“Yes, Dear, I married you for better or worse – but not for lunch.”
The Covid pandemic has made it easier for many of us to sort out what we are medicating because it has exacerbated so many of the conditions.
Thought you were lonely, depressed, or bored before?
Thought you relationships were becoming unbearable?
Thought you were being exploited, abused, gas lighted?
Thought relief was in sight when the children went off to kindergarten, school, college?
Then along came Covid and exacerbated some or all of the above – along with issues specific to you I may not have mentioned. An example of the latter in my case would include “why haven’t I gotten the writing done that I was only postponing ‘until I had the time’?”
Then there is also the problem of how do you maintain some of the “not for lunch” boundaries under lockdown, or how do you reconfigure household responsibilities which may now include teaching as well as the “work from home” isolation and lack of structure, support and incidental social interactions?
These are all potential, or actual, concerns, of course, and I’m sure you have ones unique to you and your circumstances to add.
Ah, there’s that word, “unique.”
We have always worked with individuals, or a couple, because everyone’s circumstances and alcohol usage is unique to them, as are resources, options, preferences, abilities and so on. Therefore we work with you to match the mosaic of what you are medicating with a matching mosaic of solutions. No, your situation isn’t like anyone else’s and the one-size-fits-all AA mythology – or the go-away-for-30-days fantasy – aren’t apt to do anything more than depress you further while draining your wallet and self-esteem.
So, please, take advantage of the variety open to you as well as the wealth of accumulated experience Dr. Barnes and I bring to helping you find YOUR empowering solution.
A Different Perspective on the Benefits of Drinking
We regularly ignore the “costs of drinking” and the “benefits of quitting/moderating” because those are pretty obvious to most everyone. We routinely ask people to enumerate the benefits they get from their drinking – if there weren’t benefits you wouldn’t be doing it even if these are merely habit or family tradition – since these need to be replaced if change is to be successful.
We also, where spouses, partners, and/or family are involved, ask what benefits are they getting from your drinking?
That question is usually followed by a long pause.
Clients are so used to being criticized about their alcohol use that it’s never occurred to them that these same critics also benefit from their drinking The fast example is the spouse who uses your drinking as a cover for theirs – people who point out your problem as a bit of misdirection, keeping you and others distracted from their own problematic behaviors, whether drinking, gambling, shopping, sex or whatever behaviors of their own could bear some attention
It’s a question worth some consideration because these people’s benefits from your drinking are what will cause them to sabotage your efforts to change your relationship with alcohol – even while complaining to all and sundry about YOUR problem. Especially while complain about YOUR problem.
This falls into the “forewarned is forearmed” category of help. If you know what’s going on, you’ll be less vulnerable to sabotage and better able to withstand it. You may even be able to reflect to criticism in ways that help the others to begin to resolve their own problems.
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