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Follow the Winners Dr. Vaillant on AA and Addicts

For groups that can...be tolerant and inclusive
 
 
Excerpted from the May 2001 Grapevine interview with George Vaillant, M.D. who joined AA's General Service Board as a Class A (nonalcoholic) trustee in 1998. He is professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, director of the Study of Adult Development, Harvard University Health Services, and director of research in the Division of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital. The author of The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited, a comprehensive stuy of alcoholism, George lectures widely on alcoholism and addiction and is one of the foremost researchers in the field.
 
Grapevine:   There is still a great deal of debate about the role of addicts in AA. What are your views on that?

George Vaillant:   This is a terribly important question. AAs should focus on alcoholism. They're right. They've got enough to do, and there are enough alcoholics to go around in the world that they should never fear for their primary purpose.

But because there are a lot of people with mixed addictions, it's important for individual groups that can tolerate them to be tolerant and inclusive. There are some groups that welcome white, middle-aged Protestant males. And that's okay; they should be there, even though the rest of AA may regard them as hopeless dinosaurs and politically incorrect. And there are other groups that tolerate people who spend a little bit too much time talking about their $5-million cocaine habit and not enough time talking about alcoholism. And that's the wave of the future. There are increasingly fewer alcoholics. So some groups are going to have to change.

 
I immediately started taking and shooting pep pills...
Benzedrine...Demerol...morphine...
codeine and Percodan and the tranquilizers...
injecting Pentothal intraveneously to put myself to sleep.
Big Book pg. 442
"Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict"