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Dear Doreen Winter 2010

Cape Cod therapist Doreen Quinn has joined our team of contributing writers to answer questions about life issues.. Please let Doreen know what is on your mind.

Dear Doreen,

I am a 20-year-old female who attends Cape Cod Community College. I have had difficulty with eating in the past but over the past few months it has become worse.

I have been eating a bunch of food and throwing it up after I eat it. My weight has gone down a little but it doesn’t stay down so I keep doing the same thing. I don’t want to tell my parents. But I know I should stop. How can I stop?

Diane, Sandwich, MA

Dear Diane,

The behavior you are describing may be an eating disorder called bulimia. You do not state how often you binge on food and then throw up but this behavior can lead to some serious physical as well as psychological issues. This eating disorder won’t automatically stop; it is an issue that has both physical and emotional issues.

If you don’t want to tell your parents I suggest you speak with your primary care physician and discuss your eating behaviors with him or her. There are many options when it comes to managing eating disorders. Your primary care physician can match you with the appropriate resources such as a therapist, nutritionist, and psychiatrist.

Please get some help and support so you can make better choices with your eating.

Good luck,

Dear Doreen,

My husband is a big drinker. He comes home from work every evening and drinks all night long. He usually drinks beer but sometimes he drinks vodka. I have asked him to stop but he doesn’t pay any attention to me. Our children are now in their teens and they are starting to recognize that their father drinks.

What can I do to stop him and protect my children?

Cindy, Orleans, MA

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Dear Cindy,

I am sorry to hear about your husband’s drinking problem. As with any addiction only the person engaging in the behavior can make a choice to stop.

An intervention may be helpful. You and some family members could confront your husband about his drinking behaviors and suggest some resources. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held all over the Cape; you can find Cape locations on the Internet. Giving kind, loving and non-judgmental support is how you can help. Suggesting you attend an AA meeting with him can be helpful.

It is important for you to have an open discussion with your children about their observations and feelings regarding their father’s drinking. A parent that drinks can be confusing to your children. You may want to consider family therapy for all of you or just you and your children if your husband won’t attend.

Asking your husband to engage in couple or individual therapy would be very helpful. Gosnold Inc. located in Falmouth is an excellent resource for individuals with addictions.

Most importantly, you need to take care of yourself. Attend Al-Anon meetings. Al-Anon meetings are support groups for family members and friends of alcoholics. You can find the location of Al-Anon meetings near you on the Internet. If your husband won’t engage in therapy then go by yourself.

I wish you the best of luck; please let me know if I can be of any assistance.


Doreen Quinn resides on Cape Cod with her family. She is actively involved in her community and specializes in helping individuals find their core self.

She earned her masters degree in social work from Boston College and has been counseling groups, individuals, families, couples and adolescents for over ten years on Cape Cod.

Doreen deals extensively with issues of substance abuse, parenting, bullying and social skills. She is a member of the Cape Cod Suicide Prevention Coalition, South Shore Independent Therapists, and National Association of Social Workers.
Her private practice is located at

The Centerville Yoga and Wellness Center
Bell Tower Mall, Unit 4D
Centerville, MA

Doreen Quinn

Alcoholics Anonymous

According to their website, Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from Alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses or opposes any causes. Our Primary Purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Go to the AA Cape & Islands meeting finder to locate a meeting on Cape Cod.

Al Anon

Al-Anon and Alateen have been around for over 55 years, offering strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers. It is estimated that each alcoholic affects the lives of at least four other people... alcoholism is truly a family disease. No matter what relationship you have with an alcoholic, whether they are still drinking or not, all who have been affected by someone else’s drinking can find solutions that lead to serenity in the Al-Anon/Alateen fellowship.

For meeting information in Canada, the US, and Puerto Rico you can go to their website or call 1-888-4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666) Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 6:00pm ET.

Gosnold on Cape Cod
Treatment Center

Bulimia and Anorexia are fast-growing problems among teens and young adults, creating long-term mental and physical health problems. Like any other addiction, admitting there is a problem is the first step. Finding help is the next.

Helping hand

Gosnold on Cape Cod is the largest provider of addiction and mental health services on Cape Cod. Since 1972, their innovative programming and commitment to individuals and families guides the development of new and improved services.

Gosnold treats addiction as a chronic disease that requires life-long management, and is often complicated by other medical, emotional and situational conditions.