But What if You’re Not an “Alcoholic”?
Looking back over all of the clients we have seen over the years, one thing we note is that most have not been alcohol dependent “alcoholics”. Instead, most have been abusing alcohol as a symptom of other unresolved problems.
Yet about 98% of treatment programs, especially those adhering to the AA/12 Step model, don’t even bother to differentiate. To them there are only two categories: “alcoholics” and “alcoholics in denial”.
Does it matter?
Those programs of course will tell you it doesn’t matter since they only have “the one and only true cure,” AA, and everyone needs to be crammed into their long outdated and debunked model.
To you, on the other hand, it should matter – a lot.
Do you actually want to be smeared with a life-long label that, even if it were accurate, doesn’t help?
Do you want your future options arbitrarily narrowed to one – a life-long sentence of AA meetings?
Do you want to volunteer for a life, and a self-image, even more degraded by AA than it is by alcohol?
Do you want to jeopardize professional licensing, certifications, security clearances and so on?
If you answered yes to these questions then we suggest that you read no farther, but shuffle off to the nearest AA meeting and/or sign up for 12 Step treatment at a facility of your choosing.
But if you’d prefer a life free of stigma, Steps, meetings, and failure, we suggest you consider actually fixing the problem, not clinging to it.
You can get more information from our other article on the subject:
Or you can give us a call and we can discuss your particular situation and options. And we will never suggest that you are “in denial”. Never.
Talking to Your Physician or Therapist About Your Alcohol Use.
Chances are you’ve never accurately reported you alcohol use to either your physician or a therapist or, if you have, you haven’t been happy with the outcome.
There are reasons for your doctor’s or therapist’s responses but these too are very unsatisfactory.
First, your physician has never had any training in alcohol abuse or what there was, was wrong. Dr. Norcross, our consulting physician, noted that his medical school training on alcoholism amounted to being required to attend three AA meetings. That’s it.
So, like everyone else, your doctor probably knows nothing about treating alcohol problems or what actually works. At best, she or he knows that AA doesn’t work, but still doesn’t have anything else to refer you too.
There is also the additional problem that if your lab work indicates possible alcohol abuse – through elevated liver enzymes – and your doctor brings up the possibility, chances are you’ll leave the office angry and go looking for a new doctor.
Why mention a concern that will cost her a patient and for which she knows of no possible remedy?
Yes, it’s understandable that you and your doctor both avoid the subject.
Your therapist isn’t apt to be any help, either.
We frequently hear this response from therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists:
- go to AA and fix your drinking problem then come back;
This response means you won’t get a chance to fix whatever problem your drinking is symptomatic of and, therefore, you’ll keep on drinking.
Ignorance, exploitation, misinformation, disdain, distaste, and greed, they all play a role in keeping people stuck with problems for which there are actual solutions. But this is a case where you will need to be your own researcher, advocate, and friend, a tall order when you are impaired, in crisis, in trouble, or just ready to stop abusing yourself.
That’s where we can help you with accurate information, resources, approaches, and tools that free you, enhance your life, and restore your dignity and faith in yourself.