As Paris Hilton is sentenced to probation, rehab and community service for her August 2010 possession of cocaine, CNN reported Lindsay Lohan’s probation has been revoked after she failed a drug test last Friday. Lohan who recently served 13 days in jail followed by 23 days in drug rehab will go before the judge on Friday when her fate will be determined.
The legacy of Lindsay Lohan’s addiction has been public fodder and media gold; however, the struggle Lohan is experiencing with addiction is typical of that experienced by the 22.5 million Americans who are classified with substance dependence or abuse, every year. Unfortunately, Lohan’s addiction and failed recovery attempts have been front page news since 2007, which makes one wonder what is going wrong for Lindsay Lohan and what will help her find true recovery?
Although there are countless addiction recovery programs across the country the most recognizable is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA is a 12 step program established in the 1930’s and is the most used source for alcohol-related issues in the U.S. with an estimated 5 million individuals attending an estimated 55,000 groups at least once a week all across the country.
A 12-step addiction treatment facility is a residential recovery program that institutes the 12-step program of AA along with other interventions such as counseling and education. It is likely that this is the type of recovery program celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan will access. Research has found that a 12-step addiction treatment program increases the likelihood that an individual will continue to apply the principles of AA and remain abstinent from their addiction once they leave the program. Some of the factors that increase the likelihood of a successful recovery once a person has left a 12-step addiction treatment program are a strong social support network, like that offered by the AA meetings, refraining from frequenting locations where the addiction behavior has occurred in the past and avoiding individuals who continue to use alcohol and drugs.
However, most individuals who struggle with addiction will not have access to a 12-step program due to many reasons including geographical and financial limitations. It is AA and groups like them such as Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered recovery program based on the 12-steps of AA and 8 biblical principles that will see the most people struggling with addiction each week. So what works in these addiction recovery programs?
The central mechanism of addiction recovery in AA, or Celebrate Recovery is a “spiritual awakening” (Kelly, Magill & Stout, 2009, p. 240). This spiritual experience results in a shift of “belief and perspective” (Kelly, Magill & Stout, 2009, p. 240) which is, in turn, the basis for behavior modification. It is the realization that the addict is powerless to control their addiction and that God exists and has the power to help the addict through recovery, that sets the foundation for a successful recovery experience. This does not, however, ensure an avoidance of relapse, but offers a place to return once relapse has occurred.
Kelly, J., Magill, M., & Stout, R. (2009). How do people recover from alcohol dependence? A systematic review of the research on mechanisms of behavior change in Alcoholics Anonymous. Addiction Research & Theory, 17(3), 236-259. doi:10.1080/16066350902770458.