What do you really want?

Clients come to us for a variety of reasons and seeking a diverse number of outcomes.

Some of you are motivated by negative events associated with your drinking which may include medical, legal, marital, professional, and/or other pressing concerns. Medical issues can range from weight gain to liver damage to high blood pressure, to withdrawal related seizures and other indications that your body has had enough.

Legal issues can range from DUIs to divorce, child custody, and run-ins with Child Protective Services and other agencies.

Marital issues include the aforementioned divorce and custody issues but more commonly involve unbalanced relationships, various forms of domestic abuse, unresolved events, in-laws and parents, and other dysfunctional family issues or disparities in partners’ expectations ranging from gender roles to cultural differences to sexual preferences and child rearing practices, to mention only a few of the more common ones.

Professional concerns may include impending job loss – whether drinking related or not – unhappiness with careers, burnout, overwork, hostile work environments, and ambivalence about change. Again, most of us suffer from some of this sort of episodic dissatisfaction periodically.

Other concerns include the changes associated with “empty nests,” aging, career stagnation, retirement, grief, and other life events that we haven’t prepared for.

We see individuals who simply want to placate a spouse, family, employer, judge, or others – sometimes themselves – by pretending to do something about the problem. That never works and we are usually able to screen out those potential clients before they sign up. We have no interest in wasting our time, and depriving an actual client of one of the limited number of slots we offer in the course of a year (usually around 45 since we take only one new client or couple a week).

We also see clients who want us to do it for them. “Give me what the other rehabs promise,” they say, “an effortless and anxiety free vacation that results in the problem going away on its own. But do it in 5 days instead of 30, 60, or 90 and for under $15,000 instead of $40,000 – $200,000.”

When you ask about our success rate we’ll tell you it’s around 70% and the previous two paragraphs describe the other 30%.

But you if actually want to fix your problem so please continue reading below.

Problem Identification, Motivation, Skill Enhancement, Coaching, Hand Holding, and, Yes, Absolution too.

If you want to fix a problem you first need to identify it. While this would seem self-evident, in the world of alcohol abuse isn’t. In that “Never Never Land” world the symptom, self-medication, is portrayed as a disease over which you are powerless and sentenced to a lifetime of demeaning and dehumanizing “meetings” that, like the alcohol, prevents you from ever addressing the actual problems.
The real problems? The list may include loneliness, anxiety, boredom, depression, unbalanced personal/professional relationships, grief, pain, and any combination of things that make of your personal mosaic of issues.
It won’t surprise you to learn that your particular assortment of problems requires an equally unique recipe of changes – something you will never find in a one-size-fits-all group or rehab.
Having sorted out your particular roster of issues, the next questions are “where do you want to be a year from now?” and “What motivates you?” You can’t attain an undefined goal and you can’t maintain the effort unless you know what your motivations are.
And, by the way, “not drinking” isn’t a goal. It’s a byproduct. Goals need to be defined in measurable terms with ways to measure progress and they must involve active engagement in the process. A real goal in a parallel issue could be “lose 20 pounds by Labor Day.”
However, ending your alcohol abuse is a bit more complicated because it involves deciding what you are going to do about the situations and conditions you have been avoiding.
Anxious? That responds well to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy but that’s a process you have to learn and internalize, not magic we do to you. Depressed? That eases when you cease consuming large amounts of a depressant and become physically active – but you have to get off the couch or bar stool.  Unbalanced relationships? Assertiveness instead of passive-aggressive drinking. But again, there will be a bit of discomfort and effort involved.
I could continue through the rest of the list but I’m sure you get the point. Identify the problems, address them with skills, knowledge, and practice, and see the “alcohol problem” disappear as the need to self-medicate does.
No, it’s not rocket science, just good day-to-day science.
We’re ready. Are you?