What have people got against Alcoholics Anonymous? sensible answers preferred.?!

Question: What have people got against Alcoholics Anonymous? sensible answers preferred.?
I'm a recovered alcoholic in my 5th year of sobriety thanks to AA, I now work in a drug/alcohol rehab clinic in the UK and also on the National AA telephone 24hr helpline as an adviser.

I only say that because the 12th step of the 12 step program of recovery is to help other alcoholics, it also helps me to stay sober.

I answer many questions on alcohol problems on Yahoo for the same reason, I've helped alcoholics get to their first AA meeting in countries as far apart as the USA, Singapore and India to name but a few, it's part of giving back that which was given to me.

The reason I pose the question is that invariably my answers are given thumbs down but also recently I gave an answer to a suffering alcoholic giving details of where they could find a meeting near to where they live in the USA, there was one other answer which also suggested AA and just a few others, it went to the vote and received 42 No Best Answers!!!

I don't know if these votes came from a multiple account holder or what, it makes no difference to me at all, I know that I help to save lives with my answers on AA, do you think I care one iota about votes, best answers or thumbs down? how very mistaken some people can be.


It is a good program for those with a desire to quit.

Well I can't speak for everybody, but the main problem with AA that I have is that it is largely a religious/spiritual programme. Addiction is physical or psychological, and people like me don't need the religious aspect, yet it's at the core of the programme.

Ron, I can't speak for anyone else, I am definitely not multiple account holders, and I don't always give your answers a thumbs down. But if you'd care to learn how I came to be dedicated to the cause of choice in recovery and debunking the 12 step industry, here is my story.

I quit drinking in 1998. After deciding to quit, I went to a treatment center for help. At this treatment center, I was given an AA Big Book and a meeting list. The steps were posted on the wall. When I inquired about possibly attending another support group I was told by the counselor that AA was the only way to get sober, and that if I wanted sobriety I had to go.

So I went, and I did everything "right". For a time, despite my initial misgivings, I liked AA. I got a sponsor, worked the steps, sponsored others, did service and carried the message (just like you....when I was sober 5 years, I was JUST LIKE YOU). But in a way my involvement was the reason for AA's downfall in my eyes. I was very involved and so I saw first hand, over and over, how people lied, how sexual predators went after the newer, more vulnerable members (heck, one of the most notorious 13th steppers in my area is on the board of directors of our local 12 step based treatment center!), how people with mental illnesses were (often, not always) encouraged to stop taking their medications. Eventually, it got so that I could not take it anymore, and I left.

Then I got to thinking. I wondered why, given what I had experienced in AA, the rehab centers keep sending people there. It frankly did not seem that the program worked as advertised (remember I was told it was the ONLY way), and it seemed to me that in many ways it actually kept people sick and isolated from the larger society. So I started looking into it and it turns out that indeed, AA does NOT work as advertised; in fact it does not improve on the rate of natural remission. So what we have is a treatment industry based on a program that does not actually help people.

Now, I would be fine with AA, even if it didn't work, if it would simply stick to its own 11th tradition (attraction rather than promotion). But instead it has its tentacles into everything, at least here in the US. Here, it is very hard to find a treatment facility that isn't 12 step based and staffed by members of 12 step programs who often have no credentials other than that membership. Meetings are brought into jails, and people are forced to go to meetings to avoid jail. The monopoly of this ineffective program crowds out other, more helpful options. Approaches that are evidence based, that have been actually empirically proven to work, are cast aside in favor of sending people to church basements where they are told that the answer to all of their problems is to be found a book written in the 1930s by a womanizing fraud.

As to your 42 No Best Answers? My suspicion is that there are a lot of people who agree with me, because a lot of people have seen the same thing I have.

EDIT: As to the religiousity thing, it's hard to argue that something isn't religious which contains this language: "Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and those around us." Big Book pg. 77.

EDIT: Well, the word "God" is mentioned 136 times in the first 164 pages of the Big Book, so I wouldn't have to look too far for additional quotes! But if you want a few more:

"We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God." Big Book, P. 46.

"We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. "Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?" As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way." Big Book, P. 47.

"Let's look first at the case of the one who says he won't believe — the belligerent one. He is in a state of mind which can be described only as savage." 12&12, P. 25.

According to the 12&12, Ron, since you are an atheist and by definition therefore do not "believe", you are a "belligerent savage". I'm surprised you have no issue with that.

The thing I have against AA is that they make out alcoholism to be all bad regardless if you like it or not. I actually LOVE being an alcoholic. I always have a great time drinking, I get drunk every night and it hasn't interfered with my job. My wife and kids left me but I still see the kids, so win win. I wish more alcoholics would just embrace what they are and understand "alcoholic" is a term society concocted to make happy people feel bad about themselves

"...all that is asked for in AA is that you believe in a power greater than yourself..."

One that you pray to, who answers those prayers. By definition, a god. Read the literature. You might be able to make a case for non-denominational, but never non-religious. AA is a splinter group that came out of the Oxford Group, a Christian sect that at one time was called the "First Century Christian Fellowship". They, too, boasted of being "spiritual not religious".

But whether AA is religious or not, the important thing is: Does AA work? The answer is not as good as receiving no treatment at all. AA has about a 5% success rate, quitting without any treatment has about a 5% success rate, but AA has a higher mortality rate.

George Vaillant, former Harvard professor, researcher, and AA trustee, performed the largest study of its day, attempting to prove that AA worked. He said of his findings:
"Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."

In the US over 60% of all newcomers arrive under mandates from the courts, government agencies, and employee assistance programs. According to AA's Triennial Surveys, 95% drop out within their first year. If AA was so successful, why do so many leave? AA has created the AA-critical movement by ignoring its own traditions. AA churns out far more disgruntled ex-members than it keeps.

The majority of people in Texas that I know who have gone to AA are going mainly because they have been required to go by the "Courts". The most important thing I think, for any person going to AA is to do your homework on the group you plan on attending. If your group is filled with folks who are only there to satisfy the "Court Requirements", then you chosen the wrong group. Any individual can only get help if they want to help themselves........

Additonally, most of the folks that give you a hard time are the ones who think they could never have a problem......Most kids now days are bullet proof......didn't you realize this.....they will only admit a problem when someone slaps them in the face with it and mom and dad can't handle it for them..........enough said.............

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