Does The Treatment Industry Need To Adopt FCAT Standards?

By Jack Kelly, CAP, NLP, LHMP

FCAT Standards

Teachers in Florida spend months preparing their students for the FCAT, Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The goal set by the State of Florida was to increase student achievement by implementing higher standards which made administrators, teachers, and students accountable for the results they achieved. The test measures a student’s progress in mathematics, reading, science, and writing.

What do you think would happen to a school where 80% to 90% of the students came in well below the national average on their scores? The State would probably close the school and fire all the administrators. The teachers from that school would, more than likely, be looking for new careers because no one would hire them.

What do you think would happen to a treatment center where 80% to 90% of the alcoholics and addicts who came to them for treatment consistently relapsed within hours, days, weeks, or months after leaving treatment? Absolutely nothing! Why?

Because there’s no FCAT STANDARD which makes treatment centers, therapists, or patients accountable for the results achieved. We have the RCAT, Relapse Comes After Treatment. What can we do, as an industry, to make the RCAT mean Recovery Comes After Treatment?

Within the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous insanity is defined as, “Doing the same thing and expecting the results to be different.” Is there anything more insane than that? Yes!

Doing the same thing and – not expecting the results to be different; knowing that 80 to 90 percent of the people who leave treatment will relapse, come back to treatment (two or three times in the same year), or die because addiction, left untreated is a terminal disease. Remember Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and Whitney Houston.

Is there anything we can do, as an industry to help the people who come to treatment get off the Relapse Roller Coaster Ride? Yes!

• Teach them the three major obstacles they will encounter
• Raise the recovery bar. Set higher standards
• Inspire them to develop the mindset of a warrior.
• Shed light on the myths that “keep them coming back” to treatment.


ONE: Don’t Believe What You Read
“You may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.”
(Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 44)

TWO: Don’t Believe What You Hear
The “truth” about the Twelve Steps is heard every time an alcoholic attends an A.A.
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power, (or something less than human, like a chair or doorknob) could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

Most alcoholics and addicts completely deny or dismiss these truths. It is much less frightening and challenging for an alcoholic or drug addict to accept myths instead of truths, to accept the idea that they are powerless, instead of power-full. The original members of A.A. understood what they were powerless over. They had an “allergic” reaction to alcohol and drugs.

Once they put alcohol or drugs “inside” their body, their brains got hijacked. They lost all access to rational thought, “I could lose my job, career, or marriage.” They lost all access to the promises they made, “I love you. I promise I will never drink again.” They lost all access to their spiritual beliefs “God if you help me out of this mess, I guarantee you, I will never pick up another drink.”

The book, RADICAL RECOVERY: Twelve Recovery Myths – The Addiction Survivor’s Guide To The Twelve Steps, identifies the myths keep so many alcoholics and drug addicts trapped in the slavery of addiction. When these “myths,” which are presented as truths, come under the microscope of common sense, they consistently fail the test, but that doesn’t seem to bother many people who attend meetings. It is much easier to believe that their addiction is doing push ups, instead of actually doing the pushups that can “banish” the desire to drink or use drugs.

After he was sober for thirty years, Bill Wilson saw that the “message” being delivered in the rooms of A.A. was being diluted; that A.A. had taken a detour that could only end in relapse, death, or living as dry drunks, no personality change, because members failed to understand the real purpose of the Twelve Steps:

“Our real purpose is to become spiritually fit, so we can be of maximum service to God, and the people God puts in our lives.” (A.A. Page 77)

THREE: Don’t Believe In A Power Greater Than Yourself
The third greatest obstacle to becoming an addiction survivor is the unwillingness of many alcoholics and drug addicts to really believe that there is a Spiritual Force and Power inside them that is – much more powerful than their addiction, much more powerful than the obsessive thoughts, compulsive feelings, and physical cravings that control and dominate their lives. They are like the caterpillar screaming at the butterfly: “No, it’s not true. I am what I am. I will never fly or be as beautiful as you.”


The M.I.N.E. PROGRAM, Motivate, Inspire, Nurture, and Empower, is a holistic brand of therapy created by The Lazarus House,, in Boca Raton, Florida. It is being used by treatment centers in the U.S. and England.

• M – Meditate: For ten to twenty minutes.
• R – Read: Just For Today, As Bill Sees It, The Twenty-Four Hour Book, etc.
• S – Serve: Do something to help the group or another alcoholic or drug addict.
• E – Exercise: Commit 5 to 30 minutes – stretch, walk, run, do pushups or sit-ups.
• E – Eat Healthy. Food is a drug. It can nurture or destroy our bodies. Choose wisely.

The Five Star Radical Recovery Program is designed to motivate alcoholics and drug addicts to aim higher, reach farther, and go beyond any limitations they have placed on themselves; to inspire them to transform their cravings for pills, alcohol, or drugs into cravings for courage, integrity, humility, and peace. The key to success in this program is honesty. It’s never, “I didn’t have time,” or “I was too busy.” It’s always, “I didn’t make it a priority.” The focus is on progress, not perfection.

One of the primary reasons alcoholics and addicts use drugs and alcohol is to create a mood altering experience. They want to change the way they feel. With the tools and resources that they gain access to in The M.I.N.E program, they learn how to do this without using alcohol or drugs. Here’s a sample the results achieved with this program.

“At the beginning of the session, I felt extremely anxious, in physical pain, and had strong cravings. At the end of the session, I felt motivated, eager, hopeful; completely relaxed, clear headed and had significantly less pain, cravings, and anxiety.” Adam L

“At the beginning of the session, I was anxious and my pain level was at an 8. At the end of the session, I felt calm and relaxed, and my pain level was at 3. This is the best I have felt in years.” Anna L.

“At the beginning of the session, I was tired, anxious, and down. At the end of the session, I felt rejuvenated, happy, like a new woman.” Claire W.

“At the beginning of the session, I felt depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. At the end of the session, I felt great, happy, and amazing.” Julie S.


A warrior is a protector of ideals, principles, and honor. A warrior seeks to be both noble and heroic, essential qualities alcoholics and drug addicts need to develop as they begin the process of transforming cravings for pills, alcohol, or drugs into cravings for freedom, courage, honesty, humility, integrity, and peace. Like the warrior, the original members of A.A. understood that the most formidable obstacle they had to overcome, to become addiction survivors, was not alcohol or drugs, but their our own SELF. “Self – manifested in various ways was what defeated us.”(A.A. Page 64)

They set two radical goals, which should be the goal of every alcoholic and drug addict who participates in a Twelve Step Program:

1 “It was agreed at the beginning we would go to go to any lengths for victory over alcohol.”
2 “We decided we would go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience


You discover a formula for a pill that eliminates cravings and the desire to drink or use drugs. You let everyone know what ingredients are contained in the formula. It has great success. At every A.A. and N.A meeting, people stand up and give testimonials about the miraculous changes that have taken place in their lives as a result of taking this pill every day. As time passes, people change the formula, but don’t tell anyone about the changes. The results aren’t so great any more, but the cheering section continues to promote the wonderful benefits of this pill.

Today, we have OLD A.A., the original formula developed by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith. It works very well. We also have NEW A.A. where the ingredients have been changed. This doesn’t work very well.

OLD A.A: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” (A.A. Page 45)

NEW A.A: Came to believe that a power less than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (Doorknobs, chairs, toilet paper, empty shoe boxes, etc.)
OLD A.A: “Remind the prospect that their recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon their relationship with God.” (A.A. Page 99)
NEW A.A: Remind the prospect that their recovery is dependent upon people. “Meeting makers make it.”
OLD A.A: “The problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.” (A.A. Page 85)
NEW A.A: The problem will never be removed. We will never achieve victory over our addiction or have a spiritual experience than can banish the desire to drink or use drugs.

Jack Kelly, CAP, NLP, LHMP is the founder of The Lazarus House, in Boca Raton, Florida. He holds certifications in the following areas: Addiction, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Trauma, and Hypnosis Therapy. He is also a Licensed HeartMath provider. He provides training for The M.I.N,E. Program, and conducts educational programs for schools, parent teacher organizations, treatment centers and prisons. He explores the myths presented in his book: RADICAL RECOVERY: Twelve Recovery Myths – The Addiction Survivor’s Guide To The Twelve Steps. Reviews of the book are available on Amazon.