Surprised to Be Talking to One of Us?

Callers are usually surprised that they are really talking to Mary Ellen or me when they call. It’s one of the many ways we are unique, ways we think are important to you. After all, you should be talking to the people you might be working with, not some marketing department, volunteer client, or anyone else who, among other things, jeopardizes your privacy.

But talking directly to us is only one of the many things that makes our work with you unique. What else matters?

  • We do no groups so the focus is on you and your issues, skills, strengths and interests;
  • We work as a team with you – no para-professional former clients anxious to induct you into their AA/12 Step cult;
  • We offer you 5 days of intensive work followed by 13 weeks of support as you integrate new skills and realities into you on-going day-to-day life;
  • You get both my perspective as a former alcohol abuser who knew that drinking was preferable to AA, and Mary Ellen’s as an addict’s family member, one frustrated by all of the con games and rehab scams;
  • You get continuity and focus that neither a traditional once-a-week therapist nor a 30 day rehab mill can or will give you;
  • We work with you on resolving the issues which underlie your self-medication, not on some voodoo magic;
  • We do not dictate what your outcome must be – that’s for you to decide;
  • And we offer you the only confidential solution in either the U.S. or Canada.

Consider all of that: structure, focus, privacy, individuality, intimacy, real-world outcomes, and full recovery!

Or would you prefer powerlessness, labels, degradation, cults, and a sub-normal life of alcohol fixated meetings?

Your choice? Or would you prefer to continue in the limbo world of neither? That too is a choice, after all.

Creating Avalanches In Your Mind

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a coping skill that allows you to recognize and defuse errors in your thinking habits. One of these is “catastrophizing” – creating disasters where none exist or where the chances are very, very small.

The trouble is that having created this sense of impending doom, we then feel justified in obliterating it with a drinking bout proportional in magnitude to the imagined calamity.

But, mostly, the only real threat is the one our drinking poses.

A while ago a woman called in tears, she needed to quit drinking she admitted, “but how can I possibly not drink a toast at my daughter’s wedding?”

“How old is your daughter?” we asked.

“Five,” she said.

“Has it occurred to you,” we asked, “that your daughter may never marry, that with your drinking you may not be alive by the time she does, or, even more likely, you won’t be invited to the wedding?”

But she didn’t want to hear any of that reality. She just wanted to cling to the irrelevant question that somehow justified not stopping. Any excuse will do. And of course we wouldn’t ever suggest that she couldn’t drink a toast – that’s 12 Step nonsense with no research support. None!

We all make these “cognitive errors” of course and they fuel most of our “negative” emotions be they anger, depression, loneliness, boredom, procrastination, catastrophization, or others. CBT teaches you to recognize your own habitual patterns and how to change them.

Here’s a brief example. Most of us believe that our emotions spring up like mushrooms and drive our thoughts and behaviors. That’s an error. In fact, our thoughts and behaviors create our emotions and, since we create them, we can learn to control them.

So? So since you can control them, you no longer to medicate them.

Imagine the relief when you are no longer a slave to supposedly random emotional storms nor the alcohol you use to quell them?

Internalizing the CBT process and assertiveness training are two of the biggest tools we show you how to add to your collection of coping skills. Those and the other life enhancing motivational, dietary, exercise, and intimacy considerations can have you leaving alcohol abuse behind quickly, effectively, privately, and permanently.

Think recovered, not “in recovery.”

This week’s Newsletter is a bit shorter than usual

On Saturday, the 8th, I took my 16-year-old dog Sophie to the vets for what seemed to be a digestion problem. It wasn’t. It was pancreatitis and end-stage kidney failure. I put her down an hour later before the inevitable suffering, for her, began.

She was 18 pounds of love, muscle, attitude, and dubious ancestry and will be sorely missed.

As my car’s license plate frame notes, “I Was Saved by a Rescue Dog!” and Sophie and I did indeed rescue each other in ways uncountable.