Mary Ellen made the news again in the Daily Beast Article: “Elizabeth Pena and the Truth About Alcoholic Women.”

It’s a good article that not only covers AA’s failure to help women, and how AA actively harms women (not to mention men as well), but also notes some of what actually works and why.

A fast review covers the basics:

  • Women who are already feeling disempowered aren’t apt to benefit from being told that they are “powerless” over this ”disease” and must be “in recovery” – giving up their marriages and everything else to the cult – forever.
  • Vulnerable women are actively preyed upon by “13th Steppers” – the con artists who flock to, or are court mandated to, AA and the endless supply of victims AA offers them.
  • AA itself tacitly condones this activity, begun with founder Bill W.
  • Women are far better served by correcting the problems they are medicating than by simply trading one form of alcohol abuse for another.
  • CBT and assertiveness training, both empowering solutions, work far better and also promote full lives, increased intimacy, and a shedding of the shame based “alcoholic” self-image.
  • We could of course go on, as we have in the past, and probably will again in the future, but try reading the article and see what you can get out of that and call with any questions.

And to stay informed as well as up-to-date, we also recommend:

Gabrielle Glaser’s “Her Best-Kept Secret, Why Women Drink – and How They Can Regain Control” at:


Lance Dodes’ “The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry” at

Your Social & Recreational Life

In working with you, we take a look at the different aspects of your life. These include your “Living Space,” “Professional Life,” “Medical Considerations,” “Personal Relationships,” and your “Social & Recreational Activities,” among others.

We do this breakdown because your alcohol abuse usually is a way of medicating away problems in one, a few, or all of these areas. This means we can either zero in on the problem area or at least prioritize the different areas so you aren’t overwhelmed.

Your Social & Recreational activities are a frequent source of problems and one of the first where you may find both discomfort and sabotage when you stop drinking.


First, for many of you, drinking has become your only social or recreational activity. It’s what you do regardless of the cover story. Golf is drinking at the club; fishing is drinking on a boat; skiing if drinking at the lodge; dining out is drinking…. But I’m sure you get the picture.

Second, if these are the primary activities you engage in with your spouse, partner, and/or friends then they aren’t going to be happy when you suddenly turn into this “boring, no fun, party pooper.” Nor will they care for the example you are setting and they could probably stand to emulate – since we all tend to collect “friends” who reinforce whatever we’re doing whether it’s fine dining (getting drunk) at the club or joining an outlaw motorcycle gang.

Yes, even, or especially, the people who claimed they wanted your drinking to end will suddenly decide that they liked things better the way they were.

This is one of those oft mentioned unforeseen consequences. Family members in particular thought that you stopping drinking wouldn’t impact them at all. Life would go on as before, except you wouldn’t be getting drunk.

Ah, no.

When you stop, everything changes for everyone who has been affected by your drinking. Suddenly you have no interest in their drunken events, no matter how upscale, but now just unbelievably boring.

And your adolescents? They’ve been used to manipulating you (“But Mom, you said I could!”) and now you do remember what you did and did not agree to. Bummer.

Eventually, people do adjust as you step up to real activities and events and interests and over a year or so you create a “new normal.”

Remember, you’re creating a more satisfactory and happier life for yourself and those around you. Folks who do care about you, and themselves, and their relationships with you will also be happier. Those who aren’t, well, it’s probably past time you moved them into the “been there, done that” file too.