Three Things Everyone Needs to Know at All Times
If you want to make informed decisions in your life then you always need to know where you stand:
It’s hard to overemphasize these three basic dimensions of our lives or how rarely people actually know all three. Generally, women are better than men at knowing where they stand medically, an area where men are generally clueless and, worse, unwilling to learn.
Financially men are the ones who usually know where they stand and women, particularly married women, frequently are as in the dark as men are medically.
When it comes to legal matters both tend to have only the vaguest notions, particularly with regard to wills, estates, and end of life planning. As many have said, “I don’t need a will and if I make one it means I’m going to die!” Yes, normally rational people go all superstitious when it comes to leaving the world behind.
All of these become areas of vital knowledge when you find yourself trapped in an abusive marriage – and contrary to popular mythology, the abusers are as apt to be women as men. Regardless, if you are drinking:
- To create a protective bubble protecting you from the effects of verbal/emotional abuse;
- As a passive aggressive F.U. directed towards a controlling spouse;
- As compensation for an inattentive spouse;
- To make the intolerable tolerable.
Then you need to know what your other options are – and you can’t know your choices if you don’t know your medical, financial, and legal status.
Even if your circumstances are good, you still need to know. As Covid has taught too many of us, and will teach as many more, circumstances can change instantly and ignorance is not bliss.
As a simple example, we have had many clients who had never seen a copy of their credit report – or their spouse’s. Those are free and easy to obtain. Doing so is a great first step towards knowing where you stand financially. Then you can move on to bank accounts, retirement plans, insurance and all of the other bits and pieces that make up our financial lives. Get started with a quick stop at a site like creditKarma.com and go on from there.
Bumper stickers exhort us to “Imagine World Piece,” or to “Forget World Piece, Imagine Using Your Turn Signal!” AA shouts, “K.I.S.S. – Keep it Simple Stupid,” or “Fake it til You Make It,” (I really don’t understand how plastering your vehicle with inane 12 Step slogans goes along with Anonymity – but that’s probably one of the lesser AA absurdities I could prattle on about).
Personally and professionally I’d prefer one that read “Do It Your Way!” I like the ambiguity of “it” along with the recognition that your way will works for you.
Many years ago a client noted, as she was completing the intensive portion, “You have a 3 Step program: ‘Get a Grip; Get a Life; Get Out of Here!’” She was largely correct, as hundreds of clients have demonstrated, but I’d like to break those “Steps” down just a bit.
“Get a Grip” means give yourself a bit of respite, reflection, and short term help to sort out what is really going on with your life and drinking. That’s the purpose of the 4 days of intensive work with us – that and deprogramming from 12 Step nonsense.
“Get a Life” refers to implementing alternatives to alcohol whether that’s newly acquired skills (CBT, Assertiveness, etc) to cope with life’s problems as well as changing habit patterns and adding activities that get you to where you want to be.
“Get Out of Here” refers to the fact that changing drinking habits is not a life-long fixation but is, instead, a short term course correction. Ex-smokers say it much, much better – “I kicked the habit.” I moved it onto the list of things I once did but also left behind: vodka, cigarettes, motorcycles, dog teams, commercial fishing, toxic family members, and, probably, dozens of other “Been there. Done that.” People, places, and activities.
All of these “Steps” apply to you as well. Fix it and forget it. It’s what we have been helping people do for nearly two decades now.
(An aside: Yes, you can probably accomplish this on your own, as I did 35 years ago, but why would you want to spent 2, 3, 4 years foundering around – like I did – to take care of a problem that can be defined and corrected in 2, 3, or 4 months? How many more years do you – or can you afford – to lose?)