It’s A Process!

Your progression from usual drinking to the misuse of alcohol didn’t occur instantly but rather developed over time. And, again, it didn’t happen because you are dumb or diseased, it happened because self-medication worked to alleviate a number of uncomfortable conditions, the usual suspects being anxiety, boredom, depression, trauma, unbalanced relationships, and loneliness.

Understanding that, it follows that extricating yourself from self-medicating means identifying, eliminating and/or correcting the underlying causes. And, yes, it is usually causes. Very few of us have ever medicated one discrete condition.

Given that you probably, again because it works – until it doesn’t, have a mosaic of conditions to address, and that you are unlikely to be able to successfully attack them all at once, it’s going to take some time work your way through the various changes in your day-to-day life. It also going to take time to acquire whatever new skills are needed whether this involves internalizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or learning assertiveness or adjusting diet and habit changes.

The reason we work with you the way we do is founded on this “process” method:

  • 5 days to identify your particular mosaic of medicated conditions and to create a plan to address them;
  • 12 week of sessions to institute the changes and incorporate new coping skills;
  • All individualized to you personally;
  • All done confidentially so there is little or no risk professionally;
  • Possible inclusion of a spouse or partner or friend so as to provide support;
  • Deprogramming from all of the AA/mythology we’ve all be infected with.
  • Usually all supported by the short term use of the benign anti-craving medication Naltrexone upon the recommendation of our consulting physician, Dr. Tim Norcross.

Yes, it will take time to make substantive changes and create a new life unblemished by the misuse of alcohol. But it took you a long time to create your current life with its alcohol focus and you can correct this far most quickly than creating it took, especially with some assessment, guidance, coaching, and support.

Three months towards a better life. Worth a call and a free consultation with one of us?

Harm Reduction

“Harm Reduction” is getting a lot of attention these days across the various discussion and professional groups. Most debated is the discussion around “safe injection sites” for opioid users. However, the term comes up pretty much across the board when the discussion is about any form for alcohol or other drug abuse.

So, what is “harm reduction?”

Stated as simply as possible, it’s the encouragement to reduce harmful effects without abstaining. While we agree that reducing risky consequences is a positive end, we also note agree that it’s not a solution.

Too often the goal of reduction serves as a way to avoid actually correcting the problem – “I’ll reduce the symptoms’ effects without ever addressing the cause.”

Too often “harm reduction” turns out to be like going to AA. It gives the appearance of action while avoiding action and also relies on the same false premise that the symptom is the problem. Granted, the symptom – the over use of drugs and alcohol – has become a problem but focusing on reducing it isn’t going to fix anything.

An example?

A few years ago I began to break out in hives, welts, itchy red spots, and other very uncomfortable symptoms. Clearly, I had developed an allergy. Prednisone knocked out the symptoms but didn’t fix the problem and one can’t be forever taking massive doses of a steroid without that becoming a problem. Obviously the “cure” was to track down what I was allergic to.

That turned out to be complicated because it eventually turned out that I was allergic to two things nobody is allergic too: honey and maple syrup. It took a couple of years to sort it out (and I also discovered raw tomatoes were a culprit). You would be amazed how many things contain honey and/or maple syrup and even trace amounts would trigger outbreaks.

So, here’s the parallel – I could have reduced the symptoms with meds which are damaging in and of themselves, or I could do the work to sort out what the problem actually was, using the meds when necessary to manage outbreaks.

I wanted to fix the problem, not just destructively manage it. I have identified and corrected the problem, reducing harm along the way.

You have the same options. Do you want to actually address the causes or do you wish to avoid that and just reduce the damage? We’ll help you in either case but it seems obvious to us that actually identifying and fixing the underlying causes is, in the long run, the way to go.

What do you think?