The origins of the Minnesota model of addiction treatment--a first person account

J Addict Dis. 1999;18(1):107-14. doi: 10.1300/J069v18n01_10.


The Minnesota Model, also known as the abstinence model, of addiction treatment was created in a state mental hospital in the 1950s by two young men, one who was to become a psychologist, the other who was to become a psychiatrist, neither of whom had prior experience treating addicts or alcoholics. The model spread first to a small not-for-profit organization called the Hazelden Foundation and then throughout the country. The key element of this novel approach to addiction treatment was the blending of professional and trained nonprofessional (recovering) staff around the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). There was an individualized treatment plan with active family involvement in a 28-day inpatient setting and participation in Alcoholics Anonymous both during and after treatment. The education of patients and family about the disease of addiction made this a busy program from morning to night, seven days a week.

Publication types

  • Autobiography
  • Biography
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholics Anonymous / history*
  • Alcoholism / history*
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • History, 20th Century
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Minnesota
  • Substance-Related Disorders / history
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • United States

Personal name as subject

  • D J Anderson