It’s Not Rocket Science

Along about Wednesday or Thursday, new clients will lean back, sigh and say something like, “It really isn’t rocket science, is it?”

At which point we will smile, comfortingly we hope, and reply, “No, it’s just good science.”

It’s interesting that when all of the “everyone knows” mythology is cleared away, an exercise in deprogramming that most people quickly understand, solving alcohol abuse problems is fairly straightforward. That’s not to suggest that it’s easy. It will involve some short-term discomfort, some effort, learning some new skills and coping mechanism, and a willingness to leave a few old habits, associations, and, yes, people behind.

Deprogramming and exorcising myths means replacing AA and rehab twaddle with reality: AA and “facilitated 12 Step” (the business of selling AA as treatment) “work” less than 10% of the time, mostly less than 5% since this is the percentage of people who find relief through AA.

Then there’s the “it’s the only way.” Seriously? People have been abusing alcohol, and recovering, for thousands of years. Then, as now, most people recover without meetings, Steps, or commercial rehab.

But beyond dispelling the bunkum, which clears the air but doesn’t fix your own problems, how do you, like millions of others, leave the alcohol abuse behind?

That first requires replacing some of your own beliefs and self-image fallacies with comforting realities: alcohol abuse is not a disease, it’s a symptom; you don’t abuse alcohol because you are dumb or diseased but because it worked, until it didn’t. You aren’t an “alcoholic” or powerless unless you say you are, in which case you do belong down at AA.

The symptom approach lets you look at what you are self-medicating. Typically this is loneliness, boredom, anxiety, depression, unbalanced relationships and/or lives; personal grief, tragedy, physical pain, aging, role loss, and any number of other “issues.”

Yes, alcohol does provide temporary relief from any or all of these. No wonder it’s so popular and even less wonder we move from using it to “fix” one problem to generalizing it to many more. That’s where the trouble lies.

Eventually, we are medicating too much and addressing too little and this swirl turns into a downward spiral of which we seem to have lost control. At this point, a little short term, “not rocket science,” and certainly not AA, help can you reverse the spiral.

For that reality base, continue reading below, please.

Addressing, Not Evading!

Drs. Miller and Hester in their 2003 “Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches” cited the research on the effectiveness of various treatment approaches. With our program design and clients’ experience, we have modified the list by incorporating our new and ongoing research.
We often note that our work with you is all substance and no filler, the exact opposite of other programs. This starts with Miller and Hester’s #1 most effective approach, “Brief Interventions.” Five days, not 30, 60, or 90. There is no efficacy associated with duration – that was just invented to con the maximum reimbursement out of insurance companies.
We could continue to run down their list but prefer to note that we incorporate most of their top 10, omitting “aversive therapy” (see Schick Sadel if that appeals to you), and adding Assertiveness Training, along with diet and exercise management.
Motivational Enhancement, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Naltrexone support, Social Skills Training and other coping skills that you may lack, or have allowed to atrophy, are also included.
Miller and Hester found that in terms of effectiveness, group counseling came in at #27, with AA at #38. Are those the elements and odds you want?
Finally, missing from their consideration, but most assuredly not from yours, is confidentiality. You probably do not want to jeopardize your present circumstances, or your future, with a public “alcoholic” label.
That about sums it up. We are brief, private, research-based, and, yes, you will recover fully if that’s what you want.
Questions? We’re happy to talk, and you talk to one of us directly, not a marketing department.
Time to stop thinking about it and start acting? Time for a new choice? Time to, as one client noted, “get a grip and get a life”? Good for you!