My Annual Holiday Edition!

In some respects this is the easiest Newsletter of the year to write since I write on the same theme every year – as those of you who are long time readers know. Yet I never just cut-and-paste from previous years and I do attempt to inject some new perspectives too.

So, here goes.

Once again the holiday season is rapidly approaching, if the retailers are to be believed. Tomorrow is Labor Day, the kids are back to school, and Halloween is stocking the shelves and what better indicator of the impending “season” could you ask for?

Perhaps that again this year you find yourself wondering if it’s finally time to stop screwing up holidays with too damn much alcohol. Or, how could I possibly enjoy the holidays if it weren’t for alcohol? And, yes, it’s perfectly usual to entertain both thoughts.

If you are contemplating both of the mutually exclusive notions, then you are in our old familiar “contemplation hell,” and once again, perhaps, headed for the usual default position of “deciding not to decide” – and we know where that has led to in the past and it will again this year.

But it is soooo easy to ease through the process with the now well-rehearsed, “I’ll stop after Halloween. Just one last hurrah.” That, of course, leads to “after Thanksgiving,” “after Christmas,” “after New Year’s,” “after Super Bowl,” “after Groundhog Day,” after my birthday,” “after my spouse’s birthday” (don’t you think that they would actually prefer that you address the issue for their birthday?), “after Memorial Day,” “after the 4th of July,” “after Labor Day,” and here we are, once again, starting the cycle except now it’s 2020 and nothing has changed, except, maybe. Toss in “after the election?”

If you think back, you will probably discover that you have ridden this train before. I certainly have, as in high school’s “I can’t break up with Nancy Sue before Christmas, before Valentines’ Day, before prom., before my birthday, before graduation.” Happily both graduation and different colleges saved me. Alas such was not the case when divorcing vodka, cigarettes, or Carol Dorothy.

The differences come down to recognizing that you will always be ambivalent about addressing the self-medication and the issues, illusions, and habits that drive it. Always. That’s why pretending to address it is so popular – as in joining AA – and why these stop-gaps are such dismal failures.

But if you, instead, recognize the ambivalence, and that it’s not going away; recognize that you will always feel the same way, project the ways in which your life could improve if you stopped restraining yourself chemically, and SET A DATE to start, not one to postpone, well, damn, “things” might actually change. This year even.

So, having fulfilled my annual obligation to remind you that this conundrum won’t go away after any holiday, or by itself, why not try having a different holiday experience this year?

If you’re wondering what you’d do instead, I’ll gladly share my fruit cake (which people look forward to every year and actually eat) recipe, which is a September baking activity, and my Hungarian nut roll recipe (18 dozen over Thanksgiving weekend).

Interview with Dr. Michael Edelstein and Mr. Tommy Bateman regarding “AA – Who it Helps, Who it Harms, Who it Kills & Why.”

Dr. Edelstein, award winning author of “Three Minute Therapy” a book on learning CBT, now more commonly referred to as “REBT” (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy). We have been using his work with clients since we opened the practice 15 years ago.

Tommy Bateman manages the on-line presence of, and moderates discussions on various topics of interest.

Watch the YouTube edition of the interview below. Your thoughts, comments, and questions will be appreciated.