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A View From the Watchroom

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Barry K. Wyrick, MS, MBA

Chief Operating Officer

Please click here for an introduction to the author and this blog.

Below are the first parts of my posts to this blog in reverse date order. There is a link in each section to read the entire post.

A Random Act of Kindness (7-20-15)

One of the things that I have found very meaningful in my life is the practice of random acts of kindness.  It’s not usually big things.  I am the one who will stop and let someone else go through the aisle first at the grocery store.  I work hard at smiling at everyone I meet.  I work very hard to find a kind word whenever I can.  When I can help someone, I will.  I don’t do this for anyone but myself—it feels good.  Imagine my surprise when the Universe decided to pay me back.  (Please click here to read the entire post)

Hunting the Key Deer (7/13/15)

This post is the third of my posts from my recent vacation.  I hope that you find it entertaining.

Today was my day to explore Big Pine Key in search of the elusive (ha!) and endangered Key Deer.  The Key Deer is the smallest sub-species of the Whitetail Deer, standing at maturity between 24 and 28 inches at the shoulder.  I left at daybreak (OK, a comfortable 7:30 a.m.).  After a ham and cheese omelet at IHOP (an intrepid hunter needs his strength!), I crossed the famed Seven Mile Bridge, hopped a couple of small keys, and arrived at Big Pine Key, home of the National Key Deer Refuge.  I made a quick stop at the National Key Deer Refuge Visitor Center (in of all places a Winn-Dixie shopping plaza) to pick up a map so that I wouldn’t get lost again.  The gentleman in the visitor center gave me a map and showed me three particular areas of interest that I should explore.  (Please click here to read the entire post)

Feed the Fish (7/6/15)

This is the second of three posts regarding my recent vacation.  Do not read this if you are eating.  The posts is intended to be somewhat humorous, with an important life lesson.

I had planned this particular activity for months.  During my vacation, I was going to snorkel at Looe Key, one of the premier diving sites in the Caribbean.  The day was beautiful—blue sky with big, fluffy, white clouds; a lovely breeze out of the south; the water the unique shade of aqua characteristic of the Keys.  I was traveling with the Looe Key Reef Resort and Dive Center (mile marker 27.5 on Ramrod Key).  The dive boat was stable and comfortable.  The trip to the reef was short.  The dive boat was gently rocking after tying up to the mooring ball (please remember this).  The day could not have started better. (Please click here to read the entire post)

Taking Care (7/1/15)

As I start to write this post, I am sitting in the Cracked Conch Cafe in Marathon, Florida.  The windows are open, the ceiling fans spinning, and a delightful breeze off the ocean moves through the room.  Today is my birthday and the beginning of what I am calling my “Hemingway Weekend.”  For the next five days, I am staying at the Yellowtail Inn in Marathon, a funky little seaside inn, that will never get five stars, but is perfect for an absolute escape.  I am looking forward to some relaxation, some commune with nature, and sitting on the back porch and writing.  I find that sometimes I have to get away from the rush of my typical life in order to open my mind and let the words flow off my pen. (Please click here to read the entire post)

What My Cats Have Taught Me About Living (6/15/15)

If you have read my previous posts, and if you look at my picture above, you know of my love for my dogs, and how special that relationship is to me.  One of my previous posts was “What My Dogs Have Taught Me About Living.”  Today I would like to turn my attention to my other kids—my cats.  While I have been the proud parent of a number of dogs, I have also shared my home with several cats.  Cats teach us lessons that are far different than those we learn from our dogs.  (Please click here to read the entire post)

We’re Back! (6/4/15)

It is with our sincerest apologies and with great pride that we announce that our website at www.lighthouseaddiction.com and my blog on this site are back up and operational.  We are still working on completing all of the information on the site, but we have completed the process for you to register on the site and provide comments on my blog posts or to contact us with any questions that you may have.  (Please click here to read the entire post)

The “Other” in the Mirror (7/22/14)

I apologize for the long absence between my posts.  The reason is actually a good one—and good news for our agency.  Since I have last written to all of you, our agency has proceeded to within one piece of paper from the state of getting our Medicaid license, we have received our first state contract (which means opening and licensing two new offices within a 30 day period), and we are engaged in discussions to open our first office outside of the state of Florida.  As Chief Operating Officer for the agency, implementation of all of these new projects falls to me.  I just have to keep reminding myself that these are “good” problems.  However, the difficulty that I am experiencing is that with all of the new responsibilities, none of my old responsibilities have gone away.  So today, I am sitting in one of our new offices waiting for the cable installer to show up (the old sometime between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.).  Why do I keep getting images of Jim Carey in my head? (Please click here to read the complete post)

Why I Can’t Ask For Help (6/8/14)

This post is a significant departure from what I have written about in my previous posts.  In it, I describe one of my own deepest personal conflicts.  I wish that I could say that I have this figured out—I don’t.  I hope that my sharing of my own experiences and my thoughts may help you if you struggle with a similar difficulty.

We have had several situations at our agency over the past couple of weeks where we were working with people who had gotten themselves into bad situations but were unable to stop and ask for help.  If we are not careful, it is very easy to become judgmental in these situations and say to the person, “Why didn’t you just ask me for help?”  And the answer to that question is far more complex than the observed behavior of men who will drive around lost for an hour rather than stop and ask for directions. (Please click here to read the entire post)

So Your Day Is Not Starting Off Too Well (5/8/14)

Again, a little different post today.  We can all use a good chuckle.  I thought that I would share mine with you.

You can see from my picture that accompanies this post that I wear a beard (and also that I love my English Springer Spaniel very much!).  But let me talk about my beard.  Many men who wear a beard shave and then grow it back at various times in their lives.  I have had my beard for thirty-eight years—straight.  Since I grew it, I have never shaved it off.  And although it has now turned completely white (I can’t even call it grey), it is a part of my appearance, which makes it a part of me.  I have had to tolerate going bald, gaining my “middle-aged middle,” and having every part of my body turn against me (such are the joys of aging).  But at least the hair on my face still grows, and that’s the way I want it. (Please click here to read the entire post)

What My Dogs Have Taught Me About Living (3/28/15)

I have had the distinct pleasure of having been adopted by many dogs in my life.  We may think that we adopt them, but for those of you who truly understand dogs, you know that they own us far more than we own them.  I know that there are many cute lists on the internet about what dogs teach us.  I even have a t-shirt that has many of those witty sayings on it.  But I want to share my own experience about what my dogs have taught me about living. (Please click here to read the entire post)

Wisdom (3/10/14)

This post is the completion of my series of posts about the three parts of the Serenity Prayer.  Again, as a reminder, the famous prayer of American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr is, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”  For this post, I am going to be discussing the final part of the prayer—wisdom to know the difference. (Please click here to read the entire post)

Courage (2/12/14)

I want to apologize for the long delay between my posts.  I could make excuses (holidays, busy at work, etc.), but the fact is I got stuck as I was writing this post, and I could not find a way to say what I wanted to say at the end of the article.  This morning, I was discussing a completely different issue with one of my fellow staff members, and that discussion unblocked me.  So again, sorry for the delay—I hope that what occurred to me this morning will be helpful to you. (Please click here to read the entire post)

Serenity (12/2/13)

For those of you who have any experience in the substance abuse field, the words of the Serenity Prayer should be fairly familiar.  For those of you who are not familiar, the famous prayer of American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr is, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”  (It is amazing what just five minutes of research can find.  I wanted to make sure that I quoted the prayer correctly, so I Googled it, and found that I, along with many others, have been incorrectly attributing this prayer to St. Francis of Assisi for my entire professional life—it is always hard for me to say that I am wrong, but it is also always good for me, so here goes—I was wrong).  For my next three blog posts, I am going to discuss each of the three sections in this prayer.  Today, I would like to talk about serenity. (Please click here to read the entire post)

When Your Number is Up…or How Death Gives Meaning to Life (10/18/13)

I have a belief about life and death that some would call fatalistic and others might call cynical.  I have come to believe in the randomness and unpredictability of the universe, and this belief extends to my thoughts on living with the knowledge that we will die.  I arrived at the belief that you never know when your time is up based on two things that I saw on television on the same weekend nearly 20 years ago.  I am a racing fan, and there were two races on TV that weekend–a Can-Am race and a NASCAR race.  Can-Am racing involves road courses and cars that are very wide and very low to the ground.  Twenty years ago, the series actually had flagmen on the race track, to wave local cautions rather than full course cautions.  (Please click here to read the entire post)

Compassion and Acceptance (11/15/13)

My last couple of posts have been targeted mainly at professional counselors and some of the things with which we struggle.  For today’s post, I would like to address a broader audience—this post is just for people.

I was reminded this week of just how small our world has become and how accessible we are.  I received a message from a high school friend here on this blog, who found me through Google.  I had not seen or talked to this person in 35 years.  As he was bringing me up to date on his life, he wrote something that touched me and has stuck in my mind, and I decided to share it with all of you.  This friend wrote that perhaps the best answer to all of the ups and downs that this life brings us is to express compassion and acceptance in all things. (Please click here to read the entire post)

Compassion Fatigue (10/25/13)

For those of us who work in the helping professions, the very fact that we touch intense pain on a daily basis can take a devastating toll on our own lives.  Let me share one of my poems from my book of poetry, Of Rats and Rhinos .

West Chester Counseling Center

The phone rings—

A mother praying for her son,

A wife crying through blackened eyes,

A teacher holding a child’s bruised hand.

At nine Monday

Her thoughts are frantic,

today crowds tomorrow,

self-hate steals success.

She takes my mind—

arranging, restating, achieving.

At one Wednesday

A couple cries together,

words bitten off in anger,

dreams dashed on broken promises.

They take my heart—

caring, holding, loving again.

At four Thursday

He talks of self-destruction,

help flees in panic,

hope slips through undecided fingers.

He takes my soul—

believing, planning, finding meaning.

At five Friday

I clean my desk,

service reports to the in-box,

appointment book to the briefcase.

Home to my own life—

mindless, heartless, without soul.

(Please click here to read the entire post)

There is No Mission Without Margin (9/26/13)

As I mentioned in my previous post, the counseling profession has struggled with the apparent conflict between being a “helping service” and being a business.  I briefly talked about the origins of this conflict, but I would like to extend that analysis today and talk about its impact on counselors.

Earlier in my career, I had worked for a community mental health center as a program director for their family programs, which was completely funded by state and federal contracts, and the clients who participated in the programs were not liable for any personal payment whatsoever.  My agency then transferred me to be the director of the outpatient programs, including outpatient counseling and psychiatric services.  (Please click here to read the entire post)

Introduction to this Blog and the Author (7/26/13)

As I begin to post to this blog, I believe it is necessary for me to introduce myself to those who are reading this, as my experiences may explain many of my thoughts that will be shared here.  My name is Barry Wyrick, and I currently am employed as the Chief Operating Officer of Lighthouse Addiction Services (an outpatient substance abuse treatment program in Southwestern Florida) and its parent company, Halcyon Management Group.  I have a background as a provider of counseling services and as a manager in human service agencies.  I have masters degrees in Community Counseling and Business Administration. (Please click here to read the entire post)

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