I’m not a fan of Stanton Peele and I usually don’t read him because I find him to be more of a bomb-thrower than anything else.
While this article is full of his usual distortions, one line leaped out at me:
The typical program says, “Quit using before you enter, while you’re here, and forever after.” Good advice – if only people weren’t addicted. (emphasis mine)
His argument is that abstinence is an unrealistic goal and that harm reduction is the only rational approach. I couldn’t disagree more. While one could argue that it’s dated, his point about the historical pre-treatment and treatment expectations of many programs is fair and it stings.
I’m proud that Dawn Farm has continued to work on ways to engage people who are still using and stay engaged when people relapse. I’m thinking of activities like outreach, recovery coaching, seamlessly stepping people up or down in treatment, and trying to be sure that getting discharged from one program (say, residential) does not mean that the person is discharged from our community of programs or that they are unable to re-enter the program if it makes sense at a later date.