Early Intervention

Most people, having been indoctrinated by AA and the Steppers, haven’t considered the possibility of early intervention. No, I’m not referring to the sharks who circle around desperate families promising to host an “Intervention” and get your loved one packed off to a “rehab” facility from whom they get a hefty kickback and whose success rate is less than if you’d done nothing.

I’m talking to you, the person who is becoming aware that your alcohol consumption is becoming uncomfortably intrusive in your life.

After I write this I am headed off to an appointment with my physician. I have a few things that, given my age, I want opinions on. There’s that spot on my ear; problems with my left knee, a medication issue or two, and so on.

I am going to see her before the spot turns into cancer and I lose an ear (I’m ugly enough without adding that insult), to see if it’s time to consider some options for my knee while it still works a little, and whether some meds can be discontinued.

I’m not headed to the hospital. I am running my own early intervention as I do with all of my health concerns.

But when it comes to alcohol you have been sold the bill of goods that “first you have to hit rock bottom.” To quote George Carlin, “What kind of crap is that?”

It doesn’t require much thought, or an extensive cost/benefit analysis, to figure out that the sooner addressed the easier the fix. You wouldn’t wait until you car’s engine blew before changing the oil – unless you’re a Stepper of course. “Well, you know, I had to wait until it hit rock bottom before I could do anything.”

Really? Cancer can’t be treated before Stage 4? COPD can’t be addressed until you can’t breathe at all”

Is it purely coincidental that the first Minnesota Model of residential rehab was for tuberculosis? Or that Thoreau went there seeking the promised cure? Or that as a result of his “treatment” he died earlier than he otherwise would have?

Thoreau’s TB wasn’t, then, curable. It is now and early intervention helps minimize damage and returns people to normal health with minimal lingering effects.

The same is true of excessive self-medication with alcohol.

Address the real problems: boredom, isolation, anxiety, passivity, trauma and other conditions EARLY and the corrective treatment is short, effective, confidential, minimally disruptive, and a return to a healthy relationship with alcohol highly possible.

That doesn’t mean, if you find yourself buried deep into alcohol’s embrace, you shouldn’t seek assistance – but the same rules do apply: effective help is still brief, intensive, private, cost effective, professional, and personal.

Don’t fall for the one-size-fits-all Stepper/rehab con game. Their one size fits about 5%. We doubt you’re in that subset. If you were, you wouldn’t be reading this.

Medical? Legal? Financial?

Just how much do you actually know about where you stand in any of these three categories?

It’s one of the things we attempt to review with all of our clients. In doing so we have come to discover that very few men know where they stand medically – which goes a long way to explaining unnecessary early deaths – but it’s even more surprising how few women know where they stand legally and financially.

It’s impossible to make informed decisions about much of anything if you don’t understand your status in these three areas.

People with terminal diseases talk about “getting their affairs in order,” but most of us won’t have that sort of warning.

Considering divorcing an abusive spouse? You’d best know where you stand if you’re going to consider your cost/benefit status. And, yes, we’ve had clients, primarily woman, who don’t want to know because then they can pretend they don’t have any choices, therefore they can’t leave, and therefore they must keep drinking to make an intolerable living situation tolerable.

That’s like, “I can’t make a will. If I do I’ll die!”

Or, “I can’t go to the doctor, I might have cancer!”

When it comes to drinking, it often comes down to, “I might need to actually address some problems.” Or, “I might fail and lose my belief that I can always quit if I want to,” (lacking that piece of self-delusion I quit smoking 4 times before I succeeded – though I am aware I can go back any time I decide it’s worth it).

Why not sit down and list the benefits you get from drinking and see how hard they’d be to replace. Believe me, it’s not that hard.