Stay away from the “Normies”?
AA and 12 Step based treatment programs are always exhorting you to stay away from “normies” – anyone who is actually living a normal life and who doesn’t have problems with alcohol, whether they drink or not.
Ironically, we have similar advice for our clients, but for diametrically opposed reasons.
AA advises you to stay away because you are a powerless and diseased victim who is only safe within the AA “family”.
We suggest that you stay away because you are setting your sights way too low!
50 years ago, psychologist Jane Loevinger, of Washington University in St. Louis, decided to study adult development in women. Basically she was looking to describe and measure emotional and cognitive maturity, which she labeled “ego development”.
25 years later I was able to take her research and use it to figure out who AA works for, who it doesn’t, and who it harms, men and women both.
This insight has allowed us to focus on those clients who have traditionally found AA to be either irrelevant or harmful while also allowing us to refer appropriate individuals to that program – something we do about a dozen times a year (which is a dozen times more often than everyone else refers anyone).
What’s all of this mean? Mostly it comes down to maturity – AA, which my uncles, sixty years ago, correctly called the “Peter Pan Society,” works for those who are arrested at the maturity level of a 12 year old, or below.
These “Conformists'” behaviors are largely controlled by their peer group and peer pressure. That being the case, “successful” AA members do, indeed, need to avoid normies and a different peer group.
But what about you?
Our clients come from the appropriately mature, “Conscientious,” individuals in Loevinger’s model, along with those of you who are also “too old” for your age.
What that comes down to is that you are too independent to ever agree to allow your life to be directed by a bunch of low level conformists, or even “normal” folks. And you shouldn’t.
As independent, or “Autonomous,” individuals you deserve tailor made solutions – not the death dealing Bucket of Crabs.
Interested in what all this means to you specifically? That, like the real resolution of your drinking problems, starts with just a phone call.
Change is Change
Most of us think that alcohol abuse is a “special” problem, unlike all of the other problems we encounter in life. But it isn’t.
Think about it for minute. We all have problems we’d like to overcome whether it’s drinking or smoking or weight or debt or something else. We’re all lonely or bored or anxious, or….
Yes, each of these has it’s differing aspects. If you need to lose weight you have no choice but to moderate you eating habits. Abusing alcohol gets easier with the third drink. Smoking is impossible to engage in at a “healthy” level.
But despite these differences, successfully changing the behavior remains about the same.
What are the benefts you are getting from your current problem behavior and how are you going to get these needs met in a less destructive way?
And once you start down the road to a better life style, how are you going to maintain it?
A current cleint and I were discussing this very problem this morning in a follow-up session.
That’s right. Self-Awareness is the key to successful change and maintaining that change.
That sounds simple – and it is easy to say – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. Then again, few of life’s better gifts come easily.
That’s pretty much what we do, come up with suggestions, help you implement the ones that work for you, monitor progress, maintain motivation, and tweak whatever is needed to fix glitches.
As one client noted long ago, “I get it! It’s two steps! Get a grip and get a life!”
And now that you’re ready to get a grip, give us a call and let’s design that life you’ve been wanting – which we doubt is to be found at the bottom of a bottle, or at an AA meeting.
Links to Success:
Odds and Ends
Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Women and Alcohol – What To Consider In Treatment and why women need and deserve services built around women’s needs, not just another recycled (and failed) men’s program – which is all anyone else has to offer.
Confidentiality, why you want to avoid residential treatment and groups of all kinds.