SCIENCE and 12-Step NEED NOT BE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. There. I said it.
I often end up separated from the pack, “the pack” being any group of people who share a recovery experience, or in this case a program, who readily throw out the, “hey, whatever works for you, man,” quip when someone suggests alternatives to their chosen path of recovery but who also tends to be blatantly one-sided in their own convictions as to what is actually ‘THE WAY” (I picture Saturday Night Live, Dana Carvey doing The Church Lady, saying….’Well, isn’t that special…..” to anyone not sharing her dogma )
I believe a holistic approach is the only approach. Some 12-step here, some CBT there, therapy, exercise, medication if necessary, diet, and on and on. Just like most people I can be easily swayed by a well-founded argument or by a touching, emotional story. I can go from a blog post sharing an article which says addiction isn’t a disease to this blog post sharing a video which states convincingly the opposite. And that’s the point. Unless you are willing to open up to other possibilities, you will be limited in life. That’s a simple concept that has reaches far beyond the recovery community.
We must, as people trying to heal, stop closing the door to science when science steps forward with empirical evidence. And we also can’t let hope and faith (I am quickly taken to the anti-vaccination movement) say that we can heal without science. At least look at the data. Look at the research. Listen to the people who have spent their lives trying to find answers instead of blindly holding faith that your journey to recovery rests in 12 simple, albeit painful and exhausting, steps written in the 30’s, to the exclusion of everything else.
Got you mad yet?
It’s a beautifully produced piece using the new science of addiction (by a doctor who did the research.) It was a life changing experience for me because it helped validate what I have always known–there is not just one answer to this problem. It says there are 5 levels to addiction:
You’ll need to explore yourself what these levels actually mean via the DVD, but even with a quick glance you might understand how each level works in you. At the end, he talks about the benefit of 12-step programs. Watching was life changing because I could assimilate the content of the DVD with what I was experiencing at that time for the first time: intense 12-step. But the 12-step also had me in creative therapy, individual mental health therapy, group therapy, exercise, etc. etc.
Do you ever wonder why we feel so good upon leaving a treatment center? It’s because, no matter what the treatment is, it’s likely surrounded by a holistic mandatory menu of alternative treatments. When we leave treatment and get back to life, we’re often left alone and isolated within one channel of recovery. And it’s not enough. Or maybe it is. If so, there’s no real reason you’d be reading this. Otherwise, if you are reading it, you may be questioning and asking yourself if there isn’t actually more you can do.
Watch the clips, buy the video (if you are the person I loaned my copy to, please return it!). Here’s a review by Cold Creek Behavioral Health—a NON-12 Step program based on CBT. If the DVD gets both 12-step and Non-12 step treatment center approval, it might be good enough for you.