Thank you! A number of you responded to my plea for an “Idea Transfusion” and I am grateful for comments, suggestions, and reminders that the Newsletter is important to many of you. Writing in a vacuum is difficult at times and the response helps me remember why I continue to do this. And, if I needing reminding as to why we do this work with you, another reader wrote: “Thank you both. Your kindness, decency and concern are probably the only reason I'm alive… You did your best and I am grateful!”
Trauma and Alcohol – It’s Complicated If you have lived long enough, or grew up in the “wrong” family, you will have undoubtedly have experienced a series of traumatic events. No, trauma isn’t just a massive event, though it can be, but is also an accumulation of small events which add up to significant impacts. More surprisingly, trauma isn’t all bad. And, as with most life events, “it depends.”
Hemingway Ken Burns, with PBS, recently did a three part, six hour documentary on the life of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway’s was not an easy life, most especially, it seems, because he kept trying to live the life of the image he’d created of himself and which was impossible to do. Part of that image was his hard drinking and hard living, with big game hunting and abusing women thrown in. Indeed, he created a disastrous prototype “writer” that all too many would-be writers would attempt to replicate to their doom.
When Readers Write I always get a trickle of emails from former clients with a few thrown in from those we’ve never seen. Critical, and downright nasty, messages come from non-clients who, over the past year, have gone from drinking alcohol to drinking the Jim Jones flavor of Kool Aid. These threats and invective are fairly easily dismissed, amounting to a handful a year where they used to occur several times weekly when we first opened up 15+ years ago.
“Understandable” Self-Medication With Alcohol? I hesitate to keep reminding you that many of us have found ourselves over-indulging with alcohol for perfectly good reasons. I will start with myself and branch out from there. In 1979 my 5 year old daughter was kidnapped by my former wife who had disappeared from our lives three years earlier. My daughter was missing for five years and I had neither help nor recourse. In those days, child kidnapping by non-custodial mothers was not a criminal matter. Are you surprised to learn that after a couple of years of futile efforts to locate her I turned to alcohol for solace and escape?
Leaving AA Many readers are stuck in that purgatory – still too tied to AA and its mythology to escape to a normal life, but too dissatisfied with that same mythology to fully join the cult. It’s a very uncomfortable place to be, as many of you know. Truthfully, no matter how long one lives with the stigma or “alcoholism,” “AA,” or “in recovery,” we can never fully escape the massive presence of Stepper inroads into all forms of media, as well as what others believe. Most of society is brainwashed to the extent that Stepper mentality has become the norm.
“Been There, Done That” As any of you who have been clients may remember, I am fond of saying that “long ago I put vodka into my ‘been there, done that,” bag and left it there along with a number of other things, activities, and people. This phraseology is simply part of rooting out 12 Step mythology and the idea of lifelong “addictions” and other notions which make change more difficult than it needs to be. Really, if you think about it, how many former activities, friendships, and things which you used to enjoy have been left in the dust over time? Personally, I no longer ride motorcycles or drive dog teams. I do not spend July and August as a commercial salmon fisherman nor June as a placer miner.
A Brief History Lesson I wrote the first Newsletter just after Mary Ellen and I returned from a conference in Nanaimo, British Columbia. We’d enjoyed our time on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo, and even at the conference. I say “even at the conference” because then, as now, most “addiction” conferences are just 12 Step sales shows, opening and closing with AA meetings, and awarding CEUs (Continuing Education Credits) to para-professional “counselors” who need them to continue working. But this one was different – there was actual research being presented (CBT among other things) and no AA meetings. Wow!
Age has its benefits... For someone the doctors said would never live to see 30, I’m finding my 70s, despite pandemics and the usual groans and moans of aging, to have a number of positive attributes. Here are a few:
Non 12 Step Alcoholism Treatment March 7, 2021 Dear Tanya Beaudoin “Yes, Dear, I married you for better or worse – but not for lunch.” The Covid pandemic has made it easier for many of us to sort out what we are medicating because it has exacerbated so many of the conditions. Thought you were lonely, depressed, or bored before? Thought you relationships were becoming unbearable? Thought you were being exploited, abused, gas lighted? Thought relief was in sight when the children went off to kindergarten, school, college? Then along came Covid and exacerbated some or all of the above – along with issues specific to you I may not have mentioned. An example of the latter in my case would include “why haven’t I gotten the writing done that I was only postponing ‘until I had the time’?”