Archive for the Replacement Addicts Category

TriBeCa Twelve

A Shiny Failure, Reborn as a Rehab Center

With buffed hardwood floors, a fireplace in the living room, marble in the bathrooms and Silestone in the kitchen, the 2,200-square-foot, full-floor apartment on West Broadway looks exactly like the luxury condo it was meant to be. The furniture is plush and neutral, original artwork hangs on the walls, there is a Wii console hooked up to the flat-screen television and, when the sights of TriBeCa’s bustle from the second-floor windows are not enough, there is a planted, furnished roof deck upstairs, with views stretching from the Empire State Building to ground zero.


The project, called TriBeCa Twelve, is a collaboration between Hazelden, the Minnesota-based network of rehabilitation centers, and the Columbia University psychiatry department, and it represents an unusual resolution for a high-gloss condo development that went belly up.

The apartments did not go to buyers at fire-sale prices or to a new developer, nor did they simply stand vacant until the economy rebounded. Instead, the project is becoming a sober residence that combines a clinic and treatment programs solely for a college population.


Hazelden looked at about 35 properties in New York, said Ann Bray, vice president for strategic initiatives, and purchased the building for just under $8.3 million last year, according to property records.

Read the whole thing…

And read the follow-up, in which the NYT asks:

Have you or has someone you know been in rehab or a similar situation and found the temptations of city life hard to resist? Or do you think that treatment centers need not be remote to be effective? Please share your thoughts and experiences.


Related: Hazelden to Create a Generation of Replacement Addicts

h/t Stanton Peele


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!


Here’s one guy’s impression of the International Conference of Young People in AA:

Rehab for Kids

I’m all for self-improvement and I generally have nothing against AA. Thanks to several close friends who are social workers, as well as encounters with substance abusers in my personal life, I know that breaking free of addiction is difficult if not impossible. If you are an addict, the blunt truth is that you are statistically unlikely to recover. AA and other recovery programs have the potential to give people tools to save their own lives. But I can’t help but be skeptical of this particular group.

As I looked over the hundreds of teens crowding the hotel lobby, I wondered how many of them were alcoholics and how many were just rebellious youths who had done stupid things in the name of experimentation. Could some of these kids have benefited from more aggressive parenting rather than meetings in dingy church basements culminating in a yearly, caffeine and cigarette powered junket?

The outward appearance of the group also struck me. They all wore the clothing and bore the ink and piercings of those who wish to alienate themselves from mainstream society. You could say that they were conformist in their “non-conformity.” Were many of them simply looking for a readymade group of like-minded friends? A chance to bond with people who understood them and could fulfill their basic desire to fit in? A place where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came?

Ultimately, I cannot answer these questions because I do not know these kids. Perhaps each and every one of them would be selling their bodies in the streets of Tijuana but for AA. But if that is the case, is the cure worse than the disease? According to ICYPAA’s mission statement, the three legacies of AA (recovery, unity, and service) form the backbone of the group. While I certainly saw unity amongst the attendees, I would be hard pressed to give them credit for recovery in light of their unruly behavior. And I saw few signs of good citizenship, let alone service. A young lady scoffed when my wife and I made it into an elevator despite her efforts to close the doors on us. Who was she serving but herself?

From what I witnessed over a short period, these teens act in such narcissistic ways that they stand out even amongst their peers. They claim to be in recovery but send messages at every turn that they wish to be alienated from the mainstream. No reasonable parent would be proud of their behavior.

Read the whole thing.

(h/t Sally!)

How AA is Making College Drinking Worse…

…And Gaining Power in the Process

From Stanton Peele:

The great thing about AA and the 12 steps is that, no matter how badly their philosophy fails to improve drinking, they’ve got an answer:

  • We need to get more people into AA – let’s start college campus chapters!
  • Alcohol is an evil poison – we tell people not to drink it
  • It’s a disease people have – we can’t actually reduce alcoholism

So if campus and youthful binge drinking persist, that’s not their problem you see.

The Monitoring the Future annual survey asks students their attitudes towards a variety of aspects of drug and alcohol use.  Over 70 percent (72%) of high school seniors in 2010 disapproved of adults having one or two drinks daily (see here, Table 10) — the style of drinking thatprolongs life and reduces the chances of dementia.  This is a higher percentage than disapprove of binge drinking — having five or more drinks on weekend nights.

How is it that more high school students — who have been learning aboutdrugs and alcohol since grade school — “know” it is wrong to drink in a way that encourages health in favor of a way that poisons it?

Why, Alcoholics Anoynmous, thank you!  AA is all about alcoholism and abstinence, the American black-or-white model of drinking.  That’s all young Americans ever learn about alcohol given the AA-based approach in the United States.

Read the rest.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Pods Win

Stanton Peele gave Stinkin’ Thinkin’ a little plug in his Psychology Today post about the Pod People bringing 12-Step recovery to college campuses, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Pods Win“:

Ever see the 1956 Don Siegel cult classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where hero Kevin McCarthy discovers pod people are taking over the identities of everyone in town — including his girlfriend? (I hate when that happens.) I know this disclosure is obvious: when I saw the movie at age 10, I totally identifed with McCarthy (who died in 2010 at age 96).

The same thing is happening again, only for real, as illustrated on Sunday by NBC’s The TODAY show. Today featured a segment on the growing phenomenon of on-campus Recovery Communities, where 18- to 22-year-olds declare themselves alcoholics, turn themselves over to recovery gurus, and vow forevermore to be alcoholic pods. They don’t interact with the rest of the drunken student body (I personally didn’t get drunk the entire time I was at college — okay, I smoked a little pot), busy themselves in sober activities, and surround themselves with fellow recovery acolytes.

Read the rest…

And then check out some of the comments from the Pod People:


Seems to be a lack of understanding here

Submitted by Dorri Olds on August 23, 2011 – 3:17pm.

Alcoholism is a disease. That’s why insurance companies pay for treatment. You better believe insurance companies wouldn’t pay a dime if it was just some silly coming of age thing. There are so many teenage alcoholics/drug addicts and plenty in their 20s. It is a mental disorder. The way to get help is to admit there is a problem. Why on earth should it bother somebody else why a young person seeks help with drinking. People should be cheering them on, not mocking the help that is available to them.

Most people who have never been addicted to alcohol or drugs do not have any idea what it feels like to have a compulsion to do something that could kill you or make you go crazy. People who are allergic to strawberries just quit strawberries. They are not encouraged to continue to eat strawberries.


I would be interested…

Submitted by Dash Stryker on August 24, 2011 – 1:23am.

in learning more about the study you cite. Do the researchers understand, as you seem not to, the burgeoning understanding of the difference between substance abuse and addiction?

Lots of people are substance abusers without becoming addicted. Lots of people are physically dependent upon certain drugs without developing the alterations in neurochemistry that correspond with addiction.

(I’m also curious to know what you think of the research suggesting those alterations in neurochemistry.)

Is it so bad, if some substance abusers who probably could have managed to learn to drink responsibly find themselves in AA instead, completely abstinent? Without setting up a false dichotomy, I think such people are better off than the ones who are truly addicted and never find a pathway to abstinence. Those are sort of the two ways to err, here. So there’s a program that helps a bunch of young people, but there’s some error involved. If the error’s that people who don’t need AA get involved with it anyway, I’m fine with it; I’m not clear on why you’re not.

And yeah, I’ve been a ‘pod person’ for a while now – and yet, I find it a simple matter to interact and form meaningful bonds with non-Pods.

I meant to post this story yesterday, but this seems like a good spot for it: