A Follow-up on Last Week’s Warning About Being Railroaded into Rehab.

One reader “unsubscribed” stating: “Many people die from alcohol abuse. This was a dangerous post”. For the life of me, I can’t imagine how warning people about charlatans, rehab scams, and kick-backs can be dangerous – and I never suggested that people don’t die from “alcohol abuse” – far fewer would die if the condition were treated early (not at AA’s “rock bottom”) and effectively.

Another commented that I was, perhaps, being a bit too hard of physicians, therapists, psychologists, etc. Perhaps.

But please remember that the vast majority of programs for therapists or psychologists, plus medical schools teach nothing about substance use or self-medication other than to state that clients/patients need to be referred to AA/rehab.

The usual experience with therapists our clients have reported over the years is to be told that they can’t be helped with their anxiety, loneliness, boredom, dysfunctional relationships, etc., until they go to AA/rehab and “fix” their drinking problem. Of course this is exactly the opposite approach to what needs to be done: fix the real problems and the symptomatic self-medication with alcohol will go away.

As for doctors, the physician we have worked with for a decade, who graduated from a well-regarded medical school shortly before we chose him to work with our clients, stated that his entire med-school curriculum on “alcoholism” and “drug addiction” was a requirement that he attend three AA meetings.

Even if your practitioner isn’t part of the “railroading” scheme, they are in a bind. AA based rehab has established itself as the “standard of care.” Refer a client/patient to real help and the therapist/physician can be sued for malpractice. The best most can do, if they do anything, is to leave a few brochures in their waiting rooms.

Yes, when it comes time to seek real help, you really are on your own.

Let’s Consider Ex-Smokers For a Minute.

As the current – and mounting – vaping fiasco reminds us, there is no more addictive substance known than nicotine. Tobacco companies have exploited this fact for hundreds of years, mounting diabolical campaigns ranging from providing free cigarettes to soldiers in WW I & WW II trough the current transition to vaping as a nicotine delivery system which skirts anti-smoking laws while ushering millions into the ranks of the unwittingly “addicted.”

But you know that, and may well ask what can that possibly have to do with my drinking?

Thank you for asking.

The real lesson to be learned is the one that comes from ex-smokers.

Have you ever heard a former smoker say, “Yes, I’ve been nicotine free now for 14 years, 7 months, 3 weeks, 4 days and…”? Of course not. We simply say, “Yes, I kicked the habit, geez, I dunno, I guess ten or twelve years ago.”

Smokers at least know you don’t build your life around not smoking. You just modify your life and don’t waste time looking back.

Know any smokers, who claim they want to quit, who think sitting in a church basement with others, drinking bad coffee and talking about smoking and thinking this is the only way? Please spare me.

AA absolutely rejects medical support to quit drinking. They will support Antabuse because it is extremely punitive and sometimes deadly, but the benign Naltrexone? Never! Beside, gasp, it is successfully used by many as a moderation management tool.

Yet smokers are increasingly encouraged to try Chantix as a medical assist aid. There are even public service ads on television promoting it.

Then there’s the media. Popular shows like Grey’s Anatomy, This is Us, and, especially Elementary, are primarily ads for AA and 12-Step rehab.

Elementary has a latter day Sherlock Holmes, fresh from rehab, needing a sober living companion to cope. I read, and reread Doyle’s detective’s exploits numerous times over the years and Sherlock wouldn’t have been caught dead in a rehab center nor lowered himself to a Stepper mentality. Nor did he need to. As he stated, he used cocaine when he was bored. Then along came another case and once again “the game’s afoot” and he and Watson are off and running and the cocaine is tucked away for another period of boredom – and it’s hard to imagine anything more boring than a life of “meetings.”