After we sent out our first newsletter two weeks ago we discovered that I’d (I being Ed, the main source of typos here) made a formatting error in the “e-mail us” link that meant that any e-mails you sent went straight to a black hole instead of to us. Sorry! I apologize if you tried to e-mail us and ended up with one of those dreaded notifications that your efforts had been wasted.

But we do want your help, comments, suggestions, and questions. Please write again and help us make the program, website, newsletter, and services better. This time the link works. Promise!

What’s new?

Between the economic news and the election it’s a month when heading for the liquor store probably sounds better than fixing a drinking problem. While the circumstances are different, the tendency we all have to postpone change is universal. Remember high school when you just couldn’t break up with the boy/girl friend just before the big Homecoming game? Or Halloween? Or Christmas? Or New Years? Or Valentines Day?

It’s a state we like to call “Contemplation Hell.” Most of us spend a lot of time thinking about doing something – quitting drinking or smoking, losing 20 pounds, saving a little money, or fixing something around the house. Whether the doing amounts to a big change or a small one, we usually spend a lot more time and effort thinking about the change than it actually takes to make the change. Mostly we berate ourselves while we’re thinking about it too. Yep – Contemplation Hell is well named.

What’s the cure? Frequently it helps to start making small, proactive steps. You can begin researching your options (careful, thorough – “research” is the cover we veteran put-off-til-tomorrow’ers love to wallow in), but you’ll also want to make some small measurable progress.

The key word here is measurable. If you’re looking to change your drinking behaviors you need to know what they are. Now’s a good time to start charting your alcohol consumption. Drop us a line and we’ll be glad to send you formatted “Use Logs” and “Urge Logs” so you can be doing active research without actually changing anything just yet. You will be moving out of Contemplation Hell, however, and into the action stage, and you won’t be wasting your time. Best of all, you can keep this to yourself. Progress without exposure or generating expectations in others that’ll just make you feel rebellious.

What’s New? You’re actually doing something about a problem, not just stewing about it. So, pick a problem – keep a drinking log, a food diary, an exercise chart, or a written budget – but pick something, take notes, and see what you learn about yourself. It’s a good exercise that translates well into fixing many of those things we nag ourselves about.

It’s Fall

The calendar says fall has arrived but I don’t believe it. Having grown up in Pennsylvania and then spent over thirty years in Alaska and Minnesota I don’t see any signs of fall here in southern California. While I’m not nostalgic for Northern winters, I do miss fall. I’d like to be twelve again for one October day of roaming western PA farms with my old dog and my father’s shotgun in search of pheasants. Or be thirty and spend another late September day exploring long abandoned placer mines in the hills around my Yukon River home. Or to be forty five and spend a day driving through the Minnesota fall leaves around Lake Superior from Duluth to Split Rock Lighthouse.

While I can’t do any of those things this year, maybe I can re-visit those days another time. For now, I’ll make a point of doing something here in S. CA that I can look back on in another ten years with just as big a soft smile as I have for those bygone days.

What can you do this October that’ll give you the same memories to cherish?