Comparison Shopping

A caller recently wanted help figuring out how to compare different programs. We agree it’s confusing, especially if you’re in the middle of a crisis, so we’ve come up with the following suggestions to help.

Traditional (AA/12 Step Model) Programs.

These programs are all based on the myth that all alcohol abuse and dependence (“alcoholism”) are part of the same progressive “disease” that can only be “treated” by admitting “powerlessness” and submitting to a lifetime of being “in recovery”.

They also push the idea, also long debunked, that alcohol abuse is an “equal opportunity disease” and that even people who’ve never taken a drink in their lives may be in need of treatment.

Programs operate in isolation, exclude family members, indoctrinate you into the AA Fellowship, and send you home after 30, 60, or 90 days with the twin injunctions “don’t drink” and “attend AA”.

Will it work for you?

It may – if you fit the model (and Ed got a Masters’ thesis and a Doctoral dissertation’s worth of research out of showing how to quickly and easily sort that out ahead of time), or if you want to placate someone while continuing to drink (“I can’t help it! It’s my disease! I’m powerless!”).

But how can I know?

It’s really pretty easy – just attend a few different AA meeting (they do vary, sometimes a lot) and see if you fit. If you do, great, you’ve found your answer – one that’s free, convenient, and available everywhere. And you don’t need to go anywhere, or pay, to become one of the approximately 3% of women or 5% of men who find AA a satisfactory solution.

If I’m not one of the 3% – 5%?

If going to AA meetings for free doesn’t do it for you, then paying to go to AA meetings – which is all traditional “rehab” is – probably isn’t going to work for you either.

So unless you’re only looking for an expensive vacation in a weird jail, you can safely skip 95% of the programs out there and move along to the alternatives discussed in the next section.

Want more information on AA/12 Step based Programs? Just give us a call and we’ll answer your questions.

The Alternative Non 12 Step Options

Among the different “non 12 step” programs there are still important considerations.

Disease Based vs. Learned Compensatory Behavior Based

While all AA based programs are “disease” based, so are some of the alternative or “Non 12 Step” programs. Indeed these programs tend to be nothing more than the same model in a different guise. So instead of Bill W’s 12 Steps, you get some one else’s 10 Steps in Atlanta, a personality cult in Malibu, or a medication based approach in Phoenix or Kansas City.

Again, if that appeals, go for it. But please don’t confuse cost, duration, or luxury with effectiveness – all of these have about the same or only slightly better “success” rate as the traditional programs.

What’s left?

The half dozen or so programs that remain have a number of things in common, they:

  • are based on research, not myths or cults;
  • are founded on the proven idea that alcohol abuse is almost always a choice that can be unmade, not a disease to be “managed”;
  • support the reality that you can fully recover and, in some cases, return to moderate levels of social drinking.

How do they differ?

Even here there are real differences for you to take into account. These include:

  • residential vs. intensive outpatient;
  • individual vs. group;
  • professional time vs. para-professional;
  • confidential vs. public exposure;
  • cost;
  • abstinence and/or moderation;
  • follow-up vs. none;
  • success rate.

As an example, we are:

  • intensive outpatient;
  • individual (or couples);
  • professional;
  • confidential;
  • medium cost;
  • abstinence and moderation options;
  • provide 12 weeks of real follow-up (not chat rooms or AA);
  • and success rates (as defined by you, the client) well above 70%.

We are the only program in the U.S. to offer all 8 of these advantages, as well as having separate programs designed for the differing needs of women and men.

Finally, when comparing programs, look hard at how much competent help you will receive for your individual situation per dollar invested. Our clients each receive over 40 hours of focused, individual, time with us – which is many times more than the 1 hour per week of para-professional counseling most programs offer.

Which return do you want for the investment in your future you’re preparing to make?

Still Not Sure?

That’s what we’re here for – just give us a call and we’ll help you clarify your choices and select the one that’s right for you – whether that’s our program or someone else’s (yes, we do refer, another feature no other program offers).