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AA NA 12 Steps and why they don't work April 12, 2007 11:31 AM

I figure we need a thread for this. Opinions vary re: 12 steps.

My own feeling is, if an individual is satisfied with replacing one set of addictive behaviors with another, the 12 steps most likely will work.

But if a person wants healing then its going to take more than being in a club.

Following I'm going to post a NY Times article with a lukewarm endorsement of 12 step programs, saying they don't work any better or worse than other methods.

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 April 12, 2007 11:36 AM

Skip to article
 April 12, 2007 11:37 AM

Ok I didn't do that right. But if you hit 'skip to article' at the very top it will take you there.  [ send green star]
 April 12, 2007 11:58 AM

Here's a person talking about alot of the stuff going on in The Program, that I have seen evidence of also:

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That is the ugly side of AA/NA April 12, 2007 4:30 PM

As a Prisoner Advocate I provided those on probation with transportation to AA/NA meetings to complete probation requirements so they wouldn't be in violation and sent to prison.

The disdain for these probationers by those running meetings was palpable. They made no secret of saying they didn't even want them at the meetings. They just wanted their tight little small minded clique at meetings. They provided no personal volunteer sponsors for them. Something AA/NA is supposed to provide to help them in moments of temptation. Yeah right.

All of that ugly side is bad enough but the really bad part, in my opinion, is that AA/NA is built upon a reputation with no success rate required, with everybody assuming it helps when it doesn't.

This makes society think AA/NA is taking care of the addiction problem and all that a victim of drugs or alcohol has to do is go to the meetings. If the spiritual message that AA/NA is built on is all that is needed than an addict could just go to church. They don't need AA/NA for that.

AA was created after a model called The Oxford Group, led by a Lutheran in New York around 1935. It consisted of smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee and talking for hours about their drinking problems.

 Bill Wilson attended those meetings until he moved to Akron, Ohio where he and an Alcoholic rectal surgeon, Dr. Robert Smith started AA. The first AA had 3 steps, not 12 and argument about the heavy emphasis on God and spirituality began among group members immediately so the 3 steps were titled suggested steps.

By 1939, the steps increased to 12 rigid non scientific steps, a program that promotes lifelong reliance on it creating, in effect, secondary dependency. AA operates on the character defect programming and contamination of the mind. Effective treatment programs must be comprehensive and as complex as the problems that lead to addiction. AA/NA addresses none of that. AA/NA is a nonprofit that does not disclose its income which it is not legally required to do. AA/NA not only reaps donations from the private sector but from the Courts that sentence addicts to attend meetings and to Rehabs that include the 12 step model. At this point in time one would be hard put to find a Rehab that doesn't include the 12 steps. They have to if they are to receive Government monies from sentencing requirements. AA/NA income must be in the billions by now! No wonder they don't disclose it.

If AA/NA had a reasonable success rate they would deserve these billions but they are not required to have any. If you started a business and you had no success rate in 72 years (!) would the Government continually give you a grant? I have done the research, Rehabs that have a high success rate are held in low regard by the Rehab Industry while AA 12 step Rehabs are held in high regard. What is wrong with this picture?

Whatever the profit or religious motivations have been or are today, I say enough.

It is time for those not motivated by either the profit or religion to design a treatment model that will really free these desperate people from addiction.

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The only thing that "worked" or "works" in AA/NA meetings is........ April 15, 2007 5:54 AM

the coffee.

While the meeting attendees sit around talking for hours about all the terrible things they have done to others around them and themselves through the years, most are drinking coffee. It is a mainstay there. The ones who drink it (not all do) are relatively calm and free from the usual anxiety to get more drugs or alcohol.

The reason? Coffee is a natural diuretic, flushing stored alcohol and drugs out of the fatty tissues. It is this store that reverberates back on the addict causing them to crave more. The Drug Counselors know this in Rehabs so that is why they do the Detox. Unfortunately the Rehab Detox it doesn't last long enough to get all of what is stored. Without Detox, abstinence alone, it can take up to 2 years for the drug to be flushed out of the tissues.

I'm not sure if AA/NA sponsors even know if the coffee is the calming agent. It started out as a social amentity at these meetings so it may still be just that. 

At any rate, coffee is also used in the workplace by some managers to calm workers who want to go on too frequent smoke breaks. Coffee calms them and keeps them on the job (and from craving nicotine as much). The managers don't know why that works but they know it does stall and cut down on breaks.

Another interesting thing about coffee, Inmates in jails and prisons also are calmed by coffee. Alcoholics and addicts climb the walls if they can't get coffee inside. It is the most sought after drink in there and they (the Inmates and management) don't know why either. Not soda, milk, juice, or water.

But as to the original title of this thread, the only thing that "works" at AA/NA is coffee.

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 April 15, 2007 7:57 AM

Amen! I personally tried NA/AA for 10 years being told its the only way to go.. Finally when i was on the brink of death, other options were provided to me & for that reason, i am here today! YEAH!  Every "relapse" that i had was with another AA/NA "friend" that i had met in "the rooms". Sorry for all of the " " "'s. Man, i am so very happy to be out of there! It was a long, and at times difficult road, but i'm doing it..
Peace & love to you all!
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 April 15, 2007 8:06 AM

PTSD is one more reason I don't go for AA/NA and their group "therapy". The addicted have damaged neurotransmitter reception and to keep reliving their traumatic experiences and encouraged by the AA/NA program to keep blaming themselves just continues to damage the brain.  [ send green star]
OMG Donna April 15, 2007 8:57 AM

That is so heinous to make people worse through that confrontational therapy they do.  [ send green star]
anonymous  April 15, 2007 10:35 AM

One of the comments my husband told me last night is that there are Nazi steppers.  People who believe that you have to follow just each and every step or you're not going to make it.  How ridiculous.  This isn't a recipe for souffle.  [report anonymous abuse]
 April 15, 2007 10:45 AM

It's a recipe for failure.  [ send green star]
 April 15, 2007 10:55 AM

Also there is no graduation from the program; members are in recovery for life. The addiction problem is never solved, only sublimated through group membership and attendance of meetings. Meetings become the new addiction, along with copious amounts of coffee, as Donna mentioned; also chainsmoking is quite common.

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Here's a plan April 15, 2007 12:34 PM

Since more and more churches are holding their Sunday services in Coffee Houses to be more friendly and comfortable for the congregation what say we open Coffee Houses to help and give encouragement to Alcoholics and other Drug Users?

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 April 15, 2007 1:01 PM

Thats funny Donna, and so true--one big reason I know so much about what goes on behind the scenes at AA/NA is because I've worked at so many coffee shops! Thats where they all hang out--we wouldn't even need to recruit or advertise, just hang up a shingle that says COFFEE HERE.

This post was modified from its original form on 15 Apr, 13:01  [ send green star]
 April 15, 2007 1:36 PM

Ya, but the intial concept or meanings with the 12 step program is good. It's people that mess it up with only their own line of reasoning. True it won't work for everybody but then again there's a good chance nothing will ever help some people. They've lived to long in an irresponsibe and unaccountable manner that all society can do is cater to them. They force others to worship their insecurities.

I went with one woman who's parents were both alcoholics or should I say drunks. I'd guess the father got the mother into drinking and then didn't know how to handle living with her. This woman grew up watching her dad beat her mother so bad that all she could do is cry, saying "Daddy don't." Then she'd watch her bloody mother be taken away for a week or better until the next time. Gees at least a AA meeting might've distracted some of those incidents. Then I went to a ACOA meeting with her. One woman told her same sadistic story at every meeting. She liked the god she made out of that story and how everybody worshiped that story of her's. I can't see where that's the purpose of any groups fault other than those running the groups don't understand the damages behaviors do to others. Decent groups generally have more mature members guiding them.

I've dragged more than one person to detox centers only to have them walk out when ever they felt like it and use the same behavior over and over again. The reality sets in in time that enabling is worse than the booze and drugs. Sometimes not helping is really helping. I turly believe that a person has to do what's best for just themselves first and never forget that. Then they've got a self to share with others in a responsible and accountable way. I can't see where concentrating on what's wrong with things is the best way to be oneself.

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anonymous  April 15, 2007 1:44 PM

My husband said that at the beginning and this is again about 30 years ago when he went that it was good for him to start with AA.  But after awhile it quickly became filled with people who said that they were there to have their "Card" signed, and people just had sucky attitudes about being there.  Or they were there for the coffee and donuts.  [report anonymous abuse]
Ken April 15, 2007 7:11 PM

You said:  "I can't see where concentrating on what's wrong with things is the best way to be oneself."

Exactly and this is what AA/NA is built on, concentrating on what is wrong, that one will always be an addict. That is to create a dependency on AA/NA, replacing one addiction with another. That is cultish and doesn't create progression, a forward movement in ones life.  That is why there is so much backsliding in AA/NA.

I didn't create this group as a trash AA/NA concept but AA/NA has become such a part of our culture through no good of it's own that it has to be constantly addressed.

AA was grossly inadequate in it's concept from the start in 1935 and it is even worse now that it has broadened its influence to NA.

Bill, the founder, (who with the Rectal Surgeon started it) never found complete help through AA himself. He chain smoked and had a sexual addiction. He also came to realize some sort of biological aids were necessary for full recovery. Doctors had convinced him to introduce that component but others in AA who had influence by that time over ruled Bill. It puts one in mind of L. Ron Hubbard who started out with good ideas for the Church of Scientology but the reins of the organization were wrestled away from him by others in that org too.

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Jennifer April 15, 2007 7:22 PM

Thanks for your testimonial. That brings up yet another destructive aspect of AA/NA. It seems almost like its a Mafia type org the way others so vehemently defend it. Even though they can't specifically point to what is beneficial about it.

When I used to take Probationers to meetings I saw dope being exchanged or meetings set up for a later exchange. This was right under the sponsors noses. They looked the other way. I truly think they were in on it. Some people are very corrupt. We can't assume everyone affiliated with AA/NA is pure as the driven snow. Get real. It's a perfect place for dealers to cash in on their clientele. I have seen guards in Prisons get handed their cut of drug deals so why is it such a surprise to see it at a AA meeting?

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Why these programs don't work April 16, 2007 11:10 AM

One of the problems with AA and NA is that they have destorted the Twelve steps for their purpose to suit those who don't want to surrender their lives to God and his will. To succeed in recovery you must that you can not do it on your own. You must have the help and strength of God to draw off of or you won't succeed. As a recovering alcholic and addict with thirteen years clean I have learn this through experience.  [ send green star]
Marion April 16, 2007 1:52 PM

As far as I know, there is no 12 step program mentioned in the Bible. The 12 Step program is a scam IMO, a way to brainwash people into dependency on AA/NA. That type of activity is known as a cult.

I mentioned before that if God works for an addict they can speak with him or pray to him in Church or go into their closet to pray.

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No Cult April 17, 2007 1:16 PM

Many Christian churches that have recovery programs use a twelve step program. One such program is Called Overcomers it is a christian twelve step program which I have attended myself. I am a counseling Major in a Bible college and in our course on addictions the twelve steps are used. Marion C  [ send green star]
Marion April 17, 2007 2:40 PM

Yes, I realize that most Rehab programs use 12 step. That just makes it more dangerous, IMO. I said there is no 12 step program in the Bible. Confrontation like in the 12 Step program is not something Jesus taught either. He taught forgiveness and the soul being renewed.

12 Step says the Addict will always be an Addict.

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anonymous  April 17, 2007 2:42 PM

Donna...  just sent you a star for your comment that you just made. 

 [report anonymous abuse]
Donna April 17, 2007 4:37 PM

I have the Twelve Sters from the life recovery Bible in front of me and no were does it say that you are always an addict At overcomers we teach the exact opposite. Through Gods' Grace you can recover and live a Clean life. I am talking about the admended Twelve steps that we use. If you would like a copy I will send it to you. Marion C.  [ send green star]
 April 17, 2007 5:13 PM

An amended 12 steps.  Well then don't call it 12 Steps then, call it 12 Stops or something.  [ send green star]
Donna April 18, 2007 3:31 AM

are you recovering or have you ever been to a overcomers meeting. It does work for some.  [ send green star]
Marion April 18, 2007 5:03 AM

One does not have to be shot to know what it must be like. So-called Professionals or those experienced in AA/NA may be too close to see it objectively, unable to see the forest for the trees.

As I have already described here, if you would but read the other posts in this group without going off half-cocked you would see that I had the displeasure of attending meetings as a Prisoner Advocate.

In addition, I have known about AA/NA through friends, relatives and associates. A friend of mine, Manijeh Nikakhtar M.D., M.P.H. wrote a book , Addiction or Self Medication: The Truth, which included exploration of the dynamic of the development of AA and the limitations of its 12 step fellowship approach to recovery. I am pleased to say I am one of those she consulted on that.

I advise you to read her book if you wish to be educated further on this matter.

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Marion April 18, 2007 5:23 AM

You said:

"It does work for some"

I and other forward thinking people are not going to settle for "some" when so many more millions should be getting help. This "some" is unnacceptable when our Country's drug problem is continuing to spiral out of control and its people suffering big time.....

According to a 1998 study by Harwood, et al, the total economic cost of alcohol abuse was estimated to be $184.6 billion, and the total cost of drug abuse was estimated at $143.4 billion, figuring in, among other things, the medical consequences of alcohol and drug abuse, lost earnings linked to premature death, lost productivity, motor vehicle crashes, crime and other social problems. The public pays 76 percent of those costs through a variety of federal, state and local governmental programs, with insurance picking up the remaining 24 percent.

And that is just in dollars. The unneeded suffering of those addicted to drugs and alcohol and their famlies and friends is incalculable. AA/NA is taking up a space where working Rehabilitation could be. It has muscled out most other viable alternatives and that is a tragedy.  You and other proponents, (whether out of ignorance or brainwashing matters not) are complicit in spreading its propaganda so I have no patience with you and I have certainly run out of patience wih you on this group.

This group is for New Pathways that hold hope of working based on science. It is not about Old Pathways that are based on Mythology that have proven for over 30 years to have a success rate next to nil.

This post was modified from its original form on 18 Apr, 5:25  [ send green star]
Typo April 18, 2007 5:45 AM

That last paragraph:

This group is for New Pathways that hold hope of working based on science. It is not about Old Pathways that are based on Mythology that have proven for over 30 years to have a success rate next to nil.

It should have read ....for over 70 years.....

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 July 31, 2007 5:01 PM

Last post deleted as it was by a rabidly deluded AA Supporter...........

This post was modified from its original form on 31 Jul, 17:02  [ send green star]
anonymous Ben Dover aka ? August 01, 2007 1:15 PM

Funny that you would join Care2 and the first and only group that you belong to is this one.  You sound like someone who was booted from this group and has come back with a fake ID with a vengenance.  You know way too much about this group to be a newbie.  Donna can deal with you.

 [report anonymous abuse]
 August 01, 2007 5:00 PM

Ben Dover, how immature to create a clone with a juvenile name like that and the second one in a couple days. Of course, rabidly supporting cult groups like AA is hardly a mature thing to do. AA claims no success rate whatsoever, you know why? Because they don't have any that can be proved! Just making up statistics like you just did, that 2 million have been "cured" by AA is not going to fly here. The only thing that is going to fly is you from this group.

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Carolyn August 01, 2007 5:15 PM

Yes, me thinks it was a clone of another member afraid to show their face along with their propaganda. I'm pretty sure I know who that certain someone is so I'll go ahead and block them now.

The most amazing thing about this person and their predicability is that they refuse to read any of the threads on this group, almost like they are afraid to be educated on New Pathways To Healing Addictions.

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 August 02, 2007 2:09 AM

Hi Donna, Carolyn, Marion and Marie and any  others who have been in this discussion. Sorry I just came into it at the end but I can share with you an experience I had working for an Addiction Councellor as the Receptionist a few years back.

I know here in Australia that a lot of people who have addictions and have ended up in courts join up with AA/NA/GA so they look like they are trying to rehabiltate themselves by going to these meetings, and get a smaller sentence or a fine. I have seen my ex-boss write out references for these people to take to court and even go to court and stand up and give them a reference to say they are attending meetings on a regular basis to "help them so they won't commit again. As soon as the court case is over we never saw 90% of them again until they turned up AFTER they had re-offended again, and thinking that if they go to the meeting the Judge is going to go easier on them again. I actually ended up leaving that job because I was attacked by a Drug Addict in the office and she tried to smash my head in. On that particular only my boss and I were in the office and he was actually councelling someone, and only for the fact that he heard my scream and came and pulled this woman off me, or I would have been dead. She had her fist clenched and I was backed up against a Refrigerator in the kitchen which was very office ones are.

I also agree that they do get hooked on coffee and even tea and drink it in gallons while at the meetings and while waiting to see their councellors. I don't think the 12 step program works either or we would have a higher rate of addicts rehabilitated than we do. Just my view and hope I have not upset anyone by posting. Donna I agree it is awful having to be the driver to take these addicts to meetings because you get no thanks for it and then they turn on you as was the case with this woman. I even helped her got get access to see her young daughter by giving up my Saturdays so she could see her child under supervision. I guess everyone has their own story who have been addicted to something. Maybe for some it does work, but I think they easily fall backwards on the Step program too. They also have a heap of excuses as to who they can blame (usually a family member) for hitting rock bottom again.

This post was modified from its original form on 02 Aug, 2:10  [ send green star]

Helen August 02, 2007 3:03 PM

Actually coffee at the meetings (and elsewhere) helps addicts to detox.

Reposted from the Detox thread:

Donna F.

Group History  April 17, 2007 5:18 AM

Coffee is a natural diuretic which flushes drugs out of the fatty tissues so they don't rebound causing cravings. This is why attendees of AA/NA meetings remain relatively calm during meetings. Copious amounts of coffee are served. This is also why inmates in jails (county) and prisons (state) highly prize coffee. It keeps them from climbing the walls.

Addicts don't have to be able to afford expensive Rehabs to detox. Natural Detox is available to all without Professionals help.

This post was modified from its original form on 02 Aug, 15:06  [ send green star]

P.S. to Helen August 02, 2007 3:20 PM

Yes, what happened to you working at the Rehab was bad but I think you realize that AA pretending to help them and taking up the space of a real healing Rehab (with anti-anxiety and healing substances) is complicit in the addicts behavior because alcohol and/or drugs eat holes in their brains so they do things that a clear headed person wouldn't. AA does nothing to heal the addicts brains.  [ send green star]
Thanks Donna August 02, 2007 8:14 PM

Hi Donna I must have misread the earlier post about the coffee detoxing. I agree that what I saw of AA members coming into the office, appeared to me as if they had a dry day now and again but I think those days were the days they came to meetings or to see the Councellors...maybe they had more, but I think most found it hard to kick the habit. I have never been a drinker at all, as my Father was a heavy drinker, and I grew up hating the smell of I am a total teetotaller so to speak. I can't imagine what it would be like to have a hangover but have seen plenty with one of course. I am always designated driver when we go out even though my husband is only a social drinker himself.

This post was modified from its original form on 02 Aug, 20:15  [ send green star]
 August 15, 2007 8:05 AM

hmm food for thought...

Attending the AA meetings seem to have been working for me so far, I haven't had a drink for 3 months but I can see why the AA may be called into question

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Taz August 15, 2007 5:35 PM

Just becuz AA has not been demonstrated to have long lasting effects doesn't mean alcoholism or drug addiction is incurable tho. Just surf around this group and you will find amazing methods to help yourself.

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 August 22, 2007 6:18 PM

My understanding of AA is that the real purpose is to help the others...when they hear their horror stories, it reminds them how it was for them...and keeps them from drinking anymore because they don't want to ever be there again. But of course this comes with time.

They also share how they handled a particular situation which in turns helps that person see it in another light instead of "poor me."

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Dianne August 22, 2007 6:28 PM

Although this sounds logical it actually has a counterproductive and disasterous effect. Reliving experiences makes the brain release chemicals that make an addict crave alcohol or drugs again in an attempt to alleviate pain.

If you genuinely have an interest in helping the addicted please research the groups threads here because they explain that in detail.

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 September 09, 2007 6:35 PM

12 Steps are way too slow and way too long. No wonder so many backslide.  I say we start a Leap Program. 3-4 Leaps and yr done!

This post was modified from its original form on 09 Sep, 18:36  [ send green star]
You just may have a point there Neo September 09, 2007 6:47 PM

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 July 19, 2008 12:56 PM

There's a good reason why . . .

In 12-Step programs, only 1 out of 20 recover from addiction

Why do 12-step programs have such a poor success rate?

 [ send green star]
hey now and a word from an old timer October 12, 2010 2:47 PM

your not getting the whole picture, 26 years in the program and it works just fine...I agree that other methods should be explored and taught (adiction and recovery)...but sorry when and alcholic and an addict becomes one  this is the problem..THE RATE OF RECOVERY STINKS!!!!! AA/NA IS NOT A CURE!!!!  I wish it was...can you honestly tell me a better way to get the cure???...I have looked and it looked rather slim out there.  Yes I beleive it can be a cult (the program) if you don't have watch dogs ( Non-guru-NonAA/NA Nazi) watching those who run meetings,   I have all ways thought that the meetings are a form of controled anarchy..   You have brought up a good point about  AA grants and there bank account..I will check into this.   Hey another thing   its  free (AA/NA) I dont any other???  suggestions??  Clean and Crazy love Begger

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Narcissists and recovery December 12, 2011 11:07 AM

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My experience with the NA program is indirect but as an observer/researcher I feel that I have some useful contributions to the subject. I am also very curious to others opinion after reading my story. My husband’s x-wife was a severe drug addict through most of his marriage. It just so happens that she is also a Narcissist. They had two children together the first born for the first three years of her life was not exposed to her mothers drug addiction but her mother began to severely abuse and exposed her 3 year old daughter to her behaviors. The drug use according to my husband was fluctuation from bad to worse for many years, during this time she was known to display antisocial behaviors like shoplifting and having sexual affairs with other men, stealing drugs out of friends and family medicine cabinets, constant conflict between family and my husbands friends etc.  My husband was working during the day as his x that never worked was left unattended with her daughters. Only God knows what else she was up to! She never cleaned or did daily chores in or outside of the house and very rarely cooked dinners, she didn't have any hobbies or other passions to occupy her productively. The school at one point called CPS because she showed to pick her daughter up and drove onto the curb where the children waited in front of the school. After my husband had exposed to her his knowledge of an affair she was currently having, almost immediately the second child was conceived and born (spite her false claims that she was unable to get pregnant) while she was heavily using and she continued to use while nursing. Sadly this daughter ended up having mental complications which her mother actually seems to enjoy using to get attention. Her mother never admitted to the true cause of the mental complications she is happy to just label it autism. My husband eventually was able to force her into recovery after he discovered that she stole prescription books from her doctors and she was threatened to be sent to prison for the crime or choose rehab. This is where NA comes in.....she went to rehab and attended NA meeting after. This group consumed her and her life revolves around it. She would neglect her children leave them un-fed un-bathed, homework and all the daily chores for my husband to do after he got home from work. She eventually began to have an affair with another NA member and again my husband found out and confronted her with it. She denied it until he showed her print outs from explicit  e-mails between the two of them. My husband cancelled all the credit cards and bank accounts fearing she would do the worst.....she became ENRAGED.... she then left the children and my husbands house to stay with a friend. She came back to retrieve the children weeks later (more then likely because she realized she didn't want to work and needed the child support to live off of, because she was a proven adulteress she couldn't collect alimony) She eventually married the man she met in NA and had an affair with. (He was also cheating on his live in spouse) Now the saddest part of the story........after a gradual decline the children began to slowly and painfully reject their biological father. He was a stellar father very loving and responsible. his personality is healthy and cheerful a sweet, sweet person who goes far and beyond his call of duty as a husband father and human being. (he spent 15 years trying to keep his family and  relationship together) The children now absolutely HATE him reject his gifts, cards and phone calls. He spent thousands and thousands of dollars in court costs to fight for visitation but because the children say they hate him the courts will do nothing to support him. He lost all his rights and hasn’t seen his beloved daughters in 3 years now. I did research on this phenomenon and discovered Parental Alienation Syndrome. Only Narcissists are capable of brainwashing and creating this type of absolute hatred in their children. To gain support from others who actually knew their father( in the NA group) as a loving  and good person she has resorted to falsely accusing him of sexually abused, his children are now brainwashed to believe this also. This syndrome (PA displays methodologies that are likened to a CULT. Now that I understand that this woman is a Narcissist and has the cult tendencies, which have helped in alienating her children, from their paternal family I have begun research on NA and how that operates and how a Narcissist fits into and uses such a group to support their habits. She and her new husband are currently devout NA members and I wonder how much damage they are causing in this group of people and how much damage this support group is causing the children. I would like anyone reading to give me their perspective or insights. Thanx!!!!

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