The Downside of Being Smart, Creative, Sensitive & Articulate

You, like our clients, are smart, successful, creative, sensitive, and a lot of other generally desirable things. Trouble is, as with many good things, too much can be a problem.

A very real dilemma is that you find yourself stuck with either being productive or self-destructive. No rest! Unlike most people, you don’t get to go through life on cruise control.

That’s where the alcohol abuse comes in. It’s your version of cruise control, a way to achieve some respite. But it’s very short term, and, eventually, the price gets to be too high.

So what are the possible alternatives? Frankly, there aren’t any that are as quick, easy, and readily available as alcohol. But there are better solutions – ones that enhance your life, rather than detracting from it.

Helping your discover what works for you is one of the many things we do, that no one else does. It’s also why we only work with individuals, not groups, and why you get both of our attention.

You’re a complicated individual. Figuring out what ‘ll work for you takes some focused effort. Effort that no other program is willing, or able, to invest in you.

You’re not part of the herd – we’re not either – never have been, never will be. Forcing yourself, or being forced, to pretend you are, will never have a positive effect. Quite the opposite.

So, it really isn’t surprising that you won’t find your solutions down at the AA Corral. But you will find them here.

No, You Probably Don’t Fit In

Over twenty ago when I decided it was time to fix my own alcohol abuse, I knew I wasn’t going to get any help from AA. I might be in danger of turning into a drunk, in my words, but I certainly wasn’t powerless or diseased.

Frankly, I thought if drinking or AA were my only two choices, I’d stick with drinking.

It took me awhile to fix my problem – mostly because it took time and effort to sort out the rest of my life and I wasn’t getting any help or support along the way. We’re sure most of you know what that feels like.

Additionally, in the 1980s there wasn’t any research you could find at the library nor was there any Internet to search. There wasn’t any Smart Recovery; no State University of New York Information Site, and so on.

Who I did eventually find was Dr. Jane Loevinger at Washington University in St. Louis and her research into Adult Development. Guess what? According to her research, I didn’t “fit in,” never would, and it was because I was way too old – emotionally and psychologically – compared for my chronological age.

What did that mean? One, that drinking for me eased loneliness by temporarily regressing me to a point where, for a little while, at least, I “fit in.” It also gave me a place to relax but, unhappily, a self-destructive one.

The good news was that I had a ton of ability to fix my problems. Like you, I had way more than the average person.

It also meant that I was right – I would never fit in with the AA herd and it would be self-destructive to even try – even more destructive than drinking.

More than two decades later we still use Dr. Loevinger’s model with clients and we’re the only treatment program that does. All of the others are, after all, part of that AA herd.

We use it to get to know you and to help you know yourself. No one else uses it because it doesn’t fit their tidy model of “alcoholism as an incurable disease” and it takes a lot of skill, experience and sensitivity to interpret (and it can’t be computer scored).

But aren’t skill, experience and sensitivity the very qualities you want in a counselor when you are having difficulty? Or for anyone you care about?

Remember, you can find that here, with us.

Dr. Mary Ellen Barnes & Dr. Edward Wilson
Call Toll Free 888-541-6350
(In Los Angeles or From Alaska: 760-580-5758 )

A Tool We Use

Dr. Loevinger’s Sentence Completion Test measures how you interact with the world – it’s your perspective and point of view. It also tells how well you can cope – and why you may have found yourself not coping, or coping with alcohol. It has a lot to offer when interpreting alcohol use and abuse.

We give the test to every client and usually to their spouses as well – it also informs us as to how the two of them relate to each other.

Beginning later this summer we’ll be offering the SCT to people through our web site at $79 per test. But if you’re interested now, as a Newsletter reader, you can get the SCT plus scoring, interpretation, and how you compare to AA zealots for only $49.

To do this, just e-mail Ed at and request either the women’s or men’s form (or both).

You can complete it and mail it back with a check or, if you want really fast results, send it back as attachment and call with your VISA, MasterCard, or Discover information and we’ll send the results and analysis by return e-mail.

Our mailing address is:
4020 Palos Verdes Drive North, Suite #201,
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274.

Let us help you start unraveling the fascinating mystery, and research project, you are!

Don’t forget, you’re welcome to download our freebies – the Cost Benefit Analysis tool; Long Term Goal Planner; and Weekly Planner at:

Resources For You!


And, as always, for information or just to talk, one of us answers the phone personally from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight 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.

Toll Free From the Lower 48 or Canada: 888-541-6350

In Los Angeles, or from Alaska: 760-580-5758