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Thursday, July 03, 2008

'The other Dave' talks about addiction recovery programs

ANY method of recovery is welcomed: be it holistic - to the traditional Alcoholics Anonymous.

The cost (if you can afford it) is money well spent - if it gets the monkey off your back, and puts the cork back in the bottle - as Marshall Hall, R.I.P, one of the great pioneers of treatment for alcoholism in Australia - oft told me when I was in recovery in his clinic in Melbourne.

Marshall helped Barry Humphries recover from his alcoholism. Humphries has made no secret of his indebtedness to Marshall Hall. If any member is interested Marshall wrote a marvellous book A Lonesome Road (with foreword by Sir Edward Dunlop) about his lonely road to recovery from the demon.

Marshall was a dyed-in-the-wool AA man. I can hear him now,saying:"Son, forget all this holistic stuff. AA is the only way you are going to get better."

I must admit, I got tired of dragging myself to AA meetings. I tried another approach Rational Recovery from Alcoholism by US author Jack Trimpey - with an introduction by Albert Ellis,the father of Rational-Emotive Therapy, adopted by practioners of CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy where you challenge your false beliefs).

Trimpey took issue with AA and its Twelve Step program. He claimed his method RR put the onus back on the individual and rational thinking - rather than AA's Higher Power and ' I have no control over my drinking without the intercession of a Higher Power' approach.

But, Trimpey did admit that for people with severe alcohol problems, abstinence was the best course. Not much different,at the end of the day, from the basic AA philosophy.

Trimpey was determined to get his "new" therapeutic approach to recovery from alcohol and other drugs accepted. He claimed "RR is news for the nineties."

Sceptically, and I stress this is my personal interpretation, A.T.I may claim its holistic path to substance abuse recovery is "news for the new millennium." But, then, the words of the late Marshall Hall keep ringing in my ears. "Son, AA is the only way...forget holism,rational recovery programs." I think the old b*stard may be right!

AA is free, you can't argue with its program - in fact, it is basic common sense. Yes, the Higher Power remains a sticking point. But, if I hit the grog again - I know that I would go back to the AA Fellowship - even just for a few weeks.


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