Dale in St. Cloud FL posted this letter to the convenor list:

Letter to the Dr. Phil show:

Dr. Phil, I was alternately moved by and dismayed with your show today on alcoholic women. You expressed a limited knowledge of the current state of the addiction field. A few comments:
You said addiction was a choice. I disagree. Recovery is a choice, not addiction.
You used confrontational interviewing techniques to ‘break down’ your guest’s resistance to treatment. Reputable studies have shown that such methods do not produce client alliance, an important factor in the outcome of the treatment process.
Lastly, you refer to a 12Step facility without mentioning the many alternatives available today. Studies of AA recidivism rates, as reported in their publication “The Grapevine” show a retention rate of only 5% after a year.
La Hacienda claims that their ‘internal studies’ show a successful outcome of over 60% using 12Step methodology as a primary treatment modality. This far exceeds treatment outcomes reported by many other facilities.
One problem with these statistics is there is no standard definition for treatment success.
I want you to know about an effective alternative option for the suffering addict. LifeRing is an international secular recovery organization. It was formed in 2001.
LifeRing is a self-help recovery network for individuals who seek group support to achieve abstinence from alcohol and other addictive drugs, or who are in relationships where chemical dependency is a problem.
LifeRing is a poly-abstinence group that welcomes everyone without distinction based on “drug of choice.
LifeRing includes people of all religious faiths and none. Meetings are free of religious observances.
LifeRing supports participants in working out their own personal recovery programs, and requires no particular steps other than abstinence from alcohol and other addictive drugs.
LifeRing meetings are autonomous except in matters affecting other meetings. A basket may be passed for voluntary donations but there is no charge for participation. LifeRing is a free-standing, self- supporting organization and is not affiliated with any other.
LifeRing meetings are conducted by peer volunteers called convenors.
For more information about the LifeRing approach and philosophy, and to connect with LifeRing participants, visit www.lifering.org.
You can get LifeRing books and other literature online at www.lifering.com.
You may contact me by telephone at 407-556-3876 or by email at Stcloudlifering@gmail.com.
I have thirty years in recovery, much of it in 12Step programs before I found LifeRing. It makes a lot more sense to me. I would not ask a doctor to heal a broken leg through prayer.
Thank you.

Dr. Phil, I was alternately moved by and dismayed with your show today on alcoholic women. You expressed a limited knowledge of the current state of the addiction field. A few comments: You said addiction was a choice. I disagree. Recovery is a choice, not addiction. You used confrontational interviewing techniques to ‘break down’ your guest’s resistance to treatment. Reputable studies have shown that such methods do not produce client alliance, an important factor in the outcome of the treatment process. Lastly, you refer to a 12Step facility without mentioning the many alternatives available today. Studies of AA recidivism rates, as reported in their publication “The Grapevine” show a retention rate of only 5% after a year. La Hacienda claims that their ‘internal studies’ show a successful outcome of over 60% using 12Step methodology as a primary treatment modality. This far exceeds treatment outcomes reported by many other facilities. One problem with these statistics is there is no standard definition for treatment success. I want you to know about an effective alternative option for the suffering addict. LifeRing is an international secular recovery organization. It was formed in 2001.LifeRing is a self-help recovery network for individuals who seek group support to achieve abstinence from alcohol and other addictive drugs, or who are in relationships where chemical dependency is a problem. LifeRing is a poly-abstinence group that welcomes everyone without distinction based on “drug of choice.LifeRing includes people of all religious faiths and none. Meetings are free of religious observances. LifeRing supports participants in working out their own personal recovery programs, and requires no particular steps other than abstinence from alcohol and other addictive drugs. LifeRing meetings are autonomous except in matters affecting other meetings. A basket may be passed for voluntary donations but there is no charge for participation. LifeRing is a free-standing, self- supporting organization and is not affiliated with any other. LifeRing meetings are conducted by peer volunteers called convenors. For more information about the LifeRing approach and philosophy, and to connect with LifeRing participants, visit www.lifering.org. You can get LifeRing books and other literature online at www.lifering.com. You may contact me by telephone at 407-556-3876 or by email at Stcloudlifering@gmail.com. I have thirty years in recovery, much of it in 12Step programs before I found LifeRing. It makes a lot more sense to me. I would not ask a doctor to heal a broken leg through prayer. Thank you.

[Reposted here by permission]

4 Comments

  1. Peter Hauserman on July 5, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I just read the Chat” in re: Dr. Phil. I read many “should statements” whic leads me to believe that a very normal process is taking place. We are in recovery and have a tendency to manage other peoples lives simply because it is hard to deal with our selves. As we become more sober we become aware of the hurt we’ve caused, the lost oppurtunities and on occasion people like Dr. Phil irritate us because we are MORE COMFORTABLE being irritated with the Dr, Phils of this world than we are being disappointed with our selves…it is a normal reaction to the awareness which comes from recovery…I find it helps to ask myself “what is the payoff?” Is it worth the time and effort to take some one to task for what they think? I ‘ve learned that ” what someone else thinks is none of my business.” If I choose to communicate with Dr. Phil for the purpose of introducing him to Lifering I will refer him to the organization as I can only speak for myself.



  2. Dale on July 4, 2010 at 4:53 am

    We do what we can…lol.
    I don’t claim to be an expert at anything much, but I do have a lot of experience with the 12step strengths and foibles. My hope for LSR is that it continue to grow and respond to it’s members needs. I will do my best to aid in that development.
    Stay joyous and free,
    Dale



  3. Edward on July 2, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Dale: Much thanks for your clarification of your moving and informative letter to Dr. P. BTW, as you can see, LR is more than likely entering a phase of rapid growth. AA and NA have become hugely successful without being diverted whatsoever from their stated, explicit goal. This is truly remarkable, as the tendencies to become either commercialized or politicized are ever present in nonprofits. With your deep knowledge of the 12-step programs, perhaps you’d be willing to offer some comment (when it becomes directly relevant) or reference to the appropriate tradition from the 12-step traditions if you detect LR being seduced from its primary goal by one or both of these of these internal threats. Thanks.



  4. Dale on July 1, 2010 at 10:09 am

    My goodness, when I gave Marty permission to publish the original letter, I had no clue as to the furor that would subsequently arise here. I believe it is up to each of us to make decisions about what we say and do; having written that, I would like to express my motivation for the letter in the first place.
    I have been involved with 12step for about thirty years. I credit the network I formed there with helping me stay in recovery for three decades. But-and this is a rather large BUT, I never felt comfortable with the dogma and the pabulum the program expounds. LifeRing gave me a philosophy that finally felt whole. I got upset with what I heard on that TV show, and its effect on those that bought it as gospel. So, I complained to Dr. Phil. Incidentally, I have not received a word of response from him or his organization. The letter was posted here with the intent of increasing the readership and to help explain our goals. I did not know about the offending picture, and did not see it. I do agree that it is better to limit our comment to the method, rather than ad hominem attacks directed at anyone. It is my sincere wish that both Dr. Phil and Oprah would learn more about the treatment options available today, and help spread the word about our method.
    Stay joyous and free,
    Dale