Finding Bill’s writings was like coming across a major treasure trove. I was inspired by his amazing work and it became a primary foundation for the recovery-related work I did with the Wired In initiative I set up in the UK. His book Slaying the Dragon - The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America is one of the best non-fiction books I have read.
It was a great honour to meet Bill in 2009 and to talk at the same conference in London that I organized in collaboration with Nick Barton and Tim Leighton of Action on Addiction. Bill continues to inspire me today.
Bill has always had a great interest in Native American recovery. He co-authored with Don Coyhis the classic book Alcohol Problems in Native America: The Untold Story of Resistance and Recovery - the Truth about the Lie. It is a fascinating and important read.
Anyway, here’s Bill’s brief bio. You can find out more here.
'William L. White is an Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems / Lighthouse Institute and past-chair of the board of Recovery Communities United. Bill has a Master’s degree in Addiction Studies and has worked full time in the addictions field since 1969 as a streetworker, counselor, clinical director, researcher and well-traveled trainer and consultant.
He has authored or co-authored more than 400 articles, monographs, research reports and book chapters and 18 books. His book, Slaying the Dragon - The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America, received the McGovern Family Foundation Award for the best book on addiction recovery.
Bill was featured in the Bill Moyers’ PBS special “Close To Home: Addiction in America” and Showtime’s documentary “Smoking, Drinking and Drugging in the 20th Century.”
Bill’s sustained contributions to the field have been acknowledged by awards from the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, NAADAC: The Association of Addiction Professionals, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the Native American Wellbriety Movement.
Bill’s widely read papers on recovery advocacy have been published by the Johnson Institute in a book entitled Let’s Go Make Some History: Chronicles of the New Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement.'
He points out that we are recycling large numbers of people through repeated episodes of treatment. Their problems are so severe and recovery capital so low, there is little hope that brief episodes of treatment will be successful. We end up blaming them for failing to overcome their problems.