Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Model Analysis

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Substance abuse and addiction is one of the nation’s fastest growing problems and AA 12-step recovery has been the traditional method of treatment. The AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) 12-step model of recovery can be summarized by admitting that one cannot control their drinking, turning this control over to a Higher Power, reviewing errors from their past and making amends for these errors, living by a new code and helping others suffering with the same addiction. Many rehab and addiction treatment centers incorporate the AA 12-step model in their recovery programs. Hospitals, treatment centers and courts send virtually every individual with a substance abuse problem to Alcoholics Anonymous for follow up treatment. While virtually every person with…show more content…
Anti-AA groups feel that “powerlessness” is not the issue and that drinking is a learned behavior that can subsequently be un-learned. The AA philosophy of total abstinence is also challenged, again, that “controlled” drinking can be learned. Zachary Dodes book, The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry, harshly criticizes the 12-step approach. Dodes feels that many suffering from addictions are left without any help if they do not conform to 12-step methodology. Those that resist the concept of powerlessness or ones that cannot embrace the Higher Power theory are often left with no other alternatives for recovery. Dodes claims, “I think a lot of people are suffering needlessly because they can’t learn to speak AA and live in the AA culture overnight; I think not “getting” this contrived culture is called denial and people are abandoned by AA and by treatment professionals because of it.” Dodes believes there is not just one way to treat addiction and that not all addictions respond to the same method of therapy. Giving up on those that don’t respond to traditional methods provides an enormous disservice to those afflicted with addiction. Melanie Solomon’s book “AA Not the Only Way; Your One Stop Resource Guide to 12-Step Alternatives, agrees with Dodes observation insisting, “In medicine, diseases are often complex phenomena, varying in severity from individual to individual, sometimes varying in course, and often requiring different treatments depending on the particular patient and his/her biological circumstances.” Solomon points out that there are numerous variables in addiction and to therapy response. In medicine, physicians often alter the course of therapy if/when the patient does not respond favorably, this too needs to happen when the addicted individual does not respond

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