Alcoholics Anonymous

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The book cover of Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition. AA derives its name from the title of this book and is written by AA members. Alcoholics Anonymous, Book Cover, 4th Edition.jpg
The book cover of Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition. AA derives its name from the title of this book and is written by AA members.
Sobriety token or "chip", given for specified lengths of sobriety, on the back is the Serenity Prayer. Here green is for six months of sobriety; purple is for nine months. AA - Medalj.jpg
Sobriety token or "chip", given for specified lengths of sobriety, on the back is the Serenity Prayer. Here green is for six months of sobriety; purple is for nine months.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid fellowship [1] with the stated purpose of enabling its members to "stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety." [1] [2] [3] AA is nonprofessional, self-supporting, and apolitical. Its only membership requirement is a desire to stop drinking. [4] [1] [2] The AA program of recovery is set forth in the Twelve Steps. [4]

Alcoholism Broad term for problems with alcohol

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems. The disorder was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts of alcohol over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use. Risky situations include drinking and driving or having unsafe sex, among other things. Alcohol use can affect all parts of the body, but it particularly affects the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system. This can result in mental illness, Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, irregular heartbeat, an impaired immune response, liver cirrhosis and increased cancer risk, among other diseases. Drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the baby resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Women are generally more sensitive than men to the harmful physical and mental effects of alcohol.

Sobriety continued abstinence from alcohol and other psychoactive substances

Sobriety is the condition of not having any measurable levels or effects from alcohol or drugs. Sobriety is also considered to be the natural state of a human being given at a birth. A person in a state of sobriety is considered sober. In a treatment setting, sobriety is the achieved goal of independence from consuming alcohol. As such, sustained abstinence is a prerequisite for sobriety. Early in abstinence, residual effects of alcohol consumption can preclude sobriety. These effects are labeled "PAWS," or "post acute withdrawal syndrome." Someone who abstains, but has a latent desire to resume use, is not considered truly sober. An abstainer may be subconsciously motivated to resume alcohol consumption, but for a variety of reasons, abstains. Sobriety has more specific meanings within specific contexts, such as the culture of many substance use recovery programs, law enforcement, and some schools of psychology. In some cases, sobriety implies achieving "life balance."

Contents

AA was founded in Akron, Ohio when in 1935 one alcoholic, Bill Wilson, talked to another alcoholic, Bob Smith, about the nature of alcoholism and a possible solution. With the help of other early members, the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism was written in 1939. Its title became the name of the organization and is now usually referred to as "The Big Book". [5] AA's initial Twelve Traditions were introduced in 1946 to help the fellowship be stable and unified while disengaged from "outside issues" and influences. [5]

Akron, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Akron is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Summit County. It is located on the western edge of the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau, about 30 miles (48 km) south of Cleveland. As of the 2017 Census estimate, the city proper had a total population of 197,846, making it the 119th-largest city in the United States. The Greater Akron area, covering Summit and Portage counties, had an estimated population of 703,505.

Bill W. founder of Alcoholics Anonymous

William Griffith Wilson, also known as Bill Wilson or Bill W., was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Bob Smith (doctor) American physician and surgeon

Robert Holbrook Smith, also known as Dr. Bob, was an American physician and surgeon who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous with Bill Wilson, more commonly known as Bill W.

The Traditions recommend that members remain anonymous in public media, altruistically help other alcoholics, and that AA groups avoid official affiliations with other organizations. They also advise against dogma and coercive hierarchies. Subsequent fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous have adapted the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions to their respective primary purposes. [6] [7]

Dogma is an official system of principles or doctrines of a religion, such as Roman Catholicism, or the positions of a philosopher or of a philosophical school such as Stoicism.

Narcotics Anonymous organization

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) describes itself as a "nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem". Narcotics Anonymous uses a traditional 12-step model that has been expanded and developed for people with varied substance abuse issues and is the second-largest 12-step organization.

AA membership has since spread internationally "across diverse cultures holding different beliefs and values", including geopolitical areas resistant to grassroots movements. [8] Close to two million people worldwide are estimated to be members of AA as of 2016. [9]

Cultural diversity Quality of diverse or different cultures

Cultural diversity is the quality of diverse or different cultures, as opposed to monoculture, the global monoculture, or a homogenization of cultures, akin to cultural decay. The phrase cultural diversity can also refer to having different cultures respect each other's differences. The phrase "cultural diversity" is also sometimes used to mean the variety of human societies or cultures in a specific region, or in the world as a whole. Globalization is often said to have a negative effect on the world's cultural diversity.

A grassroots movement is one which uses the people in a given district, region, or community as the basis for a political or economic movement. Grassroots movements and organizations use collective action from the local level to effect change at the local, regional, national, or international level. Grassroots movements are associated with bottom-up, rather than top-down decision making, and are sometimes considered more natural or spontaneous than more traditional power structures. Grassroots movements, using self-organization, encourage community members to contribute by taking responsibility and action for their community. Grassroots movements utilize a variety of strategies from fundraising and registering voters, to simply encouraging political conversation. Goals of specific movements vary and change, but the movements are consistent in their focus on increasing mass participation in politics. These political movements may begin as small and at the local level, but grassroots politics as Cornel West contends are necessary in shaping progressive politics as they bring public attention to regional political concerns.

History

AA sprang from The Oxford Group, a non-denominational movement modeled after first-century Christianity. [10] Some members founded the Group to help in maintaining sobriety. "Grouper" Ebby Thacher was Wilson's former drinking buddy who approached Wilson saying that he had "got religion", was sober, and that Wilson could do the same if he set aside objections to religion and instead formed a personal idea of God, "another power" or "higher power". [11] [12]

Edwin Throckmorton Thacher, was an old drinking friend and later the sponsor of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson. He is credited with introducing Wilson to the initial principles that AA would soon develop, such as "one alcoholic talking to another," and the Jungian thesis which was passed along to Rowland Hazard and, in turn, to Thacher that alcoholics could recover by a "genuine conversion".

Feeling a "kinship of common suffering" and, though drunk, Wilson attended his first Group gathering. Within days, Wilson admitted himself to the Charles B. Towns Hospital after drinking four beers on the way—the last alcohol he ever drank. Under the care of William Duncan Silkworth (an early benefactor of AA), Wilson's detox included the deliriant belladonna. [13] At the hospital a despairing Wilson experienced a bright flash of light, which he felt to be God revealing himself. [14] Following his hospital discharge Wilson joined the Oxford Group and recruited other alcoholics to the Group. Wilson's early efforts to help others become sober were ineffective, prompting Silkworth to suggest that Wilson place less stress on religion and more on "the science" of treating alcoholism. Wilson's first success came during a business trip to Akron, Ohio, where he was introduced to Robert Smith, a surgeon and Oxford Group member who was unable to stay sober. After thirty days of working with Wilson, Smith drank his last drink on 10 June 1935, the date marked by AA for its anniversaries. [15]

Charles Barnes Towns (1862–1947) conducted experimentation with cures for alcoholism and drug addiction, and helped draft drug control legislation in the United States during the early 20th century.

William Duncan Silkworth, M.D., (1873-1951) was an American medical doctor and specialist in the treatment of alcoholism. He was Director of the Charles B. Towns Hospital for Drug and Alcohol Addictions in New York City in the 1930s, during which time Bill Wilson, a future co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), was admitted on three separate occasions for alcoholism. Silkworth had a profound influence on Wilson and encouraged him to realize that alcoholism was more than just an issue of moral weakness. He introduced Wilson to the idea that alcoholism had a pathological, disease-like basis.

<i>Atropa belladonna</i> species of plant

Atropa belladonna, commonly known as belladonna or deadly nightshade, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the nightshade family Solanaceae, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant (aubergine). It is native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. Its distribution extends from Great Britain in the west to western Ukraine and the Iranian province of Gilan in the east. It is also naturalised or introduced in some parts of Canada and the United States.

The first female member Florence Rankin joined AA in March 1937, [16] [17] and the first non-Protestant member, a Roman Catholic, joined in 1939. [18] The first Black AA group was established in 1945 in Washington DC by Jim S., an African-American physician from Virginia. [19] [20]

The Big Book, the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions

To share their method, Wilson and other members wrote the initially-titled book, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism, [21] from which AA drew its name. Informally known as "The Big Book" (with its first 164 pages virtually unchanged since the 1939 edition), it suggests a twelve-step program in which members admit that they are powerless over alcohol and need help from a "higher power". They seek guidance and strength through prayer and meditation from God or a Higher Power of their own understanding; take a moral inventory with care to include resentments; list and become ready to remove character defects; list and make amends to those harmed; continue to take a moral inventory, pray, meditate, and try to help other alcoholics recover. The second half of the book, "Personal Stories" (subject to additions, removal and retitling in subsequent editions), is made of AA members' redemptive autobiographical sketches. [22]

In 1941, interviews on American radio and favorable articles in US magazines, including a piece by Jack Alexander in The Saturday Evening Post , led to increased book sales and membership. [23] By 1946, as the growing fellowship quarreled over structure, purpose, and authority, as well as finances and publicity, Wilson began to form and promote what became known as AA's "Twelve Traditions," which are guidelines for an altruistic, unaffiliated, non-coercive, and non-hierarchical structure that limited AA's purpose to only helping alcoholics on a non-professional level while shunning publicity. Eventually he gained formal adoption and inclusion of the Twelve Traditions in all future editions of the Big Book. [6] At the 1955 conference in St. Louis, Missouri, Wilson relinquished stewardship of AA to the General Service Conference, [24] as AA grew to millions of members internationally. [25]

Organization and finances

A regional service center for Alcoholics Anonymous Alcoholics Anonymous Regional Service Center by David Shankbone.jpg
A regional service center for Alcoholics Anonymous

AA says it is "not organized in the formal or political sense", [25] and Bill Wilson, borrowing the phrase from anarchist theorist Peter Kropotkin, called it a "benign anarchy". [26] In Ireland, Shane Butler said that AA “looks like it couldn’t survive as there’s no leadership or top-level telling local cumanns what to do, but it has worked and proved itself extremely robust.” Butler explained that "AA’s 'inverted pyramid' style of governance has helped it to avoid many of the pitfalls that political and religious institutions have encountered since it was established here in 1946." [27]

In 2006, AA counted 1,867,212 members and 106,202 AA groups worldwide. [25] The Twelve Traditions informally guide how individual AA groups function, and the Twelve Concepts for World Service guide how the organization is structured globally. [28]

A member who accepts a service position or an organizing role is a "trusted servant" with terms rotating and limited, typically lasting three months to two years and determined by group vote and the nature of the position. Each group is a self-governing entity with AA World Services acting only in an advisory capacity. AA is served entirely by alcoholics, except for seven "nonalcoholic friends of the fellowship" of the 21-member AA Board of Trustees. [25]

AA groups are self-supporting, relying on voluntary donations from members to cover expenses. [25] The AA General Service Office (GSO) limits contributions to US$3,000 a year. [29] Above the group level, AA may hire outside professionals for services that require specialized expertise or full-time responsibilities. [6]

Like individual groups, the GSO is self-supporting. AA receives proceeds from books and literature that constitute more than 50% of the income for its General Service Office. [30] In keeping with AA's Seventh Tradition, the Central Office is fully self-supporting through the sale of literature and related products, and through the voluntary donations of AA members and groups. It does not accept donations from people or organizations outside of AA.

In keeping with AA's Eighth Tradition, the Central Office employs special workers who are compensated financially for their services, but their services do not include traditional "12th Step" work of working with alcoholics in need. [31] All 12th Step calls that come to the Central Office are handed to sober AA members who have volunteered to handle these calls. It also maintains service centers, which coordinate activities such as printing literature, responding to public inquiries, and organizing conferences. Other International General Service Offices (Australia, Costa Rica, Russia, etc.) are independent of AA World Services in New York. [32]

Program

AA's program extends beyond abstaining from alcohol. [33] Its goal is to effect enough change in the alcoholic's thinking "to bring about recovery from alcoholism" [34] through "an entire psychic change," or spiritual awakening. [35] A spiritual awakening is meant to be achieved by taking the Twelve Steps, [36] and sobriety is furthered by volunteering for AA [37] and regular AA meeting attendance [38] or contact with AA members. [36] Members are encouraged to find an experienced fellow alcoholic, called a sponsor, to help them understand and follow the AA program. The sponsor should preferably have experience of all twelve of the steps, be the same sex as the sponsored person, and refrain from imposing personal views on the sponsored person. [37] Following the helper therapy principle, sponsors in AA may benefit from their relationship with their charges, as "helping behaviors" correlate with increased abstinence and lower probabilities of binge drinking. [39]

AA's program is an inheritor of Counter-Enlightenment philosophy. AA shares the view that acceptance of one's inherent limitations is critical to finding one's proper place among other humans and God. Such ideas are described as "Counter-Enlightenment" because they are contrary to the Enlightenment's ideal that humans have the capacity to make their lives and societies a heaven on earth using their own power and reason. [33] After evaluating AA's literature and observing AA meetings for sixteen months, sociologists David R. Rudy and Arthur L. Greil found that for an AA member to remain sober a high level of commitment is necessary. This commitment is facilitated by a change in the member's worldview. To help members stay sober AA must, they argue, provide an all-encompassing worldview while creating and sustaining an atmosphere of transcendence in the organization. To be all-encompassing AA's ideology places an emphasis on tolerance rather than on a narrow religious worldview that could make the organization unpalatable to potential members and thereby limit its effectiveness. AA's emphasis on the spiritual nature of its program, however, is necessary to institutionalize a feeling of transcendence. A tension results from the risk that the necessity of transcendence, if taken too literally, would compromise AA's efforts to maintain a broad appeal. As this tension is an integral part of AA, Rudy and Greil argue that AA is best described as a quasi-religious organization. [40]

Meetings

AA meetings are "quasi-ritualized therapeutic sessions run by and for, alcoholics". [41] They are usually informal and often feature discussions with voluntary donation collected during meetings. (AA's 7th traditions encourages groups to be self-supporting, declining outside contributions). [6] Local AA directories list weekly meetings. Those listed as "closed" are available to those with a self professed "desire to stop drinking," which cannot be challenged by another member on any grounds. [6] "Open" meetings are available to anyone (nonalcoholics can attend as observers). [42] At speaker meetings (also known as gratitude meetings), one or more members who typically come in from a neighboring town's meeting tell their stories. At big book meetings, the group in attendance will take turns reading a passage from the AA big book and then discuss how they relate to it after. At twelve step meetings the group will typically break out into subgroups depending on where they are in their program and start working on the twelve steps outlined in the program. In addition to those three most common types of meetings, there are also other kinds of discussion meetings which tend to allocate the most time for general discussion. [43]

AA meetings do not exclude other alcoholics, though some meetings cater to specific demographics such as gender, profession, age, sexual orientation, [44] [45] or culture. [46] [47] Meetings in the United States are held in a variety of languages including Armenian, English, Farsi, Finnish, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish. [48] [45] While AA has pamphlets that suggest meeting formats, [49] [50] groups have the autonomy to hold and conduct meetings as they wish "except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole". [6] Different cultures affect ritual aspects of meetings, but around the world "many particularities of the AA meeting format can be observed at almost any AA gathering". [51]

Confidentiality

US courts have not extended the status of privileged communication, such as that enjoyed by clergy and lawyers, to AA related communications between members. [52] [53]

Spirituality

A study found an association between an increase in attendance to AA meetings with increased spirituality and a decrease in the frequency and intensity of alcohol use. The research also found that AA was effective at helping agnostics and atheists become sober. The authors concluded that though spirituality was an important mechanism of behavioral change for some alcoholics, it was not the only effective mechanism. [54] Since the mid-1970s, a number of 'agnostic' or 'no-prayer' AA groups have begun across the U.S., Canada, and other parts of the world, which hold meetings that adhere to a tradition allowing alcoholics to freely express their doubts or disbelief that spirituality will help their recovery, and these meetings forgo use of opening or closing prayers. [55] [56] There are online resources listing AA meetings for atheists and agnostics. [57]

Disease concept of alcoholism

More informally than not AA's membership has helped popularize the disease concept of alcoholism which had appeared in the eighteenth century. [58] Though AA usually avoids the term "disease", 1973 conference-approved literature said "we had the disease of alcoholism." [59] Regardless of official positions, since AA's inception, most members have believed alcoholism to be a disease. [60]

AA's Big Book calls alcoholism “an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer." Ernest Kurtz says this is "The closest the book Alcoholics Anonymous comes to a definition of alcoholism." [60] Somewhat divergently in his introduction to The Big Book, non-member and early benefactor William Silkworth said those unable to moderate their drinking suffer from an allergy. In presenting the doctor's postulate AA said "The doctor’s theory that we have an allergy to alcohol interests us. As laymen, our opinion as to its soundness may, of course, mean little. But as ex-problem drinkers, we can say that his explanation makes good sense. It explains many things for which we cannot otherwise account." [61] AA later acknowledged that "alcoholism is not a true allergy, the experts now inform us." [62] Wilson explained in 1960 why AA had refrained from using the term "disease":

We AAs have never called alcoholism a disease because, technically speaking, it is not a disease entity. For example, there is no such thing as heart disease. Instead there are many separate heart ailments or combinations of them. It is something like that with alcoholism. Therefore, we did not wish to get in wrong with the medical profession by pronouncing alcoholism a disease entity. Hence, we have always called it an illness or a malady—a far safer term for us to use. [63]

Since then medical and scientific communities have generally concluded that alcoholism is an "addictive disease" (aka Alcohol Use Disorder, Severe, Moderate, or Mild). [64] The ten criteria are: alcoholism is a Primary Illness not caused by other illnesses nor by personality or character defects; second, an addiction gene is part of its etiology; third, alcoholism has predictable symptoms; fourth, it is progressive, becoming more severe even after long periods of abstinence; fifth, it is chronic and incurable; sixth, alcoholic drinking or other drug use persists in spite of negative consequences and efforts to quit; seventh, brain chemistry and neural functions change so alcohol as perceived as necessary for survival; eighth, it produces physical dependence and life-threatening withdrawal; ninth, it is a terminal illness; tenth, alcoholism can be treated and can be kept in remission. [65]

Canadian and United States demographics

AA's New York General Service Office regularly surveys AA members in North America. Its 2014 survey of over 6,000 members in Canada and the United States concluded that, in North America, AA members who responded to the survey were 62% male and 38% female. [66]

Average member sobriety is slightly under 10 years with 36% sober more than ten years, 13% sober from five to ten years, 24% sober from one to five years, and 27% sober less than one year. [66] Before coming to AA, 63% of members received some type of treatment or counseling, such as medical, psychological, or spiritual. After coming to AA, 59% received outside treatment or counseling. Of those members, 84% said that outside help played an important part in their recovery. [66]

The same survey showed that AA received 32% of its membership from other members, another 32% from treatment facilities, 30% were self-motivated to attend AA, 12% of its membership from court–ordered attendance, and only 1% of AA members decided to join based on information obtained from the Internet. People taking the survey were allowed to select multiple answers for what motivated them to join AA. [66]

Effectiveness

Studies of AA's efficacy have produced inconsistent results. While some studies have suggested an association between AA attendance and increased abstinence or other positive outcomes, [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] other studies have not. [72] [73] [74]

The Surgeon General of the United States 2016 Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health states "Well-supported scientific evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of twelve-step mutual aid groups focused on alcohol and twelve-step facilitation interventions." [75]

Relationship with institutions

Hospitals

Many AA meetings take place in treatment facilities. Carrying the message of AA into hospitals was how the co-founders of AA first remained sober. They discovered great value of working with alcoholics who are still suffering, and that even if the alcoholic they were working with did not stay sober, they did. [76] [77] [78] Bill Wilson wrote, "Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics". [79] Bill Wilson visited Towns Hospital in New York City in an attempt to help the alcoholics who were patients there in 1934. At St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio, Smith worked with still more alcoholics. In 1939, a New York mental institution, Rockland State Hospital, was one of the first institutions to allow AA hospital groups. Service to corrections and treatment facilities used to be combined until the General Service Conference, in 1977, voted to dissolve its Institutions Committee and form two separate committees, one for treatment facilities, and one for correctional facilities. [80]

Prisons

In the United States and Canada, AA meetings are held in hundreds of correctional facilities. The AA General Service Office has published a workbook with detailed recommendations for methods of approaching correctional-facility officials with the intent of developing an in-prison AA program. [81] In addition, AA publishes a variety of pamphlets specifically for the incarcerated alcoholic. [82] Additionally, the AA General Service Office provides a pamphlet with guidelines for members working with incarcerated alcoholics. [83]

United States court rulings

United States courts have ruled that inmates, parolees, and probationers cannot be ordered to attend AA. Though AA itself was not deemed a religion, it was ruled that it contained enough religious components (variously described in Griffin v. Coughlin below as, inter alia, "religion", "religious activity", "religious exercise") to make coerced attendance at AA meetings a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the constitution. [84] [85] In 2007, the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals stated that a parolee who was ordered to attend AA had standing to sue his parole office. [86] [87]

American treatment industry

In 1939, High Watch Recovery Center in Kent, Connecticut was founded by Bill Wilson and Marty Mann. Sister Francis who owned the farm tried to gift the spiritual retreat for alcoholics to Alcoholics Anonymous, however citing the sixth tradition Bill W. turned down the gift but agreed to have a separate non-profit board run the facility composed of AA members. Bill Wilson and Marty Mann served on the High Watch board of directors for many years. High Watch was the first and therefore the oldest 12-step-based treatment center in the world still operating today.

In 1949, the Hazelden treatment center was founded and staffed by AA members, and since then many alcoholic rehabilitation clinics have incorporated AA's precepts into their treatment programs. [88] 32% of AA's membership was introduced to it through a treatment facility. [66]

United Kingdom treatment industry

A cross-sectional survey of substance-misuse treatment providers in the West Midlands found fewer than 10% integrated twelve-step methods in their practice and only a third felt their consumers were suited for Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous membership. Less than half were likely to recommend self-help groups to their clients. Providers with nursing qualifications were more likely to make such referrals than those without them. A statistically significant correlation was found between providers' self-reported level of spirituality and their likelihood of recommending AA or NA. [89]

Criticism

Thirteenth-stepping

"Thirteenth-stepping" is a pejorative term for AA members approaching new members for dates. A study in the Journal of Addiction Nursing sampled 55 women in AA and found that 35% of these women had experienced a "pass" and 29% had felt seduced at least once in AA settings. This has also happened with new male members who received guidance from older female AA members, in pursuit of sexual company. The authors suggest that both men and women need to be prepared for this behavior or find male-only or female-only groups. [90] However, women report feeling safe in AA, [91] women-only meetings are a very prevalent part of AA culture, and AA has become more welcoming for women. [92] AA's pamphlet on sponsorship suggests that men be sponsored by men and women be sponsored by women. [93]

Moderation or abstinence

Stanton Peele argued that some AA groups apply the disease model to all problem drinkers, whether or not they are "full-blown" alcoholics. [94] Along with Nancy Shute, Peele has advocated that besides AA, other options should be readily available to those problem drinkers who are able to manage their drinking with the right treatment. [95] The Big Book says "moderate drinkers" and "a certain type of hard drinker" are able to stop or moderate their drinking. The Big Book suggests no program for these drinkers, but instead seeks to help drinkers without "power of choice in drink." [96]

Cultural identity

One review of AA warned of detrimental iatrogenic effects of twelve-step philosophy and concluded that AA uses many methods that are also used by cults. [97] A subsequent study concluded, however, that AA's program bore little resemblance to religious cults because the techniques used appeared beneficial. [98] Another study found that the AA program's focus on admission of having a problem increases deviant stigma and strips members of their previous cultural identity, replacing it with the deviant identity. [99] A survey of group members, however, found they had a bicultural identity and saw AA's program as a complement to their other national, ethnic, and religious cultures. [100]

Literature

Alcoholics Anonymous publishes several books, reports, pamphlets, and other media, including a periodical known as the AA Grapevine. [101] Two books are used primarily: Alcoholics Anonymous (the "Big Book") and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions , the latter explaining AA's fundamental principles in depth. The full text of each of these two books is available on the AA website at no charge.

AA in film

Films about Alcoholic Anonymous

Films where primary plot line includes AA

AA in television

In the Seinfeld episode "The Apology" (1997), George Costanza (Jason Alexander) becomes increasingly frustrated with what he perceives as Jason Hanky's (James Spader) failure to give him a proper apology. George ultimately calls Jason's sponsor and accuses Jason of skipping Step 9. Jason sarcastically apologizes to George throughout the episode.

Chuck Lorre's Mom (2013-), follows dysfunctional daughter/mother duo Christy and Bonnie Plunkett, who are estranged for years while simultaneously struggling with addiction. They attempt to pull their lives and relationships together by trying to stay sober and visiting Alcoholics Anonymous. The show also explores themes of alcoholism, drug addiction and relapse.

In Hill Street Blues , Captain Furillo (Daniel J. Travanti) is a regular member of AA and is shown several times in AA meetings.

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 AA Grapevine (15 May 2013), A.A. Preamble (PDF), AA General Service Office, retrieved 13 May 2017
  2. 1 2 Michael Gross (1 December 2010). "Alcoholics Anonymous: Still Sober After 75 Years". American Journal of Public Health. 100 (12): 2361–2363. doi:10.2105/ajph.2010.199349. PMC   2978172 . PMID   21068418.
  3. Mäkelä 1996, p. 3
  4. 1 2 "Information on A.A." aa.org. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  5. 1 2 AA, "Historical Data: The Birth of A.A. and Its Growth in the U.S./Canada", aa.org, retrieved 18 April 2019
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "The Twelve Traditions". The AA Grapevine. Alcoholics Anonymous. 6 (6). November 1949. ISSN   0362-2584. OCLC   50379271.
  7. Chappel, JN; Dupont, RL (1999). "Twelve-Step and Mutual-Help Programs for Addictive Disorders". Psychiatric Clinics of North America. 22 (2): 425–46. doi:10.1016/S0193-953X(05)70085-X. PMID   10385942.
  8. Tonigan, Scott J; Connors, Gerard J; Miller, William R (December 2000). "Special Populations in Alcoholics Anonymous" (PDF). Alcohol Health and Research World. 22 (4): 281–285. PMID   15706756.
  9. Alcoholics Anonymous (April 2016). "ESTIMATES OF A.A. GROUPS AND MEMBERS AS OF JANUARY 1, 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 17 December 2016. cf. Alcoholics Anonymous (2001). Alcoholics Anonymous (PDF) (4th ed.). Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. p. xxiii. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  10. Cheever, Susan (2004). My name is Bill: Bill Wilson: his life and the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 129. ISBN   978-0-7432-0154-4.
  11. Pass It On , 1984, p 117.
  12. Kurtz 1991, p. 17.
  13. Pittman, Bill "AA the Way it Began" 1988, Glenn Abbey Books
  14. Kurtz 1991, p. 19–20.
  15. Kurtz 1991, p. 33.
  16. Anonymous (1939). Alcoholics Anonymous. New York: Works Publishing Company. p. Original Manuscript p. 217.
  17. Bamuhigire, Oscar Bamwebaze (2009). Healing power of self love: enhance your chances of recovery from addiction through the. [S.l.]: Iuniverse Inc. p. x. ISBN   978-1-44010-137-3.
  18. Kurtz 1991, p. 47.
  19. Alcoholics Anonymous. 3rd. ed., New York: AA World Services. 1976. p. 483.
  20. Mustikhan, Ahmar (13 April 2015). "First black AA group to celebrate 70th anniversary today in Washington DC". CNN iReport.
  21. GSOwatch.aamo.info
  22. Anonymous, Alcoholics. "AA Big Book, preface" (PDF). Alcoholics Anonymous. Anonymous Press. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  23. Jack Alexander (1 March 1941). "Alcoholics Anonymous" (PDF). Saturday Evening Post (Reprinted in booklet form ed.). Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. ISBN   978-0-89638-199-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  24. Pass It On , 1984, p. 359
  25. 1 2 3 4 5 "AA Fact File" (PDF). General Service Office of Alcoholics Anonymous. 2007.
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References