• In AA social support is more important than a higher power

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step groups (e.g., Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, etc.) suggest that in order to recover from addiction you must accept that you are powerless to recover on your own.  Only with inspiration from a higher power, recognition of your own character defects, and fellowship in the group, among other steps, will you be successful.  If this perspective makes sense to you, then 12-step groups may be just what you need.  But the higher power concept is not acceptable to many, and it probably isn’t the foundation of the limited success AA actually achieves. AA was established in 1935.  Other groups have followed, with several hundred types of 12-step groups now in existence.  These groups have been attended by millions around ...
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  • Are Non-12-Step Recovery Approaches Effective?

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    There are many effective alternatives to the 12-step addiction recovery approach.  This article will describe the major treatments and support groups that one might choose if interested in a non-12-step (alternative) approach.  These alternatives need to be widely known because individuals who might never attend an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting might attend treatment or a support group with a different approach.  What might not be possible for them in AA might be possible elsewhere.  It would benefit everyone if the alternative approaches were as widely known and as easily available as AA and other 12-step groups.  Even AA would benefit from the individuals who chose to go elsewhere.  Those remaining in AA would know that they were attending because they had freely chosen to attend,...
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  • Choices in Addiction Treatment and Recovery

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Should individuals who need help have choices when it comes to treatment and recovery from addiction?   Imagine talking to your child or partner, who is obviously drinking or drugging too much. “Why don’t you get it?  It’s SO obvious!  You are becoming addicted!  Look at the damage you are causing, to yourself, to me, and to everyone who cares about you.  YOU NEED TO STOP!  I’m arranging to send you to treatment.” And imagine an angry response, perhaps something like “This is my life, I’ll live it the way I want…You just don’t respect my lifestyle…You are blowing this way out of proportion…Just because you are a prohibitionist doesn’t mean I have to be one…You can take your treatment program and…” Looking in from the outside, we could say that this drinking/drugging indi...
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  • Debunking the Myth about AA

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    The primary myth about AA is that “it is the only thing that works.” Of course, like other myths, there is some truth in this one. Many people assert that AA saved them or others they know well from alcohol problems. They may be correct. In fact, however, no one knows. From a scientific perspective, the effectiveness of AA is unknown. Furthermore, what is known to be effective alcohol treatment, from a scientific perspective, is not very similar to AA. Therefore, what should be said about AA is that “it might work—many people claim based on personal experience that it does—but other approaches are actually known to work, and they are rather different than AA.” An introduction to the complex scientific literature on AA can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effectivenes...
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  • Self-empowering vs. Powerless Recovery

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Debunking the myth about AA Should people who need addiction recovery have choices? Are non-12-step recovery approaches effective? Why choose a non-12-step recovery approach? In AA social support is more important than a higher power Treating psychiatric and addiction comorbidity with a cognitive-behavioral (non-12-step) approach  Leading edge psychotherapy: The psychotherapy team
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  • Quality time vs. quantity time

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Parents want to have “a great time” with their kids. Realistically, however, how many “Kodak moments” are likely to occur? Wonderful moments or encounters don’t happen daily, and maybe not even weekly. More importantly, these moments can’t be scheduled. They happen when they happen. There is a simple guideline for increasing the number of wonderful moments you have with your children: Spend more time with them. Aim to have “quantity time” and the “quality time” will follow. What ways of spending time together are there? First, there are the basics. Have meals together. Engage the children in helping prepare the meal. Tuck your younger children into bed each night, preferably reading something out loud with them beforehand. In the car, turn off the radio and talk with each other. A...
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  • Parenting 101: 28 Tips for Being the Best Parent You Can Be

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Even if you have been away from your children because of reasons related to your addiction, your kids are probably not far from your mind. In early recovery, it is important to focus on yourself long enough to build a solid foundation for change (however long that takes will vary from person to person). Once a stable foundation is established, it is time to think about your relationships, especially those with your children. Most parents strive to be the best parents they can be. Given the hectic nature of our lives, this is not always an easy feat to accomplish. When we are under stress, our children may also exhibit signs of stress by becoming irritable, moody, clingy, or withdrawn. They may also show changes in their eating or sleeping behaviors (such as more frequent nightmares o...
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  • Self-empowering addiction support groups

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Although Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step groups are far more widely known, there are other addiction support groups worth knowing about.  They are listed here in approximate order of size and influence.  All support abstinence, with Moderation Management supporting both abstinence and moderation with alcohol. SMART Recovery http://smartrecovery.org Women for Sobriety http://womenforsobriety.org LifeRing Secular Recovery http://lifering.org Secular Organizations for Sobriety http://www.sossobriety.org Moderation Management http://moderation.org/ All of these non-profit organizations are active communities of recovery with websites, publications and face-to-face meetings in some locations. Several also have online meetings and active message boards.
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  • Biological-Psychological-Social-Spiritual: Which Support Group Covers Them All?

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    Science has revealed that addiction is far more complex than we formerly thought. As a result, professionals and individuals in recovery have changed their language about addiction and recovery. Addiction is now described as a complex problem, and recovery is described as having biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects.  This “bio-psycho-social-spiritual” model includes: physiology and genetics; behavior, beliefs and emotions; family, community and culture; and values, morality and ultimate beliefs. If we accept that addiction and recovery are bio-psycho-social-spiritual in nature, which addiction support groups support this broad and complex approach? Which groups include all four aspects in their program (based on a review of the primary publications)? Fortunately, the...
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  • Balancing individual and community needs

    Posted on July 24, 2013
    A well-functioning family, community or society needs to have a balance between self-interested behavior, and altruistic or service behavior. If every member of a group pays attention only to his or her own immediate needs, life becomes very difficult quickly. For instance, a hunter-gatherer group that could effectively cooperate to hunt large animals would have more food, and be safer, than a group that had each member attempting to hunt alone. Solitary hunters are simply not as effective as a well-coordinated team of hunters. It is assumed in most Western societies that individuals will naturally “look out for number one.” In some non-Western societies there may be more emphasis on helping others over taking care of oneself. Perhaps the influence of capitalism has promoted an excessi...
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