New Book Outlining Effective Alternatives in Treating Alcoholism Receives Praise From Recovery Experts

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Everyone has heard of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step program that support many people each year who are suffering with alcohol and drug addictions. However, many more find themselves battling a one-size-fits-all system, and are in dire need of learning about the multitude of other, evidence-based options, resources meant to either supplement or substitute AA and its ilk. Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous and sister 12-step programs detailed in first-ever comprehensive resource guide; recovery rates are expected to increase.

With New Year’s behind us, many people are preparing to get back on the wagon. For most Americans, Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs, are the only recognized approach in overcoming their battle with the bottle. But before getting caught back up in the “recovery merry-go-round” by entering a traditional, 12-step based rehab once again, committing thousands of dollars, alcoholics need to learn what the experts have known for a long time, but these drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs prefer you not know.

Dr. Stanton Peele, a New York psychologist and author of several highly regarded books and articles on addiction, says AA, “…is like any religion. If it works for you, then fine. Plenty of people go to church on Sundays, they’ve been doing it for years and I don’t have a problem with that. But in America, AA is institutionalized. We have a 12 step government whose courts are sending people to AA as a form of policy. It’s medically wrong and ethically reprehensible and completely against our constitutions. And I have a big problem with that.”

Peele contrasts the traditional 12-step approach to that of a hospital setting in which numerous treatments are often used to tackle a disease. “If it doesn’t work for you and you don’t get better, they won’t keep plying you with penicillin-they’ll try something else, then something else again until you’re well. In AA, if you say the treatment isn’t working for you, they tell you that you’re the problem, not the treatment, and that your ‘denial’ of the treatment is a symptom of the ‘disease’ and you therefore need AA even more. It’s this crazy kind of all-or-nothing attitude with 12-step therapy that is actually setting us all back.”

Around the end of the 20th century, numerous legal courts in the United States began ruling that it was unconstitutional to mandate participation in AA because it was found to be “unequivocally religious” and therefore violated the First Amendment’s separation of church and state. In a landmark 1999 case, the US Supreme Court ruled that atheist drunk driver Robert Warner had been “denied his constitutional rights” when he was forced, as a condition of his probation, to attend the “deeply religious” meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. Secular alternatives, such as SOS, SMART Recovery, Rational Recovery and Women for Sobriety are now considered by the courts to be viable alternatives to 12-step programs.

One of the most exhaustive reviews of treatment literature, led by Reid Hester and William Miller, compared the effectiveness of a treatment method with either no treatment or other alcoholism therapies. Interestingly, some of the most effective treatments are the most difficult to find and the least well known, while the least effective are the most commonly used. The treatment with by far the best overall score was ‘brief intervention’ followed by social-skills training and motivational enhancements. The Miller report described the standard treatment in the United States as “a milieu advocating a spiritual 12-step (AA) philosophy, typically augmented with group psychotherapy, educational lectures and films, and…general alcoholism counseling, often of a confrontational nature.” Yet those same therapies ranked at the bottom of the Miller team’s list, with far less proof of their efficacy than other treatments. The conclusion is startling: the most frequently adopted therapies in American alcoholism treatment are those for which there is the least evidence of success.

Fueled by the 95 percent failure rate acknowledged by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a number of recovery and treatment alternatives to 12-step recovery programs are rapidly emerging worldwide—building strong track records and gaining credibility within the medical community. “AA-Not the Only Way; Your One Stop Resource Guide to 12-Step Alternatives” by Melanie Solomon is available at and responds to this growing demand for change from the recovery experts, court system, problem drinkers and drug addicts.

Armed with these new and effective treatment options, forward-thinking doctors and addiction counselors who understand the complex, highly individual nature of addiction are seeing more of their clients achieve sustainable recovery through a variety of programs. ”AA-Not the Only Way” features a personal account of the author’s ten-year attempt, and ultimate success, in saving herself from her addiction, explains eleven primary alternative drug and alcohol problem treatment modalities, and provides the reader with all the contact information for licensed professionals and treatment facilities throughout the US and overseas.

Dr. Frederick Rotgers, a leading US addiction expert, states in the book’s preface, “This notion, that ‘one-size-fits-all’ in the treatment of alcohol and drug problems has been thoroughly debunked by scientific research. In fact, as long ago as 1990, the Institute of Medicine asserted that there is no one universally effective treatment for alcohol or drug problems. Yet, we have persisted in sending our children, our spouses, our partners, our employees, and even our criminals to the same, single mode of treatment. And we then wonder why only a small percentage of the people we attempt to fit into the 12-step cubby hole, get better.”

“The problem”, he continues, “is finding treatment providers who provide these alternative, evidence-based approaches. Melanie Solomon has taken a wonderful step toward making that process, of identifying alternatives to traditional treatments, easier. By both providing her own story as a justification for this book, and by listing an ever growing list of providers who use up-to-date, evidence-based approaches in their work helping people with alcohol and drug problems, Ms. Solomon has done a great public service…this is an excellent starting point for patients, their families and those who are close to them who wish to find help that does not emphasize ‘powerlessness’, but rather empowers consumers to find the most effective help for alcohol and drug problems.”

Dr. Marc Kern, another leading addiction expert, states, “I have long awaited this directory of addiction treatment alternatives. It represents what I believe to be the future of the field…and for anyone with a problem with drugs or alcohol, provides valuable information about the growing number of options available to achieve a happy and healthy life.”

Mistie Storie, the Education and Training Coordinator of NAADAC—The Association of Addiction Professionals, states in her review in “Reader’s Corner”, and on NAADAC’s own website,, “This book is ideal for any addiction professional’s waiting room, treatment process, or as an integral part of the client’s continuing care plan.”

“AA-Not the Only Way” by Melanie Solomon is $12.95 (1-4 copies); $10.95 (5-9 copies); $9.95 (10+ copies) for the soft-cover book, or $9.95 for the e-book. Both are available for purchase online at or order by email at Special discounts for bulk orders (boxes of 25, 50, 100). (Must contact author)


Melanie Solomon (member of NAADAC/CAADAC)


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