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Inside The $35 Billion Addiction Treatment Industry

by | Stop Drinking Alcohol | 36 comments

Let’s take a look inside the billion-dollar addiction treatment industry.

Today, I wanted to talk about an article I read in Forbes magazine which has to do with the alcohol addiction treatment industry which is worth $35 billion dollars in America alone, not anything outside the US.

This article stated that there were 23 million people in the US that were addicted to alcohol or some other drug.

I think that figure is very low.

There’s an awful lot of people who are addicted to or at least dependent on alcohol or some other drug.

They’re looking at 2 1/2 million of these people going through formal addiction treatment, going to a facility, like somewhere like Hazels.

That’s a top-end place.

It’s a market worth 35 billion dollars in the US.

These people are claiming that they have an 80% success rate.

I’ve read a lot about this kind of stuff, and 80% success rate is complete bullshit.

As the article states – I’ll put the link on the website – that most of these places rely on the AA, a 12 step programme to do as part of their whole system.

That’s the basis of their system.

The success rate of AA is very low.

It’s dependent on who you listen to, some people would say between 5 and 10%, but I’ve read in some areas that it’s below 5%, and really it’s not a treatment.

It’s an organisation, a movement.

People get together and try and help each other but there is no real treatment other than going to regular meetings and your beliefs being held up by the group.

Whatever you think of AA, whatever you think about the philosophy behind AA or how they go about their meetings or whatever, the doctrine, the indoctrination whether you think it’s a cult or not, that’s a different thing.

I don’t personally think it’s a cult.

I think it’s an organisation which has even set up I think to help people but I don’t think it does help most people.

Even if you got less than the top end of that figure, that means 90% of people who go to AA fail and that’s not an effective treatment.

It’s not a treatment.

But, it’s what a doctor wold send you to.

It’s what a judge wold send you to.

You can go to court in the US and the judge can actually say ‘I’m forcing you to go to the AA’.

That’s the same thing as the judge saying to you ‘I see you’ve got a broken leg there, I’m ordering that you get the leg amputated or put down because we can’t do anything for you’.

It’s exactly the same thing.

The judge has got no knowledge in this area, no knowledge of what works or doesn’t work, and there’s a judge saying ‘I believe that this is what you should be doing’, or the legal system is saying that.

As I said, it’s not an effective treatment.

Because it’s not a treatment, it doesn’t work.

It works for a small minority of people.

What I say about this doesn’t make any difference to anyone else.

If people go there and they feel that they’re getting help, even if they’re going there and doing it ten years later and they feel this is what’s keeping them off the alcohol, then fair play.

If you feel that’s what’s working for you, then that’s good for you.

But, if I went to a place and I was still going to that place 10 years later for treatment for a condition, then I would personally not feel that was working for me.

It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

A working treatment means you go somewhere and you get help with it, and you’re over it.

How long does it take a broken leg to heal? 6 weeks? 2 months?

If you’re not getting treatment, if success is equated with getting away from the thing that you’re trying to get treated in all fairness, that doesn’t make any sense to me.

But I’m getting off the point again.

I don’t want to come across like I’m AA bashing.

I’m not trying to bash AA but I’m trying to say that the system that AA is based around doesn’t work for me.

It wouldn’t because I don’t want to be tied to that thinking anymore.

I don’t want to be tied to thinking that I’m an alcoholic and I’ve got this problem for the rest of my life, that I have to search out a higher power or believe in something I don’t believe in in order for this to work.

It’s just a no-no for me.

From Day 1, it doesn’t appeal to me.

That’s probably why it won’t work.

I like to have personal control, I like to control what I do in my mind.

I believe I have ultimate control over the direction that I take, over the way I think about things.

Obviously, if I break my leg, I can’t control that.

I’ve got to accept the fact that my leg is broken, and no matter how much I use my mind, it’s not going to work.

But, that’s a medical issue.

I don’t believe alcohol is a medical issue.

I don’t think alcoholism is an issue.

I believe it’s a habit.

I believe that it’s an addiction, a habit that’s gone a bit too far in one direction.

But I believe that I can control that.

I don’t think about alcohol anymore.

I’m 3 1/2 years into this thing and I don’t think about alcohol any more.

I don’t feel like I need alcohol as a part of my life anymore.

I feel it was holding me back.

It was like a rubber band pulling me back and now that rubber band has been released.

I’m able to do the things in my life that I want to do, and I don’t have these things holding me back.

I don’t have the disease.

I don’t have any of that bullshit.

So, the whole point of this video is to highlight that there is massive money to be made by trying to convince you that you’ve got something which is out of your control.

They’re talking about between for the lower end of this spectrum of treatment centres, of anywhere up to between 15 and 23 thousand dollars.

If you go to Hazels or The Benny Ford clinic who have recently joined forces, you’re talking about twice that much.

That’s every 30 days.

Every 30 days you have to pay this.

In order for you to be willing to pay out such large sums of money, parents mortgage their homes, putting themselves into a lifetime of debt.

In order to convince you to do that, they have to put across a very good case that what you’ve got is life threatening.

You can’t do this yourself.

You’re completely out of control.

You have a disease.

For me, AA completely falls into that box.

Regardless of their good intentions, they’re a voluntary organisation, fair enough, but it’ the mentality it breeds in people.

That they have to look outside of themselves to a higher power.

This means that they can’t deal with it themselves.

I’m living proof that you can deal with this yourself.

There are millions of people who have stopped drinking on their own.

There is a big mythology surrounding alcohol and its use and abuse.

For me, there is no defining line between alcohol use and abuse.

It’s the same if I was saying ‘this guy is drinking fucking bleach, so is he using bleach or abusing bleach?’

Most people would say he’s abusing it.

That’s the way I think about alcohol.

If you’re putting this stuff into your body, you’re abusing your body.

If you’re putting four cheese pizzas into your body, you’re abusing your body.

You’re asking your body to overcome things because you like the taste or you want to feel good for a moment.

So your body has to deal with the consequences of that.

This is personal abuse.

This thing just riles me up because it’s someone trying to take my personal control away from me.

I really want to maintain as much control over myself.

I think your control emanates from your mind.

First, it’s where you have the most control in your life.

Then your environment, you can control certain aspects of your environments.

The least control you have is of the people in your life.

It’s the opposite way around when you look at people trying to control your mind in order for them to make a profit.

Not just a profit, they want to be rich.

They’re just greedy fucking bastards who want to make themselves as rich as possible on the backs of other people suffering.

If you think they’re trying to cure people by extracting thousands of dollars from people who are already having problems, it’s a fucking disgrace.

This is where my whole process, my whole thinking goes for these videos.

Because in the beginning when I stopped, I didn’t know where or what to turn to.

I thought I was this alcoholic who had a disease, and that I was now a misfit and I was someone that was outside this part of society.

And all the doctrine, the websites I was looking at, these household names, these were all telling me that I had a problem and it was going to last me for the rest of my life.

As a person, that just made me feel like crap.

I felt like an outcast of sorts.

The truth is that you’re not an outcast.

You’re an outcast when you’re doing this to yourself.

When you’re pouring alcohol inside your body, you’re outcasting yourself from yourself.

You don’t see any other way of living, you just see this.

That’s the way they’re trying to maintain blinkers unto you.

Keep the blinkers on and keep you going down this route where they will make money instead of the alcohol companies.

I wouldn’t even be surprised if underneath it all, the whole of them are not in cahoots with each other.

Because once they’ve got you hooked on stuff, it’s the same thing as the cigarettes, they don’t need to push you any further.

They don’t need to advertise.

All they do is few adverts here and there for brand loyalty.

So until you start to think to yourself that you’re having problems and your life is not going the way you want it to and you’re thinking about alcohol, then wouldn’t it make sense to also have a line in the way out section.

To have a counter at the exit of a night club saying ‘if alcohol is too much for you, come to our facility where we’ll give you 80% chance of success while we’re treating you with a 12 step programme that has 10% chance of success’, how does that even equate?

It’s all lies and propaganda.

I’m going to end this because I’m getting so fucking mad.

From both sides of the coin, we are duped.

From before Day 1.

This propaganda bullshit takes place from the moment you’re born.

We start to get indoctrinated into this lifestyle where we’re poisoning ourselves, whether through alcohol or cigarettes or bad food.

I’ve done all that shit.

Why? To line someone else’s pockets.

To make them multi billionaires.

To have lifestyles which are beyond lavish.

All on the backs of other people’s suffering.

So many people are going through this now, and they have lives where they can live in mansions with bodyguards, and you’ve got a guy who does a bit of weed and he can be put in prison for it for years.

If you have any comments about this, this is a really touchy subject.

I know a lot of people understand this.

Leave a comment down below, I’d love to her what you have to say.

Let’s help each other to get through the hard times.

Pull people forwards.

It takes people who have gone through this whole system and have come out the other end, who have dealt with this through their own control to get up and say ‘this is what I’ve done and it’s all because I had control’, we don’t have enough of those people here.

How many people have you seen coming out of the rehab and say they have to go back again?

Why? It doesn’t work.

As far as I’m concerned, the only system that works is one taking you away from thinking about the alcohol.

This is your system. It’s in your mind.

You’ve got the ultimate control.

When you try to use a tool to keep you in the loop, the e-cigarettes is one of those things…

Until next time, stay safe and keep the alcohol out of your mouth.

It’s the only way you’re ever going to beat this.

Keep the negative thoughts at bay.


Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!

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  1. Matt Sillitoe

    Hi Kev

    I’ve been free of the poison 2 years this Christmas. Whilst I’ve been off it you do see the propaganda in ‘flow’. What you’re saying is true! Anybody reading this take heed what Kevin is saying as its true, alcohol is wrong so very wrong regardless whether you think it’s a good thing, it’s killing you both physically and mentally, it’s just a big negative! Whilst taking it you won’t see this. You will be free if you keep to Kevin’s advise, I did as well as the advise I took from Allen Carr. If you want to do this yourself you’ll do it!

    Kind regards

  2. Ronna

    The really tragic thing is that insurance, at least in the US, will only cover AA based programs and then only 50%. Even if you want help, only the very wealthy have a true choice of treatment. I tried AA, but as soon as they told me I had to choose a higher power and I couldn’t be the power that saved myself, I knew the program wasn’t for me.

    • ron

      Yes i read Carrs book ,I think he truthfully described it as ,”Slow agonising Suicide “

  3. Ron

    Totally agree Kev on the one hand youve got a billion pound industry out of selling us poison then on the other weve got the same billion pound industry selling us rehab courses to get off the poison ,look at Gazza his mates spent i think £22,000 sending him to some remote desert in America for a so called cure which obviously wasnt successful , nothing will ever be successful based on the AA philosophy ,its a flawed remedy based on an old Bachanite religion , as dr Bob said to bill w in the big book “Ive got religion” , i did try it for a few months ,in that short time i attended 2 people had committed suicide and 2 others had found other addictions ,the answer is inside you ,not in a desert in america costing you thousands,nor is it found in endles AA Meetings

  4. Martin

    Great words. I got the same opinion about so called addiction treatment. I think that in fact, addiction treatment is not helping addicts, it creates addicts. It creates sets of destructive beliefs about incurable disease which only makes harder to deal with the problem. I think that drinker have higher chances of overcoming his habits by his own efforts than by seeking and taking help from addiction treatment industry. Sounds controversial and shocking but that’s my opinion and I don’t give a shit that this statement stands opposite to majority because I’ve been there, I asked for help and tried treatment. And my drinking problem got only worse. Ironicaly, in order to make a realy good and strong change in my behaviour I had to left treatment and forget what they were trying to tell me. The longer I’m clean form alcohol the clearer I see that it’s really about our beliefs and the way we think about ourselfs that lies beneath our ability to change. How can anyone change his addictive lifestyle while being constantly said that is uncurable. F*cking and harmfull nonsense.
    Thanks for videos, really good stuff!!

  5. Gary

    Hi Kevin… some days one just feels it, the rage. Lives for money. The pillage and destruction of the finite natural resources of the earth for money, the grease of extinction. But we as individuals are all packing the ultimate dragon slayer. Perseverance, relentless perseverance. The nice thing about perseverance is that you don’t have to buy it. Imagine the cost if you did have to buy it from some corporation? It is ours and there for the taking. It is our most awesome and fearsome weapon to fight all of the good fights..bring ’em all on. Everyone has the “right stuff” use it. It is inside in your own unbeatable armoury…perseverance. Onwards and upwards.

    • Ron

      I personally feel that AA ers who attend Meetings the rest of there life love seeing others suffer to make them feel good .there is a kind of subtle knowing that these people love suffering you must keep coming back to AA to stop your suffering .its all total Bollox really

  6. James

    Hi Kevin, excellent video and personally a very emotive one. When I first came to terms and accepted that I had a problem with alcohol I looked into the subject of addiction using the internet and finding stuff like your website. At first watching you although I found you interesting I felt helpless and that talk was cheap ( if you get my meaning) which then led me on to trying naltrexone. In relation to your video I tried it for 3 months believing that a tablet was the antidote to my binge drinking. How wrong I was!! It left me bereft of any feelings and emotions for anything, not just the drinking. Till I came to the point that this stuff is worse than the alcohol itself and at £65 per 14 tablets was breaking me financially.

    I know I’m rambling a tad but my point is that it takes each individual their own time or breaking point to say enough is enough. I watch your videos each night and find most of them a help. Thanks for the great videos and inspiration!!

    Also on another topic how do you feel about drinking and poor relationship. Does the drink cause the arguments or does a faultering relationship drive someone to drink??


    • Kevin O'Hara

      Don’t worry about the rambling, I do it all the time 😉 Glad to be of help with the videos. Drinking and relationships, depends on the relationship I think. I used to have relationships that revolved around drinking, for me now, they would define poor relationships. I think once alcohol is involved in any partnership, buddies or lovers, there’s almost always the risk or reality of enabling that can spiral out of control. Take care

  7. James

    Hi Kevin, just a quick email that I’ve just sent. It doesn’t get uploaded on to Facebook does it coz I’d like to remain anonymous. Don’t want people and work knowing my problems. Thanks.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      If you send a message here, it’s under the post…if you post to the FB page, it’ll be on there. If you send me a message to my email or through the contact, it’s between you and me. 🙂

  8. Henrik Jensen

    Hi. Kevin

    I could not agree more with what you are saying. I went to AA and other socalled treaments and not only dident it work, it made things so much more complicated. I simply have nothing possitive to say about alcohol treatment (after trying it?). The truht is that you alone can change your drinkig habits.

    Thanks for your great effort, and yes we need badly people who say ” I created this problem – then I solved this problem”.

    Best regards

    • Kevin O'Hara

      There’s a quote, I think it’s Jim Rohn… he says you can’t get someone to do your pushups for you!

  9. James

    Well done Kevin,You should be on TV and Radio,and I’m getting bored with the Ecigs now and totally understand what You’re trying to get across.thanks and keep up the good work.

  10. Jerry

    Hi Kevin, great episode! Your perspective on the alcoholism and the addiction treatment industry is refreshing. I especially appreciate that you’ve broken the “spell”, and that’s exactly the term that I use when thinking about my relationship with alcohol. This episode showed me that the same thinking applies to the addiction treatment industry’s feeding on people’s suffering.

    I think part of the addition treatment industry trend is being fed by recent legislation in the US with regards to required health care (Obama-care). A lot of new industry providers in this addiction treatment industry all of a sudden, with a lot of new radio and TV commercials reminding us that with the new insurance laws, these treatments are covered, for free!

    As you said, a very touchy subject with most folks.

  11. Peter

    I have been enjoying your daily videos and this one especially strikes true for me. My general philosophy on alcohol use is pretty much congruent with yours and I too am angered with the proponents of a notion that excessive alcohol use (addiction) can only be managed through a life-long membership in a club like AA or with the expensive on-going support of some for-profit recovery program. When I decided after 45 years of nearly daily alcohol use that I needed to change it was because I finally took a good look at my lifestyle and realized I had been living the majority my life propped up by alcohol and now my physical and mental health were deteriorating at an accelerating rate. I knew that alcohol was a harmful crutch for me and I simply wanted to experience life without the use of some unnatural mood-altering substance being ingested on a daily basis. I sincerely and simply wanted to feel like a natural human being again.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Thanks for commenting Peter. From the unnatural to the natural…it’s a hell of a transition and so worth it.

  12. Paula

    Great stuff Kevin. You seem doubly brilliant when you are pissed off! ha.

  13. Lana

    Hi Kevin finally someone of the same opinion as me ha! I was right there with you on that walk… You hit every point I totally agree with it all…

    I was addicted to alcohol, I clawed my way out and haven’t drank in 5 years…..i felt the same as you, I couldn’t, wouldn’t except I would be labelled as an alcoholic for the rest of my days… Don’t get me started on rehab lol…. Brilliant video…. So glad I found you 🙂

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Congrats on your five years. I bet you feel great?

  14. Arlene Sherman

    will my comments to you be held as confidential?

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Not if you post them here…this is a public website. Anything you send by email is confidential of course.

  15. Retha

    You are GOOD. Thank you. I am 77 years old I have been drinking for about 57 years.
    My husband passed away in 2014 I have been to AA a few years ago.I have been listening to you every day. This has been more than a week. sleeping better.
    Most of my friend drink.but, I am done. You have helped me the most. retha

  16. Dave

    Absolutely true, Kev, the AA is just a thinly-disguised recruiting office for the Jesus-freaks. They want people to suffer, feel worthless and hopeless, rely on an invisible big brother in the sky to solve their problems. It’s just infantilising people. Far better to grow up, be an adult, and kick your own arse into gear.

  17. Lisa

    Hi Kevin, I did the hospital thing, for 8 months. It was addiction to food in the form of an eating disorder but the exact same thinking as with alcohol. The addiction went on to wine, beer, lies and dysfunctional thinking. I had been to OA which is equivalent to AA and did the 12 step programme and was told to cut out all forms of wheat, sugar and alcohol. Yeah it worked for a few months until everything exploded and the “Tight Jacket” no longer worked. My psychiatrist who was an eating disorder specialist in his field said 12 step programmers put patients in a false sense of safety, in a cage so to speak. He said it was the same as putting us people in a tight jacket rather than dealing with the cause. I was fixed with food and eating coming out of that hospital but the Gremlin would always be there my consultant psychiatrist told me. It was but it came up and bit me with alcohol instead of food eventually.
    Until recently and for the first time I realized enough is enough after 25 years I realize. What a waste of my time, I missed so so much. I’m not going to let alcohol be the common denominator of my problems any longer!
    Thanks Kevin, you have inspired me! Onwards and bloody upwards all the way up. We deserve happiness at last!

    • Tricia

      Good for YOU Lisa………..an amazing story; keep on, it can be done and we can be happy; why not? It’s why we’re HERE for God’s sake; would a father want his children sad? Same way God wants us happy; it’s the systems that make us miserable and crippled with fear; not to mention the addictions that prolong them…….freedom is happiness; and everyone has it if they just think………..

  18. Tricia

    This is amazing; I had to smile at the ‘is he using or is he abusing, bleach……..’ Grew up on a dairy farm St Margarets North Co Dublin, and Dad used get lads from the Iveagh Hostel out to milk the cows, help with the hay and whatever; and one day the brother was in the shed with a lad having a chat, the brother picked up a bottle, which this guy grabbed and immediately downed; it was cow drench; this guy frequently used meth spirits, and was actually purple……….a real lesson in alcohol addiction; He died before he was 40.

  19. Tricia

    Chinese saying, from a real friend……….If you want to be happy for an hour, get drunk; if you want to be happy for a day, get married; if you want to be happy for Life, get a garden…………..start up a Community Garden, people………….they’re working in Dublin, that’s for sure!!!

    • jonnie

      VERY VERY cool , VERY true!!

  20. Rob


    The Alcohol machine is so much B.S. it really pisses me off. I just got thru detox with a nice facility; they charged $2000 / day! What did they do; kept a look on my blood pressure – it was high 176 / 110! They did give me Librium to lower my blood pressure and that saved my life. Forced me to go to meeting that they asked how we were feeling? Once around the room and the meeting was over! No tools were given, no good advice, just fluff. $10,000 for five days! Anyway, I just wanted to share – if you are like me and have high blood pressure – get detoxed. I don’t believe in the rest of the B.S. they tried to sell me; so I just walked away. I have listened to you for 60 days now; put MY plan in place, following the 30 day plan and have a great outlook and know I will be successful. thanks Kevin!

  21. marc

    Kevin keep up the Great work you have helped me turn my life around for the better and finally kick all the habits. You are an inspiration and a breath of fresh air for all of us who have got ourselves into this hole. Better late than never onwards and upwards

  22. Connie

    Hi Kevin,
    I loved this video. You are bang on. The addiction industry functions due to propaganda just as does the culture of alcohol. We are indeed indoctrinated into the lifestyle of drinking alcohol from a young age, and it is totally normalized. I’m Canadian and your words ring very true to me over here as well! I too can’t stomach the idea of AA, mainly because I refuse to see myself as a helpless victim with a life sentence of a “disease”. And you are right, it is beliefs like that that keep people struggling with alcohol, keep them down. It’s disgusting. One of the biggest problems is there are very few resources out there to help people; that’s one reason why 12-step programs are still validated… because there is hardly anything else. Anyway, I think it’s brilliant what you are doing. You are an inspiration. I’m a counsellor working in the schools, and I’ve already decided that once I am further along on my own alcohol-free path, I’m going to try and help others beat their own crap too, using philosophies that empower and encourage people to learn, grow and find true satisfaction in life.
    Thanks so much!

  23. Kathleen

    Hear fucking hear Kevin. I’ve commented this before but it bears repeating: I am sick and fucking tired of being told there’s something “wrong” with me and that I’ll be an alcoholic forever. That my every waking moment will be spent fighting the urge to drink. Wrong. All of the AA crap is wrong. I am not a diseased person who is so weak that I need someone or something else to help me. You either choose to drink or not. If you choose to drink, so be it. It’s your life and your death.

    But here’s the reality of my addiction. I became addicted to alcohol not because I am a weak person who has no control. I got addicted to alcohol because I was raised from a very early age to consume a product (alcohol) that is specifically designed and intended to addict me to it. How is that my fault?

    With that said, I never blame anyone but myself for continuing to drink once I knew it was hurting me and that I had a problem. That’s on me. I take total and complete responsibility for that. I also take total and complete responsibility for staying AF. No one can make me drink but me. So happy to be AF. Love life. Wake up smiling every day now.

    Thank you for all you do. You have made a significant difference in my life. Best to you and yours.

  24. Travis

    Totally agree. People are just brainwashed into this sort of thinking until they can learn to think outside the box they’ll never do it on their own… Not only in the alcohol recovery industry.. almost everything the government is involved in is corrupt. I’m one of the lucky ones that did it on my own for me it was simple it was like why would you drink gasoline it’s killing you… same goes for alcohol.

  25. Shelley

    Weight watchers is still going after all these years. If it worked there would be no more fat people.


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