Our Philosophy on Addiction and Recovery
Why not use a 12 step approach?
Although Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-Step groups dominate US addiction treatment, federally funded research reveals that most individuals referred to such groups refuse to attend. Based on AA’s own data, most who attend do not follow through or benefit substantially.
Even though the dominant treatment approach serves only a minority of individuals, alternative addiction treatment approaches are difficult to find. AA has become so entrenched in US culture that many are afraid to suggest publicly that AA isn’t for everyone. Some of the reasons for dropping out of 12-step groups include difficulty accepting the need for a higher power, belief in a different kind of higher power, not viewing addiction as a lifelong disease, not wanting to attend groups, or not viewing oneself as an “alcoholic” or “addict.”
Practical Recovery has no objection to AA’s existence.
We believe 12 step, such as AA, is helpful to some individuals. Some of our clients attend AA. All of our clients have our encouragement to attend AA if they find it helpful. However, we object to anyone being told that “Alcoholics Anonymous is the only approach that works.” We exist to provide an alternative, non 12 step approach for those who want one.
No US citizen should be required to attend 12-step groups.
Such a requirement would violate his or her religious freedom. 12-step is fundamentally a “spiritual approach.” As such, we hope no one has an argument with it. We should all be free to choose our own spiritual approach. According to the US Constitution’s First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”), US citizens are free to attend 12-step meetings. Similarly, they should be free not to attend them, if they object to their religious content. Fortunately, since 1996, five US Circuit Courts of Appeal (the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th and 9th) have recognized the freedom of citizens not to be ordered into 12-step groups by the government or its representatives.
Scientifically supported treatment techniques
There are many scientifically supported treatment techniques which view addiction as a learned behavior, one which can be changed by the development of healthy habits. If you are interested in reading more about what has been discovered about alcoholism treatment, an excellent scientific overview is provided by: The Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches: Effective Alternatives (3rd edition), Edited by Hester, R. & Miller, W. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2002
The authors reviewed all 363 randomized controlled clinical trials of alcohol treatment available in the scientific literature up to that time. The randomized controlled clinical trial is the highest form of scientific evidence about treatment effectiveness. The authors conclude that:
“the negative correlation between scientific evidence and treatment-as-usual remains striking, and could hardly be larger if one intentionally constructed treatment programs from those approaches with the least evidence of efficacy (p. 41).”
In other words, traditional US treatment is easy to find, but not very effective. What is hard to find is effective treatment. However, you can relax, you have already found us!
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health wrote a similar document focused on substance use other than alcohol. This document summarizes the principles of effective treatment. Among these principles are: No single treatment is appropriate for everyone; Effective treatment takes into account a person’s multiple needs, not just drug use; and Counseling and other behavioral therapies are critical components of success.
The Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-based Guide, NIH Publication 99-4180, Washington, DC: National Institute on Drug Abuse, (Oct. 1999).
At Practical Recovery we use a range of scientifically-supported treatments. From this range we construct a completely individualized treatment plan which fits you, rather than making you fit a pre-existing plan.
Call us today to discuss your treatment options: (800) 977-6110
Practical Recovery is the leader in personalized care.
Together we create the recovery plan needed to address your unique concerns and situation.