What is Real Support?
One of common questions we hear is about how family and friends can be supportive when you’re giving up alcohol. It’s not always obvious.
Too often family members – especially spouses – and friends have a vested interest in you continuing to drink. So you need to be on the look out for sabotage that can come as an unexpected and discouraging surprise.
It won’t always be as obvious as the husband who stocked the refrigerator with a dozen bottles of his wife’s favorite wine to welcome her home from her week with us. Or the wife who physically removed her husband from our offices at the first hint of progress.
But the lack of real support can be just as difficult whether it’s intentional, unconscious, or even well meant.
As you’re struggling to re-order your life and change your drinking you’ll apt to discover, for example, that as you adjust to living differently the people around you have to adjust too. Spouses who have grown used to you being “missing in action” may not be entirely thrilled to have you “back,” for example.
On a lesser level, as you add new activities and friends, some of the old one will necessarily fall by the wayside. That can be hard, and sad, but choices still need to be made and you are allowed to choose health and happiness.
Supportive people will ask how they can help and will listen to your answer. Frequently all we need ask is to be left alone for a bit to muddle through these changes, or for someone to just listen without needing to “help.”
This can also be a very exciting time to share with your spouse – an opportunity to grow together, closing the gap that alcohol abuse usually creates. It’s why we always include partners whenever it’s possible.
(The alternative, and the route 99% of treatment programs dictate, is amply reported in Mary Ellen’s popular article, Great, He Quit Drinking – When Will He Recover? )
Remember, real support won’t usually be found in groups that are more interested in keeping you bogged down with them than in freeing you (see The Bucket of Crabs).
Instead, pick a new interest, get to know new people who know nothing about your alcohol abuse and don’t care. They’re only interest is in the sober you and activities you now share.
Soon you’ll have a vested interest in the activity, your growing friendships, and not ruining things by going back to alcohol.
Whether it’s the gym, Habitat for Humanity, the Audubon Society, volunteering, or any other activity that holds your interest, you’ll be far better off, and far less apt to return to those bad old days of yesteryear, with friends and interests that have no alcohol focus.
You will become what you believe. Do you believe you are a powerless alcoholic victim? Or an empowered adult who’s “been there, done that,” and moved on to a more interesting way to live?
Not really a difficult choice, is it?
Remember, you can always find real support here, with us.
Dr. Mary Ellen Barnes & Dr. Edward Wilson
Call Toll Free 888-541-6350
In Los Angeles or From Alaska: 818-466-9258 )
We’re always interested when we hear about how someone has exchanged new positive behaviors for old self-destructive ones. That happened
again at the Smart Recovery meeting we host on Monday evenings.
One of the attendees noted that he lives a long ways away but, as a teacher, he has the summer off and some time to fill. Our offices are located on the lovely Palos Verdes Peninsula and he decided that he’d drive over to the area in the afternoon when traffic wasn’t a problem.
He then spends a few hours exploring the parks, trails, and beaches here – areas that he’d normally never have gotten around to visiting. As the afternoon ends he grabs a snack and joins us for the 6:30-7:30 get together.
Afterwards he heads home – and by then the traffic has thined out – having had a great afternoon and evening. He’s filled his time productively, and learned more about dealing with his life without alcohol abuse.
And we get to thank him for presenting us with an excellent example!
Tools We Use
“Those who do not create the future they want must endure the future they get.” — Draper L. Kaufman, Jr.
“You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die, or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.” — Joan Baez
We use Dr. Jane Loevinger’s Sentence Completion Test which measures how you interact with the world – it’s your perspective and point of view. We use her model with every client.
Since 1985 Ed has scored and interpreted over 5,000 SCTs for dozens of projects, universities, individuals, clinics, and the military. Beginning later this summer we’ll be offering the SCT to people through our web site at $79 per test.
If you’re interested now, as a Newsletter reader, you can get the SCT plus scoring, interpretation, and how you compare to AA zealots for only $49.
To do this, just e-mail Ed at DrWilson@non12step.com and request either the women’s or men’s form (or both).
Let us help you start unraveling what a fascinating mystery, and research project you are!
And, as always, for information or just to talk, 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 because we’re with a client, or away from the office, 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: 818-466-9258