There are numerous Facebook groups whose primary purpose is to help people “deprogram” from AA and the 12 Step “mentality.”

There is a serious need for this because our culture and much of our political system has become saturated with the notion that abusing alcohol is a “disease” or at least an “allergy.” That you can never recover. That “AA is the only way.” And a host of other ideas that are not only false but prevent you from obtaining the appropriate short term help, but can also keep you trapped in a cult for decades!

The first and most damaging of these myths is that you are powerless. Nothing is more discouraging when you’re already feeling depressed and hopeless that the news that you’re also powerless over you situation. This is especially true for women who often, and legitimately, already feel disempowered in other areas of their lives.

So cheer up for at least a moment – experience and research both support that you do in fact have the power to change.

Yes, it helps to have some short term assistance, if only to fend off the family members, spouses, and others, who “know” that going off to “rehab” for 30 or more days, and being condemned to AA for the rest of your life, is the only thing that works. But again, the research is clear, this sort of “rehab” has worse outcomes, usually, than doing nothing and there are at least two dozen options which work better for most people and have none of the life destroying side-effects of AA.

I know. I wrote “usually.” There are a couple of exceptions to be taken into consideration. If you, or someone you care about, whose emotional development has been arrested prior to the age of 12, then AA may be the best option because that’s who it works for. It also works for predators pray on these over-age children but they’re more apt to own treatment programs than sign in to them.

The other exception is when a person is so overwhelmed by life’s events that they do truly need enough safety and respite to get re-stabilized and oriented, neither of which they will find at traditional rehab where their vulnerability will be used to induct them into the cult.

But for you, and all of our readers, by subscribing and reading you have screened yourself out of the first group and most likely the second as well. What you need isn’t some “higher power” but to be empowered! That only takes brief, intense, engagement that includes internalizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Assertiveness Training, Motivational Enhancement, Naltrexone support (for some), and habit breaking and formation strategies.

That’s called substance, not filler. And it’s available to you privately, confidentially, and affordably. Don’t damage yourself and your life with myths that will do you more harm, expose you to more risks, and diminish your life more, than alcohol already has.

Why Are Most of Our Clients Between 45 and 65?

This is a fun question and, as usual with us, has a solid research backing.

For women 45-55 is typically a transition time. The children, if there are any, are raised. Menopause has marked a shift as did puberty. Roles change, structure diminishes, marriages and other relationships come under review.

For men, the prospect of retirement, loss of identity looms, perhaps a first heart attack, a divorce, or other disruptions from what has been a well-defined life track appear.

For both it is a time of forced transition perhaps as, or more, profound than the transition to adulthood 30 years earlier. And all of this fostering a sense of urgency that time is running out, that choices and opportunities are declining.

No wonder we start drinking more. Alcohol expands to fill be available space, sooth the anxiety, and defer decisions. What’s not to like about that?

Mostly what’s not to like is that we tend to slide into the “putting in time waiting to die” frame of mind as drinking induced depression keeps us fixated on the negatives and obscures the very real benefits and opportunities of aging well.

Yes, our choices may have diminished, but so have our responsibilities, in many cases. Nor do we have to concern ourselves as much with careers, children, who to marry if at all, and how “things” will turn out.

We also, with every passing year, find ourselves ever less concerned with what anyone else thinks.

That’s called maturation, a process that usually stops around 20 and restarts in women around 50 and in men around 55. And it can be an exciting time indeed. Time to live many of those dreams that got lost along the way.

When we help you end your alcohol abuse, much of the process involves helping you see the real options you have and how you can custom design what, in many cases, is another 35 or more years to live life on your terms.

Beats the hell out of “putting in time waiting to die,” don’t you think?