After 75 Years of Alcoholics Anonymous, It’s Time to Admit We Have a Problem

  • metta

    Posts: 39165

    Feb 12, 2014 12:06 AM GMT
    After 75 Years of Alcoholics Anonymous, It’s Time to Admit We Have a Problem

    "Contrary to popular belief, most people recover from their addictions without any treatment—professional or self-help—regardless of whether the drug involved is alcohol, crack, methamphetamine, heroin, or cigarettes."

    http://www.psmag.com/navigation/books-and-culture/75-years-alcoholics-anonymous-time-admit-problem-74268
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    Feb 14, 2014 7:56 PM GMT
    I'll totally drink to that.
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    Feb 15, 2014 4:35 PM GMT
    Broseph saidHonestly, it doesn't sound much different than praying-away-the-gay.

    I agree. Studies indicate alcoholism happens for 2 reasons, either independently or in combination: physical, and psychological.

    There's no physical dependence history in my family, nor do I appear to have it myself. If alcohol isn't available, sometimes during travel, or during my camping trips, I don't miss it. No cravings, no withdrawals, no thinking about it. It'll be there when I get back home.

    When I do drink it's mostly for social reasons, as much a fashion accessory in my hand as any need. And sometimes I like the buzz, to a point. But not to the point of any sickness or hangover afterwards, so I stop myself.

    Why would I want to make myself sick & miserable? Either now, or tomorrow morning? Did that when younger, and it taught me not to do it anymore. To quote a line from the Monty Python TV show: "Where's the pleasure in THAT?"

    My late partner did AA before I met him. It didn't stick. His drinking was a bit of a burden for me. One of my great personal failures was that I couldn't help him control his drinking.

    One time he yelled at me: "Bob, you nag me about my drinking, but you don't HELP me!" It was true if he believed it was. And I never learned how to deliver that help, with or without AA, which he wouldn't attend any more. That was a failure I feel guilty about. icon_sad.gif
  • metta

    Posts: 39165

    Mar 26, 2014 3:41 PM GMT
    The pseudo-science of Alcoholics Anonymous: There’s a better way to treat addiction

    AA and rehab culture have shockingly low success rates, and made it impossible to have real debate about addiction

    "Peer-reviewed studies peg the success rate of AA somewhere between 5 and 10 percent."

    http://www.salon.com/2014/03/23/the_pseudo_science_of_alcoholics_anonymous_theres_a_better_way_to_treat_addiction/
  • metta

    Posts: 39165

    Jun 14, 2014 1:39 AM GMT



    Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0544112326


    Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
    http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Boy-Fathers-Journey-Addiction/dp/0547203888/ref=cm_cr_dp_asin_lnk
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    Jun 14, 2014 2:01 AM GMT
    metta8 said
    Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0544112326

    Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
    http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Boy-Fathers-Journey-Addiction/dp/0547203888/ref=cm_cr_dp_asin_lnk

    I agree that previous approaches have been failures, including AA for alcoholism. What makes this one better? I read the hype. but it reads like the other hype. Please explain how it's different and superior.
  • metta

    Posts: 39165

    Jun 14, 2014 3:43 AM GMT
    ^
    I have not read them. They were mentioned in the original article so I did a quick search for them. But it does sound like it has helped a lot of people. I like that it is scientific based instead of religious based.

    I have never personally experienced addiction. I have a friend who's son has an addiction to alcohol and from what she has told me, I still have a little trouble relating to it. If I know something is bad for me, I just don't do it. That is just how I have always done things.

    I have another friend that is an alcoholic and she just celebrated her 24th year clean today. She is very religious and the AA program worked for her.
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    Jun 14, 2014 9:22 PM GMT
    When I quit drinking a few months ago, I did it by using the online toolkit at smartrecovery.org and the online version of rational.org. Being agnostic, AA simply isn't the program I needed.

    AA is a spiritual program, but I won't bash it. Two of my best friends are in AA, and I attend for the community aspect of it. Most of the long-timers (10+ years sober) are incredible people. Some are flat broke and some are self-made millionaires. They all have one thing in common: They used to be wasted and miserable, and now they love life and have loads of fun (even the broke ones).

    Just in my three months there I've seen people come and go. The failure rate is HUGE. But I've noticed something from those who leave: they never wanted to be sober; most were forced there by the courts. To me, that doesn't count as a strike against AA - it's a strike against the court system for not recognizing other effective programs that are available.
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    Jun 14, 2014 9:28 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    metta8 said
    Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0544112326

    Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction
    http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Boy-Fathers-Journey-Addiction/dp/0547203888/ref=cm_cr_dp_asin_lnk

    I agree that previous approaches have been failures, including AA for alcoholism. What makes this one better? I read the hype. but it reads like the other hype. Please explain how it's different and superior.
    It's not about which program is better. It's about whether or not a person wants to make a program work. It's entirely possible to quit drinking without any program.

    In fact, there's one homeless drunk that used to be a neighborhood menace. I just saw him a few days ago. He's sobered up on his own, has a job, and has turned his life around.
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    Jun 14, 2014 10:40 PM GMT
    metta8 said
    I have never personally experienced addiction. I have a friend who's son has an addiction to alcohol and from what she has told me, I still have a little trouble relating to it. If I know something is bad for me, I just don't do it. That is just how I have always done things.

    I believe there's a genetic component to substance addiction, including to nicotine from smoking. So that some people have a greater tendency to become addicted, and a much more difficult time breaking that addiction.

    I'm apparently virtually immune to physical addictions, and my Father was the same way. He smoked for 25 years, from the 1930s into the 1950s, more as a social convention than anything, what men did.

    (BTW, one of my favorite keepsakes of his is a gorgeous sterling silver and black enamel 1930s Art Deco cigarette case from Alfred Dunhill, the inside beautifully engine turned silver, something a gentleman carried in his jacket breast pocket. Along with other Art Deco accessories like cuff links and tie clips of his that I treasured.)

    But that cigarette case was put away and never used again when he read the first reports in the late 1950s of cancer being linked to smoking. He just quit cold. No little-by-little, no withdrawals, he just stopped, because he wanted to. Versus my Mother, who was definitely a nicotine addict, who never could stop despite she and my Father wanting her to quit.

    When I entered the Army in the 1960s everyone smoked. Even as Basic Trainees we were allowed time for a smoke break. Hell, even our C-Rations had a cigarette 3-pack in them with matches, usually Lucky Strike or Camel.

    And so I tried to fit in and conform, and forced myself to smoke for nearly a year. Bought unfiltered Camels at the PX, smoked them at the enlisted club bars, tried to look butch like the other soldiers. (Though I was already riding a Harley-Davidson to the clubs at that time, should have been butch enough)

    I smoked for almost a year, hating it the whole time, thought it was needlessly expensive and stupid, and never did succeed in getting hooked. And when I'd had enough, like my Father, I simply stopped. And I've not smoked another cigarette in 45 years.

    I apparently have whatever genes, like his, that resist nicotine addiction. As well as alcohol dependency, which he likewise never exhibited. A few weeks ago I had to abruptly stop drinking because of some new meds I had to take for a while.

    So I did. No drama, no withdrawals, no nothing. And I still went to gay bars with my husband, who continued to drink alongside me (he's a very light drinker), people drinking all around me, while I ordered fruit juices and water. Not a problem. No shakes, no personality changes, no irritability, no sleep problems, nothing more than a change in my "diet".

    But I also know addiction is very real for some people, like my Mother and my late partner, for whom AA didn't work. It can be tough for them, and really not all their fault.
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    Aug 14, 2014 10:40 AM GMT
    Update on my experience attending AA meetings.

    I still don't work the "12 steps" or participate in any way. I've been approaching my attendance from the mindset of a researcher. Here's what I've found.

    People start AA with a fresh mind, although clouded from their substance of choice. They're usually personable, outgoing, and a general pleasure to be around. The few who stick around for a few months tend to stop socializing in public, as they're afraid they might be tempted to drink or use. Most are in their twenty's and haven't developed a physical dependency...they just got in trouble a lot. In other words, they woulda gotten in trouble even without alcohol or drugs cause they were just trouble-makers to begin with.

    Then they get in "the program," get told they're powerless over alcohol and drugs, then they eventually relapse and are much worse than when they started. A few have even attempted suicide.

    As for the "old-timers" (double-digit sobriety years), now that I've gotten to know them better, are showing more signs of "southern hospitality"...which means they're nice to you if you think like they do, but they don't fair well in public out of the groups of AA. They tend to think everyone - even "normies" (non-alcoholics or addicts) - should do the 12 steps because "they're such a better way to live." When I told them I used a different program (smartrecovery.org) to get and stay sober, with great success, they balked and basically told me I'm going to relapse and die. They do this by saying "oh that's nice, whatever works, but AA is still the best cause people have died in other programs, especially programs that teach self-help because we're powerless over alcohol and drugs." They're completely oblivious to the subliminal message they're putting in people's heads.

    With all that said, I can now ask this question with a clear conscience: Did AA contribute to Robin William's death? I think so.

    And apparently other people do, too: http://leavingaa.com/robin-williams-dead-at-63-hazelton-an-aa-rehab-failed-him-miserably/
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    Aug 14, 2014 1:16 PM GMT
    AA can and does work for some people as do all the 12 step groups. The most important things to know are that AA is a support group, not a good place of you haven't dealer with your initial 'demons' prior to going to a 12 step program. The 12 step program is more about maintaining sobriety through providing a mechanism that re-enforces the world view of the addict, that their substance of choice is inherently bad for them and in many case others. AA and Smart Recovery differences are that for AA,They do emphasise religion and groups are pitched toward one addiction in particular, Smart recover is applicable to all addictions and not religious based. More emphasis oh my god building skills to deal with life without......?.
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    Aug 15, 2014 1:29 AM GMT
    Sydneyrugbyjock73 saidAA can and does work for some people as do all the 12 step groups.
    That's what I used to think, until I started noticing how those "some people" acted outside the meetings, in public. Do some research about AA and other 12-step groups, and you'll be horrified.

    Did you know there's even a 12-step group called Homosexuals Anonymous? Apparently they still think you can "pray the gay away" with the same steps that are supposed to "pray the addiction/alcoholism away." I now call it the 12 steps to insanity and anti-social behavior.

    The very few who are actually "recovered" are also anti-AA, but afraid to leave or speak up because they've been conditioned to the point that they really think they'll relapse and die if they do. It's a sad state of affairs in AA.

    Also, do a search for "13th-stepping in AA." It sheds a whole new light on a dangerous program. There's also a documentary coming out about it soon.