I appreciate your response to the release of “AA – Who It Helps, Who It Harms, Who It Kills and Why.” I write the next week’s Newsletter on Monday morning, usually, and in the time since you received yesterday’s, 34 copies have been ordered. No, it’s not headed to the NYT Best Seller List, nor will it be a word of mouth sensation to match “50 Shades” but that is still a gratifying amount of progress in replacing 12 Step mythology with real answers.
That is, after all, what those who are self-medicating with alcohol need – real answers, real solutions, and an effective way to regain control of their lives. Answers which draw on strengths, abilities, interests, and circumstances – not ones that demand that you subjugate yourself to the dictates and oppression of an adolescent cult.
It’s good to remember that when we come out the other side of self-medication and self-doubt, we discover an enhanced life that surpasses what we knew before we became submerged and disoriented by whatever trials and tribulations dragged us down.
We often remind clients that they didn’t end up self-medicating because they were weak or diseased or immoral or because their parents did, but because it worked – until it didn’t.
Yes, there are a plethora of contributing factors: take a teaspoon of cultural expectations, add a tablespoon of family modeling, blend in a half cup of trauma, leaven with anxiety, spice with abusive relationships, age in loneliness, bake with habit formation, and it’s no wonder that respite with alcohol emerges from an oven heated by an overload of stress.
Consider, when you’ve surpassed your carrying capacity, that’s what the self-medication is telling you. There is no shame in discovering you can’t do it all for everyone. Nor is there any shame in getting a bit of help to ease and redistribute the load.
Remember that change is a process that comes down to awareness; research; action; maintenance. I hope the book helps with the research and promotes action and that, maybe, it will also help with understanding that allows for the maintaining.
Sometimes We Forget
Every now and again, a client, current or former, will comment that what we do and how we do it is uniquely effective.
We know that’s true – but it’s good to be reminded.
For those of you who haven’t yet had the experience of sitting across from us, either physically or virtually, let me elaborate a bit.
First, we work as a team with some diversity. A man, a woman, one with a life chapter drenched in alcohol, one with a family problem to solve.
Second, we only work with individuals and whomever they may, or may not, choose to include.
Third, we trust you to know what’s best for you, though we will suggest.
Fourth, we do model how a good relationship works though, granted, it probably helps that we go home to different homes at night. Yet we have attained a level of working intimacy where, as Mary Ellen recently said, “we’ve gone from being strangers to finishing each other’s sentences to finishing each other’s thoughts.” That’s a level of friendship worth attaining for anyone.
Fifth, we are most pleased when we can help you to create your own unique life, no matter how idiosyncratic. Your life. Not mine or Mary Ellen’s or one based on the dictates of one cult or sect or someone else’s imposed precepts.
Starting with the reality that your self-medication is a symptom, neither a disease nor a choice, is also unique to our manner of working with you. No, we don’t “fix” it for you; now is our program something we do to you. We work with you to create your own solution.
After all, if it isn’t your solution, how could it work?