Posts tagged Jeffrey Schaler

“That Isn’t AA!”

    AA is NOT treatment centers. AA is not and never will be affiliated with treatment centers. AA has NOTHING to do with treatment centers.

Jeez. No wonder ppl think AA has gone down the pan. I am astonished that the public have been conned into thinking that 5000 dollar a week hotels have any meaningful similarity to an AA meeting or how AA meetings operate. How sad. The greedy fatcat treatment centre owners have eclipsed the public profile of AA meetings to such an extent that the ordinary public has no clue which is which.
Whatever. Nothing surprises me anymore. AA is frequently misperceived, so nothing new there. But it is still very sad that the fake ‘AA’ in treatment centers is passing for the real AA in AA meetings. The only reason I care is because fake AA doesn’t keep people sober for very long at all. Which is sad, but there is nothing I can do about that. I just stick to what I know, which is listed AA meetings as opposed to poorly hijacked AA methods in treatment centers.”

One of our readers, “Irish Friend of Bill”, wrote the above in our comment section. I wanted to highlight it, and post a link to a post we made a few months ago, “The Knickerbocker Complex and the Evolution of 12-Step Quackery”, which explains the evolution of addiction treatment, and how AA was an integral part in creating what we now have in terms of treatment.  The book Slaying the Dragon, which is referenced in this post, is a very good history of the alcohol addiction treatment industry, and is actually written by an AA apologist. It glosses AA little, but it is a fair account. I would recommend it to anyone who really interested in this subject, particularly Irish.

Anyone who has been in a 12-step treatment centre, which represents the overwhelming majority of facilities, would find the idea that these aren’t “really AA” to be laughable. Many are run by ‘recovering’ AA members, and meetings within the facilities are chaired by local AAs who volunteer their time. AA literature is used, including the ‘Big Book’, and AA supplies the “aftercare” for released patients. Not surprisingly, their success is the identical 5%, which is a zero percent effectiveness rate. The only thing to distinguish this from “regular AA”, is the name – Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF). This is done only because AA does not “lend its name” to any other organization. It’s simply a slick way to push AA without calling it AA. Here is the description taken from the TSF manual for the Project MATCH study:

“Twelve Step Facilitation Approach. This therapy is grounded in the concept of alcoholism as a spiritual and medical disease. The content of this intervention is consistent with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), with primary emphasis given to Steps 1 through 5. In addition to abstinence from alcohol, a major goal of the treatment is to foster the patient’s commitment to participation in AA. During the course of the program’s 12 sessions, patients are actively encouraged to attend AA meetings and to maintain journals of their AA attendance and participation. Therapy sessions are highly structured, following a similar format each week that includes symptoms inquiry, review and reinforcement for AA participation, introduction and explication of the week’s theme, and setting goals for AA participation for the next week. Material introduced during treatment sessions is complemented by reading assignments from AA literature (p. x)….The therapeutic approach underlying this manual is grounded in the principles and 12 Steps of AA (p. xi)….The program described here is intended to be consistent with active involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous….It adheres to the concepts set forth in the “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” of Alcoholics Anonymous….The overall goal of this program is to facilitate patients’ active participation in the fellowship of AA. It regards such active involvement as the primary factor responsible for sustained sobriety (“recovery”) and therefore as the desired outcome of participation in this program (p. 1)….This treatment program has two major goals which relate directly to the first three steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (p. 2)….The two major treatment goals are reflected in a series of specific objectives that are congruent with the AA view of alcoholism (p. 3)….Central to this approach is strong encouragement of the patient to attend several AA meetings per week of different kinds and to read the “Big Book” (“Alcoholics Anonymous”) as well as other AA publications throughout the course of treatment (p. 4)….The goal of the conjoint sessions is to educate the partner regarding alcoholism and the AA model, to introduce the concept of enabling, and to encourage partners to make a commitment to attend six Al-Anon meetings of their choice (p. 5)….[P]atients should be consistently encouraged to turn to the resources of AA as the basis for their recovery (p. 6)….Suggestions made by the 12-Step therapist should be consistent with what is found in AA-approved publications such as those that are recommended to patients (p. 8)….Encouraging patients to actively work the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is the primary goal of treatment, as opposed to any skill that the therapist can teach (p. 10)….The therapist acts as a resource and advocate of the 12-Step approach to recovery (p. 11)….In this program, the fellowship of AA, and not the individual therapist, is seen as the major agent of change (p. 14)….The 12-Step therapist should not only be familiar with many AA slogans but should actively use them in therapy to promote involvement in AA and advise patients in how to handle difficult situations (p. 15)….In approaching alcoholic patients using this program…[t]here is…no cure for alcoholism; rather, there is only a method for arresting the process, which is active participation in the 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (p. 33). (Nowinski et al., 1995)” (Schaler, Jeffrey  “Addiction is a Choice”)

Edit: Here is an article on the history of Hazledon that DeConstructor linked in the comment section.

Edit Edit: From Mona Lisa –

Treatment Facilities Workbook (for AA members who work in treatment centers): http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/m-40i_TFWorkbook.pdf

Cooperation with the Professional Community Workbook (for AA members who want to “carry the message” to the alcoholism treatment community):
http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/m-41i_CPCWorkbook.pdf

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