Using Alcoholics Anonymous vs. Abusing Alcoholics Anonymous

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Using AA vs. Abusing AA

This paper will try to explain the different views of how and why Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs are accepted and rejected as effective tools in treating alcoholism and other addictions. The articles reviewed contradict the others’ opinion. First, we see that supporting the 12-step programs with a degree of involvement both the doctor and patient will see better results in treating the addiction. The second view will show that 12-step programs can be used as “self-help” treatment and must be used in conjunction with other forms of rehabilitation. When AA and other 12-step programs are not used with other forms of treatment, the patient tends to become codependent on the group.

Doctors Peter Johnson and John Chappel believe that AA is not considered self-help and by contributing to the 12-step process as doctors the program experience will be enhanced. Self-help programs are considered to be a form of therapy used to better oneself without scientific research supporting the success rate and usually attended without a physician’s input. The support shown for programs like AA is attributed to the abundant success rate they found when a doctor takes some minimal preparation for the patient. These preparations include such tasks as locating the closest meeting and the type of meeting the patient would prefer. The person who is suffering normally takes on these tasks; if discouraged at this point faith in the program may be ceased. They state in the article, ”AA is more important over the long term than professional treatment.” (Johnson, Chappel.1994) The article shows effective guidelines for professionals in the treatment of addiction. We know that AA predates the American Medical Associations’ ruling that alcohol addiction (along with other addictions) is a disease. We know from experience, either personal or second-hand, that addiction can not be cured without intervention of some kind – with the help of a professional and others’ suffering it can. Is that enough of a scientific approach to rely on a group-help program? – Dr. Jarlais does not think so.

In the article, Self-help and Science in the Treatment of Addiction, Dr. Jarlais addresses the concerns about the relationship between formal scientific methods and the 12-step approach of treatment. The proof or data necessary to be labeled as such would need to...

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...only means that we can’t prove it. I believe that a “survey or technique in which questionnaires or interviews are administered to a selected group” (Morris, Maisto. 1998) at these 12-step programs would provide some of what they are looking for – proof that it works and maybe some of the why it does.

Works Cited

1. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (1986). Alcoholics Anonymous. New York: Author.

2. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (1953). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. New York: Author.

3. Elsevier Science, Ltd. (1994). Using AA and other 12-Step programs More Effectively. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Vol. II. Dr. Peter Johnson and Dr. John Chappel

4. Elsevier Science, Ltd. (1994). Self-Help and Science in the Treatment of Addiction. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Vol. II. Dr. Don Des Jarlais.

5. Recovery and Sobriety Resources. (1998). Alcoholics Anonymous – What’s it All About? www.winternet.com/~terrym/mystory7.html

6. Alcohol and Research World (1996). Jellinek’s Typology Revisited. Washington: Susanne Hiller-Strurmhofel

7. Addiction.(1997) E.M. Jellinek and the evolution of alcohol studies: A critical essay. Penny Booth Page

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