Next Speaker: The problem, he says, is that most rehab is based on Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. In AA, and similar spiritual gatherings –
Next Speaker: We are people are in recovery.
Next Speaker: Those struggling with addiction share their stories and commit to abstinence through 12 steps, including embracing help from a higher power.
Next Speaker: Do you believe that’s, all that’s nonsense? So, people ask me, does AA work? I say, well, it works for the people it works for. So, it’s sort of like asking does Catholicism work? I guess it works for Catholics.
Next Speaker: He says AA helps a lot of people, but it was developed long ago when alcoholism was seen as a moral weakness, not a medical condition, and today, whether at publicly-funded facilities or centers with great views of the Pacific, he says rehabs don’t provide enough science-based medicine.
Next Speaker: And, we don’t send someone with diabetes to a spa for a month, teach them diet and exercise, and then send them to support groups, but don’t take insulin. I mean, that’s the absurdity of what we’re doing now. We’re still providing the same pseudo-treatment that we provided in 1950, and 85 percent of rehabs in the country are 12-step rehabs. People don’t’ have any choice.
Next Speaker: Marissa says besides detox and AA, she tried unconventional treatments, like body cleansing therapy and aromatherapy. Still, she continued to drink herself into oblivion.
Next Speaker: I don’t really remember how it happened, or, but, yeah, I woke up, blood all over the pillow, no sheets on the mattress, broken glass and blood on the balcony. I was throwing up into a bucket of my hair, full of my hair, ’cause I had shaved my head the night before.
Next Speaker: You were that drunk?
Next Speaker: Yeah. Those days were bad, but they weren’t the worst of it. I felt so shameful, like, work thinks I’m at home, and my boyfriend thinks I’m at work, and I’m standing outside the liquor store waiting for them to open, and I feel inside, like, I’m waiting go, like, murder them puppies.
Next Speaker: Did it ever cost you a job?
Next Speaker: Oh, yeah. Every job I’ve ever had I’ve lost, because of drinking.
Next Speaker: in a perfect world, how would we be treating alcohol use disorder in this country?
Next Speaker: The way I do, like a health care condition.
Next Speaker: Willenbring, a psychiatrist and addiction specialist, set up his own clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota. He says alcoholism is a complex, chronic disease, and though he encourages it, he doesn’t require abstinence.