Pills Anonymous Book Review

The recently published textbook for the program Pills Anonymous (PA) is a compilation of many years of experience treating addiction in 12-step programs. While they recognize their gratitude for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), they seldom cite quotes and phrases they "borrowed" from 74 years of experience in AA or the last 58 years of experience in NA.

There are references to sayings popularized in 12-step rooms of recovery, and anyone who has attended any meetings will recognize slogans used in the book. This makes it a comfortable read.

This book has explicit references to pill addiction, which is gaining precedence worldwide. While there is no shortage of alcoholics and cocaine, heroin or amphetamine addicts entering treatment, there is a tremendous influx of prescription pill addicts. Their dependence and abuse of prescription narcotics, especially pain medication is a rapidly increasing problem.

Addressing this specific addiction is important. Those who practice this addiction are often healthcare workers. Nurse Jackie is real! They have constant exposure to and availability of prescription medications that are seriously addictive. Another population is those who have medical need for pain killers, even short term. It is becoming obvious that those with chronic pain are in trouble, due to the addictive nature of the drugs they must take.

Having a program that recognizes and addresses the needs of these populations is great. What is even better is the book written to assist them in recovering from a difficult addiction. Like food addicts, some pill users are going to continue to need medication. How do they learn to live life without pills? This book addresses the need to remain abstinent from abusing pills, and offers help to those who are caught in the cycle of addiction.

There is a Solution does, indeed, offer exactly that. PA's new text uses their viable program and explains, often through personal stories, how to work through addiction to a happier life of recovery. The book is formatted into two segments. The first half of the book has extensive explanation of each step of the 12-step program. After briefly explaining each step, the book uses first-hand accounts from addicts who have attained recovery from addiction.

Next comes the distinctive part of the book. This section has numerous questions, all designed to break through denial and steers the addict to the truth of their using. These questions are the cumulative work of those who have attended meetings in 12-step programs and their collective experience. The experiences of many years of recovery have allowed the author(s) to compile questions that are relevant, pertinent and important. These break down walls of delusion and denial better than other program's step guides have been able to do thus far.

The second half of the book is devoted to the traditions of 12-step programs, originally written by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1955 and adopted by most other programs, because they work.

Incorporating the best work of all the years of 12-step work is often attempted, but seldom achieved. This book has certainly broken through.


[1] Pills Anonymous. (2013). There is a Solution. Pills Anonymous World Services, Inc. Chandler, AZ.

Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work, with a specialization in substance abuse treatment. Having worked in this field for over 20 years, she is currently working on her certification as an addictions' counselor.

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