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Thread: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

  1. #241
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasperL View Post
    Uhhhh, No. Being "weak minded," whatever the heck that means, doesn't have a thing to do with actual addiction, and certainly a characteristic of people who overcome addiction, in AA or not, simply isn't "weak minded."

    And I can't speak for all meetings of AA and NA and all the others, but the atmosphere at those I've attended isn't anything like a "religious cult like atmosphere."

    Finally, "thinking people" should be "wary" of pretty much everything having to do with their health and well being, especially addiction. Many thinking people try meetings of AA in their area, and find it helps them, and so stay with it for all kinds of very good reasons. Other thinking people try it and don't see those benefits and quit going. Pretty simple stuff.

    People who don't do a lot of serious thinking make broad brush generalizations and stereotypes about addicts, AA, and who is or isn't strong minded without knowing a thing about the incredibly diverse group of people from all walks of life who choose to address their addiction and live a better life, in part by attending AA.
    This is a great attempt to appeal to feel goodery gibberish. Feel goodery that I understand. Of course we want people who have addictions to overcome them, and we certainly don't want to put them down for doing so. But the truth is, people who have harmful addictions, have them for a reason. That is because they have an inability to deal with reality. Whatever their situation may be, they find that their addiction gives them respite from dealing with it. This is nothing to be necessarily ashamed of, but what AA tries to do is replace alcohol with a religious, cultish doma. Just look at the 12 steps and tell me that they are not religious in nature. The 2nd step alone tells you all you need to know. "Come to believe that a power greater then ourselves could restore us to sanity". Alcoholics Anonymous : Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Trying to insert religious dogma into a program that is suppose to be helping these people is simply disgusting in my view. It is kind of the same tactic many Christian organizations use when they are handing out rice to starving kids in Africa and include a bible along with the aid. That is why I look at AA as help for the weak minded. Instead of dealing with the reality of their situations, and speaking frankly about it, they are taught to relinquish themsleves to a higher power in order to become "saved" from the evils of alcohol. When in reality, its not the alcohol that is the problem. I think AA programs should be completely dismantled on the grounds that they are religious organizations which are completely illegally funded by the government.
    - There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
    - Idealistically, everything should work as you planed it to. Realistically, it depends on how idealistic you are as to the measure of success.
    - Better to be a pessimist before, and an optimist afterwords.

  2. #242
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightrider View Post
    OK, so I'm about to hit my 11th day of sobriety. Got a home group, but not a sponsor right now - will try to correct that in the near future. Am having a hard time tonight and have a call in to a Maine mental health/AA hotline - am waiting for a call back.

    Stinkin' thinking, you know what they say.
    Hotline call went well - spoke to a really cool member of AA. I'm ok.

    Just popped a couple of Ativan (prescribed as needed by my doctor) - going to bed and try to sleep.

  3. #243
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    This is an interesting article about AA. It states; "Peer-reviewed studies peg the success rate of AA somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. That is, about one of every fifteen people who enter these programs is able to become and stay sober." So not only is it cultish and religious in nature, it is also ineffective. If I took my car to a mechanic 10 times to get it fixed and he fixed it on the 10th time, I would be looking for another mechanic. I would not be funneling him business and money like our government funnels business and money to AA programs across the country. If my kid came home from school and got a passing grade for getting 1 out of 10 questions correct, I would pull him out of that school and demand it be defunded. AA is not only a proselytizing tool for religious dogma, it also gives false hope to people who really are in need of help. On top of that, the individuals who run this program are being paid for shoddy work.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/03/23/the_...eat_addiction/

    Alcoholics Anonymous is a part of our nation’s fabric. In the seventy-six years since AA was created, 12-step programs have expanded to include over three hundred different organizations, focusing on such diverse issues as smoking, shoplifting, social phobia, debt, recovery from incest, even vulgarity. All told, more than five million people recite the Serenity Prayer at meetings across the United States every year.

    Twelve-step programs hold a privileged place in our culture as well. The legions of “anonymous” members who comprise these groups are helped in their proselytizing mission by TV shows such as “Intervention” (now canceled), which preaches the gospel of recovery. “Going to rehab” is likewise a common refrain in music and film, where it is almost always uncritically presented as the one true hope for beating addiction. AA and rehab have even been codified into our legal system: court-mandated attendance, which began in the late 1980s, is today a staple of drug-crime policy. Every year, our state and federal governments spend over $15 billion on substance-abuse treatment for addicts, the vast majority of which are based on 12-step programs. There is only one problem: these programs almost always fail.

    Peer-reviewed studies peg the success rate of AA somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. That is, about one of every fifteen people who enter these programs is able to become and stay sober. In 2006, one of the most prestigious scientific research organizations in the world, the Cochrane Collaboration, conducted a review of the many studies conducted between 1966 and 2005 and reached a stunning conclusion: “No experimental studies unequivocally demonstrated the effectiveness of AA” in treating alcoholism. This group reached the same conclusion about professional AA-oriented treatment (12-step facilitation therapy, or TSF), which is the core of virtually every alcoholism-rehabilitation program in the country.

    Many people greet this finding with open hostility. After all, walk down any street in any city and you are likely to run into a dozen people who swear by AA—either from personal experience or because they know someone whose life was saved by the program. Even people who have no experience with AA may still have heard that it works or protest that 5 to 10 percent is a significant number when we’re talking about millions of people. So AA isn’t perfect, runs this thread of reasoning. Have you got anything better?
    Last edited by Capster78; 05-11-15 at 12:04 AM.
    - There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
    - Idealistically, everything should work as you planed it to. Realistically, it depends on how idealistic you are as to the measure of success.
    - Better to be a pessimist before, and an optimist afterwords.

  4. #244
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    The pseudo-science of Alcoholics Anonymous: There’s a better way to treat addiction - Salon.com
    There are good answers to these objections. For now, I will simply say that there are indeed better treatments for addiction—but the issues with AA’s approach run far deeper than its statistical success rate. While it’s praiseworthy that some do well in AA, the problem is that our society has followed AA’s lead in presuming that 12-step treatment is good for the other 90 percent of people with addictions.

    Any substantive conversation about treatment in this country must reckon with the toll levied when a culture encourages one approach to the exclusion of all others, especially when that culture limits the treatment options for suffering people, ignores advances in understanding addiction, and excludes and even shames the great majority of people who fail in the sanctioned approach.

    The AA monopoly

    AA began as a nonprofessional attempt to grapple with the alcoholism of its founders. It arose and took its famous twelve steps directly from the Oxford Group, a fundamentalist religious organization founded in the early twentieth century. It came to life on the day that its founder, Bill Wilson, witnessed a “bright flash of light” in a hospital room.

    Although the fledgling organization lacked any scientific backing, research, or clinical experience to support its method, AA spread like wildfire through a country desperate for hope at the end of Prohibition and in the midst of the Great Depression. It soon became immaterial whether AA worked well or worked at all: it had claimed its place as the last best hope for beating the mighty specter of addiction. It had become the indispensable treatment, the sine qua non of addiction recovery in the United States. And science looked away.

    AA has managed to survive, in part, because members who become and remain sober speak and write about it regularly. This is no accident: AA’s twelfth step expressly tells members to proselytize for the organization: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these

    Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” Adherence to this step has created a classic sampling error: because most of us hear only from the people who succeeded in the program, it is natural to conclude that they represent the whole. In reality, these members speak for an exceptionally small percentage of addicts, as we will see.

    Beyond these individual proselytizing efforts, AA makes inflated claims about itself. Its foundational document, Alcoholics Anonymous (commonly referred to as the “Big Book” and a perennial best seller), spells out a confident ethos regularly endorsed by AA members:

    Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

    In other words, the program doesn’t fail; you fail.

    Imagine if similar claims were made in defense of an ineffective antibiotic. Imagine dismissing millions of people who did not respond to a new form of chemotherapy as “constitutionally incapable” of properly receiving the drug. Of course, no researchers would make such claims in scientific circles—if they did, they would risk losing their standing. In professional medicine, if a treatment doesn’t work, it’s the treatment that must be scrutinized, not the patient. Not so for Alcoholics Anonymous.

    Walking the twelve steps

    More than anything, AA offers a comforting veneer of actionable change: it is something you can do. Twelve steps sounds like science; it feels like rigor; it has the syntax of a roadmap. Yet when we examine these twelve steps more closely, we find dubious ideas and even some potentially harmful myths.
    - There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
    - Idealistically, everything should work as you planed it to. Realistically, it depends on how idealistic you are as to the measure of success.
    - Better to be a pessimist before, and an optimist afterwords.

  5. #245
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    The pseudo-science of Alcoholics Anonymous: There’s a better way to treat addiction - Salon.com
    Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.”

    This step sounds appealing to some and grates heavily on others. The notion of declaring powerlessness is intended to evoke a sense of surrender that might give way to spiritual rebirth. Compelling as this is as a narrative device, it lacks any clinical merit or scientific backing.

    Step 2: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

    Many scholars have written about the close bond between AA and religion. This is perhaps inevitable: AA was founded as a religious organization whose design and practices hewed closely to its spiritual forerunner, the Oxford Group, whose members believed strongly in the purging of sinfulness through conversion experiences. As Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book: “To some people we need not, and probably should not, emphasize the spiritual feature on our first approach. We might prejudice them. At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God.”

    Religion can have a salutary effect on people in crisis, of course, and its strong emphasis on community bonds is often indispensable. But do these comforting feelings address the causes of addiction or lead to permanent recovery in any meaningful way? As we will see, the evidence is scant.

    Step 3: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.”

    For an organization that has expressly denied religious standing and publicly claims a secular—even scientific—approach, it is curious that AA retains these explicit references to a spiritual power whose care might help light the way toward recovery. Even for addicts who opt to interpret this step secularly, the problem persists: why can’t this ultimate power lie within the addict?

    Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

    The notion that people with addictions suffer from a failure of morality to be indexed and removed is fundamental to Alcoholics Anonymous. Yet addiction is not a moral defect, and to suggest that does a great disservice to people suffering with this disorder.

    Step 5: “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

    Step 6: “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

    Step 7: “Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.”

    These steps rehash the problems of their predecessors: the religiosity, the admission of moral defectiveness, the embrace of powerlessness, and the search for a cure through divine purification. The degradation woven through these steps also seems unwittingly designed to exacerbate, rather than relieve, the humiliating feelings so common in addiction.

    If moral self-flagellation could cure addiction, we could be sure there would be precious few addicts.

    Step 8: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.”

    Step 9: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

    There is nothing inherently wrong with apologizing to those who have been harmed, directly or indirectly, by the consequences of addiction. The problem is the echo once more of the fundamentalist religious principle: that the path to recovery is to cleanse oneself of sin.

    Yes, apologies can be powerful things, and there’s no question that reconciling with people can be a liberating and uplifting experience. But grounding this advice within a framework of treatment alters its timbre, transforming an elective act into one of penance.
    - There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
    - Idealistically, everything should work as you planed it to. Realistically, it depends on how idealistic you are as to the measure of success.
    - Better to be a pessimist before, and an optimist afterwords.

  6. #246
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capster78 View Post
    This is a great attempt to appeal to feel goodery gibberish. Feel goodery that I understand. Of course we want people who have addictions to overcome them, and we certainly don't want to put them down for doing so. But the truth is, people who have harmful addictions, have them for a reason. That is because they have an inability to deal with reality. Whatever their situation may be, they find that their addiction gives them respite from dealing with it. This is nothing to be necessarily ashamed of, but what AA tries to do is replace alcohol with a religious, cultish doma. Just look at the 12 steps and tell me that they are not religious in nature. The 2nd step alone tells you all you need to know. "Come to believe that a power greater then ourselves could restore us to sanity". Alcoholics Anonymous : Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Trying to insert religious dogma into a program that is suppose to be helping these people is simply disgusting in my view. It is kind of the same tactic many Christian organizations use when they are handing out rice to starving kids in Africa and include a bible along with the aid. That is why I look at AA as help for the weak minded. Instead of dealing with the reality of their situations, and speaking frankly about it, they are taught to relinquish themsleves to a higher power in order to become "saved" from the evils of alcohol. When in reality, its not the alcohol that is the problem. I think AA programs should be completely dismantled on the grounds that they are religious organizations which are completely illegally funded by the government.
    Quote Originally Posted by Capster78 View Post
    This is an interesting article about AA. It states; "Peer-reviewed studies peg the success rate of AA somewhere between 5 and 10 percent. That is, about one of every fifteen people who enter these programs is able to become and stay sober." So not only is it cultish and religious in nature, it is also ineffective. If I took my car to a mechanic 10 times to get it fixed and he fixed it on the 10th time, I would be looking for another mechanic. I would not be funneling him business and money like our government funnels business and money to AA programs across the country. If my kid came home from school and got a passing grade for getting 1 out of 10 questions correct, I would pull him out of that school and demand it be defunded. AA is not only a proselytizing tool for religious dogma, it also gives false hope to people who really are in need of help. On top of that, the individuals who run this program are being paid for shoddy work.

    The pseudo-science of Alcoholics Anonymous: There’s a better way to treat addiction - Salon.com
    I couldn't sleep, so logged back in - am suddenly very very sleepy/tired after reading your posts - am about to snooze off and start snoring away. So, Thanks!

  7. #247
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhisattva View Post
    The group can be stronger but most of the times it is a cover for the weakness of the individuals... gangs are a prime example.
    You are comparing AA to gangs? There is no comparison here. Gangs are not aimed at the good of the group AND the individual. Gangs are aimed towards the good of the leaders.

    The student can do plenty without the teacher... you like to claim professional knowledge well here I trump you. You are wrong. 100%
    No, you don't trump me. I have quite a bit of experience in that area, too. In a teacher-student relationship, both members are key in the learning process. I would think you would know that.

    Of course I actually do... but I understand.
    No, you don't.
    "Never fear. Him is here" - Captain Chaos (Dom DeLuise), Cannonball Run

    ====||:-D

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseone View Post
    This is what I hate about politics the most, it turns people in snobbish egotistical self righteous dicks who allow their political beliefs, partisan attitudes, and 'us vs. them' mentality, to force them to deny reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Navy Pride View Post
    You can't paint everone with the same brush.......It does not work tht way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    See with you around Captain we don't even have to make arguments, as you already know everything .
    Quote Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
    Had you been born elsewhere or at a different time you may very well have chosen a different belief system.
    Quote Originally Posted by ernst barkmann View Post
    It a person has faith they dont need to convince another of it, and when a non believer is not interested in listening to the word of the lord, " you shake the dust from your sandels and move on"

  8. #248
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capster78 View Post
    I think AA has its place in helping people with addiction. However, I think that it only works on the weak minded who are also addicted to alcohol because they are weak minded. Some people just don't respond to dogma and, what seems to feel like, a religious cult like atmosphere. Most thinking people would be wary of such a thing.
    This is a fairly ignorant post. Firstly, your perception that addicts are "weak-minded" is nothing but an opinion and holds no bearing in accuracy. Secondly, your perception that AA is a "religious cult like atmosphere" is also inaccurate. There are certainly some AA meetings that are more religious-based than others, but the program itself is not... not unless one chooses it to be. Oh, and the "higher power" does not have to be God. Plenty of people choose other things. If you read some of the posts by atheist AA members, you'd know that.
    "Never fear. Him is here" - Captain Chaos (Dom DeLuise), Cannonball Run

    ====||:-D

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseone View Post
    This is what I hate about politics the most, it turns people in snobbish egotistical self righteous dicks who allow their political beliefs, partisan attitudes, and 'us vs. them' mentality, to force them to deny reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Navy Pride View Post
    You can't paint everone with the same brush.......It does not work tht way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    See with you around Captain we don't even have to make arguments, as you already know everything .
    Quote Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
    Had you been born elsewhere or at a different time you may very well have chosen a different belief system.
    Quote Originally Posted by ernst barkmann View Post
    It a person has faith they dont need to convince another of it, and when a non believer is not interested in listening to the word of the lord, " you shake the dust from your sandels and move on"

  9. #249
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capster78 View Post
    This is a great attempt to appeal to feel goodery gibberish. Feel goodery that I understand. Of course we want people who have addictions to overcome them, and we certainly don't want to put them down for doing so. But the truth is, people who have harmful addictions, have them for a reason. That is because they have an inability to deal with reality. Whatever their situation may be, they find that their addiction gives them respite from dealing with it. This is nothing to be necessarily ashamed of, but what AA tries to do is replace alcohol with a religious, cultish doma. Just look at the 12 steps and tell me that they are not religious in nature. The 2nd step alone tells you all you need to know. "Come to believe that a power greater then ourselves could restore us to sanity". Alcoholics Anonymous : Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Trying to insert religious dogma into a program that is suppose to be helping these people is simply disgusting in my view. It is kind of the same tactic many Christian organizations use when they are handing out rice to starving kids in Africa and include a bible along with the aid. That is why I look at AA as help for the weak minded. Instead of dealing with the reality of their situations, and speaking frankly about it, they are taught to relinquish themsleves to a higher power in order to become "saved" from the evils of alcohol. When in reality, its not the alcohol that is the problem. I think AA programs should be completely dismantled on the grounds that they are religious organizations which are completely illegally funded by the government.
    Firstly, AA is not funded by the governemnt in any way shape or form. Believing that it is demonstrates that you don't know the first thing of what you are discussing. Secondly, as I said in my previous post, the "higher power" can refer to anything one chooses. Anywhere God is mentioned, an alternative can be inserted if one chooses. AA is no more of a religious group then any other support group. Each individual group has it's own personality. Some may be more dogmatic, some more atheistic, some looser, etc... You are correct about the reason for addiction, however you are incorrect about the meaning behind that. Addiction is a coping skill. We all use coping skills to deal with difficult things. Some use coping skills that are healthy and productive. Others use some that are unhealthy and unproductive. This is not a refection on the strength or weakness of the individual, but of choices one makes.
    "Never fear. Him is here" - Captain Chaos (Dom DeLuise), Cannonball Run

    ====||:-D

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseone View Post
    This is what I hate about politics the most, it turns people in snobbish egotistical self righteous dicks who allow their political beliefs, partisan attitudes, and 'us vs. them' mentality, to force them to deny reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Navy Pride View Post
    You can't paint everone with the same brush.......It does not work tht way.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wessexman View Post
    See with you around Captain we don't even have to make arguments, as you already know everything .
    Quote Originally Posted by CriticalThought View Post
    Had you been born elsewhere or at a different time you may very well have chosen a different belief system.
    Quote Originally Posted by ernst barkmann View Post
    It a person has faith they dont need to convince another of it, and when a non believer is not interested in listening to the word of the lord, " you shake the dust from your sandels and move on"

  10. #250
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    Re: Alcoholics Anonymous - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainCourtesy View Post
    This is a fairly ignorant post. Firstly, your perception that addicts are "weak-minded" is nothing but an opinion and holds no bearing in accuracy. Secondly, your perception that AA is a "religious cult like atmosphere" is also inaccurate. There are certainly some AA meetings that are more religious-based than others, but the program itself is not... not unless one chooses it to be. Oh, and the "higher power" does not have to be God. Plenty of people choose other things. If you read some of the posts by atheist AA members, you'd know that.
    You can be as dismissive as you like, but only the weak minded would not see it for what it is and that its goal is religious indoctrination. I really don't know what other angle I could take in debating the obvious. Once you read the 12 steps that these programs rely on in order to graduate people to soberness. Then I would also point to the factual statistics that state that as high as 95% of the people who attend relapse. Sounds to me nearly as effective as religious dogma as well. I generally don't like to use popular sayings for fear of lacking originality, so I'll change it up a bit. If it walks like a sheep, talks like a sheep, and looks like a sheep, its probably a sheep.
    - There was never a good war, or a bad peace.
    - Idealistically, everything should work as you planed it to. Realistically, it depends on how idealistic you are as to the measure of success.
    - Better to be a pessimist before, and an optimist afterwords.

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