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Non-12 Step News for August 10, 2014

Nothing is going to change until you do.

Anne Frank said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  The same could be said of your life.

She could have added that none of us need wait another moment to begin improving our own lives, too.

Yet many of us continue to lead Thoreau’s “lives of quiet desperation,” medicated with alcohol, nicotine, food, internet “friends,” and mindless activities to no particular end.

I could rattle off another dozen quotes from Katherine Hepburn to Mark Twain, but the messages are always the same: you have made choices which have resulted in you being in your current circumstances. Most of these choices are perfectly understandable and require no excuses. But if you are unhappy with your present life – and if you weren’t, why would you be reading our Newsletter? – it will continue until you decide to change.

Most of us, however, prefer to wait until others change, or circumstances change, or conditions are more favorable, or……

We all want everything and everyone to change – except ourselves.

Sorry, but that’s not how life works.

So, we sit with the “security of our familiar miseries” because we are too afraid of unknown outcomes to bestir ourselves to action. And we’re too exhausted from drinking to make any effort beyond that required to obtain the next comforting bottle.

Prochaska, DeClimente, and Norcross in “Stages of Change” noted that people who are successful at changing their behaviors and their lives do so in stages that pretty much comes down to: ignorance, awareness, contemplation, action, and maintenance. Most of us get stuck between the contemplating and the acting stages.


Alcohol is easy to give up, but established habit patterns are not.

We frequently say that it’s pretty easy to give up alcohol – which is true – but it’s very difficult to change established behavior patterns. The result is that these habitual routines drag us back to drinking even when we’re clear that we don’t want to.

Consider, please, that most of what you do in any given day involves recreating activities that you complete without ever having to think about them.

You get up, shower, get dressed, eat, and begin the day’s activities. Some of us may go to the gym, stop by our favorite coffee shop, drive to work, and so on. And we accomplish the vast majority of these routines without ever thinking about what we’re doing.

In fact, we can become quite uncomfortable if we diverge from these habits. Try it yourself. Do something as supposedly simple as putting on your pants and slacks with the opposite leg first (warning: don’t try this standing up!). Continue dressing the same way and you soon discover that you have an established procedure that is very discomforting to change.

The operative word here is “discomforting.” We have learned to do our basic activities in the most comfortable way possible.

This optimization allows us to avoid wasting time, energy, and attention on things that don’t require it. And we’re very good at it. Consider the difference between how much attention your driving requires now compared to the first time you ever drove – or tied your shoes, or a tie, or buttoned a shirt (try buttoning a man’s shirt if you are a woman, and vice versa, and see how that goes). And so goes the endless list of things we do without ever thinking.

That, of course, also includes drinking.

It’s interesting that most people’s drinking – including what, how much, where, with whom, and so on – follows a very set and predictable pattern. So predictable that we may feel “powerless,” but it’s not powerless over alcohol, it’s damn near powerless over interrupting a well honed habit!

Want to end your alcohol abuse?

Then you are going to need to create new habits to overlay the existing ones, ones which will always lead you back to your same old drinking habits.

Creating new habits is tough, but not impossible, and there are ways to make it easier (no, not easy – there is no magic, no matter what the rehab con artists promise). Start by learning what all ex-smokers know (and expected): you will be very uncomfortable for awhile, but the discomfort passes and the self-esteem that comes from overcoming a difficult problem more than makes up for the temporary angst.

That’s where we come in. We’ll help you define the behavior changes, add new activities that provide some of the same benefits as drinking, and then we coach you through the first three critical months as new routines solidify and you are well on your way to a new, non-alcoholic, “normal.”

Yes, you did the research that led you to us. The question that remains is how much of your finite life span do you want to spend waiting? Research suggests that a third of you will stay stuck thinking about and/or talking about change until you die.

The good news? Two thirds of you will extricate yourselves from alcohol abuse and into lives that range from less impaired to enormously enhanced.

Which group do you wish to join and how much change are you willing to consider, adopt, and enjoy?

That’s where we come in. If now is the time, we’ll guide you through the how, what, and where. All it takes is a phone call to begin deciding to actually change. A call that can be the last piece of information gathering you will ever need to do when it comes to leaving alcohol abuse behind.

By |2016-11-14T06:14:08+00:00August 10th, 2014|Newsletters|0 Comments

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