For us it began several years ago with an e-mail to Mary Ellen and then a phone call. A woman by the name of  Gabrielle Glaser called and talked to Mary Ellen to discuss the book she was writing for Simon & Schuster about women and alcohol abuse.

That phone call turned into interviews, dinner meetings, more calls and e-mails as the book evolved. After monumental efforts on Ms. Glaser’s part, the book will be released this coming Tuesday, July 2nd.

“Her Best Kept Secret: Why Women Drink – and How They Can Regain Control”

In the book you can read more about the history, factors, and reasons for women’s alcohol abuse along with the failed attempts to fix the problem – notably the disastrous effects of AA –   as well as our successful approaches to, and work with, women.

There is also an informative chapter relating to the highly successful experiences of one of our former clients who collaborated with Ms. Glaser.

More on the book is available from an article in the Saturday, June 22, Wall Street Journal Review.

The book also received a very positive full page review in this week’s People Magazine.

Ms. Glaser will also be appearing on the Katie Couric Show on Wednesday, July 10.

An additional interview with Gabrielle is pending in the Manchester Guardian (England) and the London Times has requested an interview with Mary Ellen and me. We’ll keep you posted if/when any of that happens.

You can buy the book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Please don’t forget, we’re still here for you when you decide the time is right!

Recently a client wrote:

“I have been thinking over and over about the CRAB POT example and it makes so much sense when I go to a certain place to hear all the sad tales of failure.  I have put a new spin on the CRAB POT.
Your NON12STEP provides the ladder to be the one of the few crabs that gets out of the bucket and survives.  Just my take on it, hope you enjoy it!”

Then Mary Ellen found the following by accident:

Step Programs and Crabs in the BucketBy: Anonymous at Word Press

“I got the idea for Crabs in the Bucket based on a story in the Examiner, The Bucket of Crabs, or Why AA and Alanon are Bad For Your Health, by Dr. Ed Wilson. Based on my experience with the Tampa Bay Thrivers, I had to really wonder about these so-called step and self-help groups.

First of all, I’ve been blessed with being a non-drinker, non-smoker and non-substance abuser throughout my life. Except for about three years, I’ve been highly athletic and I’ve watched what I’ve put in my body. I’m not an expert on the struggles those face with alcohol abuse, but I know what it’s like to be put down and abused by the programs that are supposed to be helping you.

I’ve been a guest speaker at two AA meetings. My father’s struggles with alcohol, possibly a result of PTSD, ended tragically for our family through a final act of violence.

Although I had seen it in the movies, it was really strange to listen to members of the AA group “own” alcoholism-a negative thing-as who they were. I am__________ and I am an alcoholic.  I don’t believe being an alcoholic is who you are-it’s a problem that can be overcome and it is something that can be put behind you.

The next problem I observed with AA meetings was the shift from one addiction to another. The AA meetings themselves became a quasi-addiction and the “locus of control” never shifted to the individuals.  The power and control never shifted back to those with the problem, so it maintained it’s “problem status.”

I found the same thing with the child abuse group, “I’m _____________ a victim of child abuse, with (PTSD, Major Depression, fill in the blank). I did it. I said it. Now that I have my power and control back, I’ll never say something like that again. That’s not who I am-only experiences I had long ago.

No Exit Strategy

To coin something from the military, these step groups have no “exit strategy.” In other words, although the program is based on steps, there is usually no final graduation or freeing yourself from the group.  You can be a member and have this “problem” or “deficit” that is a part of you in perpetuity.

Although it’s stated that they want you to thrive or succeed, once you start to do it you will face shunning, abuse and put-downs by the people who should be cheering you on. It happens because they compare and contrast your growth with what is going on with them-often very little to nothing. The crabs in the pot try to pull you down.

It’s been said that misery loves company. If you want to spend a few hours a week sharing misery with others with no exit strategy until the end of time, that is your choice. You do have the power of choice. There’s no shortage of step programs scattered throughout the country that will be there for you if that’s how you want to spend your time-no doubt about that.

Once an Alcoholic Always an Alcoholic?

I don’t believe that you are always an alcoholic or always anything, but I can’t speak from personal experience on the alcohol issue. I do believe this: If you believe when you take a drink it’s the end of the world, then when you take a drink it will be the end of the world. In other words, whatever you believe will come true. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t-you’re right.” This applies to a lot of things in life.

It’s my understanding there are programs that have taught those with alcohol problems to become responsible social drinkers.  Many times those who abuse alcohol have had poor examples in their life when they were young. Many of us have had poor examples in our lives for many things and we’ve overcome those examples and do different things-positive things. It’s called the power of choice.

Non 12-Step Alcoholism Treatment

Dr. Mary Ellen Barnes and Dr. Ed Wilson are on to something important and cutting-edge in their treatment of alcoholism. It’s based on everything known about how trauma works and the importance of Trauma-Informed Care in how we treat each other.

What researchers found is that children who were abused grow-up have numerous substance abuse, health and mental health problems, including alcoholism.  If you’ve never looked at the information, The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study can be a real eye-opening AND liberating experience. It’s an outline of what likely happened to you, but you have the power of choice and the power of change on your side.

How do we really heal? We need to be treated with respect, dignity and to become empowered.  No more abuser taking our power only to have it replaced with a bottle taking our power, in turn replaced with a self-help group taking our power. To heal we need to get our power back-we need to get power and control over our own lives. To go where we want to go in this life, we need to be put in the driver’s seat.

This information is from the  Non 12-Step Alcoholism Treatment site-

Remember too, that our work with you is based on realities like:

  • alcohol abuse is a choice, not a disease,
  • you are powerful not powerless,
  • you can fully recover and should never end up “in recovery”
  • you can return to “normal” and not isolate yourself,
  • you can develop genuine relationships and friendships, not the pseudo-ones of a cult,
  • you can overcome your fear of alcohol as your drinking becomes just another “been there, done that” episode from the past that is no longer an interest or a concern.

If one could outline a treatment program based on the core-principals of Trauma-Informed Care and what is known in the ACE study, Dr. Mary Ellen Barnes and Dr. Ed Wilson have done it.

I don’t care if you believe in God, a “higher power,” or something else-your being here requires you to believe in yourself. You have power over your body, you have power over choice, you have power over how you perceive experience, you have the power of change-don’t let any person or any group rob you of being who you are. If they are holding you back, giving you negative labels or robbing you of your power and control, they are not working in YOUR best interests.
Alcoholism is what happened to you, it’s not who you are.”

So, if you’d rather be a person than an “alcoholic,”give us a call -if not, well there’s an AA meeting near you too.