It requires a certain personality type – patient, reassuring, unpressuring – to engender trust and establish this sort of relationship in a business context.
A government or insurance buyer needs to make certain that a provider offers a particular service and meets particular standards of performance. They won’t necessarily require you to exceed those standards, or provide extras. They understand that we get what we pay for.
Addiction treatment is never just a business. It’s a public trust. Our goal must be to fulfill that trust by providing the very best service we can to the people who need it. That doesn’t mean we can’t do very well from a business perspective.
Even among programs with a fine clinical program, dedicated staff, good administration, some are more successful at attracting customers than others. Marketing offers a key to understanding why.
I recall someone telling me he could be patient as long as he knew that eventually he’d get what he wanted. Well, it’s easy to be patient then. The trick is to have patience when you don’t know the outcome.
Here we arrive at the core of stigma: the alleged inferiority of the alcoholic based on weakness of will. But alcoholics aren’t weak-willed; if they were, it would be much easier to convince them to seek help.
Alcoholism is stigmatized. So is drug addiction. So is mental illness. And that’s an important obstacle to recovery.