Happy Independence Day!

“Independence Day” is always a mixed holiday for me. Maybe because I have a tendency to see things from too many points of view.

“Independence?” Whose? Certainly not Black slaves, women, Native Americans, or later on, Spanish Californians, Hawaiians, or Alaska Natives.

“Independence?” From what? Hmmm, wealthy white privileged Americans from wealthy privileged Brits? All paid for by the same poor boys and families who suffer and die for their “better’s” lifestyle.

Easy to see where the current uproar over teaching real history rather than a hugely sanitized “traditional” edition.

So that said, and I am sure annoying a number of you, I will move along to a perhaps less sensitive view. How about independence from self-medication and the concomitant independence from the pervasive mythology that makes eliminating the problem such a problem for many of us when it shouldn’t be?

That’s right. It shouldn’t be all that hard to correct a habit that’s become a problem if you, and those around you, haven’t internalized all of the “powerless” and “diseased” and “AA is the only way” crap.

If you free yourself from the propaganda and you’re no longer the powerless victim of a lifelong disease who needs to isolate yourself into an infantile cult.

The research is clear and has been for a couple of decades. 60% of people who are troubled about their alcohol consumption will fix it. Of those, a third will spontaneously abstain. A third will revert to “normal” social drinking. A third will reduce their drinking to more than social but less than destructive.

Of the remaining 40%, half will maintain their current habits and the other half’s outcomes are unknown.

Through a lot of this you do have choices – some of you more than others. Obviously all of you can opt to do nothing (or pretend to do something by joining AA). Some of you can opt to engage in “harm reduction” and we’ve had clients who opted for that route and who succeeded, though sometimes to took years instead of weeks.

Some of you can only pick between all or nothing: abstain or drink to excess. Same as me and cigarettes. None, or a pack and a half a day, no other options apply to me. Only you can discover which other possibilities are open to you.

How do you go about that?

Again – your choices. If you only want to get people off your back, but don’t want to give up an alcohol drenched life, by all means, join AA. You’ll be freed for criticism and you will be taught a whole new slate of passive-aggressive strategies to use against your critics. You can also freely indulge whatever predatory tendencies you harbor without fear of retribution or accountability.

But. If you don’t want to join a demeaning and dehumanizing cult, and you don’t want to spend years groping for what “works” for you (as I did 35+ years ago), then you might want get some actual, individual, confidential help. Yes, it does exist, and, yes, it can be hard to find. But you can weed out the imposters by keeping the following in mind:

  • Individual (no groups);
  • No AA/Steps;
  • Self-pay, no insurance;
  • No 30, 60, 90 day “rehab”;
  • Outpatient only;
  • Professional staff;
  • Optional medicinal support (Naltrexone);
  • Guided detox if needed;
  • 3 – 6 month maximum;
  • “Recovered” not “in recovery.”

Outcome? Independence – not a different, and worse, dependence.

And your choice might be?