Saudi Arabian Doctor Studies U.S. Addiction Treatment

There’s a new kind of import that the United Arab Emirates can expect to receive from the United States: 12-Step based addiction treatment.

In a recent AP story, a reporter interviewed and followed a health care executive named Mohammed Al-Turaiki from Saudi Arabia.  Al-Turaiki has visited addiction treatment facilities in the United States to meet doctors and learn about the protocols of addiction treatment in the United States. He chose the area of Detroit and specifically Brighton Hospital because of a known population of Arab Americans in the area – some of whom have recovered from addiction or alcoholism with the help of drug rehabilitation. Mohammed Al-Turaiki spent time also talking with the patients who have recovered from addiction and alcoholism to find out more about the treatment programs that helped them do so.

12-Step Philosophy is Clearly at the Core

One thing that is a given is that the 12-Step program of recovery will be utilized in the treatment facility that Mohammed will create in the United Arab Emirates.  There is already an Arabic-English 12-step program in place in the Detroit area and it has shown to be widely adopted by the area Arab Americans who are in recovery.

One thing that plays into the favor of 12-Step program adoption is that Muslim Arabs will feel right at home with the concepts of “turning your will and recovery over to a ‘higher power.’” The original 12-Step program was developed out of a Christian background but very early on any specific reference to Christianity was removed and the 12-Step literature was carefully modified to refer to a “non-denominational” higher power. This would be the exact scenario that the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous would have had in mind when they changed their literature to broaden the potential audience.

Special Concerns Regarding Denial

Denial is part of the disease of the alcoholic/addict mind and is one of the main barriers to getting eligible patients into treatment in the United States.  An entire industry of interventionists has come to fruition due to the need for a process to confront the addicted person and compel them to accept treatment.

Denial will be an especially difficult barrier to treatment in Saudi Arabia as the substance of alcohol is illegal (let alone drugs) and the Qur’an (Islamic religious text) forbids its use.

This is where the choice of Brighton Hospital in Detroit was a particularly good choice for Mohammed Al-Turaiki.  The addiction experts at Brighton Hospital already have a protocol in place where they have an Arab American in recovery meet with new Arabic patients in order to break down some of the stigma of being chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol.

We wish Mohammed Al-Turaiki the best of luck implementing his treatment centers in the Middle East and we look forward to following this process in the news to see how the treatment centers are received.