Depression! Among the things we frequently self-medicate is depression. This is a particularly insidious condition when mixed with Alcohol. Why? Drinking is essentially a two stage activity. Initially there is the “buzz” which, briefly, offsets the depression. But alcohol is itself a depressant so the greater effect is to exacerbate and prolong our depression.
Semantics We frequently discuss with clients the necessity of being very careful about how we talk to ourselves, about ourselves, and our misuse of alcohol. Along these lines we recommend that you purge “alcoholic,” “alcoholism,” “in recovery,” and “relapse” from your working vocabulary. Why? These are all loaded terms with expectations that are counter-productive and do vastly more harm than good. In fact, they do no good at all.
Last week’s Newsletter….. Last week’s “Guest Editorial” generated a considerable amount of response, mostly positive. Many of you noted that there doesn’t seem to be any “program” that addresses all of the issues which underlay misusing alcohol. For the most part you’re right. We have the AA cult, numerous personality cults, some science based approaches which disregard the personal, and so on. The problem is, as we have noted for years, none of these address the mosaic of problems most of you are self-medicating.
Our Newsletter, website, articles, and public appearances often generate comments ranging from great appreciation to death threats. Mostly the comments are positive, considerate, and thought provoking. The following response to an article is without a doubt the most insightful we have ever received and, without necessarily agreeing with everything, we do know that it is worthy of reflection. Consequently, in a unique departure from 8 years of Newsletters, we are turning this week’s over to the anonymous writer with only modest proofreading changes.
Pseudo-egalitarianism “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.” This old quote, with many attributions, summarizes the fundamental problem with AA, the 12 Steps, and treatment based on them. Pseudo-egalitarianism, a nice fifty cent word, my great aunts would have said, means that the Steps not only assume that all alcohol misuse is a “nail” but only one kind of nail at that. Hence, everyone must be an “alcoholic” or an “alcoholic in denial.”
You Self-Image and Alcohol Abuse Just as habit patterns contribute to maintaining our misuse of alcohol, so does our self- image. Look at advertising – all advertising – and you can easily see that what’s being sold isn’t a product but images of what this product will do for you. The two classics were the Marlboro Man and the Virginia Slims cigarette campaigns. Both among the most successful ever. Sex + Self-Image = Sales. Just drink Dos XX’s and you too can be the most interesting man in the world. Select that $30/bottle Chardonnay and you are the most glamorous woman at the country club. And there’s the crystal glassware, sterling silver ice bucket, and... It’s all about fantasy land, and you can move right in, temporarily, if you just drink, and drink and drink.
I’m Sure You’ve Heard the Story… The story of the man who traveled the globe in search of the answer to the question, “What’s the meaning of life?” Broke, exhausted, and completely discouraged, he had just enough inner resources left to crawl up to a cave in the Himalayas where he’d heard a wise old guru lived and that he knew the answer. Struggling up to the cave’s entrance he uttered a weak plea, “Oh wise man, what is the meaning of life?” The annoyed old man came out of the cave, looked at the desperate pilgrim, and said, “Doing stuff.”
Talking To Yourself? A common – indeed, almost universal – problem among people who are misusing alcohol is the way in which we to talk to and about ourselves. When the phone rings, typically, the caller begins, “I’m an alcoholic and…” Because of the universal brainwashing AA and its Steppers have inflicted on the culture nearly everyone has come to believe that self-medicating with alcohol makes one an “alcoholic.” Worse, you are now suffering from a life-long, progressive, incurable disease over which you are powerless.
Our 5-Day Research Based, Outpatient, Couples’ Program For Alcohol Abuse Basically, whether one of you has a drinking problem, or you both do, the solution is going to involve both of your or there probably won’t be a solution. Why is that?
Deprogramming There are numerous Facebook groups whose primary purpose is to help people “deprogram” from AA and the 12 Step “mentality.” There is a serious need for this because our culture and much of our political system has become saturated with the notion that abusing alcohol is a “disease” or at least an “allergy.” That you can never recover. That “AA is the only way.” And a host of other ideas that are not only false but prevent you from obtaining the appropriate short term help, but can also keep you trapped in a cult for decades!