This paper proposes that there are synergies to be found between psychedelics for substance use disorders and the twelve-step facilitation (TSF) program, specifically Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Although controversial, as total abstinence is often promoted, the founder of AA (Bill Wilson) did have positive experiences with psychedelics.
“Several pilot studies have provided evidence supporting the potential of classic psychedelics like psilocybin in the treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs). If larger trials confirm efficacy, classic psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy may eventually be integrated into existing addiction treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, and medication-assisted therapies. Many individuals seeking treatment for SUDs also join twelve-step facilitation (TSF) programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which are among the most widely available and accessed treatments for alcohol use disorder worldwide. For such individuals, engaging in classic psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy could be seen as controversial, as members of AA/TSF programs have historically rejected medication-assisted treatments in favor of a pharmacotherapy-free approach. We argue that classic psychedelics and the subjective experiences they elicit may represent a special, more compatible case than conventional medications. In support of this claim, we describe Bill Wilson’s (the founder of AA) little known experiences with psychedelics and on this basis, we argue that aspects of classic psychedelic treatments could complement AA/TSF programs. We provide a review of clinical trials evaluating psychedelics in the context of SUDs and discuss their potential large-scale impact should they be ultimately integrated into AA/TSF.”
Find this paper
Authors associated with this publication with profiles on BlossomMatthew Johnson
Matthew Johnson is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. His research is concerned with addiction medicine, drug abuse, and drug dependence.
Albert Garcia-Romeu is one of the principal researchers in the renaissance of psychedelics studies. He is doing his research at Johns Hopkins and focuses on psilocybin and how it can help with treating addiction.
Institutes associated with this publicationJohns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University (Medicine) is host to the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, which is one of the leading research institutes into psychedelics. The center is led by Roland Griffiths and Matthew Johnson.