Alcoholics Anonymous has been around for a long time. The basic textbook for AA, which is called the Big Book, was published back in 1935. At that time, this book and the AA method were virtually the only choice people had if they had a drinking problem. The organization has helped thousands of people over the last 75 years. However, there is overwhelming evidence which shows that despite these numbers the actual success rate is extremely low.
Why AA has a Low Success Rate?
First of all, AA of assumes that alcoholism is a mental disorder. It treats this so-called disease with a series of 12 steps that address everything from lifestyle to religion. One of the main things addressed are character defects. Essentially, the premise is that the major causes of drinking are moral problems – a certain step in the process, therefore, is to have God remove all these defects of character. While this approach is very noble, it does nothing to address the underlying physical problem behind the addiction.
This physical problem is basically rooted in the neuroendocrine system. When this system is damaged, we cannot generate the natural feel good chemicals such as GABA, beta endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. An alcoholic self medicates in order to temporarily relieve the shortage of these chemicals. This never works for the long term because it doesn’t address the root problem. And most people that attend AA continue to damage this very delicate system.
Another factor which promotes relapse is that a person’s overall health is not really addressed nor is it a concern. In fact, most people who attend AA also take part in other very unhealthy habits such as smoking, caffeine, and sweets. Since alcohol addiction is caused by a metabolic disorder, these things actually make matters worse. They only increase the dysfunction of the brain’s biochemistry and the neuroendocrine system, especially the hypothalamus which is the home of alcoholism. It is a well known fact that caffeine and sugar and other stimulants trigger mechanisms in the alcoholic that create extreme cravings for alcohol. Encouraging people to take part in these things to relieve cravings is actually the opposite of what someone should do.
Another factor of why AA has a high failure rate is that it is largely influenced by the mainstream media. It is portrayed all over the place as being the “cure all” for alcoholism and the only accepted approach. By advertising it this way the media is actually hurting people. They are in effect censoring a lot of the truth about the physical aspects of alcoholism because they do not agree with the AA approach. This is not only shortsighted, it is also ignorant and cruel. It is amazing how people generally follow what they hear and see through the media without ever questioning the validity behind it.
So, Alcoholics anonymous actually prescribes relapse. This is due to several factors in addition to those I’ve mentioned above. If you are attending AA and are having success, by all means, continue to do so. However, if you are like me, you will want to know more about the truth. I could only do this by researching it myself. This is what this website is all about… the truth about alcoholism.