Not Surprisingly Our Clients – Like Dr. Barnes and I – Are “Older”

Many of our clients who have been to traditional “rehab” are greatly relieved that we aren’t 25 or 30 and former clients of whatever 12 Step program they mistakenly signed up for.

It’s true that we’re both past 60, me long past, and that most of our clients are over 40 with the majority now in to 50 – 70 age range. It makes for a good fit.

Age does matter both in terms of experience and understanding limitations. Who wants to go to a gym where all the members and staff are hard body twenty-somethings without a clue as to both the benefits and conditions that age inflicts on us all?

As an example, for women there are the side-effects of menopause which may range from none to massive but are hardly an issue a 28 year old Stepper is going to have a clue about – or care.

Men find that weight appears even though diets haven’t changed.

Both find that “the less you do, the less you can.” “Do it or lose it” becomes an increasing area in need of attention.

Yes, it’s easy to pour another whatever and sit and contemplate doing stuff. We all know where that leads.

As with any condition, the earlier you address the conditions beneath your drinking the easier it’ll be to fix and the greater your range of options as to the definition of “fix.”

Aging has benefits which it’s easy to miss when we’re self-medicating. More time to travel, read, write, hang out, and catch up with people we haven’t seen in decades. Time for new friendships and activities. Time for all those things we were always going to do.

Think about it, please. And consider letting us help you out of your downward trending rut. Consider that a rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out so unless you’re content “putting in time waiting to die,” as a former client noted, maybe it’s time to “get a grip and get a life,” as another client noted.

Alcohol and Your Self-Image

Among the many insidious ways alcohol worms it way into our lives is the slow incorporation of it into our self-image.

For women this may take the form of how sexy and glamorous it makes us feel. For men it may be a seeming proof of masculinity. In either case our culture is so saturated with alcohol advertising we may become convinced that it’s really a necessary part of “the good life,” a sign of success, an upscale “adult” activity.

Most of you are old enough to remember the Marlboro Man and some the Virginia Slims Women. Both were wildly successful ad campaigns selling nothing but self-image and, in the case of Virginia Slims and tennis, weight loss and a slim figure. Rugged men and slim women. And all killing themselves.

Alcohol isn’t much different from tobacco in this regard. No, it’s not as “addictive” as nicotine and not, usually, quite as lethal to the drinker, though it’s far more lethal to others. Second hand smoke is a minor hazard compared to drunken driving and domestic violence.

Part of eliminating alcohol abuse from your life is creating a new self-image that strips away the advertising mythology.

You are, really, perfectly capable of leading a perfectly wonderful life without misusing alcohol. Imagine that.

I know it’s hard at this point – especially if you’ve been using alcohol for any number of reasons since you were young. Easier for those of us whose alcohol abuse came later in life and we have some history to fall back on and retrieve. But you can still take a chance on the possibility.

We’ve had many, many clients who have called after a couple of years and said, “You know, I was thinking about trying to see if I could drink normally again, but then I thought, my life is so much better without it that why would I even want to find out?”

That’s true of many of the things in life we have left behind and as age and life circumstances change and we leave things behind only to discover that life is not just better, but very good indeed.

There was a time when I thought life without vodka, Harleys, and cigarettes would have been devoid of any fun and excitement. 35 years later I can assure you that every aspect of my life was improved when I let those things go. I won’t generalize from myself, but I will suggest you too look at what you might gain from moving a few things into your own personal “been there, done that” category.

We’re more than happy to help you sort what, when, where, and how. Remember, it’s an experiment into living better. If you don’t like being sober you can always go back to drinking your life away. But why not make that an informed decision, not an assumption that life without alcohol wouldn’t be worth living?