Dissolved In Alcohol

We feel very blessed to work with those of you who seek us out. We are frequently struck by what an interesting and diverse group you are and we find working with you most enjoyable. But some of the darker similarities you share also strike us. The most obvious, of course, is the use of alcohol to soothe and smooth out of rough patches in life. Not so obvious, but there nonetheless, appears to be a lack of active engagement in your own lives.

Then we suggest that you need to substitute other activities for drinking – activities that bring you a measure of happiness, stress relief or as a way to enjoyably pass the time – we are frequently met with blank stares. You are smart, talented, accomplished people, who are so successful at work, yet frequently cannot think of anything to do except drink in your off hours. It is what you’ve have done for so long, that any other enjoyable activity has either been long since forgotten or it just seems too much effort.

It is like the wonderful, rich and colorful tapestries that were your lives have frayed down to a few threads. All that richness has gone away, dissolved in alcohol and you never even noticed it happening. Most of you are up to the task of reweaving your lives, adding new and interesting threads and dimensions and building your tapestries back up. Others of you cannot seem to muster the energy to take on the task. It is your choice. And make no mistake about it, we all have choices about how we want to live our lives.

We can view the challenges of reweaving interesting things into our lives as opportunities to grow or we can view them as terrible burdens to be endured or we can say we just aren’t up for it. Again, the choice is ours. But our choices will determine our outcomes. When you, our clients, see the opportunity, we know that success is assured. When you only see the burden, we are less hopeful.

The good news is that your “choice of choices” as it were, is largely determined by you. You really can choose to search for positive things to do and ways to view things or wallow in negativity and self-pity about all the hardships that have befallen you.

In our practice, we use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is about changing how we think about things. It is based on the idea that our thoughts about events cause our feelings and behaviors, not people, situations, or events themselves. The benefit of CBT is that we can change the way we think so that we actually feel better even if the situation does not change.

Using CBT we help our clients see that it is possible to reweave their life tapestries and find color, texture and interest again. If you think you would benefit from this kind of help, give us a call. We would be happy to speak with you and assist you on your journey.

Choice

We often mention that alcohol abuse is a choice and that we are free to make other choices at any time.

Last week, while roaming around Barnes and Noble’s clearance table, we came across a copy of The Art of Aging by Sherwin Nuland, M.D. and opened it to the following passage:

“There are more than a few lessons to be learned … and one of them is that choice remains, even in the face of adversity. To once again state the obvious: It is not the adversity itself that determines the shape of the future, so much as our response to the adversity. We have it within us to consciously and with deliberation choose a response that … shows promise of leading to a better life. Especially when that course reverses an accustomed detrimental pattern of dealing with difficulties, the going may at first be rough, but sustenance can be found in the knowledge that the long-term dividends are great.”

“The difficulties (of change) lessen with each small triumph after the first few. Every hesitant trip to the gym, every tempting calorie reluctantly pushed away, every difficult refusal to allow rancor and self-righteousness their insistent demands, every small contribution to another’s needs, every hour spent nurturing a relationship – all of these are building blocks to the gradually rising ediface of a changing, and in time changed, image of what we are…”

“Nothing encourages right living so much as the thoughtful,deliberate doing of it. Because we need successions of small successes in order to begin the process and keep it going, we mustcreate them wherever we can, even if we have to drag ourselveskicking and screaming into action…”

“And this is the real lesson… choice exists for all of us, though it may sometimes involve a deliberate and difficult overcoming of lifelong tendencies or patterns in the opposite direction… and no one except the most emotionally crippled of us are incapable of it… Once having made the decision to do what is necessary, the behavior must be implemented regardless of how difficult it seems at the outset. With time, it becomes an accustomed, glorious habit…”

We wish we’d said it as well.

Speaking of Calling…

We do appreciate calls and not just from potential clients. We’re happy to be of help in whatever ways we can.

We’re a small, two person, office and yet we work effectively with people from across the country and around the world. We don’t do sales talks and we don’t pretend we’re the right program for everyone and we won’t try and fast talk you into a decison.

We can give you information and referrals and options. It’s another service no one else offers.

So please, one of us answers the phone personally from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, Monday – Thursday, unless we are with clients, or from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

If we don’t answer, leave your name and number and one of us will usually be able to get back to you within an hour.

Toll Free From the Lower 48 or Canada: 888-541-6350

In Los Angeles, or from Alaska: 310-541-6350