The 5-Day, Intensive Outpatient,
Alternative Alcohol Treatment Program for Women.
Your Body Is Different, Your Emotional Triggers, And Risk Factors for Alcohol
Abuse Are Different…Shouldn’t Your Treatment Be Different Too?
|Dr. Barnes discusses the women’s program (running time 3 minutes 6 seconds)|
Why do so many women say this 5-day, INDIVIDUAL, alternative alcohol treatment program is the single most powerful method they’ve found to treat the root causes of alcohol abuse?
The answer is in our distinctly different approach!
Because our first priority is always you as an individual (absolutely no groups whatsoever!) with hopes, needs, and dreams all your own.
You may have been derailed by alcohol in the past… perhaps more than once.
But as you continue to read through this page, you will find that with a little support and encouragement it is possible to fully recover from alcohol abuse.
What is Our Alternative Alcohol Treatment Program for Women?
When we began designing a specific intensive outpatient program for women we took a number of factors into consideration. The first thing we looked at was the research that for a half century has shown that AA/12 Step based programs don’t work for most people, and especially not for women. You are already feeling out of control, you don’t need to be told you are also powerless – especially since that is a myth. You do need to know that you can leave alcohol problems behind by addressing the underlying issues you are currently self-medicating.
We also looked at the effectiveness of traditional individual therapy and traditional residential rehab programs. Again, effectiveness wasn’t any better than doing nothing, with the usual 5% “spontaneous remission” rate that occurs naturally. The problem is that individual once-a-week sessions simply aren’t enough to sort out and address ingrained behavior patterns. On the other hand, residential treatment is mostly all AA meetings and “filler” because there is so much time to be filled, neither of which address real issues nor do they offer effective options to drinking.
After looking at what doesn’t work, we went through the research on what does, studies done by Drs. Mark and Linda Sobell, at Vanderbilt University; the work of the late Dr. Alan Marlatt at the University of Washington; Dr. Reed Hester ongoing work at the University of New Mexico; and our own Dr. Ed Wilson’s research at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. All of these sources noted that alcohol abuse is not a disease, is rarely progressive, is a choice, and that intensive short term treatment provides the basis for effective elimination of the problem.
The shape effective treatment needs to take, and the mode and means of providing these services, was apparent almost immediately: individual, intensive, private, confidential, focused, and affordable. But in order for you to benefit from this half century of research and experience, you will need to put aside the myths that pervade the treatment industry in the U.S. and Canada.
First, it’s necessary to remember that alcohol abuse is a symptom, not a disease, and that it’s a choice you are making and can un-make. No, you aren’t powerless, nor are you dumb, depraved, or doomed. You are simply someone who fell into abusing alcohol because it worked, as it does, to provide temporary relief to any number of stressful conditions and circumstances. It’s not a mystery as to why over drinking is associated with divorce, unbalanced marriages or family relationships, retirement, menopause, empty nest syndrome, and other life changing events.
Second, and more specifically, remember that the misuse of alcohol is a logical consequence of its effectiveness as a short term antidote to anxiety, loneliness, boredom, hyper-activity, menopause, passivity, and a myriad of other conditions. Again, you slipped into alcohol abuse because it worked. Until it didn’t. And now that it’s become a problem itself, rather than a short term solution, it’s time to identify and correct whatever you’ve been needing to fix, but haven’t.
As a common example, we often see people who’ve undergone gastric bypass or lap band surgery only to discover that they have developed a serious drinking problem since the surgery. The reason is obvious in hindsight. No longer able to medicate with food they turned to alcohol. Not surprisingly, they usually comment that if they had come to us first they could have skipped the surgery.
Third, your mosaic of conditions you are self-medicating differs from everyone else’s, as will the mosaic of coping skills and activities you will need to adopt in order to leave the alcohol abuse behind. “Groups” will be worse than useless in formulating your response to alcohol abuse and will impede your progress and sabotage your success. Traditional treatment, with its one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter 12 Step “solution,” virtually always fails, especially women.
Fourth, traditional “once-a-week-therapy” is too little help and, frequently, for women, amounts to little more than talking about doing something about your alcohol problem rather than actually doing something about it. The behavior patterns around the use of alcohol are well established even before reaching “problem” proportions. Fixing the problem means replacing drinking behaviors with other behaviors which also address whatever was being drowned in drink. This is a complicated undertaking which requires a concentrated and concerted effort as well as genuine support while you make the changes in your day-to-day life that will relieve the need to drink.
Fifth, typical residential treatment – “rehab” – is equally ineffective and usually amounts to little more than paying tens of thousands of dollars to attend AA meetings. Remember, AA is an effective option for fewer than 3% of the women who try it. Again, doing nothing “works” better than going to AA. Yes, a support system will help, but support comes from doing things that are not compatible with drinking and pursuing social and recreational activities that are not alcohol focused.
Sixth, in addition to being ineffective, all of the traditional approaches destroy confidentiality, misdiagnose you as an “alcoholic,” label you for life, and leave you poorer and more depressed that when you started. Let’s take a good look at these: confidentiality is destroyed because in traditional rehab you are in a group of people. People talk. Staff talks. You will be misdiagnosed as an “alcoholic.” That label refers to people who are seriously alcohol dependent, which in reality is only about 15% of all people in treatment. If you are in the other 85% , and there is a huge chance that you are, then you are being labeled incorrectly, treated incorrectly and insurance will be billed coding you as an alcohol dependent “alcoholic” when you are not. That insurance billing record will literally follow you for life. It is not as private as you think it is. Also you are going to be paying tens of thousands of dollars to attend AA meetings that you can get for free in your own neighborhood. And most programs now try very hard to convince you that you must stay for 90 days rather than just 30. In their race to maximize revenue, many rehab programs tend to lose sight of what treatment should be about.
The object of treatment should be, and it is ours, to see to it that you end up with a happier life without alcohol than you now lead with it. Obviously, if you aren’t happier, you will soon return to drinking.
As we ran through the research, our own work and experience, and that of clients over the past 20 years, it became apparent that a different model was needed if women were actually going to be helped rather than exploited. That means you need to be empowered – not further disempowered.
That being the case, we knew we had to work with individuals and couples only. This would allow us to focus on you and your unique circumstances while preserving confidentiality, privacy, and your reputation. It also means that you get the custom designed plans you need and the expert assistance and motivational enhancement you deserve as you move through the weeks and months to a new, better, and productive “normal”.
We also knew that we needed to “front load” the process with an accelerated treatment structure that would provide much more than weekly therapy sessions, but wouldn’t require you to expose yourself by disappearing for 30, 60, or 90 days. With our 5 Day Program, you receive our undivided attention, our consulting physician’s evaluation, and the foundation that supports the 12 weeks of follow-up/aftercare. You will receive our complete attention for three to four hours a day as we all work together to formulate your treatment plan, goals, and specific systems for achieving your desired ends.
Our work with you also focuses on the help that actually works to end alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, and/or alcoholism. This includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), assertiveness training, motivational interviewing, anti-craving medication (Naltrexone), social and recreational possibilities, diet and exercise considerations and other components for building a life that is better without alcohol than it is with. Obviously the specific balance between these components will depend on you and your circumstances. Again, it’s why we work with you as a competent, intelligent and capable individual who has simply wandered into the alcohol maze and who needs little help extracting yourself. You are NOT doomed to spend you life “in recovery”. You can and will recover.
A final consideration is that our work with you is based on your interests, strengths, preferences, and abilities. We help you build on your past successes, not wallow in supposed “powerlessness” while “working a program” that is as demeaning and depressing as it is ineffectual. As one client put it, “I get it. Get a grip and get a life.” We couldn’t agree more.
No, it’s not rocket science, as many clients say along about the third day. It isn’t. It’s just good science, great research, and the best route, by far, back to living your life and not being a spectator ever again.
Truly, you do not want to be stuck in alcohol abuse, alcoholism, or “in recovery.” You want to be free to lead a happy, productive and meaningful life where alcohol is merely another thing you’ve moved into the “been there, done that” category and is no longer a topic of interest or matter of concern.
Yes, it’s time to recover whether the problem started three decades ago or three months ago. We’re ready to help and, we suspect, you’re ready to live again.
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