Opinion – The Surprising Failures of 12 Steps – The Atlantic – John Gelmini

English: Fluoxetine, 20mg with packet.

English: Fluoxetine, 20mg with packet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article from the Atlantic, brought to us by Dr Alf, talks about the “Surprising Failure of the 12 Steps”.

Rooted in the methodology of the old Temperance Movement of the 19th century, it makes assumptions about people’s beliefs that in today’s hedonistic and changing world (where many have no faith, profess atheism, agnosticism, gnosticism, nihilism, paganism and a belief in various forms of Islam, Hinduism) no longer apply. Thus, what once worked for people in the West, who closely understood and followed Judeo Christian ethics/philosophy now works less well today.

Similarly, people now live longer, live in a more uncertain world, and without enabling personal philosophies many lack the mental toughness to overcome the difficulties of life and turn to drink and drugs to drown and alleviate their sorrows.

We see this with drugs in the form of 6 million people in the UK who take recreational drugs and in America where worker productivity is now falling because of the ingestion of “opiates

English: A lithograph by Nathaniel Currier sup...

English: A lithograph by Nathaniel Currier supporting the temperance movement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Having seen an old ‘MD’ of mine go through the 12 Steps, become a reborn Christian and then revert back to drinking within two years, I know that in his case it was pressure from the CEO that drove him to drink a second time.

Today we see that divorce is faster, easier and cheaper than it ever was before and workplace pressures to perform even greater than Dr Alf and I in our respective youths used to endure. Most of those divorces (about 90% of them) are initiated by woman and in America the rate is the highest on the planet and divorce settlements the most costly and emotionally crippling in the world. That process is one I have experienced myself and an encounter with an American divorce lawyer is a brutal and harrowing experience which I have observed can and does push even very strong people to tears and the bottle before stripping them of their self-esteem, their money, their possessions, their businesses, their investments, their houses and often their livelihoods.

The failure of the 12 Steps is therefore not in the least surprising to me because of these relevant factors.

My saving grace was stoicism and a natural resilience forged in my formative years from age four to age 11, whilst being bullied at school, and having to engage in low-level violence up to three times a day.

Others with less challenging backgrounds simply seek refuge in drink and antidepressants like Prozac and Seroxat (rates of prescription are rising rapidly), so new approaches are now needed.

Alpha Music, by John B Levene, an Australian composer, whom I know personally, is one such approach. It can be very powerful and can cure a range of ailments from heroin addiction to alcoholism,

Fluoxetine HCl 20mg Capsules (Prozac)

Fluoxetine HCl 20mg Capsules (Prozac) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

sleeplessness, stress, fear of dentists and inability to study.
Whilst there are many case studies which suggest its effectiveness, one cannot say that these CD’s will work for everyone, so as with Lord Sugar’s search for capable apprentices to mentor it must be a case of “The search continues”.

John Gelmini

3 responses

  1. Alf, some drugs like pot and its 7 times stronger version “skunk” will remain in a person’s system and build up in the brain for decades which is why many of the pot smokers of the 1960’s are today’s Dementia patients.
    Alcohol, apart from the 1 ounce a day that the body produces naturally is removed from the system in one’s urine unless a person is a gout sufferer in which case it crystallises in the joints from the knees down to the big toe.

    Weaning someone off heroin and LSD can be accomplished in a year of residential intensive drug rehabilitation but the person who comes out may not be recognisable to their friends when they emerge.

    My old MD would go to AA recover for 2 years then be driven to drink again when he worked for demanding CEO’s in new jobs he took on after being forced out for non performance due to alchoholism in the previous jobs.

    If he is still alive today he could well still be an alchoholic whereas a heroin addict with a serious addiction will often become ill and through a weakened immune system,die within a period of about 8 years.

    Thus drug barons dealing in heroin have to create new markets for their poisonous wares to replace their deceased customers.

  2. John, thanks for sharing your views. Modern drug rehab programs seem a mix of two critical elements, replacement drugs, which are medically deemed less addictive and safer, plus the improvement methodology, like the ‘Twelve Steps Program’. I sense that it’s often the legally available replacement drugs which make rehab popular. I think that drugs mights be different to alcohol? I know three people who introduce themselves as an ‘alcoholic’, despite not having had a drink for decades.

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