TIL there are dozens of treatments more effective than the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which as a religious organization mentions God in 5 of its steps, has its own "bible", and believes that people who fail the program were born incapable of being honest with themselves.



View original post [theatlantic.com]




Comments:

15 Feb 2018 04:57 - +6648
Am a raging alcoholic. spent the last 13 months in AA. Went through a rehab facility. Haven't had a drink in 407 days. Had to work really hard at it. Was never (NEVER) discouraged from seeking multiple solutions in any AA group. Only part of this article I disagree with. Meetings are a part of my solution. Not the whole.
15 Feb 2018 03:12 - +3821
It does work for some people, and it's free, and available in a *lot* of places. In the absence of properly funded public health stuff, this is what you get.
15 Feb 2018 04:44 - +2603
I know AA gets a lot of hate from Reddit---and some of it is truly deserved---but there are a LOT of people who benefit from it, and especially from the "global-ness" of it: I have an alcoholic friend who was on a business trip in Seattle, started having severe cravings, and went online and found the nearest AA meeting. He was thousands of miles from home and literally knew no one, and was able to find a community within minutes. That's an increidbly powerful tool for an addict/problem drinker to have. I think what turns people off is that our courts and hospitals have made it the "go-to" treatment, when the truth is, different approaches are going to work for different people. Yes, it may not be a great fit for an atheist, but if you religious/spiritual/a believe in god, it can be a good fit. Like most things, you have to find what works.
15 Feb 2018 06:20 - +1052
I’m avowed atheist and member of AA. This characterization could not be more radically off base.
15 Feb 2018 03:49 - +557
Say whatever you want about AA, their sister program NA (Narcotics Anonymous) saved my uncle from a certain death in the middle of his suicide attempt. I don't care what kind of divine intervention it was or from where it came, 17 years ago it gave me back my uncle and he's been living a clean and productive life ever since. So, I guess my takeaway from all this is; I'm glad there are dozens of treatment programs available for anyone struggling with addiction. In my mind, a bigger net catches more fish. If you or someone you know is in the throes of an addiction, please, for the sake of those who love you and for your own self, pick one and try to get clean. If it doesn't work, try the next one. And keep trying until one sticks. You're worth it. Your life is worth it. The people who love you are worth it.
15 Feb 2018 04:03 - +497
It's a common saying in AA and related groups that they are not for people who need them or even people who want them, but they are for people who do the work. AA was never meant for people with "drinking issues", court ordered attendees, etc. It's a program for people who have demonstrated repeatedly that they have lost the ability to control their drinking (or whatever behavior) with the tools they have at that point in their lives and are finally willing to admit they don't have the answers. When people, including journalists, write about the "success rates" of an *anonymous* program, designed for people who have exhausted all other means of controlling their behavior, it tells me they don't understand what they're talking about to begin with. I don't like the programs' bias toward religious beliefs but the programs help and continue to help many people. They're free, widely available and let people get some help without risking being identified as an insurance or employment risk. If there are better options, espouse those but don't trash what is working for folks.
15 Feb 2018 06:02 - +253
ITT: a bunch of people who have never struggled with addiction stripping all nuance from the subject in order to spread r/atheism circlejerk
15 Feb 2018 06:59 - +153
Recovering alchoholic here. Basically do whatever works. If it makes you not drink for that one hour that's progress. It never worked for me but you do you booboo.
15 Feb 2018 03:06 - +145
seeing everyone talk about AA like a cult is not always the case. My uncles life was SAVED by AA and he now sponsors people regularly and helps run the AA in my city. hes a great guy, and while religious, i have never seen him PUSH religion on to you. He will talk about gods plan sometimes but he can always make it relatable to you if you are not a religious person. i have seen AA save my uncles life, and through AA i have seen him save MANY more lives. It is a great program, at least where i live.
15 Feb 2018 06:13 - +130
This is incorrect. As an active A.A. member, it’s spiritual, not religious at all
15 Feb 2018 03:23 - +87
In many cases, it is the only option available because crippling alcoholism doesn't usually come with health insurance. It's also not homogenous. There are regional and local differences in how much god there is. You can typically find pretty atheistic groups in a particular area, though that is apparently more difficult in the Bible belt. The medical options are generally better, but that's assuming you can get good quality treatment. Half assed medical treatment can lead to a Xanax addiction. It should also be mentioned that the two options aren't mutually exclusive. You can do medical treatment and go to AA or another support group.
15 Feb 2018 04:11 - +78
I must say, this is a pretty naive article. One of the first things I learned about AA is that it isn’t a religious program whatsoever. It’s about building a sense of spirituality, and any mention of “god” is just a short way to say “higher power of your own understanding.” Higher power is intentionally vague: it can be anything, provided you can believe in it. Anything more powerful than yourself is a higher power. If I stood in front of a truck, I would be hit because it’s a power greater than myself. But the goal is spirituality. For a long time, mine was the community around me that kept me sober. Obviously there are those that chose a religious figure as their higher power, but as for most young people in AA, religion is not really a part of it. And that’s totally fine. I hope this makes sense, it’s hard to articulate. Feel free to ask questions
15 Feb 2018 07:37 - +76
I probably wouldn't have a dad today if it weren't for AA. He has been sober now for almost 5 years, has a beautiful girlfriend, and has made many good friends and none of them or him try to make it all about religion (I am personally not religious). I am eternally grateful.
15 Feb 2018 06:03 - +72
The sister program NA was forced upon us at my rehab. There was no option. We were obligated to go to a certain amount of meetings and get signatures on our form to verify that we went. I’m an atheist so I struggled with all the God mentions but it was a good support system and I ended up actually enjoying being a part of it. I never went again after I left outpatient rehab though.
15 Feb 2018 06:36 - +52
AA saved my life. No question. I was a black out pass out drunk who after working late would pass out on the train going the wrong way. I am lucky I was never robbed. I am lucky to be alive. But we hold no monopoly on recovery. And you’re welcome to go out and do more research. And we no hold no judgment to those who decide that. Those who do judge have their own issues.
15 Feb 2018 08:10 - +51
I'm an atheist and AA saved my life. I didn't like the God part, so I started my own atheist meeting. And the book CLEARLY states that your idea of a higher power can be anything, and that they use the word God for lack of a better term. Saying AA doesn't work is like saying the gym doesn't work because you went a few times and didn't lose weight. You have to do the work.
15 Feb 2018 06:13 - +50
This is a misleading title. There are a LOT of iterations of the 12 steps that do not rely on God. Russel Brands newest book is one of those iterations and he is an outspoken atheist. People do not believe those who fail fail because they were born incapable. Cmon man. Do better.
15 Feb 2018 05:27 - +38
r/titlegore You learned about more effective programs, but only mention the one you don't like.
15 Feb 2018 03:47 - +36
AA has worked for me. On day 75 today. You just truely have to want to quit. If you don’t want to but feel forced from others it won’t work. It’s a good feeling for an ex drunk like me to hear others story’s. Keeps me going.
15 Feb 2018 03:01 - +29
Whatever works for you.
15 Feb 2018 03:30 - +28
It's like a 7% success rate. You are just as likely to find success going cold turkey. I went to NA (Narcotics Anonymous) way back in the day for pills and I could never get passed the first step. The whole premise lies on the fact that you don't stand a chance of getting clean on your own volition, so leave it to your "higher power" to lead you to become sober. I've always thought that AA/NA etc substitute one addiction (drugs) for another (12 Step program.) I encourage people to go to one meeting. Just one. You will hear the most brutal stories ever, but even more depressing is that these people who are sober for 10, 15, 20 years admit freely that if they don't show up to meetings 3+ times a week, they will relapse. I don't like the idea of taking power away from the individual and putting it in a god, and from what I've seen, the loss of that power makes people who try to stay clean a slave to the program.
15 Feb 2018 08:06 - +27
Bullshit headline much? Good grief.
15 Feb 2018 05:27 - +22
AA is the last house on the block for many people suffering from alcoholism. It works for many, and it’s where many paid treatment programs steer ‘graduates’ too.
15 Feb 2018 07:22 - +20
This article just gave me the motivation to seek help with my drinking. I’ve been searching for something like this for a few weeks now. I was worried about the idea of never drinking again because it just seemed so intangible to me. I seriously didn’t know there were other ways to deal with this. I’ll be making an appointment with my doctor ASAP. I appreciate the post OP.
15 Feb 2018 06:31 - +18
AA member here. 29 years old. 7.5 years sober. Works for me, that’s all I can say.
15 Feb 2018 03:04 - +18
[SouthPark did an episode on this... its genius](http://southpark.wikia.com/wiki/Bloody_Mary)
15 Feb 2018 03:29 - +16
A significant problem in studies of addiction treatment interventions is the lack of an appropriate standard for efficacy. Without digging through the primary sources, I don't think it's too much of a leap to suppose that most studies consider "success" on a timeline of about 5 years or less. Which probably makes sense from a manageability standpoint for most studies, but isn't really the goal point of AA or other substance-oriented 12-step programs. Also, has its own "bible"? I mean in the sense you could describe any book that mentions god as one, sure. Though a definition that broad would capture Dawkins as easily as the Koran.
15 Feb 2018 08:01 - +16
Wow! What got you so pissed off? I'm an athiest 27 years sober in AA, the god thing is insignificant. AA is about self examination, introspection, and spirituality not religion. It always works if you do what it suggests, it never works if you resent it. I don`t miss booze a bit. It was a waste of time, energy and money. Life is great today, hope you figure it out.
15 Feb 2018 08:11 - +14
I worked in a detox unit in an outpatient behavioral health hospital and they had AA meetings. I see value in AA as a support system but it has little substance by means of psychology and addiction education. So much of AA is centered around the belief that we humans are powerless against addiction, which is utterly incorrect. I would recommend AA for someone as a tiny part of addiction recovery (to help them build a sober network and get around successfully-recovered former addicts whose behavior they can model), but would never recommend AA for anything beyond that.
15 Feb 2018 08:03 - +13
Wow this is such a misleading title...what an oversimplification. That's not what I've gotten from any group i've attended. Whats with all the hate?
15 Feb 2018 05:58 - +12
The Anonymous programs are ineffective and they know it. They refuse to allow any followup to confirm efficacy. I don't know the recidivism rate but it is atrocious. Look elsewhere for help.
15 Feb 2018 08:08 - +11
I think this kind of repost is harmful to people. It makes a number of fallacies... number 1 being that AA is a religion. I'm not going to disagree that some people in AA will try to hotbox you into a Christian belief. That's their bad. That's not AA. At it's core, AA says that alcoholics have some common symptoms beyond drinking. It says they can be irritable, restless, discontent, selfish, self-centered, self-seeking, grandiose, childish and emotionally sensitive. I think this is a universal truth around people suffering from addiction. Good luck with art therapy, rehab vacations, counseling or other 12-step clones. They could all work, but at the center of this issue is the nature of the mental illness we all have to some degree, called Addiction. AA addresses that if you allow it to.
15 Feb 2018 08:35 - +10
AA is not the demonic force this article paints it as. This came out a few years back when it seemed more fashionable to bash twelve step programs and AA especially. AA is sometimes the only help around. It doesn't tax the public dollar. It's totally voluntary insofar that even court mandated members can choose to forge signatures and not even show up. And can get high or drink if they do choose to. AA doesn't mandate anything. Even the God thing that gets a lot of people all up in arms is just anything of your own choosing. Could just be coming to meetings. The Big Book, that some people fashion as "the Bible" even states that the founders of the AA program realize that there's probably other methods, other than AA, that could be just as effective as AA. The other thing from AA that people get upset about is where it says that you're powerless. A lot of people, myself included, think some people take that to mean way too much. It's a breaking point for some. But all it means from the AA philosophy is that powerless over that obsession of addiction. It's always stated in the present and to most people who regularly attend meetings it's meant to let themselves know that the disease of addiction, though arrested, still has the power to lurk and to take control. But for healthy people that means keep living right, keep helping others (the 12th step), and keep being a useful member of society and your family, and yourself. It's all pretty benign. But it is an organized structured program and I can see many people not wanting to be a part of that. But many do. And for someone beginning to try to stay clean there's tons of support and fun to be had away from the Isolation of addiction and alcoholism. And you might end up helping someone else too.
15 Feb 2018 05:29 - +10
I am an atheist. I don't believe in gods, ghosts, gurus or any traditional religious or woo woo spiritual hookum. But AA helped me get sober 14yrs ago and I never had to believe in any higher power. You don't have to buy into all of AA dogma to be helped by the program, you can take what works for you and leave the rest. For me the free group therapy was very helpful and I just ignored the god junk. In the end I got and stayed sober for going on 14yrs.
15 Feb 2018 08:04 - +9
Say what you will but AA saved my life.
15 Feb 2018 07:38 - +9
If anybody is reading this and struggling with a drinking problem or a drug addiction please give AA or CA a chance I assure you this article is incorrect as somebody who’s been sober a long time and does not believe in God or Jesus or any religion there is a way to make it work it might not be your first meeting you go to you might have to look for it but if you want it bad enough the answer is in AA CA in the 12 steps Notice I didn’t say NA.
15 Feb 2018 04:56 - +9
A.A. doesn't work for everyone, but it's at least worth a try. I went to A.A. meetings every day for my first year and a half of sobriety. Between finding another job since my contract for my job at the time was about to expire and the meetings just not doing the trick for me anymore, I stopped going. I managed to stay sober (on my own) and now I have 3+ years of sobriety. I definitely recommend going to A.A. when you're just getting sober. The people you meet will help you through it because most of them have been there or they know someone who has.
15 Feb 2018 08:34 - +8
Whatever works for people to stay sober is cool. No hate towards any method that some one uses.
15 Feb 2018 07:00 - +8
I went to Al-Anon and even though I'm an atheist, I never once felt like they were pushing God on me. They even said that "God" doesn't mean a Catholic God - it can be any God you believe in, or something that comes from within you. A lot of people shy away from AA or Al-Anon or use the God thing as an excuse to not even try, but it's really not as big a part of it as people think.
15 Feb 2018 08:34 - +8
Yet another horse shit article attempting to shine a negative light on a method which works for some people. AA isn’t for everyone, a fact members of AA freely concede. The article in question brims with misinformation. The proliferation of these types of article seems so counterintuitive.
15 Feb 2018 08:03 - +8
Over 21 years sober. Works for me
15 Feb 2018 05:25 - +7
Putting in my two cents. I’ve done both AA and the Sinclair method. The combination of CBT and medication was what did it for me. Im 25 in a metropolitan city and went from black out whenever I went out plus drinking almost everyday on my own to one of the more conservative drinkers in my peer group. AA did not focus on the real problem in my opinion, what we talked about in sessions were moral high level topics that didn’t apply to my direct life. In therapy I talked about things like triggers, coping mechanisms, mental health... things that I could use as tools to improve. I also only went to therapy for a couple months, and that was the most cost prohibitive portion of my treatment. I continue to improve over a year after I stopped therapy and I thank the drugs. I now spend about $35 a month for my medication. That being said I think my recovery would have been a bit slower without the therapy but it still would have worked, meaning if doctors prescribe it, anyone could receive a reasonably priced alternative treatment for less than $500 a year.
15 Feb 2018 08:34 - +7
I just celebrated my 29th year anniversary of sobriety on Monday of this week. I went through a treatment center for a month and when I got out I put everything I had into the AA program. AMA.
15 Feb 2018 08:32 - +6
Let's not bash AA Reddit. Love and peace man.
15 Feb 2018 06:33 - +6
In my experience the reason for failure the majority of the time with myself, my sponsees, and the people I meet, is that the person themselves is not ready to change. Doesn't really have anything to do with the program they are seeking. Change is hard. Withdrawal is a nightmare. Many times people don't have a strong foundation of help. I found the 12 steps very helpful and I still have a hard time believing in god. Source - In recovery 7/2/13.
15 Feb 2018 07:29 - +6
Actually, AA was founded on the idea of a "Higher Power". All that really means is something greater than you. Many alcoholics think that everything is about them while simultaneously thinking that everything depends on them... and you can get really mentally drained from believing you are the be all and end all of everything. A Higher Power is exactly what it says on the tin... something greater. That CAN be God but it can just as easily be the room full of other alcoholics, a connection with nature family or community, or even a Higher Self (the smarter, wiser, stronger person you wish you could be). It's something else you can rely on when you can't go any further and need something to carry you. AA does work if you let it. I say that as someone who has tried their sister program for several decades now and been around enough AA people to see it working, but ALSO as a substance abuse counselor. It's not a cure-all though, as alcoholism is a baffling, progressive and continuous disease. Besides, it's free and there is no one that is going to tell you that you have to come back like it's some cult (at most, they'll say "keep coming back, you're welcome here" with a smile and leave it up to you in the end). So really, what do you have to lose but an hour of your time?
15 Feb 2018 06:12 - +6
My brother is in rehab now for the second time. The first time he didnt want to go to AA because of the religious aspect and relapsed pretty quickly. He then moved across the country and tried to kill himself as far from his family as possible. He failed and ended up in a religious recovery shelter and found jesus, totally the opposite of what everyone expected. My family really isnt religious but if it helps him beat his alcoholism, we are all for it.
15 Feb 2018 08:30 - +6
There’s a huge difference between “treatment program” and “support group.” AA is a support group and can be extremely for some people. It can serve as a healthy coping skill by filling free time, offering social interaction, and a place to vent. However, it can be triggering and is not helpful for everyone. Most importantly though, it is not treatment. Source: am therapist
15 Feb 2018 06:25 - +6
AA has worked for me for 22 years when nothing else did. That is a fact. For me its been %100 effective and I DID try other "cures". As for the God thing most of us that had/have an issue with GOD just use Group Of Drunks. Most people fail AA because they aren't honest enough to admit they can't manage their own life. If you are an addict or alchoholic ask yourself this; "Would I pay someone to put me through the shit I created for myself"?
15 Feb 2018 07:37 - +6
I’m court ordered AA 5 times a week, and my meeting which the location has about 6 a day 7 days a week and is one of about a dozen locations in town, has about 60 people every day that it helps. And it’s not about ‘god’ but finding any type of spirituality. Nobody expects you to believe in god, but find some way to express your feelings to yourself and have a reason to have the willpower to succeed.
15 Feb 2018 08:27 - +5
Posts that are worded like this feel like they're trying to push an agenda more than spread interesting facts. I know very little about AA but I don't understand why the title had to go beyond mentioning how it fails. OP sounds like they're just trying to mention they're an atheist without saying anything constructive about religion. Edit: Also, other comments also mention that that AA is not religious but only spiritual.
15 Feb 2018 07:02 - +5
I have a feeling that most of the passages they are referring to in this article are from old editions of the Big Book. I have never had anyone from meetings I attended say anything remotely close to the things said in there. They also do not care who you worship. They plainly tell you it can be a doorknob if you want. It absolutely does not have to be god. And from what I remember, it states "higher power", not God
15 Feb 2018 08:36 - +5
I totally get why people have negative feelings about AA. I once had extreme prejudice towards AA and the people in it., particularly when I was forced to go as a result of circumstances. Over the course of a decade I had many stays in detoxes and rehabs(heroin is a hell of a drug). I also attempted to kick or control my habit a million times. Eventually, I ended up in AA again desperate enough to put aside my prejudice. I have been free of heroin and all other substances for 9 years and have a healthy and productive life with a wife and daughter. I have stayed connected to AA to this day though, I’m not as active as I once was. I have made life long friends and grown up in AA. Even if I were to have got sober on my own or managed to moderately drink, I can’t imagine having the life I have today. I have since been to dozens funerals for friends I grew up with or met in facilities. I’m thankful I tried. I understand the cynicism and misconceptions. I certainly think people reclaim their lives by other means. In my case, I am alive because AA worked for me.
15 Feb 2018 04:59 - +5
AA and NA work for some people. For many hat I have seen going through the program it often just replaces the substance addiction with with a shallow sense of religion. The number of jailhouse letters from my father, where NA was offered in the jail, gave me some bitterness. I could tell you what step he was working towards based on the first sentence of the letter. It didn't work for him. That being said, if it works for someone, good for them. Getting clean is the important part. I just don't expect it to work for people, and am pleasantly surprised if it does.
15 Feb 2018 08:26 - +5
All the top posts are so defensive like this an attack on AA. It doesn't work for everyone and it never will. No one's taking AA away from you by using medication instead of group therapy, but most people don't even know aternative treatments exist. Extoling the virtues of AA is still not helping those who need to use other methods, and public opinion could use a shift away from it being the only way. As well, you don't have to give up drinking entirely in order to beat addiction with some of these meds, which is undeniably an option plenty of people would prefer. Your doc shouldn't throw his hands in the air and give up if AA doesn't work for you, but that's the standard right now.
15 Feb 2018 08:25 - +5
I’m an atheist and AA saved my life and everything I hold dear. The “God” thing made me a little uneasy at first but I just think of it as the group. I had the gift of desperation so hearing the word God a few times wasn’t the worst of my problems.
15 Feb 2018 08:18 - +4
11 years sober. Used AA/12 Steps, and therapy. Religion is irrelevant. It's about getting truly humble and being truly honest with yourself for the first time ever.
15 Feb 2018 08:13 - +4
I don’t really understand, I drank for 6 years every day of my life. Went to rehab, tried AA, nothing worked. One day I just stopped. I don’t have urges, I don’t have cravings. It’s not hard to say no. It’s been 100% easy for me. I also stopped Meth, heroin & klonopin the same way. Rehab never helped, going to jail didn’t help. I literally just stopped 1 day. I don’t have to keep count of the days, I don’t know how long I’ve been sober, I know it’s been right at 2 years, but some people have the time down to the day, “I’m X days clean”
15 Feb 2018 08:36 - +3
I read a bunch of research on this a while ago. The main problem with research on program effectiveness is that AA attendees are a somewhat self selecting group. They are mostly people who already want to quit. In contrast there are court ordered groups that are the opposite--people who don't necessarily want to quit, but have to attend. There's also other experimental issues like the fact that each program is a run a little bit differently. **The sum of the research I found seemed mostly inconclusive on the effectiveness of AA vs other programs.** AA works very well for people who want to make a change anyway and who are open to the religious messaging. Focusing on an idea like Jesus all the time is a good way to avoid focusing on something else. AA works very poorly for people who don't want to quit and/or are adverse to the religious messaging. The kicker here is that non-religious rehab programs have similar results. They work for people looking to change themselves and don't for people who aren't. The hard part in any recovery is changing the parts of your life that led you to alcoholism in the first place. Some people need to get divorced, change careers, cut off bad friends, or get regular counseling and/or medication for other mental issues. These are not things that any AA program typically provides.
15 Feb 2018 08:05 - +3
Sooo...Did I miss what the "dozens" of other, better programs are?
15 Feb 2018 07:28 - +3
By "more effective" do you mean to say that there is some method or method that has helped more people overcome alcoholism than AA? For example, in overcoming poverty, winning the lottery might be said to be "more effective" than thrift and diligence, but thrift and diligence will have helped more people, I think. Now, if there were a program the *has* had more success than AA, that would be interesting.
15 Feb 2018 09:14 - +1
As someone who went to rehab and had to do AA and the 12 steps, the "God" part was however I saw god. I'm not religious by any means and have fucked up a lot sense the ole rehab days and never have I been discouraged at a meeting. The people there are good people.
15 Feb 2018 09:14 - +1
I feel like this was written by someone who didn't like that God was involved in the 12 steps....and that was the entire reason for this post.
15 Feb 2018 09:03 - +1
This is such a frustrating mischaracterization of an altruistic group that provides free support for addicts. The group also touts "take what you want and leave the rest". I've also never met a single AA sponsor who believes that people are "born incapable of being honest with themselves". My brother is agnostic, and AA saved his life. It doesn't work for everyone, but it works for many, and the religious part is always optional. Before you criticize AA, perhaps consider dropping by an open meeting for newcomers (you can search for them in your area). You can't really understand how powerful they are until you go. At its core, it's free group therapy and support for alcoholism.
15 Feb 2018 09:10 - +1
The "god" factor is really just being spiritual and finding a power greater than themselves. It's not god like the Christian bible.. it's whatever god a person sees fit. Even atheists have recovered using A.A. for a program that's technically free.. people sure do love to hate on it yet offer few other answers to it.
15 Feb 2018 09:18 - +1
Recovering addict here, AA is based on a person to person basis. Saying that a "higher power" auto equats to religion is just false. When i started in the rooms and got my first sponsor i was told that anything that aids in step work and sober living can work. People use their families as a higher power, even their job. As long as you accept that you are powerless to drink and look to said higher power for strength, it's all good
15 Feb 2018 09:12 - +1
I'm a data analyst, and a recovering alcoholic, who tried for 13 years to quit on my own, and failed, losing everything important in my life in the process. Then, I stopped fighting the AA program, and I've been sober ever since. It says right in the article - there are no hard and fast statistics available, because AA *doesn't collect any*. There are people in my group who came every week for two or three years, and then I never saw them again. Did they relapse, move, die, find another group, or just decide they didn't need AA anymore to remain sober? Did they leave AA, stay sober for "x" years, and then relapse? What counts as a 'success'? Someone who stops drinking forever? Someone who stops drinking for "x" years before they start drinking again? In that case, how long is "x"? As a data analyst, I'm appalled that anyone would try to make any statistically valid pronouncement on the efficacy of AA. There is no data! I also object to the characterization of AA as a religious program. It says repeatedly throughout the program that "God" or your "Higher Power" is whatever *you* want it to be - even just your group itself. God is a convenient shorthand that was widely accepted when the program was devised in 1935. That so many 'modern' people see the word "God" as an objection is more a comment on modern mores than AA, IMHO.
15 Feb 2018 09:20 - +1
I think its incredible how many people hear the word 'God' and freak out and automatically jump to conclusions without all the facts. The AA/NA programs are about so much more than God or higher powers. At its core it is about one addict helping another. The older cleaner members guide and support newcomers, and the newcomers give a constant reminder to the older cleaners of why they got clean in the first place. I was a heroin addict for 15 years and went to a rehab with mandatory meetings. There I found a community of people who had been through what I had been through and spoke the language I spoke. They were my people, but they had found a way to live without drugs. I have now been clean for 5 years. I have no doubt that if I had not been introduced to NA I would be dead now. That's not to say it is for everyone, as I know people who have gotten clean other ways. All i can say is NA saved my life.
15 Feb 2018 09:16 - +1
There is no magic bullet or ‘effective treatment’ for addiction of any kind, so writing that there are ‘dozens of treatments more effective’ is misleading. One way to spot this kind of manipulative pandering is to look at how many ‘treatments’ for a particular disease exist. The more treatments, the less likely it is that any of them are effective. You don’t see too many alternatives to insulin in the treatment of type 1 diabetes.
15 Feb 2018 09:16 - +1
This post is misleading and potentially harmful to many who legitimately need help. Implying AA is just the 12 steps and the book, who most in my experience never even bought, is like saying a car is just the steering wheel.
15 Feb 2018 09:20 - +1
Your own concept of God, which makes it a spiritual programme not religious. Recovering alcoholic, I work the steps, nearly 4 years sober
15 Feb 2018 08:50 - +1
Not only is AA a religious organization (nothing against that, personally) but it's rhetoric on why you can't stop abusing a drug / alcohol literally points to you being inferior, or by definition; retarded. It states in their reading that you literally have an inferiority when it comes to impulse and they only way you can curve it is by being completely honest with yourself and turning your life over to god, essentially. After I got to the part in the book that tried to convince me that I was forever and completely broken - I gave up on AA. There's SO much research being done on addicts nowadays, and most people don't know that AA only has a 5% success rate (which is pretty much the same as going cold turkey, sitting in your room alone). The most intriguing research I've read is that different abusers of different substances have different 'average abuse times'. As in, the typical alcoholic would abuse for 20 years, a typical meth addict would usually abuse for 6 years, etc. This was one of the largest studies I could actually find. Turns out the average opiod abuser eventually gets over their addiction at around 9 years (if they survive it). I tend to trust the study based on rats more than anything else. In this study, two cocaine addicted rats were placed in two different cages, with equal access to cocaine at their leisure. One rat was placed in a small cage, with a metal floor and nothing to do. The other rat had grass, other rat friends, a wheel and other entertainment. The rat with entertainment immidiately stopped doping while the rat in the small and unfulfilling cage couldn't stop.

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