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Old May 8th, 2015, 11:06 AM   #1
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A different perspective on addiction

In the spring of 2012, J.G. decided to seek help. He lived in Minnesota—the Land of 10,000 Rehabs, people there like to say—and he knew what to do: check himself into a facility. He spent a month at a center where the treatment consisted of little more than attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He tried to dedicate himself to the program even though, as an atheist, he was put off by the faith-based approach of the 12 steps, five of which mention God. Everyone there warned him that he had a chronic, progressive disease and that if he listened to the cunning internal whisper promising that he could have just one drink, he would be off on a bender.

J.G. says it was this message—that there were no small missteps, and one drink might as well be 100—that set him on a cycle of bingeing and abstinence. He went back to rehab once more and later sought help at an outpatient center. Each time he got sober, he’d spend months white-knuckling his days in court and his nights at home. Evening would fall and his heart would race as he thought ahead to another sleepless night. “So I’d have one drink,” he says, “and the first thing on my mind was: I feel better now, but I’m screwed. I’m going right back to where I was. I might as well drink as much as I possibly can for the next three days.”

He felt utterly defeated. And according to AA doctrine, the failure was his alone. When the 12 steps don’t work for someone like J.G., Alcoholics Anonymous says that person must be deeply flawed. The Big Book, AA’s bible, states:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.
J.G.’s despair was only heightened by his seeming lack of options. “Every person I spoke with told me there was no other way,” he says.

The 12 steps are so deeply ingrained in the United States that many people, including doctors and therapists, believe attending meetings, earning one’s sobriety chips, and never taking another sip of alcohol is the only way to get better. Hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehab centers use the 12 steps as the basis for treatment. But although few people seem to realize it, there are alternatives, including prescription drugs and therapies that aim to help patients learn to drink in moderation. Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, these methods are based on modern science and have been proved, in randomized, controlled studies, to work.

For J.G., it took years of trying to “work the program,” pulling himself back onto the wagon only to fall off again, before he finally realized that Alcoholics Anonymous was not his only, or even his best, hope for recovery. But in a sense, he was lucky: many others never make that discovery at all.

The debate over the efficacy of 12-step programs has been quietly bubbling for decades among addiction specialists. But it has taken on new urgency with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which requires all insurers and state Medicaid programs to pay for alcohol- and substance-abuse treatment, extending coverage to 32 million Americans who did not previously have it and providing a higher level of coverage for an additional 30 million.

Nowhere in the field of medicine is treatment less grounded in modern science. A 2012 report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University compared the current state of addiction medicine to general medicine in the early 1900s, when quacks worked alongside graduates of leading medical schools. The American Medical Association estimates that out of nearly 1 million doctors in the United States, only 582 identify themselves as addiction specialists. (The Columbia report notes that there may be additional doctors who have a subspecialty in addiction.) Most treatment providers carry the credential of addiction counselor or substance-abuse counselor, for which many states require little more than a high-school diploma or a GED. Many counselors are in recovery themselves. The report stated: “The vast majority of people in need of addiction treatment do not receive anything that approximates evidence-based care.”
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Old May 8th, 2015, 11:08 AM   #2
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Here is the article. It is a bit long but for anyone in recovery or knows someone struggling it is worth the read.


The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous - The Atlantic
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Old May 8th, 2015, 12:44 PM   #3
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In the spring of 2012, J.G. decided to seek help. He lived in Minnesota—the Land of 10,000 Rehabs, people there like to say—and he knew what to do: check himself into a facility. He spent a month at a center where the treatment consisted of little more than attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He tried to dedicate himself to the program even though, as an atheist, he was put off by the faith-based approach of the 12 steps, five of which mention God. Everyone there warned him that he had a chronic, progressive disease and that if he listened to the cunning internal whisper promising that he could have just one drink, he would be off on a bender.

J.G. says it was this message—that there were no small missteps, and one drink might as well be 100—that set him on a cycle of bingeing and abstinence. He went back to rehab once more and later sought help at an outpatient center. Each time he got sober, he’d spend months white-knuckling his days in court and his nights at home. Evening would fall and his heart would race as he thought ahead to another sleepless night. “So I’d have one drink,” he says, “and the first thing on my mind was: I feel better now, but I’m screwed. I’m going right back to where I was. I might as well drink as much as I possibly can for the next three days.”

He felt utterly defeated. And according to AA doctrine, the failure was his alone. When the 12 steps don’t work for someone like J.G., Alcoholics Anonymous says that person must be deeply flawed. The Big Book, AA’s bible, states:

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.
J.G.’s despair was only heightened by his seeming lack of options. “Every person I spoke with told me there was no other way,” he says.

The 12 steps are so deeply ingrained in the United States that many people, including doctors and therapists, believe attending meetings, earning one’s sobriety chips, and never taking another sip of alcohol is the only way to get better. Hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehab centers use the 12 steps as the basis for treatment. But although few people seem to realize it, there are alternatives, including prescription drugs and therapies that aim to help patients learn to drink in moderation. Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, these methods are based on modern science and have been proved, in randomized, controlled studies, to work.

For J.G., it took years of trying to “work the program,” pulling himself back onto the wagon only to fall off again, before he finally realized that Alcoholics Anonymous was not his only, or even his best, hope for recovery. But in a sense, he was lucky: many others never make that discovery at all.

The debate over the efficacy of 12-step programs has been quietly bubbling for decades among addiction specialists. But it has taken on new urgency with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which requires all insurers and state Medicaid programs to pay for alcohol- and substance-abuse treatment, extending coverage to 32 million Americans who did not previously have it and providing a higher level of coverage for an additional 30 million.

Nowhere in the field of medicine is treatment less grounded in modern science. A 2012 report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University compared the current state of addiction medicine to general medicine in the early 1900s, when quacks worked alongside graduates of leading medical schools. The American Medical Association estimates that out of nearly 1 million doctors in the United States, only 582 identify themselves as addiction specialists. (The Columbia report notes that there may be additional doctors who have a subspecialty in addiction.) Most treatment providers carry the credential of addiction counselor or substance-abuse counselor, for which many states require little more than a high-school diploma or a GED. Many counselors are in recovery themselves. The report stated: “The vast majority of people in need of addiction treatment do not receive anything that approximates evidence-based care.”
Hell, JG was ALWAYS more than welcome to try anyway to quit, or moderate his drinking, that he thought might work for him.
Agreed, most M.D>'s do not know jack-shit about addictions or treating them.
How on earth told this guy that AA was the ONLY way to treat an addiction problem? "Every person told him?" I seriously doubt that.
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Old May 8th, 2015, 12:56 PM   #4
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Hell, JG was ALWAYS more than welcome to try anyway to quit, or moderate his drinking, that he thought might work for him.
Agreed, most M.D>'s do not know jack-shit about addictions or treating them.
How on earth told this guy that AA was the ONLY way to treat an addiction problem? "Every person told him?" I seriously doubt that.
Check out the article.

You must know that the "12 steps" are the go to in our nation even though there is no scientific proof behind them. "it works cuz it works if you work it"

Or... " I do coke. So I can work harder. So I can make more money. So I can buy more coke. So I can work harder. So...."
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Old May 8th, 2015, 01:18 PM   #5
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Check out the article.

You must know that the "12 steps" are the go to in our nation even though there is no scientific proof behind them. "it works cuz it works if you work it"

Or... " I do coke. So I can work harder. So I can make more money. So I can buy more coke. So I can work harder. So...."
I did read the article, it is the personal opinions and experiences of one person.

Sure it's the "go to" treatment in our nation. Probably for a number of reasons, such as it is free and available to all persons in pretty much all areas of the country and it has the reputation of working for alcoholics & addicts.
So far as MY personal experience and opinion goes it works perfectly well as I now have 29 1/2 years of continuous clean time/sobriety working the 12 steps of AA.
What would make JG"s experience and opinions superior to mine? Willing to bet I've more clean time that JG.
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Old May 8th, 2015, 01:21 PM   #6
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I did read the article, it is the personal opinions and experiences of one person.

Sure it's the "go to" treatment in our nation. Probably for a number of reasons, such as it is free and available to all persons in pretty much all areas of the country and it has the reputation of working for alcoholics & addicts.
So far as MY personal experience and opinion goes it works perfectly well as I now have 29 1/2 years of continuous clean time/sobriety working the 12 steps of AA.
What would make JG"s experience and opinions superior to mine? Willing to bet I've more clean time that JG.
The one from the link?
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Old May 8th, 2015, 01:22 PM   #7
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I did read the article, it is the personal opinions and experiences of one person.

Sure it's the "go to" treatment in our nation. Probably for a number of reasons, such as it is free and available to all persons in pretty much all areas of the country and it has the reputation of working for alcoholics & addicts.
So far as MY personal experience and opinion goes it works perfectly well as I now have 29 1/2 years of continuous clean time/sobriety working the 12 steps of AA.
What would make JG"s experience and opinions superior to mine? Willing to bet I've more clean time that JG.
And good job on the 30 years. That's cool.
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Old May 8th, 2015, 01:41 PM   #8
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The one from the link?
Link would not open. I refer to the printed comments in the OP regarding J.G.
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Old May 8th, 2015, 04:33 PM   #9
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Link would not open. I refer to the printed comments in the OP regarding J.G.
The link in #2 if it still doesn't open 4 u lemme know and I will dm it to u if u want.
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Old May 8th, 2015, 10:36 PM   #10
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I have a lot of experience with the issue of addiction because I was a crack addict in the 1990's and went to three treatment centers, which were all AA based, and all the language therein. Although there is some good stuff in AA, especially things about resentments and not being able to change others, a lot of AA was nonsense, which I can talk abut later. Basically I got off of crack by going to another country where it just isn't available.

I also am a fan of the TV Show Intervention and watch Dr. Phil. I watch these shows for the insane people, but both the Intervention specialists, Dr. Phil and Dr. Drew Pinsky all speak the same language. That addiction is a disease. ADDICTION IS NOT A DISEASE!!!! Hearing treatment people and these "professionals" say this drives me, ironically to drink.....

Diseases are biological in nature. From the common cold to AIDS. There are some genetic diseases and disorders. Addiction (including alcoholism) are habits. Lots of drugs (and I am including alcohol in drugs) makes people feel good! The body adapts to that, and the user adapts to a schedule for use. In the morning when I wake up, I smoke a cigarette. It's my habit. I do not drink coffee in the morning (I do sometimes have a coke (the soda) if my ass is dragging). Some people go apeshit without coffee. Habits.

Why do people become addicts? In many cases, destructive users of substances have a reason behind their addiction. Depression, trauma, having a real disease and conditions like bipolar disorder or some other mental disorder. Addiction is only a symptom of the real problems the person has.

A lot of these nitwit "professionals" in addiction even say that the addiction disease s genetic. Absolute nonsense. One day I was watching Dr. Drew Celebrity Rehab when Dr. Drew interviewed Michael Lohan, the father of Lindsey Lohan, who is also famous for her drug and alcohol issues. Michael was saying that his father was also an addict, and that his daughter is now an addict, and I wanted to reach through the TV and strangle Dr. Drew when he told Lohan that he and his daughter have a genetic disease.....No. People learn from their parents down to their traits and habits. Someone who drinks or uses drugs will have a higher probability of having a child who will do the same thing. Parents who smoke cigarettes will be more likely to have a child who smokes. It's habits and it's choices.

The whole "it runs in families" nonsense. Note, everyone has someone in their family who is a drinker/drug user. Everyone. To illustrate this, I use the Presidents. Obama's father was an alcoholic, the Bush family (and the Kennedy family) goes without saying. Bill Clinton's stepfather was an alcoholic, Ronald Reagan's father was alcoholic. Jimmy Carter's brother Billy. LBJ had a crazy, drunken redneck brother. Nixon would sometimes get wasted drunk, although he was a son of Quakers. Betty Ford. Do political families have a higher rate of this genetic disease? Or could it be that the vast majority of people have a drunk/druggie family member?

Then there is the case of the 1970's band Aerosmith. Every original band member has had issues with alcohol and drugs, and all of them have been to rehab at some point. Now, what are the odds of five guys coming together, who all have this genetic disease? Not to mention all the rock stars, performers and similar people who have died from addiction. Are people with the genetic disease of addiction more attracted to music and the arts?

People are addicted to many different things, I am addicted to the Internet and my iPad. People are addicted to food, sex, shopping, gambling and a hundred different things. Food addicts are usually really fat, sex addicts are lonely with VD, compulsive shoppers and gamblers have no money and bouncing checks. Are these diseases or choices? So again, why not focus on the psychological issues instead of the actions the person does?
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