Alcoholics Anonymous is a part of one’s nation’s fabric. In the eighty 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 World every year.
The AA has now been up and running 80 years showing a success rate of 2% figurers published by the organisation and they have a fallout rate of 50% of their new members within the first three weeks of joining. If AA were simply presented as a religious movement dedicated to trying to comfort addicts through faith and prayer, the problem would not be so problematic, what is troubling is how resolutely- some might say disingenuously-AA has taken pains to dissociate itself from the faith-based methodology it encourages. The policy of the AA is their program doesn’t fail its you have failed the program. Imagine if similar claims were made in defence 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 research would make such claims in scientific circles-if they did, they would risk losing their standing, in professional medicines, if a treatment doesn’t work, its the treatment that must be scrutinized, not the patient. Not so for Alcoholics Anonymous.
The rehab fiction story is much the same story where people spend thousands of pounds on a treatment that produces only a 5% success rate and offer addictive drugs to their patients and send them home feeling like zombies. Unfortunately, nearly all rehab programs use an adaptation of the same AA approach that has been shown repeatedly to be highly ineffective. Where they deviate from the traditional AA dogma is actually more alarming: many top rehab program include extra features such as horse back riding, Reiki massage etc. There is no evidence that these additional treatments work or serve any real purpose but they charge astronomical fees and I ask the question why do we tolerate this and look up to residential as a cure for Alcohol addiction. Much like the AA they will tell you that you have fail not the program that’s their get out clause.