Canada - 12-step troublemaker: One nurse's fight for choice in addiction treatment

S.J.P.

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12-step troublemaker: One nurse's fight for choice in addiction treatment
Bethany Lindsay
CBC
September 8th, 2018

There's a saying in Alcoholics Anonymous: "It works if you work it." But it did not work for Byron Wood.

Wood is an atheist, and found it impossible to put his life into the hands of a higher power, as the 12 steps require. He's also trained as a nurse, and knew the scientific evidence in support of AA is far from conclusive.

...

When Wood stopped going to meetings, he lost his job, as well as his registration as a nurse.

He'd offered to attend meetings with secular support groups, see a counsellor and undergo regular blood testing, but that alternative plan was rejected by his doctor, according to emails provided to CBC.

Wood also asked to be referred to a new doctor who could recommend secular alternatives to AA, but his union informed him that it only uses addictions specialists who follow the 12-step model, the emails show.
Read the full story here.
 

Prescottdave

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So much for using evidenced based treatment to help those working in the Canadian medical field.
 

aihfl

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Twelve step is a crock of shit. I went to meetings off and on for four years and everyone just spews the same palaver as everyone else in the room just using different words. Multiply that by four years and I'm pretty sure I've heard every concept that has ever been said in AA ever. For the people it works for, great. But I hate it when people act as if it's the end all of addiction treatment and if it doesn't work for you, there's something wrong with you because it should work for everyone. I tend to have little patience anyway with people who talk too much and people in AA LOOOVE to talk. I find meetings boring, and maybe some folks would rather not spend their time around a bunch of other dysfunctionally co-dependent current or former addicts. Oh, and I LOVE that tired old line about AA not being a religious organization. Bullshit it isn't. If a therapist told me to pray, I'd call them a quack and walk out. In fact, I did that at one treatment center where I was considering going to IOP when they told me AA/NA is "evidence based." Where's the evidence? AA/NA say they don't keep statistics because it would compromise anonymity, but I think they don't keep stats to keep the world from learning just what a dismal failure they actually are. I was pretty lucky I didn't get sent to mandatory AA/NA meetings after my DUI because I would be one of those people suing. Seven US Federal District courts, in addition to the Tennessee and New York Supreme Courts have ruled that government imposed meeting attendance violates Establishment Clause protections.
 

Legerity

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I agree there should be different options available for people who do not want to use 12 step meetings. That said, other types of groups are not as common so it may be more difficult to create a support network but I've found some of the alternatives to be helpful.
 

pofacedhoe

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12 step may be a crock of shit but when you get registered to look after other people they expect you not to have 2 drink drive crashes, a trip to the psych ward after too much of everything and then to go off the deep end again on heroin.

all he had to do was bite his tongue and play the game

that was too hard?

principles of this or that aside, when you fuck up you have to be pragmatic and work within the system even if you dont like an aspect of it
 

S.J.P.

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principles of this or that aside, when you fuck up you have to be pragmatic and work within the system even if you dont like an aspect of it
Then how would anything ever get changed? I agree that I would keep my head down in his situation as well but somebody has to fight for these things and it has to be somebody who's involved in them. You can't bring a rights-violation case to court if it isn't your rights being violated. This guy is fighting for something that could make a positive change for everyone who comes after him, so props to him.
 

aihfl

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I agree there should be different options available for people who do not want to use 12 step meetings. That said, other types of groups are not as common so it may be more difficult to create a support network but I've found some of the alternatives to be helpful.
It's not that difficult to create a support network. One of the best things I did for myself was to join groups and clubs that revolve around my hobbies, and that's one of the things that's laid out early on in Rational Recovery: have a circle of friends which revolve around common interests and not common problems. And if I have a problem that revolves around my dual diagnosis issues, I talk to a trained professional, not seek the often not-so-good advice that comes from the laypeople in recovery support groups. The worst example I can think of is the NA sponsor that kept hounding me to go off my psychiatric medications. It is a mystery to me why these peoples' opinions are so sought after by many. If you get in trouble for DUI, you don't ask a layperson for advice, you get a lawyer, because everyone's circumstances are nuanced, which will affect the outcome, and only someone studied in the nuances of the law is going to understand. I don't understand why recovery shouldn't be thought of any differently. Just to reiterate what I said earlier, one of my major problems with 12 step is the persisting belief that it should work for everyone, and if it doesn't, there is something wrong with you. Again, everyone's circumstances are nuanced. Recovery is not a cookie-cutter endeavor, but that's how 12 step makes it out to be.

S.J.P. said:
Then how would anything ever get changed? I agree that I would keep my head down in his situation as well but somebody has to fight for these things and it has to be somebody who's involved in them. You can't bring a rights-violation case to court if it isn't your rights being violated. This guy is fighting for something that could make a positive change for everyone who comes after him, so props to him.
Agree 100 percent
 
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