Posts tagged hazelden

Roundup

I’m in a little distracted lately, so I’m sorry for the lack of updates around here. I Will Do Better.

Here’s a link, sent by Ebeneezer Scrooge, which should be of interest:

The Navy has signed a five-year contract with Hazelden to provide online recovery support services for sailors, the Associated Press reported Oct. 3.

The new, $3.25 million program was developed in partnership with Hazelden for the 10,000 patients in the Navy’s Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Services program.

Also, Stanton Peele has a new post up on Psychology Today, which will give you some ammunition for the good fight: “What percentages of people in recovery are treated or untreated?

In contrast, here’s a quack in the Desert Sun, trying to stay relevant:

Recovery is the sum of qualities such as honesty, dependability, integrity, loyalty, the desire to help others and a love for fellow man. Recovery is abstinence from alcohol and a sense of serenity. These things will not come with any pill (dry-yes; recovery-no).

Tell Us Your Story

One common theme I have seen with former AAs is that there is often a moment of clarity when they finally agree with that voice in their head that something was amiss, and that the program that they had signed up for – a quit drinking fellowship – was indeed much more. Sometimes it is a single incident, like the actions of a sponsor, or something said by another member that was particularly absurd, that gave their head a shake. With others, it was simply the totality of it all, and they knew that if they were subjected to one more aphorism, or one more trite slogan, they felt like their heads might explode.

What was your moment? When did you finally have enough? Was it a particular event, or was it a process. I would be interested to hear from those who have left AA. A reverse drunkalog, if you will. What caused you leave, and what difference has it made for you.

Stinkin' Thinkin' Slogan Contest!

Update Update: We have some pretty good ones. Agent Mango came with some nice ones. It is kind of nice to see that most of our AA friends don’t like the slogans and aphorisms, either. Just so you folks know, I am using one of these pens, and it writes really well. It has nice feel to it.

UPDATE: These are supposed to be your creation, not slogans already in use. I’ve seen three pretty good ones so far:

“AA: Because thinking is hard” by Sunny
“It’s time to harvest the crust from your eyes” by Sunny
“Just Quit, It’s the Bees Knees” by Tony (must be said sarcastically, but still not bad)
“I have a disease that tells me I don’t have a disease” me, which I stole from Corky the Twelve-Step Monkey
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It’s time to put on your thinkin’ caps and stir up those creative juices, kids. We are having a competition to see who can come up with the best thought stopping AA slogan. Submissions will be graded on catchiness, inanity, wit, thought stoppability, serenity, flavor and rigorous honesty. Everyone is eligible. Easy does it!

The winner gets this inspirational serenity pen (really, we’ll send it to you):

Good Luck!!!

Dr. Dave and Bill

I just followed a blog link that AnnaZed provided, which reprints a BBC article about a study by Dr. Keith Humphreys from Stanford, which says that,

Problem drinkers attending the faith-based Alcoholics Anonymous groups are 30% more likely than others to remain sober for at least two years, according to research published this month. The study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, found their treatment also costs 30% less than conventional cognitive behavioural therapy. According to lead researcher Dr Keith Humphreys, based at Stanford University, this is because it requires fewer hospital visits and admissions.

These articles always publish “findings” without offering any relevant details of the studies: who are the participants? Are they people who have been through treatment and have joined AA as an aftercare program? How were they selected? At what point in their recovery does this study start? Are these “problem drinkers” different from “real alcoholics” as AA defines them? Leaving us with these questions is standard as far as these studies go.

Next case.

So, as I was looking around for the answers, I stumbled into a regular column published in the New York Daily News, by Dr. Dave Moore and Bill Manville. This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself reading their creepy, watered-down, lifeless imitation of “Click and Clack” for the evangelical 12-step crowd. Their forced banter is utterly impossible to follow, because it’s not a real conversation and it has the same agenda every time (“OK, you say this and then I’ll say that, so that we can fit this slogan in and make it seem natural…”). But I guess that if they weren’t pretending to dialog, the column would look exactly like what it is: run-of-the-mill, bald-faced proselytizing for AA.

They have new column out today called “Religion Isn’t for Everyone, But Spirituality Can Help in Recovery,” in which they pretend to be interested in some current events (Eliot Spitzer’s sex addiction). If you’re versed in AA coercion, the title of this article will be enough to fill you in on exactly where they are headed: AA is not religious, it’s spiritual, and here, let us help you skeptics define spirituality in a way that doesn’t freak you out. It could even just mean connecting with other people – that’s spiritual, isn’t it (yes, they actually trot out the old GOD = Group Of Drunks slogan)?

BILL: Anna David, author of “Bought,” a story of high-class Hollywood prostitution, tells me an addict “is someone who feels ‘I can’t stand what I’m experiencing right now and will do anything to change it no matter how terrible it makes me feel later.’ So recovery isn’t only about subtracting dope from your life,” she says, “but more important, learning to deal with your life so that you don’t ever feel the desperate need to get out of your skin or die.”

DR.DAVE: Which brings us to AA’s notion of spiritual values, doesn’t it? There are two 12-step programs I can recommend: Sex Addicts Anonymous and Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous. Both put the same strong emphasis on spirituality as Alcoholics Anonymous.

BILL: Which — despite the great lip service accorded religion in everyday life — keeps many away from any 12-step program.

DR. DAVE: Don’t suddenly go shy on us, Bill. Didn’t you start out like that yourself?

Yeah, Bill, c’mon, tell us all about how a skeptic like you finally “got it.”

Their previous column is called “AA Alternatives: Do They Work?” The answer is “No.” In response to an “anxious wife” named Maude’s email to them, asking if there are viable options to AA for her alcoholic husband, Dr. Dave responds,

DR. DAVE: First of all, getting the facts right is critical. And a good place for Maude to start is the forthcoming September issue of Al-Anon Outreach Magazine. It will carry an article called, “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2010.“ It’s about the need to do more than just pay lip service to the fact that alcoholism is a family disease.

BILL: Maude needs facts, not just hope and hype if she wants to help her husband?

DR. DAVE. And help herself. For instance, she needs to know that alcohol does indeed relieve anxiety – so do Valium, Librium and the other anti-anxiety medications. Second, there are indeed treatment programs other than those that parallel the Minnesota Model 12-step philosophy.

BILL: I never thought I’d hear you recommend anything like that to our readers.

DR. DAVE: Bill, slow down. By offering an alternative idea, Maude sidesteps her husband’s denial, and opens the door to discussion.

BILL: Thus giving him a chance to compare different paths to recovery?

DR. DAVE: The 12-step “friendly” Minnesota Model helps the addict through remembering the pain of drinking; which is called covert sensitization. One popular alternative is called Chemical Aversion Treatment –

BILL: Which the ads call, “a Medical Procedure to overcome your cravings.”

DR.DAVE: Sounds great until you realize that the procedure is for you to drink alcohol, and then chemically induce vomiting. Every other day for ten days.

Did you get that? They promote acknowledging alternatives to AA as a bait-and-switch tactic, “By offering an alternative idea, Maude sidesteps her husband’s denial, and opens the door to discussion.” And Maude, armed with the “facts” she has culled from her Al-Anon magazine, will be prepared to lead this discussion straight into AA: “So, armed with these facts, Maude can help her husband see that these ten-day cures will not alleviate his basic ‘sense of impending doom.’”

What’s more, the only AA alternative they discuss here is some Chemical Aversion Treatment — which Dr. Dave calls “popular” — which requires you to vomit every other day. This is plain horseshit. They may as well say that one popular alternative to AA is to flap your arms and fly into the sun.

They have a limited space in which to completely invalidate any other recovery option, so they choose the most heinous of these, and still cannot make it sound worse than AA. Dr. Dave says, “the CAT program includes coming back for two-day follow-ups every six months the first year? That’s really something the addict can look forward to, isn’t it?” Yeah, two days out of every six months in the first year is so much more of an imposition, compared with 90 meetings in 90 days, regular meetings after that — for the rest of your life — relentless working of steps, service work, pairing up with some tough-loving, panty-sniffing whackjob of a sponsor, and no hope of recovery.

Stinking Thinking

A recovering alcoholic in AA has to be vigilant or risk relapse (That makes me wonder why they use the term “recovering” at all, as “recovery” is the logical conclusion of the process, but, in AA, the word has no logical conclusion; perhaps “remission” might be more honest?), and the first sign that one is headed “out” is Stinkin’ Thinkin’ or Stinkin’ Drinkin’ Thinkin’. Nip that in the bud.

In 1985, Gayle Rosellini published a 24-page tract through Hazelden called Stinking Thinking, in which she says, “Attitudes are either a path to healthy and happy recovery or the road to relapse. It’s that simple.” And she goes on to say,

Unfortunately, those of us who are recovering from chemical dependency too often suffer from what A.A. members call stinking thinking. Stinking thinking is a bad attitude. It’s being negative, blaming, and chronically dissatisfied. And it’s sneaky. […] Stinking thinking is a major symptom of chemical dependency. We all suffer from it at one time or another and it doesn’t go away with thirty days of treatment. It can dog our heels even when we’re sober – wrecking our recovery.

Since Rosellini published her tract, the telltale signs of Stinking Thinking have evolved beyond the four types she proposed, and the definition has become both more broad and more specific and detailed. Broadly, stinking thinking is explained well in this 12-Step Workshop handout:

Without the meetings and the fellowship, I’ll begin to think that the problem is anything other than Powerless. And, I’ll forget what the solution is… the 12 Steps… and come up with all sorts of solutions of my own. In A.A., we call that “stinking thinking” and as alcoholics, we cannot afford the luxury of “stinking thinking” because stinking thinking produces “stinking results.”

This highlights the kernel of stinking thinking, which is, essentially, any deviation from the program – and, while deviation might be the result of one’s own dumdum justifications for going back to drinking, it could also generate from one’s utter dissatisfaction with the program for any number of logical and sound reasons.

And, to get more specific and detailed: “The Top Ten Types of Stinking Thinking” adapted from David D. Burns’ book, The Feeling Good Handbook, seems to have become the go-to list on many AA websites and blogs. This is a definitive list of distortions in thinking, which make a lot of sense. Because they make sense, it seems Continue reading Stinking Thinking

Anti-addiction pill blunts craving

Anti-addiction pill blunts craving

Seems to block release of certain brain chemicals

I don’t think naltrexone is a news to most of the people who read here… Here’s the article. 

And this is an enormous surprise:

Despite studies showing effectiveness, established rehab programs have been slow to adopt the use of medication. At Hazelden in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a small proportion of patients receive anti-addiction drugs, but medical director Dr. Kevin Clark says the traditional model — based on intensive therapy and the 12 steps popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous — is still best. “It is a disease of the brain, but it’s a multifaceted disease. It has a spiritual component, a behavioral component to it,” says Clark. “Our experience tells us that having the network of support and recovery is what really makes the difference.”

John Schwarzlose, executive director of the Betty Ford Center, echoes that but takes a more stringent approach. No patients at Betty Ford receive anti-addiction drugs as part of treatment, although a handful of long-time addicts may be referred to a prescribing physician once their stay is over. “Where we battle with [the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse] is when they say we have trials of a new drug, and then proclaim this is a treatment for alcoholism,” says Schwarzlose. “They’re smart people, but they’re missing how complex this disease is.” Schwarzlose argues that Willenbring and Johnson are using the wrong measure of success. He says abstinence is the only true measuring stick — that an alcoholic who is drinking less is just at a way station on the road to relapse. “Naltrexone has reduced drinking, but once you’re addicted, there is no such thing as ‘OK’ drinking. This is one of those cases where there’s a real schism between the research and actual practice.”

This attitude frustrates Willenbring, who estimates that in the United States only one addict in 10 has even heard about medication options. “In most cases, the treatment is entirely nonmedical. Most people are not even told about the medications that are available for treating alcohol dependence, and I think that’s a crime.”

Now, I’m not a big cheerleader for pharma — companies that invent maladies that you never hear about, didn’t even know you had, until you hear about the brand new pill that will change your life.  But I find the unwillingness to explore, examine, and re-think approaches to addiction that have not been working, by self-righteous, 12-stepping know-it-alls, who utterly dismiss other options, discourage innovation, and withhold information from their clients, to be motivated by exactly the same kind of greed.

CNN Addiction Documentary

I hope I remember to watch this.

“Addiction – Life on the Edge” takes you behind the scenes at Hazelden, one of the largest rehabs in the world, and Promises, the rehab of choice for celebrities. The documentary also takes you inside the walls of one of the growing number of recovery high schools in the United States and inside the life of a meth addict and his family.

How Alcoholics Anonymous Lies With Front Groups: Project MATCH and Hazelden

Project MATCH, which stands for Matching Alcoholism Treatments to Client Heterogeneity, is the largest and most expensive ($27 million) multi-site clinical trial of different forms of rehab treatment to date. The idea of the study was to determine the effectiveness of matching specific forms of treatment to the individual characteristics of the patients. Three forms of treatment were studied: Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy (TSF), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET). The finding of the study showed a positive result for all three groups, including TSF. Here is the original press release from the NIH. So, the study validated the hypothesis, and all was right with the world for those advocates of AA and the 12-Step approach.

Continue reading How Alcoholics Anonymous Lies With Front Groups: Project MATCH and Hazelden

The 11th Tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous

“Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.”

I am always amazed to hear an AAer state that they are an organization based “on attraction, and not promotion”. This is bullshit on many levels.

Courts throughout the United States compel people to attend AA meetings, partly because of a general ignorance as to the ineffectiveness of the program, and partly because in many places, there is simply no treatment alternative. Additionally, treatment centres are the life blood of AA, as they model their treatment on the 12-Step approach, and they use AA as their aftercare program. Finally, the largest purchaser of AA official literature; and the largest publisher of AA based, 12-Step literature is Hazelden.

From The Orange Papers:

First, it’s just a quiet, confidential program of attraction, then it’s a tough-love program of steel-fisted coercion and promotion.
• They begin every meeting by reading aloud Tradition Eleven, which says:

“Our public relations policy is based on attraction, rather than promotion….”

• But later, they tell you to do everything you can to use the health and criminal justice systems to force people to join the 12-Step religion. The Little Red Book of Hazelden — a clone of The Little Red Book of Chairman Mao — specifically teaches recruiters to indoctrinate judges, doctors, and other officials as part of the proselytizing work. It says that faithful A.A. members can carry the message by:

“By telling the A.A. story to clergy members, doctors, judges, educators, employers, or police officials if we know them well enough to further the A.A. cause, or to help out a fellow member.”
The Little Red Book, Hazelden, page 128.

Then that book even goes on to tell recruiters to teach the judges, police, doctors, and other officials just what kind of people A.A. wants coerced into attending its meetings:
“By educating doctors, the clergy, judges, police officials, and industrial personnel regarding the type of people A.A. can help, we will avoid flooding our ranks with an unwieldy preponderance of non-alcoholics.”
The Little Red Book, Hazelden, page 137.

So much for the excuses that A.A. can’t help it if the judges, parole officers, and counselors force people to go to A.A. meetings. And Hazelden is merely echoing Bill Wilson’s instructions. In a 1939 letter from Bill to Earl T., a founding member of the Chicago A.A. group, Bill wrote:

“By educating doctors, hospitals, ministers along this line, you will surely pick up some strong prospects after a bit.
PASS IT ON, The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., pages 225-226.

Let’s examine this cycle a little further. This is a win/win/win situation for AAWS, Hazelden and local AA groups. Hazelden publishes the approved AA literature, Hazelden supplements the literature with their own publishing arm, and the local groups are fed an endless stream of recently graduated rehab patients.

The patient/AAer is the only party who is victimized. How? The findings of Project MATCH concluded that in-patient rehab is no more effective than either just going to AA, or a person quitting on their own. This insures that 95% percent of rehab graduates will fail, and a good percentage of them will go back into treatment – which is not cheap. Alcoholics who fall off of the wagon are led to believe (along with their families) that they failed the only program that can help them. Multiple rehab stints can literally put a family into financial ruin.