This week we’re continuing to run through the mosaic of services we provide to address the various issues you have been medicating with alcohol. First, to review:
In the March 1 Issue we took a look at Naltrexone – the anti-craving medication – and at issues of Privacy and why we’re the only confidential program in the U.S. or Canada.
Last week in the March 8 Issue we examined Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Assertiveness Training and how these can quickly begin to address the underlying issues of passivity and skewed thinking.
This week we’d like to consider the issues of Maturity and their effects on both loneliness and boredom, followed by a consideration of aging and how this effects, and frequently exacerbates, our alcohol use and abuse.
Many of us believe that maturity is by-product of aging. Unhappily, such is not the case anymore than wisdom is a natural consequence of living a long life.
Instead, maturation is a result of four factors coming together. To begin with, it requires at least a reasonable amount of intelligence. People who lack good cognitive abilities also lack the ability to develop coping skills and world views which include a lot of complexity and “gray” areas.
It’s also necessary to be reasonably sensitive – insensitive people have no reason to mature and simply go along steamrolling everyone in their path.
“Growing up” also requires that children and adolescents have to figure out how to handle problems on their own. If “helicopter mom” and/or “deep pockets dad” is always rescuing you, how could you develop the skills necessary to live an independent life? Why would you?
Finally, when put under pressure, we tend to have a primary reaction, either fear or anger, the survival “fight or flight” modes of our ancestors. Be glad if your reaction is fear.
Why? Because those who go immediately to anger find that aggression is the only “coping skill” they need and soon turn every uncomfortable emotion, be it sadness, loneliness, and even fear, into anger and aggression. This may lead to worldly success, but hardly to intimacy with another person.
This all factors into underlying causes of alcohol abuse by promoting loneliness in those too precociously mature to find peers; to anxiety when dealing with others who are exploitive, abusive or aggressive; and/or to attempts to “regress” to the lower levels of others.
Wonder where you fit in this model? That’s something we will verify on your first day here, but here’s a hint – people for whom this isn’t a problem don’t spend much time visiting our website or reading this Newsletter.
?Details? Give us a call and let’s see where this all leads.
And then there are the very real issues of growing older…..
Having covered emotional and psychological maturity in the article above, it seems reasonable to move along to chronological maturity. Specifically, since we primarily work with clients who range in age from 40 – 75?, what happens over these years that change our alcohol use?
?First, for both women and men, as we age our bodies ability to handle alcohol diminishes. That tends to happen faster with women, whose physiology is always more vulnerable to alcohol, but it happens to all of us in any case.
Second, aging means changes in roles. Active parenting may end. Careers may plateau or decline. Hormonal changes may have us addressing various conditions with alcohol. The death of a spouse, or divorce, or illness, or various medical events may find us seeking alcohol’s numbing release. Many people, particularly men, find retirement at the bottom of a bottle.
Aches, pains, emotional distress, depression, and a lack of interests, life engagement, and/or motivation may all contribute to escalating alcohol use.
What’s not to like about alcohol’s quick, cheap, available, legal, and socially promoted solution?
Perhaps nothing, unless you want to return to living your life rather than just “killing time waiting to die.”
?But if you were content to merely drink yourself to death, why are you reading this?