Understandably, our clients are feeling a lot of stress and anxiety when they come to us. Time and time again we hear the same relieved voices:
“You aren’t going to yell at me? Or tell me how stupid I’ve been? Or…”
We know that that’s how most programs work – or, more accurately, don’t work.
Instead, we see our work with you as a cooperative effort, a puzzle to unravel together. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else does, and we know how to help put together the pieces of a better life. Obviously successfully leaving alcohol abuse behind means working together.
Occasionally potential clients take on an adversarial stance. We understand that defensiveness, given traditional treatment approaches, but we don’t work that way.
We’re here to work with you and your strengths, interests, abilities, wants and needs. We’re not here to convert you.
We want to help you create a better life that has no room for alcohol abuse. We won’t pressure you into just adopting another demeaning form of alcohol fixation.
Yes, we sometimes turn potential clients away because they won’t work with us – sometimes they don’t want to do anything at all. But that’s not how lives are changed. Treatment “works” when we all work – together.
Successful change is done cooperatively, with mutual good will, understanding, and good humor.
So, when it’s time to look for real life-affirming and enhancing changes to replace the alcohol abuse, we hope you’ll know where to call. We promise, most of the anxiety won’t last past the first day’s lunch.
We frequently say that alcohol abuse occurs “in context.” This means that it isn’t an isolated condition like an actual disease, but rather a response to undesirable conditions in one’s life. Things like anxiety, loneliness, boredom, passivity, and other life-diminishing problems.
Ending your drinking means finding good ways to cope with these normal life conditions – ways that add to your life, not ways that diminish it even more.
That means we assess and consider things like your health, work, family, recreation, social life, education, activities, interests, and so on. How can these be improved and expanded so that the “space” where alcohol exists in your life can be shrunk?
“Context” also means people. Where other programs isolate you, we are inclusive. You can’t change a major component of your life without it affecting those closest to you. Success doesn’t depend on others, but they certainly make a difference.
We actually spend very little time taking about alcohol with our clients. It’s a waste of time, and usually counterproductive, to muck around in the past beyond a short survey of drinking patterns and current health related problems.
We do talk about what a life unimpaired by alcohol abuse would look like and how to achieve it. We help families to see how to be really supportive. We help design the systems and strategies to create a satisfying life.
And we support you through the months it takes to establish it.
That’s what we mean by “in context” – it’s just the opposite of whisking you away to some isolated and isolating program in hopes of brain washing you.
But fix the problem “in context” and it’ll stay fixed.
You will have “gotten a grip, and gotten a life.” And you probably won’t be tempted to return to those bad old days of yesteryear.
Women and Alcohol
We just posted a new article titled Women and Alcohol – What to Consider in Alcohol Treatment. You can read the full article by clicking on the link. Generally it’s about how women’s alcohol problems differ from men’s and why many women come here to work with us.
We’d really appreciate you comments and thoughts as we try to clarify aspects of how we can best work with each of you, women and men.
As always, we do answer the phones ourselves from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, Monday – Thursday, unless we are with clients, or from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
You can also email either of us to schedule an appointment or ask a question:
Mary Ellen at: DrBarnes@non12step.com
Ed at: DrWilson@non12step.com
Toll Free From the Lower 48 or Canada: 888-541-6350
In Los Angeles, or from Alaska: 760-580-5758