Sobriety and a Niche Market

“The worst thing about some men is that when they are not drunk they are sober.”

William Butler Yeats

Sobriety is a good niche market with estimates from various US National and World agencies stating that roughly 10% of the worlds population is affected by the disease of addictive personality.

Subsequent articles to this will concentrate mostly on the alcoholism, however, the physical maladies of the brain and the emotional affect on the psyche will be similar among addicts, regardless of the substance they use. Drugs, (prescribed or street), food, sex, gambling, codependency,shopping and numerous other obsessive compulsive behaviors can be identified and treated in a similar manner as alcoholism.

As a niche market it is, however, not a lucrative money maker, because the drunk spent all his money on booze. Although the previous statement was intended to be funny, the sad but more realistic reason for the limited market is the social stigma that is still associated with one being an alcoholic Another reason insurance companies and other agencies are unwilling to spend money on qualified treatment has been the limited success rate of treatment. Claims of success in excess of 5% are usually qualified with a disclaimer. The illusion that one is spending good money on a bad person is tacitly real. Sometimes the affected family, employer, or the courts,find resources to finance treatment for the sick and suffering.

The drunk seldom suffers, until he tries to sober up.

One of the greatest travesties in the United States of America is that Insurance Companies are allowed to dictate to the treatment community how long treatment will be and what treatment will

consist of. The concept of the 28 day treatment regime has been dictated by the Insurance companies and has absolutely no relevance to the need of the individual patient. If a patient needs a longer exposure to primary treatment and possibly extended treatment, they are rarely covered for the additional expenses.

One of the more successful programs to relieve the alcoholic of his physical and mental dependency is (AA) Alcoholic Anonymous. The basis for the AA program is a belief in a spiritual condition produced by the individuals understanding of a Higher Power. As soon as the insurance companies see or hear of anything that is not a medical/drug treatment program they are adamant about providing treatment. To bring a God into the realm of personal well being is not politically correct nor does it warrant the expenditure of their monies. The concept of insurance is a very vague and mysterious market, and when it concerns a drunk you can be assured that cost of treatment is limited to doctors and drugs. However, every life has a value and unless one tries to help, no one will know who may or may not benefit from treatment. Just like the disease of diabetes an alcoholic has a brain physiology that has been altered. Once altered the brain can never be returned to what may be considered normal. The analogy that is the most common to explain this phenomenon is:” you can make a cucumber into a pickle, but once a pickle always a pickle.”

A recent TV campaign from a California rehab, owned by a man who wrote a book, are absolutely silly.

Anyone claiming a cure, is not in their right mind, nor their left mind. The man should be taken off the air for spamming. Great marketing, and sure to believe, he’ll make money. Insurance companies support his program because it is medically ascribed to. He avoids false advertising suspicion by making no claims to percentage of treatment success.

Today’s economic conditions are only going to feed the fires of abuse, and subsequent need for treatments. Stress and sudden changes in life styles can be devastating to the average person. Should that person have an addictive personality, the need to stop the depressing feelings of guilt, shame and failure will almost surely lead to substance or behavioral abuses.

If the drunk is not willing to change, someone is wasting their money.

(Please feel free to contact me, should you have a questions or suggestion.)

Happiness is helping someone help themselves.

Iris and ME (Michael Erb)