Don Daynard's kindness in reaching out to me when he heard of Lauren's passing reminded me of and rekindled the warmth I'd felt for this man, despite our vast differences. I have also come to wonder how it is that he kept going, kept performing, when he wasn't happy at work, and especially in light of the immense grief he was suffering after having lost his son. Of course, we didn't talk about it at the time; You wouldn't find Duke sharing his feelings over a camomile tea, would you? I say tea like it was an option; There were two choices for me in those days: coffee and whatever was filling my wine glass or tumbler every evening. You see, for many years, the dull thrum of a hangover was easier to bear at six in the morning than the unpredictability of the atmosphere in the studio. And so, between bouts of therapy and prescriptions for depression, I drank. I sipped Japanese sake, heated up in sixteen-ounce measuring cups in the microwave (just as ancient tradition would dictate, I'm sure). I gulped wine, always cold and always an oaky Aussie Chardonnay, and later a Pinot Gris or Grigio. I ask myself, How did I let that happen? How can I undo this? I look back at him through the window ready to knock on his door and try to get out of the assignment. He smiles and gives me a thumbs-up. It's too late for me to back off. I smile and walk away, beating myself up. Hook: commitment. As she navigates the labyrinth in the movie, Sarah encounters the goblin Hoggle, who is swatting delicate little fairies as they fly through the air. Disgusted by the goblin's behavior and charmed by the tiny fairies, Sarah offers her finger as a perch for one. The fairy bares teeth and bites her.

So whatever it is that you want to change, it all starts right here. What follows may surprise you. It certainly will if you expect successful change to be all about plans and processes, schedules and logistics. Because it isn't. The root of all successful change is that which tackles the very essence of being human - our drives, our beliefs, our thought processes; Understand why you do what you've always done, and why others have done what they've always done, and immediately you start down the road to successful change. The curse of knowledge It is not when you hit the drum. It's when you don't that really makes the difference. Ringo Starr But my poison of choice remained the same straight-liquor concoction that had helped numb my pain during those first years in the city: martinis. I savoured the icy thickness of gin from the freezer and the tang of giant olives on a toothpick. I preferred my martinis like my jokes--salty and dirty--and would add half an ounce of olive juice to the gin and vermouth mixture. The brandy snifter had long ago been replaced by a fine crystal martini glass that was as joyful to my senses of touch and sight as the syrupy clear potion it so elegantly held. Freezes well too! Just don't actually travel with it. I will say at this point that not once did the issue of my increasing self-medication come to the attention of listeners. I'm not in denial (well, at least not about this); The term high functioning could have described me perfectly. Was I as sharp with a comeback or a quip as I would have been had I not imbibed the night before?

Hoggle shares one of the important lessons to help her navigate the labyrinth: Things are not always as they seem. In vicious circles, things are often not as they seem. In the above scenario, the source of the problem seems to rest with the employee. She has the burden of objecting to inappropriate assignments, and the boss has the luxury of appearing to be supportive and encouraging. She beats herself up for betraying herself without questioning why he has asked her to do so. His very request seems inappropriate, but he shifts the focus to the question of whether she is competent to perform the task. With this sleight of hand, he gets her to forget her original concern. At the same time, from an operant conditioning perspective, he selectively rewards her compliance while ignoring her or looking impatient when she objects. His bite is disguised behind his winning smile. She is also making choices as she goes. I know that you can learn to change absolutely anything you want to. Whether it's your mood, a difficult situation, other people's opinions, bad relationships, an unsatisfying career - whatever it is, you can change it. I know you can. The tricky bit is showing you how in a way that will make it as quick, as simple and as entertaining to grasp as is humanly possible. It's tricky because I'm the tapper and you're the listener. Let me explain. Psychology graduates at Stanford University studied a simple game in which people were assigned to one of two roles: tappers' orlisteners'. Each tapper was asked to pick a song and tap out the rhythm to the listener (by knocking on a table). The listener's job was to guess the song, based on the rhythm being tapped. The listener's job in this game is quite difficult.

But on the occasions when I was wise to let someone else have the punchline (remembering my place, after all), that dull edge served me well. Perhaps because of the level of alcohol consumption among many radio people, mine escaped the notice of my co-workers, too, until much later on. Did I get drunk at company gatherings? Of course I did--we all did! In fact, it was the person who wasn't constantly refilling his or her glass who stood out, just as did the non-smokers among us. I wouldn't be the only one to indulge in a cigar at a ratings party; If only I'd ever listened to that voice. It had long been silenced, rendered as useless as the on/off switch that I'm told people without a drinking problem actually have and really do use. What a concept! A one-time Hollywood heartthrob, Flynn died at fifty, cirrhotic and no longer handsome, but probably with one of those mixtures on his bedside table. Why is she so protective of his ego? There is a power differential--he's the boss, so that is a very real factor. But is she also bringing some old dance moves to the interaction? Did she learn early on that attention and support are in limited supply? Was she asked to betray herself in order to make a parent happy thus forging a link between self-betrayal and shared pleasure? The more the employee can unpack what is really happening, the more power she will have to exit the dance. Recognizing the above, she might refrain from nodding and smiling when her boss talks about the assignment. She might even practice--with a friend or therapist, perhaps--remaining loyal to herself even as she notes what is positive about the interaction. For example, she might say, Your opinion of me means a lot, and I appreciate your confidence in me. It's also important to me to know that you respect my concerns.

But here's what makes the result worthy of your attention. Before the listeners guessed the name of the song, the tappers were asked to predict the percentage of songs that the listeners would guess correctly. The tappers actually got the song across just one time in forty, but they thought they were getting it across one time in two. When a tapper taps, they hear the song in their head. Go ahead and try it for yourself - tap out Happy Birthday To You. It's impossible to avoid hearing the tune in your head. Meanwhile, the listeners can't hear that tune - all they can hear is a bunch of disconnected taps, like a bizarre Morse code. In the experiment, tappers are flabbergasted at how hard the listener seems to be working to pick up the tune. Isn't the song obvious? The tapper's expressions, when a listener guesses Yankee Doodle Dandy instead of Happy Birthday To You, are priceless. I am what I drink. After all, I deserved it! Whether I was celebrating a great week of radio or refilling the martini or wine glass to forget something or someone who had hurt me, Friday and Saturday evenings all took on a consistent fog; Saturday and Sunday mornings were spent lazily recovering on the couch, often in front of a cottage fireplace. One therapist I saw, an Austrian native, said that in Canada, cottages were a place where Canadians go to drink. She wasn't wrong. We'd plan our water skiing outings so that I would get the last drive in for whomever wanted to ski before we began serving salt-rimmed margaritas or tart gin and tonics on the lakeside deck. A winter afternoon staple (before wine or martinis) was the Bloody Caesar: a delicious Canadian invention utilizing clam and tomato juice that makes for a far superior version of the more mundane Bloody Mary. A small meal in their own right, our Caesars were constructed with care and perfection, from the celery salt-rimmed glass right down to the pickled bean or celery stalk that adorned each vodka-based drink. Just as, at age eight, I'd enjoyed rolling my grandfather's cigarettes and not blinked a judgmental eye, Lauren took great pride in her ability to build a perfect Caesar, with a bartender-worthy rimmed glass and just the right amount of Tabasco, Worcestershire, lemon juice and cracked pepper.