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• Thing to do before AA May 5, 2013
• By Dr Steve Yadin
• I am not one of those
doctors who believes in a "prescribe first, ask questions later" type of
approach. All too often, people are looking for an easy outside quick fix for
problems that are often solvable through an individual's own inner resources. It
is for that reason that I find Mr. Ankermann's ideas in "The Freedom to
Recover", to be both insightful and practical, and believe that they should
ultimately be successful for many of those suffering from alcoholism.
that those in the throes of addiction often suffer from an inability to handle
the reality of every day normal stresses and a fear of the future. His book
addresses all of these time elements masterfully. He also offers highly useful
ideas on how to deal with the internal dialogs that take place in everyone's
mind to some extent or another. Decision making and the handling of every day
stress are inevitable necessities of the human condition and learning new skills
and approaches in how to do so are also contained within.
I agree with Mr.
Ankermann that taking a stance of powerlessness and surrender as prescribed by
Alcoholics Anonymous is counter-productive and leads to another form of
dependence as opposed to learning how to take control of one's own mental
disposition. Interestingly, recent research, from psychological scientists
published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for
Psychological Science, revealed that freshmen who were randomly assigned to a
roommate with high levels of cognitive vulnerability were likely to "catch"
their roommate's cognitive style and develop higher levels of cognitive
vulnerability; those assigned to roommates who had low initial levels of
cognitive vulnerability experienced decreases in their own levels.
my belief is that prescribing medicine for mental disorders is often necessary
but should be the final treatment option after all other possibilities are
exhausted. The reason of course being that once one is on a "chemical" treatment
plan, it often becomes one that lasts for a lifetime, which is less than
In a similar vein for the alcoholic, outside remedies such as a
lifetime association with AA or a therapist, should only be accepted when all
else fails. Before recommending medications, I have in the past suggested that
people attend AA because it was the industry response and I had no other real
viable solution to offer. Now, before I suggest that last resort, I will advise
that they at least read "The Freedom to Recover" and try to implement the ideas
contained within, into their mindset. If that fails, then perhaps a long term
treatment of their condition as a "recovering" patient is clearly the only
option left and an ongoing involvement with AA or a therapist may be the only
As a result of Mr. Ankermann's work, I will never view addiction
in quite the same way. I highly recommend it to both the addiction treatment
community and the suffering alcoholic!
Dr. Steve Yadin