The Myth of Addiction as a Disease

Addiction does not meet the criteria specified for a core disease entity

“Addiction does not meet the criteria specified for a core disease entity, namely the presence of a primary measurable deviation from physiologic or anatomical norm. Addiction is self-acquired and is not transmissible, contagious, autoimmune, hereditary, degenerative or traumatic. Treatment consists of little more than stopping a given behaviour. True diseases worsen if left untreated. A patient with cancer is not cured if locked in a cell, whereas an alcoholic is automatically cured. No access to alcohol means no alcoholism. A person with schizophrenia will not remit if secluded. Sepsis will spread and Parkinson disease will worsen if left untreated. Criminal courts do not hand down verdicts of “not guilty by virtue of mental illness” to drunk drivers who kill pedestrians.” (2012. Tim Holden. Accessed, Dec. 20, 2017 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3314045/)

Moreover, the “disease model of addiction” advocates for “epiphenomenalism which posits that “our thoughts and our behaviour are caused by brain activity, BUT what we think has no effect on our behaviour or on the activity of the brain. Essentially, this philosophy completely rejects free-will at both the level of thought and action. From this view, brain activity simply happens as part of a fully physically determined chain of cause and effect—the brain develops in certain ways according to genetics and conditioning, and just reacts chemically, producing thoughts and behaviours over which we have only an illusion of control. Or, as researcher Edwin Locke put it: A more common ‘soft’ materialist view of thought is that, although thoughts exist, they are epiphenomena of physical events, that is, by-products of the physical having no causal efficacy. The doctrine of epiphenomenalism, of course, is a version of determinism, or more precisely, psychological determinism. This doctrine holds that with respect to his beliefs, thoughts, decisions and actions man has no choice. Given the conditions of his environment and his genes at any given time, only one alternative is possible. In sum, man has no control over his destiny; he is totally controlled by conditioning and physiology. (Locke, 1995) (2014. STEVEN SLATE. Accessed Dec. 20, 2017 http://www.thecleanslate.org/philosophical-brain-disease-addiction-epiphenomenalism/).

By medicalizing addiction addicts have been turned into political, social and economic fodder for policy makers

In the 1940’s, if you were an alcoholic, you could go to a hospital and safely detox, however you were required to pay a bill for your stay, which was approximately 5 to 7 days. There was no money in the procedure of “drying out” drunks and addicts. BUT, by medicalizing addiction and defining it as a disease has opened the door for social policy makers to justify a huge infrastructure of social services and, of course a whole army of social workers, addiction counsellors, and harm-reduction specialists to work on the growing problem of addiction. Furthermore, medicalizing addictions has given rise to the multi-billion dollar treatment centre industry. It has also spawned the further rise of “Big Pharma” and their plethora of pharmaceutical interventions to augment the addict’s plight. And let us no forget Government sponsored methadone programs and safe-injection sites for heroine addicts. Sadly, talk with any heroine addict and ask them about the horrors of trying to detox from methadone addiction, all courtesy of our enabling government sanctioned social services agencies.

“Medicalizing addiction has not led to any management advances at the individual level. The need for helping or treating people with addictions is not in doubt, but a social problem requires social interventions.” (2012. Tim Holden. Accessed, Dec. 20, 2017 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3314045/)

Twelve Step Program describes alcoholism/addiction as an allergy of the body, an obsession of the mind, — a spiritual malady

Nowhere in the “Big Book,” Alcoholics Anonymous (2001, 4th ed.), the Twelve Step basic recovery text does it subscribe to the notion of alcoholism as a “disease”

However the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous does state:

“The doctor’s theory that we have an allergy to alcohol interests us. As laymen, our opinion as to its soundness may, of course, mean little. But as exproblem drinkers, we can say that his explanation makes good sense. It explains many things for which we cannot otherwise account.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.xxvi)

“An illness of this sort and we have come to believe it an illness involves those about us in a way no other human sickness can. (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.18)

“Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks–drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.xxviii)

“…there was always the curious mental phenomenon that parallel with our sound reasoning there inevitably ran some insanely trivial excuse for taking the first drink. Our sound reasoning failed to hold us in check. The insane idea won out. Next day we would ask ourselves, in all earnestness and sincerity, how it could have happened.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.37)

The untreated alcoholic/addict is a manifestation of varying degrees of irresponsibility.

“Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we (Alcoholics Anonymous) think, is the root of the alcoholic’s troubles…So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.62).

Alcoholics Anonymous advocates a spiritual-moral solution to the problem of alcoholism and addiction.

Through the Step Four process, the alcoholic uncovers their short-comings, their character defects. Examples of those defects can be found throughout the first 164 pages of the “Big Book,” here are some that are cited: “pride, vanity, egotistical, self-pity, morbidness, jealousy, suspicion, envy, selfishness, self-seeking, self-centeredness, self-justification, insincerity, dishonesty, lying, exaggeration, unthinking, callousness, cruelty, anger, rancor, bitterness, hate, antipathy, lethargy, impatience, fear, cowardice, worry, intolerance, lust, infidelity, inconsideration, anti-social, slander, gossip, prejudice, diffidence, servility, scraping, irresponsibility, unreasonableness, apathy, martyrdom, squandering, and obstinacy.”

These character defects are the underlying root causes and conditions that produce symptoms of this spiritual malady recognized as restless, irritable and discontented, boredom, depression, anxiety, etc.

These symptoms produce a mental mind-set in the alcoholic to causes them to seek a sense of ease and comfort which comes at once from alcohol/drugs and leads, thus them to picking up the first drink (even when they don’t really want to) which, when coupled with their physical allergy to alcohol, leads to the “alcoholic spree,” whereby they seemingly have no control over their consumption.

The Alcoholics Anonymous program states, “There is a solution.” “When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.64)

A key tenet to the Twelve Step solution is Step Three: “Made a decision to turn our will (our thinking) and our lives (our actions) over to the care of God (the ‘Great Reality’ we find deep down within ourselves) as we understood Him.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.59)

This essentially means that the alcoholic is going think and live by a new set of spiritual principles. Character defects are correlated with the spiritual malady which produces and general disposition of restlessness, discontentedness, irritability, boredom, etc. and leads to the mental obsession which inevitably leads to the first drink and subsequent spree. Spiritual principles are correlated with arresting the symptoms of the malady, thus allowing the alcoholic’s mind and body to straighten out and recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. This is all accomplished by the alcoholic working all Twelve Steps which facilitates a spiritual experience or awakening.

A Daily Plan of Action

“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives (character defects). Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought- life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.86)

“When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.86)

“We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee, Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.85)

The efficacy of the Twelve Step Program

“On the other hand–and strange as this may seem to those who do not understand–once a psychic change has occurred, the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly finds himself easily able to control his desire for alcohol, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p. xxix).

“Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends — this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.” (2001. A.A. 4th ed. p.89)

Lastly, tens of thousands of recoveries throughout the decades, since 1939, in the rooms of A.A., C.A., N.A. and so many other Twelve Step oriented fellowships, bares witness to the efficacy of the Twelve Step Program.

In conclusion, we find that alcoholism/addiction is not a disease but a spiritual malady. A malady that can be remedied with a simple, moral-spiritual approach, as instructed in the text of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

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Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon C.A. unity.

Case Study Three:

A member continuously disrupts group meetings with loud abusive and bullying behaviour towards fellow members and newcomers. Membership in the group continues to decline. New people coming to the meeting for the first time often do not return.

Suggested Readings:

AA, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, P. 143-144
The elders led Ed aside. They said firmly, “You can’t talk like this around here. You’ll have to quit it or get out.” With great sarcasm Ed came back at them. “Now do tell! Is that so?” He reached over to a bookshelf and took up a sheaf of papers. On top of them lay the foreword to the book “Alco¬holics Anonymous,” then under preparation. He read aloud, “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.” Relentlessly, Ed went on, “When you guys wrote that sentence, did you mean it, or didn’t you?” Dismayed, the elders looked at one another, for they knew he had them cold. So Ed stayed.

The Twelve Traditions Illustrated
Our brother the noisy drunk affords the simplest illustration of this Tradition (One). If he insists on disrupting the meeting, we “invite” him to leave, and we bring him back when he’s in better shape to hear the message. we are putting the “common welfare” first. But it is his welfare, too; if he’s ever going to get sober, the group must go on functioning, ready for him.

Clarifying Questions:

1. Can a member be thrown out of a group for disrupted, abusive behaviour?
2. How might the group deal with a member whose conduct is threatening the common welfare of the group?

10 Types of People You’ll Meet at 12-Step Meetings

by Lisa Page Rosenberg on April 26, 2015 in 12-Step Recovery

In recovery meetings you’ll encounter a cross-section of humanity with seemingly nothing in common except their addictions. There are, however, a number of stereotypes that exist in the 12-step world, and they exist largely because they are true.

Do You Recognize Any of These Types?

  1. The 13th-stepper – This man makes a sport of exclusively dating women who are in their first 60 days of sobriety. Not unlike the older man/younger woman paradigm, vulnerable ladies new to recovery are much easier to impress with smooth talk and after-meeting “coffee dates” than an old-timer who can see through a 13thstepper’s game. Recognize these guys by their perfect hair and multi-chip key chains.
  2. The Book Thumper – These folks recite passages by rote from The Big Book, often dropping them into casual conversation. “I was headed for a case of road rage and then I remembered, it says in the Book, ‘And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today,’ page 417, fourth edition.” The Book Thumper is known for her ability to quote a Big Bookphrase on any theme. Also fluent in 12 & 12″ and “As Bill Sees It.”
  3. The Meeting Hound – There are 48 recovery meetings a week in your area and somehow this member is present at all of them. AA, CA, NA, SLAA, the Meeting Hound is a permanent fixture at all. Recognize him by his coffee breath and fondness for the greeting, “Haven’t seen you at a meeting in a while!”
  4. The Forever-on-Four – This guy is always in the middle of his fourth step. He’ll tell you how the fourth is kicking his ass and how difficult it is to “get honest.” He’s always searching for a new sponsor he can trust, who really “gets” him. Know him by his willingness to start the steps over every few months, while still never getting to five.
  5. The Catchphraser – This “Friend of Bill W’s” tosses out recovery slogans as if she penned them herself. She likes to remind others to “suit up and show up” and “live and let live.” She lives life “one day at a time” and is known to “expect a miracle.” She “keeps it simple” and “it works for her, if she works it.” Recognizable by her affection for sobriety circle-triangle jewelry and her Ford Fiesta’s “Easy Does It” bumper sticker.
  6. The Day Counter – This addict has a sobriety calculator app on her iPhone and can’t wait to introduce herself by her name, her addiction and the number of days sober she has. She will congratulate those celebrating a recovery anniversary with a shout out of “Three years? That’s 1,095 days! Woot!” Related: The Minute Counter.
  7. The Pink Cloud – This guy has 42 days and he’s feeling fantastic! Sobriety has helped him get his life together! He’s learning so much about himself! The obsession to use has been lifted! He has found a higher power and meetings are the greatest! Things have really, never, ever, been better! You will know him as the enthusiastic greeter at the door who doesn’t have a sponsor yet.
  8. The Texter – Often a newcomer, you know the top of this woman’s head well, since her face is always directed down towards her phone. She taps furiously before meetings and during the break to appear busy and avoid making direct eye contact or meeting new people. Find her at IfIDontLookAtYouThenIAmInvisible.com, #Scared, #EarlyDays and #DontTalkToMePleaseTalkToMe.
  9. The Crier – She will cry and nod through the reading of “How it Works.” She will sob during the speaker’s pitch. Her nose is red and running through the shares and anniversaries. They might be tears of joy or tears of sadness, but they are tears and she has an endless supply. Find The Crier by following the trail of wadded up tissues leading to the doughnuts.
  10. The Old-Timer – He has more years sober than Dr. Bob was alive. He’s seen know-it-all kids like you before and suggests that you “take a seat in the front, shut up and listen.” He’s the guy who is happy to “Call you on your BS.” If it’s your first meeting, he tells you, “Congratulations, if you stick around and do what you’re told, maybe you won’t die.” His motto is “You’re new ’til you’re 10.” You will recognize him as the guy you used to be afraid of until he saved your life.

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‘Books That Shaped America’ from the Library of Congress

By Deirdre Donahue and Lindsay Deutsch, USA TODAY

To kick off its new exhibition, “Books That Shaped America,” the Library of Congress asked curators and experts to compile a list of books that have influenced us as a nation. The selections come from different centuries and different experiences. They range from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, to the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous . The exhibit will be on view from June 25 through Sept. 29 at the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building.

Here is their list of 88 books, in the order in which they were published:

1. Benjamin Franklin, Experiments and Observations on Electricity (1751)

2. Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard Improved (1758) and The Way to Wealth

3. Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

4. Noah Webster, A Grammatical Institute of the English Language (1783)

5. The Federalist (1787)

6. A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible (1788)

7. Christopher Colles, A Survey of the Roads of the United States of America (1789)

8. Benjamin Franklin, The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin, LL.D. (1793)

9. Amelia Simmons, American Cookery (1796)

10. New England Primer (1803)

11. Meriwether Lewis, History of the Expedition Under the Command of the Captains Lewis and Clark (1814)

12. Washington Irving, TheLegend of Sleepy Hollow (1820)

13. William Holmes McGuffey, McGuffey’s Newly Revised Eclectic Primer (1836)

14. Samuel Goodrich, Peter Parley’s Universal History (1837)

15. Frederick Douglass, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)

16. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850)

17. Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851)

18. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)

19. Henry David Thoreau, Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854)

20. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855)

21. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (1868)

22. Horatio Alger Jr., Mark, the Match Boy (1869)

23. Catharine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, The American Woman’s Home (1869)

24. Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)

25. Emily Dickinson, Poems (1890)

26. Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives (1890)

27. Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895)

28. L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)

29. Sarah H. Bradford, Harriet, the Moses of Her People (1901)

30. Ida Tarbell, The History of Standard Oil (1904)

31. Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903)

32. W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

33. Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1906)

34. Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1907)

35. William James, Pragmatism (1907)

36. Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage (1912)

37. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes (1914)

38. Margaret Sanger, Family Limitation (1914)

39. William Carlos Williams, Spring and All (1923)

40. Robert Frost, New Hampshire (1923)

41. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)

42. Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues (1925)

43. William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)

44. Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest (1929)

45. Irma Rombauer, Joy of Cooking (1931)

46. Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind (1936)

47. Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936)

48. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)

49. Federal Writers’ Project, Idaho: A Guide in Word and Pictures (1937)

50. Thornton Wilder, Our Town: A Play (1938)

51. Alcoholics Anonymous (1939)

52. John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

53. Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)

54. Richard Wright, Native Son (1940)

55. Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943)

56. Benjamin A. Botkin, A Treasury of American Folklore (1944)

57. Gwendolyn Brooks, A Street in Bronzeville (1945)

58. Benjamin Spock, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946)

59. Eugene O’Neill, The Iceman Cometh (1946)

60. Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon (1947)

61. Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)

62. Alfred C. Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948)

63. J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

64. Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

65. E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (1952)

66. Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

67. Allen Ginsberg, Howl (1956)

68. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

69. Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat (1957)

70. Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)

71. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)

72. Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)

73. Robert E. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

74. Jack Ezra Keats, The Snowy Day (1962)

75. Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are (1963)

76. James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (1963)

77. Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (1963)

78. Malcolm X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)

79. Ralph Nader, Unsafe at Any Speed (1965)

80. Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)

81. Truman Capote, In Cold Blood (1966)

82. James D. Watson, The Double Helix (1968)

83. Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1970)

84. Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves (1971)

85. Carl Sagan, Cosmos (1980)

86. Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

87. Randy Shilts, And the Band Played On (1987)

88. César Chávez, The Words of César Chávez (2002)

Every Day Is Christmas

AA Grapevine, December 1952, Vol. 9 No. 7

THE seventeenth Christmas for Alcoholics Anonymous is here. Considering all that has happened since AA’s first Christmas in 1935, no words can portray the meaning of Christmas 1952. The only thing of which we’re really sure is that we have given of ourselves, and have received gifts that no imagination can fully describe. Guided, we are sure, by an all generous and wise Providence, AA’s message of hope has been carried into nearly every corner of the earth. The Christmas drama of giving and receiving has been re-enacted everywhere and still goes on.

Many of us in AA are of the Christian faith, though not all. We have Jews who look to Jehovah; agnostics who hopefully look to the AA group as their Higher Power; and there are Indians upon our Western plains who regard the Great Spirit as their guide. Now that we have opened tiny beachheads on the shores of Asia, we have no doubt that some of our brothers and sisters there reverence Buddha and others Allah. It is a comforting fact of our life together that none of these differences has ever disturbed us. Indeed, it can be said that they have, in some subtle and mysterious way, bound us even more firmly together. The insurance of that bond is our common kinship in suffering, and our universal release from it by the kind of giving that demands no reward.

So, by whatever name we may call it, the spirit of Christmas is in us all. How best to give and how to receive with ever more gratitude is our common aim. We’d like to practice the spirit of Christmas the year around. Therefore, we shall especially ask ourselves at this season: “What more can we find in order that we shall have more to give?” Since personal example is one of the great energies by which AA spreads, let’s have a quick look at the life of a man who became able to practice the spirit of Christmas every day in the year.

He was born in Italy centuries ago. The age in which he lived was almost as confused and baffling as our own. His first attempt at living was just like ours. He ran away from life as fast as he could, and by nearly the same means. Few, it was said, could romance more gaily than he, shake the dice with Dame Fortune with more abandon, nor clatter his wine flagon on the table more loudly. He probably had a pretty good time doing it, too, at least for a while. Bit by bit, though, he got fed up. During a long siege of illness he hit bottom, even as we alcoholics do.

One day he said to himself, “Suppose that in all things I try henceforth to do exactly as my Master would have done.” This was the vision that gripped him, and he set foot on the new highroad. Some of his friends were amused, and others were deeply concerned. Some said it wasn’t practical; others thought he had gone out of his mind. But by living one day at a time, teaching and sharing as he went, with no thought of reward for himself, he started a movement that deeply affected the whole world of his day; it reached into every level of society. He gave all he had, and that inspired others to do likewise. He brought true comfort where there had been none.

And how did he do this? The prayer he so often spoke tells us. Here it is:

“Lord make me a channel of Thy Peace That where there is hatred. . . I may bring love That where there is wrong. . . I may bring the spirit of forgiveness That where there is discord. . . I may bring harmony That where there is error. . . I may bring truth That where there is doubt. . . I may bring faith That where there is despair. . . I may bring hope That where there are shadows. . . I may bring light That where there is sadness. . . I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to Comfort. . .than to be comforted To understand. . .than to be understood To love. . .than to be loved For. . .it is by self-forgetting. . .that one finds It is by forgiving. . .that one is forgiven It is by dying. . .that one awakens to Eternal Life.”

The lesson that Francis leaves us is clear and no example could be brighter. “Freely ye have received; Freely give” and. . .a Merry Christmas!

Bill W.

The Passing of a Giant — Mark Houston

Mark David Houston, died suddenly on February 19, 2010. He was 63.

Mark was born in Iowa on October 14, 1946. One of four boys, Mark spent his childhood years working on his family’s farm in Corydon, Iowa. Mark’s accomplishments include: U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran, BA – University of South Dakota, Director of Admissions – La Hacienda Treatment Center, Hunt, Texas, CEO – Burning Tree, Kaufman, Texas In July of 2006, Mark founded the Mark Houston Recovery Center (MHR) outside of Austin, Texas in order to provide a safe and secure environment in which he could lead adult men out of the debilitating grip of drug and alcohol addiction, and into lives of permanent sobriety and abundance.

In October of 2009, Mark opened a similar facility for women outside of Austin. Mark’s vision spread throughout recovery circles worldwide. He was called upon to speak and do workshops on the 12 Steps throughout the United States and Europe. In 2004, Mark co-authored a book called “A Twelve Step Journey to Self-Transformation” which is a recant of his personal experiences in working the 12 Steps with a man named Floyd. Mark continued to work directly with alcoholics and addicts, as well as their families, on an individual basis both in his community and at MHR until his death. Mark will be well remembered for devoting his life to ending the suffering of alcoholics, addicts, and their families.

Mark was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Charles Houston and Iola Marlus Johnson Houston. He is survived by his son, Chad Winters; aunt, Lavonne Skiye; brother Earl Torger Houston and wife Jane; brother Richard Lowell Houston and wife Pamela; brother, Nels John Houston; and cousin, Grant Jordan and wife Martha. In lieu of flowers, kindly donate to your local intergroup chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous.

There will be a memorial service for Mark Houston on Sunday, February 28, 2010, from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Austin Music Hall, 208 Nueces St., Austin, TX 78701.

Post Script: The Southern Ontario Cocaine Anonymous Convention was fortunate to have Mark Houston speak at their 2009 Convention. Here are two outstanding messages of hope and recovery delivered by Mark Houston.

Mark H. (Texas) 10, 11 & 12 Launching Pad to the 4th Dimension

Mark H. (Texas) Keynote Speaker

Alcoholics and Faces

In a recent Globe and Mail article, (August 20, 2009, Globe Life – Facts and Arguments) it said…

“Of the many things that long-term alcohol addiction can steal – careers, lives, health, memory – one of its most heartbreaking tolls is on relationships,” Melissa Healey reports in The Los Angeles Times. “Alcoholics, researchers have long known, have a tendency to misread emotional cues, sometimes taking offense when none was intended or failing to pick up on a loved one’s sadness, joy, anger or disappointment. The misunderstandings can result in more drinking, and more deterioration of relationships and lives. How does alcohol do all that? A new study finds that the brains of long-term alcoholics, even those who have long abstained, often differ from non-alcoholics’ in ways that make them poorer judges of facial expressions. In particular, alcoholics register less intensity in the amygdala and hippocampus (collectively known as the limbic system) when observing faces.”

This article seems to explain much in respect to why so many alcoholics and addicts seem so overly sensitive in early recovery. What are your thoughts and experiences about this?