“I haven’t had a drink in over a year and I’m still miserable!”

“AA is worse than drinking – but I’m so brainwashed I’m afraid to leave!”

And from a gastric bypass patient, “If I’d come to you first, I could have skipped the surgery!”

What do all of these readers who wrote to us have in common?

It’s that they are recognizing the truth that their alcohol abuse – or overeating that led to surgery that led to alcohol abuse –  was a symptom, not the mythical “disease” of the 12 Step cult. They also now see that merely stopping drinking (or over-eating) didn’t fix anything!

On a happier note, these people have also realized that it’s time to address the actual problems, not the made up one of “alcoholism.”

Our first correspondent now recognizes that it’s not the drinking, it’s her life. With alcohol off the table, we can help her correct the actual problems with new choices that go far beyond “Don’t drink!”

The second gentleman has also reached a level of self-awareness, usually a result of no longer artificially regressing yourself with alcohol, where he knows he has two problems: AA and getting a life. Most of us learned long ago that there is little difference between joining AA and staying drunk.

Both are forms of self-destruction with the same vehicle. But having “drunk the Kool Aid” it’s hard to escape without some de-programming.

As for the gastric bypass patient, he too is right. It doesn’t much matter what you self-medicate with, food or alcohol or a host of other distractions. Delve under these symptoms, correct the actual problems, give yourself a bit of time to adjust, and life will be a lot better.

Happily, too, it’ll also be your life, not some cultish hocus-pokus. 

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”

– Isaac Asimov

Mr. Asimov, probably the most prolific writer of all time, certainly understood the word “engaged.”

Those of us who’ve abused alcohol also know the meaning of “disengaged.”

If you want to stop abusing alcohol it’s a matter of moving from a medicated coma state to an actively involved one – though we don’t have to go quite as far as Asimov.

Still, as we see with virtually every client, drinking has taken the place of having, or creating a life. It’s not very surprising that many men drink themselves to death shortly after retirement. They simply don’t know what to do with themselves when their work is over and they have no other identity to redirect their attentions to.

Women have the same problem when child rearing and menopause render their roles obsolete – and they increasingly have problems adjusting to  their own retirement.

Most of us get a majority of our social and identity needs met through our roles. When these evaporate, so do our support systems and our self-image, not to mention our self-worth. It’s hardly surprising that the resulting depression and drinking have us racing to both the bottle and the bottom.

Happily, we all have skills and expertise we developed in those decades before too much leisure set in. We have learned to be successful at a lot of things and that experience is transferable to creating a new vibrant life unsullied by alcohol abuse.

We’ll help you recognize your options, create a plan, monitor progress, revise as needed, and live more happily, if not forever.

Had any better offers this week?