Following is an excerpt from the article we spoke about in Dr. Peele's interview, "So Alcoholics Anonymous Is “Proven” to Work After All? Not So Fast!." It's a good read and provides a much appreciated alternative perspective on addiction and how we, as a culture, could be doing better.
"A Fundamental Change of Direction
We need a whole new way of thinking about our relationship to drugs and alcohol. This reconception needs to respond to problems created by substance use. But America’s drug problems are caused primarily by the lethal combination of our abstinence obsession, drug panics and inhumane capitalism.
There is a larger background question here. How are we doing? Is this a point in history where we want to double down (or double back) on our long-tried existing approaches to addiction?
The addiction author and journalist Maia Szalavitz, a successful graduate of a Hazelden-style 12-step rehab, wrote an important piece in 2017 cataloging the cultural weight behind the 12 Steps—“After 75 years of Alcoholics Anonymous, It’s Time to Admit We Have a Problem: Challenging the 12-step Hegemony”:
For much of the past 50 years or so, voicing any serious skepticism toward Alcoholics Anonymous or any other 12-step program was sacrilege—the equivalent, in polite company, of questioning the virtue of American mothers or the patriotism of our troops. If your problem was drink, AA was the answer; if drugs, Narcotics Anonymous. And if those programs didn’t work, it was your fault: You weren’t “working the steps.” The only alternative, as the 12-step slogan has it, was “jails, institutions, or death.”
I can attest to that. I have for decades been one of few addiction specialists willing to publicly question AA, and have been blacklisted as a result..."
Here's the link for the original Filter article https://filtermag.org/alcoholics-anonymous-cochrane/