Success? That’s great! Isn’t it? Well, it’s complicated.
The Sinclair Method (TSM) has a very high, clinically-demonstrated, long term success rate at almost 80%, and in many respects this is, indeed, great. It’s certainly great for the people whose lives it turns around, and for their friends and families, and even for society as a whole. But one of the trappings of this success is that many people who have never tried TSM rush to the conclusion that it’s ‘too good to be true’.
I can understand this reaction. After all the addiction treatment industry has been sorely lacking in success stories and, is, instead, saturated with stories of relapses and increasing deaths. What I would expect, however, is that before rushing to one judgment or the other, people educate themselves about what is involved in TSM… how the science works… and how many people are now documenting how successfully this method has worked for them. It isn’t always easy, or smooth, and there are often many highs and lows on the way to pharmacological extinction, but for those who have persevered, it has been quite literally a life saver.
This method, like any other form of treatment available, requires a commitment and a willingness from the individual to want to do something constructive about their drinking issues.
But those individual difficulties pale in comparison with the problems caused by the response from the ‘traditionalist’ element of those in recovery. The venom that is sometimes hurled at those considering using TSM, or already doing so, can be upsetting and disheartening – and on rare occasions, even paralysing to the recovery of someone who is at their most vulnerable.
I hear often that the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the 12 Steps, provide a blueprint for a sober, and better, life, and that many within AA accept that their way to recovery may not be the only way. I am sure this is true for the majority of those who have followed the 12 steps and are now living healthily and well as a result, but my experience shows that there is also a large and very vocal element of AA that hurls abuse at those who do not wish to use AA for their recovery, or who have tried AA and found that it has not worked for them.
To be fair to those following the traditional way of recovery, my experience as a proponent of a non-traditional Alcohol Use Disorder treatment likely skews the response I receive, in that I am more likely to attract the attention of this particular group. I accept that, and I accept that putting myself ‘out there’ is also making myself a target. What I cannot accept, however, is that others who are simply trying to find their way out of their personal drinking Hell are also subjected to ridicule and verbal abuse. Or that this abuse comes from those who have supposedly had a ‘spiritual experience’ and are living a more rewarding and fulfilling life. It is not productive, nor it is helpful, and frankly it borders on cyber-stalking in some instances. These people should know that someone in the throes of addiction is incredibly vulnerable, and we should all support them in however they choose to reach their own personal recovery. After all, it is their recovery… not mine, not yours and not anyone else’s. Addicts deserve options, period. It is difficult for me to imagine that someone who has achieved recovery would spend their time cyber bullying those who are desperately seeking a solution to their own addiction, but I see it on a daily basis. This is cruelty at it’s most heinous.
I also accept that this is unlikely to ever change in my lifetime, and this is why I never take part in the seemingly endless debates that tend to get very quickly, if not immediately, sabotaged, so that any useful help that might be offered is buried deep down on page 28 of the comments. I would implore those who have recovered in AA to start commenting on the abuse, stating that it is wrong to do this and not in keeping with AA values, but sadly the silence from the majority is deafening.
At both C3 Foundation Europe, and the C3 Foundation in America, we believe that #OptionsSaveLives – it is not one way or the highway.
To quantify that, and to put into the public domain my own personal beliefs on this important issue, I would like to state the following:
If the long term success rate of Alcoholics Anonymous is approximately 10%, then I am happy for those 10% who find their recovery goal within the rooms, but, at the same time, I am dismayed that the other 90% of those who require help for their drinking remain untreated.
If TSM had a success rate of just another 10%, then by embracing the idea that it is not one way or the highway, we would have doubled our success rate overnight – we are now aiding 20% in need. That’s a good thing, right? Surely, no one, regardless of how they personally recovered, would argue that is a bad thing?
But TSM actually has a long term success rate of 78%.
So, if people wish to use the services of AA to achieve their goals, then brilliant. I’m genuinely happy for them. And if others wish to utilise TSM to achieve their goals, then that is brilliant, too.
10% + 78% = 88% of those needing help reached, treated, and living happy and productive lives. How can anyone say that is wrong?
If other methods out there, such as SMART and Moderation Management, for example, make up the other 10-12% of people, then all of a sudden, by working together and helping each other, we reach almost every single person out there requesting the help that can save their lives.
We must work TOGETHER towards a common overall objective.
Providing options and saving lives is far more important than anyone’s personal agenda.