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Unread 03-23-2009, 10:25 AM   #1
TIM
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Default Alcoholism drug not an easy sell

Alcoholism drug not an easy sell

The Boston Globe – 3/23/2009


http://www.boston.com/business/healt..._an_easy_sell/


After reading this article and noticing how resistant AA and rehab facilities are about it or any drug to treat addiction, all objections appear to be based on the misconception that medication is a replacement for AA (peer support) or rehab (professional psychosocial care) when actually it is meant as an adjunct.

Addiction Survivors.org published a brochure explaining the different components of treatment and explains why it is not right to pit one against another because they are meant to do different things and all components may be needed for long term addiction remission.

http://www.addictionsurvivors.org/do...rvBrochure.pdf


Groups like AA need to understand that the disease is "Addiction" not "drugs". The uncontrollable compulsion and inability to control intake is what ruins lives, not the act of taking a medication. As science produces more and more medications to fight addiction these groups will be doing an increasing disservice by steering people away from medications that could save their life.


Tim
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Unread 03-23-2009, 02:16 PM   #2
theswan
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Tim

I do not find AA itself having an opinion on this. I believe it is considered an "outside" issue. This is not a cop out as it might seem. AA simply allows each group the freedom to choose what it wants to do. As long as it does not greatly effect AA or other groups as a whole. There are groups that allow discussion of drugs for instance.

Now when it comes to AA members, well that is where the lines are drawn. A good "elder statesman" will bring the focus back to the individual and the steps rather then a "blasting" of any idea out of the water.

So AA has no isssue with this although each member is allowed their own opinion.

Glen
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Unread 03-23-2009, 02:43 PM   #3
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Dear Tim,

My name is Dave. I cannot speak for rehab facilities, but I can speak as a member of AA, a fellowship of men and women whose sole desire is to bring hope and a solution to those afflicted with the disease of alcoholism.

I have been a sober member of AA for almost 19 years and I have never heard or read anything that suggests AA is resistant to drugs as a treatment for addiction. Individuals in AA have voiced their opinions, but not AA, the fellowship. As for myself, if a drug therapy was developed that eliminated the disease of addiction and improved the life of the addicted to the extent AA has done for me, I would recommend it to "newcomers" without any reservation. I am fully supportive of any drug therapy that improves the chances of one finding long term sobriety.

You stated, "Groups like AA need to understand...........". No one understands the uncontrollable compulsion and inability to control intake better than an alcoholic/addict involved in recovery through AA. A medication that I have heard and seen disrupt the recovery process sought by a potential recovering alcoholic/addict many times is Vicodin. There have been other medications, usually in the pain-relief category, that have been the chief reason that person stopped seeking sobriety. So, naturally, I have a resistance to drugs being used by someone seeking sobriety.

I have a life today that I never imagined would have been possible for me. This life is because of what I have learned in AA and the steps I have done in AA. I believe you are doing a disservice to the thousands (if not more) of people who are desperately seeking a new way of life, a life of sobriety. Like I said before, if a drug is developed that increases the chances of finding and keeping sobriety, great! But until then I think it is important that AA be lauded as a means to sobriety. Enough resistance to the AA process already exists. Too many people have died; too many people's lives have been ruined because of resistance/prejudice to the AA method of sobriety.
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Unread 03-23-2009, 04:59 PM   #4
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Congratulations Dave for 19 years!!

It sounds like you have a very openminded AA group. I constantly hear about people unable to admit they are taking a treatment medication in fear of being ostracized from their group. The article I was commenting on said it too.

I'm not against AA, in fact I'm all for it, but I think there are many individual members who are anti-medication (or anything not AA) and I think that is dangerous. IMO AA should adapt with the times and help people understand how modern medicine can work with AA, and not all medications are evil.

"...A.A. members and many of their physicians
have described situations in which depressed
patients have been told by A.A.s to throw away
the pills, only to have depression return with all
its difficulties, sometimes resulting in suicide.
We have heard, too, from schizophrenics, manic
depressives, epileptics, and others requiring
medication that well-meaning A.A. friends often
discourage them from taking prescribed medication..."

Source: Official AA publication
http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/p-11_aamembers.pdf

From reading that publication it looks like AAs official policy is not to discourage helpful medication. But as you can see in the article too many people misinterpret that to mean all drugs are bad as this fellow from the article indicates; "We want people to be drug free," said Luttrell, adding that 12-step programs are much more effective than medication. "You've got to face reality." I think views like this are common (at least in my expirience they are the overwhelming view of the members I've met) and although not the policy of AA, when memebers voice it, it damages AA.

Tim
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Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. Voluntary Disclosure: Timothy L. is the President of The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine treatment. (NAABT.org) The views and opinions of Timothy L., or any poster, are not necessarily the views of AddictionSurvivors.org. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider Any information you read here should only serve to inspire you to investigate further with credible, verifiable referenced sources or your doctor.
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Unread 03-23-2009, 05:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theswan View Post
Tim

I do not find AA itself having an opinion on this. I believe it is considered an "outside" issue. This is not a cop out as it might seem. AA simply allows each group the freedom to choose what it wants to do. As long as it does not greatly effect AA or other groups as a whole. There are groups that allow discussion of drugs for instance.

Now when it comes to AA members, well that is where the lines are drawn. A good "elder statesman" will bring the focus back to the individual and the steps rather then a "blasting" of any idea out of the water.

So AA has no isssue with this although each member is allowed their own opinion.

Glen
Hi Glen,
Thanks for the post. You're right, in rereading my post it looks like I wasn't clear. I'm with you in that some members and not AA officially take a position on medications that have the potential to hurt both the patient and AA itself.

I had heard AA was updating the publication on medications I linked to and I wrote them asking them to address the issue and offer more guidance about specific medications like buprenorphine, naltrexone and methadone. I'll see if I can find the response and post it.

Tim
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Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. Voluntary Disclosure: Timothy L. is the President of The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine treatment. (NAABT.org) The views and opinions of Timothy L., or any poster, are not necessarily the views of AddictionSurvivors.org. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider Any information you read here should only serve to inspire you to investigate further with credible, verifiable referenced sources or your doctor.
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Unread 03-23-2009, 05:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave53190 View Post
I believe you are doing a disservice to the thousands (if not more) of people who are desperately seeking a new way of life, a life of sobriety.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dave53190 View Post
Â…if a drug is developed that increases the chances of finding and keeping sobriety, great! But until then I think it is important that AA be lauded as a means to sobrietyÂ…
Such drugs have been developed and are available now. (Ex. Suboxone and Vivitrol) Why do you imply that once these drugs are developed that it would change anything about AA? You say “until then I think it is important that AA be lauded as a means to sobriety…” You see that is precisely my point, that these tools shouldn’t be pitted one against the other. Effective medications don’t change how helpful AA is. The two are for different aspects of recovery. Myself and everyone associated with medication assisted treatment encourage that peer support be a part of a treatment using medication, yet you and some other AA members I’ve met and the person in the article seem to think it is one or the other.

Medication, psychosocial care, family support, and peer support are all essential and different components of a recover plan.

Medication is not a replacement for AA no more than AA is a replacement for medication. Both serve different purposes and different people will require different amounts of each. These are tools that should be used together.

Tim
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Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. Voluntary Disclosure: Timothy L. is the President of The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine treatment. (NAABT.org) The views and opinions of Timothy L., or any poster, are not necessarily the views of AddictionSurvivors.org. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider Any information you read here should only serve to inspire you to investigate further with credible, verifiable referenced sources or your doctor.
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Unread 03-23-2009, 11:59 PM   #7
dave53190
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Thanks Tim for the congrats on my length of sobriety. I only brought it up so that you and others may think that I know what I'm talking about. And, although this may seem arrogant, I do know what I'm talking about.

I am all for "medication assisted treatment". I do not feel it should be AA or some other route to sobriety. There are plenty of people in the field of recovery who are more educated than I am, but I have something that they can never have; experience. I have lived the life of an addict/alcoholic. I have seen the devastation it can bring to loved ones. I have experienced financial ruin. I have seen people die because they wanted an easier, softer way. There was a point in my disease where I remember welcoming death as a solution to the problems I had. Then I found sobriety and have been sober for a long time now. This is what I want others to have; a solution.

I wish there existed medications that would allow people to be convinced and motivated to thoroughly following the program of AA, even when things begin to improve for them. I wish this because, it's true, rarely do people fail who do this.

One more thing, I believe medications can be a useful "tool" in recovery, but AA is not a "tool", it is a way of life. I want others to have what I have, and it comes from my heart. Dave
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