My approach is different for each client, depending on the severity and complexity of their problems. Clients who have achieved a successful outcome with my program include a wide range of physicians, dentists, corporate executives, business owners, attorneys, therapists, financial managers, and others – all competent individuals affected by alcohol or behavioral issues.
But how do we define success?
The most important measure of success is the growth in your quality of life. While I do focus on the habit/addiction, my philosophy is more about the progress you make in the overall quality of your life. This is a Harm Reduction approach.
So my approach does not measure success in terms of abstinence days, # of meetings one attends or other typical measures used by other programs.
Contrary to the traditional ’12-step based disease model’ saying “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic,” there exists decades of research to support the fact that many problem drinkers can learn to successfully reduce their drinking. When appropriate, I can offer my clients a modern, private Moderation/Harm Reduction Approach to reduce alcohol consumption realistically and to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
Using my approach is not only more realistic and practical, it can be measured by you daily, weekly or at any time. It gives real feedback on your progress and highlights what life domains need more focus on other than the addiction/habit.
One caution: This approach may not be appropriate for those in legal situations, such as someone who must abstain from alcohol to maintain custody of a child, or in similar black/white situations.
Successful abstinence is about tweaking and making changes to the different aspects of your life that have always fed the addiction, thereby creating a new and positive environment that encourages and nurtures your new abstinence.
But for most of my clients, my method also broadens and reflects how I see the concept of addiction recovery.
On a personal note, I have over thirty years of abstinence from all of my prior drugs of choice, with one exception. I have chosen the ‘Harm Reduction Approach’ to alcohol, as I can enjoy a drink socially (average two glasses of wine a month), with the confidence now that I have the acquired skills to sustain my healthy lifestyle.
My approach can also be useful for a significant other in your life – to measure the progress of their loved one.
The “Addiction Recovery Ruler” I provide for clients has 16 topics of life to rate from “Very Dissatisfied” to “Very Satisfied” – so they can evaluate for themselves how our collaboration has made positive changes toward success and balance in their life.
It can also be helpful to measure important qualities of life before you start treatment with me – or any treatment for that matter. And your significant other can use this evaluation form as a way to better understand the impact of your problem behaviors on their life, and to talk about this in more depth with you.
My ‘goal of success’ for each client is to enjoy a satisfying life in every aspect — and to learn to trust themselves to ‘make good choices on their own.’ To accomplish that, I teach clients a valid, proven approach of changing unhealthy habits using current, practical behavior modification skills with replicated scientific results.
Ultimately, the measure of success can only be made by you, about your own quality of life.