Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Drink Up

April 6th is National Alcohol Screening Day and April is also Alcohol Awareness Month.
In past years,activities and educational programs have excluded discussions of treatment options that offered alternatives to 12-step programs, even though they
provide solutions which allow greater numbers of people to recover.
Melanie Solomon, author of the breakthrough book, AA Not the Only Way - Your One
Stop Resource Guide to 12-Step Alternatives, hopes that this year, those
seeking treatment for themselves or loved ones, or those making
recommendations for others will consider, embrace and expand the dialog
about these alternative approaches, programs and resources.
Solomon is quick to acknowledge the tremendous contribution AA has made
to those it has helped but suggests the numbers are just too staggering not
to explore alternatives for those not being served well by 12-step
approaches.

There are viable, evidence-based alternatives, well accepted
and established in other countries, which might better suit the complex and
individualized needs of people suffering with substance abuse problems.
Solomon's book is the first to provide a comprehensive (and expanding)
directory of licensed professionals and treatment programs offering such
choices. Further, her presentations suggest some important questions for
expanding the treatment dialog in the US:
* Since the one-size-fits-all approach of 12-step programs only works for
3-5 percent of people, what alternative treatments are available?

* What has three decades of scientific research shown? Why are so many
conventional addiction professionals reluctant to accept and share the
findings?

* Are the rights of people suffering from substance abuse being
compromised by the lack of information sharing in the recovery
industry?

* Is mandating or prescribing only one treatment ethical? What is the
legal trend in the U.S. regarding 12-step programs?

* There are four times as many problem drinkers as there are "alcoholics"
in the U.S. What options are available to them?

Data continues to show that alcohol and other addictions remain
epidemic, contribute greatly to hospital and prison occupancy, dramatically
decrease workplace productivity, and are a leading contributor to
fatalities in the US.

It also confirms that there are four times as many problem drinkers as alcoholics in this country and that nine out of ten of
these people avoid conventional treatment. Other studies, including one
conducted by AA's own internal General Service Office, suggest that only 5
percent of those who first attend a meeting can be counted a year later.
Yet 93-97 percent of treatment facilities in the US remain based on 12-step
models. Americans, privately and through public funds, will spend at least
$10-12 billion in treatment facilities this year.

In order to stimulate dialog and exchange of information pertaining to
these issues, Solomon has recently expanded her website --- to include many other resources plus a free discussion forum.
Post a Comment

I'm on Facebook too

I'm on Facebook too
Read a book today