The Alcohol Moderation Program has many advantages when compared to traditional approaches to managing problem drinking. Here is a small list comparing, cost, time and success rates of A.A. and 12 Step Programs, In Patient Treatment and Out Patient Treatment. This list is by no means exhaustive and at the time of this writing all numbers and stats are believed to be true and accurate based on the most recent research.
A.A. and 12 Steps Programs
For years, A.A. has been widely touted as being the most successful and ONLY real method available to stop drinking. It is a program of total abstinence. It is free and is often the only option available to people in lower income margins. Initially it requires you to attend 90 meetings in 90 days as a ‘mandatory’ part of recovery. Regular attendance at meetings is also expected after the 90 day period with many members attending several meetings a day – for life.
It insists on the acceptance of the 12 Steps of recovery which lead the individual gradually to complete recovery and freedom from alcohol by way of spiritual awakening. The 12 steps have members constantly reaffirming that they are alcoholics – even when they are no longer drinking – and that they are powerless over alcohol.
A.A. also insists that you ‘come to believe’ in a Higher Power which will protect you and help you along the road to recovery. Elsewhere in the ‘Big Blue Book’ it is stated that only when the ego is completely broken can recovery begin, which is a very painful process which we strongly feel is unnecessary and even unwise.
A.A. offers a community of support with other people who believe themselves to be alcoholics who provide peer counselling – in effect, drunks helping other drunks. You are also required to pick a mentor who has been sober for at least one year but who does not necessarily have any specialized training in counselling, coaching or alcohol treatment.
There are no reliable or verifiable statistics regarding the success rates of A.A. due to the anonymity factor; members cannot be tracked for follow up 3, 9, 12 months after they become sober. The latest critical research results of A.A. success rates indicate that the program is only 5% effective and in those cases where it is not successful, actually has done more harm than good with people returning to problem drinking worse than before feeling an increased sense of hopelessness and failure.
The Alcohol Moderation Program is accomplished in 6-8 sessions at a great savings of time and money to clients. Even when people chose the ‘twice-a-week’ package, it is only 8 sessions in a month instead of 30, and if you decide to opt in for the 90 day challenge, it is still on 16 – 32 hours in 4 months compared to the minimum 90 hours required by A.A..
We have a variety of options available to meet the convenience of your personal schedule. Sessions can be done one-to-one at the office, in small groups at a location convenient to you, i.e. you and a spouse, or small group of friends in the privacy of your own home, or from your home or office via Skype. In order for the techniques to be effective, I don’t have to touch you, I just need to talk to you. Being able to connect visually is an added bonus. This saves you travel time to and from meetings and provides added flexibility and privacy. It also allows us to work together to really personalize session appropriate for you specific circumstances.
We will not have you reasserting that you are powerless, an alcoholic or broken in any way as one of the key features of the program is that we work to build self-esteem. We believe that ‘breaking the ego’ in order to heal is barbaric and counter-productive to your goals. You will not be required to confess all your sins before a group of complete strangers but anything you wish to disclose while in session remain in the strictest confidence.
Medically Supervised In-Patient Residential Treatment
This is often the choice of those who believe that they are hopelessly addicted and unable to stop. Some facilities are only accessible by doctors referral, others allow you to ‘check yourself in’. Both have long waiting lists and a high price tag.
It is a highly structured approach that usually contains a medical component, individual therapy, 60 hours of group therapy, diet and exercise. This approach is highly effective for people who need to be removed from their lives in order to make a break from all of their addictive associations and relearn life, health and relational skills. While some facilities let you out for the weekend so you can be with friends and family, others require a complete 28-30 stay at the facility where friends and family may see you or phone you within the guidelines.
The facilities also have very strict rules about participation in the program including when you get up and go to bed, when you eat, when you exercise, when and how much down time you get and attendance in the various therapeutic processes, and like A.A. they have a zero tolerance policy. One drink and you’re out. And of course ‘he/she’s been in and out of rehab so many times’ has become an old cliche.
And how much can one expect to pay to stay? Residential facilities cost thousands of dollars a month and there is no guarantee that it will be effective. I have had to clients come to me directly from in-patient treatment facilities where they spent over $10K of their own money and came out worse than when they went in. Recovery rates differ from facility to facility but one has to wonder critically, whether some tout a high success rate to boost their business profile, as most residential facilities are privately owned and operated.
When it comes to recovery from alcoholism and problem drinking, rates after treatment are pretty much consistent across the board:
- 1/3 adopt total abstinence and never drink again – that’s 33%
- 1/3 learn moderation
- 1/3 remain the same or get worse
In other words, if we hold to total abstinence as the only model for successful recovery, only 1/3 are successful and the ‘failure’ rate is 66%. If we account for moderation as a successful form of recovery, the the overall success rate is 66%.
I’m sorry but if I’m going to pay $10K I’m going to need more reassurance than that!
The Alcohol Moderation Program
As stated in several places on this site – this program is not for people with serious drug and alcohol problems and we do highly recommend medical supervision for you own safety if you plan to quit.
Otherwise, the program places no restrictions or obligations on your personal freedom aside from making your appointments in person over via Skype and doing the work of the program which includes listening to self-hypnosis recordings twice daily and completing the exercise sheets. Don’t worry! They are easy and there are no wrong answers but doing them is mandatory as we will be reviewing them in our sessions together.
Beyond this you are free to live your life, and come and go as you please. The only restriction placed on alcohol is that you abstain for the first 2 weeks of the program to allow the new behaviours time to ‘set in’. It may be hard to believe but it is incredibly easy to do with this program. Although creating a healthy life-balance is part of the program, you will not be strictly regimented in any area of your life.
Compared to residential treatment, The Alcohol Moderation Program comes at a great savings of time, money and personal freedom. As stated above, your time commitment in terms of being ‘in the program’ ranges from between 4-8 hours a month plus your daily exercises. When considering cost and success rates, The Alcohol Moderation Program starts at $799+tx compared with $7,500 to $35,000 for in patient treatment and has a 85%-95% rate from the first session.
If you are like most people who feel they have a problem and want help, you want results and you want them fast. You don’t want to be locked up for a month or forced to attend a whole bunch of meetings for months or years on end if you’re not getting anything out of them.
Most out outpatient treatment is centered around relapse prevention. They usually incorporate cognitive-behavioural strategies in order to instill new ways of thinking and doing and are still very time intensive. Most outpatient programs require a minimum of 3 days a week with between 2-4 hours at each meeting. Outpatient treatment is usual done in the form of group therapy and sometimes includes a weekly check in with a counsellor.
While many outpatient treatment programs are covered by group or provincial health insurance, private facilities cost in the neighbourhood of $3,000-$12,000 a month.
Again, they mostly teach abstinence over moderation and recommend that you enroll in a 12 Step Program for extra support.
The Alcohol Moderation Program once again wins hands down in terms of time, money and personal commitment and also includes added convenience with flexible session times and the option to meet over Skype.