Problem Drinking

If you are a problem drinker, your task is to choose a strategy of change that is well matched to your goals, circumstances, and vulnerabilities.  Here are a set of methods and tools that were developed for a small portion of problem drinkers who are not well served by 12-Step treatment programs.  You may begin the study of  your addictive trap by taking the Trap Detector now, or continue your research on mathcing strategies of change to the individual [recommended for loved ones of the problem drinker].

Matching Strategies of Change to Individual Attributes

The first matching question is: How much external structure is required to achieve the intended outcome? Sadly, many problem drinkers are impaired and require supervision, at least for the short term. In some cases, the problem drinker will require permanent supervision.

  • If the problem drinker has a cognitive impairment resulting from chronic substance abuse, head injury, advanced age, thought, or personality disorder, please click here to learn more about our case-management services.

Some individuals who are not impaired are best served by a change strategy based on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, in which the problem drinker is urged to admit powerlessness over a disease and follow a particular set of steps to recovery. In contrast, others do best when they accept the responsibility to develop the skills and faculties that enhance the power of their will. The two approaches are described below

  •  The 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, based on the disease model of addiction, emerged from the idea that bad outcomes caused by the problem drinker were not intentional but the consequence of a disease. Treatment emphasizes admitting powerlessness over your illness, complying with a plan developed by the treatment providers, and adopting the norms and values of a new social group—the support or self-help group—in order to achieve total abstinence, which is the only acceptable outcome goal. Since you have a disease, you should treat it like a disease and turn responsibility for the cure over to a treatment provider who knows what he or she is doing. Deciding which treatment recommendations to follow or inventing your own is a prescription for failure.
  • The Relapse Prevention Model emerged from the principles of biological, psychological and social sciences. According to this view, you are not responsible for creating your addictive trap—you had no control of your genes, early conditioning, or social history. However, now that you are an adult you are responsible for getting yourself to act in accord with your interests and principles. Rather than encourage you to accept powerlessness over a disease, this approach encourages you to develop the power of your will so that you are able to act in accord with your interests and principles despite the presence of great stress or temptation.

Should you view problem drinking as a symptom of a disease and accept powerlessness over it,or should you accept the responsibility to enhance the power of your will so you can develop the ability to cope with stress and temptation? 

The Treatment Matching Questionaire is a confidential assessment scored on your computer and available at no charge.  Your results, along with other sources of informtation can help you select the approach best matched with your particular attributes and circumstances.  The recommended next step is conditional on your conclusion:

  • If the 12-Step approach provides a good match for you, please click here.
  • If the self-guided path to change is well matched with you, you may begin your work now by assessing your vulnerabilities using the Trap Detector Questionaire.

Our clinical and administrative staff are available via chat, email, or phone to answer any questions you may have. (Individuals who live in the Central Texas area have the option of a face-to-face collaboration).  We encourage you to  contact us electronically, or call us at: (512) 343-8307.