And Once Again a Former Client Saves Me!
Here it is, Monday morning, and time to sit down and write another Newsletter. As been happening a lot lately, one of you has again saved me from mulling over about what to write by sending this:
“Ed, I hope you are doing well.
It has been over a year since we worked together but I read your e-mail every Sunday before I read the paper. You should pair your exit with any one of my favorite rock bands that are on their 3rd or 4th farewell tour. That will keep you around for a while.
I was reflecting on today’s e-mail about who to associate with. I agree that if others don’t have the same health goals then they should be avoided. However, depending upon what an individual does professionally it can be impossible to avoid situations where others drink around you. I was at a dinner for a politician and before he arrived our group was told to drink up before the individual arrived because he was a recovering alcoholic and there could be no alcohol at dinner. This struck me as dumb because trying to control anyone’s actions but your own seems futile and it is also presumptuous to tell others what to do because of your own decisions.
I greatly reduced my alcohol consumption after our session but decided over 2 months ago to completely quit. Interestingly, I don’t miss the alcohol but do miss the taste of beer (for which there are great NA products, particularly in Europe) and wine (for which the substitutes are not so great).
I find that most people could care less if I drink, but there are some (especially family members) that are overly interested. Telling them simple but true statements about a positive change that is being made generally shuts down the conversation. Statements such as:
- I am not drinking any alcohol because I did the math and it is an easy way to lose some weight (lost 10 pounds without changing anything else).
- I stopped drinking alcohol to lose weight but I can’t believe how much better I am sleeping. I may just keep going. I would rather sleep well than have a drink. (True)
- I stopped drinking to lose weight, but my blood pressure also dropped 10 points. If I lose some more weight I may be able to quit taking blood pressure medicine which would be great. Taking blood pressure medicine just so I can have a drink seems goofy. (All true).
My point is that if it is just about quitting drinking then you seem like a helpless victim “that is on the wagon”. If you pair it with a positive life change, people can say what they want, but they can’t argue with your decision unless they are sad about losing a drinking partner which is their problem not yours.
Just thoughts. Best wishes for your next chapter.”
Obviously, I couldn’t have said it better – and I think it may help one or two of you to follow his example and enjoy similar outcomes.
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Reflecting back on:
“I was at a dinner for a politician and before he arrived our group was told to drink up before the individual arrived because he was a recovering alcoholic and there could be no alcohol at dinner.”
I note that that is the sort of comment we often hear from clients’ relatives, especially with the holiday season approaching.
“I suppose now that Joan has quit drinking we won’t be able to serve any wine at Thanksgiving dinner,” they moan.
To which I reply, “Yes, and since Uncle Oscar and Aunt Louisa are obese I guess you won’t be able to serve any food either.”
Really, whether it’s alcohol, food, cigarettes, or any other consumable or activity, no one else can control your choices. Nor should they even try which just leads to rebellious acting out on your part.
You can, however, make new and better, or at least less bad, choices which, over time, become your new healthier “normal.”
You can even choose to get some short-term, appropriate and effective assistance.