SOURCE: AA-Not the Only Way

March 22, 2006 10:00 ET

"Then What?" Wonders "AA Not the Only Way" Author Melanie Solomon as National Alcohol Screening Day and Alcohol Awareness Month Approach

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 22, 2006 -- April 6 is National Alcohol Screening Day and April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Melanie Solomon, author of the breakthrough book, "AA Not the Only Way -- Your One Stop Resource Guide to 12-Step Alternatives," hopes that this year those seeking treatment for themselves or loved ones, or those making recommendations for others will consider, embrace and expand the dialog and knowledge about available treatment options.

Data continues to show that alcohol and other addictions remain epidemic, contribute greatly to hospital and prison occupancy, dramatically decrease workplace productivity, and are a leading contributor to fatalities in the U.S. It will also confirm that there are four times as many problem drinkers as alcoholics in this country and that nine out of ten of these people avoid conventional treatment. Other studies, including one conducted by AA's own General Service Organization, suggest that only 3-5 percent of those who first attend a meeting can be counted a year later. Yet 93-97 percent of treatment facilities in the U.S. remain based on 12-step models. Americans, privately and through public funds, will spend at least $10-12 billion in treatment facilities this year, even though collectively we seem to be getting worse and not better because of lack of information about treatment alternatives.

Solomon is quick to acknowledge the tremendous contribution AA has made to those it has helped but suggests that the numbers are just too staggering not to explore alternatives for those not being served well by 12-step approaches. There are viable, evidence-based alternatives, more practical, and well accepted and established in other countries, that might better suit the complex and individualized needs of people suffering with substance abuse problems. Solomon's book is the first to provide a comprehensive (and expanding) directory of licensed professionals and treatment programs offering such choices. Further, her presentations suggest some important questions for expanding the treatment dialog in the U.S.

--  Since the one-size-fits-all approach of 12-step programs only works
    for 3-5 percent of people, what alternative treatments are available?
    
--  What has three decades of scientific research shown? Why are so many
    conventional addiction professionals reluctant to accept and share the
    findings?
    
--  Are the rights of people suffering from substance abuse being
    compromised by the lack of information sharing in the recovery industry?
    
--  Is mandating or prescribing only one treatment ethical? What is the
    legal trend in the U.S. regarding 12-step programs?
    
--  There are four times as many problem drinkers as there are
    "alcoholics" in the U.S. What options are available to them?
    
In order to stimulate dialog and exchange of information pertaining to these issues, Solomon has recently expanded her website -- www.aanottheonlyway.com -- to include many other resources plus a free discussion forum. Those wishing an interview or speaker for their organization may contact her through the website.

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