Dr. Barnes and Dr. Wilson personally answer the phones from 8:00AM until 5:00PM (PST) everyday.
In U.S. & Canada: 888-541-6350
In Southern California, Nationally, or Internationally, call:
818-466-9258

Finding The Alcoholism Treatment Program That’s Right For You: AA and 12 Step Alternatives

By Dr. Ed Wilson and Dr. Mary Ellen Barnes

Do You Want A Life Long Disease And Label And To Be In Recovery Forever?

Your first decision will be based on how you decide to view yourself and your relationship with alcohol. 95% of all U.S. treatment programs follow the AA/12-Step, so-called “Minnesota Model.” The first “Step” is admitting you are powerless over alcohol. Believing this is also the #1 predictor of relapse.

You will also be signing up for maintaining alcohol as the primary focus for the rest of your life, attending meeting forever, and having a 95% chance of relapsing.

Or would you rather put alcohol abuse behind you?

Those of us in the other 5% generally follow a research based model that addresses the underlying issues. We view alcohol abuse as the symptom it is, not the cause.

Fixing the real problems frees you to get on with your life unhampered by alcohol’s effects, and also free of the alcohol focus that leads over 95% of traditional treatment clients right back to the bottle within five years, and usually within six months, of completing treatment.

Why would you choose residential treatment?

Everyone knows that people “go off to rehab.” The assumption is that somehow escaping from day to day reality will result in a miracle cure. Trouble is, with some rare exceptions, escape, whether into a bottle or a rehab program, does little to fix what’s wrong with your life.

Unless you have enormous amounts of money to spend on a spa experience with a lot of annoying conditions, save your money and invest in real help, not a cover story.

Remember Lindsay Lohan….. Enough said.

But outpatient is too little and too slow!

There was a time when you’d have been right about that but that’s no longer necessarily the case. Now you can do intensive outpatient programs with good long term follow-up.

Here in Southern California, for example, we do five days of very intensive work with clients who come from all over the U.S. and Canada (and occasionally other parts of the world too), just one client a week, and follow up with three months of aftercare that’s more than just the usual chat rooms and AA meetings that most programs pass off as aftercare.

Our clients in fact get the best of both inpatient and outpatient services. Quick, intensive, and professional with real long term involvement. The average residential program, for example, may offer five hours of professional services a week and none after discharge. We offer up to twenty hours in five days and even more in follow-up. That’s far more hours of real help than either traditional residential or once-weekly therapists provide.

What about activities? And staffing?

Again, residential programs have tons of hours to fill and 24 hour staffing needs. This results in a lot of “filler” activities – AA groups, equine therapy, hikes, journaling, chores, etc – which do nothing to help you solve your particular problems. All told, these activities, meals, and sleep will account for about 22-23 hours out of every day. You can see how much time is left to address your concerns and needs.

Staffing follows a similar pattern – it takes a lot of bodies to provide 24/7 coverage and in most programs these positions will be filled by “lifers” – former clients who can’t stay sober outside of a continuous treatment environment. Most programs will try to sell this as an asset – “all staff are themselves in recovery” – but in fact you don’t have to be very sharp to know that someone who can’t manage to live soberly outside of treatment isn’t apt to help you to do so.

Yes, we have experience both with personal alcohol abuse and with family problems around drug and alcohol addiction. But we both did a lot of unrelated things both personally and professionally before we decided to help other people who wanted to recover and put alcohol problems behind them. We have a vested interest in freeing you, not tying you to an alcohol cult.

Confidentiality – there isn’t any in 99% of treatment programs.

As you know from television, there isn’t any privacy with residential treatment. You may not be famous now, but someday you may be, or you may want to run for office, or buy insurance, or do any of a number of things that being a diagnosed alcoholic will interfere with. The program may not expose you – though obviously most will – but your fellow clients certainly will, as will things like medical insurance records (no, they’re not confidential).

The same is true for any outpatient or individual counselor who uses groups. While there may be some value in properly facilitated groups, these rarely exist in rehab, don’t exist in AA/NA/CA and so on, and will always result in you being exposed and labeled even if it turns out you don’t have an addiction – as is the case with over 30% of our clients.

Why would you want to involuntarily expose yourself to unnecessary risks now
and into the future?

Vacation From Reality Or Real Help?

You can take a very expensive vacation from reality, enjoy the sanctuary (or incarceration) that a residential program offers, agree to be diseased and powerless and graduate with the perfect excuse to continue drinking for the rest of your (shortened) life.

Or you can elect to get real, professional, competent help at affordable prices and put your alcohol problems behind you.

That doesn’t seem to us to be all that hard a choice to make.

Ready to get some real help with your alcohol problem?
Call us at 888-541-6350

By |2018-04-26T06:34:47+00:00May 11th, 2010|Alcohol Treatment|12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. […] Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life. […]

  2. May 22, 2011 Newsletter May 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    […] Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life. […]

  3. May 29, 2011 Newsletter May 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    […] Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life. […]

  4. Sherri Scott-Berner June 6, 2011 at 3:09 am

    I am a Psych Clinical Therapist in Vancouver Canada looking for non-12 step alchohol and drug programs for clients that refuse to do 12 step programs. Please let me know of any programs you may be aware of . Thank you.

  5. June 5th, 2011 Newsletter June 6, 2011 at 11:40 am

    […] Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life. […]

  6. Dr. Mary Ellen Barnes & Dr. Ed Wilson June 27, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Try Smart Recovery for more information. – http://www.smartrecovery.org

  7. July 3, 2011 Newsletter July 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    […] Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life. […]

  8. July 31, 2011 Newsletter July 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    […] Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life. […]

  9. August 14, 2011 Newsletter August 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    […] Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life. […]

  10. October 2, 2011 Newsletter October 3, 2011 at 9:50 am

    […] Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life. […]

  11. October 9, 2011 Newsletter October 10, 2011 at 10:38 am

    […] Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference, don’t care, and will gladly burden you with inappropriate and damaging labels that will haunt you for the rest of your life. […]

  12. babs March 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    thanks

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