End to Abstinence
End to Abstinence.
Here is a link to a great piece that I found on the “Financial Review” website. http://www.afr.com/p/national/an_end_to_abstinence_V7cmexeD0uehMBEdmijlYO
I am always really pleased when I see pieces such as this in mainstream publications or on websites. Many people have fixed ideas about how recovery should be done, if they have not researched the area. Most people think that the AA/12 step solution is the best, but although this is the most accessible and has by far the most active members, it does not suit a lot of people, and over 90% of people leave within a year, usually because they are unconvinced by the religious parts of the program.
There are many ways to recover and I talk about methods such as “Smart Recovery”or “Hams” on the blog. Many people find abstinence impossible, (I had some false starts!) and a harm reduction method may really help these people. There are also medication based solutions which can help people cut down, which are mentioned here. I think they would have helped me at a time when I was really having problems stopping, some years ago, if they had been available.
People need to face facts in the recovery industry and notice that not everyone responds well to the 12 step solution. This is covered in the book “The Sober Truth” which is mentioned in the piece.
Here is a section from the piece.
“AA generally frowns on the use of prescription drugs because they “threaten the achievement and maintenance of sobriety”. The program does work for some but, despite its prominent role in culture and its prevalent use in court-mandated rehabilitation, it’s not for everyone. In fact, the vast majority of people who enrol in the AA program fail to stick with it. In 2006, a review of alcohol treatment studies by the Cochrane Library concluded, “No experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA or [12-step facilitation] approaches for reducing alcohol dependence or problems.” In The Sober Truth, a book published in 2014, Dr Lance Dodes and his son Zachary Dodes reviewed the literature and claimed AA’s overall success rate was only 5 to 8 per cent.
Van den Brink strongly believes that reduced drinking is a viable treatment goal for alcohol-use disorders. If addicts who have 100 drinks per week can cut that down to 25, he says, they may regain control of their lives. There’s some precedent: harm-reduction public health policies, which focus on diminishing rather than eliminating the harmful consequences of certain behaviours, have been shown to be effective in treating heroin addicts.
Todd Nease, 38, of Davis, California, says he has been in and out of AA for about 18 years and, at times, left the program drinking more heavily than before he attended meetings. His doctor pushed him to consider total abstinence. Eventually, he found a harm-reduction support group called HAMS and cut back to once a week. “I prefer drinking when I can control it,” he said. “I’m not big on medications, but if it was for temporary use, I don’t see why not.” ”