Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works

Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works

Everyone knows what the initials AA stand for. Founded in , Alcoholics Anonymous is the oldest, best known, and most successful mutual help organization on earth. Its millions of members make it the most widely used treatment for alcoholism, and it has inspired many imitators, including Narcotics Anonymous NA. By some estimates, as many as 1 in 10 Americans, including two-thirds of those ever treated for alcoholism, have attended at least one AA meeting. Since new treatments, including drugs and behavioral therapies, have been introduced for alcoholism. But it often still resists conquest, and Alcoholics Anonymous — ubiquitous and nearly cost-free — still offers the best hope to many. Researchers have begun to consider systematically how and why the AA approach to addiction succeeds or fails, and their discoveries may improve the prospects for treating all substance abusers.

Welcome to Alcoholics Anonymous

Though there are no accurate records from the early days, what is definitely clear is that Harold M. He then began to give ads in local newspapers offering help to those with a drinking problem. It was one of these ads to which Harry M. Harry M.

Some million people belong to one of AA’s 55, meeting groups in the US. Photo: Christian Stoll. The church will be closed tomorrow, and.

No where in the first pages of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous does it tell the newcomer or any other member of A. I hear it all the time in the rooms of A. I heard one fellow in the rooms of A. I believe one of the biggest reasons A. Bill W. The Dilemma of No Faith.

Sober Dating: 4 Stories You NEED To Read

The church will be closed tomorrow, and the drunks are freaking out. An elderly lady in a prim white blouse has just delivered the bad news, with deep apologies: A major blizzard is scheduled to wallop Manhattan tonight, and up to a foot of snow will cover the ground by dawn. The church, located on the Upper West Side, can’t ask its staff to risk a dangerous commute.

Informal evidence shows that alcoholics who choose to attend AA meetings do better than those who do not, and the longer they are involved in attending.

When people first attend Alcoholics Anonymous they can be bit confused by the terminology used. It can even seem like the regular members are speaking a different language. There are a lot of words that have special meaning for this group. Luckily, it does not usually take long to become familiar with the terminology used. The most common words used in these meetings include:.

An important aspect of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is regular attendance at meetings. This is where members can discuss their concerns and get support. It is also where they learn how to apply the 12 program to their lives. Nobody graduates from AA, so lifelong attendance is recommended. There is no application process or membership fee associated with joining AA.

It is up to the individual to decide if they are a member or not. Abstinence means not doing something that is considered pleasurable.

Alcoholics Anonymous works for some people. A new study suggests the alternatives do too.

Alcoholics Anonymous AA is one of the most well-known treatment approaches to recovering from alcohol abuse. AA started in in Akron, Ohio. Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, both alcoholics themselves, were determined to help others quit drinking. In AA, members meet to help motivate and keep one another accountable for their alcohol use. The meetings are free and open to anyone who wants to stop drinking.

Two men, both of whom were termed hopeless alcoholics, began a program of recovery that has helped millions find sobriety and serenity.

We are not allied with any particular faith, sector, denomination nor do we oppose anyone. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted. Since that day all kinds of experiments with membership have been tried. The number of membership rules which have been made and mostly broken! Two or three years ago the Central Office asked the groups to list their membership rules and send them in.

After they arrived we set them all down. They took a great many sheets of paper. A little reflection upon these many rules brought us to an astonishing conclusion. If all of these edicts had been in force everywhere at once it would have been practically impossible for any alcoholic to have ever joined Alcoholics Anonymous. About nine-tenths of our oldest and best members could never have got by!

How Alcoholics Anonymous works

A t 23 years old, Asia Blackwood was the proud stay-at-home mother of three young children in a quaint Connecticut neighborhood. Day in and day out, she prepared snacks and watched with pride as her toddlers learned to share with each other while her husband worked. Life was picture perfect. She was often exhausted, and felt sad for no reason. This listlessness and unhappiness made her feel guilty, since she had nothing to complain about.

One of the tasks of an AA facilitator is to ensure meetings don’t go too long but at times Alcoholics Anonymous meetings can go over the usual one hour.

Alcoholics Anonymous, the worldwide fellowship of sobriety seekers, is the most effective path to abstinence, according to a comprehensive analysis conducted by a Stanford School of Medicine researcher and his collaborators. After evaluating 35 studies — involving the work of scientists and the outcomes of 10, participants — Keith Humphreys, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and his fellow investigators determined that AA was nearly always found to be more effective than psychotherapy in achieving abstinence.

In addition, most studies showed that AA participation lowered health care costs. AA works because it’s based on social interaction, Humphreys said, noting that members give one another emotional support as well as practical tips to refrain from drinking. Cochrane requires its authors to undertake a rigorous process that ensures the studies represented in its summaries are high-quality and the review of evidence is unbiased.

Although AA is well-known and used by millions around the world, mental health professionals are sometimes skeptical of its effectiveness, Humphreys said. Psychologists and psychiatrists, trained to provide cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy to treat patients with alcohol-use disorder, can have a hard time admitting that the lay people who run AA groups do a better job of keeping people on the wagon. Early in his career, Humphreys said, he dismissed AA, thinking, “How dare these people do things that I have all these degrees to do?

Humphreys noted that counseling can be designed to facilitate engagement with AA — what he described as “an extended, warm handoff into the fellowship. AA began in when two men in Akron, Ohio, were searching for a way to stay sober; they found it by forming a support group. They later developed the 12 steps, the first being accepting one’s inability to control drinking; the last, helping others sustain sobriety by becoming a sponsor of a new member. The AA model — open to all and free — has spread around the globe, and now boasts over 2 million members in nations and more than , groups.

Though the fellowship has been around for more than eight decades, researchers have only recently developed good methods to randomize trial participants and measure its effectiveness, Humphreys said. For the Cochrane review, the researchers found 57 studies on AA; of those, 35 passed their rigorous criteria for quality.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Abram Tuvov had been sober so long that Alcoholics Anonymous members in Palm Springs just assumed he was a good guy. One female AA member who was new in town felt comfortable enough to go on an afternoon bicycle ride with him, even stopping at his house for waffles. The November outing ended with Tuvov, 72, raping the woman so viciously that she played dead until it was over. Victims, former officials and some members say the culture of the organization — unregulated and loosely organized — puts vulnerable alcoholics at risk to predatory leaders whose only credential is their longtime sobriety.

The encounter between the Akron, Ohio, surgeon Smith (or Dr Bob, as he is identified within the AA fellowship) and Bill Wilson, a newly sober visiting stockbroker.

On a normal Thursday night, year-old Chris Reed and more than recovering alcohol and drug addicts like himself would be filling The Other Side sober bar he opened in northern Illinois to listen to live music, socialize and lean on each other in their daily struggles to keep from relapsing. But since the coronavirus has swept the globe killing more than 50, people, including more than 5, in the United States, Reed’s sober tavern in Crystal Lake has been shuttered by social distancing rules and all-important physical peer-to-peer meetings for people in recovery have switched to online virtual gatherings.

There was a certain level of camaraderie. Reed also runs three New Directions sober houses in his community and the Northern Illinois Recovery Center, where in recent days as the virus has spread across the Prairie State he says he’s seen an uptick in the number of people new to recovery straining to stay sober. There are a lot of struggles. A national survey on drug use and health by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an arm of the U.

Department of Health and Human Services, found that Hulkow said she fears the numbers will only get worse as the pandemic grows and puts up roadblocks to recovery services. She said the void of direct access to social support networks, including going to meetings and being in face-to-face contact with supportive friends “is a huge trigger for relapse. Being confined in such a small area without any outside release could also be a trigger for relapse.


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