Why your doctor won’t help…
This month our favorite unbiased alcohol research site, Alcohol: Problems and Solutions, featured a review of new research on The Road To Recovery.
It’s a good article reporting on a survey of physicians, ministers, and others and how their attitudes towards “alcoholism” effect individual’s willingness or ability to get help and their willingness to give it.
Unhappily the research still focuses on a false dichotomy – is “alcoholism” a disease or a moral failing”?
What’s wrong with the question? It implies that it’s one or the other and, frankly, it usually isn’t either.
Then what is it?
We frequently suggest to our clients that they don’t drink because they are either weak or diseased but because alcohol works!
That’s right. It works. For anxiety, loneliness, boredom, escape, pain, and a host of other discomforts it provides a fast, easy, cheap, legal, and effective short term solution.
But, unhappily, it also prevents finding long term solutions to these same conditions – along with depressing and demeaning the problem drinker.
There is an additional problem with the article and research. There is an assumption that there is a standardized definition of “alcoholic” and/or “alcoholism”.
There isn’t. To some anyone who drinks is an alcoholic. We’ve even seen people who don’t drink hung with the label because some zealots believe that you are either “in 12 Step recovery” or “in denial” whether you ever had a drink or not!
Most people don’t suffer from alcoholism. Most of us who’ve abused alcohol did so because it worked and we don’t have to beat ourselves up over it. We’ll be happier if we fix it, but abusing alcohol isn’t a disease or a moral failing.
And, yes, you deserve to get a bit of help to fix it quietly, affordably, confidentially, effectively, and permanently
So let’s just skip all the “if only’s” and fast forward to putting alcohol abuse into the “been there, done that” catagory.
We don’t bite, promise! (though Scruffy has been known to go for your toes)…
Given what most programs peddle we’re never surprised that clients arrive here on Monday mornings in a highly anxious state.
Yes, some anxiety is reasonable, as it is with many activities we venture into unsure of the outcome. And yes, ending your alcohol abuse is going to be a bit disruptive and in coming to work with us you are making a substantial investment in time, emotion, energy, and money.
All we can say is that virtually all of our clients are so relaxed and relieved at the end of Monday’s sesions that they tend to sleep though most of the afternoon and all of Monday night.
Perhaps because we aren’t demeaning, punishing, degrading, and demanding that you degrade yourself?
Maybe because we address your concerns with the same good will, good humor, and actual knowledge that reassures instead of terrifies.
Maybe because Scruffy has lavished his “Wheaton Greetin'” on you or snuck under the table to attempt to lick your toes?
Mostly, though, we think it’s because you’ve been proven right – you found the right place for you, the right time, and that Mary Ellen and I are the right team to help you succeed.
June is at hand – let’s get the summer off to a great start so that when fall and then the holidays come around you’ll be glad you didn’t wait until another year had passed you by.
Odds and Ends
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.
Women and Alcohol – What To Consider In Treatment and why women need and deserve services built around women’s needs, not just another recycled (and failed) men’s program – which is all anyone else has to offer.
Confidentiality, why you want to avoid residential treatment and groups of all kinds.
The Bucket of Crabs or Why AA and Al-Anon are Bad For Your Health.