Suppose you had an actual disease…

If you had cancer, or heart disease, or any real disease instead of the made-up one, “alcoholism” or even “alcohol abuse,” how would you be treated?

You would be advised as to possible treatment choices, including no treatment. You would be encouraged to get a second opinion and even a third. But with alcohol problems?

First, you get labeled as an alcoholic even though, mostly, you aren’t.

Second, you are only offered one option – AA and the 12 Steps.

Third, you are treated exactly like everyone else even though your situation bears no similarity to anyone else’s. That makes as much sense as being told that you have skin cancer and the standard treatment is to remove your left lung – because, after all, that’s how we treat cancer.

Fourth, and in many ways worst of all, if you do ask about treatment options you are lied to. 12 Step programs lie and say that AA and the 12 Steps aren’t required – until you sign up.

But that’s all they have. As many of our clients, veterans of failed programs, report that 12 Steppers always say, “Well of course we lied, after all AA is the only thing that works and you’re an alcoholic in denial so anything we do to save you is justified.”

Let’s see, on the list of “what works” AA and the 12 Steps come in at 37th and 38th in terms of effectiveness. Traditional treatment at 47th. Who’s really in denial?

Increasingly we are working successfully with clients mandated to treatment by licensing and “professional assistance boards” and who are opting for legal challenges rather than succumbing to threats. Not surprisingly, challenges are prevailing and reputations are being saved from the AA/alcoholism tarnish – as well as those who need it getting real, effective, and affordable help.

Think about that. Actual doctors demanding to be treated in the same safe-guarded manner as their patients rather than being railroaded into a system that can easily cost them $500,000 and handicap them for the balance of their lives and careers. A system with a negative outcome rate!

So what about you? Do you want to trust the “industry” that has a 50 year history of failure? Do do you want the actual help that you’d expect for any medical condition? Do you want to make your own choices and recover?

Just a personal note

Twenty some years ago when it was my turn to figure out how to leave my episodic alcohol abuse behind, it took me a couple of years to get it right. When I mentioned my success, without AA, to a colleague he said , “Well, that’s because you weren’t really an alcoholic,” a statement I agreed with, but wondering what the basis was for his evaluation.

“Oh?” I said.

“Yes,” he nodded, “because if you’d actually been an alcoholic, you couldn’t have quit drinking without AA!”


In point of fact, people who decide to fix the problem while avoiding AA are anywhere from 5 to 15 times more successful than those who join AA.

Yes, a few people find AA to be an effective long term solution to their alcohol problems. But it’s only a very, very few.

The good news is that it really isn’t hard to sort out who may benefit from AA, and who’s harmed by it. It takes less than an hour and between us we’ve been doing it for over 25 years.

Want an outcome you’ll like better than drinking or AA?

Odds and Ends

Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels 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 and groups of all kinds.

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


Links to Success:

Smart Women and Alcohol Abuse

“How Can You Possibly Cure My Years of Alcohol Abuse in Just 5 Days?”

The Real “Steps” to Overcoming Alcohol Abuse

Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Sent My Brother Off To Rehab;