Once again, a former client and long-time reader has saved me from yet another case of “Now what am I going to say?” The following is from a man we met years ago and still see occasionally when he’s in town. So…

“Every Sunday I see, but don’t always read, your posts, and am always amazed that you still have the stick-to-it-ness to write them. And I always retain warm feelings over our visits of a few years ago. Essentially, I’m writing to wish you and Mary Ellen a Happy New Year, but as long as I’m here, I’ll write some other stuff, as well.

The first day we met you said that the program you offered was (and I hope I’m not remembering this incorrectly) not designed to just stop drinking entirely, but to cut back on it if that was one’s goal.

That interested me and, frankly, that was the part that was the hardest. I think the time I spent with you and Mary Ellen was very, very useful, but I still had quite a ways to go.

So, where we are now is that I find myself drinking much, much less than I used to and I find that in general, it doesn’t hold a lot of attraction for me. For one thing, it puts on weight, and in my case, that did me no favors, especially as I’ve gotten older. I finally realized that if I was going to get rid of all that preceded me, i.e., my gut, I could only do that by either cutting down on alcohol or cutting it out completely.

I embarked on the Whole30 program which pretty much limits one to drinking water and tea. I’m not crazy about tea and water tastes much better once you realize that it’s the only option and that it comes in other versions than ice.

But, the biggest realization was that once I got rid of all of the stuff not on the program, I found that I was actually feeling “good.” I’m not used to feeling “good.” I’m used to living with a little depression. Part of that, I realized, was the depression of alcohol. I thought depression was part of my personality, but it wasn’t. Duh. But the feeling good felt so good, I missed it if I didn’t get it. And the alcohol provided nothing that was making me feel good, so it wasn’t too hard to finally put it away. I miss it, sort of, and occasionally try it out, but I’m not there for long.

My professional occupations above all demand a clear mind, so I’d like to consider this a success story. At the moment, I think it really is, but we both know that nothing stays the way it is for very long. You can’t rest on your laurels, so a clear mind is really, really helpful. And at our age (yours and mine) activity is paramount. (I have a quote I’ve taped to my work space from an elderly German lady marathon runner who advises to “consider pain as a challenge.” “Begin immediately,” she says, “and then never stop.” – my mantra.)

My life is very busy and I have been spending time on constructing and attaining goals. You and I are the same age, so I assume you think about time in ways that I do. There just isn’t so much time as there used to be to waste any longer. And any day in which you don’t feel good is a bummer.

I nod in your direction at the “constructing and attaining goals” bit since this was always something that the three of us talked about. It takes constant work and constant awareness, but the “feeling good” is certainly worth it all.

So, this is a thank you note as well as a rambling end of the year catch-up. I appreciate all of the time we spent together and found all of it useful, if not immediately. I appreciate also all of the emails that you write and send to me, whether or not I actually read them.

Best wishes to you and Mary Ellen for a happy and successful New Year. I’m sure you will never run out of clients.”

And we thank you for being and writing such a welcome beginning to 2018!