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Sat Jun 29, 2019, 02:29 AM

Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don't Know How It Works

<snip>

The resolve is striking, though not entirely surprising. AA has been inspiring this sort of ardent devotion for 75 years. It was in June 1935, amid the gloom of the Great Depression, that a failed stockbroker and reformed lush named Bill Wilson founded the organization after meeting God in a hospital room. He codified his method in the 12 steps, the rules at the heart of AA. Entirely lacking in medical training, Wilson created the steps by cribbing ideas from religion and philosophy, then massaging them into a pithy list with a structure inspired by the Bible.

The 200-word instruction set has since become the cornerstone of addiction treatment in this country, where an estimated 23 million people grapple with severe alcohol or drug abuseómore than twice the number of Americans afflicted with cancer. Some 1.2 million people belong to one of AA's 55,000 meeting groups in the US, while countless others embark on the steps at one of the nation's 11,000 professional treatment centers. Anyone who seeks help in curbing a drug or alcohol problem is bound to encounter Wilson's system on the road to recovery.

It's all quite an achievement for a onetime broken-down drunk. And Wilson's success is even more impressive when you consider that AA and its steps have become ubiquitous despite the fact that no one is quite sure howóor, for that matter, how wellóthey work. The organization is notoriously difficult to study, thanks to its insistence on anonymity and its fluid membership. And AA's method, which requires "surrender" to a vaguely defined "higher power," involves the kind of spiritual revelations that neuroscientists have only begun to explore.

What we do know, however, is that despite all we've learned over the past few decades about psychology, neurology, and human behavior, contemporary medicine has yet to devise anything that works markedly better. "In my 20 years of treating addicts, I've never seen anything else that comes close to the 12 steps," says Drew Pinsky, the addiction-medicine specialist who hosts VH1's Celebrity Rehab. "In my world, if someone says they don't want to do the 12 steps, I know they aren't going to get better."

Wilson may have operated on intuition, but somehow he managed to tap into mechanisms that counter the complex psychological and neurological processes through which addiction wreaks havoc. And while AA's ability to accomplish this remarkable feat is not yet understood, modern research into behavior dynamics and neuroscience is beginning to provide some tantalizing clues.

One thing is certain, though: AA doesn't work for everybody. In fact, it doesn't work for the vast majority of people who try it. And understanding more about who it does help, and why, is likely our best shot at finally developing a system that improves on Wilson's amateur scheme for living without the bottle.


Much more (Long article, but a favorite of mine): https://www.wired.com/2010/06/ff-alcoholics-anonymous/

39 replies, 1088 views

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Reply Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don't Know How It Works (Original post)
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 OP
rampartc Jun 2019 #1
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 #3
rampartc Jun 2019 #4
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 #9
TexasTowelie Jun 2019 #2
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 #6
TexasTowelie Jun 2019 #11
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 #13
RockRaven Jun 2019 #5
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 #7
stopdiggin Jun 2019 #8
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 #10
stopdiggin Jun 2019 #12
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 #14
Funtatlaguy Jun 2019 #15
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 #16
Funtatlaguy Jun 2019 #21
Rhiannon12866 Jul 2019 #39
JDC Jun 2019 #18
Funtatlaguy Jun 2019 #20
progree Jun 2019 #22
JDC Jun 2019 #17
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 #19
Funtatlaguy Jun 2019 #23
progree Jun 2019 #25
Funtatlaguy Jun 2019 #26
progree Jun 2019 #27
Comatose Sphagetti Jun 2019 #24
lark Jun 2019 #28
Rhiannon12866 Jun 2019 #30
lark Jun 2019 #31
progree Jun 2019 #32
lark Jun 2019 #33
progree Jun 2019 #34
lark Jun 2019 #35
progree Jun 2019 #36
happyaccident Jun 2019 #29
Iggo Jul 2019 #37
Rhiannon12866 Jul 2019 #38

Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 02:48 AM

1. one day at a time

i did not go to meetings, but when i had to give it up (ok, maybe 10 years after i had to give it up) i did apply some of the steps. mostly it is the realization that this is a problem and deciding to change enough to get on track.

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Response to rampartc (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 03:01 AM

3. When I started going to meetings, that's what worked for me

I started learning what to do and the slogans I learned helped a lot in the beginning ("move a muscle, change a thought" ), but One Day at a Time was the key. I figured I could make it through 24 hours - and that's when I started putting time together. That was 10 years ago last April.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 03:08 AM

4. good work.

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Response to rampartc (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 03:35 AM

9. I wish I could access DU.2

I made a long-ago post in this very forum there when I was discouraged, I remember saying that I wasn't doing very well - it did take me a long time. That's why I always say, if I can put time together, anybody can! Thanks!

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 02:52 AM

2. I know that AA and NA don't work for everybody,

but like other matters of faith and spirituality I am grateful for the people that it does.

I believe finding the right sponsor is one of the keys to those that are successful with the 12 step program which is why I would get stuck around step #4. I never found a sponsor that I could relate with and whose own life wasn't a bigger mess than my own. Without a person that I wanted to emulate and count as a friend, it made the 12 step program appear to be more of a joke than anything I could make a commitment to follow.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 03:18 AM

6. That's actually where I got stuck - the "faith" component

But I was very fortunate to have found the right sponsor - at my second meeting. She must have seen something in me - my "gift of desperation," maybe? ) - and she reached out to me and told me what to do. Even so, it took me awhile, but she stuck right with me, she was an incredible human being, no doubt about it, and helped so many people.

And I got stuck on the Steps where most people don't, the Higher Power belief, but all I was asked was if I had an open mind and I certainly do - I'm a liberal Democrat after all! And it didn't hurt that my sponsor was Jewish, so any religious component was up to me - but what confuses a lot of people I've noticed is the conflation of religion and spirituality. I'm not religious, but the "power of the rooms," people helping and supporting each other, is what has worked for me. If religion works for some people, good for them, but that's not really what it's about.

And I lost my sponsor a year ago this month. She wasn't all that well when I met her, but defied the odds and almost made 16 years when she doubted she'd make it to "two digits," as she used to say. Her birthday was also a week ago today. I miss her a lot and have yet to find a new sponsor which I know I need to do (she had a sponsor and her sponsor has a sponsor), but she was pretty special and I haven't yet found someone who I feel that connection to and could measure up to my friend, Sue.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #6)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 03:40 AM

11. I don't remember if you told me about your sponsor passing,

but I know that you miss her so you have my sympathies.

I can only say that I met one person in a 12 step program who I felt some kinship with although he was about 15 years older than me. He had a long period of sobriety, then relapsed and nearly died in an auto accident while DWI. Since his relapse was recent and he had to focus on his own financial problems he wasn't in a position to be a sponsor for someone else. I eventually fell out of touch with him after a couple of years so I don't know whether he had another relapse or some other type of health problem since he was a Vietnam veteran.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Reply #11)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 04:00 AM

13. Thank you so much - I miss her every single day. :(

She stuck with me in the beginning and supported me through so much - when I lost my mother, she sat with me in the hospital room! I kept telling her she didn't need to stay, I knew she wasn't well, but she said that she was staying as long as I did. And I hope that I helped her out a few times too (she lost her dog that I loved ).

And I have heard about that happening - I can think of a couple of people I knew who sponsored people who relapsed themselves. One was a guy who probably didn't have enough time to be working with others, but he's back as far as I know. And another was a woman I admired a lot, long time friend of my sponsor, and she apparently has no intention of coming back - and took another girl I liked a lot (her sponsee) with her.

It is hard, I know, to find someone you connect to. But in the beginning it really does help to get to know others who you can relate to - and realize that you aren't alone. That's what kept me coming back - there were all these really nice women who seemed to be doing well and they had the same issues that I did!

And it's never too late to start over. I also have one friend who's not in AA, but in OA (Overeaters Anonymous) and she swears by phone meetings, she often just listens. There are also online meetings too - but I recognize that finding that one person you can relate to is important, since that's what made the difference for me. I also know those who find a "temporary sponsor," just to get started. And others who have had numerous sponsors - I was just lucky to find the right one right away.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 03:13 AM

5. There is a lot of magical thinking/statements around the 12 steps...

The question ought to be: what *specifically* is empirically/demonstrably, reliably/reproducibly effective?

12-step advocates, including celebrity commentators like Dr Drew, vastly over-sell the predictive value of engaging in those programs.

That said, if the choice is the 12-step program or the addict making it up themselves as they go along, then duh! of course anything structured with other people involved is better than handling it yourself. Humans are social primates for f--k's sake, having other people involved with the intent of helping you is always better -- pick almost any maladaptive behavioral problem and that would be true.

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Response to RockRaven (Reply #5)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 03:27 AM

7. I agree that making it up as you go along is what can trip beginners up

The support of others is a key to recovery - having people who understand to talk to and knowing you're not alone - but having a sponsor to guide you is what worked the most for me. I have known people who tried to go it alone - thinking they can work the Steps and jump ahead - and it always backfires. Having someone with experience to guide and support me is what worked for me. I haven't done it perfectly by a long shot, but I've been sober now for over 10 years - when I couldn't have made it through 10 days on my own - because I learned that no matter what happens, I can make it through today.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 03:34 AM

8. the final thought expressed there

"understanding more about who it does help, and why, is likely our best shot at finally developing a system that improves on Wilson's amateur scheme .."

I find it disheartening (in the extreme) that our "gold standard" has a failure rate that would be laughed out of any other results oriented structure. And that so many involved in providing treatment are so totally invested. Like other posters, I'm happy and grateful for the people it does help. But my sincere hope is that (like the article said) by connecting some dots and using some vastly improved science .. we can one day be doing a whole lot better.

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 03:39 AM

10. One thing that I've noticed - talked about it with some friends today

Is that people give up too soon and if they have a "slip," they're too embarrassed to come back. That's what I try to emphasize because I work with a beginners' group - it's not a destination, it's a journey and no matter what happens, you're always welcomed back.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 03:53 AM

12. and you have my support 100%

and my total respect for slogging it out in the trenches. a hand reached out is a pretty powerful thing. stay safe, kid.

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #12)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 04:06 AM

14. Thanks!

I've been around long enough (2008) that I've collected certain things others have said that have stuck with me. One I learned from a woman with 32 years - she said that she belongs to "The No Matter What Club," no matter what happens, it's not a reason to pick up. And I shared that at a beginners' meeting I go to - and this one kid, who celebrated his year, remembered and quoted what I'd said! I shared that with my friend with 32 years - that's what we do, pay it forward and help each other.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 05:57 AM

15. AA is a religious organization. "The higher power" requirement

does mean God. Although some AA people will say ďno, it can be any higher power that you believe inĒ.
AA and itís sister Al-Anon are great for people affected by alcohol.
But, only if you believe in God or donít mind that component (which is quite a large one).

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Response to Funtatlaguy (Reply #15)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 07:30 AM

16. Not at any group that I've been to

There are people who embrace religion in their lives and good for them if it works for them. But when we discuss it, it's generally acknowledged that it can be whatever works for you, nature is often mentioned, for me at this point it's the power of the rooms that has worked. There is something about everyone working for a common purpose, supporting each other in sobriety, that makes meetings work for me.

And I often think of the time AA was founded. We often read about Model Ts and WWII, and the influence of religion in society at large has changed too. Back in the day people knew the difference between Presbyterians and Methodists, for example. That meant a lot back then. I don't know what the difference is and I don't know many people now who belong to a church.

Like I said, if that's what works for someone, that's terrific, but it hasn't worked for me. I look at AA as a GOD (group of drunks) supporting and learning from each other. My Jewish sponsor never had a problem with the way it's worked for me, but then she wasn't very religious either.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #16)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 09:17 AM

21. Every one I've been to, they recite The Serenity Prayer

Or some other form of opening or closing that includes the word God.
Doesnít bother me as an Agnostic.
But they do do this.

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Response to Funtatlaguy (Reply #21)

Mon Jul 8, 2019, 02:39 AM

39. I know, most do say the Serenity Prayer and some decide to close with the Lord's Prayer

I have one AA friend with 35 years who will walk out if they close with the Lord's Prayer (she's Jewish - though not religious). I figure it's up to whoever leads the meeting to choose what works for them. My sponsor who is also Jewish and also not particularly religious solved the problem by using the Responsibility Declaration which I like a lot. We even use it at the District Meetings because of her influence.

I am Responsible.
When Anyone, Anywhere
Reaches Out For Help,
I Want The Hand Of A.A.
Always To Be There.

And For That,
I Am Responsible !

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Response to Funtatlaguy (Reply #15)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 07:42 AM

18. Plenty of atheists in AA. It means a power greater than yourself.

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Response to JDC (Reply #18)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 09:15 AM

20. Yep. That's what tell you to find. A tree, a bird, blah blah.

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Response to Funtatlaguy (Reply #20)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 10:32 AM

22. Well, why can't you turn your will and life over to the care of a tree? (Step 3)

Why can't you pray for knowledge of a tree's will for you, and for the power to carry it out? (Step 11).

Why can't you get ready to have a tree remove all your defects of character? And why can't you humbly ask Him (generic male tree of course) to remove your shortcomings? (Steps 6 and 7).

(Steps with "tree" or whatever thing or concept you wish substituted for the word "God" )

What some people who conflate spirituality with religion find objectionable about AA/NA is the "proselytization" about a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity -- the word "God" appears 136 times in the first 11 chapters of the Big Book, not counting Him, His, He, Maker, Creator, Employer, Principal, Father, assigner or our roles, giver of our sex powers, provider of our needs, something other than our well-loved A.A. group, no human power, nor any other human being, accomplisher of the humanly impossible, divine, Providence, has all knowledge and power).

And how the Big Book demeans anything human as a higher power .. e.g. to take two of many quotes:

"we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God. Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." - BB p. 98

"This Power has in each case accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible." - BB p. 50


And how the Big Book demeans non-believers (agnostics) with these characterizations: "Handicapped By Obstinacy" (p. 48), "prejudiced" and "unreasoning prejudice" (p. 48) "Rather Vain" (p. 49), "No Reasonable Conception Whatever" (p. 49), "Biased And Unreasonable" (p. 51), "Prey To Misery And Depression" (p. 52), "Couldn't Make A Living" (p. 52), "Full of Fear" (p. 52), "Our Ideas Did Not Work" (p. 52), "We Couldn't Quite Step Ashore" (p. 53), "Leaning Too Heavily On Reason" (p. 53), "Abjectly Faithful To The God Of Reason" (p. 54), "Whirling On To A Destiny Of Nothingness" (p. 54), "Fooling Ourselves" (p. 55),

It's not just a handful of people who conflate spirituality with religion. Six out of six of the highest courts -- all just one level below the U.S. Supreme Court -- have found A.A. to be religious in nature -- religious enough that coerced attendance by government constitutes a violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment. The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of one of the U.S. Court of Appeals cases, thus letting the ruling stand.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post32

It's sad that nobody explained to the courts that since people are free to substitute "tree" or "door knob" or whatever they wish (just so it's not something human), that it suddenly becomes spiritual but not religious.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 07:39 AM

17. Chapter 5 in the AA Big Book is literally called "How it Works"

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Response to JDC (Reply #17)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 07:54 AM

19. We read "How It Works" at every meeting I've ever been to

Which includes The Steps. From my perspective The Steps really are the program, learning how to feel better about yourself and leading a better life. A woman who had more time than me once said that she wished everybody had this program, which I took to mean that people would be happier generally if they worked at cleaning up all the crap in their lives that keeps them unhappy and stuck.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #19)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 10:43 AM

23. I know that AA has helped many people

But in my experience in several states, there was a strong religious component. Iím not saying thatís bad but I just think they should own up to it.

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Response to Funtatlaguy (Reply #23)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 10:59 AM

25. Nothing religious about it anywhere I've been, despite what the courts say. Clearly

the Twelve Steps,

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


and

Tradition 2

For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.


are not religious. It's deity spiritualism, not religion, or something like that. And best of all, a loving deity (see Tradition 2 just above).

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Response to progree (Reply #25)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 11:07 AM

26. Ummm...#3 is right out of a Baptist hymnal

But if you donít equate all of the God mentions to religion, thatís cool.
I do see it as religion and, again, Iím okay with that. Religion doesnít offend me. But to claim that AA is not a religious organization is to deny reality, IMHO.
Ok, Iím done with this subject.
Iíd rather talk about how much we all hate Trump. See ya. 😀

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Response to Funtatlaguy (Reply #26)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 11:12 AM

27. I see it as religion too, but I know I must be mistaken

I do see it as religion and, again, Iím okay with that. Religion doesnít offend me. But to claim that AA is not a religious organization is to deny reality, IMHO.


I agree with all that except for "religion doesn't offend me". And when I and others are coerced into it, I'm not okay with it. But that's because I'm looking for excuses to get drunk, or something like that, so others and I have been told when we quote from the Big Book like in https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1144&pid=3135 above.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 10:45 AM

24. AA

The original CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.)

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2019, 11:23 AM

28. It doesn't work for those who don't believe in the Bible.

It's worthless for atheists like my son who definitely has addiction problems, just not with alcohol.

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Response to lark (Reply #28)

Sun Jun 30, 2019, 04:11 AM

30. Well, it's worked for me and I'm pretty much an atheist, too.

The meetings that I've been to don't usually talk about religion. It's a spiritual program, not a religious one. And there are people who do say that they choose to call their Higher Power "God," but that's a personal choice and if that's what works for them, it's fine with me - whatever works. One thing I learned early on was to "take what you want and leave the rest."

At one of my first meetings I told a long-timer who highlighted parts of my Big Book that referred to God that I wasn't religious. And I was asked if I was "open minded," which I try to be - and I also take into account that many of the writings are from the 1930s when organized religion played a much bigger part in society. They also talk about Model Ts and WWII, as well - and I appreciate the times in which they were written.

When I first started going to AA meetings in 2008, the discussions were strictly limited to alcohol. But that's changed, as well. So many these days say that "drugs are a part of my story," and I don't have an issue with that, either. Many now identify as "addicts," but if the rooms of AA - as opposed to NA - are working for them, I certainly don't judge.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #30)

Sun Jun 30, 2019, 08:26 AM

31. I'm glad you found a good group that helps you.

Unfortunately, here, where my son went,a lot of the emphasis was on religion - at least in his mind. He's got some issues so I don't know how much was him just being pissed that he had to be there and how much was them pushing religion? I'm glad to hear that it's not that way at all AA places and you found a good helpful place for yourself.

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Response to lark (Reply #31)

Sun Jun 30, 2019, 09:18 AM

32. Your son cannot legally be coerced into a religious program. Many have fought for that right

Six out of six of the highest courts -- all just one level below the U.S. Supreme Court -- have found A.A. to be at least religious in nature -- religious enough that coerced attendance by government constitutes a violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment. The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of one of the U.S. Court of Appeals cases, thus letting the ruling stand.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post32

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Response to progree (Reply #32)

Sun Jun 30, 2019, 09:27 AM

33. In NE FL courts were still doing this in 2008.

Don't know about more recently but it was definitely part of my sons' probation orders from the court back then.

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Response to lark (Reply #33)

Sun Jun 30, 2019, 09:56 AM

34. Yes, one has to fight these, unfortunately

Many courts by default sentence people to A.A./N.A. I've been involved in an anti-coercion Yahoo Group for a long time, and most who have brought these court cases to the attention of the judge succeed, but then some other program is substituted which might be harder to get to and worse in other ways.

Minnesota in 2007, and probably now, got around this explicit sentencing to A.A. by indirection -- requiring out-patient evaluation and treatment and then requiring that we follow the treatment center's recommendations. In my case the treatment center's recommendations included A.A. attendance. I could have fought that, but since I had a jail sentence hanging over me as leverage, I decided not to. Fortunately it was only once a week attendance for a year.

I went to many "We Agnostics" A.A. meetings, and some "Addiction Busters" (a secular non-AA group) meetings, as a substitute for some of the A.A. meeting requirements, and probation didn't complain.

The Agnostic A.A. meeting movement has grown rapidly in the last few years, and I am grateful to A.A. that these have been allowed.

https://aaagnostica.org/
List of secular A.A. meetings https://secularaa.org/meetings/?tsml-day=any

There are also alternatives to A.A. that one can Google by searching on "A.A. alternatives"

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Response to progree (Reply #34)

Sun Jun 30, 2019, 10:00 AM

35. Hopefully my son will stay out of jail, but unfortunately that's not a given.

Thanks for the information.

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Response to lark (Reply #35)

Sun Jun 30, 2019, 09:59 PM

36. I hope so too.

Thanks for the information.


You're welcome, and hopefully your son will never need it. (Well, Secular A.A. and "A.A. alternatives" (there are several), and similarly for N.A. (Narcotics Anonymous) may be helpful resources for life, since alcoholism / addiction is a lifelong issue, no matter how long one has been sober / not using. They say addiction is "cunning, baffling, powerful", and many add the words, "and patient" -- since it waits patiently for a weak moment, no matter how many years or decades one has been sober).

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)


Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Sat Jul 6, 2019, 11:23 PM

37. The secret: "Keep Coming Back"

I know that's NA, but still.

That said, fuck Dr Drew.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #37)

Mon Jul 8, 2019, 02:27 AM

38. I'm pretty sure that all the As say that!

That and "It works if you work it." (The Steps) When I first joined AA over 10 years ago, we rarely heard about drugs. I remember one time when I was at a meeting, talking to someone just outside the door, when a long timer (30+ years) I knew came rushing out of the room and didn't answer me when I asked him was going on. It turns out that the poor girl who was leading the meeting mentioned that drugs were a part of her story.

These days, it's completely different. I still go to AA meetings since drugs aren't a part of my story, but now it's more common than not to hear drugs mentioned by people who lead the meeting or share. Some say that they're an alcoholic and an addict, some even just say they're addicts, though many say that they started out using alcohol.

We have both NA and HA (heroin) meetings around here, but AA is still the most prevalent. And having gone to other types of meetings, most use the AA Big Book. A friend of mine said recently that "a drug is a drug is a drug" and I happen to agree. Anything that helps is just fine with me, but the key, like you said, is to "keep coming back!"


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