Every week, we get calls from prospective clients looking for more information about our programs. The callers tend to fall into one of two categories.

The first group are the ones who ask for information and then proceed to rebut everything we tell them – the “Yes, buts”:

“Oh, that wouldn’t work for me.”

” I am not sure how that would help.”

“I need a program that takes insurance.”

“5 days is too long.”

“5 days isn’t long enough. How can anything work in that short a time?”

“If I am going to quit drinking, I need to be pampered while I do it.”

“I need to speak to some of your former clients.”

“How will you keep me sober while I am there?”

“I can’t possibly travel – can we do it all by phone?”

And the list goes on.

The people in the second group call, ask about price and availability and sign up. Sometimes they need to consult with their spouses, they do, and get back to us within a day or so.

It will come as no surprise that the people in the first group never sign up. Is it just that our program isn’t a good fit for them, or is something else going on here? After giving it a lot of thought, we think we have a pretty good idea of what’s going on with these people.

They are not ready to make the changes in their lives that support quitting drinking. They are looking at programs to give themselves, or others in their families, the illusion that they are truly searching for the “right” program. Of course, there is no “right” program for them.

Every program is not quite right, too short, too long, too expensive, not expensive enough, there are none that is “just right”. The Goldilocks syndrome.

But they are looking, they say, and assure their families that as soon as they find the program that’s “just right”, not too long, or too short, or too expensive or too cheap, or … well then, they will sign up and sober up. But until then…

The second group has decided to make a change, done their research. They’ve asked a few pertinent questions and made their choice. These people stand an excellent chance of success because they want to change.

Will the “Yes, buts” actually get help one day? Maybe. Check next weeks Newsletter for a discussion of the Stages of Change and find out where you may be on the process.

Regardless of where you are in the process, no matter how ambivalent, we’re always glad to talk to you.

So, please! Keep calling, and as always, we answer the phones ourselves, unless we’re with clients, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday; 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday & Sunday.

And now, actual phone calls!

“Good morning, this is Dr. Barnes. How may we help you?”

“Where is your Boston office located?”

“Ah, about 30 minutes south of LAX?”


“South of Los Angeles – we don’t have a Boston office.”

“Oh.” (click)

We also don’t have a Santa Fe, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, New York, or any of 100 other city offices. However, we do have the 5 Day program – including 90 days of real follow-up. No one else does.


(Sunday afternoon) “I’m en route from Las Vegas. Can you see me tomorrow at 1:00?”

We could, we did, and acquired our only client to date to pay with a stack of used $100 bills (and he’s doing great a year later).


(Thanksgiving) “W’d like to make a reservation for January.”

“Okay, how about the second week?”

“Fine. How do you want the deposit?”

(And again, this was a couple and they are doing fabulously!)


“I’m calling from —– and I think your program is the only one that might actually help my husband.”

“We’d be happy to see him.”

“No. He’s made my life miserable for 19 years. I want you to tell me the name of the most punitive 90 day residential program you know of.”


“Yes. Maybe if he does that I’ll tell him about you folks. Maybe not.”

Tools We Use

And of course, you’re always welcome to download our free: Cost Benefit Analysis tool; Long Term Goal Planner; and Weekly Planner at: Resources For You!

Women and Alcohol

If you missed last week’s new article Women and Alcohol – What to Consider in Alcohol Treatment, you can read it by clicking on the link. Generally it’s about how women’s alcohol problems differ from men’s and why many women come here to work with us.

You can also email either of us to schedule an appointment or ask a question:

Mary Ellen at: DrBarnes@non12step.com

Ed at: DrWilson@non12step.com

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

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