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Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.
Essays and Blogs Concerning Mental and Emotional Health

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a Cult ?

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 1st 2006

We've got a comment system on Mental Help Net, and lately we've been getting a lot of comments regarding an old essay I wrote concerning Alcoholics Anonymous. The essay, titled "AA is to shame as a hot knife is to butter", presents a generally positive view of the Alcoholic's Anonymous fellowship and twelve step programs in general. The positive view expressed in that essay came out of my experience working for a year (during my postdoctoral fellowship) in a partial hospital program (otherwise known as an IOP or Intensive Outpatient Program) for dually diagnosed people. Dual diagnosis means that you have two diagnoses: one is an addiction, and the other a serious mental disorder. So, we dealt with people who were schizophrenic, and alcoholic, or bipolar and using cocaine. That sort of thing. Many of our clients' lives were complicated by severe poverty and homelessness. The sicker you get, the further down the socio-economic scale you tend to fall.

beer bottle viewed from aboveOur partial hospital program dealt with addiction issues and mental health issues simultaneously, but always prioritized the addictions, on the theory that you cannot benefit much from psychiatric or psychological attention when you are intoxicated. We did drug screenings every day using breath tests, urine, and occasionally blood. Patients found to be intoxicated were sent home for the day. Patients who had recently relapsed into using their drug(s) of choice were asked to talk about it in a group therapy session in which the therapists (sometimes myself) helped the group to identify the behaviors and triggers and thought patterns that had led up to the relapse. There were other forms of therapy, and lots of psychiatric medication, and lots of attention in general. There was also AA, a process deemed so important by my clinical superiors that they had integrated it directly into their program, actually having meetings occur within the hospital, and us bringing our patients there during scheduled time periods.

My positive impression of AA came out of that year of experience; watching the patients rise and fall and noting when people were able to keep it together and when they weren't. You could pretty much tell who was going to use after a little while. The folks most likely to use (or never stop using) were those most deeply in denial about their drug problem; who could not submit to the idea that their drug use was actually a problem. The ones who could never settle on a sponsor; who would lie to you saying that they had not used recently, when you had their positive urine test results in your hand.

My experience with AA was never very much first hand. I have been to exactly two AA meetings in my life. Both were observational in nature, a "field trip" if you will, so that I could see what I was recommending to my patients. What I saw during those two meetings was non-remarkable. People speaking about their drinking issues and receiving support from the group; pretty much what you'd expect. These experiences took the novelty of the thing away from me, but hardly qualify as a good sample of what AA is about. More to the point, my impression of AA's usefulness came from our patients, and from our staff, a few of whom were in recovery themselves. The point was made in my head that addicts are unable at first to control their own behavior, and thus need and benefit from programs like AA that help to set limits on them.

The rub is that AA asks its participants to submit to a higher power, God as you understand him, or "good orderly direction". And many people, addicts and non-addicts alike, deeply dislike the idea of needing to submit to a higher power. They rightly distrust and dislike even more the idea that the higher power they are submitting to might be selfish in nature, or twisted, or power-hungry and looking to dominate. They dislike what they see to be the cultist aspects of AA, as is readily apparent in this comment (which I declined to append to the essay itself because there are already a number of comments there expressing this very point), but which I will reproduce here):

The author is trying real hard to rationalize AA. Being accessible and free means nothing...so are alcohol and drugs and Christ, etc., etc. The "peer support" is not support...it is peer indoctrination. I tried AA for 14 years...I believed it, I "worked it", and it almost killed me.

I believe thatn any professional that reccomends AA or any twelve-step treatment should have their license revoked. It is no different than recommending Scientology to someone with a broken arm, or Islam to someone with cancer, or Catholocism to someone with herpes.

AA is definitely NOT the "feel good peer-driven support group" that everyone touts. It is completely unregulated, and 95% of the people that walk in the door leave...how many of them die? How many recover on their own (like I have now)? How many continue to drink and become burdens on them selves and society (for years...like I did)?

Would you get on an airplane that had only a 5% chance of safely getting you where you wanted to go?

Until you directly answer the question, from all angles: "Does AA do more harm than good?"....then it is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY to recommend it or coerce anyone to attend. It is a very pervasive and dangerous cult, so much so that M.D.'s and PhD's recommend it in the absence of ANY valid scientific research showing that it does more good than harm. They should really have their licenses revoked.

It's a bit hard for me to read this sort of thing, because the person who wrote it obviously has felt very damaged by AA, a group that someone recommended to him or her, because they thought it would help. I don't doubt that this person has had a bad experience, has felt abused, perhaps was abused. It's sad.

Its no secret that AA's focus on submission to a higher power has broad potential for abuse. That focus on submission and making ammends is there for a very important reason - it encourages the growth of empathy and social solidarity in participant addicts; qualities which help them resist the lure of their drugs. And yet, that very submission also comes with a terrible vulnerability. it is important that anyone teaching submission as a way of life also be a kind and loving person, because otherwise, that submission becomes the basis for cult-like cohesion, as the commenter points out. Sociopathic types who also tend to be addicts are very likely to get themselves into AA and then use it for their selfish purposes. At any given moment within AA, there are going to be people who are honestly struggling with remaining sober and people who are using and not admitting it, or not taking the steps necessary to end it; people who understand hurt and who want to help others stop hurting and people who are all too willing to use other people for selfish purposes.

"Stick With The Winners" was the slogan I liked the best. Some meetings are better than others, because there is more beneficial order and kindness available there, and less sociopathy and sickness. If you are an addict in a twelve step situation, and you find that situation abusive (and not simply limiting of your urges), it seems to me that you need to find a better meeting; not quit entirely.

What are your thoughts? There must be some people out there who feel they have benefited from AA and twelve step. There must be other people who feel abused or put off by the process too. Do you have any advice or comments for the person who wrote the above comment? For me (grin!), as a doctor (like so many doctors) willing to write about and recommend things he has not lived or experienced first hand himself? Can there be submission to a higher power without abuse taking place? How do you handle abusive attitudes and individuals within AA and other twelve step programs? What are the merits of twelve step. And if you can't think of any merits, what are the better alternatives?

 

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. was Director of Mental Help Net from 1999 to 2011. Presently, he is an Oakland Psychologist (Lic#PSY25695) in private practice offering evidence-based acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and addressing a range of life problems. Contact Dr. Dombeck by calling 510-900-5123, send Dr. Dombeck email or visit Dr. Dombeck's practice website for more information.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

AA-Cult? comments are now closed - Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. - Jan 2nd 2011

All,

We are closing the comments here at this time (2010-01-02) after it has become clear that messages are simply being repeated in an endless circle of insults and hostility between pro and con camps (with regard to AA). 

The "utility" of AA is an important question without a doubt, as are related questions as to abuse that occurs within AA some of the time and alternatives to AA for those who are seeking alternatives (there are many).  We will find ways to continue to enable discussion of these issues as we go forward.  Hopefully we can do so without so much personal attack occurring. 

Thanks to all who have contributed comments here.  Burried in the dross are many gems which perhaps can be be dug up and repurposed. 

Dr. Dombeck

control freak - Mickey - Jan 2nd 2011

Mickey, you've been seeking out bullies your whole life; that's why you find them everywhere you look.

Stop looking.

 

Timbo555, unless you have spent the majority of your life following me and have had a close personal relationship with me your statement above is nothing more than an attempt to try and discredit me and/or you simply fall into one of the criteria below.

You know nothing about me or anyone else one here for that matter.

Also your whole statement suggests that bullies don't exist and people that claim they do are paranoid.

Try reading the links I have provided and then come back with an arguement about the information that is provided; rather than trying to discredit me with your unfounded claims about me or anyone else here. (My guess is that you won't be able to discredit the information and will either resort to attacking the person providing it again or will simply drop the subject and avoid it all together.)

Note I have posted a link that offers a list far to large to post here and is well worth reviewing.

 

·  is a control freak and has a compulsive need to control everyone and everything you say, do, think and believe; for example, will launch an immediate personal attack attempting to restrict what you are permitted to say if you start talking knowledgeably about psychopathic personality or antisocial personality disorder in their presence - but aggressively maintains the right to talk (usually unknowledgeably) about anything they choose; serial bullies despise anyone who enables others to see through their deception and their mask of sanity

·  displays a compulsive need to criticise whilst simultaneously refusing to value, praise and acknowledge others, their achievements, or their existence

·  is also quick to belittle, undermine, denigrate and discredit anyone who calls, attempts to call, or might call the bully to account

·  gains gratification from denying people what they are entitled to

when called upon to share or address the needs and concerns of others, responds with impatience, irritability and aggression

 

http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/serial.htm

thank you - - Jan 2nd 2011

Timbo555:

Thank you for your advice.   I am sure that you are trying to help.

bullies are responsible - Martha - Jan 2nd 2011

Grievence Collector said:  "Mickey, you've been seeking out bullies your whole life; that's why you find them everywhere you look. Stop looking."

 

  What a heaping crock of dung!   Bulliies are responsible for bullying and not the victim.   I suppose those young people who recently killed themselves because of bullying brought it on themselves and the homophobic little thugs who bullied them bear no responsibility?   This is typical  12 step garbage that blames the victim.  Nobody seeks out bullies you moron.  I guess we can't expect much more from people who actually believe that an inert substance has the capicity to be  "cunning, baffling and powerful."  Thank God AA is dying.

Grievance Collector...... - Timbo555 - Jan 1st 2011

"Most organisations have a serial bully. It never ceases to amaze me how one person's divisive, disordered, dysfunctional behaviour can permeate the entire organisation like a cancer." Tim Field"

Mickey, you've been seeking out bullies your whole life; that's why you find them everywhere you look.

Stop looking.

happy new year - - Jan 1st 2011

Presumably, people are having a 'happy new year'.   May you have one.

May your new year be as productive as your old year. If not more so.

May you get what you want; may you discover that you say   you want is someting that is worth having.

May you actually know what you want.  Which is, in fact, a major acomplishment.   Life is unfair; and, deserve has nothing to do with it.

Live long and prosper. 

 

Stupid, is as stupid does... - Timbo555 - Jan 1st 2011

"There is an issue in medicine called adherence. If the side effects of a medicine are so severe that a patient does not want to take it then it doesn't matter how effective the medicine is."

Dear Stupid:

I could chat forever with you on what you think the "severe" aside effects are of working the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

But I'd rather you produce a single peer reviewed outcomes study on any therapeutic regimen that includes in it statistics on those people who haven't under gone the treatment.

Those patients necessarily belong to a subset, perhaps a  control group.  But you cannot accurately judge the statistical effectiveness of a given therapy by including those who do not undergo the therapy.  That would be, well, stupid.

group norms - Mickey - Dec 31st 2010

Most organisations have a serial bully. It never ceases to amaze me how one person's divisive, disordered, dysfunctional behaviour can permeate the entire organisation like a cancer." Tim Field

 

If anyone is interested in learning the dynamics of bullying and how it pertains to group “norms” and quite interestingly has existed in this forum, I have provided a link below. You might be surprised at what you may learn.

Hare says victims of work abuse are usually not selected at random. Those at greatest risk are employees who do not conform to a company's norms, which are the unique and unconscious rules of each work system.

Abusive work systems often mimic dysfunctional families, and employees adopt similar behaviors at work that they maintained in their own families.

"If their personal behavior patterns are far different from the norms," Hare says, "then these are the people that get picked on the most.

"The people who have their own ideas and speak out, they can be pretty severely abused.

http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/workabus.htm

 

I wish everyone nothing but the best no matter what path they take.

 

Thank you Dr. Dombeck for hosting and moderating this forum; if nothing else, you have shown more patients and tolerance than any person I have ever met.

a good review - - Dec 31st 2010

A good review:

http://www.morerevealed.com/blogs/ken/2008/06/the-strange-world-of-mark-dombeck-phd-at-mentalhealthnet/

90 meetings in 90 days - abby - Dec 31st 2010

and look what happened to me

http://www.wayodd.com/head-up-your-ass/v/4735/

Dr. Dombeck's Note:  The link is literally to a photoshop image of a man with his head inserted into his own rectum.  Not really NSFW but be ready. 

I consider myself an activist - abby - Dec 31st 2010

I am not controlled by anger or AA.  I just carry the message so others don't fall into the 12 step trap.

and who better to quote than Stanton Peele:

Peele states  the disease model is wrong and that every major tenet of the “disease” view of addiction is refuted both by scientific research and by everyday observation. People do not necessarily lose control of themselves whenever they are exposed to the object of their addiction and addiction usually does not last a lifetime. " once an addict always an addict " holds no merit. Progression is not inevitable—it is the exception. Contrary to all the advertising , treatment for addictions is often no more effective than letting addiction and recovery take their natural course . The number of self-curers is triple or more the number of successful treatment or A.A cases. But such self-curers are not very visible, because they are individuals without an organized group to publicize their success..

Peele also addresses the many disadvantages of the disease approach to treatment: The Disease theory attacks people’s feelings of personal control and can thus become a self-fulfilling prophecy; it makes mountains out of molehills, since it fails to differentiate between the worst alcoholics and addicts and those with minor substance-use dependence; stigmatizes people—in their own minds—for life; interrupts normal maturation for the young, for whom this approach is completely inappropriate; holds up as models for drinking and drug use the people who have shown the least capacity to manage their lives; isolates alcoholism and addiction as problems from the rest of the alcoholic’s or addict’s life; limits people’s human contacts primarily to other recovering alcoholics or addicts, who only reinforce their preoccupation with drinking and drug use; dispenses a rigid program of therapy that is founded—in the words of the director of the government’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIA.A.A)—“on hunch, not evidence, and not on science,” while attacking more effective therapies

http://www.peele.net/lib/truth_1.html

The Cat is Out of the Bag - Gunthar2000 - Dec 31st 2010

The truth has been revealed.

Thanks to the internet and the bold efforts of selfless people who really care, the fraud medicine of Alcoholics Anonymous has been exposed.

Over the next few years AA membership will continue to decline, some of the newer therapies will continue to take root and begin to flourish, full disclosure and recovery by choice will become the new gold standard of the addiction treatment industry.

Thanks to all of the folks who've taken the time to share with the rest of the world what actually goes on behind the insidious curtain of the Alcoholics Anonymous cult. Because of your efforts people will be exposed to AA abuse and manipulation on a much slighter scale. The great monopoly is beginning to topple. We are the Davids who brought Goliath to his knees.

Ending 2010 on a Happy Note - Martha - Dec 31st 2010

Mike said:  "AA continues to decline in membership."

  That put a smile on my face. So does the blog called "Stinkin Thinkin"  where people who reject AA get validation that the problem is with AA and not with them.  That blog gets new people all the time who report on their own negative experiences in AA and go out and tell others who question AA about resources like The Orange Papers. 

  There are also countless reports of people being threatened, and called names when they dare question AA dogma.  AA may be able to silence opposition within it's meeting halls with their banning of "cross talk,"  but out in the real world and on the internet we will not be silenced because The First Amendment trumps Billy W's  cult followers.

 It should not be suprising that hard core steppers resort to bigotry. Remember that AA has its roots in the Oxford Group that was founded by a nazi lover. 

Also remember that Bill Wilson was a nutjob whose spiritual white light experience happend when he was stoned on Belladonna.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/20/health/20drunk.html

 Interesting that some AA mmembers here acccuse those who reject AA of being drunk.  I thought your politically correct response was that we are "dry drunks."  BTW there is no such thing as a dry drunk.  Abstinence is sobriety. 

 Let us hope that 2011 brings us closer to the demise of AA and that more people realize that they are not powerless over their use of substances.  Will power is their best bet, self will and self empowerment will keep you sober and you do not need a religion that was founded by an lsd taking, cheating and lying loser in 1935.

Happy New Year

Excellent. - Tony J - Dec 31st 2010

Mike :

"- True-believers tend to resort to violent (and anti-semitic) rhetoric when prodded.  This seems to coincide with a general right-wing religious world view of a segment of the overall U.S. population.  Sad and frightening.  McGowDog and Tony J, you know who you are.  Shame on you."

No Mike, shame on you for taking the low road and naming names instead of trying to part as friends.

Shame on you to for accusing me of being a violent anti-semite when I am neither.

But thank you for revealing your true character one last time for us.  If anyone wants what you have after 20 years of 'sobriety' they know what to do.

For me, my anti-AA fighting days are over.

You wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it.

Dr D, thank you once again.

Peace everyone (even Mike). 

unfortunate - Carlton - Dec 31st 2010

I for one enjoyed the site even with its faults.  Its important to be able to speak freely and this site has allowed that.  I understand Dr. Dombecks reasons for doing what he is doing but I think he is making a mistake. 

A newcomer to AA or the addiction recovery can gain a lot from the discussions here.  Even though there have been condescending comments going both ways the facts have been addressed and information has been exchanged.

AA served a purpose back in a time when science and medicine knew very little about addiction.  Medicine is currently making quantum leaps in the addiction field and new programs will emerge.  You can count on that.

Thank you Dr. Dombeck for your comments and insights.

Dr. Dombeck's Note:  We're shutting down this particular discussion, but not discussion on this general topic.  I do expect that there will continue to be AA related discussion on this website.  It's a very important mental health topic.  My goal is to be able to discuss it with less name calling and antagonism involved. 

no advice - - Dec 31st 2010

TK:

Abby needs no advice from you. 

never has never will

and if we can't talk abuses in aa, why not? - let's talk about aa and the 12 step movement - Dec 31st 2010

There are many resources out there to help anyone having problems with addiction.  12 step stuff is based on powerlessness and brainwashing.  Eg, Rational Recovery, LifeRing,  the work of Stanton Peele.

If you have uneasiness about your experience in aa, please look at  THE ORANGE PAPERS, STINKIN THINKIN AND MORE REVEALED.

Thank you for this thread, Dr Dombeck.

observation - - Dec 31st 2010

Simple observation proves the statistics true. Just sit in an AA room for 1 year. Watch how many come and go. Where I went to meetings I would say it was far less than 5% that stayed. Most quickly realize that AA doesn't provide adaquate tools to quit drinking or any kind of real change. Most of the old timers I have seen are quite mentally sick, barely able to contain their rage. They have nothing I want. Nothing at all.

It's been real... - Mike - Dec 31st 2010

What can I say, it's been interesting.  The trends that I've seen in this discussion:

- AA can be dangerous.  The Midtown tragedy is being played out across the country in various way (sexual, financial, emotional exploitation of members).  There are no safeguards in place to protect newcomers, sponsors hold no certification and are not subject to background checks. 

- True-believers tend to resort to violent (and anti-semitic) rhetoric when prodded.  This seems to coincide with a general right-wing religious world view of a segment of the overall U.S. population.  Sad and frightening.  McGowDog and Tony J, you know who you are.  Shame on you.

- There is hope.  Not only are there a number of scientific studies that refute the efficacy of the "12 steps", there are also a host of former members who will attest to what is going on in contemporary AA. Agent Orange has been a pioneer in this respect.  Great work is also being done over at Stinkin' Thinkin'.  Please visit these sites. The Internet and the First Amendment are the lifeblood of the counter-"12 step" movement.

AA continues to decline in membership.  I await a decisive lawsuit that plugs up the illegal referral pipeline.  This has kept the numbers artificially high for years.  It will someday end.  The true-believers can then slink off and find some other way to fill their social/emotional void. 

That is my prayer.  Goodbye.

 

Thanks.... - Mona Lisa - Dec 31st 2010

Thanks Mark for providing the forum.  I agree, though, that the time has come to end it; intelligent discourse has been entirely overtaken by personal attacks and there is no value in continuing.

The only concluding points I'd like to make are:

1.  Whether or not you think it's a cult, one thing is clear:  AA is NOT the only way, or the best way, to quit drinking.

2.  If you feel that a support group might help you reach your goal regarding your drinking, make sure to check out the various options.  Look at SMART Recovery, LifeRing, SOS, WFS, etc. as well as AA and make your own decision.

3.  Always be suspicious of any group (or sub-group) that claims it represents the "one true path" or whose members state that the recovery of outsiders is of less value.  This is nonsense. 

4.  Do not allow any support group to convince you that recovery requires isolating yourself from all humans other than members of your support group. 

5.  Remember this: Recovery DOES happen.  It is neither a miracle nor a dream.  It is very real.  The early part of it is tough, no matter how you do it, but it's all worth it.

Best,  ML

Stupid - - Dec 31st 2010

The authors do it, in this case to flip the total population base from the right of the graph to the left of the graph so it's more obvious what the data means in the context of the conversation.  In the original graph 100% of the population is represented on the right side (month 12).  By using the normalization factor it can be represented as if the 100% population base is on the left side.

This absolutely astonishing. It ranks right up their with Skepticals statement that ethanol doesn't bind receprtors in the "classical" sense. So if 100% of the population is on the right side of the graph(month 12-actually you mean in their 11th month) then the left side serves no purpose(months 1-11,first through tenth months). That then means you can't divide these meaningless numbers because they are already represented in the 11th month (month 12 to you).Wow, just wow. Sacred science. Enough said. This proves AA is a cult.

Dear Abby, Dear Abby - Thomas Kuhn - Dec 30th 2010

Until you let go of your anger, AA will continue to control you. Until you decide to move on, you will be powerless over the emotions that your thoughts about AA incite. Think of it: you have unwittingly made AA your higher power - it controls you postings like a marionette master. You are not free.

Regardless of the veracity of what you say, you sound like a drunk poster. Try standing for something rather than against something. Talk to a friend. Take a walk. Try something different. Can you honestly say that what you are doing on this site is working for you? I doubt it.

TK

140 - McGowdog - Dec 30th 2010

Sorry for the misspelling, sp.  I've been working on Cryptoquips lately and it has jumbled up my spelling a bit.  Take for example the following (I'll give you a clue that I was given, S=T);

MKS PNKGS SK JOXSDM SK NPVLOMA KV UDKZOMA, SWD UPVLDS KZMDV CKXSDQ SWD XOAM "MK CDSX PJKGQ."

Now sp and all... have a noble, safe, and prosperous New Year!

The McGowdog

a good idea - - Dec 30th 2010

Concluding this is a good idea.   It has been played out for quite some time.

1.   AA is a useful support group for many people; it provides a social environment for many who would have no environment at all.

2.  For others, AA does next to nothing; it, simply, does not apply to them.

3.  AA is useless or harmful to some people.

4.  There is no evidence that AA 'works'; there is no evidence that AA does not 'work'.

5.  AA is not the only way.   There  are groups and methods that are available.   There is no evidence as their effectiveness either.   But, people do have the right to choose.

6.   12 step is revealed truth; acceptance is an act of faith.

7.    Drunkards are just as much discrete individuals as are taxi drivers, engineers or lawyers.  How people are unique is as important as they are alike.

8.   If you need help with the state of your mental health, find a qualified professional who can help you.

9.   Quitting on your own is a commonplace.

10.  If you are compatible with aa, fine.  If you are not compatible with aa, fine.    Leave or stay.  It is your free choice.

11.   Whatever happens, do not drink.   The problems will remain the next morning; it is best to handle them sober, with your wits intact.

12.  Live long and prosper.  

lies , more lies and damned statistics - abby - Dec 30th 2010

 

This piece of gibberish which is now being used to defunct the fact that AA has a retention rate of  5%, is little more than propoganda and a reworking of stats by usiing only the right side of the graph.  In my opinion it is baffling with bullshit.

 

For we were looking at a sample of people of 100 to measure intelligence you would see the less intelligent measure at the left side with average in the middle and higher intelligence on the right.   This analysis which I have already presented to a statistician is simply working the right side of the graph.  In otherwords they are trying to make bad results look less bad.

The piece of jibberish below simply excludes the left side of the graph.   Then at random chooses a normalization factor without a reason for this.  

Hmmm my guess is they are fudging. A normalization factor is not needed as 100 percent of the sample is included.  

http://donewithaa.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/triennialreviewaa.pdf

Addiction and smoking - abby - Dec 30th 2010

How many people do you know who have quit smoking, I know many who have quit.  As addictive as smoking is , and by far more addictive than alcohol, people just quit, they did it on their own.  They did not need to go to a treatment centers, nor did they need to define themselves as a smokolic, one who pursued smoking because it was a spiritual disease.

They did not need to engage in confession, moral inventories and turning their power over to the tooth fairy or some other god of their understanding.  They quit

The majority of people quit smoking on their own.  They just do it and they do it with a self help group.

Now isn't it interesting that when you to an AA meeting what you see there are die hard smokers and coffee drinkers.  Nicotine and Caffine are their daily intake despite the wonderful promises of 12 step recovery.

See Ya !! - Tony J - Dec 30th 2010

Dr D :

"The comments here have been for the most part repetitious petty personal attacks recently, serving no useful social or educational purpose other than to illustrate that former drunks can be quite rude, partisan and thick-headed. I've addressed this issue before but the situation never seems to get better.  It's pretty clear now that while you may have stopped drinking, you are still wholely and utterly addicted to conflict and being "right".  I see no point in keeping these comments open any longer under the circumstances."

The point is to give AA's a moderated forum where they can address the anti-AA attacks. 

Which we have done. 

You are correct, the reader can draw his/her own conclusions.

Thanks for your time moderating us.  Happy New Year.

Please make your final arguments - Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. - Dec 30th 2010

All,

The comments here have been for the most part repetitious petty personal attacks recently, serving no useful social or educational purpose other than to illustrate that former drunks can be quite rude, partisan and thick-headed. I've addressed this issue before but the situation never seems to get better.  It's pretty clear now that while you may have stopped drinking, you are still wholely and utterly addicted to conflict and being "right".  I see no point in keeping these comments open any longer under the circumstances. 

Take a few days to make some final posts here wrapping up your respective positions for the benefit of the non-regulars who will find them later.  We will conclude this discussion on or around the evening of Jan 1, 2011. 

Dr. Dombeck

When spell-checkers fail us... - sp - Dec 30th 2010

[McGowDog]

blah, blah, blah...A Noble Peace Prize?

Sorry, I can't resist.  I'm a big believer in nobility, but believe the prize is named after a certain Alfred Nobel. Was a dynamite guy, BTW. People with an IQ approaching 140 shood no such dings. 

All the best in the coming year.  /-8~

a real lack of concern - - Dec 30th 2010

Insults accomplish nothing other than make the 'insultor' feel better for a moment.   Then, he feels cranky again.

AA does people some good.   No one is really able to put a number on that.

AA does the opposite - it does harm - for some.  Hard to put a number on that as well.

For many, if not most, it does not do very much at all.  That should not surprise anyone.   We do not know very much about it; we know a good deal more about heart disease or cancer than we know about addiction.

 

There a few points that have been missed, this whole time:

AA is not the only way, and there are other methods available, links to them are available here and elsewhere.

No one really knows how well they work, or do not work either.  But, people do have the right to choose their own method.

No two drunkards are alike; each has their history, patterns of drinking; state of mind.  It is very difficult to make good generalizations.   Some people want to be spiritual; some do not; some want to make big changes in their life; some have those changes imposed; some resist change, they just want to quit.

 

At the heart of the matter, there seems to be, on the part of society and some professionals, a real lack of concern about addiction; a real lack of compassion toward drunkards - pity, perhaps;  and, a failure to devote resources dedicated getting a grip on this matter.

gunthar2000 - McGowdog - Dec 30th 2010

Gunthar, why do you insult my username?  How does that solve anything here?  My username is not blowdog or blowchunks or snowplow or snowdog.  It was given to me as McGowdog by some co-workers years ago.  It's like me calling you Gunsuck, or nozzlesuck or gunt-hair.  Where does that get us?

You can interpret the charts any way you wish.  Orange has his take on A.A. and I have another.  How about Agent Green?  He is a non-alcoholic who has taken time out to take a closer look at Agent Orange and all of his claims.  He has done some research and spent lots and lots of time to find the negative aspects of A.A. to be for sure.  But as Green points out, Orange credits A.A. for nothing, even by accident, and sets out to bash the whole fellowship to the ground.  He finds some info and only reports that which supports his claims and ignores sources that would go contrary to it.  This Agent Green has pointed out a few discrepancies, those of which I don't have the time or desire to bring up here.  I just got off of work and am a bit tired now.

But if what Orange and Stinkin' Thinkin' says about A.A., then I'm the bad guy.  There are plenty of twisted and sick individuals out there harming people and some of them drink alcohol.  Some of them do drugs.  I was watching a program on cable TV the other night called "Jail".  Most of these folks are sick individuals usually caught at their worst moments while in the midst of a good drunk or under the influence of some drug.  But despite that, they are demonstrating some of the basic forms of human sickness... selfishness, fear, dishonesty, self pity, power, control, manipulation, and other deviant behavior.  Some guys are just plain a-holes and out to push people around.  Now Stinkin' Thinkin' takes a snapshot of these folks as their pathetic lives cross the path of A.A. 

Wow!  What do you guys want?  A Noble Peace Prize?  How about get a life?  I see none of this garbage you claim in my A.A. meetings within my own town/state/nation.  I have yet to see myself harming people in or out of A.A. meetings the way y'all accuse the likes of me of. 

I'm coming up on 7 years sober, I'm happily married, happily employeed... and I have a powerful message to the curious drunk.  At meetings I go to, I see nothing of you anti-AA/X-AA folks.  Nothing.  Not even static.  The only static I see from time to time is the MOTRs battling the hardlined step workers... here and there.  But they are both getting some positive results from A.A.

I could pull back from A.A. now and say, "There is no God... no Magician in the sky... running my life for me, keeping me sober."  I could say I'm sober because I decided sober and that's that.  But A.A. is more than not drinking for me.  You want to make fun of some "socially inept" folks who stick around for alcathons during Christmas and New Years.  Good for you.  Hope that builds you up from where you once stood.  But there was a time when I got sober and my first wife left my sober ass.  She and I signed our divorce papers on December 23rd.  Two days later, I was at an all night Christmas Alcathon meeting in Littleton Colorado.  We were on nightwatch and we took calls from drunks who wanted a meeting.  We went and picked them up, brough them to the club and poured them coffee.  It was a blast and I met a few new drunks.  I forgot my woes for a few hours.  Big deal, right?  Who are you to judge that?

A.A. is here to stay and I'm glad to be a part of it.

Statistically I should be dead - raysny - Dec 30th 2010

Anonymous writes:

"Statistically I should be dead."

No, statistically, it's more likely you would have quit before dying. According to AA, alcoholics who do not go to AA must die. If that were true we'd have bodies stacked up like cordwood.

"The NIAAA’s 2001–2002 National Epidemiolo­gic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions interviewe­d over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:
"About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment.­"

Stupid - - Dec 30th 2010

Oh no timbo, you are not going to pull that. If someone works the steps or not is not the issue. What we are talking about is if someone stays around long enough to want to work the steps. There is an issue in medicine called adherence. If the side effects of a medicine are so severe that a patient does not want to take it then it doesn't matter how effective the medicine is. This is actually a huge issue and treatments are arranged or drugs made in diffferent dosage forms to make patients adhere to their regimens. If not, treatments are dropped and another treatment is tried. In AA, the "patient" is not working the program hard enough and is blamed for the treatment failure.

Nevertheless, nobody has stepped up to the plate to explain the fudge-er-normalization factor. Why is the whole population(100% of the people in their first year) multiplied by 5.25 to bring it to 100% done in the first place? Where is the rigorously honest when you need them?

Anti-AA's and 'Science'........not a good mix - Tony J - Dec 30th 2010


Abby :

"Those are definitely fudged results, the statiscal information u are citing was produced by three unnamed authors, for the purpose to circulate in the cult,  the statistics you are citing have never appeared in a peer reviewed journal. "


Abby, are you retarded ?

Are you prepared to submit to this forum only peer reviewed articles to make your points ?

We should be so lucky. 

"
as Stupid clearlin pointed out:

Using a normalization factor is the same thing as using a "fudge factor". Only a severely brainwashed cult member does this.McGow dogs made up facts come from a "study" done by fellow cultees called something like "contemporary myth and misinterpretation" by anonymous "reseasrchers.' This study is only peer reviewed by fellow inductees in the cult. People who have actual science and reality based  learning use this study to get a few laughs. Why would you multiply any #s on the chart to "normalize" it to 100%? Answer me that cultoids. You already have 100% of the population along the graph. Tony J seems to be the one acting all know-it-all.Jump in genius cult member.Explain, why the finagle factor? Or are you koolaid drinkers going to change the data again?"

The normalization factor was used for clarity.  It doesn't 'fudge' the data.

Do you care to explain to the class why multiplying every number by the same number would change the relationship of the numbers to one another ?
Please do this in a scientific way.  I'd love to see your theory.

The authors do it, in this case to flip the total population base from the right of the graph to the left of the graph so it's more obvious what the data means in the context of the conversation.  In the original graph 100% of the population is represented on the right side (month 12).  By using the normalization factor it can be represented as if the 100% population base is on the left side. 

BUT that is not necessary.  If you bother to read the text of the study you'll see this :

"Page 1 :

"It is also noted that about half those coming to A.A. for the first time remain less that three months."

The number on the graph at month 3 is 10%.  10% of 100% is not 'about half' to an unbrainwahsed person.

scientific math : 10/19 = 52% - is about half.

anti-AA cult math : 10% - is about half.

Gunthar :

"Let's take a second to break this down...

"% of those coming to AA within the first year"

This indicates that this chart only focuses on AA members with less than one year.

"that have remained the indicated number of months"

This indicates that the numbers on the chart represent the percentages of members who have REMAINED the indicated number of months.

The thing about charts like this is that they are specifically designed to present data in a way that is easily understood."

Gunthar, the thing about charts like this is they come with text that is to be read....you can't just look at the pictures Gunthar.

Appendix C :

"To be more explicit: if all the members who report they have been in the Fellowship for less than a month were still present a month later, then the number who report being in A.A. between one and two months should equal the number that report being in less that a month, subject, of course to month-to-month fluctuations and any possible seasonal effects.  The same should apply to succeeding months."

So, according to the text the chart starts at less than a month and goes on to succeding months.  It does not start at month 2.

Sorry, you lose.


Ray :

"When you have a massive dropout rate, whether it's 95% according to multiple studies or 74% as AA apologist claim, that makes for far more AA dropouts than AA and many walked away might angry with what they found in the rooms.

If you really wanted to do something about all these angry ex-members, you need to stop taking people arriving under mandates and quit your deceptive recruiting practices. Until then, you're just a pack of abusers whining that the victims are complaining."

Actually the dropout rate isn't anywhere near 74% for people who are interested in getting sober.  The same study that the anti-AA cultees parrot has more data that indicates this :

"About 40% of the members sober less than a year will remain sober and active in the fellowship another year". 

That's part of the same study but not represented by the chart.  And we all know anti-AA's aren't good at reading without pictures (or at least someone to tell them what the words mean). 

So the infamous chart implies a retention rate of 26% but other data implies 40%.  Thats even more evidence that after the initial 'trial period' most people who are still around stick. 

As for part 2 of your rant, "I" could care less about you and other angry ex-members.  Your resentments are yours alone.  Enjoy them for as long as you like, they don't really effect anyone else.  But the new guys who you want to drag down with you, they're the ones who I feel sorry for.  They deserve more than your selfish nihlism.

modern research points to addiction being a choice - - Dec 29th 2010

http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/05/26/addiction-new-research-suggests-its-a-choice/

gunthar - Carlton - Dec 29th 2010

Gunthar I have enjoyed your Youtube stuff you put together, some of it is flat out hilarious.  You are a true anti AA icon. lol

chart - Gunthar2000 - Dec 29th 2010

@McBlowDog... It amazes me that you could even try to argue against the obvious results of the triennial survey.

The title of the chart in question is... "% of those coming to AA within the first year that have remained the indicated number of months"

Let's take a second to break this down...

"% of those coming to AA within the first year"

This indicates that this chart only focuses on AA members with less than one year.

"that have remained the indicated number of months"

This indicates that the numbers on the chart represent the percentages of members who have REMAINED the indicated number of months.

 

The thing about charts like this is that they are specifically designed to present data in a way that is easily understood.

You would have us believe otherwise. According to your bullsh**t explaination us "normies" are just too stupid to understand what the brilliant scientist was trying to say.

I'm going to take a big leap here in assuming that the title ascribed to the chart is an attempt to communicate to us normies what the %ages actually mean, and not some abscure, derived, tangled mess of excuses like the nonsense that you are peddling.

 

 

Information to Consider Before You Join AA - Harold - Dec 29th 2010

The Cult Test  http:  //theness.com/roguesgallery/?p=2109

The Orange Papers:  http://www.orange-papers.org/

Stinking Thinkin:  http://stinkin-thinkin.com/why-i-left-aa-stinkin-thinkin-stories/#comment-9044

  The biggest cult like aspect of AA is that they convince people that they are powerless over what is a volitional act.  If someone believes they are powerless they will become powerless.  The truth is that self empowerment is the best way to stop drinking and stay quit.  Contrary to what AA says abstinence is the same thing as sobriety.  AA muddies the waters and makes it more difficult with the addtiion of 12 steps. One step is all that is needed.  FOr some people the false belief that they are powerless becomes an excuse to drink again.

  AA claims they are spiritual and not religious even though God is mentioned in the steps several times.  Several courts have declared that due to the religious nature of AA that people cannot be required to attend AA by parole officers, prison officials or judges: 

http://articles.sfgate.com/2007-09-08/bay-area/17259704_1_parole-officer-treatment-program-appeals-court

false premise timbo - - Dec 29th 2010

...The twelve steps are the program.

You are assuming, of course, that the twelve steps as written will work for someone who works them.

There is plenty of evidence that not only is this not true, but also that working the steps may cause harm to some.

Cult is as Cult does - Thomas Kuhn - Dec 29th 2010

I just finished watching a Program on the television about cults entitled, "Dangerous Devotion." One of its minor points which I found of major interest was this: many mainstream religions began arguably as cults that eventually outgrew their "cultishness" - Christianity within Judaism is certainly a reasonable example from this historical point of view.

So my question is, even granting AA a full cult-status for the sake of argument, is it possible that AA might evolve into a religious / spiritual community recognized as legitimate by even it's currently most staunch critics?

And, assuming that ant-AA'rs really want the best for all alcoholics - including the ones in AA, what form would the most constructive pressure to change we could bear on AA take?

TK - asinine ranter and cheap talker

Mere members don't count???? - seaport - Dec 29th 2010

S'cuse me?  "Mere member?".

Woe unto you, Pharisee!

I care - Double Anonymous - Dec 29th 2010

... anything is better than living in full Alcoholism.

Given only two choices - AA or drinking - I would probably choose drinking. Fortunately, I have other choices

DA

 

 

Orange Papers/Stinkin' Thinkin' - Mike - Dec 29th 2010

Just wanted to remind anyone (especially newcomers) visiting this site that the Orange Papers has a bunch of recent letters posted.  It seems the word about 12 step indoctrination is getting out and people are seeing the light.  

Also, the "Stinkin' Thinkin'" website has become quite active over the past few months.  A lot of information about abuses going on in AA, rehabs, and halfway houses is being documented, as well as the unconstitutional and illegal collaboration of church and state in regards to court ordered/tax funded program activities.

Have a great [sober, moderate, you-choose] New Year!

Mere members don't count... - Timbo555 - Dec 29th 2010

I thought I'd drop into say this about statistical outcomes studies regarding AA.

If the studies do not indicate who has worked the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and who has not, then the study is invalid.

Once again, with feeling:  The purpose of the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous is as a support group for those wishing to work the Twelve Steps.  The twelve steps are the program.  

You cannot include mere members of AA in an outcomes study if they do not practice the twelve steps any more than you can include cancer patients in an outcomes study if they refuse to take the indicated course of actions needed for remission.

 

Abby - - Dec 29th 2010

Abby has nailed it dead solid perfect

5% - raysny - Dec 29th 2010

Tony & MacDowdog keep coming back to the 5% retention rate, what about the 5% SUCCESS rate I keep bringing up?

anti-AA cult? - raysny - Dec 29th 2010

There is no anti-AA cult. What you're seeing are people responding to being railroaded into ineffective treatment and meetings by courts, government agencies, and employee assistance programs.

When you have a massive dropout rate, whether it's 95% according to multiple studies or 74% as AA apologist claim, that makes for far more AA dropouts than AA and many walked away might angry with what they found in the rooms.

If you really wanted to do something about all these angry ex-members, you need to stop taking people arriving under mandates and quit your deceptive recruiting practices. Until then, you're just a pack of abusers whining that the victims are complaining.

Who Cares - Anonymous - Dec 28th 2010

This is my experience. I have been a member of AA for 22 years, stayed sober and attend an average of 3 meetings a week. I did what AA suggested and it worked (and still does) for me. I went from living in a car to a wonderful life I could have never imagined possible, relatively happy most of the time. Statistically I should be dead. I hear it all the time: Isn't AA a cult? The answer is in the preamble of AA, written long before most of us were born, so the question isn't new... read it yourself. If you don't like AA, try something else. And really, at the end of the day, who cares if AA is a cult or not as long as it works... anything is better than living in full Alcoholism.

To Abby - Carlton - Dec 28th 2010

Be gentle Abby AA is all that Tony has.  He will defend it like a stray cat will a food scrap.

The fudged statistics of McGowdog - abby - Dec 28th 2010

Those are definitely fudged results, the statiscal information u are citing was produced by three unnamed authors, for the purpose to circulate in the cult,  the statistics you are citing have never appeared in a peer reviewed journal.

as Stupid clearlin pointed out:

Using a normalization factor is the same thing as using a "fudge factor". Only a severely brainwashed cult member does this.McGow dogs made up facts come from a "study" done by fellow cultees called something like "contemporary myth and misinterpretation" by anonymous "reseasrchers.' This study is only peer reviewed by fellow inductees in the cult. People who have actual science and reality based  learning use this study to get a few laughs. Why would you multiply any #s on the chart to "normalize" it to 100%? Answer me that cultoids. You already have 100% of the population along the graph. Tony J seems to be the one acting all know-it-all.Jump in genius cult member.Explain, why the finagle factor? Or are you koolaid drinkers going to change the data again?

Warning - - Dec 28th 2010

Do not go to this site.

http://www.orange-papers.org/

 

Orange is a notorious enemy of god and purveyor of orangeism.   Orangeism is a vile cult and corrupter of alcoholics. 

cheap talk - - Dec 28th 2010

"By the way, for anyone who thinks Agent Orange represents real research, I've got a well-stocked library that I would be happy to sell you real cheap"

 

Talk is cheap mister.

Do two things:

one, write Orange and tell him yourself

 

two, find proof that Orange is a liar, and come back here with that proof.

You will do neither.   All that you will ever do is comehere and post asinine rants.

coward

Stupid - - Dec 28th 2010

Using a normalization factor is the same thing as using a "fudge factor". Only a severely brainwashed cult member does this.McGow dogs made up facts come from a "study" done by fellow cultees called something like "contemporary myth and misinterpretation" by anonymous "reseasrchers.' This study is only peer reviewed by fellow inductees in the cult. People who have actual science and reality based  learning use this study to get a few laughs. Why would you multiply any #s on the chart to "normalize" it to 100%? Answer me that cultoids. You already have 100% of the population along the graph. Tony J seems to be the one acting all know-it-all.Jump in genius cult member.Explain, why the finagle factor? Or are you koolaid drinkers going to change the data again?

Asked and answered - Thomas Kuhn - Dec 28th 2010

How come we don't find quotes like that on Master Oranges site.  Master Orange says you can't make up you own facts.....I guess he thinks it's okay to omit ones that aren't convenient though.......

Enough said.

By the way, for anyone who thinks Agent Orange represents real research, I've got a well-stocked library that I would be happy to sell you real cheap.

TK

 

Cult Monkeys and The Poo They Like To Fling - Tony J - Dec 27th 2010

Cultee :

"Tony would like you to believe that in a cross-sectional study that you can divide #s to get a retention rate. This is not true. Anybody that has to defend a cult they are a member of will deny and insult you for the only reason of keeping the illusion of infallibilty alive. This is just a distribution as now interpreted by cult members. It just is a demographic at that point in time. It says nothing about retention. You would have to do a longitudinal study to get retention #s.Valliant did that and came up with-5%! The data are also grouped into months. So a person with one day is the same as a person with 28 days. There is not an equal unit of measure between months. A person with 32 days does not have twice the amount of time as a person with 27 days. Sorry about the facts stepperbots."

This is rich.
This cultee is now attacking me for presenting an honest interpretation of the chart his cult brother just presented in a dishonest way.

It's classic in  cult, brainwashing  to gang up on the victim and make him doubt himself.

What I would have you believe is the truth. 
The chart does not imply a 5% retention rate (notice how the cultee took the focus off the lie his fellow cult brother told and has tried to shift it onto me, so the reader will become confused).  "IF" the chart implies anything it implies a 26% retention rate.  And the fact that the trend is repeated over and over does imply that.  Although retention does not equal success. 

Here's another cult member joining in the attack :

"Somebody bragging and being excited about a 26% success rate is rather pathetic.  However it doesnt surprise me because because the same loser buys into someone like Bill Wilson.  Would you send a loved one to a place that has a 26% success rate?  And the rate is really lower than that."

Although the anti-AA cultee is programed to believe there is a 'natural rate of remission' of 5% and 26% is over 5 times that, he instinctively attacks AA and suffers no cognitive dissonance.  His mind is totally numb. 

And perhaps that the appeal of the anti-AA cult.  A numb mind is a happy mind.......

Remember all you anti-AA cultbots, YOU are the ones who try to use that chart to prove things it doesn't imply.  That doesn't make anyone but yourselves dumb.


TK :
 
"Our last census, that is to say, reports of our group sessions, shows that we have 15,000 AA groups throughout the world and an active membership of 285,000. Besides the 285,000 there are hundreds of thousands -- maybe 200,000, for all we know, 300,000 recovered AA’s on the sidelines who do not get caught up in the active statistics, people who have remained for the greater part sober, who are carrying AA attitudes and practices and philosophies into the community life. So AA is much more in reality than a generator of mere sobriety, it is returning us to citizenship in the world." Bill Wilson

OMG, you mean Bill Wilson new some people 'mature out' of AA !!!!!!

It's almost as if he wasn't a cult leader........but if that's ture maybe AA is right and I'll have to stop drinking......omg no !!!! 

How come we don't find quotes like that on Master Oranges site.  Master Orange says you can't make up you own facts.....I guess he thinks it's okay to omit ones that aren't convienent though.......

Dear Abby - McGowdog - Dec 27th 2010

Dear Abby, learn how to read a chart.

You're burping out Agent Orange rhetoric and misreading the chart.  There's a normalizing factor in that condensed chart of 5.25.  So where it shows 5, it's actually 26%, as was mentioned. 

 

 Those charts also tell us that;

A.A. Members’ Length of Sobriety:

Less than one year….. 26%

1-5 years………………. 24%

5-10 years…………….. 14%

10+ years………………. 36%

Another chart in there says,

35% have been sober for over 10 years.

16% have been sober between 5-10 years.

28% have been sober between 1-5 years.

22% have been sober less that 1 year.

With an average of 8 years sober.

... and a further explanation of that chart;

 

The C-1 graph data was never intended to be retention percentages in the first place and has been the fodder for reckless antiAAer claims.

Each of the 5 Triennial Surveys is a cross-sectional study - a snapshot at one point in time for 1977, 1980, 1983, 1986, and 1989. Assume that the same number of new people have been attending their first meetings every month. That is how many will be in their first month when the observation is made. Or as the chart says, “% of those coming into A.A. within the first year that have remained the indicated number of months, with the y-axis going from 2 to 22, expressed as a %, in two % increments, then the x-axis going from 1 month to 12 months in 1 month increments and the data depicting the average of the 5 surveys starting at 1 month and going to 12 months…

1 month; 19%
2 months; 13%
3 months; 10%
4 months; 9%
5 months; 8%
6 months; 7%
7 months; 7%
8 months; 6%
9 months; 6%
10 months; 6%
11 months; 6%
12 months; 5%

 

In the actual data presented: Month1 = 19% does NOT mean that "81% (i.e. 100% - 19%) dropped out in a month as some sources claim.

Month3 = 10% does NOT mean that "90% (i.e. 100% - 10%) leave within 3 months and Month12 = 5% does NOT mean that "95% (i.e. 100% - 5%) stop active participation in AA inside of a year.

Instead, what the data does show is that for every 100 people surveyed with under a year since first attendance:

19% of that population were in their first month
13% were in their 2nd month
9% were in their 4th month
7% were in their 6th month
6% were in their 8th month
6% were in their 9th month
6% were in their 10th month
6% were in their 11th month
5% were in their 12th month

What is actually shown in the C-1 graph is that 56% of those who stay beyond three months are still active in AA at the end of a year. Other Survey results show even better retention rates after the first year.

Do you need further explanation, Abby.

 

Actually, I think you're kind of gabby.  You should write less and think more.

 

AA survey - - Dec 27th 2010

Tony would like you to believe that in a cross-sectional study that you can divide #s to get a retention rate. This is not true. Anybody that has to defend a cult they are a member of will deny and insult you for the only reason of keeping the illusion of infallibilty alive. This is just a distribution as now interpreted by cult members. It just is a demographic at that point in time. It says nothing about retention. You would have to do a longitudinal study to get retention #s.Valliant did that and came up with-5%! The data are also grouped into months. So a person with one day is the same as a person with 28 days. There is not an equal unit of measure between months. A person with 32 days does not have twice the amount of time as a person with 27 days. Sorry about the facts stepperbots.

means nothing - - Dec 27th 2010

The AA surveys mean nothing.   There is no access to the raw data - the actual records from which the surveys are drawn.   The only way to find meaningful analysis is for independent researchers to get the original data, and analyze that data.  

Even after that has been done, it would be ignored, as very few have any real interest.  Also, it would tell anyone anything, as it only measures attendance at AA meetings.  If it does that much.

Two bald men fighting over a comb.

Anti AA Cult - - Dec 27th 2010

"It's almost as if you're a brainwashed cult member and can't think for yourself......."

 

Why did you stop?

Tell us more about this "anti aa cult".    You have never given us any details.  We have been waiting and waiting waiting and waiting.   But, no logic and no facts.

So, are you all talk tony?   Are you just empty words?  Long on talk short on listen?   It looks like you are -- all talk no listen.

The world is waiting for you to produce results.

AA survey - Mike - Dec 26th 2010

Abby,

The survey topic re: retention has been an on and off topic here for a few years now.  Most people on either side of the aisle agree that the survey represents an average membership distribution for a multi-year period, not a retention study.  That being said, claims that the survey represents a "26%" one year retention rate are just as dubious as those that claim the "5%" rate.  

About all that can be drawn from the graph is that membership rates decline within the first year. Other analysis' (see Agent Orange's excellent coin sales study) do get one close to the <5% retention rate. Like many old timers, I can also attest (anecdotally) to the fact that very, very few stick around for more than a few years.  The same core group does attend the same meetings though, which might give the impression that the program thrives.  Around this small core group is a swirling mass of newcomers, the result of rehab and court referrals.  The vast majority of the latter group smarten up and leave when they have the chance (i.e. probation ends, case settled).  Those who remain typically are religiously oriented and/or socially awkward.

 

Pathetic - Carlton - Dec 26th 2010

Somebody bragging and being excited about a 26% success rate is rather pathetic.  However it doesnt surprise me because because the same loser buys into someone like Bill Wilson.  Would you send a loved one to a place that has a 26% success rate?  And the rate is really lower than that.

Bill Wilson US Senate Testimony 1969 - Thomas Kuhn - Dec 26th 2010

"Our last census, that is to say, reports of our group sessions, shows that we have 15,000 AA groups throughout the world and an active membership of 285,000. Besides the 285,000 there are hundreds of thousands -- maybe 200,000, for all we know, 300,000 recovered AA’s on the sidelines who do not get caught up in the active statistics, people who have remained for the greater part sober, who are carrying AA attitudes and practices and philosophies into the community life. So AA is much more in reality than a generator of mere sobriety, it is returning us to citizenship in the world." Bill Wilson

Clearly, Wilson often played loose with the facts when it served his interest - as it did here. However, how fascinating that he not only admits, but prosyletizes for, the existence of a rather large group (perhaps even larger than the active membership) of ex-AA'rs who recovered in AA and then went on to live their lives "on the sidelines."

Just stopped in to wish everyone Happy Holidays, but I could not resist throwing another log on the fire.

TK

 

5% - raysny - Dec 26th 2010

Rand reports a 4-7% success rate. (source: Fingerette: Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease)

George Vaillant, Harvard professor & researcher, and former member of AA's Board of Trustees conducted studies which showed that AA did not affect the rate of spontaneous recovery, usually given at about 5%.

"During Bill's stay in Akron, he and Bob calculated their success rate to be about 5 percent, and among the few who seemed to catch on, not all of them were able to maintain consistent sobriety. The first edition of AA's Big Book, published in 1939, contains the personal recovery stories of many of AA's earliest members. Some years later, Bill made notations in the first copy of the book to come off the press, indicating which individuals portrayed therein had stayed sober. A good 50 percent of them had not."
Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, pages 91-92.

Very Nice - Tony J - Dec 26th 2010

Abby :

"Don McIntire of Burbank CA was given access to the AA membership surveys from 1968 through 1996. He is a staunch defender of AA and cannot be accused of negative bias. His article "How Well Does A.A. Work? An Analysis of Published A.A. Surveys (1968-1996) and Related Analyses/Comments" in the Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly (Vol 18, No. 4, 2000) centers on the 5 per cent one-year retention rate and attempts to explain it."

That's very nice Abby.

But why are you showing us a chart that doesn't imply a 5% one year retention rate ?

It's almost as if you're a brainwashed cult member and can't think for yourself.......

Ray :

Sure Ray, I'll let someone lie because it's Christmas.

I think you have my Father confused with yours.



his problem - - Dec 26th 2010

"Tony,

You want to rehash this on Christmas Eve and give me grief for being a non-believer? Take some time off from ranting for a day."

 

It is all that Tony has.   No logic, no fact, just ranting.  That is it.

That is his problem.  He owns it.  Let him live with the fact that all that he can do is rant anonymously on someone else's blog. 

Lifering did a reivew of AA drop out rates - abby - Dec 25th 2010

 

http://liferingconvenor.blogspot.com/2007/12/once-again-on-aa-dropout-rate.html

Quote:

first learned this statistic from the Bufe volume, reviewed here. Bufe attributed it to AA's own Membership Surveys. However, I drew a blank -- and some hostile looks -- when I visited the AA library up on Riverside Drive in 2005 and asked to see the original survey reports. Since Bufe might be accused of anti-AA bias, I wanted a less impeachable source. Thanks to a very knowledgeable psychology Ph.D., I now have it, and it's very interesting.

Don McIntire of Burbank CA was given access to the AA membership surveys from 1968 through 1996. He is a staunch defender of AA and cannot be accused of negative bias. His article "How Well Does A.A. Work? An Analysis of Published A.A. Surveys (1968-1996) and Related Analyses/Comments" in the Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly (Vol 18, No. 4, 2000) centers on the 5 per cent one-year retention rate and attempts to explain it.

The 95 per cent dropout rate is anything but a statistical fluke. AA's own membership surveys demonstrated the identical pattern, give or take trivial variations, in five successive triennial data collections spanning twelve years. McIntire depicted the trends in a graph (inset) showing a fairly tight braid whose strands are the data sets from different years. The five per cent figure is the average of the five studies.

Most of the attrition, McIntire's analysis shows, comes during the first 30 days. This is not obvious from the graph. The graph begins at 30 days. If you can read the tiny numbers on the x axis, you will see that the bundle of line graphs begins at around the 20 per cent mark. If the graph began at Day One and 100 per cent, the lines would drop almost like a rock.

  • McIntire found that an average of 81 per cent of AA first-time attendees dropped out during the first 30 days.

 

  • At the end of 90 days, 90 per cent of newcomers have dropped out; only ten per cent are left. (This gives a new dimension altogether to the "90 in 90" slogan, doesn't it?)
  • The attrition curve from 90 days to a full year is, by comparison, rather gentle: from ten per cent to five percent, a relative loss of "only" fifty per cent.

McIntire, who (as I said) is a staunch defender of AA, argues that the attrition during the first 90 days should just be ignored, and that AA should claim a 50 per cent success rate based on the trend from 91 days to one year.

The author's apologetic argument is that the FTA's (first time attendees) who drop out quickly aren't really alcoholics, or aren't really trying to get sober, and so they shouldn't count. Although that has a ring of plausibility for some cases, the author presents no data as to percentages.

AA co-founder Bill W., looking at numbers of this type, asked "What happened to the 600,000 who approached AA and left?" (Reported in White, Slaying the Dragon, p. 139) Despite Wilson's concern, apparently nobody in AA has ever, yet, bothered to try to contact any of the 95 per cent to try to find out their reasons for leaving.

We know from other data that alcoholics who don't do AA can nevertheless succeed in achieving long-term sobriety. In fact, the AA Grapevine has conceded that the majority of alcoholics who achieve the milestone five-year mark do it without using AA. (Vaillant., 1996, 2001)

Consequently, it's extremely unlikely that lack of motivation to get sober accounts for the 95 per cent AA dropout rate. Lack of desire to get sober is undoubtedly a part of the picture, but there has to also be a healthy percentage of the 95 per cent dropouts -- perhaps a majority -- who want to get sober but drop out of AA for other reasons.

McIntire's article never looks at this bigger picture. To do so would be to confront the reality that AA is driving people away who have a sincere desire to get sober (and many of whom will achieve that aim).

The new 12 steps for those leaving 12 steps - abby - Dec 25th 2010

RARELY HAVE they seen a person who has thoroughly followed their path.Those who
do recover are usually people who have recognized AA as a dangerous religious
cult, and will not give themselves completely to AA's fanatical program.The AA
Cult is constituted primarily of men and women who are constitutionally
incapable of being honest with anyone… including themselves.
Some of them are not at fault; They were screwed the second they set foot into
the church basement door. They were systematically indoctrinated into believing
that alcoholics are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of
living which demands any type of honesty. They should still be held accountable
for the behavior that has ruined so many lives. Many AA members suffer from
grave emotional and mental disorders. The program requires that they believe
alcoholics can never recover. Most of the people who quit drinking without AA
have recovered in large part, due to their self-determination and ability to act
rationally. Our stories disclose in a general way what We used to be like, what
happened, and what We are like now.
If You have decided You want to leave Alcoholics Anonymous and are willing to go
to do it – then You are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these We were delighted. We were sure that We had found a more sound
and reasonable way. With all of the earnestness at our command, We encourage You
to be resolute and confident from the very start. Some of Us have tried to hold
on to Our old AA ideas and the result was nil until We let go absolutely.
Remember that WE deal with Alcoholics Anonymous – cunning, baffling, dishonest!
Continuing the mental masturbation was too much for Us.
There is only one person who has the power to overcome your alcohol problem –
that person is You. May You trust and believe in Yourself now! Delusions and
superstitious nonsense availed Us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We
learned to protect and care for Ourselves with complete Self-acceptance. Here
are the steps We took which are encouraged as a course of action to escape the
AA mind trap…

We decided We were "Not Powerless" over alcohol – that Our lives had become
dominated by AA.
Came to understand that We were never as morally reprehensible as some AA
members had led Us to believe.
Made a decision to turn and walk away from Alcoholics Anonymous forever.
Made a scorching and fearless indictment against AA as an organization.
Admitted to Ourselves and another Human Being that We had been ambushed into
joining a religious cult.
Were entirely ready to relieve Ourselves of the self-defeating bullshit We were
taught at AA.
Familiarized Ourselves with cult indoctrination tactics in order that We may
never fall into a similar trap again.
Made a list of all AA-members who had harmed Us, and became willing to confront
them all.
Called such people on their bullshit whenever possible, except when to do so
would significantly injure them or others.
Continued to indict Alcoholics anonymous and when We were wronged promptly
expressed our disapproval of it.
Sought scientific empirical evidence that could help Us to defeat addiction;
focusing on Ourselves as the Power to carry that out.
Having been awakened from the AA nightmare as a result of these steps, We tried
to carry this message to other victims of AA, so that everyone might know the
truth about the Alcoholics Anonymous cult.

You are not alone.
Many of Us have been misled by the religion that claims not to be a religion.
Some of Us suffered for years oblivious to the fact that AA offers no reliable
or even sincere method to help alcohol troubled people to recover from
addiction. When We felt hopeless… They used it against Us. They told us We were
powerless.
They did it to break Us down.
They did it to make Us unsure of Ourselves.
They did it to recruit new members for their religious cult.
We're here to expose AA for what it really is. If You've tried AA over and over
again, and You're not getting the results you were promised, maybe it's time You
tried something else.
Think about it.


AAWS dishonest practices - - Dec 25th 2010

http://silkworth.net/gsowatch/aaws/bobd.htm

the dishonest practices of AAWS - - Dec 25th 2010

It reads send money to AAWS or the lights will be out and you will all be dead! I swear you cant make this crap up.

Stupid - - Dec 25th 2010

The chart just shows that 5% of those in their first year are in their 11th month. That is it. The chart shows nothing about retention. You would need another type of study for that.

Tony - raysny - Dec 25th 2010

Tony,

You want to rehash this on Christmas Eve and give me grief for being a non-believer? Take some time off from ranting for a day.

A shining example - - Dec 25th 2010

"When one wants to use empirical data, one must have the ability to understand that data.  The anti-AA's lack this and therefore band together as a cult spewing mindless talking points and thought stopping cliches."

Tony is having a great christmas; flowing with good cheer, spirituality   and christ like humility.  Does not everyone want to emulate him?   A shining example; a light unto the world. for all to follow.

Someone Is New Here - Tony J - Dec 25th 2010

This doesn't give any insight into AA, it gives insight into the anti-AA cult.

"

So, what then, are the results achieved by anecdotal accounts of successes and failures. For that answer we turn to Alcoholics Anonymous General Services Office (AA GSO.) In 1990, AA GSO, the governing organization overseeing all “autonomous” meetings, published an internal memo for the employees of its corporate offices. It was an analysis of a survey period between 1977 and 1989. The results were in absolute contrast to the public perception of AA: “After just one month in the Fellowship [meaning AA,] 81% of the new members had already dropped out. After three months, 90% have left, and a full 95% have disappeared inside one year!” (Kolenda, 2003, Golden Text Publishing Company) "

As you can see, this anti-AA cultee is claiming the AA trienial survey implies a 5% success rate.

Anyone familiar with the data knows that the chart really shows that 26% of the members who are present with one month will be present in month 12.

When one wants to use empirical data, one must have the ability to understand that data.  The anti-AA's lack this and therefore band together as a cult spewing mindless talking points and thought stopping cliches.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night !!!

A must read - - Dec 24th 2010

Here is some interesting insight into AA. 

http://www.soberforever.net/hazelden-treatment-center-and-aa-success-rates.cfm

holidays - raysny - Dec 24th 2010

Actually Tony, I'm picking up an extra shift tomorrow at my volunteer job so that somebody who is celebrating Christmas has some extra time to prepare. My pagan wife and I already celebrated Solstice.

Happy holidays everyone.

Handel's messiah - - Dec 24th 2010

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/3073106

For those in a Christmas spirit.

Handel's messiah.

Enjoy,

suspicious - - Dec 24th 2010

Why does Rudolph have  a red nose?

Merry Xmas - Tony J - Dec 24th 2010

Happy Holidays to everyone, except the atheists who don't celebrate holy-days.

I hope they have fun working and not getting any presents......

Dr. Dombeck's Note:  How very spiritual of you Tony. 

twas the night before xmas - abby - Dec 23rd 2010

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck...
How to live in a world that's politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to "Elves",
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.

Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."
And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose

And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the gifts, why, he'd ne'er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.

Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.
Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.

Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.

No candy or sweets...they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.

For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
No baseball, no football...someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;

Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere...even you.
So here is that gift, it's price beyond worth...
"May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth."

wishing everybody a merry christmas - Carlton - Dec 23rd 2010

Wishing everybody, even the pro AAers a merry christmas. 

go away grinch! - - Dec 23rd 2010

may the grinch have a tooth ache and be unable to steal christmas

 

happy christmas and merry new year!

monkey business - - Dec 23rd 2010

Luvdrunk.org    enjoy. Happy holidays

mary had a little lamb - - Dec 23rd 2010

"But don't despair, studies have also shown that people who stop drinking usually do so for the same reason as those who stick to their diet or exercise regime; they just want to feel better.  In other words, they get sick and tired of being sick and tired.  One does not need the outdated, Oxford Group-oriented, semi-fascist religiosity of AA to accomplish this goal."

 

Absolutely true.   people do quit because they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.    Singing "Mary had a little lamb"  is just as effective as AA and 12 step.

tooth-heart connection - sp - Dec 23rd 2010

MC:

When my tooth aches, I'll go to a dentist; when my heart aches I'll go to church.

Ironically, the link between gingivitis and heart disease has been shown to be real, so you may in fact be better off with the dentist in both cases.

http://www.lef.org/protocols/dental/gingivitis_01.htm

/-;~

diet & exercise - Mike - Dec 23rd 2010

Tony:

BTW, would you say that diet and exercise is not an effective program for losing weight then ?
Most people quit that too.

No, I would say that they certainly are effective. Such measures are scientifically proven not only to help lose weight but to increase longevity and sense of well being. And contrary to AA, the person who is offered the exercise and diet option is not told that they are chubby because of moral failings. 

But don't despair, studies have also shown that people who stop drinking usually do so for the same reason as those who stick to their diet or exercise regime; they just want to feel better.  In other words, they get sick and tired of being sick and tired.  One does not need the outdated, Oxford Group-oriented, semi-fascist religiosity of AA to accomplish this goal.

I wish all here happy a happy and safe holiday.


Fascinating article... - MC - Dec 23rd 2010

HARPER'S January 2011

"AA, The Cult that Cures" by Clancy Martin

Enjoy, and Happy Holidays to everyone!

MC

religious freedom - - Dec 22nd 2010

We have religious freedom in this country -  Freedom of religion and freedom from religion.   That means: if you do not want a 'spritual experience' you need not have one.

And, not having a 'spiritual experience' does not make you a heathen, an amoral atheist, a reprobate or roue.  Having a 'spiritual experince' does not make you the opposite.   It is a private matter.  That is the bottom line.   That is, it is the business of no one else.  never has been, never will be.

There are many options to AA.   These are shown on several places on this site.  Choose amoung them.  If you want AA, go ahead and go there.   That is a personal choice.  If you do not want to go to AA, go there.  Again: that is a personal choice.

Religion + Science = ? - MC - Dec 22nd 2010

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. Albert Einstein "Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium", 1941
As a child I used to marvel at how advanced Science was and how primitive Religion was by comparison. Of course, such a worldview required comparing the best Science with the worst Religion. As an adult practitioner of one of the hard Sciences, I have become increasingly aware of how primitive Science is with regard to the questions it attempts to answer. What was a predominant scientific theory 100 years ago is now discarded; what is considered the best we have to offer today will look foolish a hundred years from now. Hell, my graduate school books are out of date.As a sober alcoholic looking for meaning and purpose in a life that Science has made quite comfortable, I have become increasingly aware of how advanced Religion is with regard to the questions it attempts to answer. And it has been giving similar answers - compassion for others, letting go of what you cannot control, taking responsibilty for yourself - for a lot longer than Science has been around. Heavens, that Bible is just as useful today as it was when I was seven.

Science and Religion are not designed to answer the same questions, just as I am not designed to ask only one. They are, for me, complementary: Science provides a mechanism for living; Religion supplies a meaning for life.

(It may be of some interest to note that in the tantric tradition of Buddhism, the use of "Deity Yoga"  is considered a very advanced practice. To actually be in relationship with deity requires an emotional equanimity and maturity that usually only comes from years - perhaps decades - of spiritual practice. Within this worldview, premature attempts to relate to a Godhead create the same extreme behaviors and beliefs that we see in most fundamentalists today - and a few posters on this site)

When my tooth aches, I'll go to a dentist; when my heart aches I'll go to church.

MC

(PS: You are welcome sp - glad to see that you did not take my comment as an attempt at one-upmanship)

Dr. Dombeck's Note: Please note that I was not proposing that one wordview was superior to the other; merely that they have, in my experience, incompatible basic assumptions and therefore arguments made across the worldviews are intrinsically problematic. 

Ray (and his perfect circle) - Tony J - Dec 22nd 2010

Carlton :

"I wonder why God doesnt cure amputees but helps alcoholics?  hmmm."

According to AA, God cures neither.

"We are like men who have lost their legs; they never grow new ones."

BB page 30.

The point is that calling on God can enable you to cope with your condition.
 
AA does not believe in the either or proposition of your arguement.  It teaches the three fold nature of the illness and addresses the spiritual. 

Maybe you should lay off the wine.  We just had this discussion in detail.

Your inability to grasp facts does not invalidate them.  (it suggests however that you might not be capable of building your life around reason and might want to start looking into superstition and magic)


Ray :

"The 'spirit' is a metaphor, it doesn't get chicken pox."

No, but it is part of a person who has chicken pox and it will effect that persons moods, emotions etc.

Would you say that your toe doesn't have chicken pox when you have chicken pox ? 
Parsing the argument to this level makes you look desperate.

Readers please notice this :


"People wouldn't quit the program if it was working, Tony."

This is 'the' most circular argument I've ever had the pleasure to see.  It's worthy of my grandmother.  Good job Ray, you have shown that you are a man of reason once again.

BTW, would you say that diet and exercise is not an effective program for losing weight then ?
Most people quit that too. 

 

religion vs. science - Carlton - Dec 22nd 2010

I wasnt aware there was a competition Dr. Dombeck.  I thought since mankind moved out of the dark ages science had already won and had proven to have a lot higher success rates.  People who count on religion or spirituality as a primary curing method usually, not always, are mentally ill to some degree or uneducated or both.

People go to school because we all know down deep science and medicine cure people.  Spirituality can help to some degree however if somebody has an infection we all know damn well if they were given a choice between an antibiotic and saying a prayer they would take the antibiotic.  Yes, you can do both but we know which one cures the infection.

I believe most people who go to AA know its silly romper room stuff.  But a lot of them play the game because they like the socialization and support.  Good for them.   Me, I'll use the brain I have and if God questions me for questioning him with the brain he gave me something is wrong with God.  I still havent seen god cure any amputees with prayer.  But according to AA god can remove character defects, whatever those are.

I wonder why God doesnt cure amputees but helps alcoholics?  hmmm.  Ive heard all kinds of AA ilk talk about what god does for them.  Guess AA folk are Gods chosen ones...........lololol

Dr. Dombeck's Note:  Well, if there was any doubt, we now know which side Carlton has chosen (grin!).

more Tony - raysny - Dec 22nd 2010

"If you decide to recover by any method and quit half way through, you can't say the method failed."

People wouldn't quit the program if it was working, Tony. The program failed and they walked away. What's really frustrating for AA members is the ones who walk away and still do not drink.

too much woo-woo - raysny - Dec 22nd 2010

Tony writes:

"AA addresses the spiritual malady."

Maybe that was the problem, I didn't have a spiritual malady, I had a physical addiction to alcohol.

The 'spirit' is a metaphor, it doesn't get chicken pox. Although if it did, perhaps spiritual healing WOULD be appropriate.

Dr. Dombeck's Note: Again, I believe we are here seeing two distinct worldviews which are incompatible.  One is dualist (in the Cartesian sense of spirit and body as distinct substances) and one is more materialist wherein the spirit is a metaphor or image and not an actual substance and what is real is what we can measure (the body). In simpler terms, this is religion versus science (although that is a gross oversimplification).  Since the underlying worldviews and assumptions about reality are different, it is very hard for proponants of the different worldviews to talk to each other.  Each sees the other side as deluded on the face of it.

thanks, MC - sp - Dec 21st 2010

I think your comment regarding AA's view on the physicality of alcoholism more concisely countered that of Tony's than did mine.  Alas the chances of your changing his views via reason will likely fare no better than the hundreds that preceded it.

I wish you and all others here an eggnostic XMas and a happy New Year.

sp

)-;~

Tony's learning disabilites. - carlton - Dec 21st 2010

Tony since sp already did it for me its kind of moot at this point.  

Work on your prayer and meditation maybe you'll have a white light experience.  Then you too can start your own little cult.

Complain, Complain, Complain..... - Tony J - Dec 21st 2010

sp:

"AA does not address the physical aspect of the disease.  The BB is very clear on that as is all AA literature.


That is an untrue statement.  Here are some exerpts from the BB"

LOL !!

No it's not.  AA recognizes the physical and mental components of the disease but AA does not address them (as in treat them).

But you're right.  It does address them (as in mention them).


"

2. How it Works [p. 64]

When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.

The second quote is the most telling of all.  There is a belief in the AA literature that a spiritual cure leads to a physical cure.  Anyone who visits a handful of meetings will often hear about the "three-fold" nature of the "disease" - physical, mental, emotional.  "

The second quote proves my point.  AA addresses the spiritual malady. 

AA sees the disease as three-fold, physical, mental and spiritual.  AA addresses the spiritual component with it's program of recovery.  It does not address the mental or physical part but it's a fact that the alcoholic tends to get better mentally and physically when the spiritual problem is addressed because he won't be drinking anymore.

Is it really that hard to understand ?  Let's put it this way, when you stop drinking for a while you feel better and your head clears up.  Do you disagree ?

AA is not saying that the physical part of the disease is cured.  It's saying that if the spiritual part is overcome (again, not cured but dealt with on a daily basis) the alcoholic won't drink. 

Anyway, this all goes to show that Carlton's premise is flawed.

AA is very clear that it's solution is spiritual and that the problem is 3 fold.  The mental and physical components are to be addressed by the properly qualified professionals, not in AA. 

BTW, that's one of the few valid points the anti-AA's bring up.  No one in AA should give medical or mental help advice.  The best safegaurd against this is to read the BB and take the time to understand what it says.  Once you understand what AA is and what it isn't you can make sure your group is operating in a helpful manner.  Giving advice you aren't qualified to give is not being helpful.

Following up on sp's comment - MC - Dec 21st 2010

We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol whatever into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible for him to stop. ( BB: pp 22-23)

 

Here Wilson buys into the physical nature of accelerated craving after the first drink. I think this is clearer than sp's three examples where one could interpret the physical illness to be a result of the drinking and not the cause of it.

 

MC

physical, mental, emotional (three-fold disease) - sp - Dec 21st 2010

[Tony]

AA does not address the physical aspect of the disease.  The BB is very clear on that as is all AA literature.

That is an untrue statement.  Here are some exerpts from the BB:

1. Doctor's Opinion [xxiv]

"But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete."

2. How it Works [p. 64]

"When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically."

3. To Employers [p. 141]

"Perhaps you have such a man in mind. He wants to quit drinking and you want to help him, even if it be only a matter of good business. You now know more about alcoholism. You can see that he is mentally and physically sick."

The second quote is the most telling of all.  There is a belief in the AA literature that a spiritual cure leads to a physical cure.  Anyone who visits a handful of meetings will often hear about the "three-fold" nature of the "disease" - physical, mental, emotional.  

Carlton Can't Digest Solids Yet...... - Tony J - Dec 21st 2010

"Back again to blaming the person who doesnt' recover in AA for their failure."

I mostly blame the disease/condition/whatever of alcoholism.  It's the nature of the beast.

But it's only reasonable to judge a program by the people who used the program and not by the people who didn't.

If you decide to recover by any method and quit half way through, you can't say the method failed.

So, there's no way to avoid some responsibility on the part of the person. 

Remember, the idea in AA is that you can't beat alcoholism directly (by a head long assault) but you can use your willpower and make choices to undertake discipline that will give you the power to get and stay sober.
 
The only meaningful statistics in AA would be how many people work the steps, use a sponsor, join a homegroup etc....and stay sober( or at least have a managable life) as opposed to those who do not. 

I won't hold my breath waiting for those numbers to be published.

If you decide to lift weights and increase your chest size by 3 inches and then stop your program before you get any results, do you blame the weights ? 


Carlton :

"Is it me or did Tony's last post contradict itself about 3 or 4 times?"

It's you.

Show me where you see a contradiction and I'll break it down even further.

I'm in no hurry, I can grind up your veggies to baby food consistency if that's what it takes to nourish you with a few facts. 

AA critics and NA - dman - Dec 21st 2010

AA is for alcoholics, I fail to see why junkies would be treated with AA. Shouldn't NA be bringing meetings to those folks?

I often find myself agreeing with the critics of AA. A lot of what they say is true. Unfortunately AA isn't listening. At one time it was about getting well (as step two implies) not remaining perpetually sick. Using common sense, making progress. That doesn't seem true anymore.

the very best he can - - Dec 21st 2010

"Back again to blaming the person who doesnt' recover in AA for their failure."

Tony is doing the very best that he can.

Progress, not perfection

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