Saturday, February 01, 2014

12-Step Program or Medications?


I have spoken with various people who have been encouraged to attend AA meetings, and more than a few of them say that they need the support but that they do not believe in "God" and can't sign on to a program that is so fundamentally spiritual.  They believe, as do I, that they are not powerless over their addiction; that, in fact, it is totally in their control, not in some "higher power's" control.  So, for those people, there is no place to turn.  There are few, if any, programs that are not 12-step based.  See what you think after reading this article which appeared on Slate.


Alcoholics Anonymous is, by far, the largest and most venerable addiction recovery group in the world. Founded nearly 80 years ago, AA now boasts 2.1 million worldwide members, many of whom attribute their very survival to the organization. In the United States, where the 12-step program originated, AA is viewed by many as a national treasure of sorts. Social workers send patients to AA meetings. Judges condition people’s freedom on meeting attendance. Desperate spouses condition marriages on it. Everyone loves Alcoholics Anonymous. Or almost everyone.

Many patients and doctors have grumbled for years about the religion inherent in the Alcoholics Anonymous process: Half of the 12 steps involve God or “a Power greater than ourselves.”
In recent years, however, the complaints have turned scientific. Some doctors who specialize in treating alcoholism have leveled a pair of accusations against the organization. First, they claim that AA has obstructed the spread of medications to treat alcoholism. Second, they claim that the group stubbornly resists evidence that some alcoholics are better suited to a life of moderate drinking than to complete abstinence.

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