Alcoholism; It’s a Symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Alcoholism; It’s a Symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The Problem

The reason recovery rates are so low in AA is because,

  1. AA only recognizes the symptom not the underlying disease

Underlying Disease Not Known at the Time

According to Dr. Lance Dodes, in his book The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry (co-written with Zachary Dodes),” when the Big Book was first published in 1939, it was met with wide skepticism in the medical community. The AMA called it a curious combination of organizing propaganda and religious exhortation. A year later, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases described it as a rambling sort of camp-meeting confession of experiences … Of the inner meaning of alcoholism there is hardly a word. It is all surface material.”

Bill Wilson Was a Marketer

So how did AA gain such a place of privilege in American health-culture? How did a regimen so overtly religious in nature, with a 31 percent success rate at best, a five to 10 percent success rate at worst, and a five percent overall retention rate become the most trusted method of addiction-treatment in the country, and arguably the world? It’s a central question Dodes seeks to answer in The Sober Truth. And he begins at the very beginning.

Public Relations Genius

In 1951, based on what Dodes calls “the strength of self-reported success and popular articles” (The Saturday Evening Post was a major supporter), AA received a Lasker Award, which is “given by the American Public Health Association for outstanding achievement in medical research or public health administration.” This despite “no mention of any scientific study that might prove or disprove the organization’s efficacy,” writes Dodes. But it was nevertheless a marked moment AA’s history; the moment it entered the medical establishment, and by proxy, gained implicit trust from the American.

Supported by Judicial System

In 1989, America’s first drug court began sentencing “nonviolent drug offenders” to 12-step programs.You’ve been found to have a serious, Drug or Alcohol problem. In lieu of medication, psychotherapy, or a combination thereof, the Judge prescribes nightly meetings with a group of similarly afflicted individuals, and a set of 12 non-medical guidelines for recovery, half of which require direct appeals to God.

Your Medicine has become a Problem

Why is it usually a  Judge who recommends  treatment? Because you suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a grave and serious emotional and psychological problem, and you deny having any problems, not only to yourself, but to your family, doctors, and employers. Addiction is one of the most obvious symptoms of NPD.

They See Themselves As the Answer

This brings us to the present: an addiction-treatment landscape envisioned and engineered almost entirely by AA. The 12-Step Program is the law of the land. If you have a drinking problem in 2014, or a drug problem, or a gambling problem, your medically, socially, culturally, and politically mandated solution is a set of 12 steps. The only other options, as asserted by the Big Book, are “jails, institutions, and death.”

But Not the Solution

A report published by Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly in 2000 analyzed AA membership surveys taken from 1968 through 1996. On average, 81 percent of newcomers stopped attending meetings within the first month. After 90 days, only 10 percent remained. That figure was halved after a full year.

The Real Problem

The reason for this is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The Narcissist has a great deal of grandiosity and defensiveness, which makes it difficult if not impossible for them to acknowledge problems and vulnerabilities.

Tell Them the Truth

From their first day in treatment, the focus should be, that the Addiction is just a symptom of the disease of Narcissism. Being honest and telling people that they suffer from a mental condition, that has been classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, gives people a concrete framework of their condition, instead of propaganda and religious exhortation. Only with a diagnosis can an Addict start evaluating the cause and effects, Narcissism has had on their lives.

Diagnosis Leads To Recovery

Recovery can still follow the 12-steps format, with  guidance by those who have found recovery, from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. .Basic Psychotherapy and Neural-Linguistic Programing techniques should be incorporated in the program or at least utilized by those who have recovered. They would be useful in helping people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder relate to others in a healthier and more compassionate way.

As always, thanks for visiting. Dave



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