Serving the People of Hawaii Since 1960
[ The Problem ]
The principal reason for the establishment of the Kline - Welsh Behavioral Health Foundation by Sid Kline, Dick Welsh and the other Founders in October of 1960 was the failure, in the majority of cases, of community based self help groups to provide the necessary level of consistency and focused support required for an individual to establish abstinence and then to move on to the internal and external adjustments that are essential in safeguarding that abstinence.
Sid, Dick and the others worked tirelessly within the framework of these self help groups, for approximately 10 years, and were left unsatisfied and unimpressed by the levels of success being experienced by individuals coming for help.
It was estimated that no more than 10% of the people coming to these types of self help meetings were able to establish abstinence and then to remain abstinent for any significant period of time.
Given that this was a free, volunteer based self help operation no one could really complain too loudly about the 90% of the people looking for help, but who instead were returning to alcohol consumption, reinitiating the addictive cycle and generating new pain and suffering for themselves, their loved ones and other innocent victims of their alcohol influenced behavior.
Geez ... They were all volunteers ... It was free!
If somebody went on a bender ... No problem ... Just Keep Comin' Back!
You see ... They were all volunteers ... It was free!
Some people within these self help groups reached Folk Hero status simply based upon their capacity for being so non-judgmental when someone else decided it was time to "take a drink".
Why shoot, that's alright ... Just Keep Comin' Back ... 'cause we still love you!
And you know what? ... Who cares? ... They were all volunteers and It was free!
Well, for some reason Sid and Dick just couldn't stop thinking about that 90% who weren't making it. I think it just really bothered them that so many people were continuing to suffer because they knew from first hand experience that it didn't have to be that way.
It was a common occurrence for Mothers and Fathers and Wives and Kids to call Sid or Dick to report that their Loved One had "fallen off the wagon" again. The crying and the fear and the shame just seemed to go on and on and on.
No one in Hawaii self help support group history has ever worked longer hours or gone to greater lengths to help the suffering alcoholic and his family than Sid and Dick did during that 10 year period.
[ The Solution ]
They finally had to acknowledge that volunteer community based self help support groups would never be enough ... too many people were falling through the cracks. It just wasn't working in too many cases.
These men understood that, in the absence of the internal and external adjustments required to safeguard abstinence, their efforts amounted to no more than putting air into a tire in which the hole had not yet been repaired.
Something more was needed.
The something more that was needed was an "environment" rich in recovery concepts and principles, "time" for the addicted individual to come out of the fog and make those adjustments in perception and conduct and a strong, clear, frank and unambiguous position on "abstinence" from the consumption of beverage alcohol.
Relapse was not OK ... Relapse was not an option ... Relapse was a sign of critically important work done poorly, or not at all ... Relapse was the most complete and thorough rejection of recovery principles possible.
Sid had a saying that he would share with people seeking recovery that went "Come Mud or Blood or Sleet or S--T, Sidney will not take a drink." It was also common for Sid to ask a person he had just met, who was also in recovery, "When did you have your last drink?" thereby being able to determine the degree of credibility he could safely attribute to anything the individual might have to say.
It was very clear in all that these men shared that unbroken abstinence was the only meaningful standard by which a successful recovery attempt could be judged. It was also made very clear that a person engaging in relapse behavior "wasn't working any kind of a recovery program at all!"
Following the establishment of the HalfWay House for Men in 1960 people came from all over the State to immerse themselves in the recovery principles and environment provided at Sand Island. It was a strong and clear message where failure was not even considered.
Many successes followed with the majority of treatment programs in the State of Hawaii being either copied from, or started by graduates of, the HalfWay House at Sand Island.
So, where did the monkey fall out of the tree? What has happened to those programs since 1960. Why hasn't the problem of addiction within society improved? Why has the problem gotten to the point that it's now considered to be a "War" on drugs?
[ A Good Idea Gone Bad ]
Well, the problem is that people who either didn't know what they were doing or who got into the treatment "business" for the wrong reasons, like looking for a fast buck, would not accept responsibility for shoddy, ineffective, non-responsive work.
Not only that ... to add insult to injury, as in "personal injury", they began selling the concept that "relapse is normal" to cover up for their lack of success.
The reason they did this was to induce health care insurers to continue to pay them for providing substance abuse "treatment" services that almost always resulted in relapse for the person seeking help. I don't think they even considered the long term implications or ramifications of this position.
They just wanted to keep getting paid!
There was real panic that "treatment", as a concept, would be discredited by the high rates of relapse being seen in the patients of these very expensive and very well respected hospitals, agencies and the "treatment" programs they were selling.
Unfortunately, rather than taking responsibility for promoting flawed and inadequate treatment services they chose to blame these failures on the easiest target in range. They chose to blame the individual suffering from the disease.
[ The Sting ]
The struggling "treatment professionals" banded together ... they circled the wagons ... they developed "talking points" ... they presented a unified front ... they conspired, at regional workshops and national conferences, to further demonize the suffering alcoholic and addict in order to deflect criticism away from their ineffective treatment approaches.
Yes, they did. They most certainly did.
I remember when all this "relapse is normal" crap started. I was there. I heard 'em. I thought it was the lamest excuse for incompetence that I had ever heard. I was embarrassed for them.
At the time I didn't realize how many well protected reputations and livelihoods were on the line or I would have been more alarmed.
Over the years this deception has become "institutionalized". You know ... considering how many of our fellow citizens suffering from addictive disorders are now in prison, institutionalized has a kind of ironic twist when applied to this deception.
Over a period of time, "relapse is normal" became the battle cry for the incompetent, the uncaring, the uninformed and the misguided.
It had become the device by which well respected professionals in one field could jump over into another newer developing field, demonstrate a complete absence of insight or ability while maintaining their professional reputations, and getting paid as well.
It would no longer matter whether anyone actually got better ... not as long as one of the well respected "mouthpieces" vouched for the treatment approach and the curriculum was applied consistently, regardless of the individual needs of the patient.
Because ... you see ... "Relapse" was now "Normal"
Accountability, in terms of ending the suffering of addicts and alcoholics was no longer the issue. This difficult and time consuming process was replaced by the "quick fix" and the long research program.
Millions of dollars poured into the field ... and then Billions. Any crackpot with a typewriter, and an otherwise worthless degree, could hammer out a left field angle on addiction and be funded for "research", without a single American citizen gaining a better life in the process. Unless you take into consideration the grantwriters themselves.
What had begun, in the 50's and 60's, as heartfelt efforts to end the suffering of fellow human beings had, by the 70's and 80's, turned into a feeding frenzy of underemployed victims of academic inertia, quacks and sellouts ripping at the dying bodies of our fellow citizens.
The propensity for relapse, which had been tolerable in an all volunteer community based self help support group setting, had now been claimed and advanced by very costly, in many cases hospital based, professionally staffed drug rehabilitation services.
How could this have happened?
That's easy ... No one stood up and asked, "Why should we pay you all of this money for duplicating the less than impressive results that we are now getting, for free, from all volunteer community based self help support groups?"
You know from your own experience that there are unscrupulous members in every professional body. People who would love to be paid for going through the motions without being required to actually produce any positive effect from their efforts.
There are stories of automobile mechanics who do bogus work, charge a great deal of money but the car is as messed up when they're done as it was when they started.
There are stories of exterminators who go through the motions of ridding a home of pests, charge a great deal of money but the infestation is as bad when they're done as it was when they started.
The level of ineffectiveness that we are willing to abide when someone volunteers to help us, free of charge, is significantly different from the level of incompetence and chicanery we should be expected to tolerate from highly paid professionals.
Imagine how you would react if a mechanic or an exterminator attempted to convince you that your car still being broken or your home still being infested was "normal".
Now ... let's go one step further.
What would your reaction be if you went to a health care agency/professional for a treatable condition which routinely yields high rates of recovery, when treated appropriately and adequately, but you were as sick, or sicker, when he was done as you were before he started?
And now ... a critical question.
How you would feel if someone else had gone to this health care agency/professional and, following his ineffective non-responsive"treatment", the "treated" individual did serious harm, or killed, one of your family members as a direct result of their unimproved condition.
A fact that you may not be aware of is that the majority of drug related criminal activity in this country today takes place during "normal" relapses.
The vast majority of drug related rapes, child abuse-molestation and neglect, assaults, robberies, thefts, drugged or drunk driving accidents and murders are being committed by individuals who have had at least one course of eyewash, bogus "drug treatment". In many of those cases the "perpetrator" has had multiple bogus "treatment" exposures.
Millions of Americans have been directly or indirectly victimized by a treatment "industry" that years ago chose to embrace incompetence and failure and that continues to this day to look for more "brief" and less "bothersome" levels of "treatment" to sell to an unsuspecting public.
The pain and loss this country has experienced as a result of the cancerous spread of addictive disorders, and the social mayhem which has followed, is directly attributable to the funding scams first advanced by the spin dry programs of the 70s and 80s, a chief component of which was the concept that "Relapse" was "Normal".
The problem is of such a magnitude and the smug sense of "professional invulnerability" is so strong that I don't believe that the treatment "industry" is capable of monitoring itself or adapting to a more realistic and effective approach on it's own.
[ The Fix ]
Today we see Class Action Lawsuits against tobacco manufacturers and gunmakers ... we see bartenders and bars being sued, by victims, for complicity in another person's damaging actions while under the influence.
I believe it's time someone stepped up to the plate and said, "Your drug treatment was b------t!" "You didn't really help at all, nothing changed, and because of it my family suffered this loss - my loved one was injured - my loved one was killed."
Patients, and members of the general public, who have been "harmed" as a result of these bogus eyewash drug "treatment" programs, need to rise up and denounce the "deceptive acts of clinical terrorism" which have been directed against our people.
It's time we began to see Board Members, Administrators, Clinical Staff and the "Research Experts" advising them, being hauled into courtrooms by the victims, or survivors, of their patient's "relapse related" criminal acts or accidents.
There a jury, comprised of average common sense citizens, could decide if a relapse was "normal" or if it was the result of bogus, superficial, ineffective and non-responsive drug "treatment" services, intended to get the agency paid but that had "neglected" to respond to the legitimate treatment needs of the person suffering the relapse.
An interesting bit of research might be to review the records of the last 1000 people prosecuted, in any given State, for criminal conduct resulting in loss, injury or death of an innocent victim.
Identify whether the perpetrator had drug issues and then go back and find out what type of drug treatment they had been provided prior to that criminal conduct taking place. It would be very important to identify specifically which agency and individual(s) had provided the drug "treatment" as well.
It might be good to share that information with the victims of the criminal conduct, or with their survivors where a death is involved.
This information could probably provide some enterprising young attorney with a good starting point for a Class Action Lawsuit that would finally start putting the treatment "industry", and this country, back on the right track in it's "War" on drugs.
I am afraid that it will have to come to the point of multimillion dollar lawsuits before this "industry" wakes up and begins to do that which Sid and Dick, and others like them, knew would be required to help our fellow citizens suffering from substance related disorders gain a better life.
Sid and Dick knew long ago that "Relapse" was an aberration. Addiction is such a painful and degrading condition that few would willingly go back to that way of life if they had any other reasonable choice.
Through legitimate, effective and responsive treatment we can animate the hopes of those who are suffering ... we can support and encourage when they feel like they can't go on ... but this type of difficult and time consuming work can only be done in environments where genuine caring is present.
A simple way to visualize the dramatic shift in the nature of drug treatment services over the years is to imagine that you or your loved one are hopelessly lost in a dark, dangerous swamp.
Picture a person walking toward you through the swamp. They've come for you and they are going to walk you safely out of the swamp. They'll stay with you every step of the way to make sure that you get out safely. They won't leave you at some point because they say you're taking too long.
This is the nature of the "recovery" services initially offered by the founders of structured abstinence assistance in this country.
Now picture someone lying in a hammock at the edge of the swamp ... mosquito net in place, well stocked with lemonaid. Picture that person rising up from the hammock, periodically, to inform you or your loved one, through a bullhorn, that you really should come out of the swamp.
This is what the treatment "industry" has done to that original concept.
Which type of help would you want for yourself or your Loved One?
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