I realize there are already a couple of debates touched off by Charlie Sheen’s latest rant, so I would like to limit this thread to AA and its alleged “5% success rate”.
First, I put my cards on the table. I an an alcoholic in AA and I have been 100% sober since April 17, 1993.
I really do not understand where this 5% figure comes from. If you know AA, you will realize it is like trying to quantify something that cannot be quantified because it is highly personal and varies with each individual.
To me, the “5%” figure about AA is as bewildering as a figure that says that 10% of mothers love their children too much, while 12% do not love them enough.
What exactly did this survey define as “success”? If you have info on it, I would like to see it.
You see, nobody in AA, including myself with 18 years of sobriety, ever says “I will never drink again”.
Our only objective is to draw strength from one another so we can remain sober TODAY. Being sober TODAY is the only success any AA member can ever really claim.
Do you consider me a success because I have not touched a drop in 18 years? What if I never drink until the day I die? Would I still be a success? What if I started drinking tomorrow and stayed out of control for 6 months? Would I then be a failure? What if after 6 months I realized what I had done, got back into AA, and remained sober for the rest of my life? Would I be a success then?
I have AA buddies who remained sober 10 years, went out and drank like fish for 3 years, and then came back and stayed sober for the last 20 years of their lives. Success or failure?
I even wonder how you would track “success”. AA has no membership lists, does not know your last name, does not record who goes to meetings, does not issue membership cards or control members in any way. Most people have one or two “favourite” meetings, but if a person suddenly stops going to their regular meeting, they may be back on the bottle, or they may just have moved to another part of town, or they may have found another meeting they like better. AA has no leaders, no authority, no power over you, no way to track you or monitor your sobriety.
I am completely baffled by hostility to an organization that is a purely voluntary association of people who have tried and failed to overcome their drinking problem alone and now get together with other people who have the same problem so they can lend one another strength.
If you are not an alcoholic and you do not need AA, fine and dandy. Most people who drink are not alcoholics. Have one for me. Have a nice life. Why do people like Sheen get mad at AA?