Is AA a religion?
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13-03-2015, 09:38 PM
RE: Is AA a religion?
(13-03-2015 04:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 04:03 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  The fact that the majority of addiction treatment centres are AA oriented is also worrisome, given AAs 5% success rate.

[Citation Required]

It's not 5%. It's 5.7%.

Estimates of AA's Effectiveness

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13-03-2015, 11:16 PM
RE: Is AA a religion?
(13-03-2015 09:38 PM)KVron Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 04:25 PM)Chas Wrote:  [Citation Required]

It's not 5%. It's 5.7%.

Estimates of AA's Effectiveness

and its the same in non-AA groups, in other words AA is nothing special
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14-03-2015, 09:38 AM
RE: Is AA a religion?
This summary published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases (posted on the federal National Center for Biomedical Information site) seems like a good reference.

"As stated at the outset, the experimental evidence for AA effectiveness (addressing specificity) is the weakest among the six criteria considered crucial for establishing causation. Only two studies provided strong proof of a specific AA or TSF effect: the outpatient arm of Project MATCH (with effects at 1 and 3 years) [2, 3], and the intensive referral condition in Timko’s trial (with effects for abstinence at 6 months and 1 year) [24]. The effect sizes were similar, with the TSF/Intensive referral conditions having a 5-10% advantage in abstinence rates. It is noteworthy that neither of these studies attempted to randomize patients to AA per se; instead, they focused on interventions intended to facilitate AA involvement."

But also:

"As for the scorecard for the other criteria, the evidence for AA effectiveness is quite strong: Rates of abstinence are about twice as high among those who attend AA (criteria 1, magnitude); higher levels of attendance are related to higher rates of abstinence (criteria 2, dose-response); these relationships are found for different samples and follow-up periods (criteria 3, consistency); prior AA attendance is predictive of subsequent abstinence (criteria 4, temporal); and mechanisms of action predicted by theories of behavior change are evident at AA meetings and through the AA steps and fellowship (criteria 6, plausibility)."

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14-03-2015, 09:52 AM
RE: Is AA a religion?
Seems to me that part of the problem with programs such as AA being court ordered is that if a person doesn't want to stop their behavior they won't.

The key to conquering an addiction of any sort is to realize that you have something in your life that you want out of your life.

Telling someone that has received a drunk driving charge that they have to attend X number of AA meetings isn't going to change a thing if all they are doing is complying with a court order. Telling someone busted for drugs that they have to attend meetings as a part of their probation simply means they will give up a few hours a week attending meetings they are being forced into.

One of the reasons that the 'success' rate is low is number of people who are just going through the motions to fulfill a legal issue.

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17-03-2015, 09:57 AM (This post was last modified: 17-03-2015 10:13 AM by Nieko Sx.)
RE: Is AA a religion?
Quote:One of the reasons that the 'success' rate is low is number of people who are just going through the motions to fulfill a legal issue.

I heard on a speaker recording that one of the ways success rates were measured (what is a success in aa is not especially well defined) at aa's head office was to look at the number of sobriety chips given out at meetings starting at one day or welcome chips up to medallions for multiple years of sobriety. Have a look at aa's own stats here, according to these stats court mandated meeting attendance is listed as 12% with introduction through another member (recruitment?) at 34%.

I have seen studies which were done in a more controlled way which have concluded that people do no better in aa as they do with no treatment at all, they simply go into natural remission and either stop or learn to control their behaviour. As with the church follow the money and see why it's in the best interests of aa to keep it's place as the number one treatment for alcoholism...

Court mandated aa/na attendence is much more prevalent in the US than in the UK although this seems to be under increasing scrutiny now as being a breach of first ammendment rights. See here.

As I've heard acknowledged on TTA podcast and elsewhere, church does community very well, as does aa. The religious nature of the programme aside, the idea of one person with a similar issue with drink/drugs helping another seems to be very effective. That's where I personally believe these programmes get their successes from, offering a support network that is available around the clock.

However, the community does raise concerns particularly when people with violent and/or sexual convictions are court ordered to a group where anonymity lets them blend in without disclosing the nature of their crimes. You literally don't know who you are sitting next to. I've read stories of people with horrific criminal backgrounds being able to blend into these groups and even use these groups as places to pick up their next prey. A quick google search will bring up a wealth of information on the nature of serious offenders mixing with very vulnerable as well as young people.

Another concern is that newcomers are encouraged to be open and honest in telling their life stories to a bunch of strangers. Often very vulnerable people are encouraged to admit dangerous and untrue things such as their 'powerlessness' over alcohol/drugs before telling the group deeply personal things about themselves and their lives, if someone has been drinking/drugging for a while this information is potentially going to include criminal and loose sexual behaviour.

People outside of these groups often don't know that nobody is in charge. So even though the courts may well (unconstitutionally or not) order attendance, making it look endorsed by people in power, the groups are run by people who have been given authority merely by the amount of time they claim to have been drink or drug free.

Addiction is a very real problem in today's society and whilst these anonymous programmes suit some, they can be harmful to others. It's time that people who are vulnerable and reaching out for help were offered something other than religion to help them get better.

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17-03-2015, 06:49 PM
RE: Is AA a religion?
(17-03-2015 09:57 AM)Nieko Sx Wrote:  
Quote:One of the reasons that the 'success' rate is low is number of people who are just going through the motions to fulfill a legal issue.

I heard on a speaker recording that one of the ways success rates were measured (what is a success in aa is not especially well defined) at aa's head office was to look at the number of sobriety chips given out at meetings starting at one day or welcome chips up to medallions for multiple years of sobriety. Have a look at aa's own stats here, according to these stats court mandated meeting attendance is listed as 12% with introduction through another member (recruitment?) at 34%.

I have seen studies which were done in a more controlled way which have concluded that people do no better in aa as they do with no treatment at all, they simply go into natural remission and either stop or learn to control their behaviour. As with the church follow the money and see why it's in the best interests of aa to keep it's place as the number one treatment for alcoholism...

Court mandated aa/na attendence is much more prevalent in the US than in the UK although this seems to be under increasing scrutiny now as being a breach of first ammendment rights. See here.

As I've heard acknowledged on TTA podcast and elsewhere, church does community very well, as does aa. The religious nature of the programme aside, the idea of one person with a similar issue with drink/drugs helping another seems to be very effective. That's where I personally believe these programmes get their successes from, offering a support network that is available around the clock.

However, the community does raise concerns particularly when people with violent and/or sexual convictions are court ordered to a group where anonymity lets them blend in without disclosing the nature of their crimes. You literally don't know who you are sitting next to. I've read stories of people with horrific criminal backgrounds being able to blend into these groups and even use these groups as places to pick up their next prey. A quick google search will bring up a wealth of information on the nature of serious offenders mixing with very vulnerable as well as young people.

Another concern is that newcomers are encouraged to be open and honest in telling their life stories to a bunch of strangers. Often very vulnerable people are encouraged to admit dangerous and untrue things such as their 'powerlessness' over alcohol/drugs before telling the group deeply personal things about themselves and their lives, if someone has been drinking/drugging for a while this information is potentially going to include criminal and loose sexual behaviour.

People outside of these groups often don't know that nobody is in charge. So even though the courts may well (unconstitutionally or not) order attendance, making it look endorsed by people in power, the groups are run by people who have been given authority merely by the amount of time they claim to have been drink or drug free.

Addiction is a very real problem in today's society and whilst these anonymous programmes suit some, they can be harmful to others. It's time that people who are vulnerable and reaching out for help were offered something other than religion to help them get better.
You have raised some quite interesting points, while providing some good links.
Yes, at an AA meeting you never know who you are sitting next too; they may have problems worse than alcoholism too.
There are sexual predators at meeting too, a trait possibly developed by the AA founder Bill W.
Another worrisome issue involves the alleged alcoholic's choice of a sponsor, or person chosen to help them follow the steps program. I see the sometimes thoughtless devotion to sponsors as somewhat worrisome too.
Too much drinking can lead to major problems while a sane and limited control can provide a little merriment.
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19-03-2015, 07:05 PM
RE: Is AA a religion?
Really interesting, well-reported, balanced new story (which of course has some 12-steppers in a state of high outrage).

In the current issue of the Atlantic, "The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous."

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19-03-2015, 08:16 PM
RE: Is AA a religion?
Haha clay wise posted the link I'd shared. NEVERMIND! Blush
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24-03-2015, 07:20 PM
RE: Is AA a religion?
(19-03-2015 07:05 PM)claywise Wrote:  Really interesting, well-reported, balanced new story (which of course has some 12-steppers in a state of high outrage).

In the current issue of the Atlantic, "The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous."

Very good article, thanks. The comments section is pretty musical too, steppers up in arms having their perfect programme dissed, pants!
It's great that word is getting out that the anon groups do not deserve the monopoly on chemical dependency and recovery from it that they currently hold and that aa is certainly not the only way to recovery.

It's unbelievable that we're well into the 21st century yet desperate people are being fobbed off with 1930s gibberish, akin to being bled using leeches, being told they have no power and need god to sort them out. Apparently this same god couldn't give a monkey's about alcoholics 'til the 1930s but once subscribed to the programme this rock/lightbulb/doorknob god now requires a daily grovelling to remove sins and stop the sinner acquiring/preparing and ingesting (taking time and planning ergo not powerless but choice, albeit not always any easy one) their desired drink or drug.

It's criminal the amount of money people (or the insurance companies) pay to be sold aa's dubious snake oil in rehabs where they spend their days tossing about with horse's legs.

That this religious cure masquerades as mainstream drug treatment paid for by medical insurance and vetoed by the courts is utterly astounding.

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25-03-2015, 08:27 AM
RE: Is AA a religion?
(24-03-2015 07:20 PM)Nieko Sx Wrote:  
(19-03-2015 07:05 PM)claywise Wrote:  Really interesting, well-reported, balanced new story (which of course has some 12-steppers in a state of high outrage).

In the current issue of the Atlantic, "The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous."

Very good article, thanks. The comments section is pretty musical too, steppers up in arms having their perfect programme dissed, pants!
It's great that word is getting out that the anon groups do not deserve the monopoly on chemical dependency and recovery from it that they currently hold and that aa is certainly not the only way to recovery.

AA was pretty much the only game in town for many years. It never claimed to be the only way, just a way that could work.

Quote:It's unbelievable that we're well into the 21st century yet desperate people are being fobbed off with 1930s gibberish, akin to being bled using leeches, being told they have no power and need god to sort them out. Apparently this same god couldn't give a monkey's about alcoholics 'til the 1930s but once subscribed to the programme this rock/lightbulb/doorknob god now requires a daily grovelling to remove sins and stop the sinner acquiring/preparing and ingesting (taking time and planning ergo not powerless but choice, albeit not always any easy one) their desired drink or drug.

It's criminal the amount of money people (or the insurance companies) pay to be sold aa's dubious snake oil in rehabs where they spend their days tossing about with horse's legs.

That this religious cure masquerades as mainstream drug treatment paid for by medical insurance and vetoed by the courts is utterly astounding.

AA works for some people, and the precepts have some psychological value. Breaking through the denial that most addicts exhibit is necessary, and 12-Step programs have some success in doing so.

It's not all black and white.

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