Having now run through Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we’re ready for Thursday which includes beginning to tie things together in ways that build a plan that will carry through the next 12 weeks of follow-up – and the rest of your life.
However, another topic we have been skirting is also now on the agenda – Assertiveness Training. Would you believe that the number one condition that needs corrected in the vast majority of our clients is a lack of assertiveness in personal relationships? And occasionally in professional ones as well?
It’s surprising that clients, nearly all of you who are successful physicians, attorneys, executives, diplomats, university faculty, business owners, artists, philanthropists, athletes, entrepreneurs, writers and myriad other categories of successful professionals, are door mats in your personal lives. That said, is it surprising that alcohol has become the passive-aggressive weapon of choice, among other compensations?
And, no, this applies equally to those of you who are men as well as women.
This is where the need for individual attention becomes obvious. Having separated your live into strands – health, work, home, recreation, etc. – we can now begin to braid these into a series of goals leavened with new or honed coping and life skills. We can begin to assist you in reengaging in your life.
Yes, engaging. That is, after all, the opposite of what you have been doing with your drinking, disengaging from your life and the people around you. Successfully eliminating alcohol abuse is the process of ceasing to be a spectator of life and returning to being a participant yours.
No, not initially, but that’s why we ease into change over weeks and months. We don’t want you scaring yourself or those around you by attempting massive changes. We want progress, slow, steady, and maintainable. Time to be the tortoise, not the hare.
Remember, just as your drinking effects everyone around you, so does giving it up. How that plays out for you, and them, depends on there being more benefits in your sobriety than in drunkenness, preferably for everyone.
It also depends on you learning new ways to think about yourself and this process you have embarked on. Think of yourself as a capable and competent person conducting an experiment into a much better way of life and that’s what it’ll be.
Think of yourself as a pathetic, powerless, sub-human alcoholic facing a lifetime of “meetings” and being “in recovery” and how do you think that will play out?
That’s right. What you think is what you get.
As always, what’s your choice?
Yes, all of this work and these skills will apply across your life.
Unlike “Don’t drink, go to AA,” we introduce you to real coping skills and life enhancing changes which apply across your life and last a lifetime. We want you to expand your life, options, activities, relationships, and choices – not retreat into the restricted world of the 12 Step bunker.
Yes. For example, CBT, in addition to its usefulness in combating depression and anxiety, can help with mundane matters from avoiding being unnecessarily and fruitlessly annoyed by petty marital power struggles to road rage.
Assertiveness training applies across our personal and professional relationships and helps to reduce frustration, resentment, and other useless emotions.
Mindfulness – the current buzzword for self-awareness – helps us maintain health and a constructive attitude.
Motivational enhancement makes it easier to get things done and/or to enjoy the opportunities life provides.
Diet and exercise considerations help to keep us available to participate in whatever interests we choose to indulge.
Notice that all of these new, or developed, skills are mutually reinforcing?
Alcohol is, first and foremost, a depressant. Consume enough over time and you set in motion a downward spiral that is self-reinforcing. Put another way, alcohol induced depression has us feeling worse so we do less. Doing less causes us to feel worse so we drink me. Drinking more causes…… We’re sure you get that picture.
But that is a reversible spiral and coming to us has the effect of putting a “floor” you descent into an even more depressed state.
Arrest the descent and add actual skills, activities, and perspectives and the spiral begins to go the other way. Feel a bit better, do a bit more. Eliminate the daily dose of depressant, feel better, and, again, do more.
No, as many clients note, it isn’t rocket science. But it does take sorting, prioritizing, starting, coaching, consulting, commiserating, compassion, and healthy doses of good will and good humor.
That’s what we offer. And their counter offer would be?