A win

Religious programs intended to cure or manage addiction should never be forced on anyone, because they are religious (and religion should never be forced on anyone). One small step in that direction:

Health-care professionals who work in Vancouver-area hospitals and medical clinics will no longer be required to attend 12-step programs if they want to keep their jobs after being diagnosed with addiction.

The change comes as a result of a settlement between public health authority Vancouver Coastal Health and former nurse Byron Wood, who filed a human rights complaint alleging he was discriminated against as an atheist when he was fired for quitting Alcoholics Anonymous.

The settlement doesn’t allow him to talk about all the details.

But he did say Vancouver Coastal Health employees who require addiction treatment will now have a way of “meaningfully registering their objection” to 12-step programs.

They won’t have to attend AA and similar programs “if that approach to treatment conflicts with their religious or non-religious beliefs,” Wood said.

Which is good because 12 step programs don’t even work. Medication works, and it not only works, it takes the struggle out, because that’s what it does – it squelches the cravings. With 12 steps the cravings remain and you have to fight them. That’s the religious way to do things: painfully! Suffer, damn it, that’s what god wants!

The settlement could have implications in other professions and across the country. Researchers who study addiction treatment for health-care workers say it’s common for employees to be required to participate in 12-step programs in the interest of protecting public safety.

Which is idiotic seeing as how they don’t work.

Vancouver lawyer and workplace consultant Jonathan Chapnick said mandatory AA has long been the standard approach for workplace addiction issues in Canada.

“I think it makes sense for employers to look at something like this and do their own research and make their policy better reflect the research evidence that’s out there,” he said of VCH’s change in policy.

“Twelve step does not work for everyone. And, in fact, it doesn’t work for most people.”

Around 92%, I believe.

Six of AA’s 12 steps directly refer to God or a higher power, including one that requires members turn their will and lives “over to the care of God.”

“The 12 steps are a religious peer support group, not a medical treatment. They shouldn’t be imposed on anyone,” Wood said.

Especially when they don’t.even.work.

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