Managing an alcohol problem with meaning

One of my patients, a recently married, talented music producer, has been troubled for some time by his daily alcohol intake of often more than a bottle of wine a day. This week he told me how he had attended a wedding and even though he could have had more as he was driving, he only had one beer. The next day he threw a 40th birthday party for his wife and had no more than two beers despite it being a lavish affair (that went very well). Then he drank nothing for the next five days as he worked on a musical event he was responsible for.

So what was the great therapeutic intervention that I instituted to manage his drinking that was so effective? Nothing. Zip. What we have been working on is finding meaning and purpose in his life and while I don???t think our work has yet to show its full benefit, this story illustrates why we are looking at finding meaning. You see, I believe he didn???t drink, because the social events and the upcoming music show gave his body and soul more than a good vintage wine could ??? it was filling the gap with meaning. He loves making music happen. He loves showcasing the talent of young musicians. He was in flow. When we are in flow, we don???t want the alcohol to, because it gets in the way of what gives us real, meaningful happiness.

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