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Thread: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

  1. #141
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    (Continued from previous)


    I personally believe addiction is a very complex medical problem. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. I also understand the reluctance of laypeople and professionals to criticize anything that might help an alcoholic or addict, because nobody wants to deter or discourage them making a positive change. AA and 12-Step programs... "recovery," so-to-speak, have become so culturally ingrained they are almost considered "above reproach" by many. I don't think that's wise or that the organization has earned that kind of following, particularly in light of the evidence. In fact, resistance to 12-Step programs are frequently pointed to as "evidence" the alcoholic/addict is still "in denial."

    Newcomers are frequently discouraged from using their own critical thinking skills when raising legitimate questions where AA is concerned, with comments like "Your best thinking got you here." "Take the cotton out of your ears, and put it in your mouth." "Let the group/your sponsor do your thinking for you." They are told failure is never the Program's fault, but the fault of the individual.

    IMHO, the very nature of AA discourages the majority of people it doesn't work for from looking for more suitable alternatives. I think that's harmful, particularly to alcoholics and addicts that are likely already dealing with low self-esteem and other emotional/behavioral issues.

    I always found it humorous that members are frequently told "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results." Except, apparently, in cases of failed 12-Step Treatment (the vast majority) -- where they're advised to "Keep Coming Back!"

    Just my

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #142
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chomsky View Post
    You display a great deal of insight.

    Yes - brutal honesty is the only way to place active addiction into recovery.

    And it's a powerful tool for success & happiness in life, I also believe.
    Thanks. I got that insight the hard way.
    "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." --Benjamin Franklin 1776

  3. #143
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doppelgangirl View Post

    I personally believe addiction is a very complex medical problem. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. I also understand the reluctance of laypeople and professionals to criticize anything that might help an alcoholic or addict, because nobody wants to deter or discourage them making a positive change. AA and 12-Step programs... "recovery," so-to-speak, have become so culturally ingrained they are almost considered "above reproach" by many. I don't think that's wise or that the organization has earned that kind of following, particularly in light of the evidence. In fact, resistance to 12-Step programs are frequently pointed to as "evidence" the alcoholic/addict is still "in denial."

    Snip

    I always found it humorous that members are frequently told "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results." Except, apparently, in cases of failed 12-Step Treatment (the vast majority) -- where they're advised to "Keep Coming Back!"

    Just my

    Thanks for reading!
    I can respect your opinion. You're certainly not the first to express malcontentment (or disapproval) for 12 step programs in the manner in which you have and I apologize for having to delete part of your post..I ran out of the allotted character space.

    But I would say that the issues around chemical dependency is more than complex than most of us can even begin to realize.. The variables involved are as many as their are people with different levels of intelligence, creativity, religious beliefs, education backgrounds, life experiences, etc, etc, etc.

    I don't want to try to defend the mantras often used in AA. Or the repetition of sayings that people use to make a statement of condition or simply an act of being or existing.

    Most people who attend AA go their with a lost sense of self. They've become disconnected with their families, possibly co-workers, etc. Critical thinking has been one of their better skills for sometime. They have diminished problem solving skills, which usually impacts so many aspects of their social skills in general.

    But people who find it difficult to get sober and/or clean have very skewed concepts about their dilemma. And many just want to know how to find solution that isn't as complex than their current perspectives on life, which a lot of people believe is basically hopeless. What they want is something like a "paint by the numbers" sort of solution. In other words, life is damn complicated for them and they need to see something that has a not so complex of a starting place, which at some level makes some sense to them. And where they can see some continuing path that "could possibly lead to some positive end result".

    What AA (and like programs) has to offer is a paint by the number solution - which is comprised of common sense principles which has the ability to apply in some positive way for all of the various types of people who find themselves participating in the program.

    Because every person's life is different, the manner in which they actively participate will not bear the same exactly outcomes for each person. That's not the intent. In fact, there is no way to mold people's minds to live their lives in a controlled like environment once they walk out of an AA meeting. No matter where people go - there they are. Their problems still exist. They aren't exempt form life's sometimes harshness and non-discriminating random acts of challenging hardships.

    But, make no mistake. There is an intent involved. It's to help people, via a very rote method, to deal with life on life's terms. People need to be able to get sober or clean long enough to become teachable and to see their world and problems through different eyes (metaphorically speaking). It's like parents with children who have ADHD and they have their kids put on a medication - thinking that all their problems will go away. They don't. The meds might make it possible for kids to become teachable. But the hard work involved to get to some positive results must be viewed from two perspectives. One is providing the types of information that has the possible chance to promote positive change. The other is helping those who are in situations where learning is difficult - to actually learn.

    No, AA isn't a one-size-fits-all type of solution. It is, however, the potential to be a huge stepping stone from a place of feeling terminally unique to knowing that they aren't alone, there is a other options than the one an alcoholic or addict has repeatedly used thinking they could solve their own skewed concepts of what the hell has gone wrong in their life.

    We can't think ourselves into acting right. We have to act ourselves into thinking right. (Not an AA saying - but maybe it should be)

    Thanks, DG...

  4. #144
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doppelgangirl View Post
    (Continued from previous)


    I personally believe addiction is a very complex medical problem. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. I also understand the reluctance of laypeople and professionals to criticize anything that might help an alcoholic or addict, because nobody wants to deter or discourage them making a positive change. AA and 12-Step programs... "recovery," so-to-speak, have become so culturally ingrained they are almost considered "above reproach" by many. I don't think that's wise or that the organization has earned that kind of following, particularly in light of the evidence. In fact, resistance to 12-Step programs are frequently pointed to as "evidence" the alcoholic/addict is still "in denial."

    Newcomers are frequently discouraged from using their own critical thinking skills when raising legitimate questions where AA is concerned, with comments like "Your best thinking got you here." "Take the cotton out of your ears, and put it in your mouth." "Let the group/your sponsor do your thinking for you." They are told failure is never the Program's fault, but the fault of the individual.

    IMHO, the very nature of AA discourages the majority of people it doesn't work for from looking for more suitable alternatives. I think that's harmful, particularly to alcoholics and addicts that are likely already dealing with low self-esteem and other emotional/behavioral issues.

    I always found it humorous that members are frequently told "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results." Except, apparently, in cases of failed 12-Step Treatment (the vast majority) -- where they're advised to "Keep Coming Back!"

    Just my

    Thanks for reading!
    There do seem to be a small percentage of people who are simply incapable of grasping the concepts of the 12-step programs or who never really give them a chance. The reason newbies are told to keep coming back is because that is the ONLY way they will get the program. Too many think that, okay, I understand, I've got it, and I can do this on my own. Well they can't do it on their own, they don't do it on their own, and then they blame the 12-steps or AA for failing them.

    Yes, other methods have proved better for some. But that doesn't mean that AA has not helped many find happiness in sobriety. It is far more than just not drinking. It is a path to feel normal, to feel happy, to feel comfortable not drinking.

    Alcoholism (and other addictions) does create intense cravings, but that is only one aspect. It also affects a person physically in many different ways. And it creates a complex spiritual tangle, a wrestling with guilt and justification and remorse and denial that invariably creates a kind of psychosis that prevents the alcoholic from either understanding what drives him or ability to see or accept the truth. Most alcoholics really do believe they can control it if they can just muster the will power. Most tell themselves just one more drink. Or I'll get through this or finish that and then I'll stop. This is coupled with those periods of denial when they feel justified in getting drunk or convince themselves they don't drink more than anybody else or everybody else is the problem so no wonder I drink. Then there is the ingenuity of how to drink more without alarming those people who are already alarmed. Especially with alcohol, the assault on brain and other bodily function is progressive and can be deadly. Those who don't succumb to other ailments exacerbated by the substance abuse will likely wind up insane. Few live to a ripe old age.

    There is nothing more frustrating to the alcoholic than the other 90 percent of the people who can drink, even to excess, without becoming a problem to themselves and/or others. It is really tough for the alcoholic to finally admit that he is not one of that 90 percent.
    "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." --Benjamin Franklin 1776

  5. #145
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    There do seem to be a small percentage of people who are simply incapable of grasping the concepts of the 12-step programs or who never really give them a chance. The reason newbies are told to keep coming back is because that is the ONLY way they will get the program. Too many think that, okay, I understand, I've got it, and I can do this on my own. Well they can't do it on their own, they don't do it on their own, and then they blame the 12-steps or AA for failing them.

    Yes, other methods have proved better for some. But that doesn't mean that AA has not helped many find happiness in sobriety. It is far more than just not drinking. It is a path to feel normal, to feel happy, to feel comfortable not drinking.

    Alcoholism (and other addictions) does create intense cravings, but that is only one aspect. It also affects a person physically in many different ways. And it creates a complex spiritual tangle, a wrestling with guilt and justification and remorse and denial that invariably creates a kind of psychosis that prevents the alcoholic from either understanding what drives him or ability to see or accept the truth. Most alcoholics really do believe they can control it if they can just muster the will power. Most tell themselves just one more drink. Or I'll get through this or finish that and then I'll stop. This is coupled with those periods of denial when they feel justified in getting drunk or convince themselves they don't drink more than anybody else or everybody else is the problem so no wonder I drink. Then there is the ingenuity of how to drink more without alarming those people who are already alarmed. Especially with alcohol, the assault on brain and other bodily function is progressive and can be deadly. Those who don't succumb to other ailments exacerbated by the substance abuse will likely wind up insane. Few live to a ripe old age.

    There is nothing more frustrating to the alcoholic than the other 90 percent of the people who can drink, even to excess, without becoming a problem to themselves and/or others. It is really tough for the alcoholic to finally admit that he is not one of that 90 percent.
    Even after 29 years of sobriety I'm not exempt from feeling ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^.

    But I'm truly grateful that I am constitutionally capable of being honest with myself. I can't drink alcohol. PERIOD! When I do drink my life becomes more than unmanageable, not only for me, but for everybody in my life.

    I can closely predict what the outcome of my behaviors will be if I chug down a 6 pack of Coke. I can't predict the outcome of my behaviors if I chug down a 6 pack of beer. And yet I can buy both of these things at many of the same retail places. And if I buy the 6 pack of beer, my unpredictable behaviors can very much become an serious issue for everybody within my path.

    Thanks...

  6. #146
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Removable Mind View Post
    Even after 29 years of sobriety I'm not exempt from feeling ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^.

    But I'm truly grateful that I am constitutionally capable of being honest with myself. I can't drink alcohol. PERIOD! When I do drink my life becomes more than unmanageable, not only for me, but for everybody in my life.

    I can closely predict what the outcome of my behaviors will be if I chug down a 6 pack of Coke. I can't predict the outcome of my behaviors if I chug down a 6 pack of beer. And yet I can buy both of these things at many of the same retail places. And if I buy the 6 pack of beer, my unpredictable behaviors can very much become an serious issue for everybody within my path.

    Thanks...
    Congratulations on 29 years though and for being in inspiration to others that it can be done. I am not alcoholic, but with my family history and thinking back on my own behavior as I married an alcoholic and am an ACOA, I am pretty darn sure I was a very short distance from that invisible line. And I almost surely at some point would have stepped over it had I not quit in solidarity with my loved one who was starting on the path to sobriety. (We both have 32 years of sobriety now. And like you said, the old tapes sometimes start running, the old demons sometimes rear their ugly heads, but we learn to understand what they are, and they usually quickly pass. We both very much know there are no guarantees and after all this time, sobriety is a one-day-at-a-time process. Though in all honesty, we don't think about it all that much any more.
    "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." --Benjamin Franklin 1776

  7. #147
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    Congratulations on 29 years though and for being in inspiration to others that it can be done. I am not alcoholic, but with my family history and thinking back on my own behavior as I married an alcoholic and am an ACOA, I am pretty darn sure I was a very short distance from that invisible line. And I almost surely at some point would have stepped over it had I not quit in solidarity with my loved one who was starting on the path to sobriety. (We both have 32 years of sobriety now. And like you said, the old tapes sometimes start running, the old demons sometimes rear their ugly heads, but we learn to understand what they are, and they usually quickly pass. We both very much know there are no guarantees and after all this time, sobriety is a one-day-at-a-time process. Though in all honesty, we don't think about it all that much any more.
    Congrats to you both...and touche.

    As I said in a prior post. I haven't quit drinking per se...I just choose not to drink today. And I've been making that choice every day for 29 years.

    But to be honest with you. I think being a drunk is much easier (emotionally) than being an Al-Alnon. That is a tough job. No mental escapes... Take it on the chin. That takes balls and being a bit crazy if you get what I mean.

    Good on you guys..seriously. My wife is also a member of your side.

  8. #148
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Removable Mind View Post
    Congrats to you both...and touche.

    As I said in a prior post. I haven't quit drinking per se...I just choose not to drink today. And I've been making that choice every day for 29 years.

    But to be honest with you. I think being a drunk is much easier (emotionally) than being an Al-Alnon. That is a tough job. No mental escapes... Take it on the chin. That takes balls and being a bit crazy if you get what I mean.

    Good on you guys..seriously. My wife is also a member of your side.
    LOL. I don't think it's tougher. It's just maybe harder to nail down some of the specifics. And you don't get the perks like the birthdays and congratulations and acknowledgement for so many days like you get in AA.

    In many ways the Al-Anons are in more denial than the alcoholics they love. And real honesty may be a bit tougher to come by. The worst thing the Al-Anon usually has to contend with is all those weeks, months, years, that she manipulated, lied, cajoled, and otherwise did everything in her power to control her loved one's drinking, and then when he finally got sober? Somebody else got the credit for that.
    "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it." --Benjamin Franklin 1776

  9. #149
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    LOL. I don't think it's tougher. It's just maybe harder to nail down some of the specifics. And you don't get the perks like the birthdays and congratulations and acknowledgement for so many days like you get in AA.

    In many ways the Al-Anons are in more denial than the alcoholics they love. And real honesty may be a bit tougher to come by. The worst thing the Al-Anon usually has to contend with is all those weeks, months, years, that she manipulated, lied, cajoled, and otherwise did everything in her power to control her loved one's drinking, and then when he finally got sober? Somebody else got the credit for that.
    I love that ^^^^^^. Thanks for this post...it's great!

  10. #150
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlbqOwl View Post
    Thanks. I got that insight the hard way.
    Hard way or easy way, you got it - some don't get it ANY way, and they (sadly) suffer for it (or worse).

    Good for you!

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