Thursday, November 25, 2010

Prime For Life Prevention Program

This is what I teach every Wednesday night (unless there are five Wednesdays in that particular month, then I get a night off) The information retrieved from www.primeforlife.org is in quotes. My words are italicized.

"This approach differs from many educational programs that teach information which is not capable of impacting behaviors. For instance, when was the last time you heard someone refuse an alcoholic beverage because he knew it was metabolized in the liver? That metabolism information is correct, but is not the type of information capable of bringing about the desired behavior change.

Credibility is crucial to behavior change, and information presented in PRIME For Life is based on objective, documented research findings-not opinion, exaggerations, or scare tactics that inevitably challenge credibility. Program content is research-based and multi-dimensional, incorporating biological, psychological, sociological, and behavioral research in explaining the etiology of alcohol and drug problems, and the steps necessary for preventing them. In fact, PRIME For Life content is supported by over 1,000 scientific references.

The method used to present the program content is another factor crucial to behavior change."
I follow the training guidelines "to gently challenge commonly-held but harmful beliefs that contribute to high-risk drinking and drug choices. For example, the belief that there is no risk in getting drunk just to have fun is persuasively challenged in PRIME For Life." Also, the socially-accepted attitude towards high tolerance is that it is a sign of strength. Using research-based results, it is demonstrated through Blood Alcohol Level Studies that high tolerance is indeed a liability.

We do cover a lot of material and a lot of information that may be new ans surprizing to individuals. As the students reflect on what is learned it may shake their foundational beliefs and attitudes and present them with a scenario of their current lifestyle that does not bode well with them or makes them feel uneasy. That is a normal and natural defense mechanism and some anxiety in discovering that one has a problem or disease is to be expected. Unfortunately, some people carry their resentment and defensive to the extreme to the detriment of the teaching process. On the other hand, there are those who have come to a realization that they do have a problem and are interested in learning how to live a sober, low-risk life style. These people create an atmosphere of understanding and purpose to the classroom environment. The ideal is to have both levels of interest in the class so they can learn from their peers, rather than just me teaching. Because a judgmental or controlling approach is a barrier to change, PRIME For Life does not moralize or dictate certain behaviors. We recognize that people hold different value systems and generally have reasons for their behaviors that seem valid. Our experience confirms that most people are willing to explore new beliefs and change behaviors if the information presented to them is valid, the support is genuine, and the benefits are clear.


Some of the issues we explore in PRIME For Life include :

Does family history increase risk?
Is the ability to "handle" alcohol protective?
Does drinking small quantities of alcohol reduce the risk for heart disease?
What are low-risk and high-risk choices?
What can happen when people unknowingly make high-risk choices?"