Thanks to all of you who wrote expressing your condolences on the death of my beloved dog Sophie. It’s much appreciated.
Losses, of course, remind us that nothing is permanent. Indeed, we no sooner seem to get our lives into some sort of equilibrium when another event blindsides us. It’s never really surprising that many of us “drown our sorrows” or seek alcoholic oblivion’s temporary relief.
If only it were temporary, or occasionally.
Unhappily, seeking refuge from one event or condition too often leads us to medicate our way through all manner of circumstances and emotions that would be much better addressed directly. After all, alcohol’s solace is temporary and fixes nothing. Whatever you are escaping will be waiting for you whenever you resurface – usually exacerbated by your absence.
But there other options available. Sophie’s death reminded me of how far I had come with grief over the years. I neither wanted to get drunk or dig out a cigarette. Instead I thought about what would be both a fitting tribute to her and would also aid my own healing.
That proved to be uncomplicated. I went on line and looked for “rescue” dogs who were nearing the deadline and after browsing far too many profiles – worse than on-line dating – I found 5 year old Phoebe, 8 pounds of Mini Pinscher and Chihuahua.
Several days of passing the adoption tests (did the actuarial tables indicate I’d live long enough to see her through her 12-14 years of life expectancy? which seemed odd since they were going to put her down in less than a week, and did I promise not to eat her…) resulted in her coming home with me.
I’ve always seen rescue dogs as a mutual win/win transaction. We do rescue each other. Beats hell out of a bottle of vodka and 3 packs of Marlboros. The morning after is a lot better too.
And as I write this she’s keeping an eye on me from her bed under my desk.
Yes, you too can find better alternatives to your current medicating.
Let us help you discover and incorporate them!
Binging is an interesting variation on self-medication but its symptomatic nature is still the same as other forms of alcohol abuse. Its intermittent nature just makes it easier to fool ourselves that we really don’t have a problem because we can go for a week, month, 6 months, or longer without an episode.
Think of a binge as the safety release valve on a pressure cooker. The unaddressed, unresolved, unaddressed, “flame” under the pressure cooker continues to raise the internal pressure until the valve blows.
And that’s what you’re doing, avoiding the problems until the pressure gets to be too much and you blow, aggressively, passive-aggressively, or both. Then the valve resets and you go back to functioning “normally” except, oops, the flame hasn’t been extinguished. Once again, the pressure begins to build until, once again, and usually pretty predictably, it’s time for another explosion.
Yes, it takes some work to find the source(s) that underline the pressure. But once identified (and the usual suspects generally appear: loneliness, boredom, unbalanced lives/relationships, anxiety, etc.) and mitigated the need to release the pressure goes away as do the binges.
But I can quit for a month, or 6 months even, so I can’t have a problem!
Lots of folks quit for various periods of time to “prove” they don’t have a problem. You’d be amazed at how many people quit for Lent every year, reassured that they are in control.
Others of you quit for 6 months, maybe even a year.
The problem is that when you quit for a defined period of time, you do so with the reassurance that when you have “done your time” you can return to the same old habits, which you do, with the same results.
AA would say your disease has simply reasserted itself, progressed even, and this is just a reminder that you are a powerless loser who must join the cult and be forever “in recovery.”
You spend the year doing time, like an inept car thief, rather than addressing the issues you will return to medicate. Unless….
Convicts who learn actual skills don’t go back to the joint for another sojourn.
Alcohol abusers who address the issues, and quit waiting to be released, and who reconfigure their life, self-image, activities and relationships, don’t go back to self-medicating unless they prefer to. Over the past decade we’ve had, perhaps, half a dozen clients who decided that life was better drunk. But at least they gave it a shot and made an informed decision – and respect their right to do that.
Isn’t it time for you to make your own informed decision too? One that isn’t muddled up with mythology, cults, Steps, and other demeaning brainwashing?
So what’s stopping you?
“Stop Watching Fox News!!!”
A recent client said that was the best advice anyone ever gave him. And whether it’s Fox News or MSNBC the reasoning is the same – don’t allow the radio/TV media to control your emotions to your detriment.
These so-called news programs with their scripted stories and fear monger objectives are only interested in making you crazy. Which is another good reason to get drunk.
You can, and should, control what you allow into your mind. Doing so means that you control the content you wish to absorb. We don’t care what your political preferences are. Read the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, but CHOOSE and READ.
I recently suggested to a client that she read Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild.” She reported that she was listening to it as an audio book. I said, “No. You need to read and absorb this book about full recovery and you won’t do that half-listening at 80 MPH on the 405.”
She got the point.
Control what you allow to influence your emotions. By all means, be informed. But watch the sources, their agendas, your self-interest, and what you want to expose yourself to.
Summed up? READ! Don’t watch or listen indiscriminately!
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