The first major advance in addressing alcoholism was the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill Wilson to provide a support group for problem and chronic drinkers, based upon the premise that alcoholism is a disease with major physical / mental symptoms.
The second major advance was also made by Bill, when he recognized and later promoted the view that orthomolecular treatment was essential for the treatment of those addicted to alcohol. When Dr. Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. discovered in Saskatchewan that Niacin (vitamin B3) was therapeutic for schizophrenia, including the 10 percent of the schizophrenic population that was also addicted to alcohol, Bill was persuaded to study the effect of vitamin B3 on members of Alcoholics Anonymous in New York, who were not drinking, were not schizophrenic, yet remained very tense, restless, depressed and tired. He found that, out of a series of 30 patients, 20 were relieved of all these symptoms in about two months.
Bill Wilson distributed this information to members of AA in a series of three Communications to Alcoholics Anonymous. These publications generated a lot of controversy from the International Board, which Wilson had created, down to local AA groups. The main opposition came from the medical members of that group, who believed that no layperson such as Wilson had the right to talk about the medical matters of alcoholism (i.e. the use of vitamin B3). This comment, coming from conventional medical doctors, astonishes me; not one nutrition course was required for a medical degree in the 1940s and their attitude certainly displays a lack of supplemental training in nutrition and nutritional sciences. Even today conventional medical doctors remain predominately clueless themselves as to the function and use of vitamins, minerals, EFAs and amino acids in the human body Today an average of 8 - 12 hours of nutritional education is offered to medical students in some schools - this still does not qualify them to be authorities in any capacity regarding nutrition or nutritional supplementation. Apparently, for the AA physicians of the time, MD stood for Medical Divinity and Bill's findings and requests for further study were dismissed simply because he didn't have a degree in medicine, which would not have better qualified him anyway, nor did it qualify the physicians to dismiss the positive results and stop further investigation of something that was actually helping alcoholics get sober and feel better. Bill was eventually forced to do his work outside the International Board. Bill did just that and his findings were corroborated by Dr. David Hawkins and by Dr. Russell Smith in publications of the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
Instead of healing the known damage caused by long term alcohol abuse and addressing the genetic markers that establish addictive biochemistry as a method of curing the illness, today the 'medical experts' that have the attention of those in AA and related 12 step programs, as well as the facilitators of these programs and conventional treatment facilities, are freely drugging people with Naltrexone and other toxic drugs such as the "date rape" drug which can cause serious health risks in addition side effects which take the glory of their short lived sobriety away. Anti depressants are also a favorite drug for those treating alcoholism to dispense / push. In addition to the serious side effects and health risks these drugs impose, which I will explore in the Treatment Options section, antidepressants basically turn you into a cross linking zombie, just alive enough to experience the drug's side effects, including in some cases, a risk for cancer more profound than that of a person who smokes a pack a day.
I find it criminal and extremely sad that these people who are seeking AA and 12 step programs to be healthy and happy again are misled down another road of dependence, sub-optimal lifestyle, and health risks while the original symptoms continue which are the cornerstone of relapse - it just doesn't make sense.
Nothing much has changed since Wilson was ostracized by the very group of physicians he assembled and who preferred to ignore - as they do today - the success of orthomolecular medicine regardless of its profound success then and now. Please see a report exposing the results of 122 U.S. medical and osteopathic schools surveyed between July 1999 and May 2000 to determine the current state of nutrition education in US medical schools at www.med-ed-online.org/res00023.htm