Archive for the Propaganda Category

Hazeleden to Create a Generation of Replacement Addicts

Hazelden to Invest in Outreach, Services to Help America’s Youth Find Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol

Hazelden, one of the world’s largest and most respected private, nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers, announced today it will invest $42 million to expand services to help young people who struggle with addiction find and maintain recovery.

An estimated 1.5 million American youth ages 12 to 17 meet the criteria for admission to alcoholism treatment, but only 7 percent receive treatment. Additionally, an estimated 1.4 million youth ages 12 to 17 meet the criteria for admission to treatment for illicit drug abuse, but only 9 percent receive treatment. With these staggering numbers in mind from SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies’ report, “Youth and Alcohol and Illicit Drug Treatment,” Hazelden is now launching increased efforts for youth treatment and recovery initiatives as a part of its strategic plan.

$42 million!

Treatment 4 Addiction Responds to Peele

A “rebuttal” to “AA Is Ruining The World“:

“‘Addiction Expert’s’ Rant on Alcoholics Anonymous”

According to addiction expert Stanton Peele, there’s a dangerous organization that has the entire world’s safety in jeopardy. This organization is comprised of men and women from all races and creeds, rich and poor and is coming to a town near you! In fact, you may already be living right next door to one of their secret meeting hide outs. Their goals are to be happy joyous and free, to help those in trouble, and to mend relationships from the past in order to live a full and happy life free from drugs and alcohol. The organization costs no money and has no rules or regulations, and no leader. What’s even more frightening is that you may work with a member or even have one in your family! They like to remain anonymous to practice humility. Yes, the thing that Stanton Peele believes to be the end of civilization is none other than Alcoholics Anonymous.

Read the rest, if you’re interested in a longer-than-average, Serenity Rant, full of humble sanctimony, passive aggression (like the title), straw men ( “We all know how much parents hate when their kids aren’t binge drinking and stealing from Mom’s purse to buy more crack!”), sarcasm, protestations of humility, quackery, and saccharine. And finally, the ubiquitous accusations of ignorance:

Again, if Peele had read some of our literature before writing his article he may have a more clear understanding of the difference between alcoholics, hard drinkers and normal drinkers.

This is like telling a biologist that if he’d only read Genesis, he’d have a more clear understanding of the origin of life.  Seriously, if you just read it…

Bonus question: What makes them think we haven’t? Do they believe so blindly that they can’t conceive of someone with an intimate knowledge of AA rejecting it?

Just Another Bogus Study

Harvard, Hazelden and the Center for Addiction Medicine conducted a study which shows a couple of things: 1. When young people enter treatment, their motivation is high, but their coping and self-efficacy skills are low; 2. Those who have the highest success rates, 3 months post-treatment, have the highest levels of self-efficacy and coping skills.

So, they spent money to figure that out.

When entering treatment, study participants reported high levels of motivation to remain abstinent but lower levels of coping skills, self-efficacy and commitment to mutual support groups. During-treatment increases in these measures predicted abstinence from alcohol or other drug use at three months post-treatment. Self-efficacy or increased confidence in ability to sustain recovery was the strongest predictor of abstinence.

When they say “support group,” what they mean is AA or NA. Twelve Step is the only treatment option these kids received. Therefore, what this study cannot demonstrate is any evidence of the efficacy of 12 Step treatment. It would be irresponsible to even make that suggestion.

Slaymaker of Hazelden adds, “The young people in our study were quite motivated to do well in treatment but lacked the confidence, coping skills, and commitment to AA that are critical to longer-term success. Treatment appears to work by increasing their confidence and ability to make and sustain healthy, recovery-related efforts.”

The findings suggest residential treatment provides the boost that the young people need. By reducing their psychological distress, developing their recovery-focused coping skills, increasing their commitment to AA and other groups [they mean NA, not SMART], and by enhancing their overall confidence to stay clean and sober, young people make meaningful changes in treatment that position them for improved outcomes. Because self-efficacy was a strong predictor of abstinence, it may serve as a useful clinical summary indicator to monitor change and relapse potential among young adults in treatment.


They’re not saying AA is important; they’re saying commitment to AA is. Still, the study doesn’t demonstrate this at all, except by default. Since AA is the only treatment option provided, the honest conclusion would have to be that commitment is important. Throwing AA in as a factor is disingenuous, akin to claiming that Pop Rocks are part of a balanced breakfast if you sprinkle them on your oatmeal and fruit.

Does it seem to anyone else that the conclusions they draw are inconsistent with the information they gathered in this study?

Young adults want to recover from addiction by need help to make it happen, study suggests

Young adults undergoing addiction treatment arrive ready and willing to make the personal changes that bring about recovery, but it’s the help and guidance received during treatment that build and sustain those changes, according to a longitudinal study published electronically and in press within the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study was conducted collaboratively by the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and the Butler Center for Research at Hazelden.

Read the whole thing…

Here’s a link to the study.

[Emphasis mine.]

Susan Cheever’s Sanitation Campaign

As for profiting off its intellectual property—the crown jewels of any corporation—AA declines to do so. — From Susan Cheever’s “No Money, No Problems” at The Fix.

What is Cheever doing? What is her interest in cannonizing Bill Wilson and so aggressively rewriting and revising AA’s history? Why is she reframing AA’s motives, tailoring and omitting facts that are common knowledge to anyone who knows anything about AA?

AA already has the stellar reputation. Bill Wilson has already been mythologized. It’s already conventional wisdom that AA is what you do.


What Makes AA Work?

You mean it’s not God?

From the Harvard Gazette:

Among the many ways that participation in Alcoholics Anonymous(AA) helps its members stay sober, two appear to be most important — spending more time with individuals who support efforts toward sobriety and increased confidence in the ability to maintain abstinence in social situations. In a paper that will appear in the journalAddiction and has been released online, researchers report the first study to examine the relative importance to successful recovery of the behavior changes associated with participation in AA.

“AA is the most commonly sought source of help for alcohol addiction and alcohol-related problems in the United States and has been shown to help people attain and maintain long-term recovery,” says study leader John F. Kelly, associate director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Addiction Medicine, a Harvard affiliate. “This study is the first to investigate exactly how AA helps individuals recover by examining the independent effects of several mechanisms simultaneously.”

Read the rest…

Time Ranks The Big Book in the Top 100 Nonfiction Books of All Time

The Big Book by Alcoholics Anonymous

Published in 1939 by AA co-founders Bill W. and Dr. Bob, The Big Book (so named because of its size) serves as the central text of the support group that aims to help alcoholics stop drinking. The organization’s seminal 12 Steps, a set of actions to guide alcoholics to recovery, were first included in The Big Book and are so influential that they have since been adapted to serve as the outline for countless other addiction programs. Anecdotes from recovering and recovered alcoholics — which heavily stress the importance of God and spiritual awakenings — make up the second half of the book, which at times feels a bit cultish: “Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program” is but one example of its tone. Regardless, few can argue with The Big Book‘s impact in both bringing the plight of alcoholics into the mainstream and assisting in the recovery of millions of addicts.

(Thanks, Sally!)

Atheist’s Faith in AA

Marya Hornbacher announces that she is writing from an atheist perspective in the title of her CNN blog post, “My Faithlessness: The Atheist Way Through AA.” She talks about believing in Chaos and quarks, references “frou frou nonsense,” and states plainly that she doesn’t believe in God. She also proves that it’s entirely possible to hold these ideas and still be completely blinkered by frou frou nonsense. How can someone who positions herself as an atheist formulate (let alone publicly articulate) the idea that anything based on spiritual principles is “straightforward”? This is like the Triple Lindy of all cognitive dissonance.

Hornbacher is no more an atheist than my mom is.

Not only is she not an atheist, but her own logic undermines her argument that AA is not a religion. The most ridiculous argument against AA’s religiosity is that it’s not “Christian” and doesn’t force anyone to adhere to any other established religion. Like most faithful people who don’t see themselves as members of one religion (among many of equal merit) but as believers in the obvious truth, Hornbacher doesn’t recognize that her position is grounded in faith-based dogma. Or maybe she does, since the attempt to hammer AA into a rational therapy for addiction seems so tortured.

This is the most revealing line of her post:

 I believe that the most important spiritual principle of AA is humility. The recognition that we are flawed, that we can and must change and that our purpose not only in sobriety but in life is to be of service to others.

By what standard does she consider herself or anyone else “flawed”? How does this chance composition of cells, water, and quarks with the amazing capacity to reflect on its own existence decide that it needs to change? And toward what ideal? Established by what authority? How can there be a universal purpose (like being of service to others)? Either Hornbacher doesn’t recognize the religious belief system that informs her argument here (and also makes it sound irrational), or her post is just as disingenuous as the chapter “We Agnostics.” My suspicion is that this writer has a more sophisticated grasp of the actual meaning of “atheism” than Bill Wilson did, and is more deliberate in her obfuscation of the religious nature of AA and her own belief system. This whole piece is about what Hornbacher believes on faith.





Women Really, Really Need AA

Hazelden Study Signals Importance of Twelve Step Meeting Attendance for Young Women in Early Recovery

The frequency of attending Twelve Step mutual support meetings following addiction treatment can help predict success in early recovery for young women, according to a data analysis study conducted by Hazelden’s Butler Center for Research and reported in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. Meeting attendance frequency predicted both abstinence from substance use and number of drinking days at six months post-treatment for young women studied, reports Audrey A. Klein, Ph.D., who authored the study with Butler Center for Research colleague, Valerie J. Slaymaker, Ph.D.

Analysis focused on 139 young women, age 17-23, attending Twelve Step-based residential treatment for a substance use disorder. They were statistically compared to a sample of 237 young men who attended the same treatment program during the same time period. The analysis showed young women were as likely as young men to attend Twelve Step meetings and engage in prescribed Twelve Step practices. However, whereas frequency of meeting attendance predicted abstinence status and number of drinking days at six months post-treatment for women, Twelve Step experiences—such as getting a sponsor or considering oneself an Alcoholics Anonymous member—predicted drinking days for the men.

“These results contribute to knowledge of substance use disorders and treatment among young women, a population that’s understudied in the research literature,” says Klein. “Further studies focusing on factors affecting the course of substance use disorders among young women are needed.”

Klein notes that little is known about young women and addiction even though women experience a faster transition between initiation and heavy substance use and admission to treatment, and women suffer more adverse neurological and physical abuse from substance abuse. Women are also more likely than men to have a co-occurring psychological disorder.

The Butler Center for Research, research arm of the national nonprofit Hazelden foundation, is dedicated to improving recovery from addiction by conducting clinical and institutional research, collaborating with other research centers, and communicating scientific findings. The study on substance use disorders and young women, titled “12-Step Involvement and Treatment Outcomes among Young Women with Substance use Disorders,” was published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 29, 204-281.


Also: Why Addiction Recovery Should Be A Feminist Issue

h/t Sally. Thank you!

Which Mother#$%?!ng Hat Are You Wearing?

SOMEWHERE near the middle of “The _______ With the Hat,” Stephen Adly Guirgis’s lacerating portrait of a couple trapped in the self-inflicted prison of addiction, it becomes clear that simply putting the cork in the bottle will not fix everything. Or anything, really.

So opens a review in The New York Times written by David Carr, himself a “recovering addict”, 12-stepper, and author of his own addiction memoir.  Thus it shouldn’t be surprising when he goes on to describe the main character, Jackie, as a:

ball of id who is doing his best to stay sober, one day at a time.

“Ball of id”, is of course a pejorative here which backs up a diseased/deterministic view of people with substance use problems (Corrected).  He continues about Jackie:

 ….he is smart enough to know that if he continues to use mood-altering substances, he will be back in jail, or in a mental hospital, or, if things get really wobbly, buried in a box.

Jails, institutions, or death.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  The entire review is colored by Carr’s standard romanticized view of recovery which he pretends not to have: Continue reading Which Mother#$%?!ng Hat Are You Wearing?

Why we can’t have nice things…

Addiction scientists support this floobedy floo, and that’s why progress in addiction treatment is so stagnant. Where would we be if medical science considered itself powerless over disease?

12-Steps Overcome 3-Fold Disease

“Drinking just seems to be the most important thing in the world and I am no exception and I didn’t make it. I thought I could keep it under control, but I couldn’t and I didn’t. The seed was sown, though, and I found myself back in the fellowship of AA 13 years ago, and I’ve been here ever since.”

Mike declined to have his full name given, following AA’s strict policy demanding members’ anonymity when the organization is concerned.

Mike began drinking at the age of 13.

“I was raised in an environment of drinking and it was always the normal and not normal to not do that. I came from a house that didn’t always have food in the fridge but always a case of beer. I wasn’t drunk all the time when I was 13, but I did drink out of the gate to get drunk for the effect.”

Alcoholism is a disease, Mike said.

“It is a disease of three-fold. It is a mental obsession, coupled with a physical allergy and a spiritual malady. Once you cross the line into the pickle world, you can never become a cucumber again. You just can’t.”

Go down the rabbit whole with Mike…