Dr. Barnes and Dr. Wilson personally answer the phones from 8:00AM until 5:00PM (PST) everyday.
In U.S. & Canada: 888-541-6350
In Southern California, Nationally, or Internationally, call:
818-466-9258

November 15, 2009 Newsletter

Your Success – and Future – Is Built on Establishing Good Daily Habits

In a normal day, almost everything we do is done out of habit. We have daily and weekly routines that help us organize our lives.

Habits simplify our lives. Imagine if you woke up with no idea where the bathroom might be, what your schedule was, or what responsibilities you faced. Life would be stressful beyond belief.

Consequently, we all develop habits which help us organize our days, others that help us achieve our most important goals, and others that undermine us every step of the way.

People who are successful at overcoming alcohol abuse are those who successfully alter these latter undermining and self-destructive habits.

As we often note – giving up alcohol is relatively easy, as anyone who has quit for a week or two knows, it’s breaking the habits associated with drinking that trip people up time after time.

But you can change that:

Alter your thinking, change your behaviors,
Change your behavior, alter your feelings;
Alter your feelings, change your thinking;
Change your thinking, behavior, and feelings and change your life!

This is the essence of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and how it supports eliminating your alcohol abuse and dependence.

Think about the power of that sequence! To a remarkable degree your success or failure is the result of simple thoughts and ordinary daily habits – and their power to change the way you feel so that you no longer need alcohol.

So, why not intentionally choose daily habits that take you where you want to go in life?
In our work we encourage clients to make fundamental decisions about the habits they want in their lives. We encourage them to be clear, specific and committed to each of them.

But the focus is on actively doing things that replace the drinking, do a better job of meeting the same needs, and do it productively and in sustainable ways.

Choose simple, positive habits that enhance your life. Reduce them to clear, specific actions you habitually take every day. Develop your own positive habits that move you away from alcohol and toward your goals and create the life you want.

Like it or not, life is made of our daily habits. Those who succeed in overcoming alcohol abuse, and other self-destructive habits, choose habits that reflect their values and move them toward their most important goals.

Unfortunately, many of us have substituted the short term benefits of drinking habits that are comfortable, but which actually detract from our most important goals.

Of course you want to stop doing that to yourself.

But you may also need help figuring out how the make that transition. So, give us a call and let us help you explore the possibilities.

Husbands Involvement In Women’s Treatment

We just received the latest edition of the Brown University Digest of Addiction Theory and Application. Guess what? They’re reporting what we’ve been saying for years – involving spouses markedly improves clients’ success.

While what they report involves studies with the wives in treatment, it doesn’t take much thought to conclude that the opposite is also true – husbands benefit from wives’ involvement.

The article cites three possible reasons for the improved outcomes:

1) an improved relationship reinforces abstinence;
2) better partner support;
3) improvement in other relationship problems.

Since we know that “other relationship problems” are frequently one of the reasons for abusing alcohol – in both men and women – that makes sense.

Also, by working with the couple, it’s possible to minimize spousal sabotage of the client’s progress. Both men and women tend to be ambivalent about eliminating alcohol abuse even when they decry the drinking and, consciously or not, tend to encourage their spouses to return to drinking.

It obviously helps to minimize these counter-productive activities by reassuring spouses that it’s also in their best interest for the drinking to end.

If Brown University were asking us, we’d also suggest that they look at parental involvement when treating young adults. Again, we’ve found that to be effective for much the same reasons – including mitigating parental sabotage of adult children’s progress.

Yes, alcohol abuse is indeed a “context” issue and, yes, it responds best to treatment that includes the context.

Why not give us a call and discuss what makes up your context and how that could effect your efforts to leave alcohol abuse behind?

Odds and Ends

Awakening To Mindfulness We found the “mindfulness” conference we went to in Seattle in October to be interesting and expect to attend another in La Jolla in the spring.

EOC Institute We use, and recommend, their relaxation and meditation CD’s for anxiety reduction, while not necessarily certifying their other claims of efficacy.

Alcohol: Problems and Solutions Again, always the best source of unbiased information on the web! (Yes, sigh, even better than we are – though we do use them as a source whenever we can.)

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