This was posted as a topic by moreover when he intended it to be here. I moved it for him - it is his idea not mine although I’d like to say I agree this would be interesting.
POI didn’t have anything on alternative medicine lately. On Dec 15, 2002 I heard a talk by the then president of the Massachusetts Humanists ( http://masshumanists.org ), Joseph Gerstein, MD. He presented about an addiction recovery model called “Smart Recovery” (he is on the board of that organization). It shuns the 12 step ideology and points out where it is making false assumptions and claims, and instead uses a different approach that does not command giving yourself over to a higher power. The biggest eyeopener for me was the fact that an estimated 40 to 60 percent of alcoholics quit at some point of their lives (typically when their wife stands in the door with suitcase and children). G.W. Bush (as much as I’d like to see him in the gutter) is a prominent example.
It’s also a myth that once sober a single drop of alcohol will wipe out your recovery and land you in the throngs of addiction again. Instead the majority of former drunks learn eventually to limit themselves to one drink and leave it at that. As a psychologist by training (although I never practiced in the field) I found this approach convincing both in practical and theoretical terms.
I’m not too hopeful that it will get play on POI because its parent organization seems to favor the Teetotaller approach with its affiliate “Secular Organizations for Sobriety/Save Our Selves (SOS)”
Anyway, here’s the website for Smart Recovery and below an abstract from their website store which gives some more detail: http://smartrecovery.org
Resisting 12-Step Coercion
By Stanton Peele, Charles Bufe and Archie Brodsky. Stanton and his colleagues respond to the overwhelming use of coercive referrals to substance abuse treatment in the United States with a primer on the legal, ethical, and clinical aspects of such treatment. The authors find that the empirical basis for claims that 12-step treatment is useful is weak at best. Moreover, a personal resolution to participate in a particular treatment is an important component in effective therapy. From here, the authors review legal and ethical issues surrounding compulsion to go to 12-step groups. A number of higher courts have made clear that government-agency or court coercion to attend 12-step groups violates the first amendment’s separation of church and state, since 12-step groups have uniformly been found to be religious in nature. A separate chapter evaluates chemical dependence treatment in terms of current standards of medical informed consent, and finds such treatment highly deficient in this regard. Finally, the authors summarize their material in a ready-to-digest form for submission to policy makers who are considering making people go to 12-step groups or related therapies. Since court challenges are a last resort, the authors instead suggest gently informing decision-makers that such policies are unwise and illegal. Effective alternatives are outlined and discussed, along with references to alternate support groups. This book is a critical aid for combat in the emerging war over treatment as a part of intrusive and punitive drug and alcohol laws, which are made to seem more palatable by the inclusion of treatment provisions, but which are actually even more coercive and repressive than simple punishment for using drugs or drinking.