"A New Way to Treat Alcoholism" (June 17) offers hope for a more scientific solution to the problem. Unfortunately, the article also shows that the medical establishment continues to act as if Alcoholics Anonymous were a self-help support group when in fact it is a religious organization. No one attending an AA meeting can escape the fact that the "cure" that is offered is basically conversion to a belief in God.
Yet, despite the tent-revival ethos of it, most--if not all--alcohol and drug treatment centers rely heavily on AA to help their patients recover. This muddle of medical practice, pop psychology and religious revivalism may work for a chosen few who have the gift of faith, but it also may account for the high failure rate among alcohol and drug abuse patients, which even the best treatment centers acknowledge is a major problem.