Questions From Spouses, Parents, Siblings, Friends

We often hear from parents, spouses, siblings, and friends who are worried about another’s alcohol abuse, and wondering how they can help them find the right treatment program.

You can be most helpful when you understand what actually works, and how it works – or doesn’t.

First, treatment isn’t something that works when it’s done “to” someone. Alcohol abuse isn’t a disease and treatment isn’t a procedure like chemo-therapy or surgery. Yes, most programs act like it is, which explains their 5% or less success rates, but that’s marketing, not treatment.

Second, treatment does work when it’s done “with” a client because success is a joint, cooperative, and collaborative venture. Think about rehabing an injury or managing Type II Diabetes and you’ll have a much better model.

Third, motivation is the number 1 factor in determining successful outcomes. That means working on the basis of strengths, interests, and abilities – not on initiation into a cult.

That’s also as opposed to negative motivation that takes the form of labels, threats, court orders, punishment, and so on.

Fourth, a belief in one’s ability to correct the problem is also essential (just as a belief in “powerlessness” is the #1 predictor of relapse and, usually, increased drinking after treatment).

Finally, real help comes from staff who understand that change is a process that occurs over time and within the drinkers day-to-day life. It doesn’t happen by escaping reality for an expensive vacation that’s somehow supposed to magically fix everything back home.

If you’re looking for the most effective help you can get for yourself or someone you care about, ask questions that will indicate whether or not the services reinforce these points.

To do that, insist on talking to the people who actually provide the services. Most programs won’t let you do that and that should be a clue.

Treatment requires a significant investment of time, money, effort, and self. It’s also an ongoing process and involves everyone who’s close. Don’t waste scarce resources on pseudo-programs.

If you want to find real help, however, give us a call and we’d be glad to expand on these topics and other consideration.

“The Security of Familiar Miseries”

We coined the phrase to describe what all of us know about ourselves, we all tend to prefer “the devil we know to the devil we don’t.”

As a result, must of us keep ourselves miserable by clutching onto the irrational idea that no matter how bad things are, change will only be worse.

Consequently we:

(1) do the same things over and over because we are comfortable with the predictability, even when the predictable is grim, and;

(2) we tend to fear the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable, and the unknown. So we repeat the old definition of insanity: Doing the same
things over and over while hoping for a different result.

So we eat up months or years saying:

I’ll quit tomorrow (or next month, or after the holidays?);
I’ll only have one (when was the last time that happened?);
No one will know (guess what?);

and then we wonder,

How come things never change?

These habitual “familiar misery” lies we tell ourselves to justify our procrastination need to be replaced if things actually are going to change. Why not try asking yourself some different questions?

1. What are twenty things could I do to solve this?
2. How have other people dealt with this problem and solved it?
3. What if I did the opposite of what I’ve been trying?
4. Who could help me with this?
5. And here’s a great question: Is it time to hire a consultant to
help me with this?

Really, that’s what you could probably use – not a “counselor” to tell you their solution (which doesn’t even work) but, a consultant
to help you figure out your solution.

Thank about it – and call. The initial consultations are always free.

The Best Unbiased Information Site on the Web!

Alcohol – Problems and Solutions This site, from the State University of New York – Pottsdam, is recognized as the #1 site for information on alcohol use and abuse.

For Another Perspective on Working as a Team, as We do, With Couples, Familes, Parents and Adult Children, Read This Interview With Dr. Augustus Napier.

And Our Own Topics You Might Want To Revisit

#1. Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference

#2. Women and Alcohol – What To Consider In Treatment

#3. Resources For You! the Goal Setting; Cost/Benefit Analysis; Weekly Planner

As always, for information or just to talk, one of us answers the phone personally from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Monday – Thursday, unless we are with clients, or from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

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.

Toll Free From the Lower 48 or Canada: 888-541-6350

In Los Angeles, or from Alaska: 760-580-5758

Or E-Mail ua at: