It Works, If You Work It!?

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One of this blog’s  original purposes was to inform newcomers to recovery, and their loved ones, what to expect in mainly (but not exclusively) 12 step recovery groups, with the hope that this might help in taking the first crucial step towards recovery.

Not only recovery from alcoholism, addiction or other addictive behaviours but also from codependency, co-alcoholism which loved ones often suffer from too.

In recent weeks we have taken detours to examine other co-morbid or co-occurring conditions which contribute to severity of addictive disorders. Here we return for now to our original intention – to pass on what we have been freely given.

To pass on how you can recover form addictive behaviours and the evidence of the success of 12 step groups in this pursuit.

This interview below is from a expert into the Psychology of Recovery in 12 steps and other treatment modalities like CBT and Motivational Enhancement. His name is Joseph Nowinsky Ph.D.

The language of the interview is not too academic. In fact, it uses pretty straight forward language to explain clearly what happens in 12 step groups and what are the main ingredients in successful long term recovery. 

I have found myself that whatever I put into my recovery I got back in terms of improved emotional well being.

If you put the work in, you will recover just like me.

That is the message of Hope. If you want recovery bad enough, the chances are, you will recover.

This academic and therapist explains why this is the case, citing numerous academic studies which seem to be in line with the experiential and anecdotal wisdom handed down to me via 12 step recovery groups.

It kinda shores on what is known in these groups which is great as it helps dispel any existing doubt about their effectiveness.

Earlier this year, his new book looked at 12 Step outcomes. It’s called, If You Work It It Works! The Science Behind 12 Step Recovery . It is a jargon-free look at how, 12 Step modality help alcoholics/addicts.
Recently a growing chorus of critics has questioned the science behind this model. In this book, Dr. Joseph Nowinski calls upon the latest research, as well as his own seminal Project MATCH study, to show why systematically working a Twelve Step program yields predictable and successful outcomes.
He discusses these in this interview.

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  1. susan freeman · December 2, 2015

    Brilliant! Going to get the book! Sue

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

    • alcoholicsguide · December 2, 2015

      He works with Hazelden etc – quite an informative interview – don’t agree with all he says e.g. alcoholism being a spectrum disorder but it is very useful information shoring up what we know experientially in recovery groups.

  2. carolineturriff · December 2, 2015

    Really want to read this book. I got recovery through 12 Step, I’m 10 years clean this year. But the chorus of criticism in the media and online has made me question my faith in the 12 Steps. ‪#‎recovery‬

    • alcoholicsguide · December 3, 2015

      Hi Caroline, not only is there lots of studies in this book but there are also lots of other studies on this blogsite – if you click onto the page “12 Steps” there are details of AA and 12 step effectiveness there, especially in terms of long term recovery – hope this helps. The chorus of criticism in the media can often involve academics who are often very naive individuals and rarely have any real life experience of the illness of addiction or alcoholism, academics trying to get funding for research into their “chemical” solutions” to addition, journalists who who to make a name for themselves by suddenly becoming involved in this most emotive area of debate, simple AA haters who do not like the “spiritual side” of AA. It is because none of these groups properly know what happens to or in the brains of alcoholics and addicts and the underlying issues we suffer from, that they cannot understand why it requires a spiritual solution or an emotional catharsis, a sea change in how we view ourselves and the world around us. Our illness lives in the self regulation parts of our brain to do with emotion, motivation, memory etc so we need to look outside or ourselves for help and to help others. One day these people might catch up but I wouldn’t hold your breath!? AA and other 12 step groups is the best I know although sometimes far from perfect. It is also free to those who need it. For me who has studied neuroscience and neuro-psychology for 6 years I have no doubts about it’s effectiveness and I, like you, am ten years in recovery. It is a lifesaver, run by lay people and others cannot make money out of us which drives them a bit mad. Keep the faith Caroline, my illness talks to me via other people, who know no better, at times so it is best being aware of this too.

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