Help For Couples Sometimes, even after we’ve been open for 12+ years, and I’ve been doing the research for 30 or so, I realize that I haven’t always been as clear as I might have been. When we first set up our www.non12step.com website – and you can see how early that was given that we had no trouble registering “non12step” – we knew we were only interested in providing services to individuals and couples. We also knew that these services needed to be tailored to specific individuals and couples.
Time to Get the Ferrari Down Off the Blocks? The analogy that fits a lot of our clients, especially many of you women, is the picture of a classic Ferrari, up on blocks in the garage, with the motor running, going nowhere. That’s what happens to too many of us when the roles run out and no new ones have emerged to take their place. Done with parenting? Financially well enough off that you don’t need to work? Couldn’t return to that career you gave up 25 years ago in any case?
The two most common underlying conditions we treat are Under-Engagement in Life and Passivity in Personal Relationships. First, let’s take a look at “Under-Engagement.” Last week’s newsletter included a link to a Huffington Post article which is essentially a review of the addiction research that’s been around for a long time, some of it all the way back to the war in Vietnam.
It’s a Process! I recently received the following email and I think the writer demonstrates what most of our clients learn over time: “I’m 2 1/2 years out from my time shared with you two in person (the shortened 3 day period the week of Thanksgiving 2015), and 17 months out from my decision to eliminate alcohol from my diet completely..."
Competence: Instrumental, Emotional, and How That Affects Your Alcohol Abuse. Most of us, not just those who misuse alcohol, suffer from faulty ideas when it comes to concepts like maturity, intimacy, dependence, competence and other factors which affect our various relationships. As examples of common misconceptions we offer the following: Maturity is a matter of age; Intimacy refers to sex; Dependence is always negative; Competent is something you either are, or aren’t.
Group? A recent client was a marketing consultant, not our first, and as the week progressed he made the following "helpful" suggestions concerning our practice: "Instead of working together as a team with clients, you should be working with them individually. That way you could immediately double your income!" "And you should be doing groups to maximize profits even more!" "And you should quit doing follow-up. No money in that!"
Should You Leave This question frequently comes up in the course of the work we do, of course. While one might suppose that it’s the client’s spouse who’s asking the question, it’s more frequently the drinker who’s actually wondering. How can that be? It turns out that it’s common for alcohol abuse to provide a couple of benefits when the drinker is married, or coupled with a controlling, abusive, demeaning, or otherwise disturbed and/or disturbing spouse.
Sometimes Others Say Things Better Than We Can. We are, after all, a very small, effective, low profile, practice here in southern California. It’s just Mary Ellen and me (and Scruffy), along with our medical consultant, Physician Tim Norcross, D.O. Despite that, through a series of coincidences over the past 4 years, we ended up in the Wall Street Journal and with a personal interview by the London Times. Hard to believe.
But What if You’re Not an “Alcoholic”? Looking back over all of the clients we have seen over the years, one thing we note is that most have not been alcohol dependent “alcoholics”. Instead, most have been abusing alcohol as a symptom of other unresolved problems. Yet about 98% of treatment programs, especially those adhering to the AA/12 Step model, don’t even bother to differentiate. To them there are only two categories: “alcoholics” and “alcoholics in denial”.
Productive or Self-Destructive? Many of you, perhaps most, are like us in that we have two basic “gears” – you’re either being productive or you tend to get self-destructive. Unlike most folks, you don’t have a lot of interest in going through life on “cruise-control.” That’s pretty common with bright, creative, sensitive, and successful people.