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Rational Recovery Defends The Untreatables
Jack Trimpey

Because AVRT-based recovery is streamlined and effective, your years of addiction will soon be covered with the sands of time. Freed at last from addiction and its rear guard, AA, you may feel inspired to protect others from the harmful effects of recovery groups and addiction treatment services. Although there are no RR groups anywhere, there is a way you can help to bring Rational Recovery to your community.

Frequent Flyers: The Untreatables

In the past, attempts to introduce RR to their communities have been unsuccessful because AVRT is incompatible with the American social service system, particularly its heavy-handed, parentis in loci style. AVRT is self-recovery, without the use of groups, counseling, and addiction treatment centers. Therefore, offering AVRT through social agencies is like trying to push a rope.

Addiction treatment, however, produces an abstinent outcome of around zero, and it survives as a business largely through repeat business, i.e., the "frequent flyers" who "keep coming back" for detox, treatment, aftercare, relapse, active addiction, then back to detox, treatment, aftercare, relapse, active addiction, then detox, and so on. In every community, especially larger population centers, large, complex social service agencies "serve" large caseloads of chronically addicted people who are trapped in the relapse/treatment cycle, often for decades, often for dozens of admissions to residential rehabs, with no sign that addiction treatment is producing any benefit or abstinence. Although some may abstain following treatment, many more do so with no treatment, or in spite of treatment, so those successes following treatment episodes should not be viewed as a direct result of "treatment."

Public agencies are not interested in any genuine alternative to their existing menu of services, especially any service or information that would disqualify any client for continuing services, i.e., full or complete recovery, a la AVRT. Addiction treatment agencies usually employ members of AA/NA to provide direct services to addicted clients. They are fully encased in the Addictive Voice and incapable of providing competent guidance to people who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs. They do not believe their clients are capable of resolving their problems independently, or even abstaining without frequent group attendance. Treatment agencies often offer therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, aroma therapy, recreation therapy, polarity therapy, and other marginal practices, but only as adjuncts to a core belief system consistent with the 12-step program.

To understand the existing system, it is crucial to understand that the system is not designed to help people to quit addictions, or to abstain from alcohol and other drugs. The sole purpose of the addiction treatment industry, from the recovery groups, to outpatient counseling, to the residential centers, to the hospital based inpatient programs, is to engage the individual in the "process of recovery," i.e., billable program compliance. Thus, no data on abstinent outcome is collected by public addiction treatment programs; only data on program compliance and other peripheral measures.

The Opt-Out Initiative

The deplorable abstinence outcome of addiction treatment creates a real opportunity for change, not by substituting other services for existing services, but with the very reasonable, irresistible argument:

When treatment repeatedly (2+) fails, treatment should first of all be discontinued.

That is what RR is now about, the Opt-Out Initiative, whereby clients must first of all give informed consent to treatment, including the vital information that self-recovery is commonplace and a learnable skill, and secondly that the disease concept of addiction is not factual, but a highly controversial idea within the professional community. From there, people who are unsuccessfully treated may opt out of the addict identity, and undertake recovery through planned, permanent abstinence as a matter of principle rather than as an outcome of addiction treatment services.

Rational Recovery Defends the Untreatables

On July 10, 2002, I was a scheduled guest at a meeting of the San Francisco County Drug Abuse Advisory Board, consisting of professionals from the city's major addiction treatment agencies. I proposed that when treatment repeatedly fails to produce abstinence, those individuals be given the option to abstain from alcohol and other drugs as a matter of principle rather than as the outcome of more addiction treatment programs.

Rational Recovery Defends the Untreatables
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We videotaped the meeting, with all informed of our intent to create educational materials. The result is an 80-minute video, Rational Recovery Defends the Untreatables. It is an orientation video showing the nature of the 12-step oriented addiction treatment industry, not only in San Francisco, but in every American community. This unique documentary video is an excellent way to introduce public officials to some of the little-known politics behind the addiction crisis in our cities.

I believe social change is possible through public education projects that show how public policies are decided. The Untreatables is a serious exploration of social policies that affect all Americans, and, while we may disagree with the board's positions and views, we respect their professionalism and personal demeanor in all respects.

Jack Trimpey

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