Additionally, 12 Step based treatment, which is what 90% of all treatment programs are based on, is not based on addressing your issues but on indoctrinating you into a cult of powerlessness. Can any man really get over his alcohol abuse by thinking of himself as a powerless victim of his “disease”? We think not. In general, we have found that men do not like to think of themselves as victims. It is disempowering and goes against the grain of most men in our society.
Besides the issues mentioned above, men and women approach their problems in very different ways. Women like to talk a lot about their issues, and many enjoy talking and sharing in groups, men don’t – at least not in groups. Men also tend to address their issues actively.
As a man, you are good at “doing stuff” and as a result, you suffer from depression at only half the rate women do. But, unhappily, when it comes to alcohol abuse and alcoholism, most of what you leap in and do makes little or no sense. As men, you need to stop long enough to figure out what you’re using alcohol for and what the effective alternatives are.
That’s right. Stop, talk, consider, develop some self-awareness, and come up with a plan that actually addresses the problems. And yes, as an aside, that’s different from the typical and traditional alcohol treatment for women, who are only too happy to talk endlessly and never get around to actually doing anything.
Still, for alcohol treatment for men to be effective, it has to be built around you as an individual, not group programs that come down to indoctrination into AA, an approach with a success rate of under 5%.
How does this all work when you came to see us?
It starts with an accurate assessment of the actual problems you are addressing with your drinking. Again, the usual suspects are anxiety, boredom, loneliness, depression, physical pain, disappointment, and controlling, exploitive and/or abusive spouses. Yes, men are also victimized by their spouses – much more often than society acknowledges.
After assessment, and the identification of the mosaic of underlying conditions, alcohol treatment for men involves the use of proven tools and approaches to create a mosaic of solutions. Happily, research has identified what actually works. The following is a list of options from most to least effective and is updated from the “Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches” by Miller and Hester, 2003.
1. Brief Interventions;
2. Motivational Enhancement;
3. Community Reinforcement;
4. Self-Change Manual;
6. Behavioral Self-Control;
7. Behavior Contracting;
8. Social Skills Training;
9. Marital Therapy – Behavioral;
10. Aversive therapy;
11. Case Management;
12. Cognitive Therapy;
27. Group Counseling;
36. Minnesota Model Treatment
37. 12 Step Facilitation;
Using our own research and clients’ experience, we’ve added Assertiveness Training to the list of most effective tools for supporting change while incorporating all of the top 12 components listed above with the exception of Aversive Therapy – we don’t agree with punishing you in any way, shape, or form. You’ve already used alcohol to do that to yourself and it’s time for that pattern to end, too.
Remember too, that our work with you is based on realities like: