Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Addictions, Livin' in the USA, Psychology
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure? front coverby Chaz Bufe, author of Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is, arguably, America’s most sacrosanct institution. Its promoters (often AA members hiding behind “anonymity” while they promote AA) present it as an unalloyed good: effective, “spiritual not religious,” supportive, nonjudgmental, purely voluntary, based on “attraction not promotion,” and leading to personal growth (being “better than well”). Some even state that AA has no negative aspects whatsoever and that AA with it’s 12-step approach is the only effective approach to addictions problems.

All of this is wrong. The rate of recovery via AA is no greater than the rate of spontaneous remission. AA was part of a Protestant evangelical group for the first several years of its existence, and its 12-step program is blatantly religious by any reasonable definition of the word. AA is supportive — as long as you parrot its party line. It’s nonjudgmental–again, as long as you parrot the party line. AA is not purely voluntary; over a million Americans per year are coerced into attending it via court orders and employee assistance programs, as a condition of avoiding jail or keeping their jobs; and many of AA’s promoters insist that AA doesn’t promote itself, even as they do exactly that. As for AA members being “better than well,” attend any meeting and judge for yourself. And AA does have serious negative aspects, both for its members and those merely exposed to it.

Let’s first look at the harm AA does to its members, those who come to it voluntarily for help, and those who are coerced into attending it.

Even for the small percentage of attendees for whom AA “works” (approximately 5% according to AA’s own triennial surveys–roughly the same as the rate of spontaneous remission), there are negative effects. The first of these is that many AA members adopt “alcoholic” as their primary identity. They identify their very beings with a past, self-destructive behavior. They stay stuck — focused on the past. It’s both strange and sad to see someone who hasn’t drank for twenty years identify him or herself as an “alcoholic.”

(What would we think of someone who gave up cigarettes twenty years ago, yet still identifies him or herself as a “smoker”? The only reason it doesn’t strike us as equally bizarre for long-time nondrinkers to identify themselves as “alcoholics” is the constant self-referential use of that term by AA members. Endless repetition desensitizes us to the  strangeness of this very odd usage.)

Another negative aspect of AA is that it keeps members dependent upon it. According to 12-step dogma, “alcoholics” are always “recovering,” and the only way they can maintain sobriety is to attend AA for the rest of their lives. The way my late friend Vince Fox defined alcoholism and 12-step alcoholism treatment neatly encapsulates the 12-step approach: “Alcoholism is a phenomenon characterized as physical, mental, and emotional, and treated in medical settings by nonmedical personnel with a religious program in which the patient is admitted as diseased, discharged as diseased, permanently recovering, and never recovered.”

So, AA members consider themselves “diseased,” adopt the “alcoholic” label as their identity, and (at least in theory) remain dependent upon AA for life. Many “old timers,” who have been sober for twenty or thirty years, still go to several meetings per week, some daily. This, of course, is a severe time drain. The amount of time wasted by American AA members on AA meetings is probably second only to the amount of time wasted in the U.S. by Mormons — in another lifelong “program” — on LDS meetings.

Another major downside of AA for its longtime members, those who come to it for help, and those coerced into attendance, is AA’s insistence that “alcoholism” is a “progressive disease,” that drinking inevitably worsens barring abstinence, and that “alcoholics” have no control once they start drinking — that their only alternatives to AA are “jails, institutions, or death.” Leaving aside the absurdity of labeling a behavior as a disease, all of this is simply wrong. But for those who buy the assertions that drinking inevitably worsens and that they have no control, the results can be disastrous. These pernicious assertions often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Other AA assertions — notably that, according to AA’s “Big Book,” alcohol is “cunning, baffling, powerful!” and individuals “powerless” — only exacerbate this problem. So, when AA members start to drink, they think they have no control, so they don’t even try to control their drinking — they binge.

Research seems to bear this out. What is still probably the best scientific study of AA’s effectiveness (Outpatient Treatment of Alcoholism, by Jeffrey Brandsma, Maxie Maultsby, and Richard J. Walsh, Baltimore: University Park Press, 1980) reported that those assigned to the AA group (with its “one drink, one drunk” dogma) binged more than four times as often as the no-treatment controls. (That this study is nearly four decades old matters not a whit, because in the years since it appeared AA’s “program” has changed not a whit.)

As well, since AA meetings are so unattractive that only (again according to AA’s own triennial surveys) five percent of those who “walk through the door” are there a year later, millions of people have been exposed to AA’s pernicious assertions and, at least in some cases, their drinking likely worsened as a result — and many undoubtedly don’t even try to find alternatives, because of AA members’ insistence that AA is the only thing that works.

These are only the most obvious negative effects of AA upon those exposed to it.

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  1. Earl Lee says:

    AA is a religious system, It doesn’t have to prove that it is true, moral, or even medically effective.
    At my father’s funeral I had to listen to a fire-and-brimstone sermon from another redneck idjit
    going on and on and on. He frequently mentioned himself and his own wonderful personal relationship with Jesus. For me it was another proof of why this crap is so vile.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good […]


  3. […] Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good […]


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  5. […] Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good […]


  6. I tried AA before and you’re right, there is this Protestant work ethic mentality. Anything that is so ideologically rigid should be questioned. Also, if you notice, everyone is addicted to caffeine and tobacco, so much better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s sad that AA keeps people dependent on it (and, in many cases, caffeine and nictine–which for some reason steppers don’t consider drugs). There are few things stranger than hearing someone who’s been sober 20 years say, “I’m an alcoholic.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mgarcia says:

      Good point, I’ve been going to meetings for about three months and the smoking bothers me. Numerous studies have shown that smoking is far more harmful than alcohol but we have members who are on oxygen tanks still smoking

      Liked by 1 person

      • RonB says:

        Stand on a cliff edge, jump or don’t. That is your choice. Some say it is a choice of fredom. Smoking is 99% jumping of the cliff, self harm. But alcohol is responsible for kiolling many others, it is therefore more of a problem to society. AA Agnostica, AA Atheist, AA Unbelievers are all growing and do a tremendous amount of good. Even one leg in religious AA and the other out, maintains the fellowship which is excellent.


      • I mostly agree with you, especially about the useful aspects of the AA fellowship. The problem with the groups you mention is that while they’ve jettisoned the religiosity, they still buy into some demonstrably false and harmful AA dogma, especially individual powerlessness with its concomitant “one drink one drunk” belief that very likely leads to bingeing.


      • RonB says:

        I agree with you that AA non religious groups still have a long way to go, but at inception 95% of Americans were Judeo-Christian and today less than 30% practice any form of religion, a huge change in seventy odd years. Even so, the opposition by AA is enormous, so these groups are doing very well. It will take time for a new generation to displace the hard set religious ruling body. The “one drink one drunk” stigma is interesting. I can only say that I tried many times to get sober, using other groups than AA and failed. Today, I am sober but fear taking one drink, as it is probable I will once again become a drunk. I’d love to prove them wrong, but I’m too scared to try, there is too much to lose. I have, however, disproven the notion that you can’t go to a bar, play pool and have a soft drink, I do so every week. There is a fine line between courage and stupidity.


  7. Janice Wald says:

    I think your points are well taken. I’ve wondered why they are recovering alcoholics forever. Interesting perspective.
    Thank you so much for visiting my site Reflections today. I’m glad you liked my post about how to use Twitter to get more site traffic. Nice to meet you.


    • For more than one reason. The first reason is simple repetition. There’s huge pressure at AA meetings for people to identify themselves as “alcoholics,” so they do.

      The second is that AA dogma insists that an unfortunate past behavior is a chronic “disease” (in much the same manner as HIV or herpes) that they can never overcome, just stave off through abstinence, and the only way to achieve that is through strict adherence to AA’s “program”–which insists that they have a disease they can never overcome, and that being “honest” requires that they identify themselves as “alcoholics” (with the chronic “disease”).

      A third reason is that loneliness is a terrible plague in American life, and AA provides a ready-made social group. For many people it’s their only social outlet. So, because of peer pressure, constant repetition of dogma, and the desire to fit in with that social group, a lot of people adopt “alcoholic” as their identity, sometimes their primary identity.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. AA trades religion for alcohol, gains minions. Narconon trades “religion” for drugs, gains minions. Minions are profitable. Just ask Universal Pictures.


  9. […] Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good […]


  10. Butch says:

    I’m an alcoholic in AA and in that spirit I am open-minded and take what fits and leave the rest. You have some good points but I definitely disagree with you on many. Alcoholism is a disease and the AMA classified it as such 60 years ago. I know first hand the overwhelming physical craving that sets in with each first drink. And the craving doesn’t stop until I’m drunk. I don’t see or hear that from non-alcoholics. I also know the progression of physical tolerance to alcohol. Perhaps 3 drinks got me drunk when I was 20, but that same effect requires a full quart of liquor 40 years later. So it isn’t just a behavior thing. It is a physical difference to the effects of alcohol that means we shouldn’t drink. Where you are probably right is that it isn’t healthy to totally define ourselves as alcoholics forever. In the beginning it is a practice in being honest with ourselves because alcoholism is a disease that denies itself. It is stated many times in the program that AA is “suggested” as a program of recovery, and that there are other ways. The unique thing about AA is that it has grown so large that an alcoholic can find a familiar meeting of support almost anywhere in the world. There are many alcoholics whose life centers around AA. Your observation is correct but your reasoning and conclusion are wrong. Many of these people have shattered their lives so badly that family and old friends will have little to do with them. They find life-long friends in AA who don’t drink. And AA is much more than meetings. Hundreds of events and activities grow out of the groups. I hunt, fish, BBQ, travel… all with people in the program because drinking is never an issue. And your “coerced” members are simply a recognition that locking people in jail hasn’t worked. You would be surprised how many with long-term sobriety came to their first meeting only to get a drivers license back, but stayed after they liked the people they met. The 5% success rate is sad (I thought it was 10%, still sad). I think this is due to a failure of members, rather than the program if it were worked as written. We say that the newcomer is the most important person at every meeting, but we don’t act that way. A first meeting is strange, intimidating, uncomfortable… Until members step up to the plate to make newcomers feel welcome and comfortable we will continue to fail them. Many of your observations are correct, but your explanations are not. It seems as though you are analyzing AA from the outside, like looking up at the moon with the naked eye and trying to decide what it is made out of. Also, I don’t see that money plays any part in AA. Each group is entirely autonomous. Nobody is paid, and most groups are lucky to have an extra $100 to buy coffee or cookies. Events are always potluck. Maybe there is some money at the headquarters, but they have absolutely no say in what our groups do, which is where all the action is. The structure above the individual groups exists only to disseminate literature & information and to organize conventions. AA is a rare opportunity for people to learn about not judging others, forgiveness, caring for others, giving freely, spirituality… In the process we discover a way to live and enjoy life without blocking it out with booze. It is a group of imperfect people trying to improve, so I guess you can criticize it easily by only pointing out the imperfections.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam says:

      Well stated. “More harm than good…” comes from a person who has met AAs who have angered him. He has not separated them from the program as the program says: ‘principles over personalities”. Note: “suggested program”, “each group is autonomous”, “take what fits & leave the rest”, and again “principles over personalities”. This is far from dogma from the top down. Also, recovery does not happen by osmosis. We cannot simply attend meetings and just sit there hoping we will recover. It requires 1.) a true desire to quit drinking 2.) action.


  11. […] Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good […]


  12. […] Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good […]


  13. RonB says:

    I try to go to an AA meeting every week, it’s my choice and my right to that freedom. I doubt if there is any institution or organization not open to criticism of some sort but that is all about negative personalities. There are also a lot of positives in every institution and organization, so it’s all about individual perspective. AA has a lot of caring people who get together in friendship and help each other, they perceive alcohol to have damaged their lives and it helps. That is reason alone to say AA is good. If you choose to follow the 12 steps, get a sponsor, and do other things mentioned in Chaz’s article then that is your choice, blame none other than yourself. If I wrote a book advising people to take cyanide to become perfect, then it’s not my fault if your stupid enough to believe it.
    AA is religious and spiritual but you take from it what you want, there are the old timers who advocate the 12 steps being the only way but they are generally lonely people looking for purpose in life that don’t appreciate the difference between caring and interfering. They only can do harm if you choose to let them indoctrinate you and even that indoctrination is miniscule compared with the social indoctrination we are raised by, nicely called socialization.
    AA has its parts I like such as letting go of past resentments, great advice. On the other hand I have said many times that the perfect result of following the book is a brain transplant from a sheep! Ever heard of a sheep being an alcoholic? We do have brains that are analytical and do think, some at AA forget that.


  14. Lou says:

    I totally agree with this passage. I’ve been working with AA for over 15 years. It’s a so called “we” program when everything is rosy. However once an individual relapses it’s his /her fault. Meanwhile I relapse because the “we” took me to the people places and things. And, kept telling me if you follow a perfect AA program its ok to be with people places and things???? Then the “we” became an “I”. Too much Co dependency not enough individual resiliency.


    • Yes, that’s right. The reasoning is circular: the program is perfect, so therefore it “always works, if you work it”; so, when it doesn’t work for someone (an awful lot of someones, in fact a large majority of those who come to AA for help), the problem is _always_ with the person, not the by definition “perfect program.”

      The fact is, when people buy the AA b.s., try to toe the AA line, and then fall off the wagon, they tend to blame themselves (because they were, somehow, not working “the program” correctly), come crawling, guilt-ridden back to AA, where they’ve lost respect and status, believing what they’ve heard in AA — that there is no alternative to AA. And then, in most cases they’ll start drinking again, and the whole destructive blame-guilt-despair cycle repeats itself.

      AA members do a lot of harm by insisting that it’s either AA or “jails, institutions, or death,” and by insisting that “the program” is perfect.


  15. […] Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good […]


  16. […] Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good […]


  17. […] Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good […]


  18. […] Alcoholics Anonymous Does More Harm Than Good […]


  19. Sam says:

    You begin your article with something I really agree with, the identity thing. I recognized after a couple of years of sobriety that I had beat myself up enough attempting to recover. It was necessary and good initially to take this hard look at my part in why bad things had happened in my relationships and life in general.


  20. Katie says:

    Everything about this article is strict opinion. It absolutely is clear that it was written by someone who has no factual knowledge on addiction, AA or treatment for addiction. Alcoholism is in fact a disease as recognized by the American Medical Association since 1956; 22 years post AAs beginning. A chronic disease is characterized as a part of the human body developing a “defect” (a chemical irregularity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain) which in turn creates “symptoms” (lack of control over substance, unmanagability, and the unfavorable acts commonly associated with addiction such as stealing and lying) and is progressive because there is NO known cure. There is however, like cancer, “treatments” that can lessen the symptoms. No AA does not say that it’s program is the only thing to treat alcoholism (although yes some of its members do) but the program itself is about what worked for the “recovered” alcoholic which yes they do consider it possible to recover. Also no, the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is not based on religion in any way shape or form. They stress this in the 2nd and third steps referring never to any specific belief system but rather any power greater than themself and a God of the alcoholics own understanding. I feel the author of this article should do a little more research before writing a whole opinion based load of crap. God bless you, and although you’re entitles to your utterly incorrect opinions, I am fully entitled to explain why you’re wrong.


    • Well, well. Let’s see what we have here: First, no disputation of the facts I brought up. None whatsoever, except the outright lie that AA is not based in religion.

      Try reading all of AA’s conference-approved literature (I have) regarding AA’s origins in the Oxford Group Movement, try reading the steps (thanks for clarifying that prayer and turning one’s life over to god aren’t religious), and never mind the numerous federal appeals court rulings that AA is religious. But I guess it ain’t ’cause you say it ain’t.

      Then there’s appeal to authority, citing the AMA. Guess what? The AMA — an organization whose primary purpose seems to be to increase its members’ income — doesn’t decide what is or isn’t a “disease.” Of course it’s to the advantage of the AMA’s “addictionologists” and members in the utterly ineffective 12-step-treatment industry to call alcohol abuse a “disease” (there’s a lot of insurance industry cash out there; and another “disease” means another source of income, but calling a behavior a disease doesn’t make it one, or make the labeling of behavior as a disease any less ludicrous.

      Also, the term “alcoholism” is colloquial and is not used professionally — e.g., it doesn’t appear in the definitive DSM-V. It’s just a folk term used by AA members and other 12-steppers that’s become common through constant repetition.

      Finally, please consider once again that you’ve disputed none of the facts I cited, except for your lie about AA’s origins. All you’ve done is provide a prime example of AA fanaticism and refusal to face facts.

      This dogmatic “my way or the highway” approach kills people and causes untold injury.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Kara says:

    So first of all, only a moron would think of alcoholism as a “disease,” right?

    Well let’s see, sifting through the thousands of google hits I get, seems like maybe the “National Institute on Drug Abuse” would know:

    “Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.”

    Hey! You learn something new every day!

    So next please tell me what would a “recovered” alcoholic look like? Well, it would mean someone who could go out and have a drink or two, have friends over for the game and crack a beer, tip up a goblet of wine of Christmas, this kind of stuff, right? Whether you like the label “alcoholic” or not (I’m going to use it for the purposes of this post), there’s a reason why alcoholics and addicts say they’re in recovery and not recovered. I’m not a fan of AA, but I’m a less a fan of these programs that try to tell you you can drink moderately. First of all, why would anyone want to drink moderately? I don’t understand this, as an alcoholic. I want to drink AT LEAST until I’m seeing double–anything else is a punch to my liver and wallet for nothing. Any guesses why? Because I’m not a “normie.” Something is different with my brain. I get the most beautiful, euphoric high when I drink, and guess what that does? Makes me want to drink more, more, more. And when I *don’t* drink, urges from my brain implore me constantly to give in and get that high. There is no “recovery” from alcohol or drugs. It isn’t a sprained toe. You can quit. And from what I’ve seen from people I know who have tried (and usually failed) to quit smoking, I would never categorize anyone who had been able to quit smoking as “recovered.” They’ve quit. Recovery simply means that beyond just quitting, you are working a program to address your triggers, urges, life situations, anger and stressors, things like that, in order to make it less likely that a relapse will occur. Recovery is ongoing. It isn’t like one day you go *BOOP!* “I think I’m done avoiding triggers and meditating and seeing my therapist and all that shizz. What’s the worst that could happen? = RECOVERED!”

    You go into rampant conjecture about AA actually *worsening* people’s disease and make a passing mention to what sounds to me like a pretty goddamn immoral 37 year-old “study” where they took people whose recovery philosophy tells them they have no control if they take “that first drink” and then…give them a drink??? I can see it being demonstrated that AA’ers could be at risk for drinking more if they drink, but it’s the hardline AA’ers that gobble up and swallow the steps and traditions and Big Book passages line by line. Not everyone who attends AA believes he or she is powerless, just like they don’t all believe in a higher power.

    Drinking does often worsen, at least in alcoholism (as opposed to normative “normie” drinking). I’m not sure yet that you think alcoholism is really a “thing.” (“Why do all these assholes all over the place binge drink? Why don’t they just drink socially?”)

    AA’ers don’t believe alcohol is cunning, baffling, powerful. It isn’t a Pokemon. They are talking about what goes on internally, the struggle, the alcoholism. And trust me, it is all of those things and more.

    Last of all, what brought me to read this blurb (I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be an “article”) was mention of those coerced into attending AA. The line about people in court systems and all that having to do AA–was that it? I would have looked forward to seeing some in-depth visitation of that issue. 12-step groups can be triggering AND scarring…I wanted to drink more both before (to numb myself) and after (to congratulate myself, I guess) meetings, because they were so incredibly lobotomizing and I hated the philosophy. However I was stuck going for a year until I finally finagled my way into SMART Recovery, a great alternative to AA (and evidence-based)!

    Thanks for reading.


  22. Tony Anonymous says:

    I found the program was helpful for about 6 months to 2 years. I found out about the true workings of the A. programs. The lies, the secrets, the out right frauds and that’s by the management.
    I was able to not use and go to the meeting for 2 or 3 months observing the attendees I notice that most have no clue. Some with 20 or more years and still mentally sick and emotional unaware. They don’t use but have nothing to offer. The few that do have something to offer are rare and one will have to go from meeting to meeting watching for them. The whole A.A. process according to their own book is about 2 months with a good “sponsor” If it takes longer than that it’s about control or masturbation. In other words by 6 months one should be able to find the needed sponsor and finish the steps. The idea that one needs to keep working the steps over and over is masturbation for sure. The 10th-12th step are life long and what normal people do with out a formal education. They may call it something else but nonetheless they generally admit there wrongs, pray to some God and “carry” a message of concern and care for there fellow human beings.
    The problem as I see it is the management (say what you want it’s top down) has a vested interest in the status quo. They have no need to change it’s big money. The book sale stay high and the tradition of given to them by over 100,000 meeting does not stop. think about that for a moment 100,000 times X dollars per month it’s in the millions. Why should they care about how the scheme is working. It’s working fine.
    There is certainly more that could be said about the real dangers of hanging around an A.A. or any A meeting to long. The emotional, sexual, and sometime physical abuses that are part and parcel anywhere damaged people congregate will eventually drag you in. Just look at their founder, a chain smoker even after getting empezima and needing oxygen, a womanizer (he was the original 13th stepper and became rich from A.A. Not the great role model they try and show.


  23. A poem re:addiction and recovery
    Ego Strength(the 13th step OR the only step)

    A lot of it is scar tissue
    & that’s always
    Strong stuff

    but the original issue is
    Some piece of work

    so where’s the ego strength come from?

    All the years & years
    helloed & goodbyed
    born & buried
    with a lotta
    wheel grindin’
    heel scuffin’
    in between?

    Jesus some cry
    Allah others
    Jehovah and on & on
    They call their gods

    some got answers
    & others never mouthed the prayers to ask

    Power is not so much
    higher or lower
    as it is
    individual & universal

    neurons & neutrons
    Play on

    but we’ve momentarily
    forgotten the dance steps
    to the music of the spheres


  24. Anonymous says:

    AA saved my life and the 12 step program helped me stop addictions like alcohol drug and sex .anyone who does not recover from this program are the people who dont want to recover they want to stay sick …


    • In other words, AA is perfect, eh? No, it isn’t.

      AA drives huge numbers of people away with its incessant religiosity and boring religious meetings, isn’t even honest about that religiosity, and AA inculcates harmful, false beliefs. Go to almost any AA meeting and you’ll hear that people are powerless to overcome their own problems; that without AA drinking inevitably worsens leading to “jails, institutions, or death”; that AA is perfect, always works for “those who work it”; that AA is the only thing that works; and that people cannot overcome alcohol problems and can at best become dependent upon AA in place of alcohol. All of this is demonstrably untrue.

      As I’ve said before AA does more harm than good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • RonB says:

        The positive side of AA is that there are people who are fellow sufferers that really care. They don’t help for money, people genuinely care for each other. The negative side is AA’s religion, it was formed from the Oxford group and they try to brainwash you. You are correct in that this is dangerous. There are also a lot of lonely people that will help you or be a sponsor, but their main objective is to overcome their own loneliness. Many advocate one foot in, one foot out, but I can’t do it. I don’t believe in the prayers and feel dishonest to fake them. After two years of sobriety I decided to take a drink. Drinking alcohol is not bad, drinking excessive alcohol is bad. My mind says abstinence is acceptance of being a failure, not having the self discipline to not drink to excess. I rarely drink now, but when out for dinner I have a glass of wine, weddings a glass of champagne, parties maybe two glasses of wine, and it makes me socially more acceptable. I enjoy life more and don’t think of myself as incapable of drinking in a healthy way.


  25. Priscilla says:

    I have a confession to make. I am an incredibly lonely person and I go to AA and NA for this reason only. I am not addicted to alcohol or drugs. I go because the people there are even more dysfunctional than I am. They annoy me, upset me and repulse me but it’s better than nothing.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Kathy says:

    Many years ago I had the craving to drink and it would not stop until I got good and drunk. I went to AA and members there told me I was in denial because I wouldn’t admit I was an alcoholic. I told them I was drinking because I was in emotional pain and NOT because I was an alcoholic. They would not hear it. After working through a lot of my pain, I was able to drink socially and finally gave it up (without ANY step work or meetings) due to the fact that alchohal increased my pain level. I don’t blame AA’s rigidity as the meetings can work for some even though they certainly did not for me. What I do blame is the rehab centers that preach that 12 step is the ONLY way to recovery because they are too goddamn lazy and greedy to look at other options. I know people who have had great success with refuge recovery, a program that uses Buddhist principles for addiciton. They went to refuge recovery because AA did not work for them and they continue to feel like something is wrong with them because it didn’t work.


  27. Anonymous says:

    Sober for 27 years through AA. That’s all I have to say. The proof is in the results. AA needs no defending. Its been around for 75 years, it’s free, there are no rules, the only requirement for membership is a desire to quit drinking. Simply, it’s as simple as one alcoholic helping another.


  28. Travis says:

    You dont understand what you are even talking about. Its not a waste of time. Most people go because we want to go. Theres allot of principles that help you become a better person. Youre putting an invalid opinion and assumptions of something that keeps anonymity… dont know what you dont know


  29. Travis says:

    I had a court order to do a a meetings and I hated doing them and was still going fucking high and loaded at each one but then you start to see the people in there are actually happy about their lives and see how they change their lives for the better and it’s started to piss me off. And it made me take a look at myself and see the things I was doing in my life that were wrong and selfish in stuck in my addictions. I can’t speak for anyone else but that’s my experience it’s going to make my life better everyday and opening doors in life that I never thought would even open. I’ve been to prison I’ve almost died a few times and I was pretty close to suicide. I was beyond broken and hopeless and something happened in those rooms. God works wonders beyond our. Comprehension cuz that’s the last place I would have expected


  30. JtAlmond says:

    Relapse 20 years ago meant a hangover and remorse. I and many others did inpatient treatment which was a crash course in AA plus some pop psychology, and kid fun. After discharge there was the pink cloud effect, then a disillusionment followed by a binge. The drugs of the era (1980s) was beer and pot.
    The same type of treatment exists today but the clientele is doing meth, pills, and research chemicals. The clients are sequestered in a treatment center for 21-28 days just like yesteryear. During these 3 to 4 weeks the clients tolerance to these drugs drops to zero. When the client is discharged from treatment the pink cloud they were on fades and they relapse on their meth, pills, and other chemicals but with no tolerance to their drugs of choice they overdose and die. This same phenomena occurs after a short jail stint as well. This scenario has been a driving force in a significant number in all these overdoses the US has had in these past 5 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Todd M Maddaline says:

    Good article. However, whomever wrote it does not have an accurate understanding of The Program of AA as outlined in it’s main text, Alcoholics Anonymous. The text states very clearly: “We have RECOVERED from a seemingly helpless, hopeless state of mind and body. It never asserts “we will always be recovering”. That is fodder from treatment centers brought into the FELLOWSHIP of AA and parroted by idiots who have no idea what the program of AA States and most likely are not real alcoholics. Also, the text never states that alcoholism is a progressive illness. Again, fodder from AA meetings and Non-Program based members. Lastly, I personally believe it is a progressive illness and progresses whether an alcoholic drinks or not so “abstinence” isn’t even a factor. Get your facts straight please.


  32. Ajay Sayajirao Desai says:

    Negativity is in your thoughts and some ego about the amount of knowledge you have otherwise you wouldnot have seen or talked or write or think thisway


  33. Shannon Turner says:

    Obviously you are not an alcoholic or addict to say that relapse does not worsen each time or that a person has control once they choose to drink or use….

    It is a progressive disease with or without AA as the background for your complete ignorance.


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