Yes, They All Lie

As Mary Ellen noted in her Newsletter article, “Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Sent My Brother Off To Rehab,” all 12-Step/AA based programs lie to you when you call looking for help.


First, because they don’t have anything to sell you that you can’t get for free at a church near you. And let’s face it, if you’re one of the 3%-5% for whom AA is going to work, you don’t need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to find that out.

Second, they justify lying to you because you’re “in denial” and anything they can do to trick you into their program is necessary to “save” you.

We don’t know about you, but that strikes us as more than a bit unethical and self-serving – especially since they are the ones who are actually in denial, denying the reality that what they are marketing rarely works.

If you really want and need a bit of short term help to get back to leading your life without the problems alcohol abuse creates, then don’t just substitute one form of abuse (alcohol) for another (unethical treatment programs). Instead, give us a call and leave your focus on alcohol behind, permanently. That’s what works.

Yes, successful ex-drinkers are just like successful ex-smokers. We’ve left the alcohol and nicotine behind and built better lives and we don’t spend any time sitting around back rooms, drinking bad coffee, and whining.

We recommend that you don’t do that either.

Cost Comparisons

It’s tough to make a decision when it comes to seeking help for alcohol abuse. Even without the pressure to “do something,” sorting through the various possibilities is confusing at best.

We’d like to make that a bit easier by passing along a few ideas for you to consider.

First, consider how much time you can afford to disappear for. Over 90% of programs are pushing for anywhere from 30 to 90 days. Never mind that there isn’t any evidence that longer is better – and usually it’s exactly the opposite – can you really afford to “out” yourself with that kind of absence? No? We didn’t think so.

Next, research what you are actually getting during this extended escape from reality. Most programs won’t want to tell you, but if you push long and hard enough, they finally will “fess-up”. Most programs offer filler – AA meetings, AA “Step Work” and other forms of groups that have nothing to do with you personally, but fill a lot of time as cheaply as possible. Most offer you less than 2 hours a week of individual time. But you’d never know that from their marketing department.

So, how do you find this out? Learn to read between the lines. All the different “therapies” that are offered – equine, canine, art, music, massage, working out and the ever-popular “group” are all ways to fill time. After all, you are there 24/7, they have to do something with you! From their perspective, it is too expensive to offer you more than a token amount of one-to-one counseling with a real, trained and experienced counselor, so they don’t. And then they tell you that what they offer is actually better for you.

Third, who will actually be providing the services? Most of the time it’s low level, poorly trained or untrained CD counselors with little to offer beyond their own failed recovery. Exactly how is that supposed to help you? Reality is, it isn’t supposed to.

Finally, most programs don’t actually think you can be helped. To them, you’re just ore to be mined and then sent off to the next failed program to do the same again and again and again. Here in the U.S. alcohol treatment is the ultimate recycling program.

So what’s the alternative to ineffectual, cynical, and expensive ($40,000 – $200,000) programs who offer you little beyond public exposure, the attachment of a demeaning – and rarely accurate – label (alcoholic) and inculcation into the losers’ cult?
We’ re the alternative!

We offer competent, personal, and effective help for the comparatively modest fee of $8,750. For this you will receive our undivided professional and personal attention for 5 days and equally focused follow-up for 12 weeks. No groups, no filler, no labels, no exposure, and no life time of being “in recovery.” Just experience and research based treatment that works.

Really now, how hard a decision is that to make?

Just give us a call and let’s discuss your situation and how best we can assist you in reclaiming your life.

An Evening Out

This past Monday we had the pleasure of dinner and an evening’s discussion with Dr. Tom Horvath, president of Smart Recovery and founder of Practical Recovery. It was a rare opportunity to sit and talk with a real colleague – someone who also provides real services to his clients.

The pleasure is slightly marred by the realization that there are so few of us who do this work, so few who believe in you and your ability to fully heal, grow, recover, and lead full lives unhampered by alcohol abuse, cults, or being “in recovery”.

Thank you Tom for being out friend and colleague, and let’s not wait quite so long before the next dinner? Next time’s on us.

More Odds and Ends

If you’re a new subscriber, previous Newsletters are archived on the website under the tab labeled – you guessed it – “Newsletters“!

More popular links:

Resources For You! for the Goal Setting; Cost/Benefit Analysis; and Weekly Planner Models – all free and available again for the 2010.

Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with an inappropriate and damaging label that will haunt you for the rest of your life.

Women and Alcohol – What To Consider In Treatment and why women need and deserve services built around women’s needs, not just another recycled (and failed) men’s program – which is all anyone else has to offer.

Confidentiality, why you want to avoid residential treatment, groups of all kinds, and/or using insurance for treatment or medications.

The Bucket of Crabs or Why AA and Al-Anon are Bad For Your Health.


And, as usual, whether you need to abstain or cut back, or discover what’s possible for you, we’re here to help.

For information, or just to talk, one of us answers the phone personally from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time, unless we’re with clients.

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.