Relapse? Or Success?

A recent client emailed to make an appointment with me to discuss an “event.” The day before she wrote she had, consciously, purchased a bottle of wine which she knew she was going to drink as she relaxed and watched the sunset on the patio of her newly reclaimed home.

Now she wanted to discuss this with me.

Mostly she wanted a bit of help in processing the evening and being reassured that she hadn’t fallen into the AA “relapse” trap.

The questions I asked were the obvious ones: had she raced out to get a second bottle (her old usual was 2 bottles a night)? No. Had she continued every evening since? No, it was a “one off” event. Had she contacted the old loser ex-boyfriend while drinking? No. Was she actually worried about the mythological “slippery slope?” No.

Was she willing to consider that a private evening of enjoying the sunset in the privacy of her home with a bottle of good wine was, for her, the definition of success, not relapse? Yes.

So it went and we also discussed an up-coming excursion, the intermittent use of Naltrexone, and other events.

We also considered individual differences and how history can inform the present. She is also a former smoker who, after she quit, could still enjoy the occasional cigarette without falling back into her habit (by the way, I am envious of that. Even after nearly 15 years I could have an occasional cigarette without being right back to a pack and a half a day – no slippery slope, just a nosedive). That suggests that, for her, the same is true when it comes to drinking.

Especially since she has successfully addressed the issues she was medicating!

Yes, she followed the plan the three of us devised together and, no surprise here, it worked!

And the same process is here for you, too, you know.

Fish or Fowl? Apples or Oranges?

Many of you who visit our website, call, and/or read this Newsletter end up a bit confused. That’s understandable.

What we offer you is a hybrid – far more intensive than the traditional “a once a week for 50 minutes” with a therapist, but seemingly less comprehensive than 30, 60, or 90 days of “rehab.”

Our model, designed years ago and now tested over a decade, is, like most good hybrids, better than either of its “parents.” How’s that?

First, neither individual therapists nor residential rehab focuses of alcohol abuse. Each “works” with every condition under the sun and, usually, neither are very good at anything. But their focus, really, is on keeping clients, not helping them.

Second, neither are intensive enough to provide results fast enough to motivate you to change. For example, a friend of mine has been going to his psychoanalyst every week for the last 35 years. Results? None to date but his therapist assures him, as he does every couple of years, that a “breakthrough” is on the horizon. We all know how “horizons” recede as we approach them, therefore…..

Rehab takes a different approach to achieve the same non-result. They bury you in groups that have nothing to do with you or your situation. They may provide you with 45 minutes a week of “individual counseling” with a low level paraprofessional, but that’s all the attention you’re going to get. And that attention is directed at converting you to the mostly failed and, for you as a reader, totally inappropriate 12 Step “Program.”

Individual therapists may provide confidentiality, unless you use insurance. There is no confidentiality whatsoever in either rehab or AA regardless of how or what you pay.

So, the “usual” options are ineffectual, inefficient, public, and largely a waste of your time, effort, expense, and, most importantly hope.
That’s right, hope. That is what they are selling and, most assuredly, they are not delivering.

That explains why we created a niche that fills the massive void in treating alcohol abuse.

There are two of us, both professionals, and you get our undivided attention during the 5 Day Intensive portion of the program. That’s 15 hours of my time, and 15 of Mary Ellen’s. Plus you get the benefit of the post-session time we spend discussing your situation, circumstances, and strengths.

It’s difficult to stress how valuable it is to work with both of us. We’re each, as we say, pretty good individually. Together, we’re four times as good. Far better than any individual practitioner – who is always limited by a single perspective and no consultations – and obviously better than rehab staff who are mostly failed clients who can’t stay sober themselves, even though they live and work in never-ending rehab.

We’re also confidential. No groups, no hourly staff, no extraneous record keeping, no insurance, no ratting yourself out by disappearing for one to three months.

We also provide real follow-up (see first article) not the destructive “don’t drink, go to AA” or the “come back soon – and bring your checkbook.”

We also work with a very small number of clients, so you won’t get lost in the shuffling herd and if you call us to discuss almost anything, one, two or even 5 years later, chances are at least one of us can slip back and listen and help. No charge.

No. Not apples or oranges or fish or fowl. Just personal, private, effective, affordable, and custom tailored to you and your concerns, interests, strengths, and preferred outcomes.

Try and find that anywhere else.