Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Controversial editorial in Washington Post

In case you missed it, Bankole Johnson wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post that appeared 2 days ago. Here's a link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/06/AR2010080602660.html

You may need to register with the Post to see this link, but it's free and they don't hassle you in any way, such as spam or solicitations.

What do you think about his piece? I'm really interested in hearing.


  1. it takes one to know one.....
    oviously his interpretation of the 'understanding" of the 12 step program is far from the what the program is really saying...i have been in these rooms for 35 years....i started in the alnon program and soon visited many other 12 step programs....being an "insider",i have witnessed many miracles for many people,including myself...as i said to begin with "it takes one to know one"....sorry this article is based on someone's assumption, being that everyone's experience is the same...by the way,here is a fun fact: it has cost me $1 per meeting only when i had a dollar...other than that the only requirement is WILLINGNESS, which when understood is always a huge issue for ego...hope the author of the article is able to experience peace within him one day
    (english is my 2nd language :) )

  2. As the author of a book about the many paths to recovery, Sober for Good, I certainly agree with many of the points Dr.Johnson raises. However, a number of studies do suggest that people who go to 12-step meetings, get involved with "the program", and stay involved are more likely to be abstinent than those who do not. However, as Johnson notes, many never connect with the 12 steps and many drop out of 12-step programs over time. People like this need to be offered alternatives to the 12-step approach and not be told that they will never recover if they don't "get with the program." Research is quite clear that people are more likely to change when they are given choices about their care and treatment.

    Contrary to Johnson's intimation that the solution will be "medical"(the subtitle of this forthcoming book is listed as "New Medications that Conquer Addiction"), I don't believe that "medicine" will be THE solution for addiction any more than it will be or has been for the treatment of obesity. Yes, medications can be very useful adjuncts to psychological, spiritual (for some people), and other approaches (such as exercise and meditation.) But it will almost always be a combination of approaches that works for any one individual. Treatment professionals need to do a better job of allowing people to pick and choose from among the options out there rather than dictate what will work, as is commonly the case in rehab. I, too, am writing a book on addiction treatment and, as one program director I interviewed wisely put it, "If you listen to the clients, they will tell you what they need."

  3. I just came across this well-written WebMD article that describes a "medical approach" to weight loss as part of a comprehensive multidisclinary approach. From my conversations with Dr. Willenbring, this is similar to how he approaches addictions as he works with his clients.



Comments are welcome.