Why Addiction Is A Disease

Addiction = Disease

Even though addiction was officially classified as a disease by the American Medical Association in 1987 there is still a debate today about whether this classification is correct. Opponents of the disease model of addiction claim that addiction cannot be a disease because it is brought about because of choices that the addict makes. If they did not make the choice to abuse substances than addiction would not have occurred. They believe that to declare addiction a disease is to make excuses for addicts where excuses should not be made. Yet many of these arguments seem to be driven by emotions and anger towards the addict that you don’t really see with other diseases.

For instance, if someone ate poorly for years and developed heart disease because of this I would find it very hard to believe that there would be arguments that their heart disease isn’t a disease because it was created due to choices on their part. Yet that is where we find ourselves in regards to treating addiction as a disease. Unlike other chronic diseases, addiction faces a special type of stigma. Rather than engage in opinions, though, let’s take a look at the evidence for the disease model of addiction and the evidence against it.

Evidence That Addiction Is A Disease

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain. They change its structure and how it works. This idea that drug usage changes the brain is the crux of the evidence for addiction being a disease. These changes in the brain represent an abnormality that causes the behaviors that we consider to be an addiction.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that this change in the functioning of the brain means that addiction is like many other diseases in that it disrupts the normal functioning of an organ. In addiction’s case, the organ being disrupted is the brain and the disruptive behavior is the compulsive drug seeking that occurs in someone who suffers from addiction.

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This idea of compulsivity is another major point in the evidence that addiction is a disease and also one that is contested by opponents of this theory. Some people believe that addiction is a choice. It is a choice to continue to abuse drugs and that this choice is made over other healthier choices because of a fundamental character flaw in the addicted person. This line of thought means that the addict is a bad person and not a sick person and so addiction cannot be a disease right? Wrong. The initial choice to use is many times an actual choice, but in someone who has the disease of addiction subsequent choices to use are not choices but compulsions. Similar to someone who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and has to perform rituals against their will, the addict does not have an actual choice in whether or not they are going to use again until help is sought.

Drug addiction is also similar to other chronic diseases in that it usually runs in the family, meaning there is some sort of genetic component to the disease. Just having the genetic predisposition is often times not enough, though, just as with someone who has a genetic predisposition to heart disease may not suffer from this disease unless the correct environmental factors are present. The same goes for addiction and someone who’s parent is an addict may not suffer from addiction themselves because they did not have the right environmental factors to trigger the disease.

The evidence that addiction is a disease is fairly substantial but given the emotionally charged nature of the illness and the complex social and biological factors that go into its makeup, unequivocally coming to the conclusion that addiction is a disease is not that simple.

Evidence That Addiction Is Not A Disease

The strongest argument that addiction is not a disease rests on the same information that proponents of the disease model of addiction use to prove their point- the change in the brain. Those who do not believe that addiction is a disease say that the change that occurs in the brain of those who have an addiction does not represent an abnormality or malfunctioning brain, but is rather what occurs when someone does something a lot. They say that when we practice doing something over and over again, as drug addicts do with drugs, those neuronal pathways strengthen and this is not evidence of a malfunctioning brain, but rather a functioning brain that has learned something.

They also say that this means that addiction is not compulsive because the change in the brain that is supposed to represent compulsivity is not abnormal. The website The Clean Slate makes the argument that someone who continuously plays the piano will have the same sort of changes to the brain that a person who continuously uses drugs has, but does this mean that the piano virtuous is incapable of stopping playing? They believe, as most other people would agree, that the piano player can stop playing whenever they want and that it is their choice as to whether they will continue to play. They also state that there is no evidence that drug abuse is involuntary and that in many studies it is just taken for granted as fact without any scientific backing.

The conclusion of sorts…

Without isolating the specific gene or exactly what constitutes the biological difference between someone who suffers from addiction and someone who is just a heavy user, putting this debate to rest will be almost impossible. The idea of addiction usually constitutes a strong response from people and depending on their own background and experience with this illness, how they feel about drug addicts will differ. Classifying addiction as a disease has allowed for many drug addicts to get the medical attention they needed and has also raised awareness for this illness in the general public. We have a long way to go in our understanding of addictive behaviors and as with all growth having voices for and against is important to innovation and breakthrough.

Rose Lockinger
Stodzy Internet Marketing.

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

What is Addiction

The Big Question about Addiction – Rose Lockinger

This is somewhat of a “loaded” question, isn’t it? Is addiction a medical condition? A mental illness? A behavior? What causes it? Is it genetics, environment or choice? If you ask ten different people, you’ll likely get ten different answers, and even medical and mental health professionals don’t always agree on what addiction is, what causes it and how to best treat it.

So let’s dig in with what we know, what we can theorize, and what various professionals and organizations have to say about it. One of the biggest arguments people have about addiction is whether it should be classified as a disease.

Is Addiction A Disease? Why Or Why Not?

This is a hotly debated topic. Some people don’t buy the theory that addiction is a disease, however, others argue that it is. It does meet the criteria for a disease: It is chronic, relapsing, progressive and deadly. While there are environmental factors that contribute to the disease of addiction, there is strong evidence that genetics are also involved. If you think of a disease like cancer or diabetes, you can see the similarities unlike those diseases addiction carries a strong negative stigma. There are genetic components to the disease,

but there are also environmental and behavioral factors that can contribute to it.

But, Isn’t Addiction Just a Behavior?

Celebrity Addiction
Check out this other popular article by Rose

It can be viewed that way, of course. People do choose to pick up and use. However, most people aren’t looking at the whole picture. First off, addiction isn’t entirely about drugs and alcohol. Yes, that is what people think of when they hear the word, but drugs and alcohol are really only a symptom, and are also a common manifestation of the disease, but certainly not the only manifestation.

Other Forms Of Addiction

While drugs and alcohol are a common focus of the addicted person, they are not the only way addiction affects people’s lives. Other common addictions include:

Food
Sex
Gambling
Exercise
Spending
Working

Addictions to things like spending money, gambling or sex are also called process addictions, or behavioral addictions. It is possible for a person to be a full-blown addict who doesn’t touch drugs or alcohol, and is more common than you think.

What Is Happening In The Addicted Brain?

In order to gain a better understanding of addiction, it’s important to understand what is happening in the brain when drugs or alcohol are consumed, as well as other stimuli, such as sex, gambling, shopping and exercise.

Of course, results are going to vary, depending on many factors. Obviously, different drugs behave in different ways, but they all have one thing in common: Dopamine.

Dopamine is our “feel good” chemical and is a part of our brain’s reward system. Dopamine is released during many of life’s normal activities. However, dopamine is not limited to pleasure or pleasure seeking. It’s also a factor in motivation, movement and cognition. The system of neurochemicals that our brains depend on to keep us balanced, satisfied and able to carry out the normal aspects of life can go awry. Sometimes, this is an internal issue, sometimes, it’s a result of outside factors, such as drug use. Not only that, but some evidence suggests that dopamine release isn’t just limited to positive stimuli, but negative stimuli as well. This makes sense from the standpoint of addiction. Active addiction causes a host of negative side effects, such as guilt, shame, unpleasant consequences and negative attention. In reality, the dopamine-seeking cycle may continue being perpetuated not in spite of these consequences, but also because of them.

The “high” that you get from using drugs or alcohol releases dopamine and that reinforces the behavior. Your brain becomes conditioned to expect that same feeling of elation and well-being when the drug is consumed. That also triggers obsessive and compulsive behavior and the brain creates defense mechanisms to ensure that the budding addiction is protected. A common defense mechanism is denial.

What is Addiction
Lack of willpower is an “old-fashion” view about addiction

Obsession And Compulsion

Becoming addicted to a substance or activity means that you have an obsessive and compulsive drive to obtain and use the substance or activity. It feels uncontrollable, and in some ways it is. It’s often the case that the addiction cycle cannot be broken without intervention.

Addiction And Mental Illness

Addiction often goes hand in hand with mental illness. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, suicidality, psychosis and other symptoms may precede drug use, or may be caused or worsened by drug use. It’s often thought that mentally ill individuals use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and get relief from their symptoms.

Understanding Addiction

For the person who has never been addicted to anything, understanding addiction is difficult. On the surface, it may simply appear that the person has “no willpower” or simply doesn’t care about themselves or anyone else. It is truly a baffling disease, and it isn’t easy to treat. For the helpless family member or loved one, it’s hard to understand why they just don’t quit, especially if they are experiencing severe consequences.

Drug and alcohol addiction, in particular carries heavy risks, such as illness, overdose and death. Incarceration, job loss, financial distress and the loss of family members, including children are common. How can a person let this happen? The reality is that no one wants to be an addict. It is a disease that devastates and takes lives each and every day.

Help is available, fortunately. This is true for family and loved ones of addicts, too. Drug treatment, twelve step programs, and programs designed for friends and family can provide solutions and support. Education is available, and knowledge is power.

Rose Lockinger
Stodzy Internet Marketing.

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Denial And Lying In Addiction And Recovery

Denial and lying are integral components of the complex disease of addiction.

Denial is a complex defense mechanism that helps protect addiction. Lying allows for the rationalization and denial to create a realm where only the addict exists.

For myself, lying began long before drug use, in my childhood. I lied as a child primarily to protect myself or honestly for the silliest reason. Sometimes I just lied, I experienced a lot of fear in my childhood and I believe this contributed as well.. So in the beginning, it was somewhat self-preservation and sometimes just the first thing coming out of my mouth. I seemed to lack the filter that others had, as I was prone to blurting out inappropriate comments or questions. Let me be clear that my intentions were not to hurt others.

As I got older, lying became a way to gain acceptance. I was socially awkward, and had difficulty making friends. I moved around a lot, and lying and exaggeration became a way for me to get people to like me and fit in.

Denial In Addiction

“I don’t have a problem.” This is a pretty typical position that most addicts take until the very end. Another one is “I’m only hurting myself.”

Most of us refuse to acknowledge what we are putting those we love through as a result of our addiction. I had no doubt that I was hurting myself and I had the paradoxical thinking that although I knew that early on I had a problem I was not willing to admit or accept that reality. You see that is another part of denial you do not live in reality, you live in a fictitious world that you create and modify in order to excuse and explain your behaviour.

Denial and Lying
High on drugs and alcohol the truth can be very elusive.

On some level I knew that my life was not reality that so many of the things I told myself were ok, were not. This denial allowed me to escape and escape became my number one coping mechanism.

If I did not like a situation then I escaped as a child it was through books, as I got older it morphed into self destructive behaviours. When I found the escape of drugs, alcohol and an eating disorder. That was it. I finally had a solution that allowed me to survive while not being present in my life.

It sometimes seemed like my whole life was a lie. Even when there was no doubt in my mind that things were horrible, that I was addicted and people were suffering around me, I clung to lying and denial fiercely as if they were a lifejacket and I was a drowning person.

Lying And Denial In Recovery

Many addicts feel that drugs are the only source of the problem, this was not the case with me I knew that the source of my problem was trauma-PTSD to be exact that in order to find recovery I needed to face the demons that haunted me. My soul was screaming from the pain and the addictive behaviours numbed that pain until the physical aspects of addiction took over. Then I had to have something or I could not function. When I went into treatment I had a very specific goal to get healing at whatever the cost. I knew at a core level that this was my key to freedom.

I did get clean. And life did get better. This was only the first step on my path to this new way of living. Early sobriety was painful I felt so raw and vulnerable as emotions bubbled up and overwhelmed me. Gone were the days were a pill or drink could push them back into darkness. I struggled with living, I struggled with life in general. I did not know how to live without denial, and telling the truth took practice and time. I found early on in sobriety. That it was much easier to live right and not have to lie to cover my tracks.

I loved this feeling it truly was freedom to not have to remember every single detail of your life. When you take the drugs away from the addict, you still have an addict. Perhaps the hardest part of sobriety was being honest with myself about my emotions, for so long I had believed that it was not safe to feel, it was not ok to have what I labeled “bad emotions”. Slowly and painfully I have learned that emotions are neither good nor bad they are simply a means to expression which should not determine my reality. That was the hardest part for so long I believed that when I felt an emotion it was reality thank God that is not the case.

Honesty And Authenticity

Some of it seemed small. For example, when someone would say something inappropriate or offensive, I would laugh and say it was okay. It wasn’t. This is dishonesty. When someone would ask me how I was and I said “fine” or “good” this was also dishonesty. I don’t know that anyone ever achieves perfect honesty, but lies such as this don’t benefit me or anyone else around me, so it’s something I have to constantly work on. It’s part of being true to myself, and growing as an authentic human being.

How To Recover From Dishonesty And Denial

For me, as for those who have come before me, the answer was in the steps. When I worked my steps the first time, I was able to peel back some of the layers of dishonesty and denial that surrounded my addiction. I was able to see how unmanageable my life was and look at my behavior honestly.

I was able to take more responsibility for my part in my resentments, and also take a hard look at how my actions had affected others, as well as how others actions had affected me. Events had happened to me that I had not part, although they left scars they were not my fault and it was time to let go of the shame and guilt that I carried. Difficult does not really describe the challenge I faced when releasing myself from any responsibility for the traumatic events that occurred to me. Unfortunately in this world evil things happen that is gift and curse of free will.

A big part of honesty for me was about self-esteem and self-worth. A lot of my dishonesty was rooted in the belief that I had no value and very little self worth. I often struggled with feeling as if I would never be enough. As I began to build my value as a human being, to give a voice to my truth, I learned to speak openly about what be truly honest and open about my feelings. A metamorphosis happened in me and still happens today as I grow each day. Learning to trust again and believing in my worth, have led to beautiful events in my life.

In this journey of recovery I have discovered that I must always be moving forward and striving for growth in my life. When stagnation occurs I am treading dangerous waters as I risk a return to old behaviours and ways of being. With this in mind I am starting my steps again. This is the way that I grow as I raise my awareness in regards to my flaws and faults.

I strive for improvement not perfection. No longer am I under the mistaken illusion that I could be perfect. Instead I work towards improving my behaviour one day at a time. Understanding that failure is part of success and that with each mistake I learn something new. I can be at peace knowing that I am always striving yet never perfecting.This is enough.

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Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Adolescent Marijuana Addiction Fueled by Multiple Factors

Adolescent Marijuana Addiction Fueled by Multiple Factors

By: Trey Dyer

Adolescents and young people today live in an age characterized by shifting views on marijuana legality, as well as its potential use for medicinal purposes. More and more states are moving toward marijuana legalization, both recreationally and medically, or decriminalization. With society’s shifting views on marijuana use, and marijuana use arguably more prevalent in popular culture than ever before, adolescent marijuana addiction is also on the rise. Contrary to popular belief by many adolescents, marijuana is both physically and psychologically addicting, and there are a number of factors that contribute to the growing number of young people who become addicted to marijuana.

Teen Marijuana Addiction

According to Monitoring the Future, an annual study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, about one in every 16 high school seniors smoke marijuana daily or near-daily. Teens are three times as likely to become addicted to marijuana as adults, and earlier marijuana use among teens can make addiction development more likely later in life.

About 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana, however 17 percent those who begin using marijuana when they are young and 25 to 50 percent of daily marijuana users develop an addiction to it, according to a study by researchers at the University of Queensland. With wider marijuana legalization and decriminalization, decreasing rates of marijuana use disapproval and perception of risks among adolescents, and increasing availability of more potent marijuana, the risk of marijuana addiction among teens is higher than ever.

Teens View Marijuana More Favorably

The amount of students who perceive regular marijuana use as harmful has declined substantially since 2005 and continues to do so. In the past decade, students who see regular marijuana use as harmful has fallen from 74 to 58 percent among eighth-graders, 66 to 43 percent among tenth-graders , and 58 to 32 percent among twelfth-graders. The percentage of students who disapprove of regular marijuana use is also declining. Twelfth-graders who disapproved of marijuana use reached its lowest rates in 25 years, and the number of tenth- and eighth-graders who disapproved of regular marijuana use were just above all-time lows.

High Rates of Teen Marijuana Use

Since 2010, teen marijuana use rates have remained near all-time highs and do not show signs of slowing down. According to the 2015 Monitoring the Future, 12 percent of eighth-graders, 25 percent of tenth-graders and 35 percent of twelfth-graders reported using marijuana within the last 12 months. Additionally, 1.1 percent of eighth-graders, three percent of tenth-graders and six percent of twelfth-graders reported using marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis.

Marijuana Legalization and Decriminalization

Four states — Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington — have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 24 states have legalized marijuana for medical use. More and more states are moving toward marijuana legalization both recreationally and medically, with states such as Florida and Ohio even voting on the measure during the 2014 November elections. Within states that have not legalized marijuana, decriminalization is becoming common, and many city and county governments have decriminalized marijuana within their own jurisdiction. While government officials claim that legalization or decriminalization is meant to alleviate harsh legal penalties for non-violent drug offenders, many critics argue that legalization and decriminalization contribute to change in the public’s perception of marijuana and risks associated with its use, thus perpetuating further marijuana addiction.

More Potent Marijuana

Marijuana today, on average, is much more potent than it was 20 years ago, according to Andy LaFrate, founder and director of Charas Scientific, a lab in Colorado that is sanctioned to test marijuana potency. According to LaFrate, marijuana is about three times more potent on average today than it was in the 1980s. THC, the active cannabis chemical responsible for producing euphoric effects, on average had levels of about 4 percent in marijuana in the 1980s. Today the average THC level in marijuana hovers around 20 percent. Consequently, higher THC levels increase the odds of frequent users developing a marijuana addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

About the Author

Trey Dyer is a writer for drugrehab.com and advocate for helping those with substance addictions reach recovery. When he is not writing, Trey can be found barbecuing, playing soccer and fly fishing.

Sources:

Budney, A. et al. (2007). Marijuana Dependence and Its Treatment. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797098/

CBS News. (2015, March 23). Marijuana far more potent than it used to be, tests find. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/marijuana-far-more-potent-than-it-used-to-be-tests-find/

Diller, V. (2013, January 15). Teen Marijuana Use: How Concerned Should We Be? Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vivian-diller-phd/teen-marijuana-use_b_2468667.html

Hall, W. & Degengardt, L. (2009, October 17). Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19837255

Johnston, L. et al. (2015, September 1). Daily marijuana use among U.S. college students highest since 1980. Retrieved from http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pressreleases/15collegepr.pdf

Johnston, L. et al. (2015, December 16). Use of ecstasy, heroin, synthetic marijuana, alcohol, cigarettes declined among U.S. teens in 2015. Retrieved from http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pressreleases/15drugpr_complete.pdf

National Conference of State Legislatures. (2016, May 26). State Medical Marijuana Laws. Retrieved from http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014, January). Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-adolescent-substance-use-disorder-treatment-research-based-guide/frequently-asked-questions/it-possible-teens-to-become-addicted-to-marijuana

Shapiro, S. (2015, January 7). So you think marijuana isn’t addictive. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-addict-marijuana-legalize-dylan-cheech-chong-perspec-0108-jm-20150107-story.html

The California Courts. (n.d.). Addiction. Retrieved from http://www2.courtinfo.ca.gov/stopteendui/teens/resources/substances/marijuana/addiction.cfm

7 Approaches to Treatment We’re Thankful No Longer Exist

Special Authored Article by Rose Locking

Over the years, there have been many ways of approaching individuals struggling with addiction. From mental institutions to prisons to high-end rehabs that rival many vacation resorts, addiction has been approached by medical professionals, law enforcement, neurologists, clergy and psychologists alike. Addicts have been punished, medicated, prayed over, bribed, analyzed, isolated, you name it.

For the time being, treatments are hit-and-miss. Although longer stays in inpatient drug and alcohol rehab centers are providing better outcomes for participants and offer some hope .What works beautifully for one person, may not work at all for several others. A combination of behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, medication, treatment of co-occurring disorders and life skills training seems to work for many people, especially when integrated with 12 step programs.

One thing though, is for sure as an addict myself I am happy that the following 7 approaches are no longer used:

  • Electroshock therapy
  • Ultra-rapid opioid detoxification under anesthesia for alcohol dependence
  • Neuro-linguistic programming
  • Scared straight
  • DARE prevention programs
  • Synanon style boot camps
  • Several medications for alcohol dependence, including: Beta-blockers, stimulants,
  • dopamine precursors, lithium carbonate

These treatments range from harmless, yet ineffective, to potentially dangerous. Over time, they’ve been ruled out as evidence-based treatment. Let’s take a closer look at these methods.

Electric Shock Therapy

Electric shock therapy (ECT) has been in use for a variety of psychiatric and behavioral disorders for years. It was developed in 1938 and found to be an effective means of treating mental illness such as severe depression and bipolar disorder. At first glance, electroshock therapy may seem a barbaric practice, but it is still in use today. Of course, today the procedure isn’t done on resistant patients, as was common in the past. When more advanced medications were developed, ETC was pushed to the back burner.

It’s use as a treatment for addiction has not been found effective. However, there are those that maintain it is a viable method. Success stories are likely due to the fact that ECT can treat underlying psychiatric issues that may be contributing to the addiction. The downside to ECT is that it can cause severe memory loss and cognitive deficits.

Ultra-Rapid Detox For Opiate Addiction

For people who are dependent on opiates, the idea of ultra-rapid detox is attractive. You go in and in a short period of time (as little as 30 minutes) you are free of the problem. This treatment was developed about fifteen years ago to help addicts get through detox as quickly and painlessly as possible. However, ultra-rapid detox has serious drawbacks, and is incredibly expensive. For someone with a medical issue, the process is dangerous, even life-threatening. Even someone in good health is taking a risk. Not only that, but there is no evidence that the treatment is an effective means of treating the addiction. Other than they are no longer physically dependant on opiates.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970’s. While many people swear by it as a strategy for “curing” everything from schizophrenia to a fear of heights to addiction, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.

Scared Straight

The Scared Straight program was introduced in the 1970’s as a way to “scare” at-risk youth into behaving. It was proposed that when these kids saw the reality of life behind bars, they would be less likely to engage in drug use or criminal activities. It’s a compelling thought, however it hasn’t been shown to work, and is potentially harmful. Aside from the fact that it can traumatize kids (especially those who have likely already experienced trauma and violence) it can also backfire. Many of the participants have gone on to prison, and some actually reported finding the experience made them want to continue on to a life of crime and incarceration. Apparently, some kids thought it was cool.

DARE Prevention Programs

Introduced in the 1980’s by First Lady Nancy Reagan as a means to keep kids off drugs, the intentions behind this program are good. Unfortunately, there’s been no evidence that it works.

Synanon Style Boot Camps

“Tough-love” was a big thing back in the 70’s, and the cult-like organization Synanon played a big part, with heavy-duty doses of that tough-love given at their “boot camps.” Synanon promised frightened parents that their children would return to them drug-free, happier and healthier, but the reality is that it was ineffective at best, and traumatizing and harmful at worst.

Beta Blockers, Stimulants, etc.

So far, medication hasn’t been a complete answer for addiction. While it is an effective way to help people detox from opiates, benzodiazepines and alcohol, medication doesn’t cure addiction. Attempts have been made to come up with medications to treat cocaine, alcohol and stimulant addiction, but so far none of these have been proven effective.

There are very few proven treatments for addiction, and even those that are considered evidence-based don’t necessarily work for everyone. My hope and wish for the future is that science will continue to pursue the best approaches to treatment and that it be treated as a public health issue and not a criminal one. The move of the medical community to now offer a specialty in addiction sciences is a big step in the right direction. I am hopeful that as the stigma fades and awareness is raised the treatment outcomes will improve significantly.

Stodzy Internet Marketing
Stodzy Internet Marketing

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Theories of Addiction

What causes addiction?

Special Authored Article by Rose Locking
What “cures” it? There are so many theories, and yes, some are evidence backed. But ultimately, we don’t really know as much as we should. From the causes to the cures, let’s look at some common theories on addiction treatment, and explore some popular beliefs that have been dismissed by science.

First, let’s look at addiction itself. As of now, there is no concrete, proven cause for addiction. Researchers and specialists believe that there are genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of addiction, but there are wildly opposing beliefs beyond that.

Addiction is considered by many to be a disease. This is based off the actual definition of the disease, as well as the characteristics of disease. Addiction is chronic, progressive, and often deadly without treatment. Typically involving a stay in a residential inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center.

The other camp proposes that addiction is not a disease at all, but a behavior. After all, addiction does start with a conscious decision to use substances, whether it be alcohol, prescription opiates or cocaine. However, not everyone who has a glass of wine, or uses cocaine recreationally or takes opiate painkillers becomes addicted.

Most understand that substance use causes measurable changes in the brain. Neurochemistry is altered, as well as other brain functions. This change is what causes the obsessive-compulsive drug-seeking behavior, as well as some of the often bizarre thinking that goes along with active addiction.

Does It Matter Whether Addiction Is A Disease Or A Behavior?

Yes and no. It matters because we need to prevent and treat it. Once a person falls into addiction, regardless of how they got there, it’s important to treat the problem. People die every year as a result of addiction, and lives are shattered. The monetary cost is exorbitant, and the impact on society is undeniable. If the root of addiction can be pinpointed, then it may make it easier to cure. Since it seems evident that there is no single cause, however, it isn’t likely that knowing the cause will be the determining factor in creating a treatment.

Addiction
Looking At Treatment Options — Refuting Common Methods

There have been many ways of approaching the addicted person over the years. From mental institutions to prisons to high-end rehabs that rival many vacation resorts, much has been tried. It’s been approached by medical professionals, law enforcement, neurologists, clergy and psychologists. Addicts have been punished, medicated, prayed over, bribed, analyzed and isolated. In more recent years, professionals of all types have begun to take a more sophisticated, science-based approach. This is still new. There are very few proven treatments for addiction, and even those that are considered evidence-based don’t necessarily work for everyone. There are, however, treatments that have been disproven, and whose efficacy has been refuted.

Here’s a list of them:

  • Electric shock therapy.
  • Ultra-rapid opioid detoxification under anesthesia for alcohol dependence
  • Neuro-linguistic programming
  • Scared straight

Other treatments and strategies which are going by the wayside as potential evidence-based practices include:

  • DARE prevention programs
  • Synanon style boot camps
  • Several medications for alcohol dependence, including: Beta-blockers, stimulants, dopamine precursors, lithium carbonate

Why Don’t We Have Many Evidence-Based Treatments For Addiction?

Addiction research is relatively new. Researching treatments in earnest is even newer. Just this year new doctors can now specialize in addiction as a specialty. Right now, most treatment centers are using therapies, treatments and tactics that are not considered evidence-based. Does that mean they don’t work? No, of course not. But it doesn’t mean that they do, either. Some examples of treatments and therapies that are considered evidence-based include:

  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Medication (in the treatment of opiate addiction, for example)
  • TSF (Twelve step facilitation)

Is It Possible To Find A Treatment That Will Work For Everyone?

For the time being, treatments are hit-and-miss. What works beautifully for one person, may not work at all for several others. A combination of behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, medication, treatment of co-occurring disorders and life skills training seems to work for many people, especially when integrated with 12 step programs.

Alternative And Experimental Addiction Treatments

In an attempt to discover new ways to treat addiction, there is a steady influx of new treatment models, therapies and strategies being introduced and explored.

Some are controversial, such as treatment using hallucinogens. This may sound counterproductive, but there is actually a good amount of research involving the use of certain psychotropic drugs and the treatment of conditions such as PTSD and trauma as well as other mental illness, so it was only a matter of time before addiction treatment with hallucinogens was explored. Specifically, the substance Ibogaine has gained interest and criticism as a treatment for opiate addiction. Ibogaine is a powerful hallucinogen, and considered a drug with no medicinal value, but there are addiction professionals and researchers who beg to differ. They report that an opiate addict can gain relief from withdrawal symptoms, cravings and much of the psychological pain of addiction through the careful, monitored use of hallucinogens like Ibogaine.

Other treatments are less controversial, such as the European treatment model, consisting of a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and Naloxone, a drug commonly used to treat opiate addiction. It makes sense. The medications frequently used to treat addiction may help the person wean off the drug while minimizing withdrawal and cravings, however the psychological dependence is still there. This is why many people relapse even after they are no longer physically dependent. CBT is a useful tool that can help the individual change their thinking and behavior patterns and achieve long-term sobriety.

In the end the important thing to take away is that regardless of the cause we are in desperate need of evidence based treatments that can be tailored to meet the individual needs of each client. This would be the ideal hopefully until then we can continue to take serious the need for effective treatments.

Stodzy Internet Marketing
Stodzy Internet Marketing

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

Trauma And Addiction: How Parents Can Help Their Kids

Special Authored Article by Rose Locking

As much as we want to protect our children, bad things still happen. Early childhood trauma has a profound effect on quality of life for children well into adulthood. It’s important that children who are traumatized get the help they need right away. Early intervention is key when substance use is not well established. This often results in a more successful outcome for the substance user who attends a residential inpatient drug and alcohol program. It is important that it be acknowledged by the adults as well. Denial has a pwerfully destructive impact on any family that struggles with substance use and trauma. It affects the whole family which means in the ideal situation every member of the family should receive some type of therapy to allow for the healing process to happen.

Handling The Teen Affected By Trauma

Perhaps your teen experienced early childhood trauma, or perhaps he or she has gone through something more recently. For example, if your teen has been a victim of bullying, a physical trauma such as an accident or an illness, sexual assault or even a major change, he or she may experience the effects of trauma. Kids who have been traumatized, regardless of their age, are 1.5 times more likely to abuse substances than kids who haven’t experienced trauma.

If you are the parent of a teen or a young adult, you may be grappling with the after-effects of their trauma. This could mean aggressiveness, acting out, excessive risk-taking, substance abuse, poor performance in school, etc.

Substance abuse is particularly alarming. It can lead to a lifelong struggle with addiction. Many adults who find themselves in and out of rehab or jail are still experiencing the effects of childhood trauma that haven’t been addressed. Drinking and using drugs are a common way for people to try and cope with feelings of pain, fear, anxiety, anger and helplessness. Unfortunately, substance use is not a healthy means of coping, and will only make matters worse. Getting help for your child as early as possible can help avoid this problem.

What If Your Adolescent Is Already Using?

While drug treatment is an effective way to deal with a substance abuse problem, it doesn’t always address trauma. Healing from trauma isn’t generally something that can’t be done in a few therapy sessions or a 30 day drug treatment program. It is a process. If your child has suffered from abuse or some other type of trauma in the past, and is experimenting with or abusing drugs, it’s important to acknowledge the part that trauma may be playing in the situation and get help right away! Look for a treatment center that includes a specific program to start the process of healing. Aftercare planning will be critical to continued success. So make sure that the therapists specializes in trauma. Also look into EMDR it is an effective treatment that helps to minimize rapidly PTSD from the trauma.

So what exactly is early childhood trauma? It’s important to note that not everyone looks at circumstances the same but the following is a general list of experiences that may lead to trauma for children:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional or verbal abuse
  • Witnessing domestic violence
  • Natural disaster
  • Divorce, particularly if it was a volatile situation
  • Death: Loss of a parent, sibling or close family member
  • Serious Medical procedures, Diseases or Surgeries
  • Parental abandonment, including a parent who is emotionally unavailable or neglectful

Caregivers aren’t always clear on the best way to help a child. There are some common misconceptions about children and how they deal with traumatic situations, and those misconceptions may cause parents to not take action. Here are some myths that need to be dispelled:

Young children (under 5 years) will forget about the trauma

This may or may not be true, depending on the age of the child when the event(s) take place, but that does not mean that damage hasn’t been done. The fear, stress and feelings of powerlessness and confusion will linger on for years.

Children are more resilient than adults, and so “get over” trauma more easily

Children are resilient, but this does not mean they are not deeply hurt by what’s happened to them. They may appear to go on with their lives quickly, but don’t let that fool you. Many children will show no outward signs of trauma for years.

Talking about the trauma will only upset them

It may upset them, but that is okay. Therapy is the best place to discuss the trauma, but parents shouldn’t avoid the topic if the child wants to bring it up. When parents deny or ignore the issue, it can leave the child feeling abandoned, or make them question themselves.

If the child is very young, he or she will not benefit from therapy

Even preverbal children can benefit from therapy. Depending on the trauma and the child’s temperament, therapy may need to go on for years. While this may seem unnecessary, it’s not. The implications of severe trauma may impact your child’s future in many ways, so it’s important that the child gets all the help they need, for as long as they need it.

The Impact Of Trauma On Children Through Adulthood

Unfortunately, trauma doesn’t just go away on its own. Children who experience trauma may not talk about it, and they may appear to move on more quickly to their normal routine and activities. However, there is strong evidence that although resilient in many ways, children who experience trauma are profoundly changed, often in ways that do not show up for years.

It’s Never Too Early To Intervene

If your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, it isn’t too early to get help. The sooner the problem is addressed, the better. Getting your son or daughter help in the form of a good adolescent program that offers addiction treatment and intensive therapy may help prevent a years-long battle that will take a heavy toll.

If you are dealing with a young adult, you can still help. Be open and honest with them about your fears, talk to them about what they went through and let them know it may be the root of their problem. If things have escalated and they are abusing substances, arrange a professional intervention.

Getting Your Child The Right Kind Of Help

It’s important that you get your child the help that is right for them. Find a child therapist that specializes in trauma. This is important. Not all counselors specialize in this. It’s not likely that your family counselor is going to have this expertise.

The Problem Won’t Go Away Overnight

The healing process is just that — a process. The earlier you start therapy for your child (and perhaps yourself) the better. With that said, it’s never too late to get help, either! If your teen is struggling with addiction, now is the time to act to get them the help they need so they can overcome addiction and find some peace in their lives.

Stodzy Internet Marketing
Stodzy Internet Marketing

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

9 Ways I empowered myself by someone else’s addiction

After being sober for many years, this is my Al-Anon summary. Hang with me because I am embarrassed by my lack of knowledge. There was a guy named Bill Wilson, who started an organization called Alcoholics Anonymous. He was married to a woman named Lois. This poor lady stayed by his side during his terrible drinking years. She started an organization called Al-Anon to help other people who were married to sick alcoholics. This was a good way for them to have their own meetings and not feel left out. The AA meetings were fun with lots of laughter; often times the attendees celebrated various achievements with cake and coffee. The Al-Anon meetings were serious and often sad, because they mostly complained about the alcoholics. There was nothing to celebrate.

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There was a movie made about Lois Wilson.

My information was not very accurate …. this is what happened. When I first started dating my husband, he was a very involved member of Al-Anon. I thought it completely strange, since he did not grow up in an alcoholic household. In fact, none of his relatives have had a drinking or drug problem. He told me that he “qualified” because his ex-wife was a drug addict and alcoholic. But, that didn’t make sense either because they were both sober, when they met. He told me that she had “power” over his emotions. For example, if she wanted to make him really angry, she knew just the right buttons to push. So, he was learning “her behavior is non of my business”. He was not giving her the power to control his day.💕

That was weird. I thought surely that people went to Al-Anon so they would be told to leave their drinking spouse or cut off their drug-using kids. He explained — this is not true. If the person wants to stay in that relationship, that is fine. However,  the alcoholic or addict will not “call the shots” anymore. Their destructive behavior will have no effect on the household. This means — stop throwing the booze and dope away. Stop making empty demands and threats to make the person quit.

What if they want help

Now, if the person wants to change, that is a different story. I help people get into treatment centers every day. I am shocked at the amount of success I get to see. Addiction and Alcoholism are both deadly diseases with high relapse rates. However, there are effective treatments. I have watched so many folks turn their life around.

If the person refuses to change — can Al-Anon “fix me”?

I can’t be sure, but I know that the change in my husband has been profound. To see if you might be interested, here are the twenty questions from their website.

Millions of people are affected by the excessive drinking of someone close. The following questions are designed to help you decide whether or not you need Al-Anon:

1. Do you worry about how much someone drinks?
2. Do you have money problems because of someone else’s drinking?
3. Do you tell lies to cover up for someone else’s drinking?
4. Do you feel that if the drinker cared about you, he or she would stop drinking to please you?
5. Do you blame the drinker’s behavior on his or her companions?
6. Are plans frequently upset or canceled or meals delayed because of the drinker?
7. Do you make threats, such as, “If you don’t stop drinking, I’ll leave you”?
8. Do you secretly try to smell the drinker’s breath?
9. Are you afraid to upset someone for fear it will set off a drinking bout?
10. Have you been hurt or embarrassed by a drinker’s behavior?
11. Are holidays and gatherings spoiled because of drinking?
12. Have you considered calling the police for help in fear of abuse?
13. Do you search for hidden alcohol?
14. Do you ever ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking?
15. Have you refused social invitations out of fear or anxiety?
16. Do you feel like a failure because you can’t control the drinking?
17. Do you think that if the drinker stopped drinking, your other problems would be solved?
18. Do you ever threaten to hurt yourself to scare the drinker?
19. Do you feel angry, confused, or depressed most of the time?
20. Do you feel there is no one who understands your problems?

If you have checked any of these questions, Al-Anon or Alateen may be able to help. Find a meeting now.

Wow, that is a low bar for admission. Normally, you need to check anywhere from 12 to 19 questions “yes” out of 20. In this test, you qualify if you checked just one.

My list of 9 ways I empowered myslef:

If you are even a little bit curious about Al-Anon, please allow me to persuade you to go. I am not a “member” but I attended about 20 meetings. My motivation was curiosity (and maybe to better myself and better serve others).🌟Here are my take-aways:

  1. People were crazy nice and welcoming
  2. There was laughter
  3. Coffee and cookies were regularly present.
  4. There was no weirdness or recruiting.
  5. I felt no pressure to come back.
  6. I was asked to share at the meeting and it’s always nice to talk about myself
  7. There were no dues or fees, but they passed a basket
  8. I was going to take an hour lunch break anyway, so it was a great use of time
  9. I left feeling better than when I came
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Do drug and alcohol interventions work?

Let me end by giving you a more formal description I got over at my favorite site Healthline.

 

Al-Anon is a support network for people who are affected by another person’s alcoholism or alcohol abuse. People who live with the effects and consequences of a person’s addiction can use this group as a way to connect with other individuals facing similar challenges. Through this interaction, friends and relatives can gain a greater understanding of how they can cope and help their loved ones face the struggles of breaking an addiction. Al-Anon also helps people accept and address the emotional and mental effects a loved one’s alcoholism can have. A local chapter of AA can help you connect with an Al-Anon group.

Another Direction

I have written several articles on co-dependancy and intervention. If you have a loved one in your life, offering a drastic “bottom line” might be the missing link. Just be sure that you are healthy, strong and in fit spiritual condition before you try to help some one else.

drug and alcohol treatment
I write my blog for fun and for free — my website can be found by clicking here. 

Recovery, Support and 12-Step Groups

Let me clear up some confusion.  There are various names for similar recovery organizations. You might hear “self-help group” “support group” “12-step” or even “peer group”.  In the medical community they call it Mutual Aid Support. That sounds a little clunky to my ear, but okay, I can go with it.

What do these groups do?

These groups normally have a goal to provide help for people wanting long-term sobriety from addiction and alcohol.  The most well known organization is Alcoholics Anonymous. You can read more about that in my last article.  If that is not your thing, or if alcohol doesn’t apply to you, there are groups for people seeking all kinds of recovery. These groups can be for the addict or for their families and significant others. It’s very common for people to think of this as a form of “self-help” therapy. Personally, I think this can be a little misleading. That’s because most addicts (like me) have failed on their own efforts to achieve anything close to long-term recovery. I prefer to conceptualize it more like “help each other” therapy.

green land.jpeg
There is a mind-blowing amount of support groups available.

Support Options

Celebrate Recovery – is a hybrid of a 12-step program  plus Christianity.

Non-twelve-step addiction recovery group options:

LifeRingLifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR)
Moderation Management (MM)
Narconon (Church of Scientology)
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
SMART Recovery
Women For Sobriety (WFS)

There is some debate about the effectiveness of these groups, because there has been only a limited amount of studies done on their success. However, the big take-away is that most of these organization cost little or nothing.

How long to I go to these groups?

This might come as bad news, but long-term recovery is an ongoing life process.  Support groups can play a vital role. Do some people get sober, move on with their lives and never give it a second thought? Yes, that can be possible, but most  folks find it helpful to have a life-long recovery plan. Maybe to the non-addict or non-alcoholic this might sound harsh. But, remember this is a disease that does not have a medical cure.  And,If you want help, you will not be alone … last year more than 5 million people across the U.S. attended some kind of support group. Within this community of like-minded people, a support group can help you take responsibility for your alcohol and drug problems. Maybe you will even make some friends and have a bit of fun🙂

Says William L. White, a noted recovery advocate:

“The recovery community is a place where shared pain and hope can be woven by its members into life-saving stories whose mutual exchange is more akin to communion than communication. This sanctuary of the estranged fills spiritual as well as physical space. It is a place of refuge, refreshment and renewal. It is a place that defies commercialization–a place whose most important assets are not for sale.

Family Support Groups

Do you have a loved one who is suffering from addiction or alcoholism?  Check out the abundance of family support groups.   There are many choices to pick from. Don’t blow this off! Family education groups provide information about the disease; its effects on the

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10 support groups you never heard of.

loved one, the family, and the nature of relapse and recovery.

Family education groups often cover these topics:

Medical aspects of addiction and dependence
Relapse prevention
Addiction as a family disease
Denial
Enabling behaviors
Communication
Reasons for testing the loved one
Parenting skills
Community support groups and resources

Unique Family Resources

 

National Families in Action (NFIA) (www.nationalfamilies.org). NFIA is a national drug education, prevention, and policy center with the mission of helping families prevent substance abuse among children by promoting science-based policies.

 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) (www.ncadi.samhsa.gov) is a national resource center funded by the Federal Government that offers a large inventory of publications and videos for treatment professionals, clients, families, and the general public, including Alcoholism Tends To Run in Families.

Family Support Groups

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) (www.adultchildren.org). ACOA is a 12-Step, 12-Tradition program that offers support for grown children of parents with alcohol or drug addiction.

Al-Anon family groups (www.al-anon.org). Al-Anon is a fellowship of relatives and friends of people who have alcohol problems who share their experiences, strengths, and hopes. Members believe that alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery. The program is based on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Families Anonymous (FA) (www.familiesanonymous.org). FA is a 12-Step, mutual-help, recovery support group for relatives and friends of those who have alcohol, drug, or behavioral problems.

Nar-Anon family groups (www.naranon.com). Similar to Al-Anon, Nar-Anon is a fellowship of relatives and friends of people who abuse substances and offers a constructive program for members to achieve peace of mind and to gain hope for the future. .

The bottom line is that there is no shortage of help available. And, you can always contact me directly if you need some guidance.

800RecoveryHub
I write this for fun and for free, my company website is here.

 

Unraveling some of the mystery and controversy of Alcoholics Anonymous

Providing general information to people about AA, is a very complicated task for me.  That’s because it can be a polarizing (and sometimes delicate) subject. It shouldn’t be. In short — AA is a non-profit group that helps people with alcohol problems. There’s no leader, there’s no religious affiliations and there are no fees or requirements to be a member. Simply put — if you say you are a member — you are. That’s the end of it.

The problem is that people confuse AA meetings, with the program itself.  The program is one “drunk” helping another “drunk” by walking them though the 12 steps of AA. These steps are outlined in a textbook referred to as “The Big Book”.   Yes, there are meetings too. But, the meetings are self-governed. That means that if you want to have a meeting for Jewish, Spanish speaking people who also believe in Christ …. that is okay.

That is when the controversy sets in. Someone walks into that aforementioned meeting and cries out “I’m a english speaking Texan who hates religion … and I just want to stop drinking …. this place is a crazy religious cult”.  But you see that was just a meeting, and you are perfectly permitted to start you own meeting down the street. Go ahead. Start a group  for Japanese, anti-religious, ex-convicts.  Sound confusing? I guess it is pretty weird, for such a big organization to be so loose with the “rules”.

AA 800RecoveryHub
Find a meeting near you

In case, I totally confused you, below is “official” information about the organization. I will also be doing some articles on other programs that have been created to help folks overcome drugs and alcohol. The good news is that there are many choices if you want to get well.

This information is both for people who may have a drinking problem and for those in contact with people who have, or are suspected of having, a problem. Most of the information is available in more detail in literature published by A.A. World Services, Inc. This sheet tells what to expect from Alcoholics Anonymous. It describes what A.A. is, what A.A. does, and what A.A. does not do.

What Is A.A.?

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.

Singleness of Purpose and Problems Other Than Alcohol

Some professionals refer to alcoholism and drug addiction as “substance abuse” or “chemical dependency.” Nonalcoholics are, therefore, sometimes introduced to A.A. and encouraged to attend A.A. meetings. Nonalcoholics may attend open A.A. meetings as observers, but only those with a drinking problem may attend closed A.A. meetings.

What Does A.A. Do?

1. A.A. members share their experience with anyone seeking help with a drinking problem; they give person-to-person service or “sponsorship” to the alcoholic coming to A.A. from any source.

  1. The A.A. program, set forth in our Twelve Steps, offers the alcoholic a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.
  2. This program is discussed at A.A. group meetings.
drug and alcohol treatment
This is another free resource for people with no money or insurance

a. Open speaker meetings — open to alcoholics and nonalcoholics. (Attendance at an open A.A. meeting is the best way to learn what A.A. is, what it does, and what it does not do.) At speaker meetings, A.A. members “tell their stories.” They describe their experiences with alcohol, how they came to A.A., and how their lives have changed as a result of Alcoholics Anonymous.

b. Open discussion meetings — one member speaks briefly about his or her drinking experience, and then leads a discussion on A.A. recovery or any drinking-related problem anyone brings up. (Closed meetings are for A.A.s or anyone who may have a drinking problem.)

c. Closed discussion meetings — conducted just as open discussions are, but for alcoholics or prospective A.A.s only.

d. Step meetings (usually closed) — discussion of one of the Twelve Steps.

e. A.A. members also take meetings into correctional and treatment facilities.

f. A.A. members may be asked to conduct the informational meetings about A.A. as a part of A.S.A.P. (Alcohol Safety Action Project) and D.W.I. (Driving While Intoxicated) programs. These meetings about A.A. are not regular A.A. group meetings.

What A.A. Does Not Do A.A. does not:

1. Furnish initial motivation for alcoholics to recover.

2. Solicit members.

3. Engage in or sponsor research

4. Keep attendance records or case histories.

5. Join “councils” of social agencies (although A.A. members, groups and service offices frequently cooperate with them).

6. Follow up or try to control its members.

7. Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses.

8. Provide detox or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment.

9. Offer religious services or host/sponsor retreats.

10. Engage in education about alcohol.

11. Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money, or any other welfare or social services.

ways to get sober
There are many kinds of self-help groups

12. Provide domestic or vocational counseling.

13. Accept any money for its services, or any contributions from non-A.A. sources.

14. Provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials, social agencies, employers, etc.

Members From Court Programs and Treatment Facilities

In recent years, A.A. groups have welcomed many new members from court programs and treatment facilities. Some have come to A.A. voluntarily; others, under a degree of pressure. In our pamphlet “How A.A. Members Cooperate,” the following appears:

We cannot discriminate against any prospective A.A. member, even if he or she comes to us under pressure from a court, an employer, or any other agency.

Although the strength of our program lies in the voluntary nature of membership in A.A., many of us first attended meetings because we were forced to, either by someone else or by inner discomfort. But continual exposure to A.A. educated us to the true nature of the illness…. Who made the referral to A.A. is not what A.A. is interested in. It is the problem drinker who is our concern…. We cannot predict who will recover, nor have we the authority to decide how recovery should be sought by any other alcoholic.

Proof of Attendance at Meetings

Sometimes a referral source asks for proof of attendance at A.A. meetings.

Groups cooperate in different ways. There is no set procedure. The nature and extent of any group’s involvement in this process is entirely up to the individual group.

Some groups, with the consent of the prospective member, have an A.A. member acknowledge attendance on a slip that has been furnished by the referral source. The referred person is responsible for returning the proof of attendance.

This proof of attendance at meetings is not part of A.A.’s procedure. Each group is autonomous and has the right to choose whether or not to sign court slips. In some areas the attendees report on themselves, at the request of the referring agency, and thus alleviate braking A.A. members’ anonymity.

Literature

A.A. Conference-approved literature is available in French and Spanish. For additional copies of this paper, or for a literature catalog please write or call the General Service Office.

The A.A. Grapevine, a monthly international journal — also known as “our meeting in print” — features many interesting stories about recovery from alcoholism written primarily by members of A.A. It is a useful introduction and ongoing link to A.A.’s diverse fellowship and wealth of recovery experience. The Spanish-language magazine La Viña, is published bimonthly.

For Grapevine information or to order a subscription to either the AA Grapevine or La Viña: (212) 870-3404; fax (212) 870-3301

Conclusion

The primary purpose of A.A. is to carry its message of recovery to the alcoholic seeking help. Almost every alcoholism treatment tries to help the alcoholic maintain sobriety. Regardless of the road we follow, we all head for the same destination, recovery of the alcoholic person. Together, we can do what none of us could accomplish alone. We can serve as a source of personal experience and be an ongoing support system for recovering alcoholics.

A.A. World Services, Inc., Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163. Tel. (212) 870-3400.

800RecoveryHub
I write this for fun and for free, my company website is here.

My last comment …. I get a little frustrated when I see “paid” journalist,  making money from writing books and articles about the horrors of AA.  It seems like bullying. I will site one example in the comment section, if you are curious.  Why rip on an organization that refuses to respond back. It cost no money to get treatment there.  Let me repeat …. it cost no money to get help there.  If you don’t like it, find something else.  It’s really a losing battle criticizing something that is free.

Written by people in recovery for people in recovery

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