Here’s to a Happier 2016!
Well, except for the Super Bowl, the Alcohol Abuse Season that started with Halloween has pretty much come to a close – except for those of you who add in Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, assorted birthdays, anniversaries, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and…..
Obviously there are plenty of holidays, excuses, celebrations, disasters, and other “events” to keep us drinking away 2016, too.
Isn’t that all getting just a bit boring? Not to mention dangerous?
And not just physically dangerous.
At Christmas dinner a couple of us were “designated drivers” even though no one was drinking too much. The rule was, any drinking = no driving.
We were a diverse group – two psychologists, one sea captain, two engineers, one investment banker, one pension planner, and so one. We could easily have added a doctor, lawyer, and a few other professionals.
What did we have in common? A DUI, even the lesser “driving while impaired,” would have cost us our jobs, security clearances, licenses, certifications, and all of the other hard earned credentials our professions require.
All for irresponsible choices none of us were going to make.
How about you?
Do you want to spend this year, as you have past years, hoping you will skate by once again? Looking over your shoulder for the flashing lights that spell doom? Trying to calculate how much you actually drank and over how many hours, factored over body weight and gender and…..
Why not put the various legal, health, family, financial, and other anxiety provoking threats to rest?
Why not give yourself a break, your body a rest, and your worries a vacation?
Why not actually fix problems, not just medicate them, for a year and see what you think? You can always go back to medicating if you really do decide that that’s preferable (see the following article on “relapse”).
Yes, you might need, and certainly deserve, a bit of short term help. No different that hiring a trainer to teach you how to use the gym. Or a Yoga instructor. Or a financial advisor.
We’re not, after all, the gate keepers to any AA/12 Step, personality, or religious cult.
We’re just the folks who introduce you to what actually works, coach you along while these skills take the place of alcohol, and congratulate you when you discover that you are a lot stronger and smarter, as well as more capable, competent, and aware than you thought you were.
Sounds to us like a better way to start a new year, and a new life.
What’s it sound like to you?
Why not consider:
One of the on-line groups we belong to recently received an inquiry about statistics on “relapse rates.”
Talk about an impossible task.
First, there is no generally accepted definition of just what constitutes a “relapse.” If you adhere to AA it’s one drink, or a five year binge, after you’ve been abstinent for a couple of days or a couple of decades. Makes no difference.
It can also simply be a matter of another person’s opinion, or a rehab business’ need to fill a bed, or an interventionist’s to get a kick back, or a controlling spouses wish to subjugate you, ….. But you know that picture already.
Even without these obvious confounding factors, there’s the problem that all attempts to quantify rely on self-reports. How accurate do you suppose those are? Especially when professions, careers, fame, fortune, and the next election hang in the balance?
There were good reasons for Gabrielle Glaser to title her book “Her Best-Kept Secret” and there’s no more inclination to report results accurately in the future.
What does matter to you? Or should?
We routinely advise clients to eliminate “alcoholic”, “alcoholism”, “relapse”, and “in recovery” from their vocabulary. None of these serve any useful purpose unless you want to continue drinking and pretend you aren’t responsible for making that choice.
They are all great sounding excuses. But that’s all they are.
If you don’t want to be labeled, demeaned, dehumanized, degraded, and manipulated, we suggest you work with us to define whatever success looks like to you.
We routinely have clients who choose to abstain. That’s usually the best initial route out of alcohol abuse: stop; address whatever it is you’re medicating; live with your new skills, habits, and routines until those become your new “normal.”
Then decide whether or not you want to experiment with “normal” drinking. If you find out you can, wonderful. If not, well you’ll know what to do. Or, like many – and best of all – you’ll discover you don’t even care whether or not you have another drink! That’s hard to imagine right now, but is frequently the outcome.
And if you decide to go back to your old drinking habits and patterns? That’s not a relapse, it’s an informed decision.
Like most of the loaded terms in the rehab industry, relapse absolves you from responsibility, but at the cost of your freedom, dignity, and self-efficacy. If that’s a trade you want to make, be our guest. But remember, that too is a choice you, not alcohol, are making.
And in 2016, you’re opting for?
We hope whatever it is, it makes for a happier year than 2015 turned out to be.