The American Humanist Association made a great announcement the other day, that medical authorities in the state of Massachusetts are going to begin giving people the option of referral to secular recovery programs as an alternative to religious programs like AA and NA.
The BRM contracts with the Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS) to develop treatment plans for its doctors with substance abuse problems. Up until now, the PHS has not made it explicitly clear to doctors they can attend secular alternatives to faith-based programs.
While BRM and PHS officials have agreed that treatment options should not be limited to sectarian-based groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, attorneys with the American Humanist Association’s legal center continue to work with them on official wording to ensure it’s clear that secular options such as SMART Recovery and Rational Recovery are also acceptable.
“Compliance with the Constitution requires that participation in religious programs can’t be dictated or coerced,” said Monica Miller, an attorney and legal consultant with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “The willingness state medical officials have shown in resolving this problem is reassuring.”
This is very good news and needs to be replicated nationwide. And judges should never sentence someone to participate in a religious recovery program.