Is your life out of balance internally and/or externally?
Underlying our misuse of alcohol with regularity are the conflicts within ourselves and our most intimate and supportive relationships.
Let’s start with looking at ourselves before turning a possibly bloodshot eye on our nearest and dearest.
We are all a bit inconsistent in the sense that our behaviors don’t always reflect our values, self-image, or what makes up a good person, spouse, parent, and so on. Certainly none of us wants drunk or alcoholic to be a defining label – which is what makes AA such a failure since that’s exactly what it tells you you are.
Actually fixing the problem requires that you remember that you are in fact a generally competent and capable person who is able to fix problems and correct mistakes without resorting to excuses. Nope. You’re not powerless or diseased.
That means that you can exit alcohol abuse and move on to other things, just as smokers do. No counting days, silly slogans, trinkets, or degrading self-flagellation. Just better choices, competencies, and coping skills.
All of which can be learned and incorporated into your day-to-day life.
And that means bringing your actions and values into harmony which means that you don’t need to drink, hide your drinking, or devalue yourself. Quite the opposite. You can take justifiable pride in having faced a difficult problem and defeated it.
Remember, self-esteem is earned, and you won’t do so by counting up your days as an alcoholic loser or calling yourself names.
You’ll earn it by succeeding and you do that by having a great exit strategy and following it. That’s where we come in.
Now about those “significant others”
Conflicts with spouses and/or other family members often get acted out through our alcohol abuse. This can take the form of passive-aggressive attacks or the creation of a “bubble” that isolates us from others, as well as other intimacy destroying useage.
Then when we cease the drinking we also discover that those who should be supportive, and who have complained about our abuses, sometimes sabotage our efforts.
What’s with that?
The problem is that just as we derived benefits from our drinking, so did those around us – benefits they are sometimes loathe to admit, much less surrender.
But just as your drinking has affected everyone around you, so does stopping, and those ripples require everyone to adjust to a “new normal” – a usually unexpected effect.
We do like to include spouses with clients whenever possible so both of you are prepared for the changes you will both be making. It’s also important for all of the marital/family issues that supported alcohol abuse to be recognized and adjusted so that they now support a sober day-to-day life.
More questions about this rarely recognized but all important dynamic? That’s what we’re here for!