And how did Ms. D’s work with us turn out?

(continued from last week…)

“I was absolutely terrified the first day I arrived at your office. I was also hung over since I felt it necessary to down my last bottle of chardonnay the night before. I felt ashamed and disgusted that I had let myself get to such a point and it was hard to have to face it and talk about it. But you both have a very calming manner and after speaking with you for about an hour, my panic subsided somewhat. When Ed took me to Dr. Norcross I was shaking so badly you could see it. But the doctor was matter of fact, non-judgmental and was truly interested in helping me. He saw how scared I was and reassured me that I was a good candidate for success. He explained about the Naltrexone and also gave me a small amount of an anti-anxiety medicine, which was really a lifesaver for me that first week.

After the appointment, we talked for a few hours, then you sent me home with lots of material to read. I tried to dive right in but honestly, I was so exhausted from the worry and panic, and I felt so relieved after the meetings that I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until dinner time. I walked to one of the nearby restaurants, got take-out and did start to read. And it wasn’t that hard not to drink.

The second day, we reviewed some of the materials and I told you I had gone into a panic when I saw all of the work I was supposed to do regarding setting goals. I have never been very good at that – I typically operated in a fly by the seat of your pants mode. You told me not to worry about it and not to do anything with it at all until I was ready. We talked for several hours and you sent me on my way with more homework and a meditation CD. I found the CD to be incredibly helpful and centering. I had done meditation before, but the CD put me in a meditative state faster than I could get there with traditional methods. It really helped me focus. I got through another day with no chardonnay.

By Wednesday, I was starting to feel better – a combination of the Naltrexone, the anti-anxiety medicine, the meditation and the fact that I hadn’t had a drink for two days. We again reviewed the material and tried to look at some of the underlying reasons for my drinking. In the midst of this, you also gave me a lot of good material regarding starting a new business and marketing it. I went back to the hotel after our meetings and looked at some of the business material. I took a walk, listened to the meditation CD and voila – I had an epiphany. My head felt so clear and I began working on all of my goals. They just poured out of me. All of the things I wanted to accomplish that had been stifled by my drinking and subsequent de-motivation. I was so excited and I had almost no desire to drink. I was starting to formulate my plan for the future.

The next day and a half flew by and it was time to leave. I was a little worried but this time I had a whole box full of tools to help me and I had a plan. Quitting drinking using a fly by night methodology hadn’t worked but I thought that doing so using a plan would work. And it did.

Has it been easy? No. Has it been a big struggle? No. I just followed the plan. I worked on refining my goals when I got home and tried to prioritize them. I knew I would need to do something in the evening hours when I used to drink so I focused a lot on the to-do list I had for the house. I painted, I sewed, and yes, I did spend some money purchasing items for my redecorating efforts but I figured I was saving a lot on chardonnay. I didn’t focus on the not drinking. When I thought about it, I just let it go and worked on my plan. I meditated often and at first, I just didn’t put myself into any positions that would make it harder for me. I talked to Mary Ellen every week and it really helped. I could discuss all of the issues I was having and talk about what to do when difficult and/or new situations presented themselves. The support was key factor for me but it wasn’t obtrusive. I got to decide how often to talk and what I needed. It was so good to be able to talk about things – I got to vent, I got good advice and got lots of positive reinforcement. I needed someone in my corner who understood and who didn’t think it was weird that I was totally focused on myself. And I was. I thought about what was good for me and didn’t worry too much about anyone else. I knew I needed to be selfish for a while to make this work.

I took the Naltrexone religiously and I truly believe it had a huge effect on reducing my cravings, because in all honesty, they weren’t that bad. The hardest part was facing each new situation and trying to deal with it in a new way. Going out to eat, going on vacation, going out with friends, boating, parties – even watching movies. That was why the phone calls with Mary Ellen were invaluable. And each situation I made it through made me stronger and more confident and less dreading of the new situations to come. I kept myself busy, but not by going to AA meetings to talk about my sickness or powerlessness. I did things that made me feel powerful. I had just started martial arts before attending your program and I couldn’t even do one pushup. When I got back home, I did have a hard time motivating myself to go to class, and I missed a number of them. But I kept pushing and now I go three times a week. I can do 100 pushups and an hour and a half class just flies by. I have lost 15 pounds, I just got my yellow belt and I have even starting running again (well, more like jogging) for the first time in a lot of years. I started working with a nutritionist and am working on a healthier me.
What is most amazing to me is that I no longer have a big desire to drink, I am no longer depressed, I sleep great and my head is so clear. I am stronger and feel more empowered and happy. I see so many opportunities for the future. I don’t feel disgusted with myself anymore. I would be lying if I said I never think about drinking but whenever I want a drink, I think of how wonderful it feels to wake up every morning feeling good instead of waking up wishing I had not downed another large bottle of Chardonnay, and that is enough to convince me not to do it. Amazingly enough, a surprise to me, there are lots of people around who don’t drink. I see them everywhere now. And most of the time, I am happy to be one of them. I don’t really ever see myself drinking again. I don’t want to lose this good feeling and opportunity to make a difference in my life.

I owe this all to you both and your program. I could not and would not have been able to do this without your help. The program works. It’s not rocket science and it’s hard to believe there aren’t more programs out there that follow these principles. I am so thankful I found this program and would recommend it to anyone.”

Yes, she still reads the Newsletter from time to time, we talk occasionally, we have lunch whenever any of us are in the others’ neighborhood, and we all continue to take an interest in each other’s lives.

Additionally, as she wrote to us this past Monday:

“It has been almost three years! I am ready to test for my green belt now and even did a Navy Seal challenge a few weeks ago with martial arts where we did an hour of calisthenics, ran 4 miles and then did the martial arts obstacle course. I am doing things I could never do if I were still drinking. I still struggle with my weight but maybe someday!!

And I just love going to the doctor now and not having to lie about my drinking. I feel really good saying “No I don’t smoke” and “No I don’t drink”. I no longer have to take blood pressure medication either. And did I mention no hangovers?!

Life is good. I am happy and content and thankful that Chardonnay is no longer my best friend!!”

Why do our clients succeed far more often than any other program’s?

There really isn’t any mystery about our clients’ very high success rates. And it isn’t magic.

Our clients succeed because we only accept those who are appropriate for our program. That’s right, no “one size fits all” approach which, let’s face it, really means one size that doesn’t fit anyone.

We don’t use AA meetings and call that group therapy and end up with the same 3%-4% success rate that AA has.

We do actually provide the tools and approaches that work including CBT, Naltrexone support, assertiveness training, motivational enhancement, diet, exercise, and hormone considerations, and whatever other help we decide together will be most effective for you.

And support you over the months when all of these changes take effect in your day-to-day life.

We can also work with your spouse and ward off sabotage and all the unexpected effects giving up drinking has on them too.

Plus we do all of this in absolute privacy, treating you like the intelligent and capable adult you are, and refusing to saddle you with labels that will haunt you forever.

Individual, confidential, self-directed, positive, affordable, empowering, and effective. That’s why our clients succeed.

That’s what Ms. D. found and isn’t that what you want and deserve?