We get letters:

“The May 10th Newsletter really hit home for me.

Before I went to you, my sister suggested we visit a local “hospital” for my ‘drinking issues.’ To appease her, I went for a visit. Once there, we sat with a young kid ‘marketing’ person. I got no tour of the facility nor a description of what they did there.

Guy gave me a breathalyzer test, and declared I was drunk. He did not show the number and it’s hard to believe I failed since it was 10 am and I had not been drinking.

Next thing I know, they had me locked up in a Spartan room on a ward surrounded by 20-something heroin addicts, meth heads and other types of psychotics.

You may remember, I have a medical background. I have been a registered nurse since college and I certainly know a legitimate hospital from one that is not. This place was owned by non-US doctors and employed recently reformed addicts as counselors.

It was, of course, a forced 12-step program.

I was drugged and dragged around to ‘meetings’ with derelicts with whom I had nothing in common.

Being familiar with parts of the legal system, I threatened them with criminal kidnapping in order to get released. Biggest nightmare of my life. Five days in a prison that is not helping anyone.

To this day, they run big ads in all the media touting their successful business.

Thus, today’s missive hits the mark. If you have any potential clients that are wavering about choosing you versus ‘conventional’ treatment like I had, please have them call me. I can speak with clarity about the horror and rip-off of such programs.”

– Greg

Greg, who was a client many years ago, has generously offered to talk to any of you who might like to discuss making your decision as to what type of help to accept. Just e-mail (DrWilson@non12step.com) me your first name and phone number and I will forward the request to him.

Absolution and Permission

There are two categories that our work with you fall into: 1) absolution of the guilt you feel around your alcohol abuse and 2) permission to lead a happier life without alcohol than the one you are currently leading with it.

Absolution is fairly easy. You aren’t abusing alcohol because you are dumb or diseased, that’s the AA way. You’re doing it because it works! Or did.

That’s right. Somewhere in your past you started using it for anxiety, or to fit in, or for respite, or… The list is nearly endless and changes over time until it comes down to, well, it’s just what you do. Also known as habit.

See, no excuses necessary and you don’t need to label yourself, adopt a doorknob as your god, attend meetings, avoid intimacy, or quit living.

Quite the contrary.

Leaving alcohol behind, as well as eschewing cults, means returning to living. And that means allowing yourself to replace guilt and shame with relief, a happier life, and, yes, even some joy.

Imagine that.

Trading isolation for intimacy. Converting anxiety into relaxation.

Replacing boredom with engagement. Coping instead of medicating.
How does that work?

Mostly it happens when you learn some new skills, solve problems rather than hide from them (either with alcohol or in a cult), spend time with the people you want to emulate, and pursue the activities and interests you wish to develop.

It’s not as hard as you imagine.

A bit of CBT, a dash of assertiveness training, leavened with some diet and exercise considerations, a bit of mindfulness, increased self-awareness, and ease into all of this over time. And, guess what? There you are with a new, happier, un-medicated normal.

Isn’t it about time?