Accelerated and Distance Delivered Outpatient Alcoholism Treatment


For the first time since the 1970’s substantial changes in the treatment of alcohol abuse, dependency, and addiction are emerging. With traditional Minnesota Model – so called 12-Step – based treatment producing success rates below 15% it was time for something to change. Yet it isn’t obvious if you’re someone looking for help. Vested interests in the treatment industry keep the ad copy flowing and impressions of success in place.

But change is occurring none-the-less. A careful search of the web will yield real alternatives not just in philosophy, but even in outcomes, moderation rather than abstinence, for example, or in the notion that one can actually recover, not be “in recovery” forever. Additionally, good counseling programs have developed that deliver intensive short-term outpatient programs that far surpass the therapeutic offerings of any residential programs.

How does this work?

For the most part residential programs offer some individual assessment and planning but the majority of the offerings follow a “group” structure that merely recycles 12-Step/AA meeting formats. Most clients pay for the surroundings, accommodations, status (yes, there is status to be had in rehabbing with Lindsey and Liz and Robert and…) and luxury. But none of that is going to help you much when you get back to your real life with a farewell handshake and instructions to work your program. Good luck.

On the other hand, with neither groups nor a preordained “program,” or a single focus outcome, good outpatient programs can only thrive by serving clients. This can only be done by paying attention to client preferences, strengths, interests, and problems and addressing these individually, one client at a time. It’s intense, exciting, difficult, sometimes painful, and xanax detox always unique and creative – if it’s any good.

The best programs will be very intense in the beginning one to four weeks, tapering off over time. The level will depend on the program duration and that should be negotiable. You can manage a huge amount in short order when the focus is on you, not the accommodations, chefs, spas, and other fluff and frills. Following the intense restructuring of your behaviors there will be a period of adjustment, experimentation, accommodation, and sorting. That can be done in person or by phone and the internet (after in person, phone is best, voices communicate much more than instant messaging and chat rooms are even worse than groups, avoid both).

This development period can be expected to last up to twelve weeks and by the time it’s over you should know what’s possible in your particular case and how to achieve it. You should be well on your way.

The final adjusting and settling in, the cementing of new behaviors, patterns, and opportunities will probably last another eight or ten months. During this period you may need little or no help, or you may just like being able to check back and get the occasional reassurance, advice, opinion, or congratulations. Whatever you need along these lines shouldn’t be a problem.

All of this process can be done quickly, efficiently, and most of it can be accomplished from afar. Only a week or two is necessary to do the assessing and create the foundation and a good working professional relationship with a competent counselor. All told you should be able to manage it from anywhere in the country for less than the cost of a first DUI/DWI. You should emerge with a new sense of your capabilities and a better life. That’s what good services should provide.

Do the research, make the calls, examine the details, see how it feels. Explore options and possibilities. Then let others work with you to make it happen.


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