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Challenging Alcoholic's Anonymous As The Leading Form Of Addiction Treatment
Opposing Views ^ | 02/13/2014 | By Will Hagle

Posted on 02/13/2014 10:34:24 AM PST by Responsibility2nd

Alcoholics Anonymous and its related groups for other substances are undeniably the de facto standard for addiction treatment. The AA meeting is so prevalent throughout society that it has become a cliché in cinema and television. To many, it seems like the only solution. 

Pacific Standard recently ran a piece with the headline “After 75 Years of Alcoholics Anonymous, It’s Time to Admit We Have a Problem.” According to the article, “90 percent of American addiction treatment programs employed the 12-step approach” by the year 2000." The article argues that although it is the dominant form of addiction treatment, Alcoholic’s Anonymous’ religious-based, 12-step approach might not be the best option.

In his new anti-AA book Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy, former director of Harvard's substance abuse treatment unit Dr. Lance Dodes writes the following: “Alcoholic’s Anonymous was proclaimed the correct treatment for alcoholism over seventy-five years ago despite the absence of any scientific evidence of the approach’s efficacy. And we have been on the wrong path ever since.”

In fact, several alternatives to AA do exist. HAMS, for instance, is a harm reduction program that encourages addicts to complete small, realistic goals such as slowly reducing alcohol or drug use. There is also the Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a method that emphasizes participants need not submit to a higher power as AA requires them to do. There are many other addiction recovery options.  

None of these options, however, have taken over AA’s spot as the most prominent pathway to ending addiction. The difficulty in establishing an effective treatment program is that many of the programs require mental and behavioral therapy rather than medical treatment. SMART Recovery, the first result returned on Google after a search for “alternatives to Alcoholic’s Anonymous,” refers to addiction as a “bad habit” rather than a disease, emphasizing the “motivation” to quit. 

The ways in which American society treats nicotine addiction has always differed from the ways in which it treats alcohol and other drugs. There are nicotine patches, gum, and now electronic cigarettes that purport to lead to smoking cessation.  Medication in the form of a pill even exists. Varenicline, most commonly known as the brand Chantix, reduces an individual’s urge to smoke and even causes cigarettes to taste worse.  

There are also pharmaceutical drugs on the market that help reduce the urge to drink alcohol or other drugs (methadone being a common example for use in drug detoxification). But, of course, using medication to curb the problem is simply introducing a to which an addict’s body and mind becomes accustomed. 

As Pacific Standard notes, addiction is a multifactorial disease about which we still know extremely little. Treatment programs such as AA might be beneficial to a certain degree, but it’s time to increase the collective effort to discover better treatment options. 

Get More: addiction | Alcohol and Drugs | alcoholics anonymous |


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: aa; alcoholicsanonymous
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So. Alcoholic's Anonymous is under attack.

Why is that? (The answer is found within the article.)

1 posted on 02/13/2014 10:34:24 AM PST by Responsibility2nd
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To: Responsibility2nd

Let me guess, could it be The Lord is relied upon heavily?


2 posted on 02/13/2014 10:36:59 AM PST by frogjerk (We are conservatives. Not libertarians, not "fiscal conservatives", not moderates)
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To: Responsibility2nd

Lawsuit, if it hasn’t happened already: A court cannot order anyone to AA because of some imaginary “Separation of Church and State” clause in the Constitution.


3 posted on 02/13/2014 10:38:24 AM PST by frogjerk (We are conservatives. Not libertarians, not "fiscal conservatives", not moderates)
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To: frogjerk

Yes - exactly what I was going to say - the “G” word. I love AA - it worked for me and has worked for lots of others.


4 posted on 02/13/2014 10:38:31 AM PST by madmominct
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To: Responsibility2nd
"In fact, several alternatives to AA do exist. HAMS, for instance, is a harm reduction program that encourages addicts to complete small, realistic goals such as slowly reducing alcohol or drug use. There is also the Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a method that emphasizes participants need not submit to a higher power as AA requires them to do. There are many other addiction recovery options."

And just what is the track recrod of these alternatives for producing long term sobriety?

5 posted on 02/13/2014 10:40:23 AM PST by circlecity
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To: madmominct

May God Bless you and give you strength everyday.


6 posted on 02/13/2014 10:40:46 AM PST by frogjerk (We are conservatives. Not libertarians, not "fiscal conservatives", not moderates)
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To: Responsibility2nd
Why is that?

1. It is spiritually based. You have to believe in a higher power. That does not have to be religion based, but for most it is. They hate that.

2. It does not involve paying therapists. They really hate that.

7 posted on 02/13/2014 10:41:38 AM PST by colorado tanker
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To: Responsibility2nd

Celebrate Recovery is Christ-based 12 steps; the CR program has been growing very fast. The problem with AA and the “secular” program is Step 3 and Step 10, where they talk about “God as we understood Him”. Members drive a truck through that loophole, so much so that if someone says that Jesus is God then they are very likely to get keyed up on for “bringing religion to the forum”.


8 posted on 02/13/2014 10:41:53 AM PST by Kevmo ("A person's a person, no matter how small" ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: Responsibility2nd

I had an oldtimer (40 years sober) say that AA was “Christianity 101. Now, he did not claim to be a Christian, but he knew what he was talking about.

The AA program does not require a specific belief in a deity; only in a “power greater than ourselves.”

I’m sure that even that concept repels many in this darkening world.


9 posted on 02/13/2014 10:42:01 AM PST by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever!)
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To: Responsibility2nd
"Why is that? (The answer is found within the article.)"

Certainly religion is a major reason. But I think money is another. I'm sure the medical/counseling industry sees every free AA meeting as the loss of a paid counseling session.

10 posted on 02/13/2014 10:42:09 AM PST by circlecity
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To: Responsibility2nd

AA is for alcoholics, not drug addicts. The power to remove the mental obsession of the first drink comes from God.


11 posted on 02/13/2014 10:42:32 AM PST by Dalberg-Acton
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To: circlecity
And just what is the track recrod of these alternatives for producing long term sobriety?

Who cares? As long as God is not a part of it, then it must be better according to the modernists.

12 posted on 02/13/2014 10:42:54 AM PST by frogjerk (We are conservatives. Not libertarians, not "fiscal conservatives", not moderates)
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To: RoosterRedux

ping


13 posted on 02/13/2014 10:43:16 AM PST by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever!)
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To: Responsibility2nd
EGO--Edging God Out. That summarizes the article for me. Clearly mid way through the article you can tell these people have never been drunks and drug addicts. Theory and practice are lethal lines for an alcoholic and drug addict. It is very true that even when one is sober and does all the spiritual and psychological and physical work necessary for a healthy holistic recovery the disease is doing push ups.

AA has and does work for me and my husband. Thank God.

14 posted on 02/13/2014 10:43:52 AM PST by GOP Poet
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To: circlecity

exactly.


15 posted on 02/13/2014 10:44:12 AM PST by GOP Poet
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To: frogjerk
Yeppers. That "Higher Powers" POV.

The (liberal) answer is obvious:

Pass laws that prohibit any AA chapter from from acknowledging reliance on a higher power.

And who needs 12 steps? Eleven will do.


16 posted on 02/13/2014 10:45:11 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Dalberg-Acton

Many ‘drug addicts’ when they break it down to the beginning realize they were alcoholics first before they ever picked up the drug.


17 posted on 02/13/2014 10:45:43 AM PST by GOP Poet
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To: Lazamataz

AA under attack Ping.

In your opinion, do you see a day when AA (and NA) will be compelled to remove 1 of the 12 steps? (Reliance on a higher power)


18 posted on 02/13/2014 10:48:47 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Mears

bfl


19 posted on 02/13/2014 10:50:09 AM PST by Mears
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To: Responsibility2nd

WOW. I had no idea that so many of the steps had to do with God, religion, higher power and so on.

__________________________________________________________

Twelve Steps These are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:

1.We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5.Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6.Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7.Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8.Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9.Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10.Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11.Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12.Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


20 posted on 02/13/2014 10:53:15 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Responsibility2nd

The key is “God as we understand him”.

God could be Nature,The Moon,or a tree.

.


21 posted on 02/13/2014 10:57:09 AM PST by Mears
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To: circlecity
And just what is the track recrod of these alternatives for producing long term sobriety?

What is the track record for AA?

(Anecdotal evidence does not count.)

22 posted on 02/13/2014 10:57:22 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Obamacare: You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.)
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To: Responsibility2nd
The ways in which American society treats nicotine addiction has always differed from the ways in which it treats alcohol and other drugs. There are nicotine patches, gum, and now electronic cigarettes that purport to lead to smoking cessation. Medication in the form of a pill even exists.

The author needs to do some basic research. An anti-alcohol pill called "Antabuse" has been around for decades.

even causes cigarettes to taste worse

Not sure how that's possible.

23 posted on 02/13/2014 10:57:25 AM PST by Hardastarboard (The question of our age is whether a majority of Americans can and will vote us all into slavery.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

No. AA has no opinion on outside matters. In any case, it is a bottom up structure. You could not impose dictates from the top down, no matter how hard you tried.


24 posted on 02/13/2014 11:02:03 AM PST by firebasecody (Orthodoxy, proclaiming the Truth since AD 33)
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To: Jeff Chandler
What is the track record for AA?

The very nature of the fellowship precludes record keeping. Any track record is speculation.

25 posted on 02/13/2014 11:02:21 AM PST by don-o (He will not share His glory and He will NOT be mocked! Blessed be the name of the Lord forever!)
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To: madmominct

The author claims AA is “religious based” ? I stopped reading right there. I have no opinion on this outside issue. - - My philosophy is “do whatever works for you” - I choose to keep going to my meetings and practicing these principals in all my affairs. Now they can just leave me alone! Is no place safe?


26 posted on 02/13/2014 11:06:45 AM PST by atc23 (The Confederacy was the single greatest conservative resistance to federal authority ever.)
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To: Responsibility2nd
In your opinion, do you see a day when AA (and NA) will be compelled to remove 1 of the 12 steps? (Reliance on a higher power)

That would require removing eleven of the twelve steps.

27 posted on 02/13/2014 11:08:30 AM PST by meadsjn
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To: GOP Poet

Yes. and BTW . . who would want to go to NA anyway? :-)


28 posted on 02/13/2014 11:08:53 AM PST by atc23 (The Confederacy was the single greatest conservative resistance to federal authority ever.)
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To: Jeff Chandler

“What is the track record for AA?”

Since it is an anonymous, voluntary program nobody really knows.

My guess is that it is no worse than any other program.

Regardless of anything else one might like/love/or hate about it, the anonymity and voluntary nature is its greatest strength.

It is free, it is widely available, nobody keeps records of your attendance, it is people helping one another.

It certainly doesn’t work for everyone, it might not even work for most people, but I have no doubt it helps many people who otherwise wouldn’t/couldn’t get any help at all.


29 posted on 02/13/2014 11:09:50 AM PST by jocon307
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To: frogjerk
Lawsuit, if it hasn’t happened already: A court cannot order anyone to AA because of some imaginary “Separation of Church and State” clause in the Constitution.

The courts can not order anyone to AA because AA told them to go pound sand decades ago.

AA believes that being sober is something the person has to want and to place unwilling people in the group will cause harm.

They are right.

The courts can order you into treatment. You may choose to use AA as part of that treatment but you can not be ordered to attend AA meetings.

30 posted on 02/13/2014 11:14:12 AM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (Proud Infidel, Gun Nut, Religious Fanatic and Freedom Fiend)
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To: Responsibility2nd; frogjerk; madmominct; circlecity; colorado tanker; Kevmo; don-o

There is a lady in Birmingham, AL who runs a 9-12 month women’s recovery center. She started with six paroled convicts and brought them into her home.

She had counselors from NA and AA come in with the original 6 convicts and after sitting in on a few sessions, she kicked them out because she felt like NA and AA gave these folks no hope to ever fully recover.And her vision was that they be fully recovered.

She now houses on average 400 women & 150 children on any given day in a facility housed in a former hospital. Not all of them are addicts or alcoholics, but a large portion of them are. They use the Celebrate Recovery program.

I’m not advocating or attacking either program. My philosophy is that human nature being what is it, people will succeed and fail with both. But I thought she was very interesting as a person. ( I just read her book.)

http://www.loveladycenter.org/Miss_Brenda_and_the_Loveladies.html


31 posted on 02/13/2014 11:14:53 AM PST by Bodleian_Girl (No tag line today)
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To: jocon307; Jeff Chandler
“What is the track record for AA?”

Estimates are 30 million alcoholics in the US. 1.3 million AA members in US (estimate)

Anecdotal evidence points to a 5% chance the newcomer see 5 years continuous sobriety but if the newcomer makes it to 5 years, the odds keep going up steadily after that that he or she can maintain sobriety for the rest of their lives if they choose to.

32 posted on 02/13/2014 11:19:39 AM PST by atc23 (The Confederacy was the single greatest conservative resistance to federal authority ever.)
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To: meadsjn

I saw that! See post 20. I was suprised.

IMO - its just a matter of time befoe the ACLU sues the crap outta them and some idiot judge rules they violate the rights of the unreligous.


33 posted on 02/13/2014 11:20:21 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: don-o; jocon307
Any track record is speculation.

Indeed. It can not be stated with any measurable accuracy that AA is more (or less!) successful than any other method, including individual initiative.

34 posted on 02/13/2014 11:20:58 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Obamacare: You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.)
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To: Dalberg-Acton

Thats what NA is for


35 posted on 02/13/2014 11:21:39 AM PST by al baby (Hi Mom… I was refereeing to Obama)
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To: Responsibility2nd; Lazmataz
Democrats (liberals) hate AA not just because of the Spirituality aspect. Those who recover through AA, or any other program, recover in other aspects of their lives as well.

They are no longer victims and dependent on the government or others and hence useless to the Democrats.

Happy, healthy, self-sufficient people have no use for liberals, liberalism and hence no reason to vote Democrat. This strikes at their very existence.

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

36 posted on 02/13/2014 11:22:36 AM PST by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: Jeff Chandler
"What is the track record for AA? (Anecdotal evidence does not count.)"

It's record is enough that it has attracted millions and millions of members who swear by it as the key to their recovery. And I don't know why anecdotal evidence wouldn't count when annonymity is a key componant of the program. In any event, the millions of sober people who swear by AA is documented and not anecdotal.

37 posted on 02/13/2014 11:23:05 AM PST by circlecity
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To: GOP Poet

You know I couldn’t care less if normies get the program all that is important is that we do See ya at a meeting…. Al Baby alcoholic


38 posted on 02/13/2014 11:23:43 AM PST by al baby (Hi Mom… I was refereeing to Obama)
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To: circlecity
it has attracted millions and millions of members who swear by it as the key to their recovery.

How do we know they wouldn't have recovered on their own, or with some other program? We don't. We can't. Any claims of success for AA is pure Blue Sky, with nothing to back it up.

39 posted on 02/13/2014 11:26:42 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Obamacare: You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.)
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To: Responsibility2nd

This world would be a far better place if dam near everyone worked the steps the don’t just apply to drinking


40 posted on 02/13/2014 11:26:47 AM PST by al baby (Hi Mom… I was refereeing to Obama)
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To: Responsibility2nd
"several alternatives to AA do exist. HAMS, for instance, is a harm reduction program that encourages addicts to complete small, realistic goals such as slowly reducing alcohol or drug use.

In 22 years of being in and around recovery - I have NEVER seen this method work.
I've seen it attempted thousands of times - usually ends in car-crash and/or jail time and/or overdose.

Like teen pregnancy - abstinence is the only sure-fire method.

41 posted on 02/13/2014 11:28:40 AM PST by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
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To: Responsibility2nd
Drunks could always use Bob Newhart's Method.
42 posted on 02/13/2014 11:31:38 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Obamacare: You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.)
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To: Jeff Chandler
"How do we know they wouldn't have recovered on their own, or with some other program? We don't."

If you've got evidence to back up that these people would have recovered on their own please cite it. The vast majority of these success stories claim that they had tried everything else for years but nothing worked. You can't argue with success. But if you've found an alternative that works better for you, go for it.

43 posted on 02/13/2014 11:32:02 AM PST by circlecity
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To: Responsibility2nd

And who needs 12 steps? Eleven will do.

The liberals have a 2 step plan...
Shut up and eat your gruel.

There must be a way to wean them off the democrat
party.


44 posted on 02/13/2014 11:32:52 AM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: Bodleian_Girl
My opinion is do whatever works.

I'm just highly suspicious when academics, psychiatrists or atheists go after AA. This lady's program is working for a lot of people, so I say more power to her.

45 posted on 02/13/2014 11:36:48 AM PST by colorado tanker
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To: circlecity
If you've got evidence to back up that these people would have recovered on their own please cite it.

I don't have to cite anything, because I'm not the one making claims.

Your claim that millions of people claim to have been helped by AA is based on what?

It's probably true that some people have been helped by AA, but how many? One out of 20? Out of 100? Out of 1000?

And of those who claim to have been helped, what evidence is there that a different method might not only have helped them but helped even more people?

46 posted on 02/13/2014 11:37:25 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Obamacare: You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.)
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To: Psalm 73

I Tried that on my own dint work you get a taste of it and another buzz going then you get a huge case of theF its and i was back on a run rehab and AA did it for me


47 posted on 02/13/2014 11:38:03 AM PST by al baby (Hi Mom… I was refereeing to Obama)
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To: Jeff Chandler
"Any claims of success for AA is pure Blue Sky, with nothing to back it up."

And that's fine - there are some things in life that aren't subject to spread-sheet micro-analyses.
AA saved my life - maybe I would have got sober another way, but that doesn't matter, this is the way I did it - I'm living in today, can't worry about "what if's".

I'm clean and sober today, and that's what matters. From a run-away freight train plowing through anything and anyone in my path - to a usefull member of society. And a sane, Conservative one at that.

48 posted on 02/13/2014 11:40:08 AM PST by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
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To: Kevmo
Celebrate Recovery is Christ-based 12 steps; the CR program has been growing very fast. The problem with AA and the “secular” program is Step 3 and Step 10, where they talk about “God as we understood Him”. Members drive a truck through that loophole, so much so that if someone says that Jesus is God then they are very likely to get keyed up on for “bringing religion to the forum”.

Here is the link to Celebrate Recovery. My wife started a chapter at our Church nearly 12 years ago and has been a state rep (Ohio) for about 7-8 years. Biblically-based approach to dealing with all additions - alcohol, chemical dependency, porn, gambling ... etc. Also with grief and emotional loss.
49 posted on 02/13/2014 11:45:22 AM PST by tang-soo (Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks - Read Daniel Chapter 9)
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To: circlecity
Certainly religion is a major reason. But I think money is another. I'm sure the medical/counseling industry sees every free AA meeting as the loss of a paid counseling session.

That's weird. All the drug counselors I know either go to AA or Al Anon meetings or reccomend their clients go to them.

50 posted on 02/13/2014 11:46:15 AM PST by Paleo Conservative (Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not really out to get you.)
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