Self-Destructive? Perhaps, But That’s Not Necessarily Bad.

Those of us who have developed alcohol related problems may also have an attraction to high risk behaviors – and people. That is a genetic predisposition, one of several factors that can lead to developing alcohol problems. Others may also include a high tolerance for alcohol and resistance to hangovers.

Given the convergence of all of the right factors and circumstances, some of us will mosey on down Alcohol Alley and find ourselves at a bad dead end.

Trouble is…

The thought of giving up the rush our high risk behaviors provide may seem like too much of a sacrifice to make.

The solution?

It’s time to differentiate between “life-enhancing” self-destructive behaviors and the “life-diminishing” ones.


Skiing, mountain climbing, sky diving, kayaking, are active, and potentially self-destructive, high risk behaviors. But they also enhance our lives, sharpen our awareness, end depression, and improve self-esteem and our self-image by demonstrating competence and achievement.

Drinking on the other hand, is a passive self-destructive behavior with exactly the opposite effects.

Interestingly, engaging in the positive life-enhancing activities destroys most of our interest in the passive life-denying drinking behaviors.

When it comes down to it, drinking’s only appeal is that it’s easy. It requires zero effort.

But no effort is the definition of a spectator, not a participant. Do you want to watch your life pass you by? Or do you want to be engaged in your life and wring the best out of every possible experience?

Drinking? That was just “putting in time waiting to die,” is how a former client phrased it after he got a grip and got his life back.

A caller just asked me to reiterate the differences between what we do and other programs. I sometimes forget just how different we are so I am happy to oblige and here’s at least a partial list:

  • We are based on what actually works, not AA;
  • We only work with individuals and couples, no groups;
  • We include spouses at your request;
  • We work together as a team to help you;
  • We provide more individual services in 5 days than any other program does in 30, 60, or 90;
  • We provide real ongoing follow-up;
  • We are professionals;
  • We are cost effective;
  • We offer far better outcomes: 65+% vs 5%;
  • And, you will recover! not be “in recovery” as you leave alcohol abuse behind, not just turn it into another variation of the same old same old.

There are other differences we’d be happy to discuss but, the Shorthand?  –  We’re the “all substance, no filler” program and they’re the “all filler, no substance” people.

Which do think is going to work out better for you?

A former client recently wrote:

“Dear Mary Ellen,

Just wanted to wish you a Happy Chinese New Year and send my continued appreciation for your support in my life. You were so kind to talk w/me last fall and help me thru a bump.

My new job has been wonderfully satisfying (as you predicted). The girls are doing well in school.

J and I were just talking about what a blessing you were in our family’s life so I felt compelled to say thanks again for redirecting my life!

Hope all is well w/ you both.

And another also noted:

“Hi Ed and Mary Ellen,

Happy 2013!! Hope you are both doing well. Life is good here – patiently waiting for the spring to arrive.

I wanted to tell you both a funny story. Several weeks ago, I had to have a tooth pulled and a dental implant done. I did not want to have anesthesia, but when I went, I was really nervous so they offered me nitrous oxide, which I had never had before. My husband told me it was great so I thought I would try it.

Well, surprisingly enough, I hated it. I felt like I was in a fog and I was talking too loud and I felt totally out of control. I felt like I was drunk!!!! I asked the surgeon to turn it off halfway through the procedure.

I cannot believe how much I disliked the feeling of not being in total control of my faculties. I have not seriously considered drinking (considered, but not seriously!) since being with you both, but now I know I do not want to do it. I just cannot believe I liked that feeling so much before. Now I like it this way so much better.

You can read more about “D’s” work with us by clicking here!

Yes, we also work with couples, and even families, and we often hear years later about the endless benefits of working together to solve problems, not “diseases,” and to empower people, not render them “powerless.”

What’s your preference?