Ryan Lochte, Booze Just Isn’t For You

Ryan Lochte and Alcohol AbuseIn a refreshing respite from Trumps latest gaff, the news cycle was dominated this morning by something else. Unfortunately, it’s was a sad tale of scandal involving Ryan Lochte and two other young men from the U.S. Olympic swim team. Its seems that after some kind of issue at a gas station after a night of partying ended in a fabricated story about being held at gunpoint. A convenient way to sweep poor decisions under the rug and blame bad behavior on a dire economic condition in Brazil. Clearly this was a situation that got out of hand and the intention to get out of it, went awry.

Ryan Lochte’s Pattern of Alcohol Abuse

Lochte has a history of these types of incidents. He has previously been arrested for disorderly conduct and public urination. None of this displays inherent criminality, it’s low level stuff, but as a famous athlete, his stakes are higher and scrutiny is closer, making the behavior worse. One of the diagnostics for a substance abuse issue is “consequence with a willingness to do it again”. So in other words, if it were a bad decision and a young person learned their lesson, it’s not really pathology, it’s youth. The treatment plan for being 19 is being 25 and we all have to take our lumps with that experience. That’s not what Lochte is facing.

At 32 years old, Lochte no longer gets the latitude of “young and dumb”. There is a clear pattern of things going wrong when alcohol is added to his composition. This latest debacle is part of a larger pattern where Lochte acts in ways he wouldn’t in the absence of drinking and partying. Most concerning in the unfolding story is Lochte seems to have led younger teammates then left them holding the bag. That’s the integrity of someone who is actively impaired with a drinking problem. It’s unlikely, though possible, that Lochte has organic mental illness that would lead him to these situations. It’s more likely that when he drinks, these things can happen. That is what alcoholism is. That’s the definition of it. Most are looking for volume and frequency to explain the pathology and that’s only a small data point. More relevant is what happens when someone drinks.

Finding Help for Alcoholism

At the moment the media is consumed with what happens in Rio. Once this unravels, it’s very likely that the public flogging of Lochte will begin. Does Lochte deserve this? Partially he does, he acted poorly and needs to be held accountable. He also deserves empathy, he meets criteria for alcoholism and that requires treatment and compassion. Shame only fans the flame. Perhaps Lochte should speak with teammate Michael Phelps who, after numerous consequences, went into treatment and it seems to have worked, he’s doing well and is vocal about his recovery.

Were Lochte my son or my charge here is what I would advise he say and do: “I have had numerous consequences when I have been drinking. While I am not asking for my behavior to be excused and am willing to accept the consequences, I will be entering treatment to learn more about my relationship with and reaction to alcohol”. Clear, simple, and appropriate. Give me a call, Ryan, I can help you out.

Being the Dorm Drug Hook-up is a Really Bad Idea

“Drugs” consistently polls as one of the things parents worry about the most. In a short time, legions of young people will head off for the American ritual of going to college and with that experience, all the potential landlines. In the absence of supervision, drug use spikes. While we often give thought to the negative aspects of drug consumption, we may not give much thought to the simple idea that drugs are a commodity. Someone, somewhere produces the products, distributes and sells them. All of which is highly illegal to varying degrees depending on the substance. To add to the complexity, it’s very easy to imagine how a well meaning young person could fall into the trap of becoming the dealer for the dorm or fraternity, though no parent likes to think of their child as “that kid”, someone’s child is.

Dorm Drug Dealer
What starts out as making some extra cash, can quickly become a felony and if caught, that can tag a young person for the rest of their life. The efficacy of this model and even the ethics of it are entirely debatable. Getting caught up in legal entanglements isn’t part of anyone’s hopes and dreams for a college experience. As much as parents worry about the use of drugs, we often lose sight of the sale and distribution but those issues do happen. What does one do if that does happen?

  1. Get legal council immediately. People have rights and drug charges are nothing to play with.
  2. Understand that people who meet criteria for “addiction” are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. That won’t excuse behaviors, nor should it, but it can help someone get into treatment.
  3. Understand that the legal ramifications is one of the things with which to deal, there are others
  4. “Tough love” is a bad play here. People think of the drug culture as “lessons to learn” it’s not. Thinking “let them sit in jail” won’t help in the long term. Nobody comes out of jail better, often they come out much, much worse
  5. Don’t lose hope, this may have a silver lining and it can be helped
  6. DO get a skilled social worker who knows how this works to aid in the formulation and implementation of a plan. Lawyers are often looking for a loophole or best outcome for a legal perspective, that’s their job, but that’s not the whole story. Drug use and willingness to take the risk of dealing has behavioral and psychological underpinnings that won’t be addressed by legal council.
  7. What if the DA offers a deal to expose the org chart? DO NOT take this! Most college kids are very low level players in the grand scheme of things and their real value to a jurisdiction is what they know. While it might be enticing to quickly make the whole thing go away, exposing others is dangerous and not worth while. Tell the DA to forget it.
  8. Do not “get them out of it”. Consequences are good but not inappropriate consequences that ruin lives.
  9. Be honest about the situation. Drug policy regardless of if its at a community or individual level is only successful to the degree that we can be honest about it. Making excuses, minimizing, justifying won’t help the young person in the long run.
  10. Find some empathy and compassion. We were all young once, we all made incredibly bad decisions and we all need help to negotiate the messes we create. Drug use and distribution shouldn’t mean ruined lives.

Brock Turner And The Culture Of Alcohol Field Rape

Culture of Alcohol Field Rape

Brock Turner and his parents have shown their cards. Their level of entitlement is staggering. They are the embodiment of modern parenting that treats children not as developing adults but as deified exotic pets whose main role and purpose is to provide fodder for bragging to peers.

Rehabs are full of these kids, inept and unable to function in a world that doesn’t treat them like their parents do. The “my kid can do no wrong” standard is harmful to human development. Reading the letters Brock Turner’s parents wrote to the judge it’s clear where he got the idea that the world is his to act on any impulse with impunity. My guess is these parents were holy terrors to faculty.

What if Brock got a “B”? My guess is the parents would demand the teacher be fired, after all, apparently his parents believe Brock can rape and he is the victim deserving of a standard they have set. Sadly, the judge agreed with this rank stupidity.

Brock Turner And College Rape Culture

One of the things that was blamed in this incident was the culture of binge drinking on college campuses. In a general sense, alcohol use does contribute to the issue of sexual assault. The literature is clear on this, less alcohol, less sexual assault, but that doesn’t address the entire problem. So what is the problem? Where does it start and what can be done?

With the Brock Turners of the world, the problem seems to start with the mini-van, juice box culture where children begin to internalize a belief that they are not beings among billions but that they are special, deserving of perfection and a pain free existence. The truth is, human development is like an immune system, without pain, we can not function and don’t build tolerance for what comes down the Jersey turnpike of life. Life is rife with a range of emotion, disappointment, sadness, frustration, grief and yes, happiness. Addicts believe they have the right to correct any feeling of which they do not approve. Whenever I get a young man as a client I ask them a very simple question “what do you want for your recovery?” Almost invariably they say “I want to be happy”. My reply “well, you’ll be happy some of the time but not always”, baffles them. They have no ability to even entertain the idea that that they are not entitled to unwavering happiness.

The binge drinking campus culture fuels all kinds of problems. We try to mitigate the whole issue by saying “don’t drink and drive”, sound advice to be sure but hardly addressing the range of what can go wrong when young people drink to the point of stupidity. Late adolescent behavior is risky in and of itself. Does it need help from demon alcohol to nurture risk?

Brock Turner upped the ante into something way beyond the typical campus sexual assault but is there more to it? I have heard many, many, tearful confessions from young men facing sexual assault charges. Are they pathological sexual predators? Maybe. Maybe they are young, dumb, drunk, filled with pressure to get laid and fit in with a lord of the flies fraternity house. Certainly this excuses nothing but it may explain some of the problem and understanding the problem is a step toward improving the problem.

Reframing Parenthood

Why are we shocked at the Brock Turners of the world? They are raised to believe they are chosen, special, and above consequence. Add alcohol and youth and you have a situation that produces low hanging fruit for all kinds of problems. The first step is reframing parenthood. Making ‘not having children’ an acceptable choice (most people shouldn’t be parents) would be a great start. Holding children accountable for their actions would also a great step. Educating young people about their sexuality as more than a chapter of the mechanics in a health text book. Teaching young men their dick is not a sword of imperialistic entitlement. Starting at a much, much, younger age, would help. I’m sure young women need a different approach to their sexuality but I have no capacity to advise that. All I would know to say is “honey, head up, skirt down, boys are filthy, find a nerd”.

The apple pie faced Brock Turner offers an opportunity to have a national dialogue about sexual assault on college campuses. Over simplifying the problem with “rape is bad” rhetoric is incomplete and will do little to reduce the number of these incidence. As always, the monopoly that alcohol enjoys on legal intoxication is a problem. Diversifying choice in the matter would help. While sexual assault spikes with alcohol, it declines with weed. We all like the idea of the young people in our lives using no intoxication but we also like the idea of all children having food.

As with most things in America we treat problems with Christian ethics and tell people not to do things. Sorry America, we need to be more honest and start looking at managed risk and harm reduction. Brock Turner got off far to easily for this egregious assault. In my view, his parents should serve time. Their crime? Complicit in their sons world view that would allow him to commit this act.

Originally published on EpicTimes.Com

Quitting Drinking Found to Extend Life and Ability to Dispense Unsolicited Advice

Quit Drinking

Success in AA Includes Ability to Dispense Advice to Virtually Everyone About Virtually Anything

AA is an organization that is riddled with holes and contradictions. It happens to work for me. The steps are something I found to be very useful as a focal point of effort and ideals for which to strive. The fellowship of mutual help and peers was critical to my success in sobriety. I am lucky. Very lucky. The first time I walked into an AA meeting and thought “these guys look like guys I could have known at USC” it was life altering, more than anything, it made being sober ok and as a young man, I needed that permission. That era of my life was fun. I had friends, we had a robust life exploring Manhattan in a pack with few limitations other than not getting drunk. While I have great gratitude for AA and the people who helped me, I understand it’s not a fit for everyone. What’s the big deal? Isn’t that why they make chocolate and vanilla?

For many, the AA experience can be misery. A lack of connection, not finding the right peers, it can feel like it’s little more than deprivation punctuated by really lousy coffee. This is the life for which I am supposed to stay sober? When I went to graduate school in a Midwestern land grant rural community, AA was a much different thing. Mostly older men, many were cold and unwelcoming to students, the access was restrictive. The mitigating factor was hardly the gossip about the price of corn. Had that been my introduction to AA, my story could have been dramatically different.

AA Slogans for Recovery

AA is nothing if not full of slogans, many that make no sense, some compounded with rhyme as an added layer of mystique and aggravation. Here is a list of some of the more blaring examples, along with the often forgotten component of their meaning.

  1. “You’re as sick as your secrets”. Yet, you’re not supposed to tell anyone about AA, thereby being asked to be part of a secret society. Never mind that it’s not a secret, the pods of people smoking in front of a church is really the cat out of the bag.
  2. “If you’re taking inventories, take yours”. Great advice, seldom heeded. There seems to be a caveat that if YOU were successful you have the right to critique others, endlessly as well as assume role of soothsayer, doctor, clergy and just about any other discipline one might need.
  3. “We know but a little”. This is written in the AA big book but often cast aside for apparently knowing everything that people should do without knowing them.
  4. “Live and let live” but first inform that by not living as we live, you will die. Live on!
  5. “This is a selfish program”. Accurate to be sure. So selfish, in fact, it leaves no room for an individual to self determine.
  6. “Be part of the solution, not the problem”. The problem is complex, deep, wide, and individual. Pontification that you have the solution is a big part of the problem. So be a part of our solution of which we approve or else you will die.
  7. “E.G.O. Edging God out.” For a program that has a minimal requirement of a “desire to stop drinking”, there is an awful lot that must be believed. While the rhetoric is “you’re higher power could be the doorknob” the truth is, you will be an outsider, judged, subtly and not so subtly coerced, patronized and preached to if you in fact dismiss God to the level of a doorknob, never mind if you are a person of questing faith or no faith.
  8. “Be nice to newcomers, one day they may be your sponsor”. Really? For an organization that is so invested in a hierarchy of time, deifying members for being around longer than others, this seems contradictory.
  9. “An attitude of gratitude”. Yes. The rhyme. If ever there were a group of ungrateful people it’s in AA. Humans are not what we say, we are what we do. While other diseases have enjoyed the fruits of community organization and hard work, alcoholism hovers at the same dismal rates of recovery it has for generations. Grateful people work to help the process. Compare alcoholism to breast cancer: Research, walks, fundraisers, pink ribbons, MLB using pink bats to raise awareness and funds. Alcoholism, “hey man, I set up chairs at my meeting”.
  10. “We’re not a glum lot”. Let’s see if this blog gets any eyeballs, then judge for yourself by the comments the level of “glum”.

AA is a great organization to be certain. It is part of Americana that has helped millions of families and individuals. What it isn’t is perfection and something for all who need to address their drinking issue. The truth is, most people “fail” in AA and that has a big by-product of shame. Alcoholism is a complex illness, and not everybody does well in AA, most don’t. I am unique in the AA world being both grateful to it and critical of it. My message is clear, AA works, if it works for you. I have clients who have done well with it and others who abhor it; both groups have achieved and maintained sobriety and both groups haven’t. As always, there are never easy answers. There is no wrong way to get or be sober, don’t let the fear of AA stop you from trying or exploring options.

Prince and the (Addiction) Revolution

Prince and Opiate OverdoseAfter months of speculation, there was an official announcement made today. Prince died of an opiate overdose. Sad to be certain that a great talent and seemingly a great man was cut down at a relatively young age. To some, this is a character indictment. To me, this is the sad outcome of a deadly disease. My empathy is deep and wide for his family and fans. 114 other people died of an opiate overdose the same day Prince did. America’s fantasy of a “drug free America” is killing people. It is time to let science and medicine take the reigns and leave shame, judgement, and incarceration as a distant memory and a hard lesson learned.

Read More Here:

Narcotic Detection Dog, Empirical Knowledge Matters

Narcotic Detection Dog

The image of a police dog invokes riot control or something intimidating. When I suggested to my staff that we get a narcotic detection dog for Williamsburg House, they found it “one of Joe’s crazy ideas” and it was, but not without value. The first hurdle was to find an appropriate dog which was actually a matter of grace. Mik, had a career as a narcotic detection dog in Texas until funding dried up and they ended their canine program, leaving Mik in a kennel at the training facility. Without his “working collar” he is a very sweet, very well trained lab, friendly to anyone who offers petting. We weren’t anticipating the added bonus of Mik becoming a house mascot, wildly popular among residents.

Mik is trained to detect any narcotic, from prescription medications to street drugs, he will be able to detect the presence of it. While this can come off as policing, we use Mik’s ability as part of the therapeutic process. We can’t deal with a problem if we are just speculating about the problem. What Mik does is brings all of the questions in self doubts and self deceptions into honesty. Speculating that a loved one may or may not be using is wheel spinning and won’t help move from fact finding into action. When we bring Mik into the field, we can empirically tell someone if there are narcotics in the space. When the doubt is removed, it allows people room to move from speculation into action.

We had received no less than five calls from a worried mom of a young adult. “I just don’t know if he is using again, he says he isn’t.” While the idea of a narcotic detection dog screening took a bit of time for her to process, the result yielded a large amount of heroin in the young man’s room. It was stashed behind an electrical switch plate. Moms snoring in rooms just cannot compete with the nose of a dog. The end result was we were able to help that family get that young man to treatment.

Without the aid of Mik, that family would have been left in worry and wonder. The time that was spent figuring out what was going on could have ended in a lethal dose of heroin. When it comes to battling addiction guessing never pays off. With Mik, we never do.

Read More About Mik:

Is Sex Addiction Real?

Sex Addiction
We hear much about sex addiction in the modern world. It’s an overused and little understood area of addiction. Make no mistake, humans can develop addictive behaviors that are directed at almost any risk/reward behavior and sex is no exception. Like with many addictions, people get caught in the idea of volume and frequency as the diagnostic indicator but the truth isn’t so much in how much or how often, but in the impairment. Without impairment, there is no diagnosis. With sex as an addictive behavior, context is a large piece of the puzzle and boundaries are very individual. If one’s religion believes sex outside of marriage is wrong, then there is impairment for a single person who engages in sex. This isn’t the case for most people. Taken out of a religious context, sex outside marriage can be seen as a normal, health experience. A newly divorced man’s current sexual activity would be impairing if he were still married. The standard is ever changing and so it is very difficult to diagnose and treat.

Isn’t “sex addiction” just an excuse for cheaters and liars?

As with any addiction there is a massive behavioral element to it. Many, if not all, addicted people can magnify the “disease” concept to their benefit and sex addicts are no exception. That doesn’t mean the illness isn’t real, it is, but it is also something that can be manipulated to the benefit of the individual. Sometimes old people rely too heavily on their walker because it serves them in gaining sympathy and attention. It doesn’t mean they don’t need the walker.

There is help, hope, treatment and success with sex addiction. Like any other addiction, it is highly unlikely it will correct based on a promise. There are many treatment centers that have sex addiction tracts and some that specializes exclusively in the treatment of sexual behaviors. It’s an uncomfortable road for many people to walk and as with any addiction, very hard on the family. Often times, sex addiction is intertwined with other addictions so selecting the best treatment is a critical piece of the puzzle.

You can see more on sex addiction in this interview:


Jamie Moyer: Going for the Perfect Game Against Addiction

Jamie Moyer Helps Children Cope with Loss
Jamie Moyer defies logic. In a youth focused game, he was 50 when he pitched an MLB victory. For most professional pitchers, their gift peaks in their late 20’s and an extreme outlier would be in their late 30’s. Now and then, someone will crack 40. Unheard of is 50. Moyer and his wife Karen are deeply committed to service. They have adopted children and given them a home when there weren’t other options. Their concerns for disenfranchised youth extends beyond their own home and into an arena that many never bother to consider. What happens to children who lose a parent to addiction?

Helping Children Cope with Loss Due to Addiction and Overdose

For years I was a therapist in residential rehab and I always felt we didn’t pay enough attention to families, specifically children. SAMHSA reports “6 million American children are living with a parent in need of treatment” (samhsa.gov). That translates into the cycle of addition that is difficult to break. Children steep in alcoholism become alcoholics or marry them, keeping the dance alive and incubating the next generation of substance addled people. Lost even more deeply, are kids who lose a parent to overdose. With 115 deaths daily due to overdose, there are vast numbers of children largely living in shame and secrecy about the demise of their family.

Jamie and Karen Moyer want to change all that. They have a foundation that finds summer camps focused on grief and loss for kids. It’s an oft overlooked issue and major challenge. A few years back, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Jamie Moyer and I am happy to report his foundation is alive and growing. The overdose problem has a ripple effect, one we are ignoring. Well done Moyers, we should all be grateful for you.

Read More About Jamie Moyer Here:


My Sponsor, the Plumber, Says I Have to Stop Taking Suboxone

Stop Taking Suboxone
Few things kick the hornets nest like a discussion of medication assisted recovery. It’s a stake your claim issue that stirs the pot in the recovery universe like no other. On the purist side are those who say addiction is a spiritual problem and only a spiritual solution can be used to solve it. The other side argues that science has progressed to the point where medication can help people stay sober for longer when they are medicated properly. So who wins? Nobody really but we know who looses, those seeking recovery. The infighting creates an even deeper level of complexity when one is finding their way out of the woods.

12 step programs have a long history in American life. They are largely viewed as a sacred cow institution. Through their history, they have helped millions of individuals, families, and communities improve and rebuild broken lives. There is little question about the potential value of 12 step programs. The issue gets sticky when well meaning people tap into being zealots and evangelicals, closed off to the possibility of other roads to recovery. The issue is further complicated by the deeply held belief that the program itself is infallible. If it isn’t working, there is a flaw in the individual who is attempting to make it work. That doesn’t stand up to any research or science. While nobody really knows, the estimate of 12 step membership is said to be a few million but 20 million Americans report themselves as “in recovery” but little is known about the process they used to get to that destination. Still, many experience 12 step life as cultish, coercive, shame based and intolerable. The truth is, they get to have their own experience. Like evangelical Christians and tea party goers, the belief is “without Jesus, you’re looking at eternal damnation, science notwithstanding.” It sounds a lot like a very common message heard in NA/AA “join us or face jail, institution or death”.

At some point, man figured out how to cultivate intoxicants. Chaos has ensued for some ever since. America has a long history of dealing with the problem. The “Whiskey Rebellion” almost unraveled a new country when George Washington attempted to levy a tax on alcohol to pay down the war debt. It came to gunfire. Prohibition was a nightmare entanglement of violence and crime as well as classism that did little to curb the flow of alcohol. From our very origins the enticement to train farmers to use a musket to fight tyranny was “free beer”. So what has been tried? Prayer is a big one. A problem so deeply saturated in our bones only an act of providence will solve it. Americans love believing God will take care of us because we are always right. We have tried criminalization. So far we have filled prisons while the DEA themselves admits “no meaningful or measurable change in the availability of drugs or drug use on the streets of America”. The “health issue” rhetoric has always circulated in the discourse about drug use but words have seldom matched actions. There is no other health issue that is treated with prayer and incarceration.

Medication Assisted Recovery

Just a few years ago, if one was hopelessly late and stuck in traffic the options weren’t great. Worried people waiting or pull over and find a pay phone. Today, a simple voice activated text will do the trick. Think about dentistry and how much easier and more effective it is now compared to even a decade ago. Even a stripped down economy car has a camera that assists the driver in backing up. So why is addiction still treated with prayer and incarceration? The truth is, it doesn’t have to be. There are more and more medical advancements made that can help people move away from addiction and into recovery and one of the ways is medication. The trouble is the paradoxical need to understand, the solution for some to the drug problem, might be drugs. If not the solution a big leg up in the problem.

Medication assisted recovery is without a doubt a viable intervention for some people. It should be available without shame or hurdles. The idea of withholding all options to drug addled people because of an individually held belief is simply wrong. In my view, it’s malpractice. I have reached a point where the selection of treatment must include centers that will work with medication. Treatment centers “forbidding” medication are obsolete and ineffective. The spirituality argument is a falsehood. Scientific inquiry and discovery are God given gifts and don’t exclude spiritual practice or so say and live the Jesuits and I buy it. If we are on one side of a river and need to get to the other, absolutely pray…but row like hell.

If we truly believe that addiction is a health problem then medication must be considered by the individual seeking help and work out the best plan with their doctor. Medication may or may not be the right path for you but if you have diabetes, another chronic health issue, you wouldn’t just consider prayer or a 12 step program, though peer support may help. Like all chronic health issues, addiction requires change. Change in lifestyle, peers, sleep, diet, and yes, medication. Not examining the possibility of the need for and benefits of medication is wrong. Addiction is complex, tricky, and needs every possible advantage to stabilize the wound. Parents who refuse medication for prayer when they have a sick child are arrested. Don’t make that mistake.

Is AA the Only Way?

Finding Other Alcohol Recovery Options
This is an age old question and certainly depends on who you ask. AA old timers will say “yes, without God and AA, there is no hope”. While that may be true of their anecdotal experience, it certainly isn’t true from a scientific perspective. The truth is, AA doesn’t allow for any kind of scholarly research, that violates the tradition of “primary purpose is to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety” so nobody empirically knows what AA does or doesn’t do. AA has become a cultural sacred cow, a pillar of health, wellness, hope and healing–and it is but only if that is your individual experience with it. For every person who has become a zealot laden member of the converted there are untold numbers of people who AA just didn’t help. The AA literature will label them “unwilling to go to any length”. So what is the real answer? Like many things regarding addiction and recovery, nobody really knows. There are many self ordained gurus who will claim they know but their sample size is usually 1, themselves. Consider the perspective of SAMHSA,(substance abuse and mental health service agency) the largest research body available on the topic of addiction and recovery. Samhsa reports that “more than 20 million Americans identify as being in recovery” (samhsa.gov). AA reports a fraction of that as global membership. So, who are these other people and what was their road?

Somewhere long the way “recovery” and “AA” became synonymous. That’s a falsehood that permeates the entire culture. When I first launched “Thefix.com” I received numerous letters from AA asking me to stop because “it violates the tradition of anonymity”. It took them a while to get their heads around the idea that by writing about addiction and/or recovery, it wasn’t a site about AA, although there may be references to AA with regard to the traditions. The truth is, there is no wrong way to find what works for you as an individual, it may be AA. People find it a great irony that I am both critical of and a proud member of AA. As a system it’s been great for me and tremendously helpful, so is Catholicism but that doesn’t make 700 million Hindus wrong. AA works of it works for you. If it doesn’t, find something that does.

Finding Other Recovery Options

A new era in addiction treatment is offering more diversified options rather than a 30 day AA meeting. Consider the picture in this article, it’s from a era long since past and yet it’s an accurate depiction of modern 12 step life. There are many ways to go, including harm reduction. Total abstinence is one framework for recovery and it may be the best one. Just like losing 50lbs may be the best bet but losing 25 is a great start and inherently valuable in and of itself. If you’re resistant to 12 step programs, abhorred by them or just curious about options, I can certainly help with that. Don’t let “I hate AA” be the thing to keep you from getting solid help and a new life. This story originally from Salon.com offers the perspective from a leader in the 12 step alternative world.