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Old 03-22-2011, 02:48 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Email I just sent to AW:

"You asked me whether I was going to yell at you, etc. and the answer is: no.

How I feel, right now, is like the turtle in the story about the
turtle and the scorpion. You know, this story:

A turtle was happily swimming along a river when a scorpion hailed it
from the shore.

"Dear friend turtle!" called the scorpion. "Please let me climb upon
your back and swim me to the other side of the river!"

"No," replied the turtle, "for if I do, you shall sting me, and I shall die."

"Nonsense!" replied the scorpion. "If I kill you in the middle of the
river, you shall sink, and I shall drown and die with you."

The turtle thought this over, and saw the truth of the scorpion's
statement. He let it upon his back and began swimming towards the
other side of the river. Halfway across, he felt a sharp pain in the
back of his neck.

"Why have you stung me?!" cried the turtle as his body began to
stiffen. "Now you shall die as well!"

"Because it is in my nature," replied the scorpion as the turtle sank
beneath the waters.

So: why be mad at the scorpion?

The stinger at the end of your tail, [AW], is a bottle of vodka (or
beer or tequila, or whatever type of alcohol). You are doing what
alcoholics everywhere do: stinging everyone and everything regardless
of the consequences to you or to the people who trust you. What's
there for me to be mad about?

As for [Recovery Program you've recently looked into] - it's not a question of money. I have access to it. But, it IS an issue,
in my mind, of your commitment.

Are you going because I want you to go? Are you going because it
might help your legal problems? Or are you going because you've hit
"rock bottom."?

Ya see, IF I have that question, then I guess I know the answer: I
don't think you've hit rock bottom just yet. But, only you know that.

And, at this point, words meaning nothing. Only actions do.

The ONLY thing I want is a sober wife. NOT a perfect wife - for I am
far from perfect. NOT a wife who feels she needs to cater to my every
need (cooking, cleaning, etc.) - because I cannot cater to your every
need. Sober does NOT mean perfect, agreeable, compliant, chastened or
the other ways you've acted in the past when there has been a crisis.

Sober means only sober.

Life and marriage are hard enough to navigate without there being a
scorpion around to sting and take us all down.

Your sobriety has to be first and foremost in YOUR mind every single
moment of every single day. YOU have to decide that life is worth
living - and fighting for. That YOU want to live long enough to see
our grand child or grand children.

And there in lies the conundrum: you aren't going to get sober
without treatment . . . and you're not going to get treatment without
money.

Every year, hundreds of people flock to climb Mt. Everest - even
people with mediocre mountain climbing skills. They hire guides and
buy into package "tours" who tell them they can reach the summit.

But, even then, many of the people who hire guides won't make it to
the top. Weather sometimes makes it impossible to reach the summit .
. . or the person gets altitude sickness . . . or simply gets fatigued
and can't make it. So many things can go wrong on the way to the
summit; yet people still try. Even people who have failed to reach
the summit before. Sometimes people even die on Mt. Everest - even
with guides.

So, when people lay down hard earned money to climb Mt. Everest there
is no guarantee of success. And, to me, getting clean and sober is
like climbing Mt. Everest. It will be difficult and expensive. And
there is a risk of failure.

The question, however, is: how committed are you, really, AW?

Ya see it's NOT the path to sobriety that concerns me. The PATH could
be this program you want to attend, or it could be AA, or it could be
through Buddhism or going to Catholic Mass every day, even, going out
in the woods and howling at the moon. Whatever works is whatever
works.

It's your COMMITMENT to being sober that concerns me. Are you really
ready to give up the alcohol?

And what do *I* need to be convinced that you are, in fact, fully
committed to being clean and sober?

What that MEANS to me, among other things, is that two months, six
months, or a year from now, you WON"T come to me at a family gathering
or a restaurant and ASK ME if it's ok to have a drink. I'm not your
father or your conscience. What it MEANS, to me, is that you answer
that question entirely own your own, in your own head as: no.

Because it's only when YOU can say "no" all on you own - even if it is
a difficult, hard fought "no"to drinking - that you'll be on the
right path.

I cannot answer the question of how committed you are - only you know that.

And, right now, I do NOT know what I need to be convinced that you
are, in fact, fully committed to being clean and sober. That's why
I'm staying apart from you. Because I need to work out for me what I
need.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:44 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Awesome.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:25 PM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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UPDATE:

So, yesterday, AW asked me about how quickly I could get the money for rehab.

(Brief side note: We live pretty much paycheck to paycheck. What we owe on the house is what it's worth. Paid down most of the credit cards and trying to get out of debt. About 6 months ago, I left a job where I rolled out my 401(k) into an IRA. My plan was to use the IRA as necessary as I get my business underway - so the money for rehab comes from an IRA. Rehab is probably about 5% of the IRA funds as of this date. Since the money is my IRA, I'm the one who has to withdraw it).

I asked: did you read my email?

She said: what email? (ok, aside: her emails get pushed to her telephone).

I said: getting the funds isn't the issue. I can go to the bank and, in a few minutes, the money will be in the account.

Today, I get this text from her:

"Can I get money by tomorrow? Can't move on till I have deposit [this is a FOR PROFIT recovery center]. Want to get analysis done tomorrow and it will take at least 2hrs after work."

I wrote back: "Did you even read my email?"

AW: "I'm doing this with or without your money."

Me: "That didn't answer my question"

AW: "Yeah read it. You didn't answer my question either. I need to know if I need to talk to my parents. Wanna get this [rehab] going. Taking meds now [left over from last rehab effort], but I don't have many left."

Me: "U can have the money IF you are committed to doing this for you, NOT because your are in a legal jam. Besides being pissed off at me, I'm not sure what YOU have done to get better. Hell, I was the one who found this program. All you had to do was call. You don't even use the word "alcoholic." So convince me or call your parents.

AW: "I don't understand what I need to convince you, but I'm going tomorrow [to rehab] and hopefully I'll be able to pay. Not gonna beg. You are the one that is pissed at me. And I have talked to counselor in person 3 times this week plus I've been taking naltrexone since Friday [day after her arrest for DWI] and I'm sober since. Oh, btw, thanks for looking up [rehab place] on internet. Don't tell me I haven't done anything."

Honestly, I will say that I don't know what she CAN do to convince me that she's committed to getting sober.

For me, there's just alarm bells going off in my chest/gut that tell me this isn't a "real effort." I just do not FEEL that's it's a real effort.

Not sure what she can do to help me get over that feeling - I just know that the way she's being almost pissy towards me isn't doing it.

Maybe my "gut" is wrong. But, I don't think I should ignore it.
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:28 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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AW: "I don't understand what I need to convince you, but I'm going tomorrow [to rehab] and hopefully I'll be able to pay. Not gonna beg. You are the one that is pissed at me. And I have talked to counselor in person 3 times this week plus I've been taking naltrexone since Friday [day after her arrest for DWI] and I'm sober since. Oh, btw, thanks for looking up [rehab place] on internet. Don't tell me I haven't done anything."
She sounds pretty resentful and angry.

But, it is still early days. Very early days.
We (alcoholics) do not get to humility and responsibity right away.
No expectations, but I say that knowing how difficult that is to achieve.


Beth
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:34 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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Has she tried AA? Rehab isn't a "magic bullet"--she's been through one, so she knows the drill. She doesn't need detox, apparently.

I don't think I'd care to be pulling money out of my IRA when she could be putting a dollar in the basket every day (heck, I'd even spring for TWO dollars in the basket--per meeting, even).
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:54 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Not only is rehab not a magic bullet and she has to want it, but if she is dead set on 'rehab' tell her to contact the "Salvation Army". She doesn't need money for that, it is free, to those that really want recovery, and it has a pretty darn good track record.

J M H O

Love and hugs,


ps: with her attitude, I wouldn't pay for her rehab at a 'for profit center' right now, if I were you. J M H O
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:39 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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if my experience is an indicator of what you are facing; She will say and do anything to get to rehab (and sto ave face in the process, it will be her idea). That will buy her some time and the hope is to get you to reconsider.

She has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Tread cautiously.


I think others have had similar dealings.

We simply can't make them go. We can tell them we're leaving if they don't go. then they go. and we stay.

After mine went to rehab, she started AA and has made some effort. Yet she still drinks. In fact, she came home and drank the very day she returned from the aborted attempt at rehab.

They really don't want to change, from what I've seen.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:44 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by zrx1200R View Post
They really don't want to change, from what I've seen.
If by "they" you mean alcoholics in general, that's a pretty big generalization. The ones who really do, wind up sober--and there are a heck of a lot of us, judging by the stadium full at the AA International Convention in San Antonio last year!
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:29 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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Has she tried AA? Rehab isn't a "magic bullet"--she's been through one, so she knows the drill. She doesn't need detox, apparently.
Nope, rehab is not a "magic bullet."

Then, again, she's tried AA several times too - and it's no "magic bullet" either.

Not looking for a "magic bullet," but looking for a path to success. Success = her being sober. Even if that means *she* decides not to be married to me when she gets sober.

And sometimes it's not just a matter of path, but of timing as well.

Like the Buddhists say: when the student is ready, the master appears.

Often it can take a loooooonnnnggggg time for the student to get ready.

When I was in therapy after my divorce (from ex non-AW), one of the questions that would be raised was: "how many times do you have to be hit on the head by a 2x4 piece of lumber?"

The answer for even us non-alcoholics dealing with non-alcohol related problems/issues is: often we need to be hit *several* times in the head before we stop doing something that hurts us or causes us pain.

I think for alcoholics its the same way - you have to get whacked on the head several times (hitting bottom) before you realize that you can stop getting hit in the head by the 2x4; but I think, too, that there is NOT one path that works for everyone to recovery or sobriety.

There are different types and forms of rehab, just like there is such a wide variety in AA groups (whether we define the difference as "vibe" or "fit" or whatever).

For some, the path to sobriety may lead them to many different doors. Perhaps they have to fail before they succeed.

The issue for me, the non-A spouse, is doing the things I need to do for me.
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:39 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Well, some people do need to go back to AA multiple times.

I dunno, it just kinda strikes me that she's using the "rehab" as some huge symbol of commitment to recovery.

Kinda like the way I've been spending $69 a month for a yoga studio I haven't gone to in two years. Spending the money isn't giving me the benefit, but I keep telling myself I'll go if I keep spending the money.

OTOH, I go to AA twice a week and have been sober two and a half years. I went to 90 meetings in 90 days--it was a much better investment than the yoga studio has been.
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:17 PM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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MCE. I just wanted to write and tell you that your email, your wife's reaction or non reaction to it, your having to ask her several times about whether she read it (and I bet every cent I own that she quite intentionally made you all but beg her to reply about the email), her attitude that came through loud and clear in what you shared that she texted you, well, all of it is frighteningly similar.

I feel like if we switch the words H and W you would have my story and I yours. The rehab issue is one I went through with my H in Jan. I did NOT trust my gut that told me just like yours did that he was not REALLY serious and that the rehab promise was just a way to delay having to make a decision about his life and the direction he was headed in. On the day he was to go he assaulted me, never went to rehab, has been doing "recovery" his own way since and I have left him.

I decided that I did not need to get hit over the head with a 2x4 anymore-- I got the message-- finally.

In your writing I see so much of myself... you don't know, just as I don't know, what it would even take at this point to believe your W is serious about recovery... but you do know that your gut tells you she isn't there. Living with an A has taught me a lot-- one thing particularly is that living with an A has made me question my instincts and not trust my gut when every part of me is screaming "trust yourself". Instead, I look to my AH, who I KNOW is a liar, to tell me what I WANT to hear and I trust what he says instead of myself and all that happens is I wind up like the turtle each time in your turtle and scorpion story.... I think you do too.

Living with your A wife has made you question your gut too. But think about this... how many times, when you've had a gut feeling about something being amiss with your W have you been wrong? When I started asking myself that I couldn't lie to myself anymore... My gut is 99% of the time dead on accurate... And because of that I get caught up in long letters to my H trying to convince him to take sobriety seriously, trying to impress upon him that I don't want perfection from him (just like you wrote-- it's amazing how we say the same things to our A spouses... ) etc... and my hope is that it will register in the way it would if I were receiving that kind of letter. But it never does. Instead of trusting myself and acting in a way that looks out for me, I try to help and save and plead with and educate and convince my H that I just want simple things like sobriety and honesty (guess they are not simple things to an A though). My H promises things will be different, I have the same gut feeling it's not going to happen but I trust his words bc I want to believe this time will be different and it never is.

I don't mean to put my issues on you but in reading the email to your wife, and her response and your talking about your gut, I just felt compelled like I have not yet felt on here until now, to say to you just how much I see of myself in what you've said and oddly enough, seeing it written by someone else makes a lot of things jump out at me that are concerning that I haven't seen in myself until now.

My 2 cents is that spending your hard earned $ on rehab is not going to be the solution you are looking for... In a way I am glad my H assaulted me and did not go to rehab bc it would have been a waste of $-- he was not and is not ready to take that leap and no rehab center or meeting or counselor is going to get through to him until he's there in his own mind and ready to accept help.

If your gut tells you your wife is not there yet either-- trust your gut. Really.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:54 PM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Hi MCESaint, thanks for sharing.

There are many, many of us here with AW's. Tons. Mine:

1. Got an OWI and screwed up her life and mine.

2. Always got VERY mad when I shared anything about her drinking, no matter how much it messed up our lives and my mental health, consider it wrong for me to be sharing "our private business". Endlessly frustrating and total bull. If you can't talk to your closest family and friends about your problems, how are you supposed to get support for YOURSELF in the midst of serious problems and life crisis? (I never did find a way to talk about AW's alcoholism without feeling guilty. Doesn't matter now, we're getting divorced.)

3. Was almost impossible to get into rehab, to convince her to stop drinking, to reason with her drunken mindset. Still blanked up after 16 years of failed efforts.

All I can say is, you are not alone. Coming here and venting will help you -- you can say anything you want! Al anon helps too, I know you're busy, but in the very early stage that you are in, you will find it a helpful balm for your wounds.

Good luck and God bless.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:55 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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The answer for even us non-alcoholics dealing with non-alcohol related problems/issues is: often we need to be hit *several* times in the head before we stop doing something that hurts us or causes us pain.
Replace "non-alcohol related" with "alcoholic relative's" and you've got the question you should be asking yourself.

I focused for so long on what it was going to take to get my AH to "get it"... was it going to be a DWI, was it going to be my begging/pleading/crying... what was the straw that was going to break that camel's back?!?! So much focusing on him, what he was doing, if he was drinking, yada-yada-yada... I gave up so much of myself, my money, my energy, my spirit... all for the sake of saving him from him drinking!

But I did it because I loved him. We were married... for better or worse... in sickness and in health. And I took that damn serious the day I made that promise. The problem is - those vows only work in a two-way situation... with an alcoholic, the giving is largely a one-way street. It's a no-win situation for the non-alcoholic - you're giving out more than you get back. Through the help of al-anon we find ways to supplement... we find friends to care and listen, we find hope... and it helps balance life for us.

I have taken so much money out of my IRA to bail out my AH's bad decisions. I regret it. I regret each and every withdrawal. If he asked me for money from it for rehab, I'd say no. If he really wanted rehab, he'd figure out a way on his own. (Hell, he figures out a way to get drunk even when he's flat out broke... so I know he CAN do it!"

Take what you like and leave the rest!
Shannon
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:34 PM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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First, I appreciate all the responses.

Now for the update.

Finally, had a face-to-face with AW. Her response to the "why are you wanting to do this program right now?" question was this:

AW: "Because this has got to stop. I'm going to die otherwise. My kidneys are probably shot; my liver is probably shot; and all this madness has got to stop."

Bottom? I dunno - probably not.

But, there's a desperation there - a knowledge that this IS killing her/shortening her life considerably.

I support the *program* she's going to because it is the only one so far that makes sense to me.

My AW suffers not only from alcoholism, but - in my non-expert lay opinion - depression and anxiety disorders . . . possibly,OCD and even, ADD. What has surprised me by the programs she's attempted prior to this is that none of these programs really get to treating those disorders or, at a minimum, they are unwilling to treat them with appropriate drugs.

A person who is depressed and is NOT an alcoholic can be prescribed any number of drugs to help them with their depression (e.g. Prozac, Zoloft, etc.).

If you are depressed AND an alcoholic, the SOP for many programs is to make you go "cold turkey" on alcohol (understandable), but ALSO there appears to be a near universal "code" NOT to provide the alcoholic with any medication for the depression (or whatever disorder the person may be suffering from).

On the one hand, I see *some* logic in that. You don't want to turn alcohol dependence into dependence on Zoloft (or whatever). Then, again, being "hooked" on Zoloft doesn't really carry any legal consequences (there's no law against driving while medicated on prescribed amounts of Zoloft, for example). The other aspect is that there may be issues to taking some of these drugs while also consuming alcohol.

On the other hand, it seems counter-productive to me (at least) to "treat" just the alcoholism (by abstinence) and not treat any of the other issues problems. Especially since the alcohol may be a form of "self-medication" for these other problems.

In short, I've not gotten a good answer as to why a depressed non-alcoholic can be treated with medication for his/her depression (or other issue); but a depressed alcoholic (who is attempting to become sober) cannot be prescribed medication for his/her depression (or other issue).

Anyway, cutting to the chase: (1) while it wasn't necessarily the answer I wanted to hear from her, her statement about it "killing her" struck a chord nonetheless; and (2) it's a program that attempts to deal with her addiction and other issues through a combination of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and - if appropriate - drugs. Something I've not seen any of the other programs do.

So, I voted with my dollars. Yes, I gave her the money. And I hope for the best.
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:04 PM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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MCE-

Thanks for updating us-- I've been thinking about you today.... I really hope and will keep you in my prayers, that this is a turning point for your wife...

My H was desperate and scared when he agreed to go to inpatient rehab but then dragged his feet and when he had a few days between his latest crisis and his plan to go to rehab he suddenly decided he didn't need it. I really hope your wife holds on to the memory of this desperation feeling and that it propels her to take her recovery as seriously as anything she ever has...

Thinking of you and wishing you and your wife well...
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:17 PM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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Good luck!
I hope the rehab goes well.
Since you know she's in a safe place right now, too, with people much better equipped and trained to deal with her problems than you are, now is a great time to accelerate working on your own recovery.



With regards to the medications while in rehab, I'd take a guess at a few things...

First, with alcoholics, you can't really diagnose any other health problems until they're clean and sober for an extended period of time. They don't hit that amount of time in rehab. Sometimes people with depression do self-medicate with alcohol, but alcohol is also a depressant (think like the "crash" after an energy drink - alcohol makes you happy for awhile but that wears off rapidly), so there's no way to tell which came first.

Second, someone with an addictive disorder like alcoholism is more prone to trying to fill that void with other drugs when trying to come off the alcohol. Therefore, trying to take the prescribed dose of an anti-depressant is very difficult, especially when trying to come off the alcohol. In other words, it may seem more difficult to come off alcohol without the help, but it's safer.

Third, I remember a thread from a while back about someone whose wife was prescribed all sorts of pills in rehab, because they were only treating her addiction to alcohol, as she did not make them aware of her addiction to painkillers. This made the solution worse, when she went to rehab to get better. So since it's hard to trust an addict looking for their next high/new drug of choice, it's better to just ban all addictive medication from rehab whenever possible. It's also good for them, legal-wise, as they won't be worsening a problem they didn't realize existed.

Make sense?
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:54 PM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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Hi MCE - I'm a recovering alcoholic with depression and OCD (probably ADD, but haven't been tested). It's not uncommon for people with mental/emotional issues to self-medicate.

Anti-depressants aren't addictive or mood-altering. People can't get high off them - there is no craving or physical dependence like with drugs/alcohol. I think the reason most rehab centers don't deal with psych meds is because it requires an enormous amount of money to have a psychiatrist and medical staff and equipment on hand..... and it take times to do the testing and evaluation.

But you're right - many of us do need more than just a place to get sober. I hope your wife can get some answers and can begin a new and better life without alcohol.:ghug3
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:56 PM
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Good luck. And I hope she understands what a prize she has in you. I'll be having some good thoughts for a happy beginning to a better ending for the two of you.
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:55 PM
  # 39 (permalink)  
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Good luck -- my AW's second rehab program was one that had a psychiatrist on staff and other MDs (as opposed to just counselors and addiction specialists), and regardless of the short-term outcome her experience there was much more compatible with her needs. Dual diagnosis is a complicated situation and can take many months to unwind, but it's definitely possible.
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:15 AM
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If you're going to make the investment in her recovery, you might want to consider that a 90 day (minimum) program gives them the best chances. It takes at least that long for the brain to truly start healing and creating *new* pleasure pathways. And when you consider the dual-diagnosis there's even more reason to consider a long-term program.

Just sayin'...
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