Time to Get the Ferrari Down Off the Blocks?

The analogy that fits a lot of our clients, especially many of you women, is the picture of a classic Ferrari, up on blocks in the garage, with the motor running, going nowhere.

That’s what happens to too many of us when the roles run out and no new ones have emerged to take their place. Done with parenting? Financially well enough off that you don’t need to work? Couldn’t return to that career you gave up 25 years ago in any case?

Marriage unfulfilling or over?

If that sounds familiar we can say that it happens to a lot of women in their 50’s, men in their 60’s, and professional athletes beginning with the gymnasts at 18.

As my college adviser noted long ago, these are the problems associated with “vast reservoirs of unused potential.”

Around here we call it “disengaged,” but it still leads to the same self-medication problems.

Chardonnay and vodka are, after all, a lot easier than figuring out what to do with all of that horsepower you’re sitting on.

Yet if merely drinking away the years – “killing time waiting to die,” as one client so aptly put it – was satisfactory then you wouldn’t be reading this or coming to us looking for a way out. Would you?

We will also be the first to agree that’s it’s a gnarly problem to overcome.
First there is the immediate comfort that an alcohol cocoon offers, the fact that it is legal, readily available, comparatively inexpensive, and socially acceptable. What’s not to like about that?

And, of course, it can also be a very effective passive-aggressive weapon to wield against controlling spouses or other family members.

Yes, there is a pretty long list of benefits you derive from your drinking and those are hard to forego – as are the comfortable habit patterns that have developed around your drinking. But, if these were enough then you wouldn’t be looking to change.

Your discomfort, usually, comes from the fact that you can’t enjoy continuing to do nothing with all of ability, talent, intelligence, sensitivity, and experience you have accumulated over a lifetime. Nor can you debase yourself with AA’s false mantra of powerlessness and “disease.”

All of that said, and given that you have a great many options that are no longer constrained by life’s usual concerns, why not let us help you? Ready to create a life that is much more interesting without the alcohol than the one you’re living is now?

That’s what we thought. Now just call and let’s get started.

Recently we’ve been blessed with a number of good “letters to the editor” and the following one is from a reader in the United Kingdom. With readers from around the globe, and clients from a dozen different countries, we’re always happy to reprint other’s thoughts and insights.

“Hi Mary Ellen & Ed

I’m a “recovering alcoholic” in the UK, and originally got sober in AA where I was an active and very enthusiastic member.

However, I quit the fellowship when I became disillusioned with the steps and the meetings. I’m now part of a small group of bloggers (two of us, basically) quietly campaigning for more openness to non-12 step treatment for alcoholism here in the UK.

I’m a cultural historian and prolific lecturer, so also speak publicly on AA at freethought organizations such as Skeptics in the Pub etc.

My friend M. runs the popular blog – Recovering From Recovery.

So I just wanted to introduce myself, and M, and say hi. I’ve been on your mailing list and reading your articles for a while and I really think you have a good thing going.

Also, although I was aware of the rat experiment I wasn’t aware of the Rat Park TED Talk. So thanks for enlightening me.

I think your model of sober re-engagement is spot on. It explains very clearly why someone like myself (a cynical, atheistic Brit) fell so deeply for the supposedly “benevolent” cult of sobriety that is AA, and also offers a route out of such circular thinking (whether active alcoholism or active AA membership) via sensible research, self-knowledge and self-empowerment.

I’ve often wondered if there’s an opening for what you do here in the UK – I can assure you the market is certainly exists!

Anyway, thanks for some great content and information.”