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The Association for Addiction Professionals

The History of Addiction Counseling in the United States Book

The History of Addiction Counseling in the United States: Promoting Personal, Family, and Community Recovery

In the Words of William White*

Addiction counseling has rich historical roots--spanning early Native American recovery advocacy leaders, 19th century temperance missionaries, reformed men working within early inebriate homes and asylums, lay alcoholism therapists, the "paraprofessional" counsels of the mid-twentieth century--all contributing to the birth and evolution of modern addiction counseling as a specialized profession. It was the dream of Mel Schulstad and other modern pioneers of addiction counseling that a book would one day be written detailing the history of addiction counseling. To that end, NAADAC, The Association of Addiction Professionals established a NAADAC archives committee in the mid-1990s whose members began conducting oral history interviews with people who had played prominent roles in the professionalization of addiction counseling. Now, nearly 20 years later, that dreamed of book has rolled off the presses and was placed in the hands of more than 700 addiction professionals at NAADAC's 40th anniversary conference in Seattle, Washington. It was my great honor to be selected to author this book, which also contains the voices of more than 90 leading addiction professionals.

The History of Addiction Counseling in the United States (521 pages, $10 plus shipping) contains five chapters on the birth and evolution of addiction counseling in the U.S.; three chapters on the history, core functions, and contributions of NAADAC; and a concluding chapter on lessons learned from addiction counseling pioneers, including reflections on the distinguishing characteristics of addiction counseling. Addiction counseling is coming of age as legions of men and women extend themselves each day to heal individuals, families, and communities. To those who have labored in this special ministry, we offer you your history.


Book Reference

White, W. (2014). The History of Addiction Counseling in the United States. Alexandria, VA: NAADAC The Association for Addiction Professionals. 

 * White (2014, October 15). The History of Addiction Counseling in the United States. [Blog post]. Retrieved from