Couple of questions about AA ...

  1. I know Alcoholics Anonymous is sometimes used as a treatment program for crimes like DUI and domestic violence. Are there non-religious alternatives around?
  2. How well is AA regarded by the medical community? Does it have the standing of the expensive spa-based dry-out farms?

AA is not exactly used to treat domestic violence. It is a support/recovery program if you find your life has become unmanageable due to alcohol.

I am agnostic yet still go to AA. My substance of choice is NOT alcohol, yet I still go to AA along with another 12 step program.

I think AA is pretty much respected by the medical community and everyone else. Those expensive places usually still suggest AA when they discharge you. Actually many inpatient programs have AA meetings going on during your stay.

Good luck and AA has done a world of good for a whole lot of people.

My only personal contribution to this is that I remeber having seen the subject come up here before.

See this recent thread on Rational Recovery.

You may also be interested in a Great Debates thread that went to 6 pages: AA is a religious organization.

Most in-patient rehabs are based on AA and involve participation in AA as one of the threads of treatment (along with group therapy, etc.).

twicks, graduate of an in-patient rehab and sober through the steps of AA for 21.5 years – but not traditionally religious

I think this is probably more appropriate for IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

  1. DWI/DUI probabtions around here used to require that the convicted attend ten AA or NA meetings, at least that’s what a couple of friends told me years ago. I suspect that this is still be part of the standard sentencing.

As was said above, AA isn’t used to address domestic violence, but anger and violence can be compulsive/habitual behaviors and the basic principles of the Twelve Steps have successfully been incorporated into anger management therapy.

The only belief about God that AA requires is “that you ain’t him/her/it”, that there is something more important than yourself and your own beliefs. The old AA line about “self will run riot” seems to say a lot about compulsive and addictive behavior, and there isn’t much chance for growth if someone thinks increasingly only about themselves.
2) To the extent that the medical community agrees about anything, I’d say that AA and its concepts are overwhelmingly recognized as being effective. Beyond that, I’ll leave it to the docs around here to say.

For what it’s worth, I have a son who is in a boarding school addressing his anger issues and possible bipolar disorder. His therapy curriculum borrows a lot from AA. He has grown far more in the last nine months than he did the the previous five years, and he’s happy and on an even keel for the first time in a long time.

To the best of my knowledge AA seems to to revolve around asking for help from “a higher power”. It doesn’t have to do with Christianity, or even any religion. Just recognizing that there are/is something out there bigger than yourself. And it’s okay to ask for help in your time of greater need.

It takes some of the weight off guilt, which would drag down the strongest of addictions.

Sorry if I misinterpreted this for anyone.

There’s the Secular Organization for Sobriety:

and SMART Recovery:

Both of these are tiny compared to AA.

You may also find the writings of Stanton Peele interesting:

Some cities have an atheist/agnostic AA meeting.

I’d heard (perhaps here) that AA wasn’t exactly thrilled about judges ordering DUI offenders into the program, since a big part of successful recovery is wanting to recover. Someone who comes in with the attitude “the judge says I gotta come here ten times or else I go to jail” isn’t nearly as likely to make progress as someone who comes in by their own decision, and isn’t going to be much use as far as moral support for other members is concerned.

Izzat true?

If you think you can handle the situation without God, then don’t bother going to AA. If you’re discovering that your life is unmanageable and you might need a power higher than yourself, go to a meeting.

(… mine)

I know it is true of other recovery projects (a friend works for Proyecto Hombre).

I’ll chime and say not really to your first sentence and yes do come for your second sentence. A higher power is not, I repeat, is not the christian God. A higher power could just be the group conscience/therapy you get from attending a meeting, or any God of YOUR own understanding.

As to what NAVA said: AA does not endorse any groups whatsoever and some groups do frown upon court ordered AA. But there is really nothing we can do about it. Some court ordered folk stay after their 15 sessions, others don’t.

Isn’t Al-anon the program that uses the AA method for those that have been abused by alcoholics?

It’s not a matter of “abuse” in any but the broadest sense of the term. Al-Anon is for people who feel that their own lives are becoming unmanageable because of their relationships with alcoholics, which may *or may not be * abusive.

Al-Anon member (former spouse was alcoholic, but sober now for 10 years thanks to AA).

As has been pointed out, the AA process does not call on anyone to espouse a religious belief, only that the person acknowledge that their life has become unmanagable due to alcohol (or in the case of Al-Anon, because of a relationship with a person who is alcoholic) and assistance from a higher-power (however the person wants to define that term) is needed.

I have been to a few AA meetings, and at the end we held hands and said the Our Father. I also read the AA book, and IMO if you read between the lines you get far more than a simple higher power. Yes technically the only requirement is that one places the self below something else, but in my experience this can turn into a vaguely Christian God quite readily.

Simply because there are more of them. I hold hands at the end of meetings and say the serenity prayer to myself instead of the Our Father. Many, Many people do this. It is my experience that those who get hung up on the religiosity or lack thereof in AA tend to drop out quicker…or stop listening. Some can’t stand that others use the Christian higher power as their God and do not want to hear anything about itand quickly retreat to their own will. That’s a gamble I don’t want to endure. I don’t participate in the Christian God part of meetings, and I outwardly state my higher power is a God of my Own understanding. I have many agnostic and athiest collegues in the program who are still there some 20+ years into sobriety because AA is about so much more than any religious overtones.

Not to hijack the thread, but I often get the feeling the long term members have given up one addictive behavior only to take up another. One member of my Al-Anon group, for instance, has not been married to her alcoholic spouse for more than 20 years - in fact, he’s dead. She continues to attend meetings regularly.

In the scheme of things, being addicted to a regular meeting for whatever reason is no big deal in my book, but I wonder if, at some point, the long termers will ever say, “OK - I’ve done my work, I’ve followed my program, I’m moving on.”

Vaguely? Bwahahahahaha! You don’t need to read between the lines. The word “god” appears on nearly every page. I find it insulting that they try to pass it off as something other than religious. If they’d just come clean about it I’d find them less irritating. This whole “sneaking it under the door” approach really pisses me off.