Where Did Treatment Come From?
The 60s – AA dropped the ball on our 12 step work pretty early on. We got fat and happy so that when the 60s hit – we were not ready for the busloads of drug addicts that started showing up in AA.
Most groups had not adopted the Traditions at that point. The newcomers began to outnumber the oldtimers. Bill Wilson even wrote an article regarding Hippies in AA which you can find if you want to pay for the digital archive of the Grapevine. He welcomed Hippies because he said most of us were drunks underneath.
Harold Hughes, a drunk who became sober in the 50s and then became head of the Teamsters Union later ran and became Senator of Iowa. He pushed and pushed to leave a legacy by getting alcoholism and drug addiction recognized as a national problem. He had hearings that were televised tin the early the 70s. He won! And the first Treatment Center opened in Marin County, CA called Synanon.
This was the beginning of treatment as we know it today. In 1996, alcoholism was declassified as a disability and that’s when the medication started. In order for treatment for alcoholics to be paid for it was renamed substance abuse and chemical dependency, and drugs were prescribed for “bi-polar” – a term which previously had been held for manic-depression now became the goto for the spiritual malady.
This led to the current term “Alcohol Use Disorder”. The system is creating a new set of terms to separate AA from alcoholics so that there will be a way to “cure” alcohol use disorder by means of medication and leading to the demise of our 12th step. When was the last time YOU went on an actual 12 step call? 2005.
In rural areas there still are 12 step calls. I have a friend who lives in Black Foot, ID. The detox is 60 miles away. They rent a motel room and the group uses the old methods to detox new drunks. That is where Unity begins.