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-   -   Atheist nurse's fight against mandatory AA will go before B.C. Human Rights Tribunal (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=336979)

whoanellie 9th July 2019 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pixel42 (Post 12749707)
I think people can fool themselves into thinking attending AA meetings is the reason they have managed to stay sober, just as they can fool themselves into thinking a homeopathic remedy they took is the reason they're feeling better.

Here's the definition of placebo from google:
pla·ce·bo
/pləˈsēbō/
Learn to pronounce
noun
a harmless pill, medicine, or procedure prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect.

Since AA's effects, if any, are psychological and dare I say it spiritual and not physiological it's not clear what it would mean to say that someone "fools" themselves into thinking AA has helped.

Dave Rogers 9th July 2019 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12749725)
Absolutely

Then, yes they can. One more won't hurt. I can take it or leave it. I'm fine to drive, I've only had a couple. I can hold my drink. Sound familiar?

Dave

whoanellie 9th July 2019 09:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers (Post 12749736)
Then, yes they can. One more won't hurt. I can take it or leave it. I'm fine to drive, I've only had a couple. I can hold my drink. Sound familiar?



Dave

By sober I meant 100 % abstinent from alcohol. Sorry for the confusion

The Greater Fool 9th July 2019 09:18 AM

People can and do fool themselves every day.

There is a reason for rule 4, and it's to stop fooling oneself. Not everyone can handle rule 4. Some people avoid it in certain aspects of their life because sometimes we need the fiction. Badly. So we don't look at that elephant in the room.

8enotto 9th July 2019 09:31 AM

Does this explain why four out if seven AA meeting halls aa step 4 and 5 ?

It takes the longest to get into a better frame of thought.

Dave Rogers 9th July 2019 09:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12749788)
By sober I meant 100 % abstinent from alcohol. Sorry for the confusion

OK, then. People probably can't fool themselves into thinking they are 100% abstinent*. They can fool themselves into thinking they are abstinent because they went to AA, just as they can fool themselves into thinking they got over that cold because of the 30C homeopathic remedies, and not because they would have got over it whatever happened. And the court ruling is in effect saying, "You must go to AA, because you will not recover from your addiction without it." That's something that evidence should be required to demonstrate before the ruling is accepted.

Dave

* Though I'm not even sure of that; people are terribly good at self-deception. "I only had a small sherry, that's not even a proper drink."

whoanellie 9th July 2019 09:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers (Post 12749814)
They can fool themselves into thinking they are abstinent because they went to AA, just as they can fool themselves into thinking they got over that cold because of the 30C homeopathic remedies, and not because they would have got over it whatever happened.

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12749733)
Here's the definition of placebo from google:
pla·ce·bo
/pləˈsēbō/
Learn to pronounce
noun
a harmless pill, medicine, or procedure prescribed more for the psychological benefit to the patient than for any physiological effect.



I agree that the perceived beneficial effects of homeopathic remedies are, if any, in the mind of those using them. They have no physiological effect. How would you distinguish someone who fooled themselves (in their mind) into thinking that AA helped from someone who was truly helped from AA if even the help occurs only "in their mind", i.e. a beneficial effect on their psychological state. This distinction seems rather vague and ill-defined to me.

Dancing David 9th July 2019 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12748823)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Belz... (Post 12748471)
Not statistically, it hasn't.

Is that the only valid criterion available to us?

Yes when it comes to something other than personal preference, it is the basis of medicine and lots of things.

Anecdotal evidence is subject to many biases.

Dancing David 9th July 2019 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12749687)
Do you think people can fool themselves into thinking they are sober?
AA is not a medical treatment.

Not really, but they can fool themselves as to what is effective and what is just window dressing

Thor 2 9th July 2019 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darat (Post 12748340)

.......

As defined by you and others in this thread there is no evidence that any particular AA meet is better than no treatment. In other words there is no evidence that AA meets (note the plural) have a better success rate than no treatment.

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12749162)
Assuming for the moment your argument is valid, isn't it valid both ways? How can there be evidence that any particular AA meeting doesn't help? How then can qayak's statement, "There is zero evidence that AA helps and lots that it doesn't.", be true?

.........

Smells a bit like a shifting the onus of truth here whoanellie.

As in the argument for God's existence, if you are arguing in favour of the effectiveness of AA, the onus should be on you to prove its effectiveness, and not on others to prove its ineffectiveness.

whoanellie 9th July 2019 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thor 2 (Post 12750129)
Smells a bit like a shifting the onus of truth here whoanellie.



As in the argument for God's existence, if you are arguing in favour of the effectiveness of AA, the onus should be on you to prove its effectiveness, and not on others to prove its ineffectiveness.

I think you missed the point.

Thor 2 9th July 2019 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12750204)
I think you missed the point.


Perhaps you are right, but I am having trouble deciphering that sentence:

"Assuming for the moment your argument is valid, isn't it valid both ways? How can there be evidence that any particular AA meeting doesn't help? How then can qayak's statement, "There is zero evidence that AA helps and lots that it doesn't.", be true?"

Minoosh 9th July 2019 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dancing David (Post 12748658)
just for contrast here is rational recovery (Trimpey himself is a jerk in many ways, but the program is reasonable)
https://rational.org/index.php?id=1

I clicked, and it actually sounds weirder to me than AA does - and also quasi-religious. "I" am not my body; there is an "I" that can override the beast within. What's he talking about then, if not a soul? An intellect, maybe? I can see why this would appeal to some people but it doesn't sound any more "rational" to me than AA does.

And he absolutely despises support groups.

whoanellie 9th July 2019 06:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thor 2 (Post 12750239)
Perhaps you are right, but I am having trouble deciphering that sentence:

"Assuming for the moment your argument is valid, isn't it valid both ways? How can there be evidence that any particular AA meeting doesn't help? How then can qayak's statement, "There is zero evidence that AA helps and lots that it doesn't.", be true?"

A) qayak stated that "There is zero evidence that AA helps and lots that it doesn't."

B) I replied that qayak's statement was false.

C) Darat made an argument that because of the variability across AA meetings it was not possible to have evidence that AA in general was helpful. Therefore, Darat argued, qayak's statement was true and I was incorrect in B.

D) The point I was trying to make is that there were two parts to qayak's statement. If Darat's argument is true then it seems to me it should be true for both parts of qayak's statement. If, theoretically it was not possible to obtain evidence that AA in general was helpful, isn't it also ,not possible to obtain "lots" of evidence that it isn't helpful? If Darat's argument is correct then the first part of qayak's statement is true but the 2nd part is false and the statement is in its entirety false.

E) I do not think Darat's argument is valid for the reasons I stated above.

Minoosh and I have provided a fair amount of evidence, both statistical and anecdotal, that AA is helpful. To be sure there is also evidence, both statistical and anecdotal, that it is not helpful. In my opinion the weight of the evidence is that AA is helpful. A great many alcoholics have gotten sober and stayed sober in AA. That is a good thing. There is certainly support in the medical literature for the correlation between AA attendance and abstinence.

quadraginta 10th July 2019 01:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thor 2 (Post 12749001)
Quote:

Originally Posted by quadraginta (Post 12747210)
Aside from the absence of a deity I see no real qualitative difference between any of these comparisons.

Is it the god-bothering that makes the religion based ones less wishy-washy to you?


I wouldn't call he God based steps wishy washy as they are firmly focused on the God theme. If you believe in God it all makes sense in a way. Even though I don't have that belief I can see that.


Yeah. Good thing I wasn't calling them that either, huh?

I was pointing out that the comparison seemed to suggest that it was the inclusion of all that god-bothering that kept those steps from being wishy-washy.

Why is god-bothering needed for that?

Minoosh 10th July 2019 01:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theprestige (Post 12744190)
Some people can self-treat their addictions. Those people, when they attempt the treatment, have a phenomenal success rate. Other people, attempting the same thing, have an abysmal success rate. Since the abysmal success rate of self-treatment seems to be more prevalent, we generally counsel people to get help for this sort of thing, rather than trying to deal with it on their own.

That's something I don't get when people get 5-10 percent success rates for a different course of action; saying the success rate of quitting on your own vs. quitting in AA is the same, therefore AA is proven useless. But I think the 5-10 percent who quit on their own are not the same 5-10 percent who benefit from AA. Most people in AA have already tried doing abstinence on their own with no success. They're different populations. It seems to me good to have other alternatives on a spectrum that collectively benefit more people than having only one option would.

Probably a good number of problem drinkers simply throttle back and are able to attain moderation. Again, these probably aren't the same people who has no success cutting down and instead embraced abstinence.

If 10 percent are able to just stop, that doesn't mean the other 90 percent should stop trying other approaches.

Dave Rogers 10th July 2019 01:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12749845)
How would you distinguish someone who fooled themselves (in their mind) into thinking that AA helped from someone who was truly helped from AA if even the help occurs only "in their mind", i.e. a beneficial effect on their psychological state.

The same way as the efficacy of any other treatment is determined; conduct randomised and properly controlled trials in which a valid statistical comparison is made between the recovery rate of people who had the treatment and people who did not. That's a very difficult thing to do perfectly, but as I understand it the best data available suggests that there is no significant difference in recovery rates.

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12749845)
This distinction seems rather vague and ill-defined to me.

The distinction is about whether or not that someone would have done just as well without AA. On an individual basis that's impossible to determine, but on a statistical basis within a population it's possible to infer.

And, of course, the burden of proof should be on the claim that AA has a positive effect, particularly when assessing whether it's appropriate to infringe someone's freedom of choice and of association by legally mandating them to attend. Without evidence in support of it, the legal ruling rests only on a matter of personal opinion.

Also, if personal motivation is a part of the efficacy of AA, doesn't it seem rather futile to force people to attend? One might think that their inevitable reluctance and lack of motivation would negate any possibility of AA working for them.

Dave

Roboramma 10th July 2019 03:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12749733)
Since AA's effects, if any, are psychological and dare I say it spiritual and not physiological it's not clear what it would mean to say that someone "fools" themselves into thinking AA has helped.

It would mean that their improvement was attributed to their attendance of AA but not caused by it.

whoanellie 10th July 2019 04:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers (Post 12750580)
The same way as the efficacy of any other treatment is determined; conduct randomised and properly controlled trials in which a valid statistical comparison is made between the recovery rate of people who had the treatment and people who did not. That's a very difficult thing to do perfectly, but as I understand it the best data available suggests that there is no significant difference in recovery rates.

AA is not "treatment". You can't do a randomized and properly controlled trial where you force one group to attend AA and force one group to not attend AA. But we have this (already quoted above)
"About 20%–25% of those who did not attend AA or another 12-step group (or receive any other form of aftercare after the inpatient stay) were abstinent from alcohol and drugs at 1 year [15], and from alcohol at 18 months (combined alcohol and drug abstinence were not reported at 18 months) [16]. The rates of abstinence were about twice as high among those who had attended AA or another 12-step group (but no other form of aftercare)."
Kaskutas. J Addict Dis. 2009 ; 28(2): 145–157

and this
"Compared to individuals who did not enter AA in the first year, individuals who participated in AA for 9 weeks or more had better 16-year alcohol-related and self-efficacy outcomes (Table 3). Some of these differences were quite substantial; only 34% of individuals who did not participate in AA in the first year were abstinent at 16 years, compared to 67% of individuals who participated in AA for 27 weeks or more."

"The findings extend earlier results on this sample (Moos & Moos, 2004a; 2005b) and those of prior studies (Connors et al., 2001; Fiorentine, 1999; Ouimette et al., 1998; Watson et al., 1997) by showing that more extended participation in AA is associated with better alcohol related and self-efficacy outcomes. The results support the benefit of extended engagement in AA, in that a longer duration of participation in the first year, and in the second and third years, was independently associated with better 16-year outcomes. In addition, our findings indicate that attendance for more than 52 weeks in a 5-year interval may be associated with a higher likelihood of abstinence than attendance of up to 52 weeks. Part of the association between AA attendance and better social functioning, which reflects the composition of the social network, likely is a direct function of participation in AA. In fact, for some individuals, involvement with a circle of abstinent friends may reflect a turning point that enables them to address their problems, build their coping skills, and establish more supportive social resources (Humphreys, 2004; Humphreys, Mankowski, Moos, & Finney, 1999). Participation in a mutual support group may enhance and amplify these changes in life context and coping to promote better long-term outcomes. More broadly, the finding that the length of time individuals receive help for alcohol-related disorders is closely related to outcome is consistent with the fact that the enduring aspects of individuals’ life contexts are associated with the recurrent course of remission and relapse (Moos, Finney, & Cronkite, 1990).

Moos and Moos. J Clin Psychol. 2006 June ; 62(6): 735–750.

A good review of the literature can be found here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsl...nonymous_works

I believe you are wrong about the best available data showing no significant difference in recovery rates between those attending AA and those not.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Rogers (Post 12750580)
The distinction is about whether or not that someone would have done just as well without AA. On an individual basis that's impossible to determine, but on a statistical basis within a population it's possible to infer.

And, of course, the burden of proof should be on the claim that AA has a positive effect, particularly when assessing whether it's appropriate to infringe someone's freedom of choice and of association by legally mandating them to attend. Without evidence in support of it, the legal ruling rests only on a matter of personal opinion.

Also, if personal motivation is a part of the efficacy of AA, doesn't it seem rather futile to force people to attend? One might think that their inevitable reluctance and lack of motivation would negate any possibility of AA working for them.

Dave

I don't agree that someone should be legally mandated to attend AA. It's not my intention to change the subject of this thread but simply to correct a number of unsubstantiated statements and gross misconceptions that have been posted here. The highlighted is a valid point that might apply equally well to someone forced into AA by a proposed randomized trial. Getting sober and attending AA is ultimately all a matter of personal preference. If someone says that they attend AA and it helps them why is anyone entitled to argue with them?

qayak 10th July 2019 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12750665)
AA is not "treatment". You can't do a randomized and properly controlled trial where you force one group to attend AA and force one group to not attend AA. But we have this (already quoted above)
"About 20%–25% of those who did not attend AA or another 12-step group (or receive any other form of aftercare after the inpatient stay) were abstinent from alcohol and drugs at 1 year [15], and from alcohol at 18 months (combined alcohol and drug abstinence were not reported at 18 months) [16]. The rates of abstinence were about twice as high among those who had attended AA or another 12-step group (but no other form of aftercare)."
Kaskutas. J Addict Dis. 2009 ; 28(2): 145–157

and this
"Compared to individuals who did not enter AA in the first year, individuals who participated in AA for 9 weeks or more had better 16-year alcohol-related and self-efficacy outcomes (Table 3). Some of these differences were quite substantial; only 34% of individuals who did not participate in AA in the first year were abstinent at 16 years, compared to 67% of individuals who participated in AA for 27 weeks or more."

"The findings extend earlier results on this sample (Moos & Moos, 2004a; 2005b) and those of prior studies (Connors et al., 2001; Fiorentine, 1999; Ouimette et al., 1998; Watson et al., 1997) by showing that more extended participation in AA is associated with better alcohol related and self-efficacy outcomes. The results support the benefit of extended engagement in AA, in that a longer duration of participation in the first year, and in the second and third years, was independently associated with better 16-year outcomes. In addition, our findings indicate that attendance for more than 52 weeks in a 5-year interval may be associated with a higher likelihood of abstinence than attendance of up to 52 weeks. Part of the association between AA attendance and better social functioning, which reflects the composition of the social network, likely is a direct function of participation in AA. In fact, for some individuals, involvement with a circle of abstinent friends may reflect a turning point that enables them to address their problems, build their coping skills, and establish more supportive social resources (Humphreys, 2004; Humphreys, Mankowski, Moos, & Finney, 1999). Participation in a mutual support group may enhance and amplify these changes in life context and coping to promote better long-term outcomes. More broadly, the finding that the length of time individuals receive help for alcohol-related disorders is closely related to outcome is consistent with the fact that the enduring aspects of individuals’ life contexts are associated with the recurrent course of remission and relapse (Moos, Finney, & Cronkite, 1990).

Moos and Moos. J Clin Psychol. 2006 June ; 62(6): 735–750.

A good review of the literature can be found here: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsl...nonymous_works

I believe you are wrong about the best available data showing no significant difference in recovery rates between those attending AA and those not.


I don't agree that someone should be legally mandated to attend AA. It's not my intention to change the subject of this thread but simply to correct a number of unsubstantiated statements and gross misconceptions that have been posted here. The highlighted is a valid point that might apply equally well to someone forced into AA by a proposed randomized trial. Getting sober and attending AA is ultimately all a matter of personal preference. If someone says that they attend AA and it helps them why is anyone entitled to argue with them?

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine...nymous/386255/

Hellbound 10th July 2019 09:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12750665)
AA is not "treatment".

So then, you agree that it should never be mandated by courts as a treatment, and should quit being presented and supported as a treatment/solution to alcohol or drug dependency.

Perfect! argument done.

whoanellie 10th July 2019 09:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qayak (Post 12750773)

There are, of course, issues with trying to rebut published scientific results with a link to an article in the popular press.

Glaser's article is largely based on the book "The Sober Truth" by Lance Dodes. I've posted multiple links criticizing this book above. Dodes was a psychoanalyst who had his own theory of alcoholism and addiction. The statistics that Dodes comes up with are not from his own work, they are reinterpretations of the work of others. Dodes himself has done little, actually I believe no, scientific work on the effectiveness of AA. Here is the abstract from a recent article by him in Clinical Social Work Journal. Make of it what you will.
"The case study method has been essential in psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy, since it is the only way to describe and explore the deepest levels of the human psyche. Addiction is no more and no less than a particular psychological mechanism, identical at its core to other psychological compulsions, and is therefore best understood and reported by this method that explores the mind in depth. We will discuss the value of the case report method in general and in specific with regard to psychoanalysis and addiction, criticisms raised about this method, and comparisons of it with nomothetic research."

A great rebuttal to the Glaser article can be found here:
https://thepointmag.com/2016/examine...he-insane-idea

BStrong 10th July 2019 09:52 AM

General question for those that object to AA
 
If a friend or loved one is an addict/alcoholic and expresses a desire to attend AA, do you inform them of the programs' limitations and the reliance on a higher power or do you give them a ride to the meeting?

whoanellie 10th July 2019 10:17 AM

There are fundamental differences between the issue of whether a homeopathic remedy helps the sufferer from a common cold and whether AA helps someone suffering from alcoholism.

Certainly there might be issues with diagnosing oneself with a cold. Is it a rhinovirus, allergy, the flu? If someone comes to the conclusion that they are an alcoholic, there is, in my opinion, a very good chance they are correct.

There are issues with determining what the benefit from a homeopathic cold remedy might be and how to quantify them. Is the length of the cold lessened? Are the symptoms lessened? These are all subjective judgments about a magnitude of an effect. Abstinence from alcohol is a binary endpoint.

There is no plausible mechanism by which an overly dilute solution of some substance could have a physiological effect on a cold. There are a number of plausible mechanisms by which participation in AA could have a significant psychological effect.
1) If one is trying to get sober and stay sober, it may be helpful to observe others who have done so before you.
2) It may be helpful to get advice and encouragement from those others.
3) AA meetings may serve to replace the fellowship and camaraderie one use to associate with drinking.
4) An alcoholic may have become very isolated due to their drinking. AA can help an alcoholic break out of that isolated state.
5) An alcoholic may have other issues that played a direct role in their drinking such as depression, trauma, family of origin issues, etc. Spending time with others who share those same issues and have addressed them can be helpful.
6) Along the same lines, AA meetings can serve as a kind of informal, cost-effective group therapy.

I have no statistics, but I suspect a survey of AA members would hit upon these and other benefits/mechanisms.

So we have a correlation between AA attendance and well-defined binary endpoint (abstinence) (vide supra) and a number of plausible mechanisms for how that relation could be causal. Ideally, there would be a gold standard randomized trial. The difficulties with doing so have been discussed above.

8enotto 10th July 2019 10:29 AM

Even if I would have run away from AA meetings to go watch tv or something I can agree with the above six points. I was never that social in person nor tried to be.

But to people that cannot do alone, need that healthier social interaction it provides well. It saved my uncle. He lead groups as his mission in life to share the good he found.

The Greater Fool 10th July 2019 10:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12750959)
There are fundamental differences between the issue of whether a homeopathic remedy helps the sufferer from a common cold and whether AA helps someone suffering from alcoholism.

Certainly there might be issues with diagnosing oneself with a cold. Is it a rhinovirus, allergy, the flu? If someone comes to the conclusion that they are an alcoholic, there is, in my opinion, a very good chance they are correct.

There are issues with determining what the benefit from a homeopathic cold remedy might be and how to quantify them. Is the length of the cold lessened? Are the symptoms lessened? These are all subjective judgments about a magnitude of an effect. Abstinence from alcohol is a binary endpoint.

There is no plausible mechanism by which an overly dilute solution of some substance could have a physiological effect on a cold. There are a number of plausible mechanisms by which participation in AA could have a significant psychological effect.
1) If one is trying to get sober and stay sober, it may be helpful to observe others who have done so before you.
2) It may be helpful to get advice and encouragement from those others.
3) AA meetings may serve to replace the fellowship and camaraderie one use to associate with drinking.
4) An alcoholic may have become very isolated due to their drinking. AA can help an alcoholic break out of that isolated state.
5) An alcoholic may have other issues that played a direct role in their drinking such as depression, trauma, family of origin issues, etc. Spending time with others who share those same issues and have addressed them can be helpful.
6) Along the same lines, AA meetings can serve as a kind of informal, cost-effective group therapy.

All of these are elements describing a peer support group, which have definite and demonstrated effect, are not in contention. They can and do help.

It is the 12 steps that are the issue. Do they add or subtract benefits to peer support?

JesseCuster 10th July 2019 12:17 PM

If someone claims that AA works, then it's reasonable to ask them for evidence that it works. If they then go out of their way to explain why you can't expect evidence that AA works, then's it's reasonable to ignore their claims that it works.

I think it's valid to point out that you probably can't expect to find reliable statistics about AA (for a variety of reasons), but it's also valid to point out that if the evidence isn't out there, then there's no reason to believe the claims that it works.

I don't get the objection of some people in this thread to being asked for evidence that AA works, while simultaneously making positive claims about it working. Ok, you don't have the evidence because it isn't available. But then I don't have a reason to believe you when you say it works.

whoanellie 10th July 2019 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 8enotto (Post 12750971)
Even if I would have run away from AA meetings to go watch tv or something I can agree with the above six points. I was never that social in person nor tried to be.

But to people that cannot do alone, need that healthier social interaction it provides well. It saved my uncle. He lead groups as his mission in life to share the good he found.

:)

whoanellie 10th July 2019 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JesseCuster (Post 12751129)
If someone claims that AA works, then it's reasonable to ask them for evidence that it works. If they then go out of their way to explain why you can't expect evidence that AA works, then's it's reasonable to ignore their claims that it works.

I think it's valid to point out that you probably can't expect to find reliable statistics about AA (for a variety of reasons), but it's also valid to point out that if the evidence isn't out there, then there's no reason to believe the claims that it works.

I don't get the objection of some people in this thread to being asked for evidence that AA works, while simultaneously making positive claims about it working. Ok, you don't have the evidence because it isn't available. But then I don't have a reason to believe you when you say it works.

I believe a lot of evidence has been provided.

ArchSas 10th July 2019 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BStrong (Post 12750936)
If a friend or loved one is an addict/alcoholic and expresses a desire to attend AA, do you inform them of the programs' limitations and the reliance on a higher power or do you give them a ride to the meeting?

Absolutely the former, without hesitation. What is this question even supposed to accomplish? Yes, some people get sober with the help of AA (of course I wouldn't deny someone's lived experience like that), but as has been pointed out numerous times, that doesn't mean it's the only or most effective way to get addiction treatment (as some of its defenders keep saying, it's not even a treatment). To clarify, I'm of the opinion that evidence doesn't show AA to be particularly effective, and I really don't like the religious elements and tenancies of cult-like behavior seen among some people who use AA (irrational defenses of the program, denying that people can be sober without it, etc. - there are plenty of good explanations of this out there). It helps some people, but I don't think it's the best method out there, and shouldn't be mandated through courts. If someone has gone through the steps, succeeded, and credits that success to AA, that's great; I'm glad it worked for them and their experience was positive, but that doesn't mean it's devoid of the problems expressed ad nauseum in this thread.

So if a person I cared about had an addiction problem and was asking for my thoughts about AA, I would probably say something like, "Well, a lot of people say it helps them, but studies tend to show success rates are pretty low; it's also religious at a fundamental level, the steps were adapted from an evangelical group's outline for 'saving' people, and some of the culture that surrounds it looks kind of culty to me. It's the first thing a lot of people turn to, because it's so well-known, but there are other systems that work better and are probably more consistent. As a kid, I was around a lot of people that were court-ordered into AA and it didn't help any of them. If you want to give AA a try, I'll give you a ride and support you, but if you want, I can also help you look for an option that might work better." And I'd feel pretty good about that advice, too, because in this scenario, I care about the person and want them to get successful help. I haven't had to do this with AA, but I've done something similar several times with friends that have come to me for advice about self-help books, diets, and alternative medicines.

That being said, I have a tendency towards what most of my friends consider sometimes insensitive levels of honesty, so maybe not everyone else that doesn't believe AA would do something similar. I'd rather be honest and maybe help someone make a more informed decision than just agree with whatever whim they have.

Minoosh 10th July 2019 02:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12750959)
There are fundamental differences between the issue of whether a homeopathic remedy helps the sufferer from a common cold and whether AA helps someone suffering from alcoholism.

Not the least of which is that 99.9 percent (that's a guess) of common cold sufferers will enjoy spontaneous remission within a week or two at most.

Thor 2 10th July 2019 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by quadraginta (Post 12750565)
Yeah. Good thing I wasn't calling them that either, huh?

I was pointing out that the comparison seemed to suggest that it was the inclusion of all that god-bothering that kept those steps from being wishy-washy.

Why is god-bothering needed for that?


From my perspective, the originals were the "god-bothering" ones. The guiding hand of God is essential to the whole theme. Man is just not up to it, so he hands over control to God. If you take God out of it, it becomes a meaningless babble in parts.

Minoosh 10th July 2019 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Greater Fool (Post 12751000)
It is the 12 steps that are the issue. Do they add or subtract benefits to peer support?

In my experience the steps help with emotional self-regulation. Not really to get sober but to deal with life. I'm not talking of the God stuff especially, but self-examination.

The Greater Fool 10th July 2019 03:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Minoosh (Post 12751285)
In my experience the steps help with emotional self-regulation. Not really to get sober but to deal with life. I'm not talking of the God stuff especially, but self-examination.

I can't help but ponder that there are ways to address such self-examination in an evidence based approach. Evidence and improvement should be the driving force. With AA, it's the cart before the horse.

Congratulations on your sobriety.

theprestige 10th July 2019 03:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qayak (Post 12750773)

The Atlantic is not your friend.

Nor is it a serious rebuttal to peer reviewed research.

You're begging the question that lay reporters have a better grasp of the science than actual scientists reporting the actual science they did.

And you're begging the question that lay editors have a better grasp of the science than the actual scientists who reviewed the scientific claims.

Minoosh 10th July 2019 04:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Greater Fool (Post 12751317)
I can't help but ponder that there are ways to address such self-examination in an evidence based approach. Evidence and improvement should be the driving force. With AA, it's the cart before the horse.

Congratulations on your sobriety.

Thank you for that. I don't consider myself clean and sober at the moment, though.

Dave Rogers 11th July 2019 01:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BStrong (Post 12750936)
If a friend or loved one is an addict/alcoholic and expresses a desire to attend AA, do you inform them of the programs' limitations and the reliance on a higher power or do you give them a ride to the meeting?

Both.

Dave

The Greater Fool 11th July 2019 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Minoosh (Post 12751366)
Thank you for that. I don't consider myself clean and sober at the moment, though.

I'm stuck for what to say to be supportive which is hard considering I am a nobody on an internet forum who has been attacking something apparently important to you, something beneficial to you.

I'll leave it with impotent positive thoughts. :o

whoanellie 11th July 2019 07:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Minoosh (Post 12751366)
Thank you for that. I don't consider myself clean and sober at the moment, though.

I wish you the best Minoosh. I've valued your contributions to this thread.

Steve 11th July 2019 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by whoanellie (Post 12751920)
I wish you the best Minoosh. I've valued your contributions to this thread.

Agreed on both counts. I don't agree with some things Minoosh has posted but his(?) comments have been useful none-the-less.


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