New Review Finds Alcoholics Anonymous Is Effective, But Not For Everyone

You can click on the headline link for a brief synopsis of the “research.” I say “research” in quotes because the reported outcomes are as suspect as they have always been.

However, a couple of notes are worth adding:

  • The “findings” suggest that Steppers remain abstinent longer than those who only use Cognitive Behavior Therapy;
  • Happily also says that expensive AA based rehab isn’t more effective than just going to “free” AA meetings (which are hardly free given how much of yourself you must surrender in return for a dubiously better life “in recovery”) ;
  • It defines “success” as the outmoded “in recovery” definition;
  • Of necessity, it didn’t look at those who recover fully, on their own, and without any fanfare, cults, or hoopla – certainly the largest group of “alcohol use disorder” sufferers;
  • But it at least acknowledges that “it’s not for everyone.”

Obvious flaws?

  • Abstinence isn’t the usual or only “solution” to overly self-medicating with alcohol;
  • Only two approaches were compared: AA vs CBT;

No effort was made to identify differences between clients’ attributes.

As I noted in “AA: Who it Helps, Who it Harms, Who it Kills & Why”, if solutions are not tailored to individuals, then “success” is unlikely. Nor does it address the massive problems associated with AA – not just 13th Stepping – including preventing people from fully recovering, brainwashing, terrorizing, humiliating, misidentifying, labeling and a host of other attributes that make “in recovery” for many a worse life than self-medicating.

The flaws are so universal that it’s no wonder our national psyche has been warped by 85 years of Stepper brainwashing to where people believe self-medication is a “disease” rather than a “symptom” or that lifelong “in recovery” is the solution rather than, for most, an impediment to real solutions and full recovery.

Again it comes down to what do you want?

Do you want to continue to live an alcohol fixated life with many of the nastier aspects of your drinking intact (passive aggression, escapism, immaturity, blaming others) or do you want to return to, or step up to, a normal adult life?

Once again, a reader has provided fuel for another article:

“The following is a quote from one of my favorite blogs, Farnham Street.

This week’s edition, and the paragraph below especially, seem to me to support some aspects of your approach to changing drinking habits. So I thought of you and decided to send it.”

“Attempting to remove a habit and leave everything else untouched does not eliminate the need and can simply lead to a replacement habit that might be just as harmful or even worse. Because of this, more successful approaches often involve replacing a bad habit with a good, benign, or less harmful one—or dealing with the underlying need. In other words, that fence went up for a reason, and it can’t come down without something either taking its place or removing the need for it to be there in the first place.”

This really does sum up what happens when most people join AA and replace drinking to excess with going to meetings excessively in both the short and long term; becoming at least as dependent on AA as on alcohol; remain just as irresponsible and unavailable to their families and others; learn new excuses and ways to manipulate others while avoiding responsibility for anything and everything including their continued drinking.

Evading responsibility is the number one lesson AA teaches, instills, and propagates.

It’s not your responsibility – you are powerless over your disease which can overwhelm you at any moment especially if others are interfering with you working your program.

Of course it’s impossible for “others” not to interfere when there is no actual plan for you to recover – just a cover story that holds you unaccountable.

So, as always, what’s your choice? Do you want a life or an excuse to avoid getting one? Do you want to take responsibility or continue to blame others?

But – you can’t avoid taking responsibility for making whichever end you choose. You aren’t powerless to decide, nor can you evade responsibility for the consequences of whichever end you elect.

We’ll help you with one choice. You don’t need anyone’s help with the other that awaits you in some church’s back room near you.