Lance Dodes interview on the Fix

Lance Dodes interview on the Fix about “The Sober Truth”.

I tend not to read The Fix too often these days as I feel it has lost its way a bit, with fairly lightweight articles, but thought this quite good.  The Lance Dodes book “The sober truth”  has been out for a while and did get a fair amount of attention due to it being critical of many methods in the treatment industry and the methods of AA. Here is the first serious article about it in the Fix which often has a 12 step bias.  http://www.thefix.com/content/14-questions-dr-lance-dodes

Lance Dodes

I think it reflects the content of the book and would certainly recommend that anyone who is involved in the treatment industry, or the 12 step world reads this book!

I did write a bit more about the book here http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/sober-truth-book/ as I was very impressed and left a comment over on the Fix Site which I have copied below.

I think Lance Dodes has done an excellent job with the “Sober Truth” and I am reading “The Heart of Addiction: A New Approach to Understanding and Managing Alcoholism and Other Addictive Behaviours” which also provides some great explanations of appropriate methods that would help many overcome, their problems.

I was a member of AA for a while but sadly, most of the meetings in my area were of the fundamental 12 step type which I think can cause problems for a lot of people. I still think the idea of fellowship among alcoholics, can be useful for many in their early days, but many would do better, if they simply avoided the steps and looked at offering support to those who are having problems. It is inspiring to meet some people who have overcome addiction (there are quite a few I could have done with avoiding though!)

I think the outdated religious ideas do get in the way of recovery for many, and the colourful mix of people in a recovery group that is not regulated in any way, can often cause the vulnerable problems either through direct abuse or by pushing unsuitable solutions.

At the moment AA, is the only group that has lots of meetings all over the place, that people can go to. In my case, going to a meeting after work, did help me break the drinking lifestyle. The steps were less useful, and after a while I came to view the AA groups as collections of rather ill people, with strange, irrational beliefs and simply moved on. I think most people tend to do this after a while and this leaves meetings, rather unbalanced, in favour of the “Powerless Higher Power brigade”.

I do not view the 12 steps as treatment and I feel the message in the book about the way that the treatment industry has evolved and the way that the faith-based method is held up, is really important. I feel that many people do not respond well to the methods being pushed on them, while others develop a blind faith in 12 step solutions that they feel will help everyone. I made the largest amount of progress overcoming my problems, when I had a period of one on one analysis, by a really good Dr, around the time I had decided to leave AA and become more independent. The approach by Dr in London had nothing to do with the steps or faith and I do not feel that I would have come to understand my problems as well if I had just done crude 12 step therapy. I got better treatment from somebody was not in recovery, and who could take a step back and see the reality of a situation. I do not think the idea of an alcoholic treating another is always good, as there is a temptation, to only favour one solution.

Most forms of treatment welcome some valid criticism, as this helps them to improve the treatment. This is not the case with 12 step treatment which tries to resist change in a similar way to a formal religion. Treatment centres are not providing great care or treatment and are simply making money off the back of AA.

AA obviously did have a lot of help from the media to grow, and many reports were inaccurate, but never the less has a huge amount of members today, of people who want to go there, although some may not know about alternatives. It is a shame that it does not modify any of its methods, to reflect the times. It was originally for low bottom male drunks, straight after the prohibition era, with many years of drinking, and not a treatment method for everybody in modern times. I think many AA members could benefit from reading the “Sober Truth” and would find it an eye opener, if they are serious about helping others with alcoholism. It may help them understand why some people do not respond well to the teachings of AA and that these people would probably do better if they were gently guided away from the 12 step world to a more suitable solution. Unfortunately, those with extreme views on either side often make the most noise, and have no interest in other people’s opinion and simply want to push the solution that worked for them. Some of the comments on this article show this!

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