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Progress, Not Perfection

Progress, Not Perfection

This feels surreal.


In October 1976, almost forty years ago, I welcomed readers to the first issue of The US Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a twenty-four-page tabloid newspaper which was the very first trade periodical that reported on research, findings, new treatment modalities, and educational advances in the then fledgling alcohol and drug abuse field. 


Our field—along with our collective understanding that chemical and/or behavioral addiction affects us all—has grown beyond anyone’s imagination.


While there will always be dissenting voices, the vast majority of us understand that addiction is a serious illness, if not a disease, not a moral weakness that cries out for a punitive approach. 


Rather, addiction is intrinsically linked to pain (most often emotional pain) with trauma most commonly related to family of origin issues. 


Despite occasional critics of Twelve Step programs, most of us recognize that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in particular continues to be the most effective support system for addicts everywhere. 


We have come to understand that addiction and mental illness rarely exist in isolation, so we recognize that much of the time we need to address co-occurring disorders. We have learned that treatment is most successful when an integrated approach is offered along with a continuum of treatment. We realize that prescription drugs are every bit as deadly as illicit drugs. We understand that there are costs, as well as benefits, to every legislative decision to decriminalize a drug, that the elderly need the same attention as adolescents, that gender specific treatment works best, that family programs are an essential component of treatment, and that the newer process addictions—sex/love, gambling, food, Internet, shopping, and others—are all part of our new world.


To help keep us on track with important new science, clinical findings, techniques, and educational initiatives, we proudly announce in this issue our new Advisory Board (see page four). These leaders in the field will help guide our editorial development.


Also in this issue, we present the first edition of Counselor’s treatment and recovery “Industry Insider.” As our industry grows, we face increasing challenges to ensure that we conduct ourselves ethically as well as cost-effectively. The “Industry Insider” will report on important developments and progressive initiatives. We also intend to shine a light on some of the more contentious issues that are causing loud rumbles (e.g., unfair practices by Internet marketing firms, improper billing for inflated urine lab tests, and the like.) 


Meanwhile, let us all take a deep meditative breath, celebrate our growth, and recognize that we are truly making a positive difference.