Author: Don R. Osborne Jr, EdD

D. R. Osborne, Jr. grew up in a military family. When he was 14 his father was stationed in England and Don Osborne, Jr. attended a boarding school for American kids of military families. Upon returning to the USA, he met his wife Krisann in college. At the age of 25, he was treated for alcoholism at a pioneer program that combined the expertise of recovering counselors and graduate degreed professionals with a unique program design that included conjoint family therapy and had an indefinite length of stay (Don was there for 52 days). That was in 1975 and he has remained abstinent from alcohol and other drugs ever since. In his recovery journey, he converted from atheism to Christianity. Don later earned a Master’s degree in Counseling and entered the field as a psychotherapist, specializing in helping alcoholics and drug addicts. Frustrated by the lack of local treatment with the advanced approach he experienced, Don founded a private addictions treatment hospital. Unable to find properly trained professionals to work in the hospital, he established and chaired the first Addictions Counseling academic department at Indiana Wesleyan University to train psychologists and social workers on a sophisticated treatment approach. For ten years, he and his wife ran a private clinic and provided a treatment program for incarcerated felons inside a jail. From executives to gang members, Don has seen over 1,000 clients and their families in his career. He challenges the status quo of inadequate addiction treatment programs today and offers answers to get better results in his forthcoming book You Can’t Fall Out of a Hole: Ripping the Band Aid off of Our Addiction Epidemic. Don Osborne later earned another Master’s degree in Advanced Leadership Studies and a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership. He and Krisann have two grown children and they are continually looking upward. Dr. Osborne can be reached at

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Barriers to Effective Treatment

Addiction treatment today is largely ineffective. Some even call it a “rip-off” because of the cost for so little good that is achieved. It is like putting band aids on terrible wounds. There are five big reasons why it does so little good.

(1) There is no nationally accepted definition of “addiction” or of “recovery”. As a result, treatment providers make up their own definitions, most of which do not even include abstinence as a goal.

(2) The National Institute on Drug Abuse declares that addiction is a “relapsing disorder” and many treatment providers tell their clients that. The result is addicts in treatment get the message that they are expected to relapse and it isn’t their fault, therefore they are not responsible for doing anything to maintain recovery. The implication is that they should just return for another treatment stay.

(3) The length of treatment is determined by the insurance industry. Programs are designed around what insurance will pay for instead of what people need.

(4) The professionals providing addiction treatment are not well trained. The accrediting authorities for graduate degrees in psychology and social work do not require any courses on Substance Use Disorders or addiction. A research study found that 94% of doctors could not correctly diagnose alcoholism when presented with a list of its signs and symptoms.¹

(5) Treatment providers focus on getting client-addicts to comply with rules instead of facilitating a clinical surrender or letting go of their willfulness and insistence they can control their addiction. Compliance is just going along with what others want and not addressing the addiction itself.

D. R. Osborne, Jr.’s forthcoming book You Can’t Fall Out of a Hole: Ripping the Band Aid Off of Our Addiction Epidemic details these problems and what we as a society must do to combat our #1 health and social problem. Learn what you can do to help yourself or someone you care about who struggles with alcoholism or drug addiction.

¹Physician Education in Addiction Medicine, Evan Wood, MD, Jeffrey Samet, MD and Nora Volkow, MD. Journal of the American Medical Association. October, 2013.