The facts about alcoholism is that there is no really good solution that is readily available. There are a lot of alcoholics out there who never seek help at all for their problem, and of those who do, the vast majority will find their way to an AA meeting.
Now I am not bashing AA here. That is not my intention. The 12 step program does work for some people. But it fails for so many that we should be scrambling to find a new solution. I know I am.
The fact is that almost 80 percent of alcoholics who attend their first meeting will leave the fellowship within one year and never come back. That is from AA census data, handed down from AA World Services. Not my numbers. That statistic comes straight from AA. Based on several decades worth of data.
So those are not encouraging numbers, in my estimation. I would like to see a program that at least has a chance of something better than a 20 percent success rate. Realize too that of the people who actually stay in AA, many of them are prone to recurring relapse. Now several do stay sober and again, I am not knocking the program itself here, what I am knocking is the numbers. The raw facts that AA World Services put out themselves.
I have great faith in the program and I have seen it work in the lives of several people. Actually, I have seen it work in the lives of at least a handful of people. There is no disputing this; it does work if you work it. But I think most any abstinence based program will work if you really work it. I mean seriously, if you design a new program that says “stay sober, take positive action, do the next right thing, help others,” then that would probably have a similar success rate to AA for those who are truly dedicated. It is all about taking action anyway, not about some secret path to sobriety.
There is no magic in the 12 steps. They are sound principles but they do not offer any specific help to the struggling alcoholic. As the world has already shown us, they can be used to conquer any number of problems with the human condition, and are therefore not specific to alcohol or even drugs in general. They are just “principles for living, designed to bring about a spiritual experience.” General enough to work for alcoholism, but not specific enough to keep more than 20 percent of people geared into it as a solution for them.
We can try to force people even harder into it, or we can look for alternatives.
Me, I’m seeking alternatives. What do you think?