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Opinion & Essays - Feb, 1994 Issue 

*Letters*

Lon- The staff is particularly grateful for the questions you asked and the suggestions you gave. Thank you for taking time to visit us this past weekend. 
-Jim McLaughlin, Warner Mountain School,
Fort Bidwell, California. 
Lon- We were upset to find our excellent insurance coverage practically disappears as of January 1st. Right now our mental health coverage is 100% after the first $400 and it lasts up to 180 days. In January, its 90% to a yearly maximum of $6,400. 
KV, Washington State
Dear Editor: 

I'd like to clarify a few points about AA and other treatment options for teenagers. This is in response to Tom Croke's letter (in issue #25, December, 1993). 

About AA:  AA's success rate, obtained from AA's own internal audit of its members, is available in the publication, "Comments on AA's Triennial Surveys" (New York: AA World Foundation, 1989). It shows that 19% stay in the program for more than one month, 5% for more than one year, and 2% for more than two years. But, in fairness, I think we should throw out the curiosity seekers (in AA one month or less), in which case we can state that among those who stay in the AA program for more than one month, 26% still remain after one year and 11% are still in the program after two years. 

About the Disease: Most of us would agree that alcoholism is a disease. The reason? It has a metabolic and biochemical basis. Yet most programs for healing offer only psychogenic interventions: psychotherapy, group therapy, educational lectures/films, and AA. I feel the most important interventions we can offer are those that change the metabolism and begin a process of biochemical healing. 

About the Interventions: Therefore, I recommend diet, exercise, stress management skills, relaxation techniques and other specific methods for physical healing as primary interventions. When you add these to the above psychogenic interventions, you have a whole person approach. That's the approach I've explained in my book, How to Quit Drinking Without AA

Of course, I feel AA should be optional. If a client is among the 11% who can be successful in AA, I recommend that we strongly support this client's participation in AA If the client is among those who have difficulty with AA, I recommend that we help the client choose other techniques that will work better for him or her. 

The success rate among programs that offer a whole person approach ranges from 50% to 80%. Examples: Health Recovery Center in Minneapolis, 75% success rate (Mathews-Larson, J., Ph.D., and Parker, R. "Alcoholism Treatment with Biochemical Restoration as a Major Component." International Journal of Biosocial Research, 1987; 9(1): 92-106.); Comprehensive Medical Care in Amityville, NY, 60.4% success rate (Beasley, Joseph, M.D., et al. "Follow-Up of a Cohort of Alcoholic Patients through 12 Months of Comprehensive Biobehaviorial Treatment." Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 1991; 8: 133-142.); and Parc Place Recovery Center for Adolescents in Phoenix, AZ, 76% success rate (Olson, Jim. "The PARC PLACE Extended Care Outcome Survey." 8/15/90.). 

I hope you can include this in the next issue of "WOODBURY REPORTS." I feel that this information is crucial to anyone concerned about successful programming for Whole Child Programs. Thanks. 
-Jerry Dorsman, Maryland 
410-392-9685. 

(Jerry is the author of the book, How to Quit Drinking Without A.A., which describes a whole person approach to recovery.) 

Copyright 1994, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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