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Tags alcoholics anonymous , alcoholism , treatment programs

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Old 16th August 2011, 03:53 PM   #5161
DannyB II
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Well now we have a study done by the American Society of Addiction Medicine over four years in the makings. Here is a brief summation of the study.
Folks we are back to the disease concept again and now it is proven. Alcoholism is a disease.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44147493.../#.TkrzI4JwZ8F

(excerpt from the article)

"The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) just released this new definition of addiction after a four-year process involving more than 80 experts.

At its core, addiction isn't just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It's a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas," said Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM who oversaw the development of the new definition. "Many behaviors driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It's about underlying neurology, not outward actions."
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Old 16th August 2011, 05:16 PM   #5162
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
Then we should spell hypocrisy with a capital H, and throw it back in their faces.

If they were honest they would simply state that these other methods have either similar results as AA and/or there have been no studies done - or released, at any rate.
At least my last long post have been deleted, So I'll response to this for a start. I'll get to A.A. Alfie.

None of these other methods have been around as long as AA. Which in 75 years hasn't played any part in any independent study in it's own efficacy. And no one is ever sentenced to attend or participate of these other methods. People are sentenced to attend A.A. and 12 step programs. And while this is the case which should see some evidence of A.A's superiority.

And if AA isnt willing to provide this evidence, and isn't interested in this claim. AA should be actively campaigning to get criminal justice systems to foster this additional responsibility on their program (which I may add they claim it rarely fails with honest people, A.A Alfie). If we're honest.
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Old 16th August 2011, 06:11 PM   #5163
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Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
Tinyal, they are not just my set of facts (from practical experience) but they are facts for many in AA. I find it hard to believe that in all your years being in AA Tinyal that you have not met the over whelming numbers of people that are opposed to any type of religion. They can barely accept the spiritual approach.
You mean the overwhelming numbers of non-religionists in those 25 non-prayer AA meetings located somewhere in the northeast? Or do you mean the overwhelming number of AA members who willingly cite one of the 2 christian prayers used world-wide to end meetings? Or both?
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Old 16th August 2011, 08:30 PM   #5164
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Hey all! I've been lurking this thread for a while and feel compelled to jump in with my two cents. I've been sober for going on 4 years now. I've been to hundreds of AA meetings, closed and open, and for the past year plus, I've had to walk away because the environment is extremely uncomfortable for me as an atheist. Thankfully I had attended a treatment center that focuses on evidence based treatment so I didn't walk away from what I thought was the only path to sobriety, but it's really frustrating to see AA members insist that the program is not religious, when the religiosity of the program is what forced me out the door. It also kept me out of the program when I could have used treatment. I remember attending my first AA meeting, totally unaware of the religious (or spiritual, I fail to see a substantive difference) component. I sat down in a dirty church basement, adorned with crosses, and listened to people talk about how God had changed their lives. I left absolutely stunned that that was the secret to AA, and it took another year before I found a better alternative. Once I had some time sober, I started going back to AA, got a sponsor, did a 90 in 90, did the steps, and the whole gig. I kept it up for as long as I could, but I simply couldn't take biting my tongue in meetings and hearing absurd stories about how God had personally saved people from an alcoholic death. This is just my experience with the program and perhaps there are regional differences, but the program made me feel like a total fraud. I didn't believe in God and couldn't no matter how hard I tried, all while hearing all the time that my Higher Power was the only thing between me and a drink. Thankfully, I've managed to build a good, rational support network of like-minded folks, but to see that people are arguing in good faith that AA is not religious is downright mind boggling to me.

Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
Oh!! Tinyal, Bill was one man speaking from his own experiences, with loud authority I will give you that. But he was not speaking for everyone.
Claiming that we AA'ers are nothing but automatons that kowtow to the will of one is ludicrous. We know exactly why "We Agnostics" was written, even though Bill tried not to have it written at all.
Why exactly was "We Agnostics" written? It sure as heck wasn't to provide a rational, well-thought out justification of AA's principles to non-believers. The condescension and frankly stupidity contained in that chapter was a large part of why I left the program. I'm not going to break down the chapter in detail, but according to Bill in "We Agnostics", an alcoholic "may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer." Translation: abandon your thoughts about spirituality (which for all Bill knows are well justified) and accept mine, or remaining a drunk. Classic false dichotomy. He literally says remaining an atheist or agnostic will doom us.

This particular paragraph on page 49 was what convinced me that Bill had no intention of being intellectually honest, nor did he actually respect someone who didn't believe in god. "Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end of all. Rather vain of us, wasn't it?" He conflates a perfectly justified belief (that God doesn't exist) with some absurdly narcissistic caricature, and mocks us at the end. This is straight from the book that the program takes its name from.
And to quote Doctor Bob, "If you think you are an atheist,an agnostic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you."

Now I think that AA is religious, and for good reason, but regardless, the discussion of disbelief in the text is offensive and childish. It is totally unwelcoming to anyone who doesn't share Bill's view about God, and the only way to get around this is to cherry pick from the book which above said has the key to saving your life. If saying that someone who doesn't believe in the organizations belief about God will quite literally doom them doesn't count as a religion, I don't know what does.
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Old 16th August 2011, 10:58 PM   #5165
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Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
Well now we have a study done by the American Society of Addiction Medicine over four years in the makings. Here is a brief summation of the study.
Folks we are back to the disease concept again and now it is proven. Alcoholism is a disease.


"The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) just released this new definition of addiction after a four-year process involving more than 80 experts.

That means absolutely nothing. ASAM is merely a front group created to push the AA agenda. Just google "AA was founded by"

"The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) was started by Dr.Ruth Fox (founding president) in the early 1950's to promote AA and its spiritually-based 12-step treatment of alcoholism to doctors. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) first identified alcoholism and drug addiction as a disciplinary problem in 1958 and called for a model probation and rehabilitation program to be adopted by state medical boards. ASAM used this opportunity to broaden its power and influence among medical professionals, despite the fact that the American Medical Association (AMA) had previously gone on record as strongly critical of the unscientific basis of the 12-step approach promoted in AA's so-called "Big Book" as being "a curious combination of organizing propaganda and religious exhortation" and generally having "no scientific merit or interest." [Book review of "Alcoholics Anonymous", Journal of the American Medical Association, 1939"

Add to that the disproportionate number of steppers in this field and you have a "disease diagnosis. And even considering that, it still took 4 years to reach that conclusion? They didn't even name any brain process that define this disease. Please.
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Old 17th August 2011, 03:23 AM   #5166
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Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
Well now we have a study done by the American Society of Addiction Medicine over four years in the makings. Here is a brief summation of the study.
Folks we are back to the disease concept again and now it is proven. Alcoholism is a disease.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44147493.../#.TkrzI4JwZ8F

(excerpt from the article)

"The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) just released this new definition of addiction after a four-year process involving more than 80 experts.

At its core, addiction isn't just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It's a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas," said Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM who oversaw the development of the new definition. "Many behaviors driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It's about underlying neurology, not outward actions."
Uh, we're not discussing whether addiction is a disease. Be that as it may the very name of that organization impeaches its credibility. I might as well cite a study by the vatican that proves a patch of fog on my bathroom mirror was an incarnation of the virgin mother.
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Old 17th August 2011, 03:52 AM   #5167
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Originally Posted by 8den View Post
None of these other methods have been around as long as AA. Which in 75 years hasn't played any part in any independent study in it's own efficacy.
I suspect that is true. However if we were to delve back in this thread some 12 months ago, we had an agreed 'recovery rate' of around 5%. I say agreed because I could not dispute what I was being told by the 'anti AAers' (fwoaw).

That said AA defends this by simply pointing to their traditions; AA does not do a roll call (so to speak) and subsequently supervised studies are obviously difficult.

Originally Posted by 8den View Post
And no one is ever sentenced to attend or participate of these other methods.
I agree. You might have forgotten, but I have consistently said that the State, in sending a perpetrator to AA is an abject abdication of its civic responsibilities with regard to treatment, rehabilitation or punishment.

Originally Posted by 8den View Post
People are sentenced to attend A.A. and 12 step programs. And while this is the case which should see some evidence of A.A's superiority.
I suggest you take this up with your local member and not AA; this is an issue for the state and court systems.

Originally Posted by 8den View Post
And if AA isnt willing to provide this evidence, and isn't interested in this claim.
Maybe not, like I say take it up with the state, not AA.


Now, given we now have the efficacy of other programs on the table, no doubt you will be able to provide something that proves the effecacy of your recommended treatments.


To Poster Nutbag
Firsly congratulations on your efforts.
Secondly, I would like to to ask - as I am genuinely interested - what is the "evidence based treatment" that you are now receiving and what the evidence is?
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Old 17th August 2011, 10:30 AM   #5168
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
To Poster Nutbag
Firsly congratulations on your efforts.
Secondly, I would like to to ask - as I am genuinely interested - what is the "evidence based treatment" that you are now receiving and what the evidence is?
Thanks Alfie! I've been out of treatment for several years now and am not currently in any sort of program (though I've got a good support network), but I attended one of the few non-12 Step treatment programs in the US. It's basic approach was centered on behavioral therapy/modification, but the reason I used the term "evidence based" is that the center is constantly reviewing literature and modifying their program based on what current research suggests is effective. Having also done a 12-step treatment center, which hasn't changed it's program much since in opened in the fifties, the difference is night and day. I'd be more than happy to PM you with the name of the program if you're interested in checking it out. There was no one size fits all treatment like one would find at AA or a 12-step based center, with very detailed treatment plans for each patient developed by examining each patient's history in depth. It was by no means a perfect program, but I was really impressed with the efforts that the staff made to constantly improve outcomes by leaving dogma (like the 12-steps) out the door.
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Old 17th August 2011, 04:09 PM   #5169
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Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
Thanks Alfie! I've been out of treatment for several years now and am not currently in any sort of program (though I've got a good support network), but I attended one of the few non-12 Step treatment programs in the US. It's basic approach was centered on behavioral therapy/modification, but the reason I used the term "evidence based" is that the center is constantly reviewing literature and modifying their program based on what current research suggests is effective. Having also done a 12-step treatment center, which hasn't changed it's program much since in opened in the fifties, the difference is night and day. I'd be more than happy to PM you with the name of the program if you're interested in checking it out. There was no one size fits all treatment like one would find at AA or a 12-step based center, with very detailed treatment plans for each patient developed by examining each patient's history in depth. It was by no means a perfect program, but I was really impressed with the efforts that the staff made to constantly improve outcomes by leaving dogma (like the 12-steps) out the door.
Please pm me me the details. Although I must admit, I do not know why you wouldn't post the name of it here.

And not wanting to nit pick too much: It seems that constant review of their literature is the only evidence*. Sadly if this is the only evidence, it really doesn't stack up and actual evidence seems as nebulous as any other treatment. Moreover, what you claim works, works for you; similarly when AA members say AA works, they too are saying it works for them.

*I will be happily be shown to be wrong.
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Old 17th August 2011, 07:36 PM   #5170
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Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
You mean the overwhelming numbers of non-religionists in those 25 non-prayer AA meetings located somewhere in the northeast? Or do you mean the overwhelming number of AA members who willingly cite one of the 2 christian prayers used world-wide to end meetings? Or both?
Hey Bamberger, I am truly puzzled why you can not accept my answer. I have always respected your comments and even one time admitted my lack of facts to you publicly . Come on dude lighten up.
I fail to see where you also Bamberger have not witnessed many alcoholics talk about there lack of taste for the religious buffet. Spirituality is a form of meditation for most I know. It has a calming effect, a place they go where it is safe, this isn't necessarily with God or have to do with God.
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Old 17th August 2011, 07:44 PM   #5171
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Originally Posted by causeandeffect View Post
That means absolutely nothing. ASAM is merely a front group created to push the AA agenda. Just google "AA was founded by"

"The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) was started by Dr.Ruth Fox (founding president) in the early 1950's to promote AA and its spiritually-based 12-step treatment of alcoholism to doctors. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) first identified alcoholism and drug addiction as a disciplinary problem in 1958 and called for a model probation and rehabilitation program to be adopted by state medical boards. ASAM used this opportunity to broaden its power and influence among medical professionals, despite the fact that the American Medical Association (AMA) had previously gone on record as strongly critical of the unscientific basis of the 12-step approach promoted in AA's so-called "Big Book" as being "a curious combination of organizing propaganda and religious exhortation" and generally having "no scientific merit or interest." [Book review of "Alcoholics Anonymous", Journal of the American Medical Association, 1939"

Add to that the disproportionate number of steppers in this field and you have a "disease diagnosis. And even considering that, it still took 4 years to reach that conclusion? They didn't even name any brain process that define this disease. Please.
Cause and Effect,
I will surprise you here because I am in agreement. These Doctors usually have a tendency of working with the Treatment Industry and Big Pharma.
AA/GSO is not involved in the studies but I can see your concern for people coming to AA. Especially coming straight from Treatmnet Centers.
Now that being said they are professionals in their fields so they do command some professional courtesy, at least from me.
Being a alcoholic I am always interested in these type of studies, I try very hard to be objective because I know I have latent fears concerning their associations.
So lets open up this discussion on the efficacy of this study as it pertains to AA, if I can even make that ascertain.
It is late I will post more tomorrow.
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Old 17th August 2011, 08:01 PM   #5172
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Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
Hey all! I've been lurking this thread for a while and feel compelled to jump in with my two cents. I've been sober for going on 4 years now. I've been to hundreds of AA meetings, closed and open, and for the past year plus, I've had to walk away because the environment is extremely uncomfortable for me as an atheist. Thankfully I had attended a treatment center that focuses on evidence based treatment so I didn't walk away from what I thought was the only path to sobriety, but it's really frustrating to see AA members insist that the program is not religious, when the religiosity of the program is what forced me out the door. It also kept me out of the program when I could have used treatment. I remember attending my first AA meeting, totally unaware of the religious (or spiritual, I fail to see a substantive difference) component. I sat down in a dirty church basement, adorned with crosses, and listened to people talk about how God had changed their lives. I left absolutely stunned that that was the secret to AA, and it took another year before I found a better alternative. Once I had some time sober, I started going back to AA, got a sponsor, did a 90 in 90, did the steps, and the whole gig. I kept it up for as long as I could, but I simply couldn't take biting my tongue in meetings and hearing absurd stories about how God had personally saved people from an alcoholic death. This is just my experience with the program and perhaps there are regional differences, but the program made me feel like a total fraud. I didn't believe in God and couldn't no matter how hard I tried, all while hearing all the time that my Higher Power was the only thing between me and a drink. Thankfully, I've managed to build a good, rational support network of like-minded folks, but to see that people are arguing in good faith that AA is not religious is downright mind boggling to me.



Why exactly was "We Agnostics" written? It sure as heck wasn't to provide a rational, well-thought out justification of AA's principles to non-believers. The condescension and frankly stupidity contained in that chapter was a large part of why I left the program. I'm not going to break down the chapter in detail, but according to Bill in "We Agnostics", an alcoholic "may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer." Translation: abandon your thoughts about spirituality (which for all Bill knows are well justified) and accept mine, or remaining a drunk. Classic false dichotomy. He literally says remaining an atheist or agnostic will doom us.

This particular paragraph on page 49 was what convinced me that Bill had no intention of being intellectually honest, nor did he actually respect someone who didn't believe in god. "Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end of all. Rather vain of us, wasn't it?" He conflates a perfectly justified belief (that God doesn't exist) with some absurdly narcissistic caricature, and mocks us at the end. This is straight from the book that the program takes its name from.
And to quote Doctor Bob, "If you think you are an atheist,an agnostic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you."

Now I think that AA is religious, and for good reason, but regardless, the discussion of disbelief in the text is offensive and childish. It is totally unwelcoming to anyone who doesn't share Bill's view about God, and the only way to get around this is to cherry pick from the book which above said has the key to saving your life. If saying that someone who doesn't believe in the organizations belief about God will quite literally doom them doesn't count as a religion, I don't know what does.
Nutbag,
See I am just like you a atheist, was agnostic but changed as life went on. I had no problem with AA and understood that Bill made every effort he could to accommodate me.
I wasn't into breaking down every word, sentence and paragraph. I also didn't feel insulted, Jeesh, the book was written 7 decades ago. Reading it was like trying a hang out with my grandfather.
I wanted and needed to get sober, wasn't going for any religion or spirituality and guess what my sponsor and friends didn't push it on me. I went to two meeting a week, one at my homegroup and the other with my sponsor and friends. As time went on I spent more time with my friends (my sponsor had now become a friend) and we study the 12 steps and talked about living a new life. Years forward I moved on from AA and practice my new life and still am.
I understand AA wasn't for you but to make a blanket statement like AA is this or that is not really being fair to all the folks who did and are benefiting from AA.
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Old 17th August 2011, 08:25 PM   #5173
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Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
Well now we have a study done by the American Society of Addiction Medicine over four years in the makings. Here is a brief summation of the study.
Folks we are back to the disease concept again and now it is proven. Alcoholism is a disease.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44147493.../#.TkrzI4JwZ8F

(excerpt from the article)

"The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) just released this new definition of addiction after a four-year process involving more than 80 experts.

At its core, addiction isn't just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It's a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas," said Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM who oversaw the development of the new definition. "Many behaviors driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It's about underlying neurology, not outward actions."
That pretty much rules AA out as a treatment then, doesn't it? You can't 12 step a disease away.

AA is about a lot of things, effective treatment of alcoholics is not one of them.
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Old 18th August 2011, 03:50 AM   #5174
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
AA is about a lot of things, effective treatment of alcoholics is not one of them.
I would go so far as to say that the actual treatment of alcoholics is not even one of them. AA is a religiously oriented program based on the tenants of the Oxford (moralistic) Group Movement, an evangelical christian organization headed by Frank Buchman in the early part of the last century.

The AA 12 steps have their roots in the Oxford Group's "absolutes". The basics premise of both programs is to find god, admit sins, improve one's morals and pass on such beliefs to new prospects. That sounds a bit like two of the world's major religions, does it not?

BTW, Buchman was an interesting character. Fluent in German, he was friends with Heinrich Himmler. He attended a Nazi rally in Nuremberg and saw Hitler in a positive light.
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Old 18th August 2011, 09:42 AM   #5175
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Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
Nutbag,
See I am just like you a atheist, was agnostic but changed as life went on. I had no problem with AA and understood that Bill made every effort he could to accommodate me.
I wasn't into breaking down every word, sentence and paragraph. I also didn't feel insulted, Jeesh, the book was written 7 decades ago. Reading it was like trying a hang out with my grandfather.
I wanted and needed to get sober, wasn't going for any religion or spirituality and guess what my sponsor and friends didn't push it on me. I went to two meeting a week, one at my homegroup and the other with my sponsor and friends. As time went on I spent more time with my friends (my sponsor had now become a friend) and we study the 12 steps and talked about living a new life. Years forward I moved on from AA and practice my new life and still am.
I understand AA wasn't for you but to make a blanket statement like AA is this or that is not really being fair to all the folks who did and are benefiting from AA.
I appreciate what your saying Danny, and I don't think that AA is useless for everyone or even that I got nothing from it. But if the program truly was not religious, We Agnostics would not be placing atheists and agnostics in the situation where they're told they must accept a certain god (regardless of how broadly it's defined) or be doomed to an alcoholic death. It's a false dichotomy, and its one that keeps people out of treatment when they could really need it. I went in open minded just like you, simply ignored the God talk for years and did the whole deal just as AA suggests. I pushed the whole religious aspect aside until I was sober for years, but in the process of reading the book to be a better AA, I simply couldn't get past the religious dogma. I still speak to my old sponsor almost daily and a large portion of the sober people I rely on are in AA. I have nothing against AAs because I met far too many good, caring people in the program to think that they're doing anything malicious. But at some point the cognitive dissonance got too great and I couldn't keep lying or obfuscating the truth when I was in meetings. The few times I was frank about my disbelief I was shot down either in meetings or told afterwards that I was keeping the solution from newcomers. There's just no room for someone like me in a program like that. As long as it's helping you, then that's what matters. For me, AA was a great way to meet people in the same boat, but at some point it simply made me feel like a fraud, and I wasn't willing to remain in an organization that made me feel that way. Congrats on your sobriety btw!
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Old 18th August 2011, 09:59 AM   #5176
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
Please pm me me the details. Although I must admit, I do not know why you wouldn't post the name of it here.

And not wanting to nit pick too much: It seems that constant review of their literature is the only evidence*. Sadly if this is the only evidence, it really doesn't stack up and actual evidence seems as nebulous as any other treatment. Moreover, what you claim works, works for you; similarly when AA members say AA works, they too are saying it works for them.

*I will be happily be shown to be wrong.
I'll shoot you a pm shortly. I just don't want this to turn into a debate about a particular treatment center, Id much rather focus on how centers like this use science to modify their programs, while 12-step centers have a core ideology that doesn't change. First off, constant review of the literature and changes to methodology based on what science says is effective is evidence based no matter how you cut it. Most treatment centers (at least in the US) use the 12-steps as the basis for their programs, and that doesn't change regardless of whether their is evidence that there are more effective methods available. At least from my anecdotal experience with a well-known 12-step center, it was essentially revealed dogma. Second, the non-12 step center is partnered with an Ivy league school so that they have access to new, promising treatments and can implement them if there's sufficient evidence that they will be effective. The program has evolved significantly since it started based on what has been shown to work via scientific research. I don't see how this doesn't qualify as evidence based. I would imagine your objection is that I didn't mention patient follow-ups conducted by the program itself. They do conduct them, though I'm not sure how they use them.

Also, I didn't say AA or 12-step programs didn't work for anyone. I did say that the treatment center in question uses evidence to improve the program. AA simply doesn't do that. I won't argue that there are plenty of people who get sober in AA, but for all we know slight modifications in AA could lead to drastically higher success rates. However, since AA will not change it's dogma regardless of scientific evidence, we'll never know.
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Old 18th August 2011, 10:10 AM   #5177
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
That pretty much rules AA out as a treatment then, doesn't it? You can't 12 step a disease away.

AA is about a lot of things, effective treatment of alcoholics is not one of them.
Maybe Alfie can sway in here on this subject.
I don't know if you can effectively say AA is a Treatment. It may be part of a "Treatment Plan" but I never thought that AA was a medical option.
I think often members on threads such as this confuse the fellowship of AA (scuttlebutt), 12 Step (supposedly) Treatment Centers and the AA steps and principles as written in the Big Book all confused.
The fellowship and the treatment centers are not necessarily AA, folks. In most cases (IMO) they aren't at all.
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Old 18th August 2011, 04:20 PM   #5178
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Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
I appreciate what your saying Danny, and I don't think that AA is useless for everyone or even that I got nothing from it. But if the program truly was not religious, We Agnostics would not be placing atheists and agnostics in the situation where they're told they must accept a certain god (regardless of how broadly it's defined) or be doomed to an alcoholic death. It's a false dichotomy, and its one that keeps people out of treatment when they could really need it. I went in open minded just like you, simply ignored the God talk for years and did the whole deal just as AA suggests. I pushed the whole religious aspect aside until I was sober for years, but in the process of reading the book to be a better AA, I simply couldn't get past the religious dogma. I still speak to my old sponsor almost daily and a large portion of the sober people I rely on are in AA. I have nothing against AAs because I met far too many good, caring people in the program to think that they're doing anything malicious. But at some point the cognitive dissonance got too great and I couldn't keep lying or obfuscating the truth when I was in meetings. The few times I was frank about my disbelief I was shot down either in meetings or told afterwards that I was keeping the solution from newcomers. There's just no room for someone like me in a program like that. As long as it's helping you, then that's what matters. For me, AA was a great way to meet people in the same boat, but at some point it simply made me feel like a fraud, and I wasn't willing to remain in an organization that made me feel that way. Congrats on your sobriety btw!
WoW, Nutbag this has got to be one of the best posts that I have read here in a while. Rational, fair minded and not afraid to share your principles.
Yes the religious overtones did become cumbersome for me to in the end. I have not been with AA in some time now yet I still call myself a member. Old habits die hard.
I do disagree with one of your major points, though. You said, "It's a false dichotomy, and its one that keeps people out of treatment when they could really need it". In 25 years I have never seen someone not receive mental/emotional help when they asked or sought it.
Jeesh, it seems because a few dopes suggest something redonkulous to someone, like hey, Joey, stop taking that medication and work the steps, you folks think that 1.5 million AA members are so stupid that we can't realize when we need help from a professional. So many anti-AA sites like to ratchet up the drama by saying, every new comer is so vulnerable and naive, their brain has not matured yet. I don't know about you but most Alcoholics I know who go to meeting could run rings around most Anti-AA'ers in the intellect dept. They go to psychiatrist when they should, they take medication when they should, they do exercise when they should, they eat healthy, they educate themselves ect....
What book are you reading. So Bill was a bit of a chauvinist, sexist, know it all and was over the top on his religious thoughts (he was also long in the tooth during some of his last writings).
AA is working, has been working and will continue to work for people who want it.
Just say'in.
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Old 19th August 2011, 12:20 AM   #5179
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Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
I just don't want this to turn into a debate about a particular treatment center, Id much rather focus on how centers like this use science to modify their programs,
Great. What have you got? You have already inferred that you can't produce anything around your treatment centre. So how do they use science to modify (and improve I hope) their programs. And how can we find out?

Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
First off, constant review of the literature and changes to methodology based on what science says is effective is evidence based no matter how you cut it.
It certainly would be, what have you got?

Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
Most treatment centers (at least in the US) use the 12-steps as the basis for their programs, and that doesn't change regardless of whether their is evidence that there are more effective methods available.
Such as?

Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
Second, the non-12 step center is partnered with an Ivy league school so that they have access to new, promising treatments and can implement them if there's sufficient evidence that they will be effective.
So we don't actually have anything yet? It's all just "promising"? I must say I am disappointed.

Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
The program has evolved significantly since it started based on what has been shown to work via scientific research.
Now I am confused. Are you saying we now have evidence? Can we please see it?

Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
I don't see how this doesn't qualify as evidence based.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. And I am getting a bit peckish.

Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
I would imagine your objection is that I didn't mention patient follow-ups conducted by the program itself. They do conduct them, though I'm not sure how they use them.
I have no objections whatsoever as I haven't seen anything yet.

Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
Maybe Alfie can sway in here on this subject.
I don't know if you can effectively say AA is a Treatment. It may be part of a "Treatment Plan" but I never thought that AA was a medical option.
Bingo!

My take here is that recovery is a three step process:
Detox: physical withdrawal.
Rehab: education, new skills, CBT counselling etc
Maintenance: Ongoing application of skills learned.

AA can form part of the last two.
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Old 19th August 2011, 03:42 AM   #5180
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
Great. What have you got? You have already inferred that you can't produce anything around your treatment centre. So how do they use science to modify (and improve I hope) their programs. And how can we find out?
That doesn't have to be answered. The fact that the treatment center takes a progressive approach to treating addiction means that it is years (~75) ahead of AA's religious approach to curing a person's morals addiction. The center might not be perfect, but it is progressing.


Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
My take here is that recovery is a three step process:
Detox: physical withdrawal.
Rehab: education, new skills, CBT counselling etc
Maintenance: Ongoing application of skills learned.

AA can form part of the last two.
AA can also very much create an obstacle to the last two. CBT for one places the individual front and center as the higher power for making and acting on decisions. AA on the other hand directs the individual to an external, monotheistic entity that needs to be consulted before action can be taken.
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Old 19th August 2011, 06:19 PM   #5181
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Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
That doesn't have to be answered.
Of course it does. If a claim is made it needs to be supported. The claim was it is evidence based and progressive. What evidence? What progress?
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Old 20th August 2011, 09:28 AM   #5182
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
Of course it does. If a claim is made it needs to be supported. The claim was it is evidence based and progressive. What evidence? What progress?
He said he'd PM you with the name of the place. Have at it with the research.

What proof do you have that you're a (competent) addiction counselor? Have you attended a university? Evidence please.

While we're on the subject of evidence, you might want to ask Danny why he claimed there are non-prayer meetings in the northeast, yet won't provide the names.

The only thing I'm quite sure about is that a monotheistic entity called God is mentioned a few hundred times in the AA literature. The evidence for that is pretty clear.
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Old 20th August 2011, 09:29 AM   #5183
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
Of course it does. If a claim is made it needs to be supported. The claim was it is evidence based and progressive. What evidence? What progress?
Again Alfie, I'm not interested in debating the merits and methodology of a particular treatment center. I gave you a link to their website which contains some information about their methods. If you, as an addictions professional, wish to inquire further, I'm sure they'd be able to give you additional information.

Just for the record, it's clear you're being intellectually dishonest here. Instead of inquiring for yourself, you're asking me to provide information that you know isn't available to any former patient at any former center in written form. Using the standard you're asking for, there's no evidence that western medicine is evidence based. My GP doesn't make the literature he reviews and incorporates into practice publicly available on a website, and I venture that very few, if any, do so. To find out if he uses evidence based medicine, I have to actually do a little research.

Also, from the "For Clinicians" tab of the link i sent you, "The determination to stay on the leading edge of new findings in the field of addiction treatment has resulted in the current development of new treatment services..." Look at that, straight from the horses mouth.
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Old 20th August 2011, 01:02 PM   #5184
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
Emotive twaddle.
Evidence of "millions of lives" please.
It's a judgment call. This thread is full of evidence of ruined lives because of the cult that I have personally researched and posted. Such as the many women who have written articles for major papers and blogs on how AA ruined their marriage. It's on a grand scale. As has been pointed out many times, when you ask for evidence for a claim you need to stipulate the conditions. What would you need to see? What would disprove evolution? Rabbit fossil in the Cambrain. Word up.

Quote:
The reality is that it is alcohol that is the problem for these people, not AA.
evidence please.
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Old 20th August 2011, 01:11 PM   #5185
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Originally Posted by qayak View Post
Exactly and it is interesting, as one with a sister who belongs to another cult, to see how AA members are sucked into their cult. It is very enlightening to see the depth of the cognitive dissonance cult members wallow in to justify their participation.
A scientifically falsifiable and objective claim about human beings which should be taught to every child in school. Think of the trillions we'd save and the well-being we'd create if we had anti-cult training in place.

One of the best posts in this thread qayak, it's all there, flawless victory. THAT is what the cochrane reviewers wanted to say, i am sure.
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Old 20th August 2011, 02:33 PM   #5186
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Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
But at some point the cognitive dissonance got too great and I couldn't keep lying or obfuscating the truth when I was in meetings ... For me, AA was a great way to meet people in the same boat, but at some point it simply made me feel like a fraud, and I wasn't willing to remain in an organization that made me feel that way.
This is very reasonable and cogent. I have been defending AA on this thread mainly because some posters see it as utterly pernicious, evil and deceptive. But I keep wondering, who benefits? If this is a fraud, what is the ulterior motive? If this is a cult, who is the leader? Even if the ultimate motive (primary purpose) is to convert agnostics into theists, who benefits?

Re: efficacy. I don't think the steps get you sober. You can't work them effectively while still drinking. Although 1, 2 and 3 might help you through detox you can't do a fourth step drunk, you need some distance from the chemicals, you need some clarity to see how you might have hurt someone, or, conversely, to stop blaming yourself for something that wasn't your fault.

However I do think meetings and the steps can help you stay sober, for the reason you stated above: You found a support system that you continue to utilize. Some people find relief from shame by working the steps. But if meetings "made you feel like a fraud" you were right to walk away; if AA participation fosters a sense of shame it is counterproductive.

The "cognitive dissonance" is apparently much lower in Australia, per Alfie, and as I am vaguely theistic I didn't run into that as much. In meetings I took everyone's statements with a grain of salt as I didn't believe any particular "old-timer" had the answer. It's not a given that if you stop going to meetings you will use again. However, the meetings - accessible, free support - are good resources for many people.
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Old 20th August 2011, 05:38 PM   #5187
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I am not surprised one bit that the AA oppositionists have gone rather silent, it confirms some things I have known and suspected all along about them and efficacy rates:
- their drive is not about alcohol recovery, but anti religion, anti AA etc. They wish to destroy, not assist. And ST is a hate group.
- alcoholism is a very very complex thing; there are no cures per se.
- individual recovery depends on the individual.
- finding actual and/or accurate data on any recovery methods is virtually impossible. It seems the best we have are questionable meta analyses or extremely prejudice (positive or negative) reports.
- Methods vary as do results.

My opinion is and always has been that if it works, use it. If it doesn't keep trying new (and old) things. Alcoholism and addiction is a chronic relapse condition and massive amounts of persistence are often (even usually) required.
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Old 20th August 2011, 08:07 PM   #5188
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Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
He said he'd PM you with the name of the place. Have at it with the research.

What proof do you have that you're a (competent) addiction counselor? Have you attended a university? Evidence please.

While we're on the subject of evidence, you might want to ask Danny why he claimed there are non-prayer meetings in the northeast, yet won't provide the names.

The only thing I'm quite sure about is that a monotheistic entity called God is mentioned a few hundred times in the AA literature. The evidence for that is pretty clear.
Bamberger,
Would you please stop with all the evidence claims and efficacy statements. You and I have supplied none as of this date. I never said I would. What I am talking about here is anecdotal, as yours.
Once again I will not give you those names of groups no matter how much you scream.
Let it go.
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Old 20th August 2011, 08:43 PM   #5189
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Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
He said he'd PM you with the name of the place. Have at it with the research.
Which he did, but it seems research and evidence free.
Your point however was that it didn't need to be supported, would you hold an AA member and their claims to the same lack of scrutiny?

Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
What proof do you have that you're a (competent) addiction counselor? Have you attended a university? Evidence please.
Meh!
You might have missed it earlier when I said to someone else that "you can believe me or not, I really don't care". Moreover, I feel in no way obligated to prove anything to you. If my claims and statements do not make sense, ask me about them and I will do my best to clarify.

Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
Again Alfie, I'm not interested in debating the merits and methodology of a particular treatment center. I gave you a link to their website which contains some information about their methods. If you, as an addictions professional, wish to inquire further, I'm sure they'd be able to give you additional information.
Fair enough, it's just that you did say they were "evidence based and progressive", I just figured you would have had a reason for saying so. I also figured that by stepoping into this debate you might have had something in terms of their efficacy results.

Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
Just for the record, it's clear you're being intellectually dishonest here. Instead of inquiring for yourself, you're asking me to provide information that you know isn't available to any former patient at any former center in written form.
Maybe you are unaware of how it works around here, generally speaking if you make the claim, you need to support it.

Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
Using the standard you're asking for, there's no evidence that western medicine is evidence based.
You may just have hit the nail on the head here. Interestingly, this thread for a long time was about AA and its efficacy and the AA oppositionists screamed "Results! Where are the results?". I have been gently pointing out in my own way that results are hard to find for any treatment and the same levels of scrutiny should be applied accross the industry, not just to AA.

Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
Also, from the "For Clinicians" tab of the link i sent you, "The determination to stay on the leading edge of new findings in the field of addiction treatment has resulted in the current development of new treatment services..." Look at that, straight from the horses mouth.
Are you serious? I should just believe their advertisements?
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Old 20th August 2011, 08:46 PM   #5190
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Originally Posted by Joey McGee View Post
It's a judgment call. This thread is full of evidence of ruined saved lives because of the cult fellowship that I have personally researched and posted slandered. Such as the many women who have written articles for major papers and blogs on how AA alcoholism ruined their marriage. It's on a grand scale. As has been pointed out many times, when you ask for evidence for a claim you say you need to stipulate the conditions actually see some.
ftfy
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Old 21st August 2011, 10:51 AM   #5191
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Alfie stated:
Quote:
"You may just have hit the nail on the head here. Interestingly, this thread for a long time was about AA and its efficacy and the AA oppositionists screamed "Results! Where are the results?". I have been gently pointing out in my own way that results are hard to find for any treatment and the same levels of scrutiny should be applied accross the industry, not just to AA."
Thanks, I was beginning to wonder what the bejeezous was going on around here.
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Old 21st August 2011, 11:08 AM   #5192
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
I am not surprised one bit that the AA oppositionists have gone rather silent, it confirms some things I have known and suspected all along about them and efficacy rates:
I got promoted and work too much to post.
Quote:
- their drive is not about alcohol recovery, but anti religion, anti AA etc. They wish to destroy, not assist. And ST is a hate group.
They are such nice people. Here is an interview with the creators, I like these people a lot. You should too. I mean I challenge anyone to listen to that interview and then call them a hate group. Listen, seriously.
Quote:
- alcoholism is a very very complex thing; there are no cures per se.
- individual recovery depends on the individual.
- finding actual and/or accurate data on any recovery methods is virtually impossible. It seems the best we have are questionable meta analyses or extremely prejudice (positive or negative) reports.
No. The twelve steps are falsifiable and they have been falsified. Oh you can't prove love either. You can't show the 12 steps is good technology and their entire skeptic community knows it now. Great thread. Look around this is a hot topic in skepticism right now.

Quote:
My opinion is and always has been that if it works, use it. If it doesn't keep trying new (and old) things. Alcoholism and addiction is a chronic relapse condition and massive amounts of persistence are often (even usually) required.
That's common sense. This thread is about the cult of AA.
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Old 21st August 2011, 03:07 PM   #5193
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Originally Posted by Joey McGee View Post
Such as the many women who have written articles for major papers and blogs on how AA ruined their marriage.
Links please, these sound interesting and I can't find them through Google.
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Old 21st August 2011, 03:30 PM   #5194
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
Are you serious? I should just believe their advertisements?
Evasion noted. I provided you with a link to that clearly states that the program in question uses new findings to improve the program (that's what we call "evidence based" and you dismiss it because it comes from the program itself? That's utterly ridiculous.

Again, I never stated that this particular treatment center or any other has a better success rate than AA. I stated that it was based on evidence, unlike AA, which is based on the highly suspect and possibly drug induced experience of one individual 75 years ago. I have given you a link that shows this to be the case. If you want to brush aside anything that might suggest that there are viable alternatives to AA, I can't stop you. But it's quite clear that the program I described is evidence based and I provided documentation. AA has a set dogma, and as the agnostics groups in Toronto found out, it isn't subject to change. This particular treatment center, and others, use science to develop treatment regimens. It is one hundred-percent evidence based, and if you don't think so, it's because you're twisting the notion of evidence to be so obscure to protect AA from well-leveled charges that it is not based on evidence.
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Old 21st August 2011, 04:39 PM   #5195
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Originally Posted by Joey McGee View Post
That's common sense. This thread is about the cult of AA.
Um. No. Wrong as usual.
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Old 21st August 2011, 05:39 PM   #5196
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
- their drive is not about alcohol recovery, but anti religion, anti AA etc.
Your choice of words is interesting. Why not anti-spiritual?

Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post

They wish to destroy, not assist. And ST is a hate group.
Evidence please.
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Old 21st August 2011, 06:22 PM   #5197
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Quote:
Joey McGee says:
They are such nice people. Here is an interview with the creators, I like these people a lot. You should too. I mean I challenge anyone to listen to that interview and then call them a hate group. Listen, seriously.
Ok, you brought this up.
Read Marks posts (MA) on his blog, look at Elsa's (FTG) posts. They are hateful at times to the extreme. They purposely point out people by name and humiliate them.
OK enough about that.
AA is for some and not for others. The efficacy for AA is hard to come because AA is not a medical treatment it is a set of principles people choose to live by. One other caveat to go with that is the AA member has the independence to do as he pleases.
All I have seen here fro9m the anti is efforts to get AA put in a box as a one size fits all. AA is just not intended nor was it designed to be this way. IMO
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Old 21st August 2011, 06:23 PM   #5198
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Originally Posted by Poster Nutbag View Post
Evasion noted. I provided you with a link to that clearly states that the program in question uses new findings to improve the program (that's what we call "evidence based" and you dismiss it because it comes from the program itself? That's utterly ridiculous.
No evasion. It is a simple fact. They make a claim about what they call "evidence based". But do not explain what their evidence is. I don't expect you to answer for them however I do expect that they be held to the same scrutiny as AA or any other facility that would make a claim.
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Old 22nd August 2011, 03:17 AM   #5199
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
I am not surprised one bit that the AA oppositionists have gone rather silent, it confirms some things I have known and suspected all along about them and efficacy rates:
- their drive is not about alcohol recovery, but anti religion, anti AA etc. They wish to destroy, not assist. And ST is a hate group.
- alcoholism is a very very complex thing; there are no cures per se.
- individual recovery depends on the individual.
- finding actual and/or accurate data on any recovery methods is virtually impossible. It seems the best we have are questionable meta analyses or extremely prejudice (positive or negative) reports.
- Methods vary as do results.

My opinion is and always has been that if it works, use it. If it doesn't keep trying new (and old) things. Alcoholism and addiction is a chronic relapse condition and massive amounts of persistence are often (even usually) required.
No. Some anti-AA people have left because they don't feel we're getting anywhere.

And I don't get why you are surprised that they focused on the religious aspect of AA since that was the point of the thread in the first place. I don't know why "efficacy" was added, rather than address the derails, but there you have it.
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Old 22nd August 2011, 03:47 AM   #5200
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
Your choice of words is interesting. Why not anti-spiritual?
No reason, call it an oversight.

Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
Evidence please.
Have you ever been there? If so, being the AA member that you are , you would know the answer.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
No. Some anti-AA people have left because they don't feel we're getting anywhere.
No argument from me on that one. Some people also stop going to their doctor because they feel they aren't getting anywhere. Same with their mechanic, their music teacher or their internet provider.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
And I don't get why you are surprised that they focused on the religious aspect of AA since that was the point of the thread in the first place.
Did I say that somewhere? I must have forgotten. Could you show me context please, I am genuinely confused.
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