99 out of every 100 treatment programs only tell you what a great facility they have. The rooms, beaches, personal assistants, the view, even the helicopter that will “fly you up to the sacred site to meet your higher power” and other come-ons that have nothing to do with ending your alcohol problems.


Because that’s all they have to offer along with time fillers like playing with horses (“Equine Therapy”), playing with ropes (“Learning The Ropes”), and other useless distractions – distractions from the fact that they don’t have anything to offer you that isn’t already available to you for free at a local AA meeting if that’s goiong to work for you..

That’s a “King’s New Clothes” approach that will have you paying for the same 3%-5% success rate you could have gotten for free without leaving home.
We suggest you ask them for what we are giving you below – a full description of our program.

We do. They could. They won’t. Here’s ours:
Intensive Distance Delivered Full Recovery

Our work focuses on you and your life and the principles of self-empowerment. The format consists of 8 sessions with both of us, and may include your spouse or other significant people at your discretion. The usual Monday – Thursday, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time schedule, can be modified to suit your particular circumstances.

Initial sessions focus on the history of your alcohol use and your current drinking patterns and related problems. It is also an exploration of the conditions underlying your use of alcohol: boredom, loneliness, anxiety, grief, pain, and so on.

You will receive a copy of our Client Resource Guide with information and assignments which help to guide and reinforce the activities we are doing during sessions. While other programs merely read through their “book” and do one-size-fits all assignments, we custom design all assignments and readings to fit your unique needs.

Our Revised Program Includes:

Despite fires, broken down moving vans, and the usual problems associated with relocating a practice, we seem to have survived the turmoil, discussed the changes in delivery, and are now prepared to offer you easier access to services.

We have always realized that our “one location for your convenience” wasn’t very convenient and that the travel, both the expense and time involved, was preventing many of you from receiving the confidential and comprehensive services you wanted.

Also, for most of you, there are no appropriate services available locally, which is why we constantly get calls looking for our “Boston office, Toronto office, Atlanta office, Vancouver office, Phoenix office, London office, and so on.

Hence the shift from office based delivery to web/Skype based delivery. This will allow you to receive the same “all substance, no filler,” research based solutions we have been providing clients for over 12 years.

The format change also allows us to concentrate the program into a smaller initial time frame. Instead of a Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – Noon, PST, we can now work with you from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., Monday – Thursday.

This time reduction is made possible by two changes: 1) part of the assessment process and other paperwork will be provided to you ahead of time so that you can complete it at your leisure and return it ahead of time, thus saving in-office time.

Secondly, unless you are local, we won’t be spending time visiting Dr. Norcross or the pharmacy to obtain Naltrexone. Yes, we will provide you with recommendations as to how to go about finding an appropriate physician, and provide you with materials for that physician. We will also have suggestions regarding pharmacies to avoid, using paper prescriptions, and other ways of protecting confidentiality.

After all of that structural shift, most of what we provide remains unchanged. Your 4 initial sessions will still be conducted with both Mary Ellen and me – with the exception of the one mono-gender session we normally include so that clients feel free to discuss gender sensitive issues with only one of us.
As to each day’s format, Monday will continue to be an anxiety reduction session where we get to know each other a bit, the history of the problem, motivating factors, a discussion of the assessment material you have previously returned and any area of special concern to you.

We will also be beginning the ongoing process of “deprogramming” you from all of the AA/12 Step brainwashing that pervades our culture, media, and society. Half the battle in overcoming self-medication is escaping from all of the mythical “disease” model propaganda and shifting to the research based “symptom” model. It will take some time and effort to free yourself and we like to start immediately.

Tuesday will generally be a discussion of what outcomes you are looking for. Abstinence? Moderation? Harm Reduction? And what we suggest is possible as well as the best route to achieve your desired end.

NOTE: We don’t tell you what you must do, or can’t do. Neither we, nor anyone else, knows what ends you can achieve. We can tell you the odds, suggest processes, but the results remain at your discretion.

Tuesday will bleed in Wednesday as we begin the process of teaching you Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which isn’t something you go to a therapist for but rather a skill you learn for managing your emotions rather than having your emotions manage you.
Just as Tuesday feeds Wednesday. Wednesday feeds Thursday with such important considerations as Assertiveness Training, Motivational Enhancement, dietary considerations, and other peripheral issues.

Of course, because we only accept one new client per week, adjustments can always be made to fit your personal needs and situation. Examples would include:

  • The 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. session hours are guidelines. We don’t automatically end a session just because the clock says it’s 11:00. If we’re in the middle of something we’ll keep going until the topic is resolved.
  • The same goes for the Monday – Thursday format. Need another day? Great. Friday is always available.
  • Want to use the toll free number across the U.S. and Canada? 1-800-541-6350 is still the number just as it has been for over a decade.
  • Looking for an in-person format? I will continue to offer that at my Calabasas office. This format, and hours, can be completely customized to meet your scheduling needs. Just call and discuss.
  • Unsure about a Skype format? Why not schedule a free consultation to get a feel for how this would work for you? To date, our “test” clients have found it to be a completely satisfactory alternative to our “in person, at the office” format.

At the end of Thursday’s session we will, together, have developed a unique plan which takes your strengths, interests, abilities and wishes into consideration.

We do not mandate an archaic set of Steps or other rules or “musts” which have no place in actually recovering.

All of this is the foundation work that the 12 weeks of follow-up work will cement in place. Why 12 weeks? Because that is about the amount of time it takes to create a firm foundation for fully recovering from whatever your alcohol related difficulties are.

That is the goal, after all. Full Recovery, in whatever form suits you. Never “in recovery,” which is, after all, just the definition of a “dry drunk.”

As hundreds of clients have noted over the years, we provide substance, not filler, and in the manner and time frame that has been shown to be most effective. And we do so confidentially, efficiently, affordably, and effectively.

For more information, visit the website (which is currently being continuously updated to reflect these changes), email either of us or call:

Mary Ellen Barnes, Ph.D. at:
or her direct line at 310-541-0971;

Edwards W. Wilson, Ph.D. at:
or his direct line at 760-580-5758;

In the L.A. and San Fernando Valley area
the Calabasas office number is: 760-580-5758;

Or from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada,
simply call toll free at 888-541-6350;