What’s really going on?

WhatsGoingOnOver the weekend, the NY Times published an article on the Center for Motivation and Change (CMC). The article struck me as a little odd, because it presented CMC as a radically innovative program that is besieged by one-wayers who believe AA and Al-Anon are the one true path for every alcohol problem. I also thought it presented a very unbalanced description of the research on AA and 12 step facilitation. But, I get tired of responding to these articles and let it go. I assumed it was a neutral reporter who interviewed a subject who fed her misinformation and she didn’t have the time or inclination to dig further.

Anna David calls out the author, pointing out that she’s the author of a book that suggested women are questioning “the safety and efficacy” of AA.

Over the weekend, The New York Times published one of those pieces. You know those pieces. They come out whenever an AA-slammer wants to sell more books or push their considerably dangerous agenda. The author of this one is Gabrielle Glaser, who published her AA-slamming book, Her Best Kept Secret—in which she claimed that women are questioning, in her words, “the efficacy and safety of…Alcoholics Anonymous”—last year . . .

Sounds like the, “some people say” attack strategy. (I’m not trying to start a political argument. I’m sure Fox isn’t the only outlet that uses the strategy.) As I thought about Anna David’s response, I realized the whole besieged description is the same kind of thing. There’s nothing especially controversial about CMC. I’m familiar with them and we have a different approach, but there’s no controversy. I’ve never posted about them, I’ve bought their book and I’d even consider referring some clients to them. In fact, I Googled “Center for Motivation and Change” and found a lot of links–they are good at getting themselves out there. However, I didn’t even see anything critical about them.

So, then . . . what’s this all about? It’s interesting that they didn’t take the approach, “This works too.” or some other approach that makes the case for CMC’s model without trying to tear down AA and 12 step facilitation. Anna David suggests its about book sales but seems to wonder if there’s more going on. Could be.

5 thoughts on “What’s really going on?

  1. I saw that article too and felt quite weary. The unbalanced presentation of the evidence was the first thing I noticed, then you get to thinking that such a framing means there is intent. Perhaps the intent is coming to light.


  2. The NYT article struck me as irresponsible, to say the least. I’ve never been to a meeting in my 16 years of recovery but I just can’t fathom why anyone would want to discount something that works—albeit not for everyone and not every time but nothing does. Whatever works.


  3. Thank you for posting this. You ask an interesting question, “what’s this all about.” In our opinion, “this” is all about increasing the the conversation about what types of treatments are out there. Like a previous commenter said, “whatever works.” We agree with this wholeheartedly, and want to encourage increased conversation about the many different paths that are out there.
    We posted a response on our website that we encourage everyone to read. You can find it at http://motivationandchange.com/important-conversation-addiction/. We hope that everyone starts to engage in conversations about how we can all work together to help people who want to change their behaviors and relationship with substances, because we all have the same end goal!
    Thank you again for being a part of that conversation.


    1. That question, “what’s this all about?”, was not really directed at you. It was directed at the author’s misrepresentation of the evidence for AA and TSF and the way your program was framed as a radical outlier that is besieged by one-wayers.

      I’ve seen some criticism of the article, but no criticism of your program. I think this is evidence that she misrepresented the profession.

      Best wishes to you, your staff and your clients.


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