Physicians, Nurses, First Responders and Other Health Care Workers

While Covid19 has hit everyone, those on the front lines have experienced stress levels unimaginable to most of the rest of us. Not only is it a war zone, but the hours of engagement are impossibly long, the death toll staggering, and the majority of the public unwilling to abide by even the smallest common sense measures to abate the slaughter.

Frightening, disheartening, enraging, and exhausting: physically, mentally and emotionally.

The result of living with grotesque levels of stress is massive adrenaline surges that never end.

The result?

Increased alcohol use – using alcohol’s depressive effects to “come down” after yet another tidal wave of patients.

Generally speaking this is not unusual. Many of our clients in “normal” times are surgeons and E.R. doctors – those whose normal lives run to high adrenaline levels, just as the attorneys we work with tend to be litigators and criminal defense specialists. But the pandemic has turned every health care worker into a high stress, high risk, and exhaustion prone casualty.


Maybe with a vaccine there will be some in a few more months. But by then, after more than a year on the front lines, many will find themselves with an alcohol habit that will need to be addressed.

Notice I said HABIT! Not another “disease,” or alcoholism or alcoholic or any of the code words that get used to falsely describe an understandable habit that needs to change. But – and this is a gigantic but – where does one get actual help without destroying one’s career?

Sadly, the answer is, almost nowhere.

Virtually all of the supposed “help” leads to AA and 12 Step programs which are a massive failure and which result in the professional looking for a little help being exposed, railroaded and, frequently, losing her or his license and, too often, driven out of the profession and into suicide.

We have worked with many health care professionals over the past 17 years and they are the ones who were fortunate enough to find our individual, short-term, confidential help before they stumbled into the predatory “help” that never stops bleeding and manipulating them.

Know someone who is in danger of falling victim to the ensnaring scams like “Physicians Assistance Programs” or “Addiction Medicine Specialists” or similar fronts for AA rehab fronts?

Real help is personal, private, research and outcome based. It is also short term and confidential. Don’t become entrapped in the Kofka-esque labyrinth that is the demeaning and disempowering 12 Step world.

Don’t Fall For the Myths

Research is one of the things that doesn’t get ignored or denied just be anti-maskers and anti-vaccine zealots. It is most common among Steppers and other AA adherents. This gets in the way of people like you, people who can fully recover from habitual alcohol self-medication.

The following is a brief research summary that debunks common myths. It may be worth your time to peruse it.

University of Maryland Center for Substance Abuse Research

Nearly One-Half of U.S. adults with Prior Alcohol Dependence were in full remission in the past year, including some who still drink. There is a substantial level of recovery from alcohol dependence, according to an analysis of data from the 2001-02 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Of adults classified with alcohol dependence prior to the past year, 47.7% were diagnosed as being in full remission in the past year, either because they had abstained from alcohol (18.2%), were a low risk drinker (17.8%), or were a risk drinker with no symptoms of abuse or dependence (11.8%). Remission rates were related to the number of years since the onset of dependence. For example, 11% of those who had been diagnosed with dependence less than five years ago were in remission in the past year, compared to 73% of those whose onset of dependence was 20 or more years ago (data not shown).

Past-Year Alcohol Use Status of U.S. Adults with Alcohol Dependence Diagnoses Prior to the Past Year (N=4,422):

Abstainer 18.2%
Low-Risk Drinker 17.7%
Partial Remission 27.3%
Asymptomatic Risk Drinker 11.8%
Still Dependent 25.0%

NOTES: The NESARC was a household survey of the civilian, non-institutionalized adult population of the United States. Persons who developed alcohol dependence in the year preceding the interview were excluded from analysis because they could not have had any other status in the past year other than still being dependent. Definitions of alcohol use disorders and remission are based on DSM-IV criteria.

CAVEATS: Chronic alcoholics may be more likely to die than those who recover, which would inflate estimates of recovery. In addition, errors in recall may bias recovery estimates.

CESAR is supported by BYRN 2004-1206, awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. CESAR information may be copied without permission. Please cite CESAR as the source.