Disempowering Yourself? We frequently see clients who are feeling disempowered, or at least diminished, in their personal relationships. Usually this is with regard to spouses but can also be with families, parents, in-laws, and others. It can happen to both men and women and, unhappily, we can do it to ourselves. Some of this pattern, and it is a pattern, usually starts in childhood when we are, in fact, powerless. With maturation we become more empowered and gain control over more of our personal lives – remember the effect a driver’s license had?
Your Past is Not Your Present or Your Future Too many mental health professionals devote way too much time mucking around in your past, as though that held all of the keys to your present circumstances. But, perhaps surprisingly, your “past” is as fluid as your future. “Wait,” you say, “my past is set in stone. How can that be fluid?” I suppose I could resort to my first profession as a geologist and point out that stone is pretty fluid too, at times, but I’ll skip the easy response.
Free Time Is Not Your Friend! Many of us run into trouble with our drinking when circumstances change and we haven’t prepared for it. For many mothers this can be “empty nest system” and for men and women alike retirement can pose a major challenge.
Geographic Cures While much disparaged, geographic “cures” do work for many conditions including various forms of abuse and “addiction.” Validation of the efficacy of moving as therapeutic was first documented during the Viet Nam war when Air Force pilots, who routinely used heroin when they weren’t flying missions, went into spontaneous remission somewhere between Saigon [...]
Working with Couples As far as we know we offer the only program for couples in either the U.S. or Canada. As any of you who have tried couples’ counseling know, it’s very difficult for one of you not to feel ganged up on. Woman counselor and wife vs husband, or male counselor and husband vs wife. Triangulation dynamics doom the process before it even starts. Now let’s add alcohol to the mix and do you need to guess how combustible that mix becomes?
Generalizing From Yourself If there is one error that almost 100% of us make, it’s generalizing from ourselves. Stated as succinctly as I can, this means that we assume that others make decisions, are motivated by, have the same values, goals, and beliefs, and care about the same things we do. And if they don’t, they should.
It’s Not Rocket Science Along about Wednesday or Thursday, new clients will lean back, sigh and say something like, “It really isn’t rocket science, is it?” At which point we will smile, comfortingly we hope, and reply, “No, it’s just good science.” It’s interesting that when all of the “everyone knows” mythology is cleared away, an exercise in deprogramming that most people quickly understand, solving alcohol abuse problems is fairly straightforward. That’s not to suggest that it’s easy. It will involve some short-term discomfort, some effort, learning some new skills and coping mechanism, and a willingness to leave a few old habits, associations, and, yes, people behind.
You’ll Never Recovery by Following the Steps There’s a reason they call in “being in recovery.” That’s because if you choose, or are bullied or conned into doing what “everyone knows” you will never recover. At best you will stay a “dry drunk” for the rest of your days which is what a person “in recovery” actually is.
What do you really want? Clients come to us for a variety of reasons and seeking a diverse number of outcomes. Some of you are motivated by negative events associated with your drinking which may include medical, legal, marital, professional, and/or other pressing concerns. Medical issues can range from weight gain to liver damage to high blood pressure, to withdrawal-related seizures and other indications that your body has had enough.
Generalizing From Yourself - There is no bigger error that any of us can make than to “generalize from ourselves.” We all tend to do this, at least occasionally, even when we know better. But in the world of alcohol abuse and treatment it’s especially prevalent. It’s why 12 Step zealots are adamant that “if you will only work the Steps it will work for you too!” Of course this is utter nonsense since AA works for less than 5% of the people who try it and as Miller and Hester’s review of the research notes, there are at least 30+ approaches that work better for most people than joining AA.