Annual Review

The week after the Super Bowl I spend doing a review of the previous year’s clients’ stats. We’re always interested in where you came from and where you didn’t. With that in mind, last year wasn’t much different than any other except that we added one new state, Kentucky, and didn’t see anyone from Maine.

So where did you come from?

You won’t be surprised to see California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah on the list.

Getting further afield we find Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.

Further yet are Alaska, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., North and South Carolina, and New Hampshire.

It gets more interesting when we get to the International clients and discover that with a few exceptions you came from British Commonwealth Countries: England, India, New Zealand, Australia, and, of course, Canada (specifically: British Columbia, the Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario).

We also saw you come from Hong Kong and the Philippines.

While the geographic range is a bit surprising, the reasons are not. These come down to what we offer that no one else does or can. A combination of:

  • Individual and/or couples;
  • Confidentiality;
  • Research based;
  • Professional;
  • Respect for your outcome preferences;
  • No groups;
  • No AA/12 Step cults;
  • No degradation, humiliation; disempowerment, sexism, racism or homophobia.

And of course there is the fact that both Mary Ellen and I work with you as a team. Virtually no one else even offers you the undivided attention of one professional, much less two.

There are more reasons but those tend to apply to you as individuals.

If you haven’t been to see us or to confer or consult, but like what you read, why not now and get the problem fixed, permanently, before another summer appears?

Remember, “Recovered! Not ‘In Recovery.’”

I’ve been reading…

I’m sure it isn’t a shock to hear that we read a number of books on “alcoholism” and “treatment” and other related subjects. Some like Gabrielle Glaser’s “Her Best-Kept Secret” are standard recommended reading.

Others we suggest because they represent the wide range of ways in which people recover. An example of this would be Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” – conquering drug and alcohol abuse by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (the movie with Reese Witherspoon is a good adjunct).

Occasionally, to remind myself of the bad old days, I pick up something from out of the past or a bit quirky or both. Such an example is Doug Thorburn’s “Drunks, Drugs, and Debits,” a Financial Planner’s interesting take on recognizing when you are being taken advantage of financially by an “addict.” The trouble is, Mr. Thorburn’s sources mainly include the AA and the Johnson Institute, one of the founders of “selling AA as treatment” con game. Hence he promotes the debunked “disease” myth as well as the “AA works” myth. His checklist of traits for identifying “drunks” is also interesting in that the “traits” are those most often found in the spouses of those who are using alcohol to make an intolerable spouse tolerable. Still it’s over 20 years old and he makes some points if you’re careful to ignore the chaff.

20 years. When I started my own research work at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in 1990 I was fortunate enough to have two excellent mentors, Program Directors Dr. Marilyn Frost and Dr. Priscilla Herbison. Both enthusiastically supported my “radical” model of helping people without degrading or demeaning them and by recognizing their misuse of alcohol as a symptom, not a disease.

They noted that I was 20 years ahead of the times and now 28 years later we see that we’re still about 15 years ahead of the times.

But, unlike Mr. Thorburn, we’ve been blessed with a few peers whose work compliments our own. These include the late Dr. Alan Marlatt at the University of Washington, Drs. Miller and Hester at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Tom Horvath in La Jolla, CA. and, of course, Dr. Stanton Peele who’s been at this as long as I have.

Next week I’m planning on writing about how real research is finally making a dent in how people fully recover from so-called alcoholism and addiction. In the meantime, why don’t you think about learning to muster your strengths, interests, and abilities in service of changing your relationship with alcohol? We’re happy to help with that whenever you decide that the time has come.