Is 12-Step Abstinence the ONLY Way to Recover from Addiction?

Does Controlled Drinking or Drug Use Work?

“…patients whose goal was total abstinence were more successful than those who had chosen to control their drinking.”

~ Dr. Kristina Berglund, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg

According to the disease concept of addiction, trying to bargain with or set limits on your drinking or drug use is one of the major signs of a severe problem.

Why is this?

The average drinker or recreational drug user doesn’t start a program like MM, AA, or NA without cause.  Rather, they attend meetings because they KNOW they have a problem. Most likely, that problem has somehow negatively impacted their life in some fashion—DUI charges, relationship issues, blackouts, health concerns, etc.

But despite such problems directly attributable to their substance use, a person in a MM program is looking for a way to keep drinking.

In a 2006 interview for Dateline, Kishline admitted as much.

Dateline: “As you look back on it, was MM something you devised to give yourself license to drink because you didn’t want to abstain?”

Kishline: “I do think that deep down as an addict that was the purpose.”

Dateline:  “All the good research that you did and the presentation of it to a national audience, it was really to justify it for you as a drinker.”

Kishline:  “It would legitimize my drinking.”

In 2000, while extremely drunk with a BAC that triple the legal limit, Kishline drove the wrong way down a Washington State interstate. She later confessed to “driving a hundred miles an hour in a total blackout”.

She had a head-on collision with another vehicle and killed a 38-year-old father and his 12-year-old daughter. For her crime, Kishline went to prison. When she was paroled 3 ½ years later, she relapsed several times. At one point, was even sent back for violating her parole by drinking.

For many years, Kishline continued to struggle, not only with her alcoholism but also with overwhelming guilt. Her drinking worsened and her disease progressed, resulting from the end of her marriage.  In 2015, just a few days before Christmas, Audrey Kishline Conn committed suicide in her mother’s home in Happy Valley, Oregon.


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