The “Relapse” Myth.

After the most destructive myth of “powerlessness” no single notion is more apt to keep you trapped in the alcoholism cult than “relapse”.

Most “programs” insist that you keep track of the days, months, years of “sobriety”. Think about it for just a moment, just how silly is it to try building a life focused on NOT doing something?

And then you have a drink and have to start counting all over again?
That would be like losing 40 pounds, regaining 1 over the holidays, and being told you’re a total failure and have to start over again.

That’s not just silly, it’s dangerous. With that mindset, if you have a drink, well, geez, all is lost so you might as well go on a two week binge, which is, of course, what most Steppers do.

We hate to burst the relapse bubble – you don’t go back to zero. You made a choice. You can learn from it. Or, you can take responsibility for deciding you prefer drinking to not drinking.

You lapsed, not relapsed.

If you want to get over your alcohol abuse we’re happy to help. We ask that you delete three words from your dictionary of excuses: alcoholic, powerless, relapse.

All three labels are just cover stories for pretending to do something about your drinking instead of actually doing something – and there are thousands of meetings and rehabs where you can get help with that.

We know that you are ambivalent about change, as we all are, but isn’t it time for a rational choice, not an irrational excuse?

That’s right – listen to what you know, not what you fear.

During the course of a recent follow-up session, “Mike” reported his wife’s comment, “I haven’t had a single hangover since you quit drinking!”

In addition to the humor and good will inherent in her comment there’s also a very important point – just as your drinking affects those around you, so does ending your alcohol abuse.

In the case of Mike’s wife it meant that she was drinking less now that he wasn’t drinking at all.

This is, of course, a happy result that was enhanced by her participation with us during Mike’s 5 Day Retreat. By working together there are fewer surprises (though this particular result was unexpected) and a number of potential problems can be anticipated and headed off.

For example – it really does take time for a major behavioral change to feel “normal”. We get so used to medicating feelings that simply experiencing them, or developing coping skills instead of avoident drinking patterns, is going to be a bit strange for awhile.

It also means that there is going to be a shift within your marriage and other family relationships. Put bluntly, when you’re abusing alcohol you lose your vote in family decision making. It’s going to take awhile to get it back.

Good will, good humor, patience, and continuing to work with us are the keys to lasting success. You too can enjoy unexpected outcomes as did the 50-something wife who discovered she actually liked sex (she’d never had sex sober) and her delighted husband who’d given up on having sex with a drunk years before.

Not drinking isn’t about deprivation (well okay, mostly not), it’s about enhancing your life and that of those around you. It’s life expanded, not diminished.

So call and let’s get your life back to being a life!


“Yesterday my attorney negotiated a very good deal for me.  Most importantly — the court accepted your program, so no “chemical assessment,” no AA treatment program, no AA meetings!   Makes perfect sense to me, but my attorney was not at all sure he could get that.  Thank you for the completion certificate and letter, it helped a lot.

Also — I have “probation to the court,” which my attorney says is really no probation at all — I don’t have to report, the court doesn’t require any conditions other than no drinking and remain law-abiding for 2 years.  No probation officer can make me jump through any hoops.

The offense was lowered from a gross misdemeanor to a misdemeanor, which is equally huge!

Once again, thank you so much for helping me get back on the right path –“


And this from a client in Minnesota – home of the failed “Minnesota Model” used by over 95% of all treatment programs because it fails!

You can also read more about avoiding courts illegally mandating AA participation in our article “No Judge, No 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;