For more than eighty years, Alcoholics Anonymous has been the ‘gold standard’ for seeking addiction treatment. There is no doubt the program has helped many people. There is also no doubt that there are countless suffering from addiction, discouraged after multiple failed attempts in AA. For those individuals, the program, which espouses life-long abstinence, simply hasn’t worked. Gabrielle Glaser points out another perspective through this article in The Altantic:

 “The history of AA is the story of how one approach to treatment took root before other options existed, inscribing itself on the national consciousness and crowding out dozens of newer methods that have since been shown to work better.”

Chief among the AA challenges is being notoriously difficult to gauge success rates, which are generally considered 5-10%. That’s astonishingly low. 

Glaser adds, “AA truisms have so infiltrated our culture that many people believe heavy drinkers cannot recover before they “hit bottom.” Researchers I’ve talked with say that’s akin to offering antidepressants only to those who have attempted suicide, or prescribing insulin only after a patient has lapsed into a diabetic coma.”

But we are not here to beat-up on AA. What is most important is that, for that remaining 90-95%, there is still hope for recovery. And it’s not a sliver of hope we are talking about. Newer treatments, like what we offer at the Kiloby Center, are evidence based and supported by modern scientific research.

The Kiloby Center and Natural Rest House are the first mindfulness addiction treatment centers in the United States. Clients who have attended our programs experience a high level of success, especially those clients who have not benefitted from more traditional treatment models. Independent research confirms the progress we see in our clients as they advance through our program. 

But what is mindfulness and how does it differ from traditional programs? The big difference is we get you out of your head and into your body. We don’t use willpower, give control over to another power, or encourage clients to try to think the issues away.

The pain and suffering we experience leads to coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse. This starts in your head with feelings of inadequacies, such as not feeling lovable or good enough. Our facilitators work with that energy and use somatic techniques to release it. In other words, you can’t think yourself out of pain. But once you let go of the thoughts, through inquiry, you can also release the energy connected to that pain.

This may sound strange since most of our lives we were taught that thinking was the answer. We were taught that to heal a deficiency story, you learn to identify and then discuss it. But deep trauma doesn’t work that way. Trauma ultimately must be resolved in the body. Cognitive therapy can help us to recognize what that trauma is, but you can’t talk yourself out of pain, just like drinking, gambling, shooting heroin or eating won’t help you heal either.

In short, AA has a place for some in addiction treatment, but it’s not the only game in town anymore.

Learn more about our new model of recovery here:



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