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(from an internet discussion group)

Hey A---!

I have been away for a few days but I recall a note you made in a post to me regarding treatment approaches in the UK (I don't remember which group it was posted in).

As I recall you were saying something about treatment centers across the pond have not adopted (at least on a wholesale level) the religious, new age or AA inspired approach that dominates US style treatment. If I read you correctly you said one sees that type of approach in a minority of centers in the UK.

That has been my understanding as well. I think you might be amazed at how most of the American medical and psychological fields have abandoned science in favor of good old fashioned faith healing with a generous dose of pop psychology and new age thinking. That's where the money is. If you work in the addictions/alcoholism here in the US, and you do not tote the AA "line" you will find a very hard time getting/keeping a job, and trying to build a referral base for a private practice here is almost impossible unless you provide an AA based solution/service. Fortunately, in some areas this is changing as private counselors are finding/realizing *most* people would not choose AA if they knew they had a choice.
Then again if you have ever studied the history and current state of American psychology nothing would probably surprise you.

In fact I have an Oxford schooled friend who works as a neuro-psychologist and he was quite baffled/shocked when he was visiting treatment centers here in the US for the first time. He was quite sympathetic to the AA approach but became somewhat suspicious after he had seen how we in America have taken AA, turbo-charged it with a little medical terminology and new age psychobabble and called it Addiction/Alcoholism treatment for which we actually charge money. Throw a little "major depression" in there with the "disease" of alcoholism add a twist of Prozac, stir gently and you have a live medical/psychiatric case on your hands in need of expensive "medical" treatment! Some prefer this recipe with a dash of anything "bi-polar" and a generous portion of "codependency" for body and flavor.

I worked in numerous such centers, thus the source for my many unflattering posts regarding "AA Treatment Centers." And I recognize that AA doesn't own or operate any treatment facilities, but in the US, they just happened to be mostly owned and/or operated here mostly by members of AA. Their "clinical" approaches here tend to be based on an almost fundamentalist/totalistic AA approach. The AA slogan "take what you want and leave the rest" is a great AA concept, but a completely meaningless notion in most all of our treatment centers. Because of well intentioned but grossly misguided AA *members* that work in this field, people who wish to reject AA's central ideas or reject AA on a wholesale level are considered in denial, or really really sick even though their caretakers mouth the phrase "take what you want..." Their attempt to "leave the rest" is often met with a type of what I would describe as psychic/emotional bullying.

This friend of mine also found it amazing that insurance companies would actually pay for what he called "religious instruction." Could his Anglican (very happy and committed Anglican I might add) background have contributed to his distrust for the act of selling religious instruction as treatment? :-) Seriously though, there have been a few articles and books here dedicated to the question, "is AA a cult"? An American psychologist first posed that question, (I believe is was Arthur Cain, PhD in the late 50's). He is/was considered one the grandfathers of AA criticism. I have always thought a better and more meaningfuland perhaps revealing question is, "do AA inspired treatment centers brainwash their patients/clients?"

Chris!