Avoidance – Self-Medication’s Biggest Benefit

Whether it’s conscious or not, all of our behavioral choices are rooted in a cost/benefit analysis.

For example, we choose to marry, or not, depending on our considerations of loneliness vs companionship; financial security vs uncertainty; sexual access vs frustration; family and community expectations vs displeasing these same entities. All of these, and many other considerations, play a part even though we soon learn that marriage didn’t confer any of the benefits we thought it would.

The same process frequently follows choices regarding careers, where to live, whether or not to have children and/or how many. Because life is not static, many of these choices will be revisited many times in the course of a lifetime with the biggest shift being in our awareness that all choices involve uncertain outcomes and unexpected risks and costs.

Except, we may decide, drinking.

Self-medication is, after all, predictable, legal, inexpensive, fast-acting, socially promoted, and nearly universal. What’s not to like?

The not always obvious answer to the “what’s not to like?” question is that it doesn’t fix any of the conditions we are avoiding. And for some of us, that’s okay – so we will keep on avoiding until death “solves” any and all problems.
Most of us would prefer a different outcome – or at least you would or you wouldn’t be reading this Newsletter.

Which brings up the next question: if you want a different and better life, why are you procrastinating?

Procrastination is usually an avoidant strategy itself. I want the outcome, but I don’t want to go through the short term discomfort that the long term relief requires. At least not today and probably not tomorrow. Maybe next week or after…

Meanwhile I’ll open another bottle to quell my disappointment in myself and buffer my fear of change.

The solution to the quandary? It’s called acting on what we know, not what we feel. Bringing up my favorite example, no one thinks smoking is good for them. Those of us who have quit decided to act on what we knew, not what we felt. We recognized that we were going to be very uncomfortable for a while – days, weeks, even months – but that we preferred not just live, but to live better.

That choice is open to you and is a lot easier to implement than stopping smoking. So how are you going to convince yourself to actually do something? Interesting question, isn’t it? If it helps, you can always remember that giving up drinking is a reversible decision – if you don’t like your altered life, you can always go back – but at least you’ll know what the alternative feels like and how it works for you. Why not find out?

That’s one of the reasons we’ve worked hard to pare costs and improve access – so you can begin that discovery with a modest investment in time, money and effort. In fact, the first consultation is free. Got an hour to invest? Give us a call and we’ll arrange that. 818-466-9258. And, yes, you’ll be talking to one of us – no sales department, con artists, AA scammers, or zillion $$$ rehabs.