Shall We Dance?
Analogies can help us better understand the dynamics of our various relationships. We like “the dance” as a way of examining both your relationship with alcohol and also with those around you.
Fundamentally, all of our relationships, personal, professional, familial, social, and so on, develop into a “dance” of predictable “steps.” These dances can be positive, benign, or malignant and most of us engage in all three types depending on who’s involved.
For example, we usually have very simple and uncomplicated relationships with our barber, hair dresser, and the various other people we interact with on a regular and predictable basis. These relationship dances may extend to our physician, dentist, lawyer, and other service providers as well as the checkout people at the stores we regularly shop at.
All of these dances simplify our lives and the lives of those around us and smooth routine transactions into reasonably pleasant social exchanges. That is one purpose the “dances” serve – to simplify, support, and save time, energy and emotion. These are examples of benign dances.
So far, so good.
Other relationships may develop into mutually beneficial and supportive “dances.” These cooperative, collaborative, and/or collegial interactions support and promote our lives professionally and, perhaps, personally, and are examples of positive dances.
Under the best of circumstances these benefits would extend to our intimate personal relationships including marriages, partnerships, family, and friends.
Unhappily the alcohol related dances usually come down to isolation, passive-aggression, manipulation, punishment, and other counter-productive “steps” which, interestingly, pretty much mirror the results of those other well known “Steps.”
The result? If you’re going to untangle yourself, and then reconfigure and balance your relationships, you’d better have a good model, a better plan, and support that will disappear when you have stabilized your life.
But you’ve probably learned to mistrust yourself, been brainwashed by the pervasive AA nonsense, and have to regain some credibility with yourself and then with those around you.
All of this is something you can do but it’s difficult without some outside validation, support, and help with maintaining motivation.
If that sounds like what we offer, then you have been reading correctly.
And the time to begin would be?
Absolution Without the Penance? Then What?
We often note that our work with you consists of several parts, not the least of which is granting “absolution” for past mistakes without any penance required (this isn’t AA with its “make amends” requirement, no matter that that process usually does more harm than good).
Keep in mind that you didn’t fall into abusing alcohol because you are, sick, powerless, diseased, immoral, or any other dehumanizing condition, but because: 1) you are human, and 2) because it worked.
So, we absolve you from your past. If there are things you need to fix we’re sure you can figure that out on your own and take care of it. You don’t need us nagging or dictating or finger pointing. For the rest of it, simply leading a happier life should be enough to satisfy anyone else who actually cares about you.
Having taken care of the past, we like to spend our time with you addressing the present and the future – the two places where you will spend the rest of your life. This is where the focus needs to be and this is where you need to be as honest with yourself as you possibly can.
It’s also where CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) comes in to help you get past the shoulds and musts and ought tos. CBT is a re-framing technique that is easily taught and, with practice, quickly absorbed. It will help clear out unconscious beliefs that keep you stuck, vulnerable, confused, and angry.
CBT will also help with motivation, which is hard to maintain. That difficulty is usually a result of trying to maintain it on the basis of what you should want, should do, should be motivated by. But we are rarely motivated by anything we “should” do. We are motivated by what we actually want, regardless of what it is.
Remember, your reasons for turning to alcohol were personal, your continued misuse are as much habitual as anything else, and your misery, self-doubt, and dissatisfaction aren’t going to evaporate just because you wish they would.
But we can jump-start the process for you and with you:
- assigned “penance” (better known as home work into knowing yourself a bit better);
- new options and skills;
- a new normal that isn’t demeaning, depressing, or dehumanizing.
To which you reply?