Welcome to 2010!

As a boy growing up in the 1950s, 2010 would have seemed unimaginably far away. Now my response is more apt to be, “How’d it get here so soon?”

But here it is and a better question is this: am I living a more satisfactory life than I was a year, a decade, or a quarter of a century ago? I’m glad to be able to report that, yes, I am.

In my 20s and 30s it would have been hard to believe that my 60s would be better years than my 40s or 50s. So what happened?

For one thing I left alcohol abuse behind when I was 41. Not that I fixed all of the problems that had led me to succumb to alcohol’s seductive embrace when I was 37, but I did know that things weren’t going to get better until I stopped medicating my way through the days and weeks and months.

Unfortunately back then there wasn’t any real help available, not that there’s much now. I also knew that for me there was more dignity in being a drunk than there was in anointing myself a “powerless alcoholic” and joining a cult.

Yes, I found my way back out of alcohol abuse on my own but it took a number of years effort and more than a few missteps. Nowadays we work with you to avoid the traps I fell into and the others that Mary Ellen and I have found as we’ve worked with clients and families over the years.

Perhaps you’ve already discovered that 2010 is starting off too much like too many previous years have. Maybe you’d like for your 30s or 40s or 50s or 60s to be different – and better – than recent years have been?

They can be, you know.

Naltrexone Revisited

We frequently get calls about the use of Naltrexone, the FDA approved anti-craving medication that about 70% of our clients find to be extremely helpful during their first months of leaving alcohol abuse behind. Questions come from people who have visited our site including doctors who are unfamiliar with it.

What can we tell you?

First, it’s not a “magic bullet”. It can ease the cravings and help you buy some time to correct the underlying problems you’ve been medicating away. But if you don’t fix the problems then, sooner or later (and usually sooner) you’ll stop taking the meds and the abusive drinking will resume.

That said, it’s helpful, has few side effects, virtually no negative interactions with other medications, and it’s cheap (about $4/day).

Problems? Mostly that few doctors are familiar with it.

Why? Naltrexone is a generic drug, meaning no big profits for pharmaceutical companies and, hence, no push by drug reps. Instead, they push, and misrepresent, Campral, pretending it’s an anti-craving med, which it isn’t.

Because most doctors are unfamiliar with it, they tend to refuse to prescribe it rather than admit they don’t know about it. They may claim it takes special certification or training – it doesn’t – or that it’s contraindicated by conditions like diabetes – it isn’t – or say it can only be used by clients in a “program”. Again, none of this is true according to the research and the physicians we and our clients work with.

Naltrexone use has also been opposed by 12 Step programs because it isn’t aversive. They much prefer the the dangerous Antibuse with it’s nasty punitive physical reactions to even the trace amounts of alcohol found everywhere.

Our opinion? Try it for what it is, a short term support, good for 3 to 6 months. Use that window to make the changes you need to make and have been abusing alcohol to avoid.

Need assessment, analysis, support and coaching through that process? That’s what we do. Confidentially, individually, effectively, and efficiently.

And it only takes a phone call and five days (no, not 30, 60, or 90 days) to get started.

Bits and Pieces

“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. It’ll teach you to keep your mouth shut.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

He was right about doing what you say, but if you want to out do Hemingway, then also remember that alcohol abuse first cost him his ability to write, then his health, then his life which he ended with a shotgun in Idaho at age 61.

Perhaps it’s time to do what he said he’d do, but never did?


If you’re a new subscriber, or if you’re wondering about something you read in a previous Newsletter, most of the newsletters are archived on the website under the tab labeled – you guessed it – “Newsletters”!

More popular links:

Resources For You! the Goal Setting; Cost/Benefit Analysis; and Weekly Planner Models – all free and available again for the 2010.

Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with an inappropriate and damaging label that will haunt you for the rest of your life.

Women and Alcohol – What To Consider In Treatment and why women need and deserve services built around women’s needs, not just another recycled (and failed) men’s program – which is all anyone else has to offer.

Confidentiality, why you want to avoid residential treatment, groups of all kinds, and/or using insurance for treatment or medications.

The Bucket of Crabs or Why AA and Al-Anon are Bad For Your Health.


You might want to save the dates and join us at the Awakening To Mindfulness conference in La Jolla, CA. March 25-27. It’ll be a great time to talk to us and see if we’re the right people for you to work with.


And, as usual, whether you need to abstain or cut back, or discover what’s possible for you, we’re here to help.

For information, or just to talk, one of us answers the phone personally from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Monday – Thursday, unless we are with clients, or from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

If we don’t answer, leave your name and number and one of us will usually be able to get back to you within an hour.