I know I go off on the Establishment quite a bit, but the medical and academic hubris of certain doctors and the sort of obstinate, childlike understanding of addiction should be exposed in an effort to change conventional treatment programs for the better.
The Establishment will never get it. In an article last year about my story, the twelve step process was challenged by some of the ‘top’ PhDs in the field of alcohol and drug addiction. It’s difficult to fathom the intricate link these guys have to policy decisions given the lack of understanding or insight into the nature of addiction and the power of the spiritual solution. Not only that, but for all of the supposed cognitive prowess, the knowledge and understanding displayed about AA and the Steps was quite deficient. If we’re going to comment on something in a national article, is it too much to ask to know our facts?
Yes, Charlie, that is far too much to ask. And don’t question us either, we are far more intelligent than you on the subject of addiction.
Their central argument against the twelve steps is the lack of scientific evidence to suggest the application of such a process makes any significant difference in promoting long-term sobriety. First, excuse me while I go laugh. So just because you have clinical data on, say, success rates of methadone maintenance, that means it’s a more viable treatment method then the power of a rigorous and life-changing twelve step process? That sort of thinking by some of our best and brightest is about as sophisticated as the dump I took this morning. Sure methadone ‘success rates’ are gonna look pretty good on your data set because methadone keeps us jammed out of our fucking minds.
Perhaps we could alter our gaze away from the framed degrees for a sec and go get some clinical data on the success of a twelve step transformation? Why don’t we follow the hundreds and thousands of men and women who have given their lives to the steps and record what you see – utterly changed people glowing with spirit and confidence, entirely free from ‘triggers’ and obsessions, and enviously sane, calm, centered, content and at peace. I should mention as well that recovered men and women make no apologies for their reliance on God and their absolute belief in God’s power.
I suppose it should come as no surprise to see doctors and scientists blinded by their own fundamentalist belief system. When we believe ourselves to be intellectually superior, heroic, even God-like, bad things are sure to happen. And when you consider the lack of financial incentive in offering a spiritual program of action, the intellectual dishonesty doesn’t seem mind-boggling at all. Having alcoholics and addicts recover for life using a simple program of spiritual/moral action would render an entire industry impotent. Recovery is the last thing these people want. There is no money in recovery. There is only money in relapse, pain, struggle, heartache and destruction.
Finally, and this is a tad embarrassing for the status-hungry, self-seeking PhDs who dutifully dismissed my entire life experience, but we now have quite a bit of scientific evidence that many of the actions contained within the Steps elicit significant brain changes. The act of meditating, for example, as suggested in the 11th Step, is proven to alter one’s bio-chemistry, raise dopamine and serotonin levels, and trigger the release of endorphins. As well, if you measure other brain changes by, for example, EEG activity, you will see pronounced differences before and after deep prayer, before and after a profound amends, before and after reading inventory, or before and after working intensively with another alcoholic or addict.
Tragically, however, addicts, alcoholics, spouses and parents are manipulated and peddled a heaping pile of lies about addiction and how the exorbitant price tag for the myriad of false remedies such as more drugs, medications, injections, relapse prevention, individual and group therapy, saunas, steak and palm trees is well worth it “because we have scientific evidence and clinical data to back it up.” Okay, sure, yes, these are great solutions… if your goal is to relapse and then die. Mainstream addiction treatment in the drug and disorder obsessed America is a great travesty, a sore that might only be healed by the grace of God.
God, please help dissolve medical and academic hubris, that we might see solutions from remedies and find our way to You…