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