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.
Self-Destructive? Perhaps, But That’s Not Necessarily Bad. Those of us who have developed alcohol-related problems may also have an attraction to high-risk behaviors – and people. That is a genetic predisposition, one of several factors that can lead to developing alcohol problems. Others may also include a high tolerance for alcohol, resistance to hangovers, liking the taste.
“All Alcoholics Are Liars!” We hear variations on the universal theme all the time, of course. The AA twist on this is that, if you have a problem with alcohol, then you are either “an admittedly powerless alcoholic or you are (a liar) in denial!” This bit of nonsense suits the 12 step treatment industry since it absolves them from any responsibility for determining exactly where someone falls on the “alcohol abuse/alcohol dependent” spectrum.
Spouses, Sabotage, and Success A major factor in your success can be having a supportive spouse – but, strange as it seems given the amount of complaining they’ve done about your drinking, many spouses find themselves sabotaging your efforts instead. What’s going on here?
Leaving AA A while ago a client sat across the table from us and said, somewhat suspiciously, "You don't do 12 Steps, you do 3! Get a grip. Get a life. Get outta here." She was pretty much right.
Doing Stuff Not long after we opened our practice a dozen years ago, we noted that the “cure” for misusing alcohol was “doing stuff.” That isn’t quite as simplistic as it sounds but as hundreds of successful clients have noted, that’s what it almost always comes down to. Yes there are differing sorts of stuff to do. Ruminating, the endless mulling over of things may seem like doing something but, as most women can attest, is really a way of avoiding doing anything about the conditions being self-medicated, including the depression that results.
Leaving AA Oddly, whether you’ve ever attended an AA meeting or not, fixing your misuse of alcohol means "leaving AA." How can that be? AA and the 12 Step mythology, and the rehab industry they have spawned, have become so ingrained in our country – and others – that we have all unconsciously absorbed all of the "Emperor’s New Clothes" illusions that block many of us from getting real help.
Changes in the Newsletter As I approach 10 years and 500 editions of the Newsletter I’ve decided to make a couple of changes. This is mostly due to the issues surrounding effective help for people misusing alcohol having gotten more complicated and therefore needing equally multifaceted consideration and information. That will result in a somewhat longer single issue article as last week’s Newsletter reflected.
What Does “Empirical” Mean and Why Does it Matter? Research happens, generally, in one of two ways. The first is to start with a theory and then run experiments to prove or disprove the theory. A classic is Columbus theory that the world was round and if you sailed west you could get to the east.
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?