To participate in my research project, please see the information below. The study is intended for both members of a married couple (you will be directed accordingly based on whether you are the partner who has expressed concern or you are the partner whom your spouse is concerned about), and is entirely anonymous. The study is completed entirely online, and should take each partner about 20 minutes. Please click on the link below to get started.

Thanks and best wishes!

Participate in a survey on couples and alcohol use and enter to win a raffle!

Are you and your spouse legally married (or in a civil union) and at least 18 years of age?
Do you or your partner currently consume alcoholic beverages at least once a month?
Is alcohol use an area of disagreement in your marriage?

If you answered yes to the above questions, you and your spouse are eligible to participate in a research survey regarding the relationship between your marriage and your alcohol-related help seeking behaviors. When you complete the survey, you will each be entered into a raffle for one of four $50 gift cards!

The survey will take each participant approximately 20 minutes, and survey responses will be anonymous.

Please start here:
This study has been approved by the Clark Committee for the Rights of Human Participants in Research and Training Programs (IRB). Any questions about human rights issues should be directed to the IRB Chair, Dr. James P. Elliott, 508-793-7152, The study is being conducted by C.J. Fleming, M.A. and James Cordova, Ph.D. in the Psychology Department at Clark University. Please feel free to contact the researcher ( ) or the research supervisor ( ) with any questions or concerns.


  1. The rebirth of every day is quite enough mystery and miracle for me. Sometimes I wonder what Jesus was actually like in real life. Sometimes I wonder if he really existed at all or was just a composite of different men, gods, myths.

  2. Your story made me think of the The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I think Jesus would like being known as a poet. Not that I can speak for Him of course....the ultimate in arrogance! LOL

  3. sorry i cant help on the research project...i dont qualify...but i am in grad school currently myself...will be glad when i get through this week and finish two classes and be back to just 2 classes...four is a bit much...smiles. i like your take on easter...and the poet in his actions, ha i like that well my friend...

  4. Happy Easter, Syd. I can't get next to your Easter story, but I love the attempt to make Jesus more inclusive. I wish your friend all the best in his dissertation. Tough stuff, that terminal degree.

  5. Happy Easter Monday, Syd!

    Your beautiful rendition of a POET was quite touching. This is a wonderful approach to Higher-Powerism - especially for those who have doubts, or those who are looking for names for their Higher Power. I know someone who used the internal feeling, 'ENERGY,' which I found and still do find - quite profound.

    Now - I think your friend has hit the 'jackpot' for survey information on his college project regarding alcoholics, alcoholism, and those who love these wonderful folks. I, much like Brian above, feel unqualified; however, I had to remember back when I first came into the Al-Anon fellowship that I did not have faith in a HP, nor did I believe my hubby was truly an alcoholic - as he purported he was - even prior to our marriage. This was over 20 years into our marriage, and a wise counselor finally hit a nerve with me, as well as with our 5 children, that my alcoholic had severely affected his entire family with the 'disease.' I was of the opinion that he simply was a party animal, loving the good time, and I had learned to side-step his unacceptable (to me) behavior, and pretend I did not mind.

    Anyway, to get to the point, I think that CJ will be able to collect all he needs just by researching your blog. Just about every Al-Anon story I have heard contains quite a variety of information that he is probably searching for.

    Please wish him good luck for me.

    And, I'm so glad the Spring-Easter period of the year is welcoming you back into your need for some serenity and peace.

    Love and Hugs,
    Anonymous #1

  6. A lovely post, Syd and I love the picture of your lab "chilling out".
    I don't qualify either for the study since I am widowed and with noone in the house. Too bad since I got to AA by an intervention and it's kindof what he's researching I think.

  7. The Christ as a poet---yeah I can get behind that analogy. Glad that you and C were able to get away for a couple of days. Man send some of that warm air's only 28 right now in Detroit.

    Sorry it's been too long since drinking was an issue for me to take CJ's survey but he can send me a gift card just for shits and grins!

  8. As temperatures warm and days lengthen isn't it funny how our spirits lift even when the winter has brought such sadness.

  9. Syd,

    Survey or no survey, I'm still powerless over alcohol.


  10. Syd,
    Survey or no survey, I'm still powerless over alcohol.


  11. Beautiful images, and poetry itself, about Easter and the man who we honored this past weekend. I get a few more weeks until Orthodox Easter. Anyone in your coastal digs celebrate that version. Look it up, this year it is in May? My mom is sending our son's Easter basket in time for Orthodox Easter this year. As a girl, she had two Easters every year, as her mom was Lutheran and her dad Orthodox Ukrainian.

    Love, Smitty


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