Real World Clinical Blog: Rethinking Addiction Treatment

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12 Step and Trauma

I think the only flaw in this wonderful article is by not stressing strongly enough how dangerous AA can be for those with trauma, since it is almost a given that those who tend to lean more towards being a victim than victimizer will suffer a great deal in 12 Step until they realize that the problem is 12 Step and not themselves. Yes, everything that Bodenheimer says about these unhelpful myths is valid, but I would say the problem is even more serious than she suggests. For example, I was even referred to p62 in the "Big Book" of AA when I complained that other AA members were being abusive to me. This
textual crux is very clear that if someone is in pain it is their own fault, which is probably the most unhelpful approach one can take with someone who has been abused.

"Selfishness - self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation,
but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt."

Silver Damsen 138 days ago

Alternatives to 12 Step

Here is a list of 11 Major Alternatives to AA (circa 2016)

Free Self-Help
hamsnetwork.org
smartrecovery.org
sossobriety.org
womenforsobriety.org (includes men for sobriety)
lifering.org
moderation.org
addicttoathlete.org
reddit.com (entirely online)

Help involving paid professionals
rational.org
sinclairmethod.com (for alcohol)*
ibogainealliance.org (for opiates)***
*use medication to rewire the addiction pathways in the brain
**aftercare is recommended, such as genesisiboganiecenter.com, holistichousevegas.com, and medicineheartrecovery.com

Indeed, the bulk of the harmful myths that Bodenheimer refers to are points of AA ideology, which should help to persuade professionals to stop encouraging their clients/patients to attend AA and 12 Step. In addition to having a written group psychology that is antithetical to trauma work, my experience would argue that AA will repeat the pattern of previous trauma as part of what it thinks is being helpful, and it will follow this pattern of abuse in order to help the AA/NA member realize that their pain "is of their own making" and that they had put themselves "in a position to be hurt." (as p.62 teaches

Silver Damsen 138 days ago

Real World Clinical Social Work

About Real World CSW

Dr. Danna Bodenheimer is the author of Real World Clinical Social Work: Find Your Voice and Find Your Way.She shares practice wisdom with new clinicians.

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