What about the addict’s family?

The collateral damage caused by an alcoholic or drug addict in full flight is horrendous and nowhere is this damage more pronounced than within their family. In the vast majority of families there will be two very distinct strategies for dealing with the addicted family member. The supportive parent who with painstaking valour continues to believe the “next time” it will be different. They continue...
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Connected Recovery

Recently, and as an observer, I had the pleasure of attending a Narcotics Anonymous workshop in suburban Melbourne with over 80 members of NA. Prior to the workshop commencing there was a BBQ with a gold coin donation and as the members arrived there were hugs and warm and sincere greetings as the various members made their way around the different groups and caught up with fellow members who they...
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Can AA be “treatment” for some alcoholics seeking recovery?

Over the past 25 years we have seen the emergence of medical and psychotherapy practitioners in dealing with alcoholism. The addiction recovery field is now far broader and offers so much more in terms of options for the client seeking recovery. With this welcome addition to the treatment of addiction has also come the terminology that “AA is not treatment it is a peer support group” However, prior...
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Can Neuroscience work hand in hand with the 12 step model?

Recently I read an interview between Michael Short from the Age Newspaper and Professor Jon Currie who specialises in the neurobiological treatment of addiction (for the full transcript see http://www.theage.com.au/comment/transcript-jon-currie-20130602-2nke8.html ) In the interview Currie said, “The best definition I know of addiction is that it is a brain disease of compulsive seeking and using,...
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After the last drink

“Hi Graeme it’s a blast from the past here. You will probably not remember me but I met you at the Gallery AA meeting in 1988 and I invited you to have a coffee with me,” as I listened to the voice on the other end of the phone it sounded familiar but I just could not put a name to the caller. Then it hit me I remembered his first name was Kurt.  Kurt had come up to me after the meeting, introduced...
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It’s impossible to measure the success of AA…or is it!!!!

Over the past 20 years there have been a number of people within the recovery industry who have taken a wrecking ball to the credibility of Alcoholics Anonymous. They inevitably quote “research has revealed the following outcomes” and the latest to join the queue is Scott Stern who in his recent article said. “Experiential treatment (“it worked for me, so if you work it it will work...
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5 Reasons why Rehab “graduates” bust

Over the past 20 years I have tracked a number of client’s pathways both in and post Rehab. A review of the case notes have revealed the following 5 reasons why patients leaving a rehab might bust within 180 days. I have deliberately left out the group who were either forced or coerced into admitting themselves and who did not embrace the sessions or therapy available. 1.      Over confidence 3...
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The 12 step programs are far more than “faith based” solutions.

One of the great misconceptions of the last 20 years has been the view taken by many that the 12 step model and in particular AA is purely a “faith based program”. While this view may have had some validity in the first 30/40 years of AA’s existence AA has long since evolved and grown into a model of recovery of which a faith based pathway is but one of the many recovery options available. The...
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Don’t go back into the old environment!!

“Graeme can I have a couple of minutes of your time?” “certainly Anne lets grab a coffee and sit over there.” Following a quick visit to the kitchen to get the coffee we were seated in the corner of the meeting room and Anne began the conversation, “Graeme when I was in rehab my counsellor said to me,  don’t go back into the old environment. I asked him what he meant and he said you have...
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There is only one similarity that counts!

I was dressed and ready to go. It was my first day leave from Dhurringuile, a prison camp in northern Victoria and it had been 3 and half years coming. My sponsor, Antique Harry was driving up from Bendigo, picking me up, taking me to the Kyabram mini conference and then bringing me back to the prison. Antique had been my sponsor for the past 18 months and his guidance and wisdom so far had been priceless....
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