New Review Finds Alcoholics Anonymous Is Effective, But Not For Everyone You can click on the headline link for a brief synopsis of the “research.” I say “research” in quotes because the reported outcomes are as suspect as they have always been. However, a couple of notes are worth adding...
You might think that the Coronavirus would be a blessing for our practice. After all, no travel, no groups, no direct contact with offices, railings, elevators, door knobs, or high risk clients. But of course the reality is different. For those already contemplating a 30 day stint in traditional rehab, the current fixation on the virus comes as a welcome excuse to forgo addressing a drinking problem as treatment is suddenly too dangerous (unlike nice safe inebriation?).
Dear Mary Ellen and Ed, “Thank you! I can say without you two I don’t think I would be here today. My husband talked about you both and wanted me to call and meet with you for more than a year. It took a whole lot of meetings, commitments, confinement’s, medications and “Almost” being convinced how powerless I was, before I did. Maybe for me that’s what it took before I did make that appointment with you. Thank goodness I did. I know one thing for sure, I would not have seen the light as clearly as I do today if I hadn’t. You truly helped put my wheels back on the ground. The blocks came down and my engine re ignited. It took another year to reestablish the trust within myself and family. I still feel and see the pain and worry on my family’s face every day. But I also see and feel there hope and happiness to have me back.
Outcomes: Free to live, or Cult Membership? We don’t hire marketers to write testimonials like everyone else does, but, with permission, we do post the unsolicited ones we receive. It’s especially gratifying when the comments come from a client we saw long ago and whose on-going success shows the difference between research and outcome-based work and bumper sticker based mindlessness.
Assertiveness Clarified Following my article on Assertiveness, a reader commented: “I was really intrigued by this week's newsletter focus on women and assertiveness training as an essential crux. But how do you define assertiveness in your practice? Physical challenges and exercises certainly help develop women develop a sense of power, but it has always concerned me that the whole concept of assertiveness has become a little fuzzy and risks becoming a buzzword similar to what has happened with the term 'empowerment.'” The commenting reader is, of course, correct. It’s easy to assume that everyone agrees on a words definition when such is not the case. Or that the way to achieve “assertiveness” is the sort of one way fits all that AA demands (though, of course, assertiveness is anathema to Steppers).
A Follow-up on Last Week’s Warning About Being Railroaded into Rehab. One reader “unsubscribed” stating: “Many people die from alcohol abuse. This was a dangerous post”. For the life of me, I can’t imagine how warning people about charlatans, rehab scams, and kick-backs can be dangerous – and I never suggested that people don’t die from “alcohol abuse” – far fewer would die if the condition were treated early (not at AA’s “rock bottom”) and effectively. Another commented that I was, perhaps, being a bit too hard of physicians, therapists, psychologists, etc. Perhaps.
The “You’re Going to Die!” Con Game. I recently heard from a woman who had fallen victim to the old “You’re going to die!” scam perpetuated by Physicians and Therapists working in conjunction with 12 Step rehabs in a mutually profitable predatory arrangement. How’s it work? The victim goes to their physician, therapist, psychiatrist or other “health care” provider who “decides” you have a life-threatening alcoholism problem which is going to kill you unless you receive immediate treatment at this particular (and expensive) rehab, and there is no time to lose.
News? Alcohol-Related Deaths Among Woman Are Rising Sharply. January saw a host of news reports that the death rate for women from alcohol related causes had risen sharply over the past decade. That came as no surprise to us, though it may have to you. With the news came the predictable “Why? Why? Why?” lament. There are any number of contributive causes, not least of which are relaxed social sanctions against young women drinking like young men. Trouble with that is, alcohol is not a politically correct drug. Stated another way, alcohol does twice as much damage to women as it does to men – and, no, that’s not a matter of size.
“Geographic Cures” The idea of “geographic cures” is roundly ridiculed in traditional treatment and 12-Step circles. The usual rhetoric goes along the lines of, “you’re the problem and where you go, you’re still there.” That disdain, however, usually comes from those who wish to continue to be a part of “your problem,” be that a family member, AA group, or other entity with a vested interest in you never recovering.
Authority vs Responsibility Many who come to work with us discover that a significant problem is with unbalanced relationships, whether spousal, familial, professional, or personal. This commonly involves a controlling spouse, parent, or friend and virtually always includes passivity and passive-aggressive drinking (“try and control this you #@##!). Additionally, alcohol provides us with a “protective bubble” we can escape into and block out the demands, criticisms, and/or abuse that are heaped upon us.