We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I read that article in The Atlantic. I disagree with almost all of it. There is no better or cheaper (it's free) approach to substance abuse for the motivated person.
It's notabout "Does it work?" It's about "Does the person work it?"Sanity, like physical health, is not a passive enterprise.
Nothing can be done for the unmotivated person. However, some people on a downward spiral need a little rehab (ie forced abstinence) first to get a little clarity; some people benefit from naltrexone or topamax, and all benefit from treatment of any coexisting problems.
My suspicion? 12-step programs refer a bit too often to this "God" character a bit to much for modern progressive activists to be happy with letting any public funding go there.
AA and other 12-step programs are generally free (or near enough to free) according to what I've seen, but paid residential and outpatient rehab places also use 12-step methods and charge for them.
AA is an immediate net for any alcoholic who reaches that point of first step. Support a phone call away, meetings every day: that alone makes them pretty awesome. The largess also lets alcoholics know they aren't alone, or special, unique or misunderstood.
Since the 12 steps are pretty much the same formula for Catholics seeking the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) I'm sure it rubs most progressives wrong.
Addictions are a co-occurring disorder with many psychiatric conditions, so I have been observing this for almost four decades now. I used to encounter rehabs and day programs that entirely forbade any other modalities than going to meetings and "working the program," but that was twenty-thirty years ago. There probably still are people and programs who claim that antidepressants and antipsychotics are "drugs," and not real sobriety, but I'm thinking the author is overselling that.
Measurement is indeed a huge problem. The efficacy of naltrexone depends on "did you take it?" and CBT has a similar "did you follow through?" problem. AA isn't magic, it does overpromise, and it's not for everyone. So what?
Assistant Village Idiot
The Atlantic article talked about a pill you could take that would block the effects of alcohol. My first thought would be what is so important about drinking alcohol, you would want to block the effects. My second thought was what is the point of drinking alcohol if you do feel the effects.