Memorial Day You know you’re getting older when the first Memorial Day Parade you remember include 2 Civil War veterans. That was 1948 and I was 3 and I remember them riding on a hay wagon as it made its way through town. Those were different days, of course, and holidays have changed and now, frequently, having more to do with selling greeting cards, flowers, and the Indianapolis 500 than about remembering veterans, living and dead. I know, I know, “Get to the point, Ed, no matter how obscure.”
Maintaining Motivation. Regardless of what changes we are trying to make, be it our drinking habits, weight loss, saving for retirement, paying off debt, or anything else, the problem is usually maintaining motivation. That’s because we are usually ambivalent about actually changing and because change usually means trading immediate gratification for deferred rewards.
Happy Mothers’ Day? I always wonder about the glorification of Motherhood. Is that a trap for women? Is it a protection? Is it a condemnation of women who choose not to be mothers? Is it an assertion that being a mother is “enough” and a rebuke of those women who think and act otherwise? Is it a justification for men who prefer to avoid the responsibilities of parenthood? Then there are those whose mothers were psychopaths or molesters, whose destruction transcended generations. How are we supposed to feel about glorifying them?
Time is Your Only Finite Resource As those of you who are long-time readers will remember, I have occasionally referred to a former client who had noted that he came to see us when he realized his drinking was just “putting in time waiting to die.” He and I are about the same age, and I always remember his assessment when my birthday rolls around, which happens to be tomorrow.
“Alcohol Use Disorder” As is often the case in life, we change a label and consider it progress. Occasionally it’s even true, but if that doesn’t lead to changes in how the re-named condition is treated, then it’s hard to pretend any progress has been made. Such is the case with renaming “alcoholism” as “Alcohol Use Disorder” (click on the link for diagnostic criteria).
A Note: We do, of course, receive notes from clients which we appreciate very much. Sometimes we pass these along, especially when they remind us of points which, after 15 years, we tend to take for granted. The following is a good example: “Dear Ed and Mary Ellen It is with deep gratitude that I say how very lucky all of us are to be BOTH of your patients. You really complement each other and instead of doubling your impact, it’s a times ten." From the beginning we designed our services with a number of unique features, none more so than our team approach. We consider this to be one of the most critical aspects of our work with you.
Distance Delivery Our move into “Distance Delivery” of services is proving to be both popular and effective. Combined with reduced expense and increased privacy, the model – adapted from psychiatry and, increasingly, psychology – provides you with the #1 research based services in the country. Yes, the idea takes a bit of getting used to since we have all been indoctrinated into the “you must ‘go away’ for 30 (or more) days;” that you “must be in recovery;” that “AA works;” you must have “an alcohol fixated ‘support group’;” and other “king’s new clothes” delusions.
Writing This past week I sent off a draft of my brief guide, “AA – Who It Helps, Who It Harms, Who It Kill, & Why” to a couple of readers who responded to the usual writer’s plea for help. In this case I am lucky to have excellent help. Gabrielle Glaser, author of the best-selling “Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink – and How They Can Regain Control” and Dr. Tom Horvath, founder of SMART Recovery and Practical Recovery, both long-time friends, colleagues and collaborators, who agreed to read and comment.
Early Intervention Most people, having been indoctrinated by AA and the Steppers, haven’t considered the possibility of early intervention. No, I’m not referring to the sharks who circle around desperate families promising to host an “Intervention” and get your loved one packed off to a “rehab” facility from whom they get a hefty kickback and whose success rate is less than if you’d done nothing. I’m talking to you, the person who is becoming aware that your alcohol consumption is becoming uncomfortably intrusive in your life.
Deprivation vs Indulgence For many of us, drinking has become a major part of our “reward system.” Whether it’s seen as compensation for completing a difficult or trying task, or celebration for winning or commiseration for losing, the list of ways we have factored alcohol into our lives’ events is astonishing – especially when we attempt to eliminate it.