What is it that we do with you to alleviate your self-medication problem? The question comes up from perspective clients and their spouses or other concerned family members, friends, employers, and so on. If you don’t “do” AA, and you don’t require abstinence, what do you do?” We like to say that we offer safe, enhancing – and, yes, empowering – alternatives to self-medication which are based on 3 decades of research on what works. That’s the “elevator presentation.” And it is a generality. You’d like some specifics?
Trauma! It’s nearly impossible these day to look at on-line groups and not see that “trauma” is the newest “cause” of self-medication. This isn’t exactly news to any of us who have worked with PTSD suffering veterans, rape and molestation victims, surviving spouses, or any number of other conditions. What is unusual is for someone to look at, much less study, why some people succumb and others don’t.
Comments on “AA – Who it Helps, Harms, Kills & Why” It’s only been a few short weeks since the book became available and comments have begun to appear. Predictably, all but one of the negative remarks have come from people who haven’t read it – Steppers all, threatened by any divergence from their “party line.” The one exception came from a regular reader, with whom I often correspond, who suggested that my “hatred of AA” is on display. We agreed to settle on the idea that any animosity towards the organization is directed at the ubiquitous 13the Steppers whose predatory activities have existed in AA since Bill W. founded it and used it to further his own sexual abuses.
“But it’s helped millions!!!!” I’ve been experimenting with a very modest Facebook ad for the “AA – Who It Helps, Who It Harms, Who It Kills & Why” book and the response have been predictable – 95% positive and 5% outrage. The outrage coming, of course, from people who haven’t read it and never will, boils down to the “but it’s helped millions…” wail. We have, of course, being hearing this since we opened our practice 15 years ago.
“But I’ll Never Have Any Fun Ever Again!” Whenever we are faced with making a needed change in our lives we usually argue ourselves out of making the change with a lot of irrational “beliefs.” One of the more common ones is that “fun” is associated solely with drinking. Of course if you have reduced your activities to: “camping is drinking in the tent;” “skiing is drinking in the lodge;” “fishing is drinking on the boat;” “book club is drinking with the girls;” and a vacation is “drinking at the casino,” then it’s hard to remember that, maybe, there was a time when you actually enjoyed camping, hiking, skiing, and other activities – not just using them as cover for your drinking.
Self-Medication as Protection and/or Passive Aggression First, let’s look at alcohol use as a forms of protection. If you find yourself in an intolerable marriage, relationship, family, or conditions, you may have discovered that alcohol surrounds you with a protective bubble that excludes the invasive individual(s). As an extreme example, when I lived in a mining camp on the Yukon there were familes who lived in cabins smaller than my office. In one case, there were 2 parents, 5 children and an uncle. One room. No plumbing or electricity. Wood stove. Outside it’s -40 degrees and there are only 4 hours of daylight. How else, but from a bottle, it one going to find any privacy?
Thank you! I appreciate your response to the release of “AA – Who It Helps, Who It Harms, Who It Kills and Why.” I write the next week’s Newsletter on Monday morning, usually, and in the time since you received yesterday’s, 34 copies have been ordered. No, it’s not headed to the NYT Best Seller List, nor will it be a word of mouth sensation to match “50 Shades” but that is still a gratifying amount of progress in replacing 12 Step mythology with real answers.
It Always Takes Longer Than It Does… One of the lessons I keep having to relearn, even after seven decades, is that not everything happens on my schedule. That should be obvious, but somehow I still have to occasionally CBT my way through delays, missed connections, and – imagine this – other people’s priorities. That’s to say that I had a plan for this newsletter that didn’t play out the way it “should have.” After years of research, hundreds of clients, thousands of tests. And uncounted hours of consultation, I wrote a Guide titled “AA – Who It Helps, Who It Harms, Who It Kills & Why.” It’s at the printers. It’s at the e-book publishers. It’s priced out ($7.95 for e-book, $10.00 for print, including delivery).
Distance Delivery Update! It’s been 6 months since we began offering our services via Distance Delivery. Initially, we used Skype, then Doxy, and finally settled on Zoom with its superior audio and visual without any compromise in security. That settled, we moved on to testing out client satisfaction and found that everyone has been pleased not only with the initial sessions but also the improved, “face-to-face” follow-up sessions. We’re pleased to find, as we suspected, that Distance Delivery allows us to provide the same high quality and confidential services as before, but at a reduced cost that allows many of you access that you couldn’t manage before.
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.”