Annual Review The week after the Super Bowl I spend doing a review of the previous year’s clients’ stats. We’re always interested in where you came from and where you didn’t. With that in mind, last year wasn’t much different than any other except that we added one new state, Kentucky, and didn’t see anyone from Maine. So where did you come from?
Not Surprisingly Our Clients – Like Dr. Barnes and I – Are “Older” Many of our clients who have been to traditional “rehab” are greatly relieved that we aren’t 25 or 30 and former clients of whatever 12 Step program they mistakenly signed up for. It’s true that we’re both past 60, me long past, and that most of our clients are over 40 with the majority now in to 50 – 70 age range. It makes for a good fit.
It’s A Process! Your progression from usual drinking to the misuse of alcohol didn’t occur instantly but rather developed over time. And, again, it didn’t happen because you are dumb or diseased, it happened because self-medication worked to alleviate a number of uncomfortable conditions, the usual suspects being anxiety, boredom, depression, trauma, unbalanced relationships, and loneliness.
Once again, a former client and long-time reader has saved me from yet another case of “Now what am I going to say?” The following is from a man we met years ago and still see occasionally when he’s in town. So… “Every Sunday I see, but don't always read, your posts, and am always amazed that you still have the stick-to-it-ness to write them. And I always retain warm feelings over our visits of a few years ago. Essentially, I'm writing to wish you and Mary Ellen a Happy New Year, but as long as I'm here, I'll write some other stuff, as well.
Degrees of “Alcohol Disorder” When we reprinted portions of Gabrielle Glaser’s Sunday New York Times essay, “America, Can We Talk About Your Drinking?” last week I noted that I would follow up on some of the topics in subsequent Newsletters. So here goes. As Ms. Glaser noted, rather than adhering to the old AA dichotomy of one being either an “alcoholic” or and “alcoholic in denial,” the DSM-V, which lists criteria for various conditions, uses the “clunky” “Alcohol Use Disorder” which cover a spectrum from minor through severe.
America, Can We Talk About Your Drinking? By Gabrielle Glaser, NYT, 12/31/17 More people are consuming alcohol in risky ways. That’s not a good trend. “After a season of indulgence, many Americans resolve to drink less in the new year. It’s a common pledge – many of us can recall cringe-worthy texts sent after a raucous night or a regrettable comment uttered after that third glass of wine.
Happy New Year! Tomorrow will be the first day of 2018. For the year ahead that is about all we know for sure. Do you have some of the usual New Year’s resolutions? Will any of them actually last beyond Valentine’s Day?
Since you will be receiving this Newsletter on the day before Christmas it seems appropriate to offer my story of Christmas Eve in the Arctic. We hope this day finds you with comfort, hope, friends, family and whoever brings you joy. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Twas a Week Before Christmas… Here it is, Christmas once again, with New Year’s hard on its heels, and Thanksgiving a fading memory, if a memory at all. And the same old question still lurking: “Is this the year I’m actually going to address the problem or am I just going to let it slide again?”
The Mosaic of Alcohol Abuse We talk a lot about all of the things you may be medicating with alcohol. The list can be nearly endless and will commonly include anxiety, loneliness, boredom, depression, trauma, physical pain, PTSD, alcohol induced bi-polar, unbalanced personal and/or professional relationships, loss of role, self-image, habit, and so on and on and on.