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Sun Dec 22, 2019, 01:40 PM

AA Helped So Many Of My Alcoholic Friends Control Their Addiction

Last edited Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:01 PM - Edit history (4)

Not sure why some are so negative about AA.

I hope someone who has experience overcoming alcoholism chimes in below.

To those who shared, Thank You for sharing your heartfelt stories and AA experiences. Sharing is how we help each other. There is no shame. Addiction is an indiscriminate disease.

The stories of AA recovery in the comments below are the best part of this article.

I will share that I lost two spouses and my one brother to early deaths from Alcoholism. They held their noses when AA was mentioned.

On the other hand, I became friends with many who succeeded in controlling their addiction by regular AA attendance every week for the rest of their lives.

Here’s what a kind, honest agnostic shares below:

Comment # 32
.

Agnostic with 17+ years sober through AA.

I distinctly remember cracking open the Big Book for the first time looking for religious (Biblical) terms, names and phrases that I didn't want anything to do with. They weren't there.

The only word I saw was God and AA clearly say's to choose a God of YOUR understanding. That I could deal with.

Since I'm agnostic and have no clue who, what or if God is, I "took what I needed" from the program and left the rest, which AA has no problem with you doing.


Individual counseling does not have a higher success rate and the co-pays are unaffordable for most.

AA is free!

Addiction is never “cured” but controlled. Addiction lurks, it ebbs and flows and can easily be triggered. The addict benefits from regular group support. Those that can afford individual counseling improve their control by also attending a support group.

But with both, if the addict doesn’t work the program, the program doesn’t work. Therefore, success rate score cards are arbitrary.

Here’s a bit of comparative analysis

Another study mentioned in the same publication observed a smaller outpatient sample. The results concluded that over 70% of those who attended a 12-step program weekly for 6 months before the two-year follow-up point were abstinent from alcohol. Another study conducted on those with an untreated drinking problem showed 70% of those with 27 weeks or more in AA were abstinent from alcohol at the 16-year follow-up mark. Moreover, the study revealed those with a shorter duration of time in AA had lower rates of abstinence.11
https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/12-step/whats-the-success-rate-of-aa

Same applies to any addiction. The addict is the only person that can succeed in using tools and faithfully work whatever programs he/she chooses.

There but for the Grace of God or Your Higher Self go you or I! Addiction is a disease.

Outlier Zealots on the spiritual scale can’t seem to help but vehemently argue with each other. The grinding need to “Be Right” is the very basis of being an indignant loudly verbose zealot.

I fear zealots on either side of the issue of Faith the most. Haven’t zealots led the greatest atrocities throughout history?

That said, I hope we all encourage the addicts in our orbit to try & work all the tools available to get the monkey on their back under control.

Addiction is a chronic, life long disease.

Warn the children! My parents warned me and scared me enough that I didn’t start using substances. Forever grateful ❤️

The anti-AA campaign is mystifying.

Could it be fueled by the hugely profitable rehab industry?

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Reply AA Helped So Many Of My Alcoholic Friends Control Their Addiction (Original post)
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 OP
SCantiGOP Dec 2019 #1
Aristus Dec 2019 #4
SCantiGOP Dec 2019 #8
Kaleva Dec 2019 #12
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #21
Kaleva Dec 2019 #106
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #111
virgogal Dec 2019 #88
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #94
Kaleva Dec 2019 #107
Dorian Gray Dec 2019 #186
Nature Man Dec 2019 #29
pnwmom Dec 2019 #69
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #112
pnwmom Dec 2019 #113
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #124
Dorian Gray Dec 2019 #187
pnwmom Dec 2019 #196
Nature Man Dec 2019 #121
Hekate Dec 2019 #147
Timewas Dec 2019 #73
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #84
Dorian Gray Dec 2019 #188
Timewas Dec 2019 #195
Igel Dec 2019 #91
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #102
Nature Man Dec 2019 #127
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #137
Mariana Dec 2019 #171
LeftInTX Dec 2019 #159
Major Nikon Dec 2019 #173
Dorian Gray Dec 2019 #189
Major Nikon Dec 2019 #194
demosincebirth Dec 2019 #184
fescuerescue Dec 2019 #2
Lars39 Dec 2019 #58
Mariana Dec 2019 #172
Lars39 Dec 2019 #174
X_Digger Dec 2019 #63
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #77
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #78
jmowreader Dec 2019 #110
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #135
Nature Man Dec 2019 #136
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #141
jmowreader Dec 2019 #175
X_Digger Dec 2019 #148
Timewas Dec 2019 #90
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #151
Atticus Dec 2019 #3
Stuart G Dec 2019 #81
jberryhill Dec 2019 #5
ismnotwasm Dec 2019 #7
Nature Man Dec 2019 #30
bitterross Dec 2019 #51
X_Digger Dec 2019 #67
bitterross Dec 2019 #158
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ismnotwasm Dec 2019 #101
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #114
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OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #143
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H2O Man Dec 2019 #49
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OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #71
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Kaleva Dec 2019 #13
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OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #16
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Nature Man Dec 2019 #126
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Dorian Gray Dec 2019 #191
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Hoyt Dec 2019 #10
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #11
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OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #82
Nature Man Dec 2019 #118
ismnotwasm Dec 2019 #142
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jalan48 Dec 2019 #25
Phoenix61 Dec 2019 #26
rzemanfl Dec 2019 #40
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #44
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Iggo Dec 2019 #28
rzemanfl Dec 2019 #43
Comatose Sphagetti Dec 2019 #32
tymorial Dec 2019 #35
ismnotwasm Dec 2019 #39
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #109
rzemanfl Dec 2019 #42
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #46
Comatose Sphagetti Dec 2019 #76
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #79
tymorial Dec 2019 #33
applegrove Dec 2019 #45
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #47
Iggo Dec 2019 #54
Triloon Dec 2019 #50
applegrove Dec 2019 #56
Kaleva Dec 2019 #52
Nature Man Dec 2019 #138
Dorian Gray Dec 2019 #193
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #59
Geechie Dec 2019 #53
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #115
Buckeyeblue Dec 2019 #55
Iggo Dec 2019 #62
Buckeyeblue Dec 2019 #87
Iggo Dec 2019 #93
catrose Dec 2019 #166
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #122
YOHABLO Dec 2019 #60
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Stuart G Dec 2019 #74
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #163
MyNameGoesHere Dec 2019 #75
TlalocW Dec 2019 #92
SidDithers Dec 2019 #120
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #201
smirkymonkey Dec 2019 #207
marieo1 Dec 2019 #97
USALiberal Dec 2019 #103
Aquaria Dec 2019 #104
Nature Man Dec 2019 #119
SidDithers Dec 2019 #123
ismnotwasm Dec 2019 #131
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #132
X_Digger Dec 2019 #152
Bradshaw3 Dec 2019 #157
YOHABLO Dec 2019 #165
Stuart G Dec 2019 #169
TexasBushwhacker Dec 2019 #108
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #128
LeftInTX Dec 2019 #162
TexasBushwhacker Dec 2019 #167
jcgoldie Dec 2019 #116
Nature Man Dec 2019 #129
stillcool Dec 2019 #133
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #154
Hekate Dec 2019 #139
Nature Man Dec 2019 #140
liberalguilt57 Dec 2019 #145
yortsed snacilbuper Dec 2019 #146
catrose Dec 2019 #168
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Arthur_Frain Dec 2019 #149
Skittles Dec 2019 #150
Kali Dec 2019 #153
Dorian Gray Dec 2019 #185
live love laugh Dec 2019 #199
OhNo-Really Dec 2019 #200
snpsmom Dec 2019 #202
Upthevibe Dec 2019 #204
JonLP24 Dec 2019 #205
Comatose Sphagetti Dec 2019 #206
SharonAnn Dec 2019 #208

Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 01:47 PM

1. There is a simple reason many have strong negative opinions about AA

They absolutely require a fundamentalist religious acceptance of god, or whatever the higher power is. If you can't accept that, which many can't, the process simply doesn't work.

I have sat in countless hours of AA, NA and Al-Anon meetings with both a close friend and an ex-wife whom I was trying to help get/stay sober. I couldn't personally buy into the whole "I am powerless and god controls everything" mindset. If it does help someone then god bless them (pun intended) but it wouldn't work for me nor many others.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 01:50 PM

4. AA has a subgroup for atheists, or for those who just don't want to bring God into it.

n/t

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Response to Aristus (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 01:57 PM

8. not really

the fundamental core of the belief is that the individual is powerless to end their addiction and must turn control over to some unspecified deity or higher power.

There is a group called SOS, for Secular Organization for Sobriety, but they do not have many chapters, and all are in large cities.

Again, if someone can use AA to beat the hell of addiction, whether it is alcohol or some other substance, I am all for it, and would never criticize or discourage anyone from participating. It simply wouldn't work for me.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:22 PM

12. AA doesn't work for all. Even for those who do believe in God.

Every program out there has a very low success rate. The only one that is 100% effective is death and that's what happens to many, if not the majority of addicts.

Of the heavy drinkers that I hung out with in my younger days, I'm the only one still alive. But i quit drinking 30 years ago. They didn't and they paid the price.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:48 PM

21. How did you succeed?

Thank you for commenting

Yes addiction results in

Death, Disease and/or Jail

Unless conquered with the support of others or an iron will.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #21)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:26 PM

106. I just got sick of the taste and quit cold turkey.

I used to drink at least a 12 pack a day and often more. One day a friend and I split a 12 pack for a road trip. I drank just one beer out of that 12 pack and it tasted so bad I had to force it down. Haven't drank since. My friend didn't quit and he died over 10 years ago from drinking.

I can be a with a group of people who are drinking and I have no desire to have a beer, hard drink or wine. Being revolted by the thought of drinking alcohol ended many years ago. There's just something inside of me that makes me refuse offers of a drink or have a desire to go out to a bar or buy some from a store.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #106)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:33 PM

111. You are truly one of the lucky stars. So happy for you 💕

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:36 PM

88. It saved me,38 years ago.

 

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Response to virgogal (Reply #88)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:52 PM

94. Wonderful! Merry Christmas ✨✨❤️

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Response to virgogal (Reply #88)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:26 PM

107. It has saved a number of people. I don't knock AA

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #12)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 09:42 PM

186. I'm glad you did.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #8)


Response to Aristus (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:04 PM

69. You can't keep the concept of powerlessness out of it, and that's what many object to.

I have a relative for whom AA felt like a godsend. However, a younger relative tried it and was never able to find a group that felt right. There was also the religious element that was a complete turn-off, no matter how they expressed it. But this relative has also been sober for 13 years, with a non AA approach.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #69)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:36 PM

112. Addiction is a power. The group power can help overcome the temptation of addiction

That simple

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #112)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:40 PM

113. But AA isn't the only group and its practices aren't the only practices.

My younger relative -- after trying AA -- found his path, and his group, in long distance running. The emphasis is on health, not on powerlessness or addiction.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #113)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:54 PM

124. Of course it isn't. It's just a worldwide 24/7 one

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #113)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 09:43 PM

187. I'm glad that worked for your relative. Sobriety isn't easy,

but I'm glad that he found the tools to help him in his path to sobriety if he felt he needed to get there.

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Response to Dorian Gray (Reply #187)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 11:20 PM

196. Me, too. An older relative swore by AA, but the young one just couldn't connect with it.

And he's been sober for 12 or 13 years, so whatever he's doing is working.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #112)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:52 PM

121. Diarrhea is a power

addiction is a combination of social, behavioral, emotional, psychological, and biochemical processes.

Divorce shame/puritanical thinking and shame-based, bronze age, religio-spiritual claptrap from the equation and you can start reclaiming mental headspace.

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #121)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:57 PM

147. The power of logorrhea aside, I do hope you found something that works for you, personally.

I've met many AA members in my life who just go quietly about their business, making room in their lives for the regular group meetings, sponsoring and mentoring others -- finding the power-with of a support group, and the power-over their addiction.

There are an unknown number here, who occasionally pop up to celebrate each other's anniversaries of sobriety and control over their own lives.

I would never, ever sneer at the means by which they achieved this -- which is what your post does, in spades.

Peace in the new year.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:13 PM

73. Sorry (IMHO)

But using the "God" thing as an excuse is just that,an excuse to keep drinking.The AA program mostly is not "god" it is stressing some sort of "higher power" not necessarily "god" but whatever type of spiritualism that you can use to overcome your addiction.No one cares what/who it is, it can be a chair a table or a cup of coffee,personally I am an avowed atheist but I had no problem accepting their spiritualistic approach.. I personally think anyone who grabs that for an excuse to not use AA is just not really ready to quit and are looking for more reasons to keep drinking...

AA's 12 step program has been the most successful program overall..

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Response to Timewas (Reply #73)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:30 PM

84. So right for so many addicts.

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Response to Timewas (Reply #73)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 09:48 PM

188. I think that a lot of resistance to AA is from people who don't want to drink

But there are people who have found success in other paths, and if they are committed to health and sobriety, AA may not be part of the right combination for them. But having a community of people who have suffered through addiction and who are at various stages of recovery is super helpful to most recovering addicts. Addicts use for many reasons, but self medicating because of anxiety or loneliness is common. Having a group (whether it's AA or another) isn't something to sneeze at.

(I don't have a lot of patience for people bad mouthing AA, but I respect that people may want to try other avenues And some may be successful.)

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Response to Dorian Gray (Reply #188)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 11:17 PM

195. Agreed

The process of admitting the problem and seeking help is the first step regardless if that help is through AA or a church or any other person place or thing.... Personally I used AA 36 years ago and have no regrets whatsoever. As I stated I am an avowed atheist and have no use at all for churches or god or any of that and could have easily fallen into the idea that I can't go there because god and religion where phony and I didn't believe and didn't want any more of that crap..... But the ideas of groups working together towards a common goal applies to religion and to AA the goal is what counts in the end however you get there ... If you want to end up sober and have a decent life use whatever means is available

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:39 PM

91. That kind of argument leaves me cold.

It boils down to, "Not everybody can participate, so it shouldn't exist."

It's not like somebody can't try to find an alternative. It might be that the alternative wouldn't be as highly subscribed, but them's the breaks in a country with an active civil society.

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Response to Igel (Reply #91)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:12 PM

102. Well said!

Thank you

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Response to Igel (Reply #91)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:03 PM

127. More like, "Caveat Emptor"

is what I'm reading.

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #127)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:36 PM

137. It's free to all. Active addicts sometimes lack discernment

Addiction is very much like being surrounded by a pea soup thick fog. No one can find you, you can’t see anything. All that exists is a pain convinced it can only be relieved by one more drink, or pill, or whatever the addiction.

This is why we can’t reason with an active addict and why the addict will yes you to death on their way to their next fix.

It.Is.A.Disease
Insidious with no prejudice

AA helps people.

Why steer the occasional addict terrified into putting aside their addiction denial from seeking help from a loving group of addiction survivors?

I do not understand this 21st Century Anti-AA movement!


Not helpful to active alcoholics.

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Response to Igel (Reply #91)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 09:27 PM

171. Where, exactly, did the poster imply that AA shouldn't exist? nt.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:36 PM

159. It's "higher power" and for those who aren't religious, higher power is AA

My son had addiction issues. He never went to church or prayed or anything during recovery. He mostly hung out with biker guys from AA. (And he was very young and wasn't a biker type at all, but they accepted him) He was hospitalized several times and spent years in recovery. The bikers would take him to conventions etc.

It's admitting that you are powerless over the substance. Addiction is when something controls you, especially when you've tried willpower and all sorts of methods to stop.

It may not work for everyone and it may not work for religious people too. It isn't a fundamentalist religious acceptance of God.

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 09:37 PM

173. There's also other reasons

The claims of AA's efficacy are pretty dubious and no where near what AA suggests. They also make all sorts of baseless claims about their programs such as claiming alcoholics will die without AA. The reality is the people who attend AA meetings are already highly motivated to quit drinking, which is the most important factor in the success of any program, including those who do so entirely on their own.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #173)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 09:49 PM

189. Who makes those claims?

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Response to Dorian Gray (Reply #189)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 10:15 PM

194. I already told you. AA makes those claims.

At this juncture, we can hear a churchman exclaim, “They are making disobedience a virtue!” He is joined by a psychiatrist who says, “Defiant brats! They won’t grow up and conform to social usage!” The man in the street says, “I don’t understand it. They must be nuts!” But all these observers have overlooked something unique in Alcoholics Anonymous. Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles.
https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/twelve-steps-and-twelve-traditions

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Response to SCantiGOP (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 08:42 PM

184. You don't have a problem with alcohol so you go with a closed mind and negativity towards AA. Were

the meetings you went to empty? I doubt it.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 01:48 PM

2. The religious aspect of it triggers

non-religious fundys. Gotta remember, there are extremist of every persuasion.

As far as the rehab industry goes, They are awash in customers right now. They have NO problems with competition.
In the last year I've worked to get several people into treatment and the biggest problem is finding space for them.

Sadly, the success rate for all addiction programs is very very low.

I really don't see as reason why there cannot be space on the planet for religious and non-religious based recovery programs. Neither have cracked the code of success yet, but given that there are large populations of non-religious and religious people, I see no issue with providing a method they are more comfortable with,.

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Response to fescuerescue (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:51 PM

58. Glad you mentioned the triggering aspect.

There are plenty of people recovering from religious abuse.

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Response to Lars39 (Reply #58)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 09:33 PM

172. The poster calls those people "non-religious fundys" [sic] and "extremist" [sic].

There are plenty of meetings that are populated by people like that, who will go out of their way to make non-religious people feel unwelcome.

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Response to Mariana (Reply #172)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 09:44 PM

174. Yes. They expect and demand conformity.

Usually heaping more abuse on the non-religious, too.

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Response to fescuerescue (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:56 PM

63. I would have no problem with it if it weren't state-mandated.

Good luck with you and your god-whatever, if it's your choice.

But an arm of the state requiring it? Oh hell no.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #63)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:21 PM

77. A professional addresses this issue below. There is a choice

These are people with DUIs putting their communities at risk. My neighbor was killed at 9:00AM by a drunk driver leaving a 3
Month old baby motherless.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #63)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:23 PM

78. A professional addresses this issue below. There is a choice

These are people with DUIs putting their communities at risk. My neighbor was killed at 9:00AM by a drunk driver leaving a 3
Month old baby motherless.

They are not being mandated to go to church. AA is “take what you want, leave what you don’t want”

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #78)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:33 PM

110. "Take what you want" isn't what AA says

Go back and study the “Cake Recipe” parable. Official AA doctrine is, if you don’t accept the whole program it won’t work at all.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #110)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:24 PM

135. Read comments from The addicts AA saved.

Truly empirical evidence supporting AA

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #135)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:28 PM

136. personal comments are anecdotal evidence

not empirical evidence.

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #136)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:44 PM

141. Good point. Although attributing 17+ years of sobriety to AA is a tad more than "casual"

In the arena of conquering the control of an addictive substance, personal success stories and an offered helping hand of a sober addict just might trump a litany of empirical evidence to a struggling addict.

Would you agree?

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #135)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 10:05 PM

175. Back up for a second

My comment was about the "take what you want" thing.

Lots of their members might just do the parts of AA they're comfortable with, but the position of AA has ALWAYS been "if you don't do the entire program exactly as we've laid it out, it won't work." (I am an Army-certified drug & alcohol counselor. Over 20 percent of our training was on how AA works, I've read the Big Book, and we were required to go to an AA meeting to see it for ourselves.)

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #78)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:01 PM

148. Depends on the locality. There are courts today, that only allow AA. (Because it's free.)

As it stands right now, it's forcing religious twaddle on people.

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Response to fescuerescue (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:39 PM

90. YES

The so called "war on drugs" left out the main ingredient which was rehab centers with enough room ...Any alcohol/drug user/abuser that wishes to quit needs a place to go right now not next week or next month,it is quite often a spur of the moment decision and if not acted on right away will definitely fade in a short time....

This is not a new problem but seems to be one that is constantly ignored..

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Response to Timewas (Reply #90)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:16 PM

151. Affordable is a word needed as well

The costs are astounding

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 01:50 PM

3. Thank you for defending AA so well. As the child of an alcoholic who had stayed sober

"one day at a time" for 41 years when leukemia took him in 2003, I can honestly say AA saved our family. I have his framed "Serenity Prayer" on my wall and use it often.

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Response to Atticus (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:24 PM

81. Agree...The Serenity Prayer" is simple, and easy to know and understand...

God (or higher power) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...
................................courage to change the things, I can...
................................And wisdom to know the difference..

..................Grant me the patience for the changes that take time,
..................Appreciation for all the I am, and have...
..................And tolerance for those with different struggles.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Of course....that is what I say, everyone can have their own words....

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 01:50 PM

5. When a court requires you to enroll in a religious program, there is a problem

 

Alcoholism is successfully treated in many countries without engaging in religion.

Funny that you deride the “need to be right” while belittling and demeaning the people with whom you disagree out of relative ignorance.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 01:55 PM

7. AA isn't a religious program

But I agree, courts should stay out of it. I think that happened after we stopped putting chronic drunks in insane asylums and decided they actually could be helped. AA just happened to be there. Probably time to move on.

AA is not structured like a religion, most people don’t understand that. They see”God” plastered over everything and draw the logical conclusion.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #7)


Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:47 PM

51. AA is absolutely a religious program.

 

I went through rehab and was forced to attend AA meetings and read the Big Book. There is no way anyone who has actually attended the meetings regularly and read the book can say it is not a religious program. Just read the chapter We Agnostics. Listen to the people who speak at the meetings and speaker events. They may tell you that your "higher power" can be anything but the vast majority are talking about the Christian god when they speak of a higher power. I can't recall attending a meeting where someone DIDN'T say Jesus was their higher power - to great acknowledgement and approval from the others. I don't care what words you wrap it in to deny it, it is a religious program. I'd go so far as to say a cult without a cult leader.

The similarities between the way a Christian church and AA works are undeniable. You have someone at a meeting who tells their story of success because they found AA that saved their lives. Then they tell you there is no other way than AA. Others chime in with their stories and reinforce the thought that AA is the only way. Then the offering plate is passed. The 12th step says that once you have a spiritual awaking you must carry the message. You must proselytize.

This is exactly like every Baptist revival I ever attended as a child. You have the person telling you how the found Jesus/God and that saved their lives. Then they tell you the only way to heaven is through accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Then the offering plate is passed. The Christian churches say that once you found Jesus you must carry the message. You must proselytize.

It's the exact same formula.

People need to understand what really works is having a life. Read the books by Gabor Mate and Marc Lewis. What "cures" people is having something to live for. Feeling you are worthwhile and you have a place in the world. Google the research on "Rat Park."

This is what our society is so bad at right now. We value all the wrong things - money, fame and power. We value winning and ensuring by our winning someone else must lose. We have become a very sadistic society. It's not just Trump and his cult of deplorables.

Until we fix the core problems with our society we are not going to make a dent in addiction issues. We're only going to make them worse.

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Response to bitterross (Reply #51)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:59 PM

67. Similarly, failings of AA are like failings of religion.

"The program didn't fail you, you failed the program" vs "Your faith wasn't strong enough."

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #67)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:33 PM

158. Exactly! "You didn't work your program hard enough."

 

I heard that countless times. That was what was said about anyone who relapsed. That they just didn't work their program hard enough. Just like any other religious cult, the fault is never with the religion.

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Response to bitterross (Reply #51)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:29 PM

83. Thank you for your post.

Alas, society seems to only be getting worse. There's 7.75 billion peole on the planet. Kinda hard to convince people they're special and that they matter.

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Response to bitterross (Reply #51)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:10 PM

101. No, it isn't

It’s not set up that way, although people can certainly set up their groups that way. There is no AA boss, no religious leader, and more people question the existence of God than not. It’s a bloody anarchy.

I sobered up at what is called a first step hall. Full of wet brains, active drunks, mentally disabled drug dealers, drug addicts, criminals, motorcycle enthusiasts, see workers. Women who lost their kids. Men who beat the shit out of their wives. All arguing with each other. I loved the chaos, coming from the street as I did. My personal vocabulary had the word “motherfucker” in it at least every paragraph, if not every sentence. All trying to get some recovery from a society who thought we were shit and not worth saving.

What I did not experience is anybody shoving religion or god down my throat and I would have told them to fuck of if they tried.

So we have two anecdotal takes here that proves exactly nothing.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #101)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:41 PM

114. Awesome comment. Thank you

How are you doing now?

It is so helpful to hear from people that have benefited from AA

Will never understand those that slam it.

First Step...hadn’t heard of that. I have a relative in need of a sober living boost.

Merry Christmas 🎄

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #114)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:08 PM

130. It's kind of a concept

A group of rent a facility and have meeting at certain times. Some of these facilities turned into “first step” halls, because so many off the street or right after treatment go to those places. Mine has a certain reputation of being rough around the edges, and that’s an attraction in itself for some people.

I’ve been fine for almost 30 years, got clean in my late 20’s, before that I was a street kid, homeless, had a couple of kids, went on welfare, lived in housing projects and was addicted to alcohol and drugs

I get clean, go to nursing school, get married, raise a blended family, none of which would have happened without that ratty old first step hall. Been married for years, strong happy marriage. Got grandkids.

I was a throw away human. I had literally no value to society, being also a petty criminal and a neglectful parent.

So yeah. AA helped, a lot. At work I am known for being able to deal with our homeless and addicted patients, because that was was me, or, that could have been me.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #130)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:51 PM

143. Thank you! I have someone to share your story with.

Your story brought tears. Tears of joy.

It is stories like yours that save others

AA meetings include story telling like yours. They helped me overcome overwhelming grief and sadness.

Just learning that we “are not alone” in this rough and tumble world is such a healing balm.

Love to you and your family.

Thank you for your service.

Merry Christmas 🎄

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #130)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 08:11 PM

164. Sounds like my son's group!

My son had a substance abuse problem. (Well he was out of control)

After going through detox and rehab, he joined a similar type AA group - at hangout at a 24/7 place called Club 12. He found a group of bikers that he hung with. It worked for him.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #101)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:42 PM

160. I beg to differ and so do the courts.

 

Last edited Sun Dec 22, 2019, 11:45 PM - Edit history (1)

The Big Book and all the literature put out by AA has a distinctly Christian tone to it. Courts in many jurisdictions will not and cannot force people to go to AA anymore because of this.

One example is a NY case, Griffin v. Coughlin. The ruling said:

A fair reading of the fundamental A.A. doctrinal writings discloses that their dominant theme is unequivocally religious.

Indeed, the A.A. basic literature most reasonably would be characterized as reflecting the traditional elements common to most theistic religions. Thus, God is named or referred to in five of the 12 steps. “Working” the 12 steps includes confessing to God the “nature of our wrongs” (Step 5), appealing to God “to remove our shortcomings” (Step 7) and seeking “through prayer and meditation” to make “contact” with God and achieve “knowledge of His Will” (Step 11).

While A.A. literature declares an openness and tolerance for each participant’s personal vision of God “as we understood Him” (Steps 3 and 11), the writings demonstrably express an aspiration that each member of the movement will ultimately commit to a belief in the existence of a Supreme Being of independent higher reality than humankind.

All of the meetings ended with the Lord’s Prayer, which is a specifically Christian prayer. In addition, those attending the meetings were strongly encouraged to pray.


There are other cases. In each, the courts find that AA is religious and promotes a religion.

The courts feel that AA is absolutely set up as religious and violates people's First Amendment rights if they are forced to attend. So yes, "Is IS set up that way."

I don't think that you understand you're making the same sort of arguments as people who said Intelligent Design is not Creationism. My evidence it not anecdotal by any means. It is widely known and discussed. It seems you are the one with an uncommon andecdotal experience.

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Response to bitterross (Reply #51)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:45 PM

117. Good post...



Sid

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Response to bitterross (Reply #51)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:22 PM

155. Those last three paragraphs should be required reading

So true about the current state of our society. I don't know enough about AA to comment on the other part.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:10 PM

9. Not familiar with court order laws

As some have mentioned, there are groups for those who do not want religious symbolism used.

Regarding verbose argumentative zealots of either persuasion who attack those who disagree, it is at our peril to remain fearfully silent of calling them out.

I deride hateful zealotry compelled to attack and/or silence others.

The atheist and the spiritual can and do respectfully co-exist for the most part.

Why fight outwardly about our private inner lives?

Mandating no faith or mandating faith are equally repugnant.

Freedom is choice.

Our inner life is free!

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:17 PM

34. In general, the court orders

are to follow the recommendations of a counselor or therapist. That recommendation can include any number of things, such as in-patient treatment, 12-step programs, and/or ongoing appointments with the counselor/ therapist. Due to the comorbidity of addiction/ substance abuse and mental illness, it could include evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

12-step and related programs can be helpful to a significant number of people. But that does not translate well for everyone, of course, for a wide variety of reasons. And they tend to have less success with people who are court-ordered, which includes an order to follow the recommendations of the counselor/ therapist.

It's interesting to note that the first AA program was not started by "Bill," but by the Iroquois leader Handsome Lake in 1798. Likewise, in the 1960s and early '70s, the Nation of Islam had the highest success rate for dealing with addiction (including heroin use).

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #34)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:21 PM

37. The whole history is interesting as is the structure

It’s not a religious program. Thing is, The word God is all over the place, and it certainly has folks that treat it like a religion. But it’s not.

There are no rules, no leaders, no dogma, nothing set in stone. There are Atheists AA groups. There are nudist AA groups. It calls itself a benign anarchy. AA is pretty damn interesting because behind the “God” word, are some solid psychological principles for recovery. I look at it as a support group.

Another interesting (to me) fact, is that AA itself was torn over ‘signing court slips” there are groups to this day who won’t do it. AA itself works through consensus and I think they decided signing “court slips” (documentation that someone attended) wasn’t going to break anything.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #37)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:41 PM

49. Very interesting.

In the years I worked in mental health, there were periods where I was "shared staff" one afternoon per week at the county's Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services. (I found that name outdated.) That was primarily with MICA clients, including group sessions. When I started at the MHC, there were not good relationships between us and ADAS, and my being assigned as shared staff was part of the director of community services' plan to increase coordination.

Anyhow. At the clinic, I encountered people who were court ordered for evaluation, but who resented any type of treatment. The idea of AA being "religious" was extremely rare, though it did pop up in a few curious cases. The general complaint was individuals claiming they didn't have a choice, and that they were the rugged individuals who liked to decide for themselves what they would do.

I always pointed out that they had this option. They could decide that they would not accept treatment and spend some time in county jail, and once incarcerated, decide if they wanted to see me once a week. Or they could decide treatment outside of jail was better. It made no difference to me. And not a single one picked jail, though quite a few would end up incarcerated within a year. They were generally those who did not carry through with AA.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #49)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:00 PM

68. Excellent addition. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #49)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:05 PM

99. AA is the original CBT.

nt

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #37)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:12 PM

71. Thank you! Found an interesting link. Anti-AA began around 1994

“....Because of its emergence as an enduring, international movement... In 1994, Pittman and Bishop published a bibliography of AA literature that listed more than 2,900 books, dissertations, theses and articles written on AA.

Such attention, particularly scientific attention, has since increased, as has the literature of an AA backlash movement whose books/articles have spawned their own mini-industry (See the writings of Peele, Bufe, Ragge and Trimpey as illustrative examples) and Internet websites (e.g., http://www.orange- papers.org/orange-not_good.html,....”

http://www.williamwhitepapers.com/pr/2008TwelveDefiningMomentsinAAHistory.pdf

Now there are Anti-AA websites even

http://www.orange-papers.org/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi#

Why would non addicts attack AA?

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #71)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:52 PM

95. "Stay in your lane."

AA steps over the line into what many consider their jurisdiction. In a society that consists of specialists and government workers, there is no room for civil society.

That affects authority, income, power. A lot of people don't like sharing, esp. when they think they're the ones who should be listened to, obeyed, and otherwise consulted as the saviors for a particular group. It affects ideology, because it allows for multiple centers of power and influence, and those who want to control feel great anxiety when others not like them wield authority and influence.

A lot of teachers are the same. "How dare you homeschool?!" In some cases the teachers back off when they're told, "I have 15 years teaching in public schools and my certification is still valid." After all, it's still work being done by a guild member. When a psychologist or linguist gets hold of some educational practice and says, "This is bullshit, you misuse data and don't understand language or psychology, and here's why" the immediate response is, "You're not an Educator, go away. You can't understand, you're not an initiate into the educational mysteries."



Others are of the opinion that the mediocre should be discontinued so that we can have more importance placed on finding the solution that's better. (Better yet, they'd be the ones doing the finding ... "Pay me! I'll do some research!"



And yet others must not allow heroes to exist. If somebody's praised, if something's touted as valuable, they must do everything possible to denigrate the person or thing unless they're somehow involved. The existence of something better than they are, or that is better than they can create, is a slap in their faces, an insult, an offense against their deity. Even if they're atheists, they still have an object of veneration.



Then there are the disgruntled. If it didn't work for them, it can't possibly work for anybody else. Why? Because if it didn't work for them, there are two options: Either they failed (no! anything but admit failure!) or it's a load of crap and everybody who says it worked is faking it. Because if they're not, then the others are ... better (?!).

I welcome additions to my list.

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Response to Igel (Reply #95)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:02 PM

98. 😂😂😂"..there's no room for civil society..". Spit coffee laugh. You surprised me

I think we can take your wonderful analysis to a new article. Definitely very well presented and worthy of discussion.

AA saves lives. Keeping the focus on AA

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:24 PM

13. That seems to be more of a problem with the judges then with AA itself.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:40 PM

19. and there are medical treatments like Naltrexone which are used in other countries

... but aren't used much here because (I think) the moral view of addiction promulgated by AA and other 12-step programs doesn't have room for the idea of a medical treatment.

If addiction is at base a physiological condition (something in the person's chemistry, not personality, makes them susceptible to addiction), then medical treatments that interfere with the physiological problem might be a good path to try out.

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Response to dawg day (Reply #19)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:50 PM

22. Well said. Chantix is helping with smoking addiction

Why is our country so backwards?

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #22)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:41 PM

48. My wife, who rarely cries, could not stop crying when she was taking

Chantix. Doctor told her to stop Chantix and she stopped crying. She quit with patches.

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Response to rzemanfl (Reply #48)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:50 PM

57. That is interesting. Some smoking-cessation treatment is the same as an antidepressant-

And anti-depressants are known to have a weird reverse effect in some people using them (making them feel more depressed).

This Naltrexone is used a lot in Scandinavia for alcohol and drug addiction. Blocks "opioid receptors."

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Response to rzemanfl (Reply #48)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:55 PM

61. Yes, I've heard of different reactions

Science knows such a small fraction of brain & gut reactions

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Response to dawg day (Reply #19)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:28 PM

41. My husband is an addict and alcoholic

He takes Antabuse here in the US and goes to AA regularly. He was in and out of programs for over ten years. One day, after his third DUI, he made a decision to take it seriously. We are agnostic. He has no problem with anyone who needs god to help them.

AA doesn’t teach we are powerless. AA teaches an adult is powerless to control their addiction. There is a difference. An addict who is born with a disease IS just as powerless over that disease as cancer. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging you’re powerless over something. It’s a first step in accepting help.

I used to bash AA myself and all programs saying they didn’t work. Then I saw it working for my husband once he made a decision to do the work.

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Response to Bluesaph (Reply #41)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:59 PM

66. That's a beautiful testament. Thank you bluesaph.

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Response to Bluesaph (Reply #41)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:01 PM

125. AA teaches powerlessness over alcohol specifically

The disease-model wasn't part of the "program" from its inception in the 1930s until probably the 1970s (I might be mistaken on the timeline).

Early AAs had no use for actual medical doctors and science aside from stabilizing the newly-penitent drunk; in fact, early AAs would attempt detox on their own and administer booze to newly dry individuals to help them taper off from the shakes.

Still, they never fully discounted the medical profession, at least Silkworth, et al in the beginning, so long as the medical establishment was hands off where it concerned AAs mechanism of action. This goes back to the Oxford Groups, probably around the time when Bill W had a drug-induced religious vision which enabled him to spontaneously "recover."

In early AA, recovery was not a process, it was an event. Proselytization was deemed necessary to hold on to and maintain one's "recovered" state.

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Response to dawg day (Reply #19)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:56 PM

64. Yup. Knew a guy who failed rehab 2x, AA a few more times. Antabuse did the trick

Needed the meds for a few years then weaned himself off. Been sober without the meds (or meetings) for 10 years now

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Response to dawg day (Reply #19)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:00 PM

96. Those are good for crises.

They're not good for long-term use. Unless we want everybody to rely entirely on Big Pharma for their behavior.

AA and other behavior-based plans always have a way to get clean. But they focus on staying clean instead of relying on something else. Addition is still most often a physiological conditions, but like many other things it's better to learn to avoid the problem than not, even if there is a treatment to solve relapses.

It's contrary to the way of lot of people think. It imposes constraints on behavior in a hedonist culture, and allows those who don't want or can't accommodate constraints to feel like they're being judged. To each their own, but I'd like to think that most still believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:23 PM

38. When I was asked to sign the attendance slips for court, I hesitated

By signing, I was giving away my name to a court and at the same time, I knew the chance that the meeting would help an addict/alcoholic was there.

This is accurate, for many rooms
From The Wire, S1,



And those chips and keytags add up

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:56 PM

65. Exactly. n/t

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:05 PM

70. A friend of mine, sober for over 40 years, says

"My experience is that the spirituality of the 12 Steps unites what religion divides."

He then says that "Spirituality is the grateful sharing of an acceptance of powerlessness which leads to gracious and selfless service of others."

He also says, "My experience, while deployed overseas in 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2016 is that G-O-D for me must mean GRATITUDE OR DEATH."

His notions of spirituality and "GRATITUDE OR DEATH" don't sound very "religious" to me.

He credits his sobriety to the spirituality he's discovered in himself through attending 12-Step meetings, not to "religion," so your statement that "Alcoholism is successfully treated in many countries without engaging in religion" applies to his experience in AA in this country.

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Response to majdrfrtim (Reply #70)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:09 PM

100. Good for him

 


If people want to engage in a religious program and find it fulfilling, that is wonderful for them.

In the United States of America, to which I have pledged an oath, it is wrong, simply wrong, for the government to offer someone, for example, a choice between encarceration and enrollment in a religious program.

That is a concept that is fundamental to the basic principles to which my country aspires.

Perhaps you live in some other country where things are different.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 01:54 PM

6. I was under the distinct impression that AA

did not keep any kind of statistics to enable anyone to know what kind of a success rate they had. And those who did try to figure it out, came up with vastly lower numbers than you've posted. Although, yeah, obviously, the longer someone stays in a program the more successful it is likely to be.

And count me as one of those who simply finds the whole god aspect of AA to be offensive. I'm sorry, but I'm an intelligent human being who is the one in control of my life, not some invisible sky creature.

Keep in mind, that if you hand over everything to someone else, you're going to fall for cults and dictators. Which is why evangelicals, a religious subset that says some outer invisible being is in charge of everything, are so strongly supportive of Trump. At least he's not invisible and it saves them from thinking for themselves, or actually analyzing anything at all. Just believe and do what they're told. See how easy that makes everything?

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:33 PM

16. We are all 100% in control.

Well, except for the weather or that drunk driver that smashed into my neighbors wife’s car and killed her three months after giving birth.

We are 100% in control of our inner life unless we have a brain disfunction like paranoid schizophrenia.

A person’s inner life isn’t an indicator of intelligence or lack thereof.

It’s a personal inner life.

Zealots belong to the groups of fanatic outliers who seem he’ll bent on demonizing and scoffing at all who disagree. The two sides of an issue trigger each other in negative ways.

Tolerance, on the other hand, might be a better path.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:09 PM

31. Zealots prey on people's weaknesses

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #31)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:20 PM

36. Yes they do. Some pray & prey

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:38 PM

17. AA says "take what you want and leave the rest."

Meetings substitute for bars and drinking at home while recovering people get used to living sober. I never liked the god part, so I didn't take it 34 plus years ago. I haven't been to a meeting since 1996. Still sober, no relapses.

Alcoholics lose control of their lives, which become unmanageable. It's the disease, not a lack of intelligence. I met many brilliant ex-drunks and brilliant people about to become drunks again in my recovery.



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Response to rzemanfl (Reply #17)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:01 PM

27. This.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #27)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:02 PM

126. Except when you get shamed and "love-bombed"

into the groupthink.

Never mind the actual psychological, financial, and sexual predators that abound in the rooms.

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #126)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:23 PM

156. As I read thru this thread & your contributions, it is clear you despise AA. Can you at least...

...provide links/sources for this last statement?

Is your animus a result of experiencing AA for yourself, however short a time? According to you yourself, that would be anecdotal, but as far as I'm concerned might provide some insight into your steadfast dislike.


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Response to Hekate (Reply #156)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 06:51 PM

179. You are projecting

and making the argument personal, so you're not a worthy counterpart in a fact-based discussion.

You are putting words in my mouth when you say I despise AA. I never said that. You said that. Again, you personalized the matter rather than discussed the ideas.

Is there something so fragile about your own situation where you can't handle any criticisms of your sacred cow?

As far as your request for "links," here's one: www.google.com. Do your own damn homework.

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #179)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 07:08 PM

180. Not hardly

Christ on a trailer hitch, what a piece of work. Peace.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #180)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 07:11 PM

181. So.

That is literally ALL you got. What a joke.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #180)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 02:49 PM

203. Speaking as one who has 2 family members (in other parts of the country) who are...

alcoholics...it's difficult to try and get them any kind of help, the foremost being that will they (the alcoholics) stick to a routine that is effective in stopping their destructive drinking? This is the most important part...sure they may undergo detox, etc., but when they get out of the detox program and start right up w/ the drinking, what can one do? I got two siblings like this. They also have anger issues, so when one goes to try and talk to them (my sister and I), they get extremely resentful, angry, etc., and resort to childish behavior. Hard to deal w/, my sister and I are to the point that ...

Can't depend on family members to be there 100% of the time, especially when the family is scattered all over the country. Not all of us can afford to take off time from work (I tried once when the husband of one of these siblings called me in an attempt to help his wife (my sister), didn't work), etc., to hold hands, encourage non- drinking behaviors, etc., because all of us have lives, both personal and working. It is especially hard when relationships with family and friends have been severely stained over the drinking issue for many years.

It's difficult and hard, especially to watch from afar. I think the biggest thing that I want to make a comment about is that AA is only 1 tiny tool in the workbox of solutions. I would think personal desire is by far the best tool that one would have in wanting to stop the addiction. If I were needing help, I would grab every tool in the box, and use it. Drugs, a program of avoidance, etc., every tool. But it is expensive (some of the treatments), and not guaranteed. Some medical plans don't cover.

And by the way, I haven't heard the saying 'Christ on a trailer hitch, what a piece of work' in a long long time. I hate to say it, because the topic is so serious, but I got a laugh out of this saying, it's been a long time since I've heard it. Thank you so much for shedding a little humor in this serious topic.

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Response to SWBTATTReg (Reply #203)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 11:55 PM

209. Alcoholism runs on my mom's side of the family: her dad, one brother, one sister, is a fair sample.

She had 5 siblings. We grew up far away from everybody, but my mom's cautionary stories about growing up with an alcoholic father were enough to keep me very cautious. Later when I read up on the traits of "adult children of" that was mom all over.

As for my 3 sibs, two are social drinkers, as am I, but one brother -- well, drinking until it's all gone or he runs out of money or the bar closes is what he does and has been doing for his entire adult life, and at the age of 71 he's dying of COPD and alcoholism. A few times in his life he's tried to kick smoking (he started at 12), and I think once he got in trouble and was mandated to attend AA but it didn't last. He lives very far away from the rest of us -- we are scattered from coast to coast. Currently we're trying to help long distance, via his local friends, and I hope will be able to meet there in January to make sure he's cared for and essentially say goodbye.

Almost forgot: my first husband, who I divorced 40 blessed years ago, was also an alcoholic. He straightened himself out several years after we divorced. One of the things that saved his life, I swear, is finally being busted on a DUI and spending a night in jail. He was humiliated, appalled, financially hurt, and never drove drunk again, though quitting booze entirely was still some years in the future. Before that DUI he got stopped multiple times coming home in the wee hours from his job as a bartender in a hotel, but all the cops did in that state was redirect him home, one time from the middle of a pineapple field. I went to bed every night thinking I'd wake up a widow.

What I know of AA is mostly its mythology (so to speak) and the people I have met in person and at DU who swear it saved their lives. But there is no magic wand, and no program works if you don't work it. You can gut it out alone like my grandfather and my ex, or you can avail yourself of the support of a group of peers like some I have known, or you can refuse to see there's a problem and just die, like my brother is doing. Life is full of choices.

As for the phrase that made you lol: thanks. I try to use it sparingly, but always with feeling. I invented it during the sad Terri Schiavo case (some protestor hooked up a great big crucified Jesus to the back of his pickup truck) and in a sense it's my gift to DU to use at need.

Best wishes in the new year. Thanks for your post. Took me all day to write this, what with interruptions, but in doing so I realized how this runs through my life like a dark thread, after all.

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #126)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 01:09 AM

176. "...psychological, financial, and sexual predators..."

Those assholes are everywhere in life.

You watch out for them in AA the same as you'd watch out for them outside of AA.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #176)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 06:48 PM

178. AA is unique

because it is filled with broken people who are often in crisis who are desperately seeking help.

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #178)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 07:13 PM

182. You just described a shit-ton of support groups that are not AA.

I get you don’t like AA, but it’s definitely not unique in attracting the kinds of assholes that prey on desperate people. Those fuckers are everywhere.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #182)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 07:15 PM

183. people in crisis are easy prey

we're not talking about "everything else," we're talking about AA.

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #126)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 10:00 PM

191. sexual predators abound....

While that could happen, and it would be extraordinarily unfortunate... I haven't heard of any cases. Do you have statistics on that?

(Yes, predators prey on vulnerable people, so it wouldn't be a shock to see some at AA meetings.)

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:54 PM

161. AA is free

Some of the other programs are profit oriented....

The emphasis is on high power and that one is powerless or something that is controlling them, such as drugs and alcohol. Some people are able to simply stop, but most people who go to AA have tried everything and aren't getting better. It doesn't work for everyone. The higher power can actually be AA itself as opposed to God. My son went through AA and never did anything religious. He bonded with the AA bikers. AA is free, everyone is a volunteer. We do have a hangout called Club 12, which has meetings 24/7.

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Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 09:58 PM

190. Do you feel like you are an addict?

If not, then it wouldn't be the place for you, anyhow. If you're battling addiction and want to recovery, I hope you find the right path for you.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:15 PM

10. I have known atheists who AA helped. It's having support of others that seems to help.

But, I've also known people who did well without AA. Just depends.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:21 PM

11. Agree 100%. Thank you. Ppl have to do the work the

I thank my lucky stars for not being an addict.

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Response to Hoyt (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:27 PM

14. Yes. Spme atheists are helped by it but some are deeply opposed

to the religious orientation. Until there are non-god based rehab programs, people should not be ordered into AA. On the other hand, they should not have been drinking and driving. Consequences suck.

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Response to OregonBlue (Reply #14)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:38 PM

18. In the 1980s in Connecticut, 2nd DUI was 1 year in jail!

It happened to a 3-piece suited neighbor.

Alcoholism is non- discriminatory

And there might be a clause in that law for religious objection alternatives for mandatory treatment. If not, a poorly written law.

Wonder if any research results of the effectiveness of this mandatory AA program?

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 29, 2019, 04:23 PM

197. Success rate is very low. On the other hand, every success is a gift to be celebrated.

There is evidence that those who seek sobriety programs on their own have a much better success rate than those ordered into programs and programs that are science based are more successful than those that are religion based.

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Response to OregonBlue (Reply #197)

Sun Dec 29, 2019, 05:13 PM

198. Perhaps there's a third alternative

For the truly motivated.

An eastern philosopher once said

“Until each person creates their own path to their higher nature, there will not be enough organized paths to suit the needs of all people”

Group support seems to help the motivated.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:27 PM

15. Sober 40 years. Thank God for AA.

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Response to demosincebirth (Reply #15)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:45 PM

20. Thank you so much & SO Happy for you 👏❤️

It takes courage to speak out.

I only recently caught wind of this Anti-AA movement because of first encounter of rehab process for my relative. I was shocked at the Anti-AA emphasis espoused at the $25k/ month center.

Three people relapsed during that $25k month and my young relative lost faith in rehab.

Of course, no “money back nor satisfied @ guarantees.

Any thoughts you have on the spiritual aspect of AA will be appreciated.

Have a Merry Christmas 🎄

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 02:50 AM

177. One of the traditions we have in AA is " we have no opinions

On outside issues.” Want an inside look on why/how AA works? Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

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Response to demosincebirth (Reply #15)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 10:01 PM

192. Wonderful to hear

I'm happy you had success in your sobriety.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:51 PM

23. I've been to AA meetings and I'm an Atheist. The God shit didn't bother me. nt

 

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Response to UniteFightBack (Reply #23)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:30 PM

85. Yes, If you want to quit..

Yes, if you want to quit and have a life, you just go for it. Any way is a GOOD WAY! You just have to want to quit badly enough. Clean and sober for 45 years!

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Response to McKim (Reply #85)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:21 PM

134. So happy for you! Thank you for commenting and giving hope to others

Merry Christmas 🎄

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:52 PM

24. Some people rebel against the belief that it's the only way

Which is exemplified by the story of the nurse in Canada who sued because his hospital treated it as such.

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Response to Orangepeel (Reply #24)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:13 PM

72. somebody FINALLY nailed it!

there is a VERY large contingent that argue that it's the ONLY way. And if you're not "working the program," you're just deluding yourself. No exceptions. This despite ample evidence of many that DO quit on their own .. without any kind of group or program.
(and in that sense, they ARE like a religion)

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #72)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:29 PM

82. Yes, people that AA has helped regain their lives from the tyranny of alcoholism are eager to share

Out of compassion not fealty or cultism

Non-addicts can’t understand this enthusiasm at all but are quick to bash a program so many have been saved by.

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #72)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:47 PM

118. If you quit on your own

step into an AA meeting and proclaim it. You will be dismissed as a dry drunk, living on a pink cloud, and otherwise shamed and humiliated into the groupthink. At least they will try their damnedest.

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #118)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:45 PM

142. Interesting. I take it you've had some bad experiences

Because of the basic structure of AA, which has no leadership, I fully admit that there are meetings that get on my nerves, call themselves “solution based” and use the Big Book like a bible instead of a basic instruction manual.

Not my thing

Like I said, I work in solid organ transplant, and there are LOTS of people who quit on their own, do not need AA or any other therapy, they simply had no idea their body was Done. With. Their. Shit. But it was too late and they need a transplant. Our sobriety window is 6 months. If someone can’t keep sober for 6 months to save their life, obviously they have a bigger problem

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #142)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:53 PM

144. Not so much a bad experience

as it was seeing a con and a mindfuck for what it was. Saw some shady shit, even in AA places in better neighborhoods.

Then I woke the hell up and got the fuck outta that place.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:53 PM

25. AA has helped millions to stay clean/sober. My take on the higher power is that no one involved with

AA is judgemental about how someone views the concept. It's not about the higher power, it's about staying clean/sober. If you have a family member that has been an addict you know the dysfunction it caused in their lives and others as well. Higher power is a vehicle that helps keep millions clean/sober and in the end that's what's important.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 02:57 PM

26. It's fueled by court systems mandating

people into what is essentially a faith based program.

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Response to Phoenix61 (Reply #26)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:27 PM

40. Look around, "In God We Trust" is freaking everywhere. "Under god"

did not used be part of the Pledge of Allegiance. I am old enough to remember the change and have always gone "hmm, hmm." Compared to politicians, AA is not a threat to anyone's belief system. AA saved my sorry ass 34 years ago despite my never believing the religion part the tiniest bit.

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Response to Phoenix61 (Reply #26)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:34 PM

44. AA began decades ago, long before court mandates. It's free to all

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #44)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:24 PM

80. which does not excuse the court

or anyone court mandated, in compelling attendance at a religious based function today. Agreed?

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #80)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:20 PM

105. I'll defer to the comments in this stream written by sober AA atheists/agnostics proponents

In other words, experience and success in controlling their addiction with the support of others if all types of beliefs found in local, free AA support groups.

They report & purport AA as not religiously compelled.

I do agree that driving while drunk endangers communities and those doing so often have an addiction/disease and need help to save themselves and others from danger.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:06 PM

28. Hanging out with sober people makes it easier to stay sober.

Simple shit.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #28)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:31 PM

43. It does. Good post. n/t

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:10 PM

32. Agnostic with 17+ years sober through AA.

I distinctly remember cracking open the Big Book for the first time looking for religious (Biblical) terms, names and phrases that I didn't want anything to do with. They weren't there.

The only word I saw was God and AA clearly say's to choose a God of YOUR understanding. That I could deal with.

Since I'm agnostic and have no clue who, what or if God is, I "took what I needed" from the program and left the rest, which AA has no problem with you doing.

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Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Reply #32)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:17 PM

35. This is exactly right.

There are certainly religious groups but they're also atheist and agnostic groups.

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Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Reply #32)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:25 PM

39. That's me, with almost 30 years

I never “found” God, or even really looked for one. When I was new, there was this cantankerous old guy called BoxCar Bill, who announce he was an atheist every time he spoke. I loved that guy. Funny as hell, and very welcoming, especially to those of us who don’t buy into the whole God thing.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #39)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:31 PM

109. Great story. Thank you. Merry Christmas 🎄

After my losses to the disease, I attended AA just to learn.

Then, one night I heard “my story” told by someone I would never have bumped into on my path. I burst into tears literally.

The group wasn’t happy with my non-addiction but softened when I shared my losses. I was so heartbroken. I wanted to hear victory stories, not the coping with the addict stories.

My few months with a kind AA group helped me heal hugely.

I still tear up with gratitude.

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Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Reply #32)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:30 PM

42. +1. n/t

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Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Reply #32)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:37 PM

46. May I add your comment at the beginning of the article?

AA has saved too many to allow people who don’t suffer with the disease to disparage it’s effectiveness.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #46)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:17 PM

76. Please do.

nt

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Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Reply #76)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:23 PM

79. Thank you ✨💕✨

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:16 PM

33. I strongly support AA and NA.

I am 12 years sober. My patients are encouraged to find a comfortable group and find a sponsor. New patients are encouraged to do a 90/90.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:37 PM

45. AA forces you to admit you have no control over your addiction

and pass that control to a higher power. That was what made me know i was done drinking. There is the delusion that you can control your drinking when it is a problem. Admitting you have no control busts that lie wide open. Giving control to a higher power, in my case nature, ensures that delusion does not come back. At least that was my experience.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #45)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:39 PM

47. No no no. Good grief. Read comments above from those that AA has helped

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #47)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:48 PM

54. You stopped reading at "forces", huh.



Me, too, at first.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #45)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:47 PM

50. Sober 30 years. One year in AA.

Alcoholics who deny and defy the notion of a higher power are notably silent when confronting the power of a blinking neon martini glass. If ya know what I mean..

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Response to Triloon (Reply #50)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:49 PM

56. The higher power can be nature or the spaghetti monster. Just so long

as you don't still think you have any power over your addiction if you were to partake. That is what worked for me.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #45)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:48 PM

52. AA can't force anyone to do anything.

It's up to the individual to chose to go along with all of what AA say, part of what AA says or none of of what AA says. It's the individual who forces themselves to take whatever action or inaction that person decides.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #52)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:41 PM

138. But if someone is powerless, defeated, and incapable of anything until they do 90 in 90

get a sponsor, and read the Big Book, how can they make an informed decision about anything?

That wouldn't fit into the "downfall/redemption" narrative.

Plus, if they take the advice of making no major decisions for the first year of sobriety, how can they possibly consent to ANYTHING?

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Response to Nature Man (Reply #138)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 10:08 PM

193. People tackle AA in all sorts of different ways.

Just as they tackle any aspect of their life in different ways.

Having people who have lived through similar experiences and addictions is helpful to a lot of people. But being a part of a group isn't necessarily beneficial to everyone. I'm sorry you had bad experiences and thought it was harmful for yourself. I hope you found a path that you are comfortable with and that helps you live your life with mental, physical and emotional health.

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Response to applegrove (Reply #45)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:53 PM

59. There's this: An Atheist's Guide to 12-Step Recovery

“........Because the heartbreak of that wreckage is just goddamn impossible to bear sober.

For the atheist, those twelve steps on the wall and in the book represent four things in essence:

1. A recognition that you haven’t been able get loaded in anything approaching moderation and without consistently creating havoc.

2. A surrender to the fact that this is a kind of law of nature for you, and that fighting it has been insane.

3. A willingness to let reality be the guide of your actions henceforth in this and in everything else.

4. A commitment to try and stop hurting yourself or others, and to help where you can.

It does get better along this path. Your chances improve if you keep at it with some kind of daily practice that keeps you mindful of reality – especially the reality of your addiction – and of your place in it...”

The group meetings and friends you will make will make maintaining sobriety much more fun, less lonely, and therefore easier.

✨✨💕✨✨

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:48 PM

53. That last sentence ...

Probably not the only thing, but I’m sure the profit motive is behind a lot of the opposition. AA is the only truly altruistic organization I know of.

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Response to Geechie (Reply #53)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:42 PM

115. I agree 100%. No judgement, no pretense, no pressure

Just help if you want it

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:49 PM

55. Is there a difference between those who drink too much and those who are physically addicted?

The alcoholics I've known couldn't stop drinking without getting physically ill. Where as the people who just drank too much could turn it off and on at their own whim. I've always wondered if the success rates of the true addicts are far less than those who just drink too much.

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Response to Buckeyeblue (Reply #55)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:56 PM

62. Is there a difference between those who can't stop and those who can?

Well, yes.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #62)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:35 PM

87. I get there is a difference but are they lumped in the same category together?

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Response to Buckeyeblue (Reply #87)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:50 PM

93. Nope. One's addicts and one ain't.

But does the criminal justice system lump them together? Goddam right they do.

EDIT: Unless you mean in the study mentioned in the OP. That I wouldn't know.

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Response to Buckeyeblue (Reply #87)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 08:49 PM

166. The Big Book suggests going without drinking for 30 days to make that decision

Somehow that's crept into mainstream culture as Dry January, where people take that challenge. I've known some that say, "My life is better without alcohol, and I'll continue that way." I'd say they weren't addicted, just making a different choice. The people who white-knuckle it or can't make it through the 30 days might make different decisions.

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Response to Buckeyeblue (Reply #55)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:53 PM

122. The test: Is/are alcohol/drugs negatively affecting the quality of yours or others lives?

If the answer is yes, alcohol is considered a problem

If it causes problems it is a problem

So, if it causes problems, can the drinker/drug user control intake to stop causing problems?

If he/she can’t, help is available. AA provides a social network of sober living former problem drinkers. They understand the challenges of attaining sober living.

To an active drinker/user, that is lost in the fog that IS addiction, sober living is incomprehensible.

This is why many have to reach a life altering low point before even considering owning their addiction.

Does this answer your question?

Substance abuse has 1-3 inevitable outcomes:

1. Death

2. Insanity/Fatal Illness

3. Jail

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 03:53 PM

60. AA is more about the support from others. That's what helps.

 

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Response to YOHABLO (Reply #60)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:33 PM

86. So it's like Weight Watchers meetings? nt

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #86)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:37 PM

89. Never been to a WW meeting. But people share their experiences.

 

It's a way to find new friends. Not everyone wants to buy into the ''let go let god'' aspect of AA. But for those who need sober companionship, it works.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:14 PM

74. I got started in Overeaters Anonymous, then AA.

Lost about 55 pounds kept it off for 39 years. Saved me!!!! Saw the idea on a Phil Donahue TV show. Been to all kinds of meetings: big ones, small meetings, conventions, hundreds in the rooms, and 2 or 3 in the room. I've been to Overeaters Anon, Emotions Anon, AA, Co-Dependents Anon, etc, etc, etc.
..... I think what keeps me going, is the idea everyone is welcome. You don't need a God, You need a desire to work on the addiction...Originally, it was a sugar , salt, and fat combo.....I love to eat..!!!

Most, not all, but most, people in the 12 step program do not care if you have a God or not. Do the best you can with your addiction, and keep coming back. Why so open and wanting others to come back, with or without a God?

...Simple: Addictions Kill...one more time.....Addictions Kill!!!!!!!!!!
Also: AA and other 12 step programs are strictly voluntary..no one makes money on the meetings. The money goes to literature, pay rent, buy coffee, etc..........................................................

I will say it again..............ADDICTIONS KILL!!!!!

so....this eating thing...you think I am alone? In the U.S.A there are close to 100 million people that have overweight and underweight problems. Eating problems, too much sugar problems...The meetings are basically free, if you can give a small donation...if not ...just do the best you can....Are the meetings perfect?...No ...but they can help you quit or control an addiction and in the end, help you to live better...

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #74)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 08:03 PM

163. Thank you! Yes addiction kills & robs

I really appreciate your comments.

Merry Christmas 🎄

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:16 PM

75. Vodka sales must be down.

I don't get all the interest in AA "all of a sudden" So I am guessing that the sales of Russian vodka are down.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 04:45 PM

92. My two cents

I'm glad AA helped your friends, but their success rate eventually approaches somewhere between 6% to 8%... or that's about as good as independent groups can tell since AA doesn't publish their success rates.

The whole powerless, needing a higher power thing is demeaning. It's what churches do, and AA is strongly fundy even though they try to present themselves otherwise - they convince you that you're lame, and then offer you a crutch. I'm not saying that people with addictions don't need help, but to try and break people down like that is ridiculous and harmful. The world is full of scam artists - preachers, faith-healers, psychics, AA - who in order to run their scams, rely on your not realizing that we all have an inner strength that we can call on with (or without) help and encouragement from loved ones.

The premise and the methodology has not fundamentally changed since AA first started. If it were truly based on any kind of scientific background, it would change as we learned more about addiction. Would you go to a dentist who had not progressed past the knowledge, tools, and methods of 1935?

Addiction is a disease. I don't necessarily agree with this. I'm not saying it's not traumatizing and hard work to overcome, but I don't think it is. But if it were, why are we treating it with a 12-step program? You don't do that with cancer or diabetes, etc. There are drugs that can help people overcome addiction, but that's looked down upon by AA because it circumvents their whole "powerless" thing. My mom smoked most of her life, completely addicted to it. Then she had a small stroke in her early 60s and went into the hospital for two weeks where she was on various medicines that helped with the after effects of the stroke but also sedatives, etc to help keep her calm. When she left the hospital, she no longer smoked. She might have had a craving, but she never lit up again. Were we upset that she didn't admit her powerlessness before finding a higher power? Nope, we were just happy she didn't smoke anymore, and that extended her time with us, giving us another 20+ years with her.

TlalocW

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Response to TlalocW (Reply #92)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:52 PM

120. "they convince you that you're lame, and then offer you a crutch."...

Exactly.

Really good post.

Sid

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Response to TlalocW (Reply #92)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 01:49 PM

201. I prefer comments from recovered addicts quite frankly

$25k/month average Rehab cost is A poor substitute for 24/7 lifelong group support from people who have succeeded and remain in the AA program to help others.

Empathy & compassion trump greed.

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Response to TlalocW (Reply #92)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 09:37 PM

207. +1000

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:01 PM

97. AA good program

I have known many people that have been helped by AA and have gone on to have good quality lives. It is people helping people, there is an old saying 'people are God with skin on'. Bravo for those that have benefited from AA. I think we all benefit by believing 'people are God with skin on'!! It is good for people with addictions and Al-Anon good for people dealing with people with addictions.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:14 PM

103. Just eliminate the GOD bullshit, problem solved! nt

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:16 PM

104. AA has one of the worst success rates of any rehab program

 

In his recent book, The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry, Lance Dodes, a retired psychiatry professor from Harvard Medical School, looked at Alcoholics Anonymous’s retention rates along with studies on sobriety and rates of active involvement (attending meetings regularly and working the program) among AA members. Based on these data, he put AA’s actual success rate somewhere between 5 and 8 percent. That is just a rough estimate, but it’s the most precise one I’ve been able to find.


<snip>

A meticulous analysis of treatments, published more than a decade ago in The Handbook of Alcoholism Treatment Approaches but still considered one of the most comprehensive comparisons, ranks AA 38th out of 48 methods. At the top of the list are brief interventions by a medical professional; motivational enhancement, a form of counseling that aims to help people see the need to change; and acamprosate, a drug that eases cravings. (An oft-cited 1996 study found 12-step facilitation—a form of individual therapy that aims to get the patient to attend AA meetings—as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. But that study, called Project Match, was widely criticized for scientific failings, including the lack of a control group.)


<snip>

If a heart medication had a 5-8% success rate, was ranked in the bottom quarter of medications for efficacy, and its most positive finding was based on junk science, it would never make it to the market. So why rely on a methodology that fails on so many fronts?

If that's not enough, AA does effectively nothing to address several core issues driving alcohol dependence:

People with alcohol problems also suffer from higher-than-normal rates of mental-health issues, and research has shown that treating depression and anxiety with medication can reduce drinking. But AA is not equipped to address these issues—it is a support group whose leaders lack professional training—and some meetings are more accepting than others of the idea that members may need therapy and/or medication in addition to the group’s help.


Worse, most of the tenets they base their scam on aren't based on any reliable data:

Whereas AA teaches that alcoholism is a progressive disease that follows an inevitable trajectory, data from a federally funded survey called the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions show that nearly one-fifth of those who have had alcohol dependence go on to drink at low-risk levels with no symptoms of abuse. And a recent survey of nearly 140,000 adults by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nine out of 10 heavy drinkers are not dependent on alcohol and, with the help of a medical professional’s brief intervention, can change unhealthy habits.

We once thought about drinking problems in binary terms—you either had control or you didn’t; you were an alcoholic or you weren’t—but experts now describe a spectrum. An estimated 18 million Americans suffer from alcohol-use disorder, as the DSM-5, the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual, calls it.


<snip>

Only about 15 percent of those with alcohol-use disorder are at the severe end of the spectrum. The rest fall somewhere in the mild-to-moderate range, but they have been largely ignored by researchers and clinicians. Both groups—the hard-core abusers and the more moderate overdrinkers—need more-individualized treatment options.


Worse, other countries approach addiction treatment differently--and with far higher success rates. And if that's not enough, they do it more cheaply! They routinely use opioid antagonists like naltrexone and nalmefene in their treatment programs. Both medications have an excellent track record (read: scientific data) in helping addicts overcome addiction. Their success is far--FAR--higher than AA could even dream of:

The Finns are famously private, so I had to go early in the morning, before any patients arrived, to meet Jukka Keski-Pukkila, the CEO<of Contral Clinics, a well-known rehab center in Europe>. He poured coffee and showed me around the clinic, in downtown Helsinki. The most common course of treatment involves six months of cognitive behavioral therapy, a goal-oriented form of therapy, with a clinical psychologist. Treatment typically also includes a physical exam, blood work, and a prescription for naltrexone or nalmefene, a newer opioid antagonist approved in more than two dozen countries. When I asked how much all of this cost, Keski-Pukkila looked uneasy. “Well,” he told me, “it’s 2,000 euros.” That’s about $2,500—a fraction of the cost of inpatient rehab in the United States, which routinely runs in the tens of thousands of dollars for a 28-day stay.

When I told Keski-Pukkila this, his eyes grew wide. “What are they doing for that money?” he asked. I listed some of the treatments offered at top-of-the-line rehab centers: equine therapy, art therapy, mindfulness mazes in the desert. “That doesn’t sound scientific,” he said, perplexed. I didn’t mention that some bare-bones facilities charge as much as $40,000 a month and offer no treatment beyond AA sessions led by minimally qualified counselors.


Not very scientific, indeed. We are a fricking Third World nation when it comes to addressing addiction, and it shows.

Read more here, at the source for all of the above quotes:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-irrationality-of-alcoholics-anonymous/386255/

If AA worked, it would not have a single-digit success rate. If they had any integrity, they would own up to their failure, rather than blaming the addicts for not succeeding in their scam program. They certainly wouldn't be so fucking stupid as to trash other addiction methodologies, when theirs is one of the worst around.

Other countries have better ways of treating addiction, based on science. It's time to listen to them for what works, rather than relying on ridiculous shame-based, religio-wacko nonsense.

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Response to Aquaria (Reply #104)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:51 PM

119. BINGO

you are correct.

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Response to Aquaria (Reply #104)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:53 PM

123. Well said...

"Other countries have better ways of treating addiction, based on science. It's time to listen to them for what works, rather than relying on ridiculous shame-based, religio-wacko nonsense."



Sid

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Response to Aquaria (Reply #104)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:18 PM

131. AA wrote in 1935 that there was a difference between heavy drinkers and alcohol use disorder

That article is all you got?

Here is the bottom line. AA works for some people. Therapy works for some people. Some people are able to stop with no intervention whatsoever.

Mental heath issues should never be addressed by AA.

I don’t care which works, as long as something does. Alcohol abuse is incredibly damaging to our healthcare system with up to 50% of GI emergency admissions.

Also, AA is a world wide organization. “Other countries” also are quite likely to have AA. There are also countries where alcoholism is stigmatized and people just die.





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Response to Aquaria (Reply #104)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:20 PM

132. Let's hear from the addicts AA helps. People.

Comment 32 above
Agnostic with 17+ years sober through AA.

Since I'm agnostic and have no clue who, what or if God is, I "took what I needed" from the program and left the rest, which AA has no problem with you doing.

Comment 15.
Sober 40 years. Thank God for AA.

Comment 41.
My husband is an addict and alcoholic
He takes Antabuse here in the US and goes to AA regularly. He was in and out of programs for over ten years. One day, after his third DUI, he made a decision to take it seriously. We are agnostic. He has no problem with anyone who needs god to help them.

AA doesn’t teach we are powerless. AA teaches an adult is powerless to control their addiction. There is a difference. An addict who is born with a disease IS just as powerless over that disease as cancer. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging you’re powerless over something. It’s a first step in accepting help.

I used to bash AA myself and all programs saying they didn’t work. Then I saw it working for my husband once he made a decision to do the work.

End of comments *******

There are more. Is AA the only tool in the toolbox? No. But it is not ineffective. If it were ineffective, it would not still be almost everywhere worldwide.

Why are you so invested in attacking AA?

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Response to OhNo-Really (Reply #132)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:16 PM

152. You're sounding like an evangelist decrying all the people prayer helped.

Let's hear from the 90%+ of attendees that AA didn't help.

Especially with the 'testimonials' you're adding.

Free clue though, when someone responds to a thread you started about a subject, that's not 'invested' in anything, unlike the 50+ responses you've made in this thread.

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Response to Aquaria (Reply #104)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:29 PM

157. Thanks for the research and stats

Good post

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Response to Aquaria (Reply #104)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 08:12 PM

165. AA is 12 step program that requires adherence to its orthodoxy.

 

Some claim that without AA they would be dead. If it works for them, it may work for others. If you find a way to stop drinking, stop methamphetamine, stop using cocaine etc. other than a twelve step program, good for you. It's what you believe is working for you to stop the cravings, to stop the behavior that's leading to an unhealthy lifestyle, and eventually death. It's a belief system.

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Response to YOHABLO (Reply #165)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 09:12 PM

169. I totally disagree with ..."a 12 step program that requires adherence to its orhodoxy"

Every person in a "12 step program" has choices. If someone shows up and works at the program with someone else of that person's choice, then the person can be successful without adherence to an orthodoxy..
It really depends on which meetings one goes to, and who someone chooses as friends. A person can go to meetings and just listen, if that is what he/she desires. Gradually a persons decides on what to accept, and what not to accept. That is up to each individual. Which meetings a person goes to is up to that person, and so on and so on and so on.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:30 PM

108. FYI, there is Smart Recovery, which is not religious or spiritual

It's based on Cognitive Therapy principles. It's not as well known and you have to seek out meetings.

https://www.smartrecovery.org/

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Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #108)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:04 PM

128. It's good that addicts have choices.

Thank you for sharing.

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Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #108)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 08:03 PM

162. Cool!

I always picture the other groups being extremely profit oriented.

Anyone can benefit from Cognitive Therapy! I've got some issues myself, but I'm not AA material or even CODA material. (I've been to meetings...my son was in AA...) In CODA I just didn't fit in and couldn't find a 12 step group for myself.

I liked this article from their site: https://www.smartrecovery.org/smart-articles/doing-the-dishes-or-procrastinating-about-it/?_ga=2.94161439.342460520.1577059007-1776703705.1577059007

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 05:43 PM

116. "Believe it if you need it... or leave it if you dare..."

Robert Hunter

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:06 PM

129. Rehab industry wouldn't exist without The Program

What other business model would let you sell for 20 - 60k a month a program that is free of charge and available to anyone who walks in off the street?

One of the first things most people get in rehab is a Big Book.

Shit, step into the rooms, you can steal one or someone will just give you one.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:21 PM

133. April 8, 1992

that's when I got my white-chip. What a story it is, but suffice it to say, it worked for me. If you don't like what you hear at one meeting, find another. People... not someones higher-power...were my problem. Getting sober was a life-altering experience, and I was very susceptible to anyone's bullshit. I can understand how someone could blame a person, place, or thing for any problems that occur. I could not have gotten and stayed sober without the people in the rooms of AA.

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Response to stillcool (Reply #133)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:21 PM

154. Fantastic. Merry Christmas 🎄

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:43 PM

139. Thank you. Your last sentence is the real kicker for me. Rehab is hellishly expensive. AA is free...

AA is free to all comers.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #139)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:44 PM

140. There are prices to pay in life

that cash money won't cover.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:57 PM

145. A family member is more than 20 years sober with AA

A family member is more than 20 years sober with AA. While he goes to church, he is not particularly religious. But he does embrace a certain spirituality that fits well with his AA program. He goes to a meeting almost every single day. I certainly can’t knock it, because he is still sober after all these years, and it is through AA that he has done it. I am so impressed with how the group of friends he has met through AA really looks after each other and helps each other out in so many ways.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 06:57 PM

146. AA targets more than problem drinking;

members are supposed to correct all defects of character and adopt a new way of life. They are to accomplish these difficult goals without professional help. No therapists, psychologists or physicians can attend AA meetings unless they, too, have drinking problems.

"members are supposed to correct all defects of character and adopt a new way of life"

Sounds like brain washing to me.

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Response to yortsed snacilbuper (Reply #146)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 09:06 PM

168. I can't recall any AAers who didn't accept all the medical help they could afford

Whether counseling, prescribed drugs, or whatever.

No, the therapists don't attend AA meetings, but no one is saying your whole recovery takes place in the AA rooms. Definitely not, in fact. People are trying to learn to operate sober in the world.

A short version of the steps you're referring to might be:

4. Have you ever done anything you think is wrong?
5. Tell an impartial party (could be therapist or spiritual counselor; doesn't have to be)
6. Notice any patterns?
7. Maybe act differently in future?
8. If you hurt anyone, make amends (not to be confused with a brush-off apology), if you can do so without hurting them worse.

This work is mostly internal, though there is a place for a nonjudgmental reality checker. Given that so many people can't even manage an apology for the damage they do, I wish more people got this far with the program.

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Response to catrose (Reply #168)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 09:18 PM

170. I can't understand why it's being set up as AA vs. anything

Certainly the courts should take into account other recovery systems, maybe specify that people need to be in one, rather than just send them all to AA. Courts move slowly.

As other people have pointed out: AA is free; you can find someone to talk to you at any hour of the day, any day of the year; you can fit it into your schedule rather than take time from your job; you can be as religious as you want or don't want to be; you can add whatever medical, spiritual, or other help is available to you. I don't imagine many people walk in their first meeting and never drink again, but I'd count any day that they don't drink as a victory.

Carrie Fisher spent her life in and out of recovery, but when you add mental illness to the mix, the problems are even more complex. Many people get sober and are thrilled at the clarity and quality of life thereafter. Carrie (and others like her) return to staring in horror at the bipolar brain she was trying to escape from in the first place.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:07 PM

149. I'm glad you're happy in AA.

Many of us who left have an issue with the whole “spiritual but not religious” claim.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:07 PM

150. AA is OK

What is NOT OK is if AA is the only option offered for rehab. Not everyone believes in the "higher power" stuff.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2019, 07:19 PM

153. we haven't had one of these threads in a while.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Mon Dec 23, 2019, 09:40 PM

185. AA is a wonderful tool in an arsenal

when it comes to beating addiction. Without AA, my husband would probably not be sober. But there are other variables, too. He did AA in conjunction with spiritual study, therapy for 8 years, and meditation. Every single component there is important to HIS sobriety. I can't say one thing is THE thing. And for other people, other variables/combinations/actions may address the needs if sobriety is desired.

I get really angry when I see slews of magazine articles about AA being useless. The org doesn't keep numbers, on purpose, because it's a group of people who support one another without any formal doctrine other than having a desire to have the desire not to drink. If you're there, you're welcome to the closed meetings. And if you're like me (a spouse, loved one, or family member), you are welcome to the open meetings.

I'm thankful that AA is here. It took some trial and error to find the right group for my husband. Being in NYC, he had options. (Which is lucky, bc he went to a few groups that were new agey/kumbaya, and that wasn't the right fit for him. He likes the grit and straight forwardness of the group he's fallen in with.)

I'm thankful that he has a bunch of people he can talk to who understand his struggle more than I do. They're strangers to me, and that's super healthy for me to know he has a support system outside of our immediate family. It takes tons of pressure off of me. Pressure I felt when he was drinking.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 02:23 AM

199. Profiteers are stealing and trying to monetize the AA program

They lurk on social media luring newcomers and the unsuspecting to splinter off into private paying startups.


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Response to live love laugh (Reply #199)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 01:46 PM

200. You are correct. $25k/month is a huge Greed incentive

I know two senior citizen couples who financed rehab centers for their children.

Truly a cottage industry as all they provide is boarding, some inexpensive craft projects, free field trips and 2 professionals on site.

I walked beside a young person. After the $25k rehab there was no zero follow up. Passed on to a $1300/mo, shared bedroom “sober living” with 1 professional, daily drip tests, & little support. Again, after leaving no follow up. Multiple people broke the substance use rule with no consequences.

The young person did get clean but lost all respect for “greedy Rehab” his words.

Sad how easily even smart people are duped by Greed’s propaganda.

Thank you for contributing here.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 02:31 PM

202. My grandfather was a member back when it was still a "Fellowship"

To the day he died he would call himself an alcoholic even though he had not had an alcoholic drink in over 45 years. AA helped him, but he had little use for its turn toward the religious ideology it now embraces and stopped going to meetings as soon as he noticed the change.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 03:08 PM

204. I think there are people who are critical about most things....

AA has been great for me and I know many, many people who feel it saved their lives.

I quick drinking in 1990 at 33. The first few years I went to AA meetings regularly but haven't been to a meeting in quite some time because I don't feel the need. I'm not reading what others are posting and there's no point into me getting into a "taking up for AA" scenario. If it wasn't for AA I don't think I would've quit drinking and wouldn't be alive today. I guess my opinion is that even if AA helps a handful of people (which I know for a fact it's helped more) it's a success. AA takes no political positions, they don't fundraise, and my first-hand experience has been wonderful.....just my two cents....

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 04:46 PM

205. It personally never worked out for me

Besides nobody really follows that make amends step because if they did a whole bunch of former addicts would come to me giving money or things stolen from me.

It was too much like religion and don't believe in abstinence only. For example if someone has problems with hard drugs or alcohol there is nothing wrong with quitting the problematic drugs and stick with cannabis which works for me.

AA/NA is too rigid, too religious, and too much of a one size fits all mentality.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 07:39 PM

206. One modern addiction treatment/methodology is CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy.)

In many ways AA is the progenitor of CBT.

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Response to OhNo-Really (Original post)

Mon Dec 30, 2019, 11:02 PM

208. Now sober for 30 years. A.A. was a terrific support group for me for 10+ years.

The group meetings are a safe place for me to learn what others are struggling with and to get support for my struggles. There was nowhere else I could get that level of support and Comfort. Counseling is terrific, but with A.A. I was with others struggling with the same issues.

It saved my life, my marriage, and my family. I took seriously “take what you need and leave the rest”. That’s what worked for me.

If A.A. doesn’t help you, find something that does and use it.

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