2021 It’s About Time

2020 is toast – so are far too many people and far too few politicians. None the less, those of us still standing are left with wondering how to put our lives together again. I don’t say “back together” as there will be no going back, only going ahead with perspectives we have acquired the hard way.

During the pandemic most of us found our old habits disrupted and new ones instituted – new ones we may now find difficult to reverse. As cocktail hour moved from 5:00 p.m. to 4:00, then 3:00 then…. And when our usual activities went from active to sedentary. And our social life evaporated. And travel was reduced to a quick trip to the market. And….

The good news is that vaccines are on the way.

The bad news is, once vaccinated, how do you deal with once again reconfiguring the life you built in place of your pre-Covid one?

Even if you can do you want to cease working from home? Go back to the gym? Dining out 5 times a week? Getting together with friends and family?

Going back to a single cocktail after work?

Habits are hard to break once they get entrenched. Ask any smoker. Yet they aren’t as hard as many would have you believe, as they strive to avoid making changes themselves.

It does require imposing some new structure, instituting (or re-instituting) alternative activities, and acquiring or brushing up on some coping skills. All of which are easier with a little coaching, accountability, and recognition.

Example? I don’t really need Emma, my Pilate’s instructor, weight trainer, and physical therapist to teach me anything at this point. After two years I know what to do. BUT, I do need her to maintain motivation, structure, and 90 minutes of social interaction with a safe person 3 times a week.

It’s much the same with our clients. We provide information, structure, education, deprogramming, motivation, accountability, and, yes, even absolution if you need that. And because of pandemic induced changes in program delivery we can be cheaper and more flexible than ever.

So, as you head back into yet another year of disruption and change, don’t forget to allow yourself a bit of short term help.

Family Habits – Not Genetics, “Alcoholism,” or “Addiction”

Those who argue for a “alcoholic gene” will point to the problem going from one generation to the next over many generations. That certainly appears to support a “genetic” link – except it doesn’t.

What it does support is learned behavior patterns – patterns, or habits, passed down in the form of “this is how to use alcohol.”

In families, or cultures, with no history of excessive alcohol use, the pattern may come from peers or simply be a response to unbearable trauma.

Native Americans and Alaska Natives are frequently labeled as being unable to “handle” alcohol. Instead, consider that “how to use alcohol was learned from prospectors, mountain men, whalers and the military and the usage reflects these group’s bingeing patterns. Throw in disempowerment, degradation, sexual exploitation, genocide, and other atrocities without recourse or recompense and you’d drink yourself into oblivion too.

We know that other cultures nurture alcohol abuse as “normal” – the Irish in Ireland for example – and many families do the same. But that is passing down habits and habits are not genetic – habits are learned behavior patterns.

If you take a little time, and we all have time these days, you can find a few of these in yourself easily enough.

In my case, my posture mimics my older brother’s as do my speech patterns. More interestingly, so do my son’s – though he is adopted and Inuit. No genetics there.

Yes, lots of us like any explanation at absolves us from responsibility for our drinking and therefore any responsibility for fixing it. But, the reality is, you are responsible. The good news in that is that since you did create the problem, you can fix it. You aren’t doomed.

This year, when so much has been outside of our control, and so much doom and gloom has invaded our lives, why not focus on what you can mitigate?
You can fix it and real short term, effective, confidential help is available. A new year, some new choices.