Does AA Have a Problem? An Article Says Yes

An interesting article entitled “After 75 Years of AA, It’s Time to Admit We Have a Problem” appears in the current issue of Pacific Standard magazine (original title, “Kicking the Habit”). The article points to what appear to be unbridgeable gaps between AA doctrine and reality. For example, AA holds that recovery requires reliance on a “Higher Power” facilitated by attendance at AA meetings. LifeRing obviously disagrees with that and offers meetings that have nothing to do with Higher Powers. But beyond that, the article asserts:

Contrary to popular belief, most people recover from their addictions without any treatment—professional or self-help—regardless of whether the drug involved is alcohol, crack, methamphetamine, heroin, or cigarettes. One of the largest studies of recovery ever conducted found that, of those who had qualified for a diagnosis of alcoholism in the past year, only 25 percent still met the criteria for the disorder a year later. Despite this 75 percent recovery rate, only a quarter had gotten any type of help, including AA, and as many were now drinking in a low-risk manner as were abstinent.

Of course, many people do need help in overcoming their addictions, but as the article points out:

This is not to say that there is no benefit at all to 12-step programs: It’s clear from studies of recovery, with or without treatment, that some of the most important factors in success are having social support and a sense of meaning and purpose. Both of those can be provided by AA—at least to those who find its approach amenable. Rather than treating AA as one potentially excellent resource out of many, though, all too many people still regard 12-step programs as the only true way.

And that is where LifeRing stands: “one potentially excellent resource out of many …” The article contains much more — see it Here.

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LifeRing Secular Recovery is an organization of people who share practical experiences and sobriety support. There are as many ways to live free of drugs and alcohol as there are stories of successful sober people.

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