Yes, we know it’s Super Bowl Sunday, so you probably won’t be quitting today, but tomorrow…
Well, it’s not rocket science – or magic…
Leaving your alcohol abuse behind isn’t a change that depends on the “magic of the steps” or complicated scientific approaches. Nor is it as simple as “Why don’t you just quit!!!” as many exasperated spouses and/or family members shout.
So what is it?
Frankly, it comes down to replacing one set of rewarding behaviors with a better set of more rewarding behaviors.
That sounds deceptively simple – why should it be hard to replace one reward with another?
It’s hard because drinking is an immediate short term reward, and the replacements are all deferred long term rewards. Let’s face it – we like our rewards. NOW!
It’s tough for any of us to give up immediate gratification for greater satisfaction “later.” If it wasn’t, none of us would be overweight, smoke, buy things we can’t afford, or drink too much.
Our part of solving the drinking problem with you is helping you through that period between cutting off the short term benefits and the point where the long term benefits begin to kick in.
Residential programs claim to do this by locking you away in a cushy jail for one to three months and pretending that you will arrive back home where all the imagined benefits will be waiting for you.
Never happens. All you’ve done was put in your time like any prisoner, become even more resentful, acquired some new manipulative skills, and returned home ready to “show them.”
No, 30 days in isolation and the admonition “don’t drink, go to AA” nearly always makes your situation worse and everyone poorer (except the treatment facility who will eagerly welcome you back).
What does help, is getting some actual skill-building started (CBT, assertiveness training, motivational enhancement, anger management, diet and exercise, medical management, and so on) and then having several months of support in implementing all of these across your day-to-day life.
It helps to have a spouse or other significant person or family member involved too, not excluded as everyone else does.
If you want your vote, your dignity, reputation, and life restored, or if you want to prevent them from unraveling irrevocably, don’t you think it’s time to call?
Who’s sabotaging you now that you’ve decided it’s time to stop drinking?
As strange as it seems, one topic we spend a lot of time on is sorting out who will be supportive and who will try, actively or passively, to derail you.
While it isn’t always conscious, other people have benefited from your drinking and they aren’t always happy when those benefits go away.
- spouses who’ve held all of the power in the relationship because “you’re an alcoholic”;
- children, especially adolescents, who’ve learned to manipulate you because you feel guilty and you really don’t remember, for sure, what you might have agreed to last night or last week;
- ex-spouses because you’ve given them power and leverage;
- family members who can safely ignore everything in their lives or anything you might say;
- friends who use your drinking to excuse or minimize theirs;
- bartenders who’ve been making a great living off your tips;
- co-workers and supervisors to whom you don’t pose a threat;
- and so on…
Having a drinking problem really does mean “losing your vote” in family decision making and in a lot of other areas of your life. That includes your vote in making decisions for yourself.
But if you want your vote, and your life, back…