January? 2009?

How’d it get to be 2009?

We’re not sure how it got to be 2009, but we do know that 2008 was busy and filled with ups and downs for all of us.

The big “UP!” for us has been working with all of you from as far north as Alaska and Canada to as for south as Australia. In addition to local Californians, you’ve come to us from across the country, as well as around the world.

We’d like to take this opportunity to say that it’s an honor to know and work with all of you, and to look forward to seeing more of you this year.

Thank you!

Good Help is Worth Finding.

Suffering through my own alcohol abuse problems in the 1980s there wasn’t any real help to be had. Then, as now, all that existed were the AA/12-Step based programs with the same demeaning approaches, “disease” models, and terrible outcomes.

Knowing better than to subject myself to that, I muddled through on my own, though it took me several years to find “my solution”. Since that time, first as a counselor in private practice and now – thankfully – with Mary Ellen, much of my work has centered around helping you find your answer – quickly, effeciently, and effectively.

That is one of the basic differences between what we do and what almost everyone else does, even the other “non-12-step” programs. We are dedicated to helping you find your solution, not cramming you into some preconceived model of how you “ought to” live your life.

Another key difference is that we don’t believe in the “disease model” of alcoholism. All 12-Step programs, and a surprising number of non-12-step programs, subscribe to this model, though there isn’t a shred of supporting research.

Remember that programs and counselors who believe that you have a disease will not help you to get on with your life. They will “help” you “manage” your disease and stay stuck in alcoholism’s grip.

Believing in the disease model is a major cause of relapse and staying dependent on alcohol.

On the other hand, we’ll help you divorce alcohol while you regain and enhance your life. And you’ll do it in a lot less time than it took me.

Could you manage it on your own. Probably. Since you’ve spent time on our website, downloaded our materials, and read our newsletter, we know you’re smart, creative, and generally successful. So, yes, you could probably eventually solve the problem yourself.

But do you want to spend two or three or four years doing it? Can you afford to?

What are years of your life worth to you? What’s your marriage or your health or your career worth to you? What’s the real cost of your drinking and the real benefit of quitting.

Good help that saves and improves your life is worth having.

That’s what we do. Why not call and talk it over? No pressure. No sales pitch. No charge. Isn’t this something you’ve been meaning to do?

Tools We Use

As we mentioned last week, achieving goals is a matter of defining them accurately, tracking progress, finding support, and getting good help when necessary.

We do practice what we recommend and hire a lot of very good short term help. Our advisers do for us what we do for you. They keep us on track, focused, and looking ahead, not back.

Again, working towards our goals, and yours, is easier if you also have some short term planning tools. The following Weekly Planner is one we use when we find our focus drifting. Use a different one for each area of your life that you want to address.


New Years is a popular time for setting goals, but most of us tend to quickly lose track of our intentions. Our Goal Setting Tool gives you a baseline to refer back to as the year progresses.

Mostly we fail because we lose focus or become discouraged by minor setbacks. Surprisingly, we lose track of our gains as well. Long term written goals combined with the weekly planner keep that from happening!


The EOC Institute relaxation CDs continue to be a good alternative to alcohol for a quick, handy, and effective way to relieve anxiety and relax. We don’t endorse all of their claims, but we do use the CDs to quiet our racing thoughts.