AA Not the Only Way Author Melanie Solomon, a Lucky Survivor, Speaks Out as National Drug and Alcohol Recovery Month Approach

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Drug and alcohol use have reached epic proportions in the 21st century. Millions are suffering in silence and we can no longer afford to ignore the impact of drugs and alcohol in our country and in our world, nor can we continue to ignore the fact that there are many effective substance abuse treatment alternatives. Sadly, most Americans, including addiction professionals, do not even know that these options exist. The intention of this release is to not only promote public awareness of this epidemic, but also to educate the reader and reevaluate the current wisdom in the field of addiction. In turn, this would decrease the stigma that surrounds substance abuse, and millions more could get the appropriate help that they need.

Millions of people suffer from alcohol abuse or drug addiction. Statistics show that 22.5 million Americans aged 12 or over were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year, and millions more live in households with people who have had abuse or dependence on alcohol and drugs. As many as 74 percent of Americans say that addiction to alcohol has had some impact on them at some point in their lives, whether it was their own personal addiction, that of a friend or family member, or any other experience with addiction.

Since the 1930’s, the main, and often only known treatment has been AA, and the other 12-step programs. Since the ‘30s, an abundance of research has been going on to reveal even more statistics, mainly which AA has about a 5-20% success rate, and that there are many viable, evidence-based alternatives, which might better suit the complex and individualized needs of people afflicted with alcohol and drug problems. Yet as many as 97% of all US treatment centers are still based solely on a 12-step plan. In the face of all of these daunting statistics, Melanie Solomon hopes that from this point on, those seeking treatment for themselves, loved ones, or those making recommendations for others, will now consider, embrace, and expand the dialog about alternative approaches, programs and resources.

Melanie Solomon is one of the lucky few to overcome her substance abuse but only after a nine-year battle that led her to quit 12-step programs after an almost fatal overdose, and seek out alternative methods to getting healed. The results of her search for help are offered in a valuable new resource, AA: Not The Only Way, Your One-Stop Guide to 12-Step Alternatives.

Her book provides valuable information that until now could not be found in one comprehensive book. It shares the following:

  • Showcases 8 effective alternative treatments for achieving total abstinence.
  • Reveals 2 successful recovery programs that teach moderation therapy for substance abuse.
  • Unearths a radically different approach, harm reduction, which emphasizes health and wellness.
  • Provides information to help you wisely choose the recovery program that is right for your situation, identifying the major factors that determine what works and what doesn’t.
  • Contains a directory of over 100 licensed professionals and treatment programs around the U.S. and abroad that provide options beyond just the 12-step approach.

Melanie wrote her book as a result of her nine-year battle with drug addiction to prescription pills, such as Xanax and Vicodin, and many failed attempts to stay sober through Alcoholics Anonymous, and other 12-step programs. She was on a merry-go-round of drug rehabs, halfway houses, 12-step meetings, depression, anxiety and sobriety, and then relapse, where she would then go back to another drug treatment program. Constantly filled with guilt, shame and remorse, desperately in need of help as her health kept declining; she often thought death was going to be the only answer. It was only after her third almost fatal overdose that she concluded AA not only was failing to help her, it was actually harming her. “When the treatment becomes worse than the original ailment, it should be clear that it is time to move on and try something else.”

She believes, most people, including doctors, therapists, hospitals, counselors, and people with substance abuse issues, do not realize how dismal AA’s success rate is, nor are they aware of the many evidence-based alternative treatment programs with equal or greater success rates.

“AA only works for approximately 5% of the population,” says Melanie, citing AA’s own internal surveys on the efficacy of their program, as well as many government and independent studies. “This means 95% of those needing help need to know of alternatives to 12-step programs. I offer those choices in my book.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse seems to agree, stating: “No single treatment program is right for everybody. Matching the treatment program to each individual’s needs is critical to success.”

“AA didn’t work for me, but it does work for some, including my dad who has now had 15 years of continued sobriety. I am not anti-AA, but I want people to understand that substance abuse treatment cannot be a one-size-fit-all solution. It’s to be as diverse and varied as the people who seek help.”

Melanie points out scientific evidence that:

  • What most Americans believe about drinking problems and their treatment is substantially inaccurate.
  • Many providers deliberately resist change because they have too much of an attachment to their own ideas of what should work, claiming, “I know it worked for me, and I’m sure that it can work for everyone else as long as they just do what I say.”
  • Abstinence is not the only way to sobriety.
  • Individualizing treatment is crucial.
  • Chronic “relapsers” can actually be harmed by 12-step programs that preach, “You are powerless to stop.”

“It is finally time to stop living in the dark ages of recovery, educate people about all of their choices and alternatives that are out there. Maybe we will start making a dent in the alcohol and drug use problem that millions are facing each day instead of continuing to perpetual it,” says Melanie. “People are needlessly suffering every minute of every day,” she continues, “and they are dying, from overdosing and suicide, and these people could have been helped IF they were given the information they so desperately needed. It is not right, nor is it ethical for treatment programs to only offer ONE option, whether it’s a person’s first attempt at sobriety or 20th. Don’t people with substance abuse issues have the right to know about all of their options, just like anyone else with an ailment? Of course they do. But why is no one blinking twice that they are not?”

“My goal is to get this information out not only to hospitals, institutions and addiction professionals, but into the curriculum of the related universities,” Melanie explains. ‘The next generation of therapists, psychiatrists, social workers, and doctors needs to know all the options available to their future drug and alcohol clients if recovery rates are to be consistently raised above AA’s.”

Now, just in time for Recovery Month, Ms. Solomon is expanding her vision, allowing all people who need this vital information to find it on the web, at http://www.aanottheonlyway.com. She offers website visitors private, 30 minute telephone consultations (free to callers in the U.S.) to help guide people with addictive behaviors to discover all of their choices, and to help them achieve their life goals. She also encourages family members to call her for help about their loved ones. (You can also ask her questions on http://www.about.com where she is listed as an expert for any drug or alcohol addiction issue.) There are also helpful books, websites, articles, a section just for professionals, and a new, free discussion forum, where anyone is invited to join, and much more is coming soon. For Addiction Professionals’ Day, September 20th, I am offering a FREE Special Article, Principles of Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation in the 21st Century-19 Critical Questions to Ask Regarding Effective Treatment. If you are interested, simply send a blank email with “Critical Questions” in the Subject Line to treatmentarticle at sendfree.com.

Leading addiction expert Dr. Marc Kern states, “I have long awaited this directory of addition all treatment alternatives. It represents what I believe to be the future of the field.”

Dr. Frederick Rotgers, another leading addiction expert explains, “The problem is finding treatment providers who provide these alternative, evidence-based approaches. Melanie has taken a wonderful step toward making that process, of identifying alternatives to traditional treatments, easier.”

AA Not The Only Way by Melanie Solomon; Capalo Press; 106 pages; trade paperback; $12.95; ISBN: 0-97624779-9-2; Available at: http://www.aanottheonlyway.com, http://www.naadac.org, http://www.amazon.com

Contact Information: Melanie Solomon 310-821-2012; 800-240-7141 Now Available for Interviews; Review Copies Available Upon Request             msolomon @ aanottheonlyway.com

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