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Inside Rehab: The Surprising Truth About Addiction Treatment – and How to Get Help That Works by Anne M. Fletcher – A Book Review

Addiction rehabs and the 12 steps claim they have the one and only way. They are mistaken and are harming more people than they are helping.

This book will be released tomorrow, February 7, 2013. I wanted to give those of you interested a heads up. To those of us who know the truth, this information is not in the least bit surprising. The review link below is from The New Republic magazine. 

Whenever I hear someone say that they do not want to get rid of 12 step groups or they claim 12 step groups are helpful for millions, I cringe a bit. I do not care if 12 step groups continue to exist or not. I do care that the truth be revealed so that people can make informed decisions. I do believe that only an evangelical, narcissistic, bombastic and otherwise unsuccessful person is genuinely helped by the 12 steps. They are helped by having a place to evangelize, blow their horn with their claims of ‘time,’ and be able to play the big shot to vulnerable people they refer to as ‘newcomers.’ This reference to these newcomers is done with pity and disrespect, and the newcomer is broken down with mantras that break their ability to think for themselves: ‘Your best thinking got you here,’ is one of many demeaning references newcomers must adopt as truths. For that group of misfits who would otherwise have nothing to brag about in their lives, the 12 steps are perfect.

There are some truly nice people who have been brainwashed by the 12 step dogma. I write for those nice people who might one day wake up to the fact that they have been duped, deceived and dissociated from getting individualized help for their substance use problems, or their loved ones problems. I write for the loved one of a substance abuser who just cannot understand why their loved one cannot stay sober, even though they have been to rehab and/or 12 step meetings. I write for those who have been in and out of 12 step groups and are still struggling and are told that if the programme is not working, it is due to their inability to accept it, or work it hard enough, or go to enough meetings, or all the other ‘blame the victim’ abuses of the steps.

It sounds like Ms. Fletcher is doing the same. She and I have been emailing one another and I have a great deal of respect for her and this enormous achievement. Of course, I have not read the book yet and am really looking forward to it. The book sounds promising and I would love to discuss it here with anyone who also wishes to read it. Oh, and did you know that the first national and public criticism of Alcoholics Anonymous appeared in a 1963 Harpers Magazine article? Here is the link for that:

http://www.eskimo.com/~burked/history/harpers.html 

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112255/why-rehab-fails 

In addition to exposing the truth regarding the 12 steps, I am also an agent for change. This change only happens when people come together and find positive ways to change a very broken system. Education comes first, action follows.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Johnny Robish February 07, 2013 at 09:07 PM
I enjoy reading your analysis. I don't always fully agree with you, but I do most of the time - having been through all you write about (many years ago) and having left "the program" for many of the reasons that you have mentioned.
Laura Tompkins February 07, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Thanks Johnny. I rarely fully agree with anyone. I do appreciate a healthy and respectful discussion. I hope you get a chance to read this book. It was released today. Also, I admit to pushing back as hard as I get pushed by those of blind faith acceptance of this 'programme.' More often than not, all they have to offer are name calling and ad hominem attacks. They are incapable of respectful discussion. That is a bad sign. ; )
Arthur Christopher Schaper February 10, 2013 at 12:01 AM
I agree, Laura. Find or establish a positive alternative. As always, please visit: errorsofaa.blogspot.com for more information. Don't "Keep Coming Back" to AA -- it does not work!
Laura Tompkins February 10, 2013 at 07:17 AM
Instead of keep coming back, it should be don't be fooled. Thanks Arthur.
Anti Denial February 13, 2013 at 02:49 AM
I am so glad to see such a respected author right about this very important topic. AA fails so many. 12 step Rehabs fail so many people. I look forward to reading this book and see more be written. At www.nadaytona.org we discuss the failure of both AA and NA to be safe for those that participate. Many do not know of the Judicial and court system sending violent felons including sex predators to meetings. Check out the website for more info.
Laura Tompkins February 13, 2013 at 03:12 AM
I am about 1/2 way through. It's very fair and objective and lays it all out on the line. She did a great job and the book will help all those who read it. The most successful people are those who believe in their own power and strength and wisdom and trust their instincts to tell them what kind of help, if any, they need and want. She breaks a lot of the damaging misconceptions which we all talk about and chronicles how traditional 12 step treatment is not the only way ... Not even close. Hope you like it AntiD.
helen petticrew February 20, 2013 at 09:55 AM
I don't think it is productive to suggest AA meetings are full of violent felons.
Laura Tompkins February 20, 2013 at 06:01 PM
It most certainly is productive for all those who are sending their daughters (and attending themselves) to meetings assuming they are safe ... When they are not. 12 step meetings are indeed filled with convicted felons wo have been mandated by the court under the terms of their probation to attend. Informed concent is not a priority for 12 step groups since they hide behind their 'anonymity' tradition. 90% of people in these meetings are there because they have been told they must attend or else. AA disciples have been led to believe that their beloved Programme has saved their lives. They have been brainwashed to think that their way is the one and only way and anyone can benefit from their miraculous steps. They have been told to never criticise their Programme so as or not scare off a newcomer. These lies need to be exposed for what they are ... Lies. To all those who are looking for a safe group for help, this is most certainly not one of them. First of all, the idea that a 'group' is necessary at all is a 12 step invention. 12 step groups are not in t he business of helping anyone. 12 step groups are only in the business of keeping the group alive by mandating people and getting members to recruit people. If you are interested in a group try SMART or Lifering or Moderation Management or SOS or Rational Recovery. These are all secular, safe and free.
Anti Denial February 20, 2013 at 07:18 PM
You have got to be kidding right? It is not helpful to WARN people that AA meetings are full of violent felons? This is not a suggestion, this is a cold hard fact. Not just any felons either. Killers, rapists, pedophiles, wife beaters, armed robbers, sex predators, prostitutes and drug dealers. There is no felon too dangerous to attend an AA meeting. This is why people are being emotionally and physically harmed by AA and NA members. Would you suggest we should aid AA in covering up the true demographic of 12 step meetings?
Marie March 02, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Several of us here in the Akron area 'Strongly' Agree it is urgently way past just WARNING others what's happening in these 12 step programs. IT'S TIME TO 'SPEAK OUT' ...LOUDLY & BOLDLY! The birth place of AA can't hide behind the tenth tradition on this matter . When it's happening in the rooms and AA affiliated recovery centers, clubs it is an inside matter! - Hence the AA name is public ...so let the public know the truth , especially when crimes are being committed. It's not controversy ;,it's Facts! Another fact is that before the program of Alcoholics Anonymous was founded we had/have Duties & obligations as citizens of the United States . So hiding behind the Twelve step isn't cutting it either ! AMERICAN CITIZEN Obligations Duties imply legal responsibilities in response to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Obligations imply moral responsibilities to the country and fellow citizens in response to having the privileges of citizenship. According to the business American Family Traditions, those obligations include being a volunteer and addressing the special needs of our communities; being a good neighbor and ensuring the safety and cleanliness of both our neighborhoods and our workplaces; and being a good American by living the principles and values consistent with those implied in the Constitution: integrity, self-discipline, proactivity, humility and empathy.
Laura Tompkins March 02, 2013 at 11:07 PM
I wrote a longer reply but it seems to have disappeared. Thank you Marie! Please email me with all the details. Something must and is being done. Ldyluk47@yahoo.com
Laura Tompkins March 02, 2013 at 11:22 PM
I agree! You're absolutely right. This is an INSIDE issue and the time is here for strong opposition to the lies and deceit. Those who are not speaking out are complicit. We are not going away steppers so get your shit together or continue to be an accomplice. Just like what you choose to put in your body, you have the choice. Hiding behind bullshit powerlessness is not acceptable any longer. Thank you Marie!
Anti Denial March 02, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Hi Marie, It is so sick what is being allowed to happen in your area. I am glad you are trying to do something about this. It is another example of AA members think they can do whatever they want in AA and hide behind anonymity.

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