Once again, a reader and former client has written and saved me from staring at a blank Word doc: “I read your newsletters weekly and have thought about responding forever!! Ed - your postings of your writing made me want to share something I wrote recently. I hope this resonates with you both. I am more okay than not; stronger all the time; operate with more confidence and clarity and always looking to learn from my experiences and grow from them.
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule! Particularly now, but to some degree always, a lack of structure is a problem when it comes to habit change. Most of us can find ourselves without the usual constraints of work schedules, routines, social interactions and family obligations. Examples abound. Men often find themselves elevating their alcohol consumption after retirement. Women after the children are raised.
The Benefits You Get From Drinking Most folks, when we ask them, “What benefits do you get from your drinking?” deny that they are getting any. But, realistically, if there weren’t any benefits you wouldn’t be having a problem. As a way of showing overlooked benefits, I will return briefly to my decade in rural Alaska.
Cabin Fever For a decade, lasting from my mid-twenties to my mid-thirties, I lived in a tiny Yupik village – Little Russian Mission (pop 47) - on Alaska’s Kuskokuim River, in the Arctic Inuit whaling village of Pt. Hope (pop 450), and in the dying gold mining camp of Rampart (pop 55) on the Yukon. These were years of no roads, no TV, occasionally 1 radio station (KJNP – King Jesus, North Pole), no phones and only intermittent mail service.
A Note For Those of You Who Were Once Clients I know many of you have continued to read the Newsletter long after your work with us was done. Some of you do it for on-going support, or reminders, or just because. One of you writes to express his amazement that I can continue to mine the same basic information in new, interesting and creative ways. Over the past 18 months the same could be said of our practice as Mary Ellen and I have moved away from office based to distance delivery in order to cut costs and prices and to make our services available regardless of where you live.
Productive Self-Isolation? Self-isolation could be your opportunity to assess your self-medication and options in a thoughtful manner. I’m suggesting an actual assessment – not the typical AA/Rehab imposed “you’re either an alcoholic or an alcoholic in denial.” Real assessment would include such factors as your degree of involvement, such as the DSM’s Alcohol Use Disorder rankings of Mild, Moderate and Severe. While this is a starting place, it’s only a minimal beginning.
New Review Finds Alcoholics Anonymous Is Effective, But Not For Everyone You can click on the headline link for a brief synopsis of the “research.” I say “research” in quotes because the reported outcomes are as suspect as they have always been. However, a couple of notes are worth adding...
You might think that the Coronavirus would be a blessing for our practice. After all, no travel, no groups, no direct contact with offices, railings, elevators, door knobs, or high risk clients. But of course the reality is different. For those already contemplating a 30 day stint in traditional rehab, the current fixation on the virus comes as a welcome excuse to forgo addressing a drinking problem as treatment is suddenly too dangerous (unlike nice safe inebriation?).
Dear Mary Ellen and Ed, “Thank you! I can say without you two I don’t think I would be here today. My husband talked about you both and wanted me to call and meet with you for more than a year. It took a whole lot of meetings, commitments, confinement’s, medications and “Almost” being convinced how powerless I was, before I did. Maybe for me that’s what it took before I did make that appointment with you. Thank goodness I did. I know one thing for sure, I would not have seen the light as clearly as I do today if I hadn’t. You truly helped put my wheels back on the ground. The blocks came down and my engine re ignited. It took another year to reestablish the trust within myself and family. I still feel and see the pain and worry on my family’s face every day. But I also see and feel there hope and happiness to have me back.
Outcomes: Free to live, or Cult Membership? We don’t hire marketers to write testimonials like everyone else does, but, with permission, we do post the unsolicited ones we receive. It’s especially gratifying when the comments come from a client we saw long ago and whose on-going success shows the difference between research and outcome-based work and bumper sticker based mindlessness.