Covid19, Elections, RBG, & Other Things Over Which We Have Little or No Control Most of us like the illusion of personal control and take comfort in ideas which suggest that we can predict the outcomes of most of our decisions. So how well did you do at predicting Covid19 at all, or any of the ongoing effects? How well are you doing at predicting the outcomes of many of this year’s elections and what will happen depending on who wins what? While the death of the Honorable (certainly far more honorable than most) – and Notorious – RBG was predictable, the results are completely unknowable at this time.
Beads of Blood… Once again, it’s early Monday morning and I’m facing the challenge reflected in the plaque a friend gave me years ago: “Writing is easy. Just stare at a blank piece of paper – or screen – until beads of blood form on your forehead.” Some weeks it doesn’t come to that thanks to random articles I’ve recently read or emails you’ve sent or calls that ask new questions.
A Bit of History Mary Ellen and I met nearly 20 years ago and spent a couple of years putting together a personal, confidential program for people who were over medicating with alcohol. Much of the research for the program came from graduate work I had done at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in the early 1990s and at the time my advisors noted that what I was designing – a research based approach, not a religious cult based approach – was 20 years ahead of the times. Sadly, nearly 30 years later, we’re still 20 years ahead of the “times.”
My Annual Pre-Holiday Lecture Those of you who are long-time readers will recognize the content of my annual Labor Day diatribe. Essentially, it’s a reminder about how easily we procrastinate about addressing problems rather than fixing them. No, it’s not a “cut and paste” from a dozen previous annuals so there may be something new or something you (or I) missed. So here we go…
Sometimes I like to spend some of this “down time" reflecting back over years gone by and, happily, I have some 500 letters I wrote during my first decade in Alaska plus a number of articles I wrote on various aspects of living in the Bush to refresh my memory. The following, an appropriate end-of-August musing turned out to be a multi-award winning essay as well as a nostalgic reminder of the summers I spent (1972-77) as a commercial salmon fisherman on the Yukon, supplying the tourist salmon bakes in Fairbanks. And, yes, I’d really rather be doing that than this – but I’m very glad I did that when I had the chance. So, allow me to depart from alcohol musings and return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear….
Remembering Mr. Willie Marlow Sometimes our best and most interesting education comes from unlikely sources. Between college graduation and going to Alaska as a VISTA Volunteer, I worked as a teaching naturalist at Antioch College’s Glen Helen Preserve in Yellow Springs, Ohio. When I wasn’t teaching I was assigned to Mr. Marlow, head of Buildings and Grounds for the park and associated education center.
Dr. Jane Loevinger Dr. Loevinger at Washington University in St. Louis, was the premiere researcher into Human Development (or lack thereof) from 1950 through 2000. My own research, from 1982 through the present, relies heavily on her model and measure of maturation across the lifespan, including normal, arrested and accelerated development. These developmental considerations along with my experiences in treatment programs, educational programs, and the evaluation of over 6,000 of Dr. Loevinger’s Sentence Completion Tests – along with its applicability to roughly 1,000 alcohol clients, spouses, and others – led to my Guide: “AA: Who it Helps, Who it Harms, Who It Kills & Why.”
Towards a “New Normal We often suggest to clients that it takes about a year to create a “new normal” devoid of self-medication. We usually break that year down into stages: Working with us for 6-12 weeks doing foundation work; Becoming comfortable with new activities, routines, and relationships; Gaining trust in ourselves and others; Relaxing! What do these stages look like specifically?
At-Home Alcohol Consumption Doubles During the Pandemic Is anyone surprised by this headline? And while it implies that our per capita consumption has also risen, that’s not always the case. Drinking at home has also increased because bars and restaurants are closed so some of the implied increase is a change of location rather than a change in quantity. Having noted that confounding factor, I hasten to add that the reports we receive from clients, would be clients, friends and family, do indicate that, generally, consumption is going up.
Naltrexone Based on recent questions, I realized that it had been some time since I wrote about Naltrexone and its use a medical support. So, here goes an update. First, what is it? Naltrexone is a benign anti-craving medication that many of our clients have found useful as a short term adjunct to their work with us. Medically, it is an “opioid receptor blocker” which means you no longer get a “buzz” from drinking. That lack greatly reduces drinking’s appeal for most people. That in turn makes it easier to focus on addressing whatever you’ve been medicating rendering excessive alcohol use unnecessary as well as undesirable.