A large body of recent work has suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of subjective well-being. Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, and self-acceptance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude)
Essentials of intentional interviewing: Counseling in a multicultural world By Allen E. Ivey, Mary Bradford Ivey – p.137
Bargaining occurs when patients engage in magical thinking If I lead a better life then God will let me live.
The bargaining stage is likely to be apparent before the sufferer truly makes the decision to stop.
To bargain is to try to maintain control and continue to live without real change taking place. For addicts, this is the time for “Just give me one more chance and I promise I will never…” kinds of statements. Rather than being fully surrendered to the problem, the addict is attempting to hold on to control by making up new excuses and promises, thereby avoiding the inevitable. (http://www.sexualrecovery.com/articles/grief.php)
What is the client needing at the bargaining stage and can coaching answer these needs?
The client needs to see the truth but they have to arrive at that truth through their own assisted investigation. This is linked to denial and the process of working through it is to question the beliefs and bargains that the client holds and puts forward as valid – asking questions such as “Have you lived up to your bargains and promises in the past?” to challenge the thinking of the alcoholic will help them to question these beliefs themselves and bring an inner awareness to the truth of what they are doing and the ultimate truth of the seriousness of their drinking.
There is also the type of alcohol depression that comes with early sobriety. As the alcohol leaves the system and people begin to recover, the disease of alcoholism fights with the brain, causing the phenomena of craving often associated with relapse. The alcoholic begins to be unable to imagine life with alcohol or without it, and the alcoholic depression that results can lead to suicide idealization or attempts. )
Feelings and emotions are a part of life but this is a part of life that alcoholics haven’t been able to face. Their old method of dealing with intense emotions such as depression, anxiety, pain and stress is no longer there and they have no understanding of how to deal with them effectively.
What does the client need at the depression stage and can coaching answer these needs?
The coach’s job here is to remind the client that what they are feeling is completely normal and it will pass and that the overwhelming grief they may be feeling is a natural response when letting go of something, even if that something is negative, as it has been such a major coping tool and ‘friend’ to them, often for many years.
By being a gentle presence for the client to talk, cry and release emotions and using tools such as mindfulness and self-awareness exercises can help the client to feel the emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them. It is at the stage that the client is truly beginning to accept their disease and slowly with the coach’s support begin to look at a new life in front of them. It may be daunting and scary at this point but with the sessions being focused on positivity and encouragement, increasing confidence with small goals set and achieved the client will be able to progress to a true acceptance and hope.
At this stage it is important for the coach to be aware of the possibility of clinical depression and the need for possible referral.
Acceptance in human psychology.is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acceptance)
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation–some fact of my life–unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes. From p. 449 of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book of AA
Some thoughts in response to one question I asked an alcoholic in recovery:
Can you explain how you felt at the beginning of your recovery and how do you think a coach could have helped you to arrive at acceptance? (Anonymous)