Giving up alcohol is fairly easy – it’s the associated behavior patterns that are tough to eradicate.
For most of us, our lives are an established number of routine behaviors. Most of these are necessary and benign, some improve our lives and others detract. At some point, your alcohol use moved from enhancing to destroying.
And when you give up the alcohol you still have all of those established routines that lead you back to another bottle.
AA addresses this by insisting that you maintain all of the old patterns by going to meetings instead of bars. Still the same old alcohol focus, drinking buddies, isolation, and compromised lives, marriages, and possibilities. All that coupled with a 97% chance of going back to being a drunk.
Mary Ellen and I – and a half century of research – suggest that you exchange the behaviors that promote drinking with ones that don’t. At the same time, you actually fix the problems you are medicating rather than continuing to avoid them.
It’s not rocket science, as the saying goes, to figure out that people who sit around talking about drinking go back to drinking. After all, if those are the only 2 options, drinking is usually the better one.
It’s not very hard to imagine that if you want a better life you’ll find it hanging out with people who are leading better lives – not with people who are so afraid of living that they’ve gone from drowning in a bottle to hiding in a cult.
But the choice is still yours. Do you want the predictability of another dead end, or do you want the excitement of actually creating and living you own unique life?
Jazz & Shogun, Now It’s Sophie, Parker, and Scruffy…..
We’re coming up on the second anniversary of the death of Ed’s Jazz-the-Elderly-Beagle and bumping up against six months since Mary Ellen’s beloved Shogun joined him. Two dogs who immeasurably enriched our lives and who are sorely missed.
Writer Robert Ruark noted that “there is almost no limit to how much a dog can teach a really smart boy,” and we would agree, adding “smart girl” as well.
So what did Jazz and Shogun teach us?
Dine with gusto;
Turn a deaf ear;
Adapt to age;
Forget the past;
Take a walk;
and a dozen other lessons in aging gracefully…
Many people have said that they couldn’t have a dog because the pain of their loss would be too much to bear. The pain and loss are real, there’s no arguing that. But days and weeks of pain, and the occasional stabs that come even as I write, seem a small price for the years of joy, companionship, and affection they gave and allowed us to give.
Knowing this, the adoptions began as the old dogs’ days were counted down. Sophie an unwanted, 9 year old, abandoned rescue dog joined Jazz for 10 months and materially improved both his and our lives. With Jazz’ death, Parker, a feral 4 year old joined Sophie and together they have nearly filled that void.
Months before Shogun’s death, a dying friend gave Scruffy to Mary Ellen. So now there is another office dog who greets visitors and attempts to sneak under the conference table for a quick toe lick.
Many of our clients complain of loneliness, boredom, and isolation. We suggest a dog to take walks and naps and trips with. A dog to trade affection with. A dog who is a constant source of humor. A dog who doesn’t care where you’ve been, but is just glad you’re home.
If you want to talk about dogs, please call, and don’t be surprised, or bothered, if we can still get a little weepy around the edges when the memories arise.
If you want to live, it only takes a call to get started.