And, Finally, Follow-Up…

Having run through the typical Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday progression of our Intensive 5 Day Program, we now come to what we consider the most important part, Follow-Up.

First, however, let’s note that 95% of all programs don’t even do follow-up. They just tell you, “Don’t drink. Go to AA.” Like that’s going to work. After all, if it was going to work for you then you didn’t have to spend $30,000 to $200,000 on “rehab.” AA is, after all, available for free in a back room near you.

Then there’s the “non 12 step” program in Arizona whose “follow-up” was having their clients subscribe to this Newsletter. At least those clients reported to us that they got far more help from the Newsletter than they did from that program.

Those thoughts out of the way, our weekly follow-up sessions are designed to help you integrate what we’ve designed together into your actual day-to-day life. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, and we’ve seen a few of those, to understand that the problems that led to your alcohol abuse either get fixed in your real life or they don’t. Home is where prep gets translated into action.

This is also where the AA/rehab mythology becomes another stumbling block. Nothing is more disconcerting than having someone ask, “Did it work?” as though fixing an alcohol problem was like removing your gall bladder – something that was done to you, or for you. It’s not.

Yet 98% of all rehab programs, in patient or out, pretend it’s something that occurs by magic during the program and you will return home and the only thing that will be different is that you won’t be drinking anymore.

What’d you think the odds are?

The reality is that when you fix the things you’ve been medicating everything changes including the ways in which everyone else will need to change.

Just as everyone around you is affected by your misuse of alcohol, so are they affected when you stop.


Drinking is frequently a passive and/or passive-aggressive response to a controlling spouse or other significant people in your life. Stop drinking and become assertive and begin reasserting your vote in family decision making, or refuse to be a scapegoat, or inject some reality, and those around you are definitely going to be affected.

That’s where real follow-up helps by allowing you, and them, to adjust slowly in the creation of new relationship “dances.” We support the process of creating a new normal without overwhelming yourself and those around you.

Hence the regularly scheduled sessions and the extra ones as needed. Yes, you need and deserve some short-term support. Note the “short-term” emphasis. You will recover, not be “in recovery” and you will enjoy an enhanced life, not one demeaned and degraded by a cult.

Imagine that.

Yes, it takes time. Time to integrate CBT into your thought patterns. Time to become appropriately assertive without undue guilt or anxiety. Time to recover from the depressive and regressive effects of alcohol. Time to work your way back physically, mentally, emotionally.

Time not just to work your way back, but to forge ahead to a more satisfying, intimate, productive, and contented life.

That is what you want, isn’t it?

And After Follow-Up? Then What?

Three months down the road and you will be well on you way to your “new normal.” Yes, there may be occasional glitches but that’s no different from weight loss or any other sustainable life style change.

It’s not predictable exactly how this will all shake out for you as an individual. You are unique, as are the strengths, skills, interests, and relationships you bring to the table. How all of these will come together, or drop by the wayside, will depend on you and what fits your new self-image and is also congruent with your wants and needs.

That is a process that never ends but which we can get ever better at. Life is not stagnant and neither are the choices you are confronted with. But now you have much better insight and a greatly enhanced skill set with which to cope, choose, and decide.

And you won’t need us anymore – though you are always welcome to call and discuss whatever you feel would benefit from discussion. Another plus that comes from working with you as an individual person, not an “alcoholic cypher,” is that we remember you and can frequently help you through a problem without you having to go through a history exercise with a new therapist who may also be appalled that you aren’t in AA (which at least lets you know you called the wrong therapist).

Post-treatment we have occasionally, upon request, stayed on to assist people with deaths, divorces, career changes, aging, and the creation of a “glide path” into retirement.

But for the most part we will have worked our way out of a job. Happily. As should be the goal of every therapist worth the money. So read the newsletter if it’s a good reminder, drop us a card over the holidays, come by for lunch when you’re in the area, or consign us to the “been there, done that” folder in your life’s locked file. We’ll be thrilled with any of these choices.

Remember Henry Ford’s observation that, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

We think you can. So will you!