As part of treatment, patients in The Menninger Clinic’s Professionals in Crisis
(PIC) Program who are addicted to alcohol now attend daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with off-campus peers–successful working professionals in medicine, law and business.
The off-campus meetings provide PIC patients with perspective on life after treatment for alcohol addiction and hope for a successful career and recovery.
“Professionals in recovery are exceptional role models for patients,” said Michael Groat
, PhD, director of PIC. According to Dr. Groat, patients bond with their temporary Alcoholic Anonymous sponsors outside of the meetings and build relationships that will support them after treatment.
An estimated 40 to 60 percent of PIC patients are addicted to alcohol or other substances
, Dr. Groat added. Professionals often drink to ease the stress that goes with challenging careers and sometimes develop an unhealthy dependency on alcohol as a primary coping strategy when in distress. Hearing other professionals share their story of addiction helps relieve the stigma surrounding this illness.
PIC patients started attending the meetings in May, coinciding with the opening of the new Menninger campus, which is located a few miles south of the Texas Medical Center, where many professionals work.
“My hope is that patients can internalize what they see and experience at the meetings,” Dr. Groat said. “So they can say, ‘I don’t have to hide myself in shame. I may struggle with an addiction, but I can still be a successful individual.’ That is a very powerful message.”