One way?

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So much for the frequently asserted but bogus argument that 90%+ of treatment providers in the US are one-true-way 12 steppers:

The researchers surveyed 913 members of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Counselors from across the United States. About 50 percent of the respondents said it would be acceptable if some of their clients who abused alcohol wanted to limit their drinking but not totally give up alcohol. In the earlier survey published in 1994, about 25 percent of the responding administrators of substance abuse treatment agencies found moderate drinking acceptable for some of their clients.

When asked about treating clients who abuse drugs, about half the counselors in the new study accepted moderate drug use as an intermediate goal and one-third as a final goal — this is about the same as it was in a similar survey 10 years ago.

It isn’t true and it hasn’t been true for a long time.

4 Comments

Filed under History, Policy, Research, Treatment

4 responses to “One way?

  1. Pingback: This Week in Addiction News - Addiction Issues in the News

  2. Uh…is it safe to assume that respondents would answer honestly? And even if someone is notionally OK with people getting well by any method, that doesn’t mean that their facility isn’t functionally a “one way” entity.

    • Thanks for the comment. This was in response to the frequently mentioned and unsupported statistic that 90% of American treatment centers are one-way 12-step programs. This statistic is usually invoked to dismiss treatment providers as hopelessly unscientific 12-step evangelicals.

      I’m sure your concerns are founded in some programs. What portion? I can’t say.

      My point is that these characterizations are unfair and misrepresent the system, but I’m not arguing that those criticisms are baseless. There was a time when this was true and I’m sure there are regions that still have little meaningful diversity in the available treatment.

      Best,

      Jason

  3. I appreciate that response.

    I suppose we’re all influenced by our experiences. I was exposed to a place that was pretty devout in its “one way” -ness. But I would bet you that the people there would pay lip service in a survey about being open to people recovering any way that works for them. But they weren’t actually OK with it within the confines of their program. They would actually say “it’s the only way” when people raised questions, and when people would come to the end of their stay they would say “Hopefully the seed has been planted.” The seed was AA in this case and not recovery by any means.

    Here is a question that I would love to know the answer to: what % of places that have AA as part of their program do not see it as the be-all, end-all of recovery? I suspect it’s not many.