A number of you responded to my plea for an “Idea Transfusion” and I am grateful for comments, suggestions, and reminders that the Newsletter is important to many of you. Writing in a vacuum is difficult at times and the response helps me remember why I continue to do this.
And, if I needing reminding as to why we do this work with you, another reader wrote:
“Thank you both. Your kindness, decency and concern are probably the only reason I’m alive… You did your best and I am grateful!”
Residential vs Outpatient Help
It was suggested that I note why, for 90% of potential clients, Outpatient is the better option. Setting aside the fact that virtually all residential programs are based on AA with the predictable 85+% “failure” rate, what else contributes to the far greater success in research-based outpatient programs?
The easiest way to explain is to compare (just as it is with ex-smokers vs “in recovery” drinkers).
Let’s look at 30 weight loss spas. When you sign into one of these programs you escape, briefly, from your usual stressors, you diet is planned, prepared, and served for you. You engage in healthier activities than you would at home because you aren’t distracted by jobs, family, and all of the demands of daily life.
Guess what. You lose weight. Shocking.
But after 30, 60, or 90 days you go home.
Damn. Now you’re thrown into the same pool you escaped, briefly. Now the demands on your time and energy return with a vengeance and the sorts of meals you ate at the spa are impossible to replicate at home.
Soon the “comfort” eating reasserts itself and the pounds return – except now the weight gain is even faster because 40% of the weight loss at the spa was muscle. That drops your metabolism since muscle burns more calories than fat – and what you are regaining is 100% fat.
Go through any number of visits and each time you will emerge from the spa in worse shape than when you checked in.
What works better? A good consultant or physician who helps you adjust your diet and activities “in place.” This makes for a balance between losing fat while maintaining muscle but also allows you, and your family, to slowly adjust to changes that benefit them as well.
Back to alcohol residential rehab. The same features apply. Escape from responsibility and protection from intrusions (both benefits that alcohol provides) and a controlled environment. Additionally, you spouse, friends, family are mollified, relieved that they don’t have to worry about you for a while and conned into believing the problem is now fixed. They may also be pleased that you are being punished when you are “sent away.”
The stint in lockdown ends and you too are right back where you were. Nothing has changed, nor have you acquired any new coping skills. You may also have added new problems since, given the tedious boredom and inanity of three AA meetings a day, many add new “relationships” to cope.
You may also return home bearing understandable resentments against whomever sent you. Like the dieter, you leave “rehab” in worse shape than when you entered. What do you suppose will be the result?
Again, good, research based outpatient allows you to adjust, adapt and recover “in place.” You can learn new coping skills like CBT, get some assertiveness training, discover whatever other problems exist with the people around you, and discover that you are neither diseased nor powerless nor consigned to a lifetime of demeaning platitudes and humiliation.
Which do you think is most apt to actually fix whatever problems are at the root of you symptomatic self-medication? What flame is under your personal pressure cooker that triggers the release of yet another binge?
Our lives are complicated. You deserve help that assumes that there aren’t magic bullets and magic moments. But also that your life can be enhanced, not degraded.
As a long ago client noted, “You advocate 3 Steps: get a grip, get a life, get out of here!”
Need absolution? Need skills, options, perspective and escape from guilt and a dreary life?
We do help with that. Pandemic is winding down. Time to get released from your own Covid enforced residential lockdown. One free Zoom or phone consultation is all you need to do to start.