Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope that you are able to enjoy the holiday weekend and all of the upcoming season.

We are thankful for all of your support, comments, e-mails, and calls over the past year, and the privilege of helping you through many challenging changes.

Thank you!
Mary Ellen and Ed

Sinking? Not Our Recommendation…

Recently we were talking about the sinking of the Titanic as an applicable analogy for many of our problems with alcohol and our decisions regarding treatment.

One can imagine the company representatives on the Titanic II design committee repeatedly pointing out that the Titanic I tragedy was a black swan event: utterly unpredictable and completely, emphatically, not caused by any failures of the ship’s construction, of the company’s policy, or of the captain’s competence. “No one could have seen this coming,” would have been their constant refrain, though that was patently not true.

Still, their response would have been to spend their time pushing for more and improved lifeboats. Ergo, by working to mitigate the pain of the next catastrophe, they allow themselves to downplay the real causes of the disaster and thereby invite another one.

And so it is with our efforts to mitigate the crises caused by our excessive drinking in order to reduce the number and severity of future crises. No, we don’t want to fix the underlying problems, or even admit they exist. Instead, we want to pretend that we’ve been victimized by a mysterious “disease.” Regardless, rather than fix the problem, we just maintain it while making it less uncomfortable (and call it “being in recovery”).

But really, if after a crisis, you don’t want to waste time on palliatives, and you actually want to build a better life (or ocean liner) you must begin with an open and frank admission of the fact that your choice to cope through alcohol abuse isn’t working for you any more. The Titanic, for example, was just too big and therefore too complicated for the affordable technology of its day. Given White Star Line’s unwillingness to spend, she was under-designed.

And let’s face it, if you’re using alcohol to cope, then your day-to-day life is equally under-designed.

The trouble is, most of us (and our families) want palliatives (bigger, fancier lifeboats). So we go off to the most luxurious treatment centers we and/or our families can afford, where we are isolated from everything that is wrong in our lives and physically kept from using our favorite substances. Then we go home. And the problems start again and pretty soon the next catastrophe happens.

Research has given us all the tools we need to recreate our lives without alcohol abuse, along with nearly 50 years of outcome measures that show, for the most part, going off to traditional rehab is a choice between booking passage on the Titanic or the Hindenburg.

Obviously, it is your life (or your family member’s) and your money and you can spend it however you see fit, but you really do have an opportunity to effect genuine change; change that will fix the problem so there won’t be more alcohol induced catastrophes in your future.

That’s our specialty; we help you fix the problem. We don’t just give you a fancy lifeboat to float you on to your next disaster like so many treatment centers do. After all, they are counting on seeing you again after the next disaster, and the next, and …..
But we help you get a life – a real one, a better one, one that doesn’t need alcohol’s consolation – and we don’t need to run you through the revolving door again and again.

Aren’t you ready to build a better life? You can start with a single phone call.

A Mother’s Search

We recently spent a fair amount of time, on the phone and through e-mail, with a mother who was searching for the perfect program for her 30-something son. She’d read the research, knew the terminology, and wanted the placement that would guarantee success.

Unhappily, there is no such place.

This mother – and many of her counterparts, be they spouses, siblings, friends, or children – are all attempting to avoid one part of the equation: the drinker’s responsibility.

Those of us who have developed an alcohol problem made the choice to do so. That’s not an issue of blame – we all had perfectly good and valid reasons for our choices. But we still made that choice and eventually let that behavior get out of hand.

What’s that got to do with the search for the perfect treatment option? Just that as we made the choice to create the problem, so too do we have to make the choice to get over it.

And no program can help you succeed if you don’t want to.

We often note that treatment isn’t something we do “to” clients, it’s something we do “with” you. We could add that it isn’t something we – or anyone else – can do “for” you either, though many a parent, spouse, or child wishes we could.

It just isn’t in the cards.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a grim process. Quite the contrary. The life you create when you’ve “gotten a grip” and “gotten a life” is a far better one than your alcohol diminished one. No, you won’t be in any hurry to go back to over medicating yourself into being a spectator in your life.

Time to get off the bench and back into life? Give us a call. We’re here to help.

A Very Good Article

There is an excellent article in the November 16, L.A. Times Health section entitled You Can Cut Back. No, we didn’t write it – though we could have. It does support most everything we do and say. Now you don’t have to take just our word for it.

Click the link to read the full article which has a lot to say about “alcoholism” research, moderation, harm reduction, and treatment you won’t usually find outside of our website and the SUNY Alcohol Problems and Solutions site.

Yes, we will be answering the phones from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time over the holiday weekend, except for Thanksgiving day itself when Ed will be answering from 9:00 a.m. until noon, and again from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. So, for information or just to talk, don’t be afraid to call.

If we don’t answer, leave your name and number and one of us will usually be able to get back to you within an hour.