We like getting questions that we actually know the answers to. Here’s one of our favorites, “What’s the biggest factor in determining success?”

Nope, it isn’t us. The most important factor is your motivation.

Why? It goes without saying that changing your life is challenging – no magic pills, wands, or bullets – and as with any change it takes time for the rewards to accumulate.

Sadly, too many programs have pretended otherwise as in “Come stay at our Malibu spa for 90 days (and pay us $200,000) and you’ll be cured.” Or, “attend 90 meetings in 90 days and turn your life over to us and…”

Really, it only takes a minute’s reflection to know this isn’t going to work. Think about stopping smoking, or losing 50 pounds, or writing a novel, or opening a business, or any of dozens of other changes, large or small. It takes motivation, effort, patience, and good support.

90% of new businesses fail within a year; more than 90% of dieters regain the weight; over 95% of those entering traditional treatment succumb to their old patterns within 90 days of discharge; and so on.


Even when motivation is high, you have to be able to weather the ups and downs. Even with a good product you need a good business model. With initial success you still need to sustain progress.

It also helps if the counselors you’re working with actually want you to succeed, believe you can succeed, and have managed change themselves.

When we opened our practice we didn’t know as much about business as we needed to. Instead of waiting to fail, we hired the best advisor and mentor we could find. Nine months later, with his help, we had the business part down and now we build on that and periodically send him a thank you letter.

That’s the same model we offer you. Let’s figure out how to take your motivation and make it work for you. 5 days of intensive planning, 3 months – or more – of coaching, and then you can leave the alcohol abuse behind and send us a thank you note from time to time.

That’s a strength based solution – not one based on mysterious diseases, weakness, losers, and trinkets.

Motivated? Excellent. Nervous? Who wouldn’t be? Ready to build a better life? Good. Want to grow, not shrink? Then let us help you turn those ingredients into success – that’s what our clients do.

It’s hard to imagine a better letter than the one we received a few days ago. What does motivation accomplish? Read on.

Dear Mary Ellen and Ed,

After way too many years of drinking way too much, I’d gone from a splash of brandy in my morning coffee to a splash of coffee in my morning brandy, finally giving up the pretense of coffee entirely. I’d quit for a few days, weeks, a month, even once for several years, but always wound up back at that same dismal place

For me, drinking was a form of numbing self-medication that worked too well to give up. I wanted to want to, but was afraid to quit.

Despite my despair, I continued to seek a solution, but I was at a loss for the skills to make better choices.

All that changed when I found your website and within a week of our first conversation, I was in your capable hands.

Hours of daily individual therapy opened me up to a new way of thinking. I threw myself into the program with a level of single-minded determination that surprised us all. Day by day you literally taught me the ABCs that became the building blocks of my new life. You gave me the tools with which I could construct it.

To my everlasting disgruntlement, you were right when you warned me that all of life’s challenges and obstacles would not just magically disappear once I got home. I expected euphoria and found reality instead, but guess what: reality is kind of cool when it’s not seen through an alcohol-induced fog. And when things get confusing or overwhelming, you are only a phone call away.

I’ve learned for the first time ever to feel simply content in the moment. I don’t have to plan my activities around drinking. I can run an errand after dinner without risking a DUI, or worse. I can participate fully and voraciously in my life and I finally feel whole, involved, connected.

To merely say “thank you” would be damning with faint praise. For once I lack words to express a myriad of grateful feelings. Yet, I do thank you, profoundly.

Best regards,
Kate T.

Tools From Our Shelf

Don’t forget, you’re welcome to download our freebies – the Cost Benefit Analysis tool; Long Term Goal Planner; and Weekly Planner at:

Resources For You!

As always, for information or just to talk, one of us answers the phone personally from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, Monday – Thursday, unless we are with clients, or from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

If we don’t answer, leave your name and number and one of us will usually be able to get back to you within an hour.

Toll Free From the Lower 48 or Canada: 888-541-6350

In Los Angeles, or from Alaska: 760-580-5758