Nearly all of the thousands of treatment programs in the U.S. and Canada are based on the Minnesota Model – which comes down to charging you to attend AA meetings for 30, 60, or 90 days. Since AA has a “success” rate of less than 5% for those who try it, you can assume that alcohol treatment for men based on the 12 Steps is going to have about the same dismal rate.
This brings up the obvious question: if success rates are so low, and if other approaches work better, why aren’t there more treatment programs offering better methods and results?
The answer isn’t heartening. Most treatment providers want as high a failure rate as possible so that they can recycle clients again, and again, and again. The model is a terrible treatment model, but it’s a great business model.
Again, considering the treatment industry from a business perspective, providing the services that actually work is also expensive. Hiring trained professional staff who can assess such basic considerations as the difference between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, for example, instead on lumping everyone into the “Hi, I’m Joe and I’m an alcoholic” category, isn’t cheap.
Then comes the fact that providing real solutions – CBT, Motivational Interviewing, Assertiveness Training, Naltrexone support, one-on-one counseling, couples counseling, etc. – also requires smart skilled staff. That’s right, this too is expensive. Much cheaper to just load everyone onto a bus and dump you on local AA meetings, or have AA volunteers show up, lead AA meetings, and call it group therapy.
Which gets us back to most programs having a vested interest both in client failure and cheap ineffectual staff.
Look up a few program websites and you’ll soon discover that no one is going to tell you what they actually provide, or who’s going to provide it. It’s all about the luxury, the view, the magic, and the illusion that they can cure you with no effort on your part and return you home where everyone will live happily ever after.
We’re guessing you’re a little too old and smart for fairy tales.