The Surprising Failures of 12 Steps

slimvictor

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"Darkness cannot be dissipated with more darkness.
How a pseudoscientific, religious organization birthed the most trusted method of addiction treatment

Say you’ve been diagnosed with a serious, life-altering illness or psychological condition. In lieu of medication, psychotherapy, or a combination thereof, your doctor prescribes nightly meetings with a group of similarly afflicted individuals, and a set of 12 non-medical guidelines for recovery, half of which require direct appeals to God. What would you do?

Especially to nontheists, the concept of “asking God to remove defects of character” can feel anachronistic. But it is the sixth step in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous—the prototype of 12-step facilitation (TSF), the almost universally accepted standard for addiction-recovery in America today.

From its origins in the treatment of alcoholism, TSF is now applied to over 300 addictions and psychological disorders: drug-use, of course (Narcotics Anonymous), but also smoking, sex and pornography addictions, social anxiety, kleptomania, overeating, compulsive spending, problem-gambling, even "workaholism."

Although AA does not keep membership records—the idea being pretty antithetical to the whole “anonymity” thing—the organization estimates that as of January 2013, more than 1 million Americans regularly attended meetings with one of roughly 60,000 groups. Dr. Lance Dodes, a recently retired professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, estimates about 5 million individuals attend one or more meetings in a given year. Indeed the 12-step empire is vast, but Dodes thinks it’s an empire built on shaky foundations.

In his new book, released today, The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry (co-written with Zachary Dodes), he casts a critical eye on 12-step hegemony; dissecting the history, philosophy, and ultimate efficacy of TSF, lending special scrutiny to its flagship program.

“Peer reviewed studies peg the success rate of AA somewhere between five and 10 percent,” writes Dodes. “About one of every 15 people who enter these programs is able to become and stay sober.”

This contrasts with AA’s self-reported figures: A 2007 internal survey found that 33 percent of members said they had been sober for more than a decade. Twelve percent claimed sobriety for five to 10 years, 24 percent were sober for one to five years, and 31 percent were sober for under a year. Of course, those don’t take into account the large number of alcoholics who never make it through their first year of meetings, subsequently never completing the 12 steps (the definition of success, by AA’s standards).

cont at
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/a...of-12-steps/284616/?google_editors_picks=true
 

neversickanymore

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partial list of addictions.. this list is not in any way intended to be posted in suport of the fellowships
NSFW:

A - Addictions beginning with A
Alcohol
A common addiction which seems acceptable in social situations but is very progressive.
Also a sugar addiction as alcohol and sugar are similar in chemical makeup and synthesize in the body in similar ways.
A depressant type drug which leads to very complicated and repetitive depressions
Aspirin
Usually acceptable for small pains and fevers and taken in small dosages for heart health. Excesses are not good
Aerosol sniffing
Action - any activity that is risky and produces adrenalin
Adrenalin
The body self produces this 'fight or flight' drugs.
Is progressive needing greater risks to achieve the same feeling
Amphetamines
Anti Depressants
Addiction to prescribed medications is quite common
Because a series of educated professionals have been involved in the process of this addiction it is quite hard to stop.
Often depressions occur as a result of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and/or sugar addictions. These root addictions need to be addressed to achieve good recovery.
Anti Depressants generally are designed to trigger the release of a self produced hormonal drug called serotonin which is the feel good drug produced by the body. The addiction to the anti depressant is actually an addiction to the self produced drug serotonin. Good recovery will include ways to naturally trigger the serotonin. One way of doing this is included in the 12 step way of recovery - particularly in the 12th step - by doing random acts of kindness.
Anime
Applause
Art
Getting high to produce better art is common. Also the lifestyle of an impoverished artist can be addictive.
Collecting art one can not afford may create adrenalin like compulsive shopping or gambling.
Arson

Asthma
A condition that is often worsened by the addiction to the rescue medication
Adrenalin is produced when the asthmatic fights for the next breath to the point where life threatening experiences become regular and no longer cause the body to produce the required adrenalin
Attention
Authority
Auto Racing

B - Addictions beginning with B
Bulimia
Purging excess calories from a binge by vomiting or over exercising
The actual addiction is to the eating part.. often sugar addiction
Barbiturates
A common drug addiction
Betting
Gamblers get a high from the adrenalin produced by their bodies while in action.
The larger the risk the greater the amount of adrenalin
Beastiality
Sex with animals to produce adrenalin and endorphins present in sex situations.
Carries a great deal of guilt and shame in today's religious society
Guilt and shame also produces addictive adrenalin directly in the body.
Body Building

C - Addictions beginning with C
Colas
Many soft drinks contain large amounts of addictive sugar and caffeine which create mood swings and may be diagnosed as polar or other manic behavioral disorders.
Sugar assimilates in the body the same way alcohol does and is a strong depressant.
Symptoms of sugar addiction are often heavy depressions and manic behavior.
Codependency
An adrenalin addiction caused by living in chaos
Codependents will often force crisis to get another supply of adrenalin
Codependents often hide their more socially acceptable addictions behind another persons addictions
All addicts are co dependents as well
Cocaine and Crack Cocaine
A common powerful and illegal street drug
High is produced from the drug and as well the illegal activity produces adrenalin
Caffeine
Produces a high when coffee, tea, soft drinks or chocolate are consumed
Usually socially acceptable but it is progressive and the body requires more drug to get same feeling over time
Usually combined with sugar for an even greater high
Like any high the resulting lows are present and cause severe depressions and mood swings
Coffee
Coin collecting
Usually a nice hobby but any hobby can become a compulsion in the hands of a multiple addict
Expensive and can produce a gamblers adrenalin high by overestimating the value of finds
Adrenalin is addictive and progressive so greater finds must be made.
Crime
Pure adrenalin in it's highest form when life or reputation is threatened
Addictive in that higher risks must be taken to achieve the same high.
Very difficult cycle to interrupt as punishments also produce life threatening experiences which keep the addiction going.
Coffee
Produces a caffeine high when consumed
Usually socially acceptable but it is progressive and the body requires more drug to get same feeling over time
Usually combined with sugar for an even greater high
Like any high the resulting lows are present and cause severe depressions and mood swings
Depressions associated with coffee addictions are often misdiagnosed and simply add heavy medications to the addicts life.
Withdrawal from caffeine is about four days of flue like symptoms which is relatively short if cut out completely and compared to years of taking anti depressants.
D - Addictions beginning with D
Drugs
Illegal Street drugs produce various highs as well as adrenalin highs associated with illegal activities
Prescription drugs for depression related disorders often medicate symptoms when the root causes may be simple sugar and caffeine addictions
Many over the counter drugs contain large amounts of sugar as well which add to depressions and manic behaviors
Some medical drugs are helpful of course.
Drunk Driving
An adrenalin high produced by the high risk illegal activity of drinking and driving.
Extremely high risk as life is usually at stake.
Diuretics
Eating disorder associated addiction
Produces adrenalin which gives a feeling of power over ones self


E - Addictions beginning with E
Ego
You name it!
Exercising (excessive)
Adrenalin and endorphins produced
Addictive and progressive in that more exertion must be accomplished to achieve the same high.
Endorphins
A healthy drug produced in the body and brain
Unhealthy sex, porn, crime, gambling and exercise addictions are symptoms of this basic drug addiction
F - Addictions beginning with F
Fantasizing (excessive) as opposed to dreaming,
Food addiction
Usually associated with the results of cravings caused by sugar addiction
Artificial sweeteners are appetite enhancers and cause huge cravings
Excessive food can act as a dull feelings
Fetishes
adrenalin addiction caused by self created adrenalin induced by the fear or fantasy
Fame
G - Addictions beginning with G
Gambling
Gamblers get a high from the adrenalin produced by their bodies while in action.
The larger the risk the greater the amount of adrenalin
H - Addictions beginning with H
Heroin and Opium
Husbands (relationships),
I - Addictions beginning with I
Isolation
Imagination
A good characteristic in most cases, but a luxury for an early recovering addict ... and a self destructive minefield for a practicing addict.
Living in "your head" is common amongst all addicts
One statistic is that addicts do approximately 80,000 words of self talk per day - so this addicted ' head ' is a very busy place
One saying in 12 step programs is that the head is like 'a dangerous neighborhood, do not go there alone'
The lack of reliable structure in today's daily life leaves a lot of room for imaginative research
Internet
Many addictions are available on the internet
Sex, Porn, gambling, relationships to name a few
Most porn and gambling activities produce adrenalin which is highly addictive.
J - Addictions beginning with J
Joking about serious matters
Hiding behind humor is usually a codependent family behavior
Job (workaholism)
An addiction to the controllable living space afforded by work
Provides the endorphins associated with being appreciated
Junk collecting

K - Addictions beginning with K
Kinky sex - see sex addiction below
Kleptomania
A form of adrenalin addiction where a high is produced by the illegal act of theft.
L - Addictions beginning with L
Lust
Laziness
Love
Lacquer thinners
Liquor
M - Addictions beginning with M
Masturbation
Masochism,
Meetings (as in hiding in meeting)
Men
Marriage
Muscle Relaxants
Marijuana
MSG
N - Addictions beginning with N
Nicotine
Narcotics
O - Addictions beginning with O
Over achieving
Over eating
Usually affiliated with sugar addiction
Over working
Over anything can become an addiction
Occult
P - Addictions beginning with P
Prayer (without action)
Pleasure
Phobia's
Blocked energy due to overwhelmed or unidentifiable feelings which produce 'fight or flight' adrenalin within the body.
Sometimes caused by unresolved grief
Abusive situations may also be a phobia breeding ground as family or others who should be trusted are not trustworthy leaving gaps in an individuals structure system.
Prescription Drugs
Addiction or dependence upon prescribed medications.
Commonly, though not always, is within the mood modifying drug family.
Giving up the long dependencies on prescribed drugs is best done with the help of medical professionals and sometimes requires a detoxification facility to ease unpredictable withdrawal symptoms
Pornography
People Pleasing
Perfectionism
Pain Killers
Q - Addictions beginning with Q
Quintessential Behavior (perfectionism)... sorry had to have aQ :)
R - Addictions beginning with R
Religion
It is wise to examine ones attitudes in all areas.
Relationships - Click here for relationships page
Racetrack betting and action
Risky behaviors
Sports or work related high risk ventures
Adrenalin addiction caused by receiving large doses of self produced adrenalin


S - Addictions beginning with S
Sedatives
Sex Addiction - Click here for sex inventory workbook
In abusive or negative forms sex can be an adrenalin addiction caused by receiving large amounts of self produced adrenalin
Adrenalin addiction is a progressive addiction where exciting events become usual and greater excitement must be reached to produce the same high.
This is dangerous when sex acts are used to produce the adrenalin as abusive situations may occur
Sexuality is often confusing and care must be taken to not block sexual energy, which is necessary to achieve a positive energy flow through the body.
Sadism
Adrenalin addiction caused receiving self produced adrenalin in a slave /master situation
Common in codependent relationships
Satanism
Adrenalin addiction caused by receiving large doses of self produced adrenalin leading up to and during highly charged rituals or ceremonies
In extreme cases where sacrificial ceremonies occur the adrenalin is increased by ingesting still more highly concentrated adrenalin found in blood of freshly sacrificed animal.
The combined high is often thought to be spiritual when it is actually double dosing on adrenalin
Smoking
Addiction to nicotine and other addictive substances present in tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, opium and other sources
The smoked substances also sometimes include other hidden addictive substances to make them an even larger rush and a more marketable product.
Shopping
Serotonin - the self produced drug of choice for manic depression and bipolar folks
SELF - ego
Self Help Books, programs
Self Mutilation
Spotlights (see fame)
Sniffing Solvents
Sleeping
Sleeping Pills
Shock Treatments
Speed
Steroids

T - Addictions beginning with T
Torturing - emotionally or physically - Power addiction
Television
Therapy - codependency as opposed to getting on with life.
Thinners
THC
Thrills
Tobacco
Tramadol
Tranquilizers
Travel
Trichotillomania - Pulling out own hair compulsively.

U - Addictions beginning with U
Ultram - Narcotic Like Pain Reliever aka Tramadol
Underachieving

V - Addictions beginning with V
Valium
Vandalism
Vicodin - watch some old shows of the series "House!"
Video
Video Games
Violence
Voodoo
Vomiting - see Bulimia
Voyeurism

W - Addictions beginning with W
Wealth
Weed
Weightlifting
Women
Work
Wheat Flour - Carbohydrates

X - Addictions beginning with X
X-box - see Gaming
XXX Movies and Magazines

Y - Addictions beginning with Y
Young Sex

Z - Addictions beginning with Z
Zoo sex (sex with animals)
 

slimvictor

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"Darkness cannot be dissipated with more darkness.
^ Addicted to coin collecting!?
Sounds better than being addicted to zoo sex, anyway.
Addicted to women? Maybe a very common one? Women are pretty awesome, after all <3
Addicted to wheat flour? Better go through a 12-step program for that and beg God for help. :p

Also pretty silly that weed, marijuana, and THC are listed as 3 different addictions.

If you can be addicted to imagination or laziness, as the list above claims, then you can be addicted to ANYTHING.
Why stop at 300?
I am addicted to toast, and eating in general.
Also, wearing clothes.
Also, breathing.
God save me!
 

HCL

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Sep 9, 2013
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^
I'm addicted to rap music! I hate all the misogyny in it, but I JUST. CAN'T. STOP!
 

Felonious Monk

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Pretty much what I've thought of AA since I was like 15 and read in the newspaper about some guy being mandated to meetings. When I actually went to meetings I realized it was entirely correct.

It's just a way of taking up your time with other sober people... I'd rather get high by myself.
 

CLICKHEREx

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It's the "higher power" part (formerly "God", whatever that term means) which really puts me off, plus, I come from a family of addicts; alcohol, religion, gambling, & drugs; I really don't want to give up my addictions; what would I have left?

There is a saying: "drugs are instead of people"; I wonder if you can be addicted to attending AA meetings?
 

CaseFace

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If the statistics in this article about people staying sober through AA are correct, that makes AA on average 3-5 times more successful then rehab. (according to "statistics" I've read about rehab from multiple sources.

Though I'm guessing the statistics are completely bogus regardless. Just from my own observation 90% of people who come to AA meetings don't work the steps and relapse within a few weeks. I'm NOT saying they relapsed because they didn't work the steps, NOR am I saying that if they had worked the steps they would have stayed sober. What I AM saying, is that UNLESS they worked the steps before relapsing the failure cannot possibly count as a failure of AA/the steps - And I'm quite certain that these surveys don't account for that. Same goes for rehab statistics - it's pretty obvious (if you've ever been to one) that the majority of clients don't do what the rehab tries teaching them. If you don't do the work, it's not a failure of the work. It's just not even an attempt to begin with, yet the statistics are simply based off of the number of clients at rehab (or people who have attended AA) compared to the number of people who recover. But if the vast majority of people never make a real effort to change then obviously the vast majority will fail and the statistics will look pretty fucking bad.
 

_DankOpiAmp_

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Have you ever considered that the nature of the steps themselves discourages people from working them? That would be a failure of the program. See how you have to play semantic games to rationalize this method? It is time to stop blaming the person for a program with a negligible success rate.
 
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Crashing

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These self help junkies need to get less dependent on meetings. Being dependent is unhealthy. Fuckin' 12 step addicts.
 

slimvictor

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"Darkness cannot be dissipated with more darkness.
These self help junkies need to get less dependent on meetings. Being dependent is unhealthy. Fuckin' 12 step addicts.

lol

Have you ever considered that the nature of the steps themselves discourages people from working them? That would be a failure of the program. See how you have to play semantic games to rationalize this method? It is time to stop blaming the person for a program with a negligible success rate.
Interesting.
 

lcrlover

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Mar 10, 2012
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i never liked AA or NA meetings they made me feel like shit.

My bud loved going all the time, of course he decided the real message given at the meetings was "It's OK to backslide, as long as you admit it"
kept him being an alky and meth addict for many, many years
 

PsychedelicHaze

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I hated the 12 steps and the books. I am agnostic and basically the only way for it to be effective would've been for me to believe in a god.

No thanks. I just became better from having long alone sober time.
 
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