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Tip #1 Separate your evaluation and your treatment

I counsel my clients to obtain an EVALUATION at one place, and tell the evaluator up front that if treatment is recommended, that you will be going somewhere else for TREATMENT. In my opinion, in order for the evaluation to be free of any bias, the recommendation should not depend upon the evaluator needing folks in his or her treatment program.

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Tip #2 Get a fair evaluation

The MAST is a standardized test that helps an evaluator know whether you would benefit from additional counseling. In addition to the MAST, the evaluator should have an in-person interview with you to discuss your personal background, family background, educational and work background and any difficulties recent or in the past that encourage drinking. It is also my opinion that the police report and breath test slip are not necessary for a fair evaluation.

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Tip #3 Get help if you think you need it; don't wait for the law to tell you when

I think anyone who feels as though alcohol plays too large a role in their life can benefit from counseling, but not under the threat of jail by the court system.