In defense of AA

Ideology-ideallery-cmJohn Kelly chimes in with a powerful and evidence-based defense of AA, that doesn’t just rebut Dodes’ arguments, he destroys them.

It’s too good to pull quotes from, take the time to read the whole thing.  Here’s a taste:

Dr. Dodes begins his criticism of AA and related treatment by citing a 1991 study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. This paper studied the treatment of a large number of individuals with alcohol problems. Dr. Dodes notes in his book that compulsory inpatient treatment had a better outcome than AA alone. But what he fails to mention is that the inpatient unit is a 12-step-based program with AA meetings during treatment, and requirements to attend AA meetings three times a week after discharge in the year following treatment.

Importantly, too, when you compare the alcohol outcomes (average number of daily drinks, number of drinks per month, number of binges, and serious symptoms of alcohol use), AA alone was just as good as the AA-based inpatient treatment. Yet Dr. Dodes uses this study to argue that AA is poor while inpatient treatment is good — a bizarrely distorted, misleading and incorrect interpretation of the study’s findings.

4 thoughts on “In defense of AA

  1. This is a robust evidenced-based defence of 12-step approaches. I took a look at the comments and, of course, few who oppose 12-step do so on the basis of the evidence; they do so on philosophical grounds and anecdote. Also so many ANGRY people!


  2. I did not go to rehab. When I called there was no bed, and that was that.
    But the thing I have picked up on is that all these programs let you out with the intent that you will go to some sort of group meetings for support.
    Anyone who is locked up can be kept clean by just not allowing them any drugs; that makes me think that the real work of sobriety is down outside of treatment facilities. If AA is not doing anything then how does anyone ever kick.
    I quit on my own. I am, however, a loner by nature so groups freak me out. If I weren’t a loaner I think the groups would of helped me just like church helps Christians. We get to be around people who share the same belief systems (and, in AA, who are fighting a common enemy), we can agree to get together for some function and we can know the venue won’t be pushing alcohol for us.
    I see commercials for the US Army that tell you to be an “Army of 1” and yet in the army you are always in a squad. That is because a squad of guys working together can accomplish more than 50 guys working disparately can.


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