The Time Has Come…

When Mary Ellen and I opened this practice nearly 15 years ago we decided we’d try to serve our clients for 15 years until I was past 70 and then decide whether or not it was time to retire.

For the usual reasons, we have decided that 2018 will be our last year as we each pursue other interests and opportunities.

So, if you have been waiting to come and work with us until… Or just waiting because… We will be accepting new clients through October. After that, we will be conducting follow-up through the holidays and into January as necessary but we will be closing the doors.

To those of you who are former clients, we want to express our gratitude for your trust and contributions to improving our work as well as allowing us to assist you in improving your lives. Thank you.

To our other 1,000 readers, we hope the Newsletter has been helpful, supportive, and informative. I will continue them until the New Year.

Thank you all. It’s been a great 15 years!

Ed & Mary Ellen

If You Had a Real Disease…

If you had an actual disease, wouldn’t you seek out the best help available? And possibly get a second or third opinion? Would you accept that there hadn’t been any advances in treatment in 85 years and that quackery was “the only thing what works” despite decades of research to the contrary?

Yet over 90 percent of all “programs” offering to “fix” your overuse of alcohol contend exactly that. Or a variation on the same theme.

Or suppose you had a potentially embarrassing condition – let’s pick ED just for one – do you suppose your condition would be improved by confessing to a group of strangers, “Hi, I’m Jack and I can’t…..”? Sure. That’s really going to help.

Conversations with your physician are supposed to be private but, in these days of insurance, whose records aren’t confidential, it’s hard to tell who’s listening and mining information to your detriment. Still, that’s better than running into Bill at the super market who yells down the aisle, “Yo, Jack! Haven’t seen you at droop group lately.”

And of course the only “cure” for your condition is your group of fellow sufferers, a magical “higher power,” and some extremely expensive powered rhino horn.

Put in the context of actual diseases, the misuse of alcohol and the so-called treatments don’t stand up to any rational test. They are mostly just selling the same rhino horn they’ve been pushing for over 80 years.

We know it’s extremely difficult during a time of crisis, or impending disaster in one form or another, not to opt for what “everyone knows,” when even a modicum of research on the internet would inform you otherwise. But please remember that for a couple of centuries “everyone knew” that bleeding you would cure you. Even when they bled you, like George Washington, literally to death.

Hard as it is when you’re under pressure, take the time to do the research into Ending Alcohol Abuse: What Works as well as topics like Alcohol Use Disorder, Gabrielle Glaser’s writings, and Confidentiality, all covered in our January 14th edition.

Finally, don’t expose yourself as did the Emperor in the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes just because everyone else is afraid to admit that what everyone knows, and most of us can see, is wrong.

Private, confidential, effective, affordable, and based in what works. No labels, stigma, public embarrassment, or threats to your work, profession, or reputation.

But if you’d rather pay $90,000 or more (much, much more) for a failed stay in Malibu, or elsewhere, rather than $12,500 to work with us, be our guest. Oh! And yes, the accommodations you may select at Terranea are better than any rehab will offer you, and at the Harbor Double Tree you can even bring your dog!


Again, rebutting mythology, your alcohol use, at whatever level, occurs within a context, not in isolation as real diseases do. If you want to change your habit then it’s important to look at the usual 5 w’s: who, what, why, when, where, how they are interrelated, and how change induces a ripple effect, and how to prepare for and manage that.

For example: if you are married, or in a partnership of any kind, changing your relationship with alcohol will also change your personal relationships. This is particularly true if your significant other is deriving a lot of benefits from your drinking – benefits they will undoubtedly deny.

Surprising as it may be, people around us do benefit from our drinking in various ways:

  • Drinking buddies may be using us to feel okay about their own drinking (1 client appeared and disclosed that she and 5 of her girlfriends were drinking way too much and she didn’t know how she was going to deal with that when she went home. Ironically, while here, another of the “group” was arrested for a DUI and a third was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning.)
  • Spouses often like the control your drinking gives them. The designated “drunk” loses her/his vote in family decision making.
  • Families as well as spouses like the cover you provide – no need to look at their own issues or contributory factors.

You can, of course, make up your own list and project how much pushback you will encounter. We’ll help with that, of course, sabotage being a major factor in returning to over indulging.

After looking at who it’s helpful to consider where. Not just whether it’s at home or in bars or wherever else, but look at geography why. My post trauma descent occurred in Minnesota and part of the “fix” was returning to Alaska where I’d never had a problem (ironic in and of itself given Alaska’s massive drinking culture).

The other topics – why, what, when – are worthy of equal consideration. And we also weave them into your plan for change.

Note that none of this requires “groups” whose members’ 5 w’s bear no resemblance to yours. Nor do you have to feign powerlessness. Disappear for 30, 60, 90 days? We think not. Label yourself? Absolutely not. Lose all confidentiality? Hell, no, I wouldn’t go, and neither should you.

Ready to actually explore yourself? Your options? Your choices?
A free consultation is just a phone call away.