“If I am against me, who shall be for me?”
– John Donne
The quote is an early example of the necessity of being assertive – the most intractable problem most of our clients are medicating.
No, it’s not the only one. There are the usual suspects as well: loneliness, boredom, depression, anxiety, hormone and medication imbalances, and a number of personal considerations as well.
Yet the underlying condition which factors into nearly all of these is not some “disease” against which we are powerless and doomed, but rather an unwillingness to stand up for ourselves.
Indeed, with those of you who make up our clients, it is our “prejudice against ourselves,” in the words of pioneering psychologist Erik Erikson, which keeps us returning to the temporary respite that alcohol provides. And, to reiterate, “If I am against me…?”
Consider some of the common ways in which this plays out:
- A controlling spouse (family, mother/father-in-law, etc.) is encouraged to dominate because you will not resist and demand equality within the relationship. You eventually learn to use drinking as a passive-aggressive F.U. (control this you….) and/or as an “invisible protective shield;”
- You’re lonely but rather than looking for companionship by engaging in activities where you might meet interesting people, you sit home alone and drink or hang out in bars with people incapable of forming intimate relationships;
- You are bored, but rather than take a chance on writing that book, or taking that class, or learning that skill, you pull another cork;
- You are underemployed but rather than upgrading your skill set, looking for another position, or even evaluating your possibilities, you drop by the liquor store;
- Your fitness is way down, which is depressing, but instead of developing an exercise regimen you sign up for weekend vineyard tours or casino packages;
I could go on and on but I think the pattern is clear – failure to stand up for yourself, and also to yourself dooms you to the same old degraded existence that brought you to you current state of affairs.
And for the most part, you’ve done it to yourself.
That’s actually the good news. After all, what you have chosen to do to yourself, you can also choose to undo.
Powerless? We don’t think so, and many hundreds of clients over 25 years would agree.
An easy fix?
An interesting, rebellious, adventurous, enlightening, uplifting, and life-saving one?
Remember that you have taught others how to treat you by what you tolerate and, as someone who likes what you read here, you have perhaps developed just too much tolerance for being treated badly.
But most of the people in your life can, admittedly grudgingly, can be retrained. Those who won’t? Again, your choice. Do you want to please them by being a miserable drunk? Or yourself and the people who actually care about you by being actively engaged in your life?
Remember – it’s the only life you’re going to get and time is the only finite commodity you are solely responsible for managing. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Looking back, most of us would agree with Kris Kristopherson that, “I’d rather be sorry for something I’ve done, than for something I didn’t do.” Let us help you figure out where to stick in that oar and start doing instead of sitting, drinking, and waiting to die.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
With AA you must agree to join the army of the powerless and diseased and sub-normal. Additionally, you must accept that it’s a life sentence.
Not exactly a recipe for being yourself, is it?
So, supposing you’d prefer to be yourself, living out your own unique identity rather than an “alcoholic” label, how does that work?
As usual, that is a solution which we promote through “what is it that you are medicating and what can you do instead?”
Obviously, this is not an approach that lends itself to a group setting since your particular mosaic of underlying conditions does not match anyone else’s. That being the case, neither will your “solution.”
CBT? Motivational enhancement? Assertiveness training? Diet and exercise? Medication support? And in what proportions and for what duration? These are the questions we help you answer in creating anew, personal normal that is precisely tailored to you, your situation, your abilities, strengths, and interests.
Why not be your best self? You’ve tried sabotaging and medicating yourself and the results have not been satisfactory. Why not try working the other way?
?It’s easy, and free, to start the discussion. Just call and talk to either of us and begin considering what a different life might look and feel like. No pressure, no commitment, and we never, ever, call you.