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Always Get Better   

How the 'American Model of Chemical Health Improvement' differs from the Hazelden/Betty Ford Approach

A low structure, progressive/incremental change program (like the Muscala Clinic) uses the least amount of services per week for however long is needed for a particular client. It teaches the competencies needed to reduce and eliminate troubling addictive behaviors and thinking. It seeks to teach resiliency in skills despite marriage problems; depression, cancer, unemployment, death of a spouse - you name it. It is 'in vivo' work keeping the client as involved and functional in their lives (work, family, social groups, activities, etc) as possible. It seeks to 'slowly but surely' SHIFT the clients away from enjoyment of the undesirable behavior TOWARDS acceptance and enjoyment of the alternative (no use, less use, alternatives to use, harm reduction, moderation, elimination, reduced use, increased clarity - whichever 'realm(s)' the client can 'buy into'). Lapses and relapses are (mostly) viewed as 'teachable moments/opportunities'. Client work is designed to achieve 'mainstreaming' to live in the 'real world' as 'healthier than the rest of the regular population'. A fully changed/stable chemical health is desired and expected. The 'program' for the client is changed if the client is not achieving reasonable outcomes. The clinician is viewed as a type of' 'dentist' or 'primary care physician' with easy access return for the formerly active patient and 'fine tuning' of the situation upon return.

Cost of care: $1,000 to 10,000 per year

A high structure, fundamentalist/immediate change program (like Hazelden) seeks to use the largest amount of service (immersion) in the shortest time period to gain compliance with the language and beliefs of AA (indoctrination). It is FULLY intended to prepare the client for a lifetime of involvement in AA. The 'alcoholic' learns that s/he must think of themselves as completely different from everyone else and is 'sick and diseased (less than the normal population). The alcoholic is told to live a life of separatism - dependent on AA fellowship and principles. The alcoholic is viewed as flawed, immensely vulnerable each day and is to return for THE SAME Treatment (re-programming) whenever there is a relapse. The treatment never changes - the client just gets more of the same until they achieve the level of spiritual enlightenment/change achieved by the founders of AA. The client has no easy access to return to limited care or even the clinician who originally worked with them.

Cost of formal care: Hazelden 30,000.00+ for 30 days and $30,000.00 more for 6 months of halfway house

Which one is the right approach? BOTH...(unfortunately Hazelden doesn't understand that....still.....after 40 years of available research, scientific findings and clinical innovations!)

The Muscala Clinic refers people to 12 Step programs when they need them. Hazelden and other similar programs NEVER refer patients to Muscala.

Progressive programs are OPEN-minded and do what is best for the patient. Fundamentalist programs are CLOSED-minded and only do what is best for 'the program (AA)'

Best National AA 

Alternative Sites

Dr. Stanton Peele, Ph.D


Rational Recovery

SMART Recovery

Women For Sobriety

Moderation Management