“Yeah, but. Yeah, but. Yeah, but.”

We recently received a call from a woman who said that we were the perfect program for her. One designed specifically for women. Individual, no groups. Research, no AA. We were even the right age, meaning no overage adolescents as clients and staff.

“And?” I asked.

“But I don’t want to travel,” she said.

“You don’t have to,” I said. “That’s why we redesigned the program so you could do it all via distance delivery.”

“Yeah, but I need to get out of town,” she said.

“Fine,” I said, “you can still do that too.”

“Yeah, but…..”

We hear the “Yeah, buts” all the time.

People recognize and admit that they are stuck in Prochaska, Norcross, and Diclemente’s “Contemplation Stage,” (see their book Changing For Good) which we always refer to as Contemplation Hell.

“Yeah, but” is the universal symptom of that point of ongoing discomfort.

Nor is it limited to addressing a drinking habit that no longer works for you. It’s also the sticking point when it comes to smoking, weight loss, leaving AA, getting some recommended exercise or, in my case, finishing a couple of manuscripts for publication.

Note that in every case, the deferred change always involves doing something we know would be good for us, that we know we’d be happier for, that we know would be healthy, and…… And yet we find excuses to put off actually moving on P., N., and D.’s “Action Stage.”


Because none of us likes change, preferring the “known” even if it’s only for “the security of familiar miseries,” to the unpredictability of doing something new and different, even if it will enhance, prolong, and maybe even save our lives.

So what are your favorite “Yeah, buts?” As Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) would note, and we and SMART Recovery affirm, deducing your “irrational thought patterns” can help free you to move from thinking about doing something to actually doing it.

Want some help with that? A free call or confidential video consultation is always available.

Now what’s your “Yeah, but” to that? The recent caller decided we must be too busy to actually do that with her. So she hung up before I could reassure her that we had the time. And you?

“And Just What Can You Do For Me?”

Wrong Question.

If you read the ads for most treatment “programs” the copy is all about the views, personal services, and the magic of “Wolf-Dog Therapy,” “Heliotherapy,” and the magic of the beaches, palms, vortexes, and so on…. Press them on the phone and eventually you’ll get them to admit that all they are doing, at best, is charging you to attend AA meetings – and most of them will lie about that until your payment (nonrefundable) has cleared.

All of this is predicated on the idea that ending your misuse of alcohol is something “they” can do to you or for you with no effort required on your part.

We, on the other hand, note that we can’t do it to you or for you, but we will do it with you. We also note that success depends on your willingness to endure some temporary discomfort and invest some effort.


Yes. It requires some work on your part to internalize CBT, ease into assertiveness that replaces passive-aggression or active-aggression (both popular uses of drinking against controlling spouses and family), manage your diet, rearrange you schedule, actually schedule your life for a while, and implement the myriad of changes and skills that lead to a “new normal” life free of excess alcohol use.

An additional necessity is learning what motivates you and how to use that to see you through the first tenuous 3 months (it takes a year to create a comfortable new normal, but 3 months builds a confident foundation). No, what motivates you need not be politically correct – I, for example, am motivated by vanity, which is getting harder to maintain at 73. Happily I have other motivations which are more easily employed in keeping me going to the gym.

We often note that the antidote to drinking, which is “not doing stuff,” is doing stuff and, yes, we have exercises to help you decide what’s worth doing.

As noted above, most “programs” are all filler: walk the horse, dog, beach. Attend the meeting. Drink the Kool Aid.

We’re substance: CBT, Assertiveness Training, and so on.

Do you want to pay a ton of money for filler with no product beyond a destructive, dehumanizing, and humiliating label?

Or do you want to fully, and quietly, recover? That what we can do with you given a chance.