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Incentives Offer a Dangerous Path

January 1, 2007
by root
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I recently retired from the treatment business. The approach of offering incentives (September/October 2006 issue) would be welcomed by the current very entitled addicts who feel the world owes them whatever. My experience since 1971 has been that unless the motivation is both a strong desire for sobriety and to stop the emotional pain brought to loved ones or themselves, addicts do not maintain sobriety. They maintain it only with the support of 12-Step meetings and a connection with their Higher Power for the times they are alone.

Paying someone to get sober is a drunk's golden dream.

The only positive I can see with that approach is that because addicts will always shoot their best lick in their best interest, they may take the money and follow through to get more money to stash for a good run later, and maybe if they are sober long enough to clear out the cobwebs they may choose to want sobriety. Otherwise, this does not fit with any of my experience, and reminds me of rewarding kids to be good, which proved not to work. It either comes from within or it doesn’t come.

Larry J. Wells, LSAC, CAC, Monticello, Utah