Library programs to focus on driving skills, anger management

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published January 9, 2018

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TROY — Be safe behind the wheel — save any difference of opinion with passengers in your vehicle until you’re done driving, and put your phone in the glove box to avoid distractions — says a driving instructor with 18 years of experience. 

Jepheus Henry, an instructor at Grace & Mercy Driving School, will present a program at the Troy Public Library, “Distracted Driving and the Older, Wiser Driver,” from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Jan. 24.

“Everybody who attends will take something away,” said Donna Garbarino, adult services librarian at the Troy Public Library. 

She said the library staff has wanted to offer a program like this for a while. 

“It’s a refresher course for the basic rules of the road,” Garbarino said. 

Henry said drivers shouldn’t try to multitask while driving. Passengers who see the driver beginning to text should ask the driver to stop. 

“People don’t realize how important it is to pay attention,” he said. “Appoint a designated texter — not the driver,” he said. 

Also, Henry said older drivers should consider whether they may be experiencing changes in their eyesight or cognition and consult a physician, psychiatrist or psychologist to help them safely stay behind the wheel as long as possible. 

Be careful with medications, Henry said. Even though a doctor has prescribed something, “don’t get behind the wheel if you’re sleepy or disoriented, even if the doctor ordered it,” he said. “The law says you are responsible.” 

Henry said to mention to your doctor any nonprescription drugs you take, such as cough medicine, vitamins and supplements that could produce side effects. 

“If your mind is wandering while you are driving, pull over until you can focus on the task at hand or ask somebody else to drive,” Henry said. 

“And save any disagreements with passengers for when the car ride is over,” Henry added. 

Managing anger is the topic of psychologist Dennis Ortman’s latest book, “Anger Anonymous: The Big Book on Anger Addiction.” 

Ortman will present a program at the library from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 22 aimed at helping those who attend to learn ways to use the natural energy of anger to find healing and growth. 

Cassandra Suh, adult reference librarian, thought the program would draw interest because “a lot of people are starting the new year with resolutions to be more positive.” She noted that some people struggle with anger issues in an increasingly fast-paced world. 

Ortman, a former Catholic priest, has also written books on dealing with anxiety and depression. 

 Ortman has been a clinical psychologist in private practice in the metro Detroit metro area for nearly 25 years, specializing in treating those with addictions.

He said his latest book draws on the tenets of the 12-step program to help people learn how to first embrace, explore and learn from their anger. 

“Anger is a natural energy to assert ourselves,” he said. “If we get caught up in it, we don’t use it wisely and well.” 

He said this can result in grudge- or rage-aholics. 

“Anger is a poison in us. To transform the poison into a medicine, we have to learn to embrace it, learn from it and see where you need to make a change in yourself,” Ortman said. 

He said that people can become addicted to mood states such as anxiety, depression and anger, which is a stimulant that can lead to insane behavior. 

“The first step is to admit powerlessness over anger,” he said. “We then find out we have power over our own behavior. The sacred dwells within us. We have to get in touch with our better selves.” 

He will leave time for questions after his presentation. His book is available online on Amazon. 

To register for the programs, visit troypl.org or call (248) 524-3534. The Troy Public Library is located at 510 W. Big Beaver Road.