What Do You Really Want? It’s nearly impossible to attain a goal, or make a life changing decision, if we don’t know what we want. As simple and self-evident as this may seem, it’s actually deceptive. Why? Because we usually state what we want in negative terms. Terms like “I want to lose weight,” or “I want to reduce my drinking,” or “I want to quit smoking.”
How Most of Us, Whether We Drink or Not, Are Adversely Affected by AA and the 12 Step “Rehab” Industry The fundamental problem is AA mythology so pervades our culture that we have all become infected with nonsense that passes for fact. Let’s look at a brief, if deadly, example. Most physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and therapists have virtually no training in dealing with alcohol related problems. Any training they have received has been straight 12 Step mythology: “anyone who drinks ‘too much’ is either an ‘alcoholic’ or an ‘alcoholic in denial’. Alcoholism is a life-long, progressive disease, which can only be controlled – never cured - by adhering to the AA program.”
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and “Alcoholism” A currently popular “magic bullet” for curing our misuse of alcohol is CBT. As magic bullets go, it’s far better than most, actually addresses the anxiety and non-clinical depression (dysthymia) which are frequent underlying conditions we medicate with alcohol. Additionally, it is a primary component in SMART Recovery’s program which offers a much better exit from “alcoholism” than AA or any of the other “programs.”
Testing is complete! We have now successfully worked with clients using the different formats we have available: by conference call; by internet audio/video using Doxy (better than Skype and HIPPA compliant); by office visits and by using mixtures. For example, this past week’s client came to the Calabasas office and we connected with Mary Ellen via Doxy for the Monday – Wednesday sessions then wrapped up the Thursday session vis conference call. A week’s rain inspired some of that innovation but all the possibilities are available to you too.
Alcohol at 50+ It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us, but it seems to anyway. After 50, either our consumption changes and/or the effects alcohol has on us changes. Additionally, the reasons we drink change as do the opportunities and temptation to increase our consumption.
Really? With the New Year comes the usual flood of “treatment” offers descending on us and we presume you. A new twist this year is receiving an offer through a mass email campaign using at least a dozen different names and claiming to personally address the following laundry list of “addictions.”
And Another Year Slips Away… We don’t pay much attention to New Year’s Resolutions. Many make them, but few are kept. We once belonged to a gym that tracked members’ attendance. In December there would be the same dozen or so of us showing up as usual. In January that number would swell to 50 or more. By February the number would shrink to perhaps 3 dozen, by March, 2 dozen, and by April we’d be back to the same dozen plus two or three “newlies” who’d still be around in December, having joined the ranks of the regulars.
Today we have opted for the Holiday Greeting Card approach. No serious missives or New Year’s offerings, just a wish to you and yours that the holidays go smoothly and that this finds you well.
More About Last Week’s Reported Program Changes As always, as soon as I read the Newsletter on Sunday morning I find things I overlooked or could have added. I guess that’s what everyone who writes a weekly column finds, but I do try and amend things the next week. So here goes: The 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. session hours are guidelines. We don’t automatically end a session just because the clock says it’s 11:00. If we’re in the middle of something we’ll keep going until the topic is resolved.
And Our Revised Program Includes: Despite fires, broken down moving vans, and the usual problems associated with relocating a practice, we seem to have survived the turmoil, discussed the changes in delivery, and are now prepared to offer you easier access to services. We have always realized that our “one location for your convenience” wasn’t very convenient and that the travel, both the expense and time involved, was preventing many of you from receiving the confidential and comprehensive services you wanted.