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AA, 12 Step Programs and MyLife Recovery Centers™

by CEO and Founder, Dan Markel

It’s time to think different. For decades now the treatment has been based on the psycho-social approach of 12 step programs, therapy and life coaching. The most widely recognized, Alcoholics Anonymous is a wonderful program that has helped millions of people through creating a community of support and service. Many of AA’s members are staunchly protective of the program being the only true way to become and stay sober. To that end there are millions of individuals that have become better by following steps and connecting with the loving and giving community that is the essence of AA and Al-Anon. Unfortunately, the program and others like it simply aren’t effective for the vast majority of people suffering from alcoholism and or drug addiction. Why? Because they only treat half of the problem.

My father was an alcoholic for over 40 years. His drinking devastated my family, destroyed a marriage, and has subsequently created a cycle of addiction in our family with several of his grandchildren trying to overcome alcoholism and opiate addiction. I was fortunate as second youngest of 7 children to reconnect with him before he passed away nearly 10 years ago. During the 10 years we spent together in a new found father son relationship that resembled more of a unique friendship he was very open and forthcoming with any discussion I wanted to engage. I believe it was his way of giving back to me all that he missed in my childhood when he was not present physically or emotionally during the worst years of his addiction.

Long before I founded MyLife Recovery Centers™ I was extremely skeptical of alcoholism or addiction being a “disease.” It just didn’t make sense to me. Cancer was a disease I thought. People can’t choose to not get cancer. It just happens. Unlike drinking or drug use where people are actively choosing to do it. To me by drinking or taking drugs someone chooses a bad road to go down, a weakness of character, a self-indulgent trip into laziness or narcissism. Not a disease. Not like cancer wherein the person is a defenseless victim of an insidious incurable disease.

This was how i had felt about my dad’s drinking and his choice to choose it over his family, his marriage, over me and my siblings. We all suffered tremendously in different ways. My mother the most having raising 7 children on her own thru pure tenacity. With no money, a Catholic Church telling he she should stay married even though she was in living hell. And my older siblings who were front and center with the horror of a alcoholic patriarch falling into a hell hole and bring the entire family with him. It has taken decades for us all to heal and even now there still is residual damage. But I like to think I have evolved and learned to view his life, his alcoholism and addiction with less judgment and disdain but rather more sadness and understanding.

In a prophetic conversation nearly 8 years before I founded MyLife Recovery my opinion of him and his alcoholism changed forever. It was just months before he passed away – ironically from cancer – not from alcoholism. I had come back to visit him with my then 7 year old son for his 80th birthday. He had been sober for over 15 years when according to him, he got sick and tired of being sick and tired. Our relationship had been rekindled about 10 years prior to that when after encouragement from wife i reached out to him to “figure it all out”. I had been privately hurt and bitter for years about not growing up with a father and the embarrassment of a having what I perceived to be a complete “loser” as a dad.

With a few years of rekindling an honest and respectful relationship he asked me during a quiet moment toward the end of the small gathering if I had anything else i wanted to discuss with him. Were there any more questions he had not answered since we had reconnected. I thought for a moment and as my then seven-year-old son was playing in the other room with other kids to came to me to finally ask him point blank. “Dad,” I said, “help me understand. I am now a father of four beautiful kids and a wife who is the love of my life. I cannot for the life of me understand, remotely wrap my brain around how you could have possibly made the choice to drink instead of taking care of your family. How, how did you make that choice, over and over again? It is just incomprehensible to me.” He paused, took a deep breath. Nodded, teared up and said, “I wish I could give you a better answer than I’m going to give you. But it is the truth.” He said, “Unless you have experienced the intense physical need of an alcoholic to get that drink or that drug addict to get that hit, you simply cannot comprehend how the physical cravings rule your brain. Your thinking. Nothing else matters. Nothing.”

We stared at each in silence for a good minute before I said, “Ok. Thank you for telling me the truth. I accept that.”

Years later when I founded MyLife Recovery Centers, Inc.™ through my private investment banking firm and the revolutionary treatment of a long lasting naltrexone implant. I thought about how different my life would have been had my father had a treatment that may have worked when nothing else did. It was by his own admission the one part he couldn’t beat. The cravings. The physical addiction his diseased brain had to alcohol.

At MyLife we applaud and embrace Alcoholics Anonymous and other related 12 step programs. We admire and respect its rich history of love, community, support and service. We at MyLife just believe that we can help treat the other side of the problem the physical addiction suffered by those that need medical treatment coupled with a program–a treatment that heretofore has been sadly and remarkably unaddressed and unavailable.

It is time to think differently about treatment. We at MyLife Recovery Centers™ do not claim to have a cure but we know we have a revolutionary tool to now offer many suffering individuals, families, children, friends, colleagues and communities. Good people that have tried everything. We believe in helping in any way we can with whatever combinations of treatments that work. The patient is first and to you or your loved one MyLife Recovery Centers™ is one of the few that offer both the psycho-social and revolutionary medical procedure that we believe is the world’s most effective comprehensive treatment available today.

A delivery of a long time FDA approved drug that reduces or eliminates the craving for alcoholics and opiate addicts whose brains, like my father’s, ARE diseased.

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