Thanks to all of you who wrote hoping my vacation and gone well and also expressing how much the Newsletters had meant over the years. I appreciate both the best wishes – it was an excellent visit home to Alaska – and the encouragement that comes from knowing the Newsletters help so many of you.
Which brings up an interesting counterpoint. A number of readers “unsubscribed” over the past few weeks – particularly after the “Find the Courage to Take a Scary Leap” issue, and cited 3 reasons for doing so.
The first complaint was that we suggested that abusing alcohol was a choice – and they didn’t want any part of assuming any responsibility for creating the problem. Please note that we’ve never suggesting that developing the problem hadn’t made sense. To quote, “You don’t have a problem because you’re dumb or diseased, but because drinking worked for anxiety, depression, loneliness, boredom, and so on. Until it didn’t.”
Second, they complained that we actually expected them to proactively fix the problem instead of promising to fix it for them as do 95% of all programs. We’re sorry, but while we can fix it with you, we can’t do “it” to or for you. Neither can they.
Expecting to have someone else do it for you is like joining an expensive gym and going and sitting on a bench watching others, or a trainer, do the exercises and then being astonished when you don’t lose weight, gain muscle, and improve your health.
Yes, we know that’s what others promise. But let’s not forget their 95% “failure” rate. (That’s you who fail, not them. They achieved the outcome they wanted and planned for – your repeat business.)
Finally, there are those who believe that the problem would go away when “everyone else changed.” What do you think the odds of that happening are?
We always ask clients what benefits others get from their drinking. The most obvious one is that the clients drinking masks or obscures everyone else’s problems. When you’re the universal scapegoat no one else is going to be in any hurry to assume that role.
Again we come down to the same place: as the drinker you are the one who’s going to0 have to go first when it comes to changing. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s fair or reasonable, or difficult. It just is.
You are, after all, the only person whose behaviors you can change. It also true that if you change yours others will have to change theirs, too. That will reverse the “who’s got the power” roles and for many of you former clients that has been enough of a motivation to see you through and out the other side to a greatly enhanced – “empowered” – life.
Since, so far, you haven’t opted for one of these dead ends and unsubscribed, why haven’t you called and discussed your other options? We do answer the phone. Yes, personally. 365 days a year. 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time. Unless we are with clients or otherwise engaged. And we do return calls, answer emails, and provide you with the only personal, confidential, research-based solution in the country.
And, you say???
So You’re Having An Affair?
Guess what? That’s how you’re drinking feels to your spouse, whether wife or husband, and that’s how they describe it too.
“She prefers the company of her Chardonnay to me.”
“He spends his evenings with Scotch instead of me.”
It’s an analogy that most clients understand and helps them decide that their spouses have a point: “Your alcohol or me? What’ll it be?”
It also helps you to decide which you want, the affair or your spouse.
We know. You want both.
Which gets us down to the self-image part of the problem. With drinking entwined with your picture of yourself and your social life, how can you possibly give it up? With alcohol providing the protective bubble that makes your spouse tolerable, and your spouse providing the financial and social resources to maintain your status, how can you give up one and lose the other?
But if your spouse is about ready to pull the plug?
But then they don’t have any more credibility that they will actually leave than you have that you’ll actually fix your drinking problem.
So you go round and round in your mutually dysfunctional dance.
Maybe it’s time to stop the music, sort out some realities, try learning a few new steps (dance, that is, not the even more dysfunctional “12”), and give a mutually satisfying relationship a chance?
Now there’s a novel idea, and it’s why we also work with couples whether one or both of you is entertaining your lover alcohol.
It’s also why our clients are far more successful than those attending traditional rehab with the same dismal results as AA and the 12 Steps.