Is AA Really the Best Alcoholism Treatment Program?

Is AA Really the Best Alcoholism Treatment Program?


What is the best alcoholism treatment program?  What are the defining characteristics of a good program of recovery?  Is the 12 step program really the best route to take in recovery?

Most alcoholism treatment revolves around the 12 step model of recovery.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, and it is possible that this approach can work well for you.  If you are just starting out in recovery, I would recommend that you give 12 step recovery a chance.  Give it a try.  There are a few good reasons for this:

1) AA meetings are free, and widespread.  They are everywhere.  You have instant support.

2) The program is sound and is abstinence based.  To me this makes it vastly superior to moderation programs that do not work (in my opinion).

3) The program is fairly flexible, and can incorporate many philosophies and religions.

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So I suggest to newcomers that they try AA.  It makes sense due to the reasons given above.

According to internal census data from AA World Services, the 12 step program fails for close to 80 percent of every person who tries it.  This means that after a year, almost 80 percent of the people who come into AA will leave the program and never return again.

Eighty percent leave AA within the first year.  Think about this for a moment.  Clearly, there is a need for other solutions….no?

I believe there is a real need for other solutions.  They don’t have to be complicated, either.  My approach could be defined as being “holistic recovery.”  This differs from traditional recovery because there the focus is on spirituality.

The narrow focus in traditional recovery limits the growth to spiritual matters.  I feel this is a mistake.  Instead, a much more powerful approach is to view the path in recovery as being one of holistic growth.  This goes beyond spiritual growth while still including it.  But the idea is to grow in other areas of our lives as well.  For example:

1) Physical fitness and nutrition – eating healthier, taking care of our bodies, losing weight, exercising, and so on.  This is a huge component of recovery that is too often overlooked.

2) Removing bad habits – look at how many in AA continue to smoke.  Guess what the number one killer of recovering alcoholics is?  Lung cancer.

3) Emotional balance – how many people in traditional recovery programs remain unbalanced and still fly off the handle all the time, with no control over their emotions?  Too many.  We need to seek emotional stability in recovery, and traditional recovery only loosely addresses this.

There are other examples as well, and the holistic approach attempts to treat the whole person in recovery, touching on all of these major aspects…..

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