Choosing Help When You Decide It’s Time

Choosing the appropriate help can seem like an impossible task, especially if you are in a crisis. There are a welter of options and they soon seem to be indistinguishable. But if you can stay a bit focused you can winnow out the inappropriate, bogus, and just plain silly.

So let’s start with the most obvious choice: Residential vs Outpatient.

Generally speaking, Outpatient has better results for the simple reason that it works with you in the course of your day-to-day life which is, after all, where the problem exists and where it has to be fixed.

Residential “Rehab” has only one advantage: you’re locked away for 30, 60, 90 days or longer. Families like knowing that they can quit worrying about you for that period of time. It’s also frequently punitive and frustrated spouses, parents and others like that aspect as well. It’s also been marketed to the point where “everyone knows” it’s the only thing that works.

That, by the way, is a complete myth. At best, “rehab works” far less than 15% of the time and when it does it has little to do with “The Program” be it AA, Wolf-Dog Therapy, Magic Beaches, Mountains, Vortexes, or any other VooDoo. It may allow you adequate reflection time to figure out how you are going to dig yourself out of whatever hole you’ve crawled into but that’s a steep price to pay – to your finances, emotions, psychology, self-esteem and reputation.

Additionally, over 90% of all programs, as well as individual psychiatrists, physicians, and therapists, have been brainwashed into thinking that “AA is the only way.” The trouble with that is, as Abraham Maslow said in 1966, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

This translates into since the only tool is AA and the 12 Steps then everyone must be either an “alcoholic” or an “alcoholic in denial.” Guess what? Most, if not all of you, are neither. And even if you are an alcohol dependent “alcoholic,” AA rarely offers an effective alternative.

S0, unless you “fit” the profile of successful AA adherents, and they obviously exist, then you can quickly eliminate 90% of programs and practitioners.

Now for a hint, people who fit the AA profile don’t read this newsletter or revisit our website.

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So Who Does AA Work For?

If you don’t fit the AA model, it’s helpful to know why. If nothing else, it helps you defend yourself from the “everyone knows” crowd.

Simply put, the Steps work for Conformists who trade their drinking buddies for AA buddies while continuing to live an alcohol-focused life. These are people who base their behaviors on what their peer group declares to be appropriate behavior.

This group conformity has nothing to do with age, wealth, social status, education, or anything else. It has to do with maturity and conformity denotes a pretty low level of decision making and that doesn’t matter whether one is a homeless by choice man or a country club chardonnay lunch bunch woman.

(For a really excellent AA based program, one which screens its clients for appropriateness as we do ours, see Beacon House, San Pedro, CA at:

AA also works for the predators who find meetings provide them with an endless supply of vulnerable victims. The sexual, financial, and emotional exploitation, spearheaded by founder Bill W., and known as “13th Stepping” is alive and well and exacerbated by illegal court ordered attendance for all manner of criminals.

AA has refused to stop this practice though it could in an instant. But AA the organization has become captive to AA based rehab and anything that might suggest that the Steps are inappropriate and ineffective for most people threatens that $35 billion dollar revolving door industry.

Which brings us back to, if all you have to sell is a hammer, then everyone must be a nail, even though program owners know better. They don’t want to provide things that work which would require professional staff, individual treatment, actual assessment on such scales as the DSM-5, and the Washington University Sentence Completion Test and provision of effective coping skill training including CBT, Motivational Enhancement, Assertiveness Training, and myriad other effective solutions.

Want to recover, not be “in endless recovery?” Want effectiveness? Want to learn to cope, not medicate? Want to extract yourself from damaging social and personal relationships? Want to actually fix what’s wrong with your life?

That’s what we thought. It’s also what we offer through the only research based and confidential program in either the U.S. or Canada.