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It DOES amuse me that people accuse me of criticizing prevailing American alcoholism and addiction bromides because this is a highly profitable enterprise. With all due modesty, my career has been a struggle - laced with attacks like Mr. Kaplan's, often with dire consequences. (The University of Texas threatened to cancel a keynote speech I was contracted to deliver to their summer school for pointing out much the same things as I did in this article, leading to a period when my entire career was endangered, I have been pilloried in alcoholism journals by disease proponents, etc.)
Nonetheless, I have managed to survive, and now even to prosper (thank goodness I lived long enough and started young enough for this to happen) - and, remarkably, some of the same agencies, like NIAAA, and an increasing number of treatment clients, are testifying to very similar views and insights to those I have espoused for decades.
So, Anonymous, Mr. Kaplan doesn't bother me at all - he stands as a distant reminder of the kinds of attacks I used to experience as a matter of course - and to some extent I still do.
Meanwhile, as you point out, his logic about the 1% --> 3 million Americans mean that the 30% (or 90 million) are mistreated. Ask any AA advocate what percentage of those who attend respond well and stick to it - no one says more than 10%. Thus even the biggest disease boosters acknowledge that much remains to be done to help 90% of America's problem drinkers and alcoholics.
Finally, as you also point out, my treatment program IS for that 1% - people who haven't been able to cope on their own and who usually are required to abstain. And I am proud to help them. I recently received this email from advice columnist Amy Alkon, "The Advice Goddess":
It must be quite the thrill to know you've changed a lot of lives. I met a guy today who told me your work helped him quit getting drunk and get his life back -- and he's not the first; far from it. He had no idea I know you or even know who you are -- told him I believe in your work/your thinking. Congrats. Nice to have one's time on the planet really mean something to humanity, especially when what you do is help a lot of people help themselves out of agony.
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