February? I remember February when I was growing up in western Pennsylvania. Cold and rainy and spitting snow and sleet. The woods were wet and dark and cold as I poked around swamps looking for the first signs of spring – skunk cabbage pushing its way up through frosty soil and last fall’s leaves.

Fifteen years later it was the upper Yukon at 50 degrees below 0, six hours of daylight, and wondering when I was ever going to go outside and see sunlight again.

Another fifteen years and I was on Kodiak Island with more rain and snow and short days – but a lot of community activities and comfortable chairs in the library!

Now it’s southern California and usually nice weather. There are a lot of nice indoor and outdoor activities – not to mention clients who come from all over to re-evaluate their lives and figure out how to put alcohol abuse behind them.

February and March are good months to schedule a working vacation where you’re the focus and a week’s just the right amount of time to gain some perspective and insight and figure out what to do with the rest of your life.

Ending alcohol abuse isn’t about escaping to just another form of alcohol fixation and so-called “recovery” – it’s about leaving it behind permanently.

You don’t need, or want, to waste time, money, and effort on a very expensive 30, 60, or 90 day vacation from reality. The end result of all of these programs is to just send you back to your old life and, guess what? The same old problems – and the same old drinking habits.

Instead, spring’s coming. Why not do what Nature suggests and emerge from alcohol’s winter fog into a spring time of new beginnings, growth, and the creation of a new and better life without alcohol abuse?

February and March will soon be over – don’t carry winter doldrums into April, May, and beyond when you don’t have to.

Program “Filler”

Almost every “program” we’ve ever looked at is chock full of “filler.” How do we define filler? They are activities that don’t advance you or your permanent recovery from alcohol abuse, but do serve to fill the hours with something – anything – that seems to justify the expense.

The most common of these are, of course, the AA meetings and “Step” work. But there’re also other less obvious examples: hypnotherapy; equine therapy; canine therapy (well, okay, we do frequently have Shogun hanging out at the office, but we don’t charge extra for his appearances); massage therapy; and so on.

You might, when comparing programs, consider how much you’re paying for these sorts of activities, activities you could more affordably arrange for yourself if you decided they made sense for you. These charges probably amount to half of your bill with the other half being food and lodging – again at prices that you can cut in half.

Also consider that these programs are designed to reinforce the myth that you are a victim of alcohol who will now somehow benefit from being victimized by some treatment “program.” We don’t think so! We treat you with the respect you deserve and with the knowledge that you have your own unique problems and answers.

We looked at, and avoided, a lot of time and money wasters when we opened our practice. No fillers, no para-professionals, no groups, no residential escapes from reality, and no cults and no myths.

As a result, our clients receive more hours of relevant, competent, professional, and individually focused services in their first five days than all of the residential programs we’ve been able to find offer in 30, 60, or even 90 days.

We also include 12 weeks of real follow-up, not chat rooms, referrals to AA meetings, and the other usual ineffectual, or counter-productive, excuses for support. But then, we don’t want to see you having to come back again. It’s one area where we are definitely against recycling!

Tools We Use

Ten Reasons to Run From AA – We tripped across this YouTube video recently and it contains a lot of truth as well as humor. We thought you might enjoy it too.

Our Cost Benefit Analysis; Long Term Goal Planner; and Weekly Planner are all available at:

Resources For You!

You can find many other helpful sites at:

Alcohol Treatment: Organizations and Resources.

And a final resource – you can call us!! One of us answers the phone personally 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., California time, Monday – Thursday, unless we are with clients.

Even on the weekends, Friday – Sunday, we’re normally available from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pacific time.

We think you deserve our personal and professional attention so we don’t use answering services, volunteers, or other intermediaries. If we don’t answer, please leave a message. One of us will usually be able to get back to you within an hour.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst is to do nothing.”
~Theodore Roosevelt