5 Days? Really?
A couple of times a month we have families come to our offices with their alcohol abusing loved one to find out about our program. Usually the alcohol abusing family member found us online and is interested in participating in our 5-day intensive outpatient program.
Frequently, at least one family member is angry about that because they “know” that only a 30 day residential program will work and they feel that a 5-day program is somehow weaseling out of doing something.
Also, though they won’t admit it, there is usually a punishment component in there. The family is tired, hurt and angry and they want to punish the offending person, at least a little bit. Sending somebody away to an institution is a bit punishing, especially when the alcohol abuser really doesn’t want to go.
They also want to put that person somewhere so they can stop worrying about them constantly. Their reasons are totally understandable. I have been that tired, hurt and angry family member and I do “get it.”
(But, please see: Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Sent My Brother Off To Rehab)
However, what actually helps an alcohol abuser get better has nothing to do with punishment or family members sleeping better at night.
The research suggests that outpatient programs work better than residential programs because people have to work through their problems in their real, day-to-day lives, with supportive help from real professionals.
Forcing people to take weird 30 day vacations from reality, where they are treated like errant children, doesn’t help very many people address the problems they face at home or work.
The other thing angry family members never consider is that their alcohol abusing loved one is going to be resentful and angry at them for forcing them into a program they didn’t want to go to, a program with a success rate of less than 5%. That is a recipe for disaster and failure.
What does work?
Individual counseling, outpatient counseling, naltrexone for cravings, follow-up, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In high-end residential treatment people get, on average, 1 hour a week of individual counseling by a poorly trained para-professional. In slightly less expensive programs, people frequently get no individual counseling.
Our 5-Day Intensive outpatient provides clients with 15-20 hours of individual counseling, deleivered by both of us – no trainees, no interns, no former clients – in those first 5 days, and real follow-up for 12 weeks or more.
We also use CBT, and the anti-craving medication naltrexone, and all of the other components described in Ending Alcohol Abuse: What Works . And it works very well. We really do have one of the highest success rates of any treatment program.
See more details in: “How Can You Possibly Cure My Years of Alcohol Abuse in Just 5 Days?”
Your choice? Punishment or treatment?
The Tipping Point
Many of you have been readers for years before becoming clients. We’ve asked you what caused you to move from being a reader to being a client and successfully putting your alcohol problems behind you.
The answers vary, but only a bit.
For some of you it was a single event: a DUI; a physician’s report; a family member’s (or members’) ultimatum; an employer’s threat.
But for others it was a variation on the same theme – “I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
A lot of us have left old habits behind, especially in our 40s and 50s, when the drinking or smoking or overeating just wasn’t working for us anymore. We could see that life might be better, or at least longer, without being dragged down by our own self-destructive behaviors.
And for those of you who have been teetering on that see-saw of whether or not to actually address and fix the problem, we have a suggestion. Why not fix it first and then decide?
We’ve had a lot of people come through our doors who’ve decided to make an informed decision. They will make the effort, try out life without the alcohol for 6 months or a year.
That’s not just quitting for a spell, as many of you have done, often more than once. Really, the solution lies in what you add when you quit drinking, that where we come in, and then deciding whether or not you prefer drowning in alcohol to a living a life.
To date, out of all of the hundreds of clients we’ve worked with over the past decade, only two have opted for a return to alcohol as the central focus of their lives.
If that’s a fair enough proposition, and those are good enough odds, why don’t you see whether or not you might like a real life better than being a drunk?
It starts with a phone call and the 5 Days and 12 Weeks explained in
Your Life, Your Choice, Your Solution, Your Call!