Drugs-Alcohol-Relapse and AA

July 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Wendi's Words

Addiction and Recovery Part 2

Freedom from addiction- It is an inside job.

Relapse and Rehab? Outside job.

Don't give up hope. Hang on. Get ready for a big change.

Don't give up hope. Hang on. Get ready for a big change.

(Everything I am about to tell you is true) I’ve been in the office with the director of a large drug and alcohol rehab center when he admitted to me that their success rate is less than 10%. A family sends their loved one to this place, for $27,000, thinking that this will be it! In 30 days everything will be cured and their happy family will be restored. The rehab locks them up for 30 days, makes sure they have no money, drives them to AA meetings, accompanies them as they shop, and stands guard to make sure no one escapes. This is their way of stopping you from doing drugs or alcohol. Managing you from the outside- locked down, take away money, watch your every move, inspect your room and belongings, drive you to AA to hear sad stories of the failure of others… and hopefully you will be good to go after a month. What happens on the inside seems to be inconsequential. The residential rehab centers seem to think that AA meetings twice a day are the cure. You sit and listen to others failures, you endure speakers who talk about their struggles with drugs, you see people into their 50s and 60s who are still going back to rehab and never having a real life, and this environment is supposed to get you over it. Is it possible to put someone into an environment where they are surrounded by addicts and failure, and watch them become anything other than that? If you are told by a speaker who is 20 years sober that he is still trying to make it till midnight without a drink every day, what core belief does that create for you? When you are dismissed after 30 days, and told that only 1 in 12 of you will still be clean and sober in 60 days, how committed will you be to abstaining? (Might as well just go get messed up now, why wait?) When you are surrounded by people who have been in and out of jail and the daily discussion is about judges, lawyers, cellmates and drug deals, what internal identity will you create? And after all this, with no change in your values, core beliefs, or identity you are expected to be clean and sober. Just to make sure that you have lost all hope for your future, next you are encouraged to go into a sober living house where you will live with people who have no life and have a hair trigger to go get wasted. If you want to be sober, should you surround yourself with a dozen people who will go out and get wasted with a mere wink or a nod? In Sober living, as you watch others fail and get kicked out for doing drugs, or constantly have to talk about and think about drugs and alcohol, is there any chance that your brain will magically change and have the resources to be powerful, committed, and in control? Those who study the brain and have seen miraculous changes know that the previous scenarios would actually make it impossible to change. What you think about most of the time, is what you become. It is inevitable. That is how the brain works.
Are you listening? Cool.
(I feel like I am jumping up and down screaming this out the window as I type it) Your brain activity can only react to and focus on whatever it is given. If your environment doesn’t have any other experiences, there is no way that your brain or body is going to find a new response or react in any other way than to have cravings and endure torture every day. Here’s what I think. No, here’s what I know. If you want to be a great golfer, you don’t go dig ditches in India! To be a great golfer you put yourself on a golf course with great instructors, good equipment and you learn to hit the ball and make it land where you want. Simple, right? What if you want to be a great runner? Do you surround yourself with people who like to sit on the couch and eat doritos, and pick their nose? I know it sounds silly, but think about it. To be a great runner, you find another great runners and you run. You focus on your goal, you build values of a runner, you identify with winners. It would be absurd to think that you could spend 1 or 2 months in the company of couch potatoes and expect to be a great runner. So…. if you are going to be free from drugs or alcohol, or other addictions, and you surround yourself 24/7 with people who are struggling, who are going in and out of jail, who are your very wise addiction counselors who keep relapsing, and you’re sleeping-eating-breathing with others who are unable to manage the most basic life skills… what possible way is there for you to learn to build a different response in the brain, or to learn a different set of beliefs or values? Obviously I believe this very strongly. It is not complicated. I am proud of each and every one of you who got clean or sober with AA, 12 step, or rehab. But, the success rate is no better than those going cold turkey on their own! The ones who would have succeeded would have made it anyway. Spending every day at meetings listening to sad stories and filling your mind with relapse stories and fears and sadness might not get you where you need to be. And that explains why so many people who have failed repeatedly at rehab, 12 step and AA. So what explains those have success with my program for addiction? The Alcohol Freedom program, for instance, is my best selling program. It focuses on building an identity that encompasses you being Strong, Healthy and In Control.
Breathe Deep! It is all about to change.

Breathe Deep! It is all about to change.

You create beliefs about who you are as a powerful person, build values of a person who has an active and meaningful life. You imagine and experience yourself in the future living a powerful life and loving the success you created. You bombard your brain with all the images, feelings, emotions, sounds, beliefs, experiences and identity of NOT being an addict or alcoholic, but of being a person with a real life. And that is why it is entirely possible that the 12 step method, AA and most rehab centers have such failure rates. You can NOT immerse yourself in an environment of sadness, hopelessness and despair (and crappy food) and expect to be anything other than that. They say that you can look at your five closest friends and their average income is probably close to your income, and always will be. The same principle applies to everything. Surround yourself with people who are relapsing, struggling, hopeless, depressed and you will stay in that mindset. That is why I think that our current and most popular method of treating addiction actually contributes to relapse. They say that relapse is part of recovery. Seriously? Does it really have to be? I have some amazing stories from people who have overcome addiction even after many failures and relapses, who tell me that after my home program they completely turned themselves FULL ON, committed to a FULL LIFE, lived in a new way. Right now one of the few options available is residential rehab, or AA, or NA. There are a few progressive rehab centers that have much higher success rates who are using methods based on science, evidence and core beliefs. And it is working. I was sitting in the office with the psychologist for one of the progressive science based rehab centers and he pulled out my Alcohol Freedom CD set and said, “Is this your program? I give it to my clients all the time.” I smiled. Enough for today. Think about this, share it, ponder it. Tomorrow I will open my new Addiction Freedom 7 day program to a small group of people who will experience a 7 day intensive home program. You will happily bombard your brain with what you do want, create commitment that will influence every cell in your body and have values and boundaries that will make you feel that you are strong, healthy and in control. Oh, by the way, the documentary is underway. It is going to expose the truth about drug and alcohol rehab. If you want to be interviewed, put a brief story in the comments below. Always remember, there is hope. Don’t give up. I am seriously committed to your health and happiness! Comments? Give me your thoughts below, please. With love, Wendi

PS- if you want the Alcohol Freedom Program right now, please go to

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63 Responses to “Drugs-Alcohol-Relapse and AA”
  1. Kerri says:

    There is a book called “The brain that changes itself” by Norman Doidge. In it he discusses the amazing ability our brains have to change themselves. While he doesn’t specifically address addiction he makes the point many times that “neurons that fire together, wire together”. That is, if you keep doing the same things together then, the pathways in your brain link them. Makes me wonder if part of the problem with addiction is that you do *everything* in an addicted state.

  2. luling says:

    Human beings are unique, unfortunately. Be better if we were all the same, eh? But, we are not. Drunkards are unique, too. Just like normal people. So, each has own truth, his own method/program. There are two facrors that are very important: severity of the problem. And, the personal circumstances of the individual. That is, their mental state; their personal relations; their personal support group. The mental stae involves: dperssion; anxiety; fighting spirit; etc etc.

    There is no one program. Never has been; never will be. There is no easier softer way. Want to help another? First, remember that you are dealing with a unique human being. Second, it is their life — not yours.

    • wendi says:

      You are right, Luling. Everyone is different and has a different approach to addiction healing. Some are spiritually motivated, some only want to use their own determination, some want to be hand-held, and others refuse help and feel nothing will work. Everyone is different, and it is “their life” as you said. Many paths to the top of the mountain as I have often said.

  3. I am enthused and excited about any new substantial and successful way to maintain sobriety. I will check out the web site: http://www.QuitDrinkingNow.com and read it and peruse through the site. I went to AA for six years, and had six years of sobriety. But after getting burnt out on drunk-a-logues and so sad stories, I just went out and got semi-drunk one night, and didn’t feel bad about it at all. Then I went to a rehab place up in Woodburn, OR., but the day I got out, after about nine months of in-patient rehab, I drank. It didn’t work. Only did foir as long I was in the program, but in a way, I now see that it was a sort of game that the clients and the staff played. It was all about money and power and control and prestiege. The strong dominating and lording over the weak. Ridiculoius set-up, and I know most other rehab places are set up similarly. When I last relapsed, or began drinking again, I would tell people around me, drinking people, that if you’re gonna drink, drink. And don’t go to AA or NA and just sit in those chairs there and white-knuckle it and be there when you really still wanna drink. Go drink! Get it out of your system. I’d rather see someone smack into a tree while drunk, than to die the slow, sick death of being a walking dead person, a zombie, in those AA or NA rooms and meetings. You got to get the real deep “Don’t want to drink” before you’ll really genuinely stop. We’ll, I finally got the don’t want to, as I took a very hard and injurious fall one night while in a black-out after I’d had way too much to drink. I was taken to the ER at a local hospital, and the next morning aftyer I walked home from the hospital about 2 miles away on a sprained ankle and toes on one foot, and after hitting my head so hard, I may have konked myself out unconscious, so much so that someone called 911 on me, and the EMT vehicle came an put me on a stretcher in a neck-back brace, and drove me quickly to the hospital. So, and aftyer the aftermath and pain from that fall that night on Memorial Day, 2009, it has been pretty easy to not drink. I have 50 days today of sobriety. It’s easy for me not to drink now. I had a wake-up call. For me, there may be no next time. The next time, if I have another fall while drunk, I might not get up. And instead of an Emergency vehicle taking me to the hospital, but to the coroners facility. So, it takes what it takes. And by the grace of God, and now humbled and with a real healthy dose of the fear of God, albeit the fear of impending death upon any next time, I, one day at a time am maintaining my precious sobriety, without AA or NA or any more rehab centers at all. It is an inside deal, I believe. When a person gets the “want to”, the willingness to quit at a deep level, then a person will quit. I think, though, some sort of support system is a good idea inorder to maintain your sobriety. I have the option and support from the V.A. here in my home town of Eugene, OR. I will be plugging in and going to some relapse preventoion croups, some anger management groups, some core beliefs groups, and possible some PTSD groups, as I am a Vietnam Vet, too. Which may have been one of the main reasons I drank, to cover up the residual pain. I’ve had much good counseling on Vietnam stuff, so I’m cleaned out fairly well. But I still don’t like it when someone is walking behind me, even 50 yards back. I’m getting better though. And I’m not giving up on myself, at all. I’ve grown and come into much healing and more wholeness now, after a lot of good counseling and time and angels and good loving healing people, too. So, I’m very open and eager to find out whast your Alcohol Freedom Progam is all about. It sounds like it may help me, and a lot of others who like so many others who aren’t benefitting from AA, NA, or conventional, often a waste-of-time rehab programs and centers. Sober, and loving it.It takes what it takes, and it took a traumatic fall to wake this alcohol-prone weakness man to get and to stay sober. May everyone who reads my story, also be blessed with an event with God’s grace and mercy to finally get sober, and to stay so. Thank you, and I’m looking forward to seeing what your new program entails. M. D. Cramer/Eugene, OR. 97405-3330/e-mail address: david2925@q.com

  4. dave klein says:

    I have been sober for a long time now and I owe my sobriety to having had a spiritual awakening as the result of doing the suggested twelve steps in Alcoholics Anonymous. I continue to go to meetings regularly not because I’m addicted to them, but because I have learned that the less I think of myself and the more I think about the welfare of others, the happier; more contented I will feel. We can debate forever what spirituality means, but I won’t participate. For me, the well-being of others is important to me.

    I believe that EVERYONE who surrenders themselves to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and are able to be honest with themselves, to the best of their ability, can get and maintain permanent sobriety. That is a 100% success rate.

    • wendi says:

      Hi Dave, congratulations on finding the thing that matters to you. I think that anyone that finds something that is MORE important than their addiction will ultimately succeed. For you, it is helping others and if you are a powerful example of that in AA you have probably inspired a lot of people and helped in so many ways. I think, as you have probably seen, that the surrendering part is hard for some people. As I have said many times “there are many paths to the top of the mountain” and some people have trouble finding the one that has meaning for them.
      Keep on doing the good work! Congrats on your success and the love you share!

  5. Kevin says:

    AA provides a solution. An entire psychic change, brought about by a spritiual experience, and a relationship with a Higher Power. The reason so few get happy joyus and free soberiety through AA, is because they never do the work.

  6. bob says:

    i have been clean an sober since sept 83,,i went to aa at first and did find it helpful, but after a little while , it wasnt necessary, i called it in my mind the 13th step,

    • Kevin says:

      Hey Bob, very glad to hear you are still sober. If you are a real alcoholic that is an amazing thing. AA never said it was the only solution, just a way out, and clearly Wendi agrees with that. AA also promotes open mindedness.

  7. wendi says:

    Wow ANNIE!!

    You are right on. Thank YOU for sharing this.

    P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

  8. Annie says:

    I think it’s immature that people lash out at say things that are insulting, just because they disagree with this idea. And also let me say that in my situation it is 100% accurate!!! As an individual who was drug addicted at one point, I used to call my mom crying after these meetings because I felt so horrible and so hopeless!! Like I was so much less of a person because in treatment they told me that this is what I would always be.. and that I was ‘powerless’ against it! But I wanted more than anything to have my life back to normal, and I was determined to prove the doubters wrong! With the love and support of my family and friends that only had my best interests at heart I developed a strength within myself that flourished by surrounding myself with positive people, and positive thoughts about life and just how much power I DID have over this obstacle! 3 years and 4 months later, here I am drug free! I’ve been tested and prevailed with a deeper sense of strength each time! I have a new belief in myself and my abilities! Although not everyone may agree with Wendi, didn’t Albert Einstein say that Insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? How about trying something new, and see if the results change?! Thank you, Thank you Wendi!! For every word!!!!

    • wendi says:

      Wow ANNIE!!

      You are right on. Thank YOU for sharing this.


    • julie says:

      Annie thank you so much for your passion and honesty, its great to hear. I also believe that we have the power within us to overcome the habit of addiction, to decide enough is enough, I do not want to be called an Addict or a person with a disease for the rest of my life, I had a problem, I decided “I just dont take drugs anymore”, no more than that, I believe that someone who stops smoking does not need Smoking Aholics, they just dont smoke anymore, done, finished, lets move on, and this works with Drugs and Alcohol so well, change ones mind and ones mind changes everythng. Love to hear positive result Thank you.

  9. CindyB says:

    Agreed on all points. I’ve done AA at several points and outpatient treatment as well. Both made me feel terrible and trapped as if I could topple off the cliff at any given moment, that I was a victim with no control. I’ve come to believe that I can only be a victim if I choose to be a victim.

    Bravo to you for promoting the viewpoint of fighting negative with positive – out with the bad – in with the good. COnitnual focus on the downside did nothing for me but increase my feelings of powerlessness and dependency.

  10. Moe says:

    Wow! Wendi
    Granted I’ve been to a few meetings in 13 years of going where I felt I needed another meeting to recover from the previous meeting. R u sure you thoroughly did your research? I haven’t heard your cds on addiction. I wonder if they help people to be selflessness, compassionate, feel a connectedness to others human beings, and gratitude for their basic human needs being met. I know the machine in our skulls can be programed and reprogrammed. I’m grateful some of your cds. I listen to them on and off every night. I plan on trying even more. The smoking cds and suggestions didn’t help, but I will use them as tools in the future when the time is right. When dealing with alcoholics and addicts I often ask them to try religeon, hospitals, therapy, everything before trying AA. It’s not for wusssies. Although I think your article is one sided, and trying to connect great golf players vs. couch potatoes and sobering up vs. negative meetings aren’t logical comparisons, and the overall creepiness sounds like scientologist tactics. I would absolutely suggest someone give it a shot. You seem different now Wendi. Are you ok? Something has changed. I’ll take a look at your cds and probably purchase more that were made before you started scaring me.

  11. Alex Zonn says:

    Wendy, You are astoundingly ignorant about AA. I seriously doubt you have ever attended an AA meeting or spent any time at an AA based recovery house.
    1. Where do those statistics come from? I have heard them as well but no-one has ever been able to quote a real source other than PFA (plucked from air).
    2. The program of AA is based on “Alcoholics Anonymous” (“The Big Book”) and no where therein does it refer to alcoholism as a “disease”. Some may want to clepe it so but “The Big Book” does not.
    3. Your statement “And after all this, with no change in your values, core beliefs, or identity you are expected to be clean and sober.” so flies in the face of everything AA is about it simply boggles a rational mind of which you obviously are not possessed.
    4. “They say that relapse is part of recovery.” Where the hell did you hear that? Not from the program of Alcoholics Anonymous!!! And who are “They” that you are consulting?
    5. Milton Erickson when asked what he could do with an alcoholic purportedly said “I send them to AA, I can’t do anything with them”. You think you are better than he? Certainly at marketing and hype!!
    “I feel like I am jumping up and down screaming this out the window as I type it!” I too!!!
    Please get educated! Straw men make an easy target.
    Sincerely, Alex Zonn CHt

    • wendi says:

      Hello Alex,
      My research comes from years of being in rehab centers with the staff and directors, from numerous centers that my son has been to, from meetings with the drug manufacturers that make new drugs to treat addiction, from Stanton Peele statistics and research… (have you read any of his work?) and from years of dedicated study. I train therapists to help their clients. Milton Erickson was a great man, and the fact that he could not help an alcoholic or that he did not develop a program or methodology for addicts does NOT mean that it can’t be done. Come on, the book was written in the 1930s! I am very educated on this subject. I have massive RESULTS with clients of my alcohol freedom program and my addiction program. Have you read my websites and the amazing testimonials? Do you research on my work, then let’s talk.

      As I have stated, I don’t think that I have THE answer. And I have also been supportive of AA in all my emails. Read them! If it works, that is wonderful. But what do the people in AA suggest for the millions of people who are not helped with that method? With a 95% failure rate, what is the next step?


    • julie says:

      You sound like the typical Nazi “YOU WILL DO AS WE SAY OR RELAPSE” type that gives A.A the name that it has, if it works for you, well great so you must be one of the “very well informed” brain washed people living in total fear of relapse “one day at a time”, that has no idea that only 5% of people actually get and stay sober with A.A. Oh and the fact that some of us have enough courage and strength to do it without having to live a life of the “big Book and negative war stories and reliving our worst nightmares” makes us white knuckle it, everyone is different let people live and learn from different experiences, your negative aggression towards someone who is trying to help people whilst earning a living bringsd me back to the days of meetings and the same kind of “poor me” people, and it makes me angry, I have a wonderful life, full, happy, content, and I help people on a daily basis, I never had any of that in AA and it was not because I did not work a programme the programme was based on a fear that I could not live with Do you suppose that a remedy for an illness in 1930 that someone has decided to change today would have got as much crap, and you assume that you are educated. GET OVER IT GET A LIFE AND IF YOU ARE SO FULL OF FEAR OF RELAPSE THAT YOU HAVE TO STAY IN AA FOREVER THATS YOUR CHOICE BUT DONT INSIST THAT IT IS AN ANSWER I ASSUME THE STRAW MEN YOU REFER TO ARE WEAK, FULL OF FEAR, BRAIN WASHED AND LIVING ONE DAY AT A TIME.

  12. julie says:

    I need to respond one more time. For starters I need to say that Wendi’s cds are great. I used them when I first got sober in conjunction with meetings and out patient rehab. Now for those who say they have issues with the first step “Admitted we were powerless over alcohol and our lives have become unmanagable” when anyone is in the throes of their drinking and cannot stop no matter what or wake up in the morning and say, “I’m not going to drink today” but find themselves drinking before the day is through then you are powerless. It’s in getting sober that we reclaim our power. Today I am not powerless over alcohol but while I was drinking I was. For me the first step is all about surrendering. Its our egos that have issues with the word powerless. One of the best ways to stay sober is to reach out and help another in need. Going to AA is only one aspect of my life, as is doing yoga, meditating, gardening, exercising, taking care of my family, nursing etc. Nowhere in the Big Book does it say anything about living our lives in AA meetings. Some people do but if they are happy then so be it. When I go to meetings it is because I choose to go not because I have to. Somewhere along the line the real message of AA got skewed. For all you AA naysayers read the Big Book,if you haven’t been to a meeting go to one, talk to someone who has good sobriety. I believe there are many roads for this one journey and I like to hear how people’s lives have gotten better when the compulsion to drink has been lifted. I will admit that there are some people who are just as sick sober as they were when they were drinking. When we are addicted to anything we’re trying to fill a void within with something outside of ourselves. What needs to be remembered is that the power is within each and every one of us, a fact we sometimes forget and for me my spiritual practice which includes the 12 Steps has helped me remember who I truly am. Something for which I am truly grateful.

  13. Kelly says:

    I am addicted to marijuana. My days revolve around smoking. The expense is affecting our family. There are two other people smoking in our home, who have no desire to stop. How do I stop smoking when my drug of choice is all around me and wafting in my nose? I feel ashamed and guilty. When I think of being free of this addiction, I feel despair because I know that I won’t do the traditional accepted methods for getting clean. I don’t want to go to treatment or AA/NA/MA. (Been there, done that.) I absolutely DO NOT want to affirm over and over and over “I’m an addict, I’m an addict, I’m an addict.” How can this ever help me break free?

    I have a friend who is one week into being clean from marijuana. The withdrawal symptoms are awful and may include daily migraines for up to three weeks. She’s having nightmares and has been told that when these end she can expect to have “using” dreams for quite some time. Well, needless to say, this causes me to feel quite reluctant to step away from the drug. And yet I’ve been conditioned that this is what to expect and that the withdrawal symptoms are a price that is paid for leaving the addiction.

    When I think of the possibility of your upcoming program to break free of addiction I’m afraid to get my hopes up. It seems too good to be true. I feel fearful that it may not work for me. It is hard to believe that there is a possibility of breaking free from this addiction at all, let alone doing it without the process being very painful. Sometimes it hurts worse to live with hope and have it dashed, than to never have hoped to begin with.

    I am choosing to believe in/allow for the POSSIBILITY that your program will be accessible to me and that it will work for me.

    Thank you,

    • Tom says:

      I am not a chemical addict (except for one day in 1986 – cocaine). However, I have other compulsions. I’ve known plenty of people who stopped smoking marijuana without withdrawal symptoms, but obviously, not true for everybody.

      It’s important to have a (mental or physical) wall against the marijuana smokers in your life. You are smart enough to know what you have to do there.

      Wendy’s stuff works. I joined a 12 step program two weeks ago, and so far I am happy with it. It helps me when I understand how my mind works. It can also help to have a consistent approach. As I grow, what I need changes. When ready to fly, the wings will have the needed uplift.

      Blessed be – Tom

  14. Alyson Kelly says:


    I completely agree. How can anyone get better if they are surrounding themselves with negativity and poor role models?

    Very thoughtful and well-written post.

    Thank you.


  15. christine says:

    Hi Wendy,

    I believe this is an extremely interesting and true insight, because although I don’t have a drinking problem I do definitely have a smoking problem which you so kindly sent me your tapes for, free of charge, which is something I will never forget. I am about to try out the laser system which seems to be pretty good, from what I am told about my friends who have taken this treatment and have stopped smoking for over a year now! And they smoked more than I do!! To be honest and let us be realistic here, if you have an addiction for let us say 20 years no one is going to cure it in one month unless something hard hits them! So all these rehab centers are just making money for the few 10% who are cured. The cure has to come from within because the minute you get home and there is no personalized surveillance, you are bound to fall into temptation again, so that is US$27,000 down the drain! That is ok for persons who have millions like Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan, but for the common denominator it takes a lot more than that to beat the odds. It is like the obese people in the US trying to go to a diet camp for thirty days and if they in their mind don’t turn their whole mind around food and start to live and breath a healthy diet and exercise routine, it will be just another fix!

    Regards as always, I admire your endeavors.


  16. Dorothy says:

    You are so right about this! I have been clean and sober for 14 years, the last three WITHOUT going to AA. AA can be dangerous, because in my city, it has become a “cult of personalities.” People don’t go for sobriety, they go to see and be seen. I have, indeed, learned that sobriety comes from the soul, not from the practice of just staying off the stuff. It IS difficult, but it CAN be done! Love to all!

    • julie says:

      Thank you, that is what we all need to hear, make a choice from within, staying with people who believe they have an illness will keep us believing we have it as well, today I just dont drink, thats it, and I love the fact that I have nothing controlling my life, no drink, and NO ALCOHOLICS ANNONYMOUS

      Best wishes

  17. Pat Hall says:

    Your philosophy falls right in line with the “Secret” and “Law of Attraction”, and it’s so true. Your thoughts are energy and draw to you what you focus on.
    You go girl!!!!!

  18. Richard E. Bull, M.A. says:

    I am amazed at how closely your work parallels my journey. I took my last drink 30 years ago 9after nearly dying from alcohol poisoning). Spent the first 7 years “in recovery” in AA. Then broke away from AA as I read available research and took control of my own recovery. I have literally not had any urge to return to drinking since my first few years in AA.

    Back then there were very few, if any, alternatives to AA. I was ostricized by all but one person I’d known in AA. Went out on my own, sure I was right, but amidst a deluge of dire warnings of the horrible fate (return to drinking, and insanity or death) that awaited me should I “fall away” from the program.

    Thus I escaped from “The Recovery Trap” as I call it. Re-established a identity that simply acknowledged that “I used to drink a lot.” As you say, going “Beyond Rrcovery” (the title of a book I’m workingo on about my transition from being “in recovery” to being not only free from drinking, but free from any concern about the issue.) takes a renegotiation of a non-stimatized identity, real work on core emotional and cognitive beliefs.

    Yes, AA is a wonderful delivery system and helped me a lot in the beginning, but ends up a trap. I have been talking about, and teaching these things for a long time. Am fascinated and very interested in your program. It seems that you’ve taken what took me years to accomplish, into your program.

    I work with people who are interested in going Beyond Recovery. I am, in addition, a certified Louis Hay Teacher. Am studying hypnosis at the HMI extension.

    Would love to experience and learn your technigues. For others, it need not take the years of hard work it took me to reach this point of total Freedom from my past drinking habit.

    with Love & Hope

  19. Dear Wendi,

    You ROCK! I agree with you 100%.

    I recently spoke at a rehabilitation hospital about hypnotism and NLP and thought I would be speaking to informed counselors, until they started asking questions. At the beginning of my talk, I told them that I would likely push some of their buttons because we came at counseling from different points of view (that much I knew). I was surprised, though, at their basic misunderstanding of how the mind works, their apparent disregard for the important and powerful role beliefs (unconscious) play in behavior, and at how little they appreciated or even knew about the therapeutic power of hypnosis and NLP.

    They were all “talk therapists” who wondered why the work they did was so ineffective with so many people. They were mostly LCSWs who couldn’t figure out why people wouldn’t do what they were told to do even after being told over and over again. Amazing! My counterpoints to them were much the same that you talk about, pointing out the inherent failure of AA and 12 Step because of their theoretical basis.

    I am thrilled that you are taking your program and the theory behind it “on the road.” With your usual style of candor and humor, I know you will touch innumerable lives, and for that, I say, “Brava!”

    All the best,

  20. This is powerful.

    One of the most important factors to success in anything is the people you surround yourself with.

    The Power of Association is an invisible force that has the power to feed and lift you or drag and drain you.

    Jill Koenig

  21. Victoria says:


    I can’t imagine a hypnotist that would not 100% agree with you. This is really so basic and logical. But the way you explain it, I think the PEOPLE will finally understand the message and recognize that this is THE way to go. This should be what people try FIRST and not what they finally END UP trying after they have failed miserably at everything else.

    Much success to you with this program.

    You know you are definitely on the right road with this and doing an awesome thing in helping people with their addictions!

    Kudos to you my dear!

    Victoria Gallagher

  22. Natalie says:

    Wow, I couldn’t agree more. I have never had a problem with drugs or alcohol, but I have had 2 people in my life who did.

    When I found out that my husband (then my fiance) had a secret cocaine problem, I attended one Narconon meeting, thinking it would help me cope. The only thing I knew after this meeting was that I could never return. The room was so filled with negative emotions and stories of failure and relapse, I knew that if I came back it would destroy all my hope for the future. I believe that what you focus on will grow in your life, so I knew this was the wrong place for me. I didn’t see how soaking up all that negative energy could possibly help me.

    My husband and I chose NOT to accept the “once an addict, always an addict” mentality, and here we are, 12 years later, never a relapse. My husband says once he made the decision that he was NOT going to live life as an addict, he has never had a single craving since that day. I know this is the complete OPPOSITE of conventional wisdom, but it has worked for him.

    It has also worked for me with a PAST food addiction problem. I recently gave up forever on dieting and just started to live my life. For the first time since the age of 9, I don’t spend all day thinking about food. For the first time EVER, I am slowly losing weight (or sometimes maintaining, which is fine because I am neither obsessed with food or with my weight). I am not starving, and I am not bingeing. I’m finally off the roller coaster, and life is so much better.

    • julie says:

      Thank you Natalie, I am going to show your messae to a beautiful friend who is still struggling with recovery even though she has not had a drug for 15 months, she cannot live with the life of a.a she loves The Secret and Law of Attraction and it fits her so well in comparrision to all the negetivity in the “rOOMS,”

      Best wishes

  23. Hi Wendi,

    Many thanks for having the inspiration to get this message out there loud and clear. As always, love your style, honesty, insight and humour, all absolutely to the point.

    Everything you’ve said in these posts is so logical it should make common sense to anyone who understands anything about human psychology and motivation and how the mind works. I always find it interesting to see what pushes people’s react buttons, especially on a topic that’s considered to be very serious and heavy and brings up people’s defences and fears. The same thing happens when we challenge some of the myths and misconceptions regarding ‘anti-depressant’ medication, or HIV/AIDS… now there’s mass-hypnosis!

    I’m totally with you and this is born out by the evidence of many years’ experience as a therapist, coach and trainer in the UK and Middle East, achieving excellent success rates with clients who have many and varied forms of negative and destructive habits and addictions. I find that a combination of structured hypnotherapy, NLP, EFT and CBT, tailored to suit the individual, is highly effective. If AA, NA, etc. work for some people, fine, but they are the minority, and you explain really well exactly why that is so.

    Thanks again for being such an inspiring example to us all, keep up the good work and wishing you all the best with your latest programme! Leila :)

  24. julie says:

    For starters I need to say that AA has helped more people stay sober than not. It is a spiritual program and the steps are based on spiritual principles. Read the Tao and you’ll see what I mean. When I drank I was powerless over alcohol, and my life did become unmanageable. As much as I didn’t want to drink I couldn’t not drink. I have been to hell and it took me 12 steps to get out. I had your cd’s on quitting drinking but could not appreciate them until I was sober. So using those along with going to meetings, reaching out and helping others and staying on top of my spiritual practice has enabled me to stay sober for 4 yrs. We truly do have to live our life one day at a time. I never say I will never drink again; what I do say is that today I choose not to drink and upon waking I thank the Universe for keeping me sober for that day. For most of my adult life I have practiced yoga, meditation and have felt spiritual connection with the Universe. Alcohol tried to rob me of that, instead what it did, through getting sober, was take all that I knew in my head and move it into my heart. I also need to say that I only drank socially until the birth of my 5th child after that I crossed the invisible line into alcoholism. Postpartum depression was a big cause of my drinking. I wanted to turn off my head so basically my drinking was a symptom of something bigger. With all this said, today I am doing things I never thought possible. I am a multifaceted, truly happy, spiritually grounded woman and a very grateful alcoholic.

  25. I need some help. My story; much the same as all the others. Tried to stop, really wanted to stop, haven’t stopped.
    Life keeps rolling on, and on the surface it looks just fine. It’s not.
    I’m just sad and disappointed in myself. Freedom seems like the sunset.

  26. Di says:

    Call me what you like, call me an idiot BUT AA works for a proportion of addicts.

    Telling that proportion of addicts that the system is rubbish – I would like to see you stand up to Anthony Hopkins and tell him that every day of his life is rubbish – it worked for him – er I don’t think so.

    Yes we have to go to sugar replacements – or if you doctor knows what he is talking about (and most don’t) large doses of Vit 6.

    When you can look me in the face and say – I was that alcoholic, I walked away sober for the rest of my life till today I will listen to you. Until then you like all the others except AA are out for the money. I do AA online and also an agnostic version. I am not sober but how many of the rest of you reading this go to bed every night sober? Most nights I am sober – say 6 out of 7 and that is only because of stress.

    Be good children and buy the booky – make wendi more money – then she can pay for a nice real medical test for her system – Oh sorry she will be elsewhere sipping a glass of chilled wine and counting her money.

    PS – being an alcoholic makes you depressed – that is why the meetings are depressive. You have to be one to understand. I would never take my husband, my alcoholism is my business at the meetings. His help and support makes life worth living outside of them. Perhaps that is what you all need, someone to understand each of you as individuals. I don’t mean wendi by the way. She lives in Never Never land. – sorry but alcoholics have very short tempers when their beliefs that keep them sane are rocked. AND FOR MONEY

    • Laura says:

      Hi Di,

      I’m addicted to alcohol also. I’m so glad AA worked for you, and that you have such a wonderful husband. AA didn’t work for me, so I am excited about the prosect of a new approach.

      All the best to you and your family.


    • julie says:

      If the so called programme of recovery has taught you anything, it is how to talk a load of crap , How dare you tarnish every alcoholic with your symptoms. Being an Alcoholic does not make you depressed, and surely its the anger that you have inside that is aparent in your “poor me” Wendi has it all and look at poor me, that give most alcoholics a filthy name.
      Not all Alcoholics are like you, some of us recover and live healthy normal lives, that are looking for the positive in life not the negative.

  27. Dee Kay says:

    I went to an AA meeting and decided that those people were just switching their addiction to those pathetic meetings. Still dependency.

    I decided and quit for 10 years. Thinking I had control, I resumed.

    I did your program and at the time, I guess I wasn’t ready to totally quit, but when I was ready, the aspects of the things you said in the CD’s is what I drew upon.

    I just remembered those values and created a mantra of “Make Memories, not Regrets”. I didn’t even have to do the program again to get it together.

    Thank you so much for help with a self-improvement way out of addiction.

  28. My biggest beef with the 12 step method is the very first step…

    1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

    If you admit you are powerless over alcohol each and every time you enter a meeting, then it’s no freaking wonder why you have a problem.

    Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over YOU KEEP TELLING YOURSELF YOU ARE POWERLESS.

    Well no shit Sherlock.

    You’ve effectively hypnotized yourself to believe you have no power.

    The truth is, when you gain the power, and belief in yourself that is when you kick the addiction.

    In my mind AA suppresses personal growth and just creates another addiction. Sure, it’s great that you aren’t drinking the hooch anymore, but now you have essentially convinced yourself you are worthless too and dependent upon a liquid.

    I do know dozens of people that AA has really helped them, and I’m supportive of that. But considering the dismal conversion rates of success I’m interested in more effective methods. Methods that empower people and encourage them to take control of their lives and emotions. Methods that build healthy support groups, not ones full of other addicts.

    Sorry for ranting on your blog Wendi.

    I think you are a star! And you know how much this issue bothers me as well. Keep up the good work :)

  29. Connie says:


    You give me hope. I am addicted to shopping. While some might not see that as a disease, believe me, it is as bad as alchohol, drugs, or smoking. I crave buying…anything, everything! I shop when I’m happy, sad, bored, lonely…you name it. If I’m not in a store, I’m buying online. I’ve purchased the same outfit from 3 different stores, always planning on “returning the other two.”…it never happens. My house is filled with junk I don’t need, my bills don’t get paid on time because I spent the money on stuff. My life is out of control. Therapy and groups haven’t worked. I need help. I need your program. Thank you for creating this program. It sounds like just what I need.

  30. Ellie Walsh says:

    Bravo Wendi…

    I went to AA in 1984 – I was not a daily drinker… I got sober in Queens, NY. Lots of meetings, lots of different people – I learned quickly where the meetings were that had the uplifting people.

    I personally struggled with the steps – especially the 1st step that told me I was powerless. The word powerless absolutely pissed me off! People told me I had a big ego — I felt it was my inner voice telling me I was not powerless. Today I KNOW it was my inner voice.

    While I did stay with the meetings and people that were uplifting – I also started on a path of personal development – Reading all I could about how our brains work.

    I didn’t have a drink for 22 years – about 3 years ago I decided the idea that I could never, ever drink again was absurd. Actually I had known for years that I certainly could drink again as I was dealing with life with a whole new attitude and I understand the reasons I used alcohol.

    Today I am a social drinker – Yes I know… they tell you in AA that can never happen – Well it has indeed happened and I am sure I am not the only one!

    I will always be grateful for AA – because in 1984 that was what I was ready for. I met some fantastic people in those rooms who opened doors for me to continue my journey.

    Today I know – without a shadow of a doubt – your life is all about your thoughts…

    I’m a certified hypnotist and nlp practitioner and life coach who guides people back to their own power.

    Hugs to You,

  31. Bill Fenton says:


    For two years I have received your e-mails and have always considered you the Queen of Hypnosis Marketing.

    Today your comments on AA and alcohol hit a nerve. You are the first person I have read that has had the nerve to step up and say AA and most rehab centers are failures….an absolute joke.

    I focus my practice on helping people stop smoking. Now we both know alcohol and smoking go hand and glove for most people. The majority of my clients that quit smoking…restart because of alcohol….Drink enough and you actually think you are funny…can sing and dance…and say…Oh hell I can have one….I have it whipped.

    Next stop a pack a day.

    Alcoholics in my opinion have a condition….they are sugar sensitive. One, they get a better bang out alcohol than normal people. Two, they can drink obscene amounts of alcohol and the way they process alcohol they can get up the next day and function.

    Why do so many alcoholics quit drinking using energy drinks and eating junk and candy bars? Easy it is the sugar they need. Now the good news is they will never get a DWI on four Snickers.

    Today AA exists because of all the DWI tickets that get written. The courts say…go to rehab or go to jail…..DAAAAAA Where do I sign for rehab?

    I have volunteered at several rehab hospitals to do hypnosis to help their clients quit….The answer is always….NO I find most hospitals treat their alcohol rehab as a profit center….Lecture them…and send then to AA meetings.

    There may be one session during the rehab on nutrition….they allow them to keep smoking….ever been to a smoking allowed AA meeting? Always very very popular. The state of Washington July of 2010 is planning to work at having both Alcohol and smoking be stopped during drug and alcohol rehab.

    You can tell….you hit a nerve.

    If you want my opinion for your survey…

    Turn me loose.

    Bill Fenton

  32. Craig says:

    My wife did the rehab crap and they insisted she go to AA meetings twice a day. I attended one and those were the most depressed, unmotiviated and miserable group of people I have ever met. My wife got more depressed thinking this was the only way. After reading several books debunking AA and 12 step programs she just decided she would stop drinking and it worked. No more anxiety, no more depressed groups of miserables. She still has some work to do but I would never, ever reccomend anyone attend AA or rehab.

  33. Harry Sump says:


    I applaud what you are doing. Our country needs more Wendi’s.I hope you can do this for obesity also. Same secenerio. Blessings and Sunshine.

    Happy Trails,

  34. John Martinez says:

    I witnessed first hand what addiction did to a very beuatiful friend, and mother. After numerous rehab stints, it all came down to her own statements, “I’m an addict, I’m an addict”. This was her own personal, self-concept. This was her belief system. She would call me late and drunk. Before saying good night I would say to her, “Sleep with angels Kathy”, I guess not. I lost contact with her in 2006, then she called me about a year ago – drunk. That was it.

    I wish you and your son well Wendy. I applaud your efforts.

  35. Joe Kaemerer says:

    Wendi, You are right on! I am a recovering alcholic. I did get straightend out and quit alchohol in oct of 78 after I became a christian.
    I had tried for years before that to stop drinking and went to numerous classes the US Navy put on. It was after I became a christian and began to attend church on a regular basis and was around other POSITIVE minded individuals.
    You are right and we will become the same as the things we read, listen to and the people we associate with.
    Thanks, for the information. I am ordering some CD’s and will keep one for myself and share with others. Sincerely, Joe

  36. Marilyn says:

    This makes so much sense. What is the first thing people at AA say when they stand in front of the crowd? My name is __ and I am an alcoholic. I have never understood this – they are telling themselves and everyone else, time after time, that they are alcoholics!

    We’ve been told for years that where we put our focus is what we attract/manifest/create. So why put the focus on what we don’t want to be?

    Thanks, Wendi, this is a very empowering piece!

  37. Laila says:

    I do agree with you on many of your points, and I am sober 26 years. I know that with people who are “made” to do anything the success rate is fairly low, with regard to sobriety or anything else.

    It seems to me, as the result of observing for many years, that the only people who were able to stay sober, after being pushed or coherced etc., were those who might have been ready to make that decision anyway, on their own. I know that for myself, there would have been NO way I would have gotten, or stayed sober, if it would have been a situation like the one you described. I wouldn’t have responded to being forced, persuaded, or proded, or brainwashed, etc…

    I decided to try to get sober only because I knew that alcohol wasn’t working for me anymore and that it really was only making me sick. The problem, I got to find out, had really NOTHING, to do with alcohol, except to say that the alcohol was a symptom of what was wrong with my life. That’s not to say that it didn’t come in handy for me for a period of time.

    But,only when I was able to see that for myself, and believed it, was I able to try to stay sober one day at a time. Still, if someone were to say to me “YOU CAN’T DO …. EVER AGAIN” I would have a pretty negative reaction to them. I, still, only stay sober each day, because I know that alcohol has nothing I want. I try to ensure that I don’t slip/relapse etc.. by living differently. I did it all because I wanted a different life and was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

    Most of us that are in AA by choice, have a similar thought about rehab centers, and “nudges from the judges”. We don’t affiliate with them in any way. We have no agreement with them, in any way. The rehab centers do things their own ways. The judges in courtrooms sentence people to AA meetings, but, really, these people could sign their own cards or have their friends sign them. We know that if someone isn’t ready to get sober, for themselves, they probably won’t get sober. I believe if I had been slammed into one of those “programs”, it would have done me more harm than good with regard to my getting sober.

    I do know that I am grateful that I had AA to show me a way to go without alcohol that works for me. I do wish that more alcoholics had the same great fortune, but do know the sad statistics.

  38. Adam says:

    Your featured video is amazing. I never realized the biggest problem in my life is that I never learned how to love myself. Actually looking in the mirror and telling that person in the mirror, “I love you. No matter what I have done in this life.”

  39. Kat says:

    Hi Wendi,
    FINALLY! Someone who has dared to speak the words I’ve been thinking for over 20 years. After 18 years clean and sober I relapsed. I managed to put another 2 years together and relapsed again last October. Although NA saved my life in 1987, I was never comfortable with the disease concept. I have been to thousands of meetings and knwo exactly what you are talking about. After relapsing I went back to AA, it wasn no longer what I needed. My story is too long to go into now. I just wanted to tell you that your email yesterday may be the only apark of light I have had in my life for months. I don’t want to keep using pain medication, I am killing myself slowly. I want to be happy again. I finally feel that the time is here, that you have shown up to help me find my way back to the bliss I once lived. I can’t wait until Friday. I pray that the addiction series is not limited to 250 people and that I wil be able get it. I can’t live like this another minute without hope.

    Thank you

  40. Laura says:

    Thank you! I got your Alcohol Freedom program some time ago, but moved, and it is lost in storage somewhere! The 7 day intensive sounds wonderful — hope I can get it!

  41. mickey says:

    i like to get in your seven day group make it a grt day

  42. Bridgett says:

    It’s time for a new model, a wholistic model. I LOVE your Alcohol Freedom program — I have used it as a teaching tool to inform my hypnosis practice, and as a program to get in touch with my oldest, deepest emotional issues. I’ve seen addiction rob too much from too many. I’m with you, sister.

  43. louis says:

    i am an addicted gambler i will admit it but the real problem gamblers have is the rush it gives them when they win and a raise in blood pressure or a drop in blood when gambling
    From my experience if i were to lose 50 dollars i would try to win the money back hence risking losing more $$$$
    If i win and put the money away in a savings account i am fine
    The Money can be thought of as the perfect drug or orgasm if you want to call it that.
    So bottom line is if you find yourself trying to win your money back it means you already programmed yourself to do that until you run out of money and have a host of bill collectors calling on you
    GA just makes you depressed listening to someone sob story
    I know i have to heal myself and it is going to take a lot of hard work and patience

  44. everything you say is correct about rehab/relapse in the step models. the standard approaches to addiction are probably the WORST way to go about getting clean/sober.

  45. Steve says:

    I hear ya. As an AA success story, I see the failures daily. Rarely do I see failure in folks that really try, and that hang around the other folks that are succeeding – much to your point. Those that succeed find the successful sub-group, and likely do it a lot differently. Maybe those same folks could have done it on their own. Maybe they could have been happier on a different route to the same destination.

    Having bought your Alcohol Freedom product 4-5 years ago, I did have one issue. You mentioned in the instructions to do the sessions sober – which frankly was not possible for me until after the rehab, as it just never happened (me sober that is). I think you partnered with more rehabs is the right path for this product – some folks simply need a little time locked up and medicated to get to the next steps.

    But, I still have the CD, and several others from your product line, and still enjoy the relaxation and meditation that they afford me. If the products help another 10% of the population, that is still an 100% improvement, so good luck.

  46. Marylyn Rands says:

    Makes sense to me.

    My addiction is food, mainly ice cream, mainly vanilla ice cream. I know if I spent time with people who talked about not eating ice cream, I would soon leave that meeting and go get some vanilla ice cream. When you take away an addiction, you have to fill the empty space with something else. Your program might be that “something else”. Yogurt works for me.

    Good luck, all.

  47. Connie Baum says:

    Oh, Wendi, I feel as if I might climb up on MY soapbox now! You are so totally correct on each point!

    We do what we do because we have beliefs…they may be incorrect or not but if we believe anything our behavior follows suit.

    When our BELIEFS and THOUGHTS and FEELINGS are in alignment we will do a better job of anything-getting/staying sober, finishing a homework assignment, remembering to brush our teeth; whatever we focus on.

    It’s really SO simple and we muck it up and complicate things because we believe in our heart of hearts that life has to be hard, has to be painful, has to be whatever we BELIEVE. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Life is Earth School. Everything is a lesson. All that we create is for our edification. We get these lessons over and over until we figure it out. Then we get to “Graduate” to the next level.

    Oh, just come over to our house. We’ll fix up a pitcher of iced tea, settle into comfy chairs and talk until the wee hours of the morn. WE ARE ON THE SAME PAGE.

    Love and Hugs,
    Mother Connie

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