Sunday, May 25, 2014
The Sober Truth: about the recovery industry for your Review a fairly new book
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS WAS PROCLAIMED the correct treatment for alcoholism over seventy-five years ago despite the absence of any scientific evidence of the approach’s efficacy, and we have been on the wrong path ever since. Today, almost every treatment center, physician, and court system in the country uses this model. Yet it has one of the worst success rates in all of medicine: between 5 and 10 percent, hardly better than no treatment at all.
Most of the expensive, famous rehab centers that base their treatment on the Twelve Steps likewise have offered no evidence for their effectiveness. Most of them don’t even study their own outcomes.
One would hope we could turn to science for careful studies of AA and its effectiveness. But science has failed us: the AA question was considered settled almost before it was asked, and what studies exist that claim to substantiate AA have been riddled with problems in both methodology and analysis. Nobody has ever carefully and rigorously reviewed these studies and reported the results to the public. In this book, we do just that.
The failure of addiction treatment in our country is especially discouraging since there are better ways to both understand addiction and treat it, and it’s costing us thousands of lives and billions of dollars. With this book, we hope to begin a more productive conversation.
A Note About Format This book was written by both of us, but because Lance has devoted his career to understanding addiction, we have decided to write it in the first person. Zachary’s equal contributions are everywhere, however, from the quality of the writing to his sharp understanding of good and bad science. Neither of us could have written this book alone.