If you’ve been scouring the internet in search of a real solution to alcoholism and/or other chemical addictions, you may be intrigued with the concept of “orthomolecular medicine” … intrigued, yet suspicious of its reserved voice among other psycho/spiritual treatment concepts. Conversely, if you’re a logical person, one who carefully processes information before accepting it, you might wonder why AA’s 12-step approach is regarded with such popularity and praise. In many ways the two ideas (12 steps and orthomolecular medicine) are diametrically opposed to each other. Either chemical addictions are solved by putting the biochemistry back into balance, or they require addicts to make lists of their faults, admit their shortcomings to others, and basically shame their way out of addiction.
A clue to this conundrum of popularity may be found in these faded words of John F. Kennedy:
Orthodoxy of any stripe never is what it pretends to be, but constitutes a rigorous system designed to protect revenues, power, and egos, and thus, serves an elaborate structure, which “enjoys the comfort of opinion” and defends in every way possible against the “discomforts of thought.”
The sheer volume of 12-step hype confuses people without challenging them to consider what they’re endorsing. The power of orthodox wisdom certainly contributed to Joan Mathews-Larson’s decision to send her alcoholic son to a 12-step program. Like so many other people, it ended in suicide and an angry mother’s fervor to understand what went wrong.
But Dr. Joan’s response to tragedy wasn’t merely to expose the irrational nonsense being preached by 12-steps zealots masquerading as treatment experts, but rather, to understand what crucial component lacking in treatment might have altered the fate of her son. This is the story of how how orthomolecular medicine applied to alcoholism and addictions got it’s start. That was over 40 years ago, two best selling books ago, and founding of the esteemed internationally recognized treatment center, Health Recovery Center.
Cynics, like me, will be tempted to conclude that if Health Recovery’s orthomolecular model truly is superior it should have displaced the old 12-step guard long ago, but don’t discount the power of the orthodoxy to perpetuate antiquated ideas and sustain an industry motivated by the recidivism and greed. History tells us stabilizing the biochemistry has never been a priority in the treatment industry.
Alternative Health Approaches
My Masters degree is in Holistic Health Studies, a vast area of study, covering a wide variety of complementary/alternative health approaches. Today many of these approaches are becoming known and are sometimes incorporated with mainstream allopathic medicine. Everything from homeopathy, acupuncture/acupressure, a wide variety of healing touch therapies, aromatherapy, even shamanism, just about anything you could think of related to healing from various cultures was presented and discussed with practitioners, all manner of spiritual healers and witchdoctors. There was, however, one conspicuously missing modality: orthomolecular medicine.
Orthomolecular medicine is a suppressed area of medical knowledge for the simple reason that it cannot co-exist with conventional pharmaceutical based medicine. Whereas most complementary/alternative health approaches can be incorporated as adjuncts to the allopathic medical system, orthomolecular medicine cannot, it is diametrically opposed to the profit driven ambitions of Big Pharma/Big Medicine. This clash is quickly elucidated when you read the definition of orthomolecular medicine, coined by two-time Nobel Laureate Dr. Linus Pauling:
Orthomolecular Medicine may be defined as establishing the right molecules in the brain and body by varying the concentration of substances normally present and required for optimum health.
Dr Pauling was very careful when he coined this term orthomolecular. Drugs, be they pharmaceutical or otherwise, are not molecules that support life, they are not normally present and required for optimum health, therefore they can never be the right molecules for the body. You can see the dilemma, if the goal is to restore the brain and body with the chemicals life evolve on, the chemicals life runs on –orthomolecular substances– you will never achieve it by loading foreign chemicals – toximolecular substances– that offer no support to metabolic systems, and in fact poison them.
Today many 12-step/conventional treatment centers, posing as safe-havens for addicts to get clean, have become nothing more than dispensaries for all manner of foreign toximolecular abominations Big Pharma would like to see the population swallow. Do not discount the effect this has on sustaining antiquated ideas and suppressing new ones. Again, when recalling the words of JFK, you’ll see the 12 step shaming approach makes a perfect companion with the assortment of drugs now posing as medicine in treatment.
This has left Dr Joan’s dream of repairing the brain and stabilizing chemistry a voice in the wilderness, drowned out by the megaphonic messages of drug cartels whose deep pockets hide the truth and support ignorance. Fortunately, orthomolecular medicine is too logical to go away. At least for the moment, one true orthomolecular clinic is still operating. Before you start making your list, you might want to check out Dr. Joan’s treatment center, Health Recovery Center.