There is a recent best selling book “The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry” that pans Alcoholics Anonymous. The basic premise of the book is that AA requires you to behave exactly the way the 12 steps tell you to, or else. This is hogwash. My experience in AA has been exactly the opposite. We members of AA and other 12 step programs are rather disorganized, truth be told. You don’t have to tow any party line, and there is more flexibility than an outsider might think.
True, the underlying tenet of the 12 step program is to change, and not engage in the behavior that got you there in the first place. The “Debunking” authors will have you believe that 12 step programs require strict rules of behavior. In fact, all 12 steps are SUGGESTED! There are no requirements. Telling an alcoholic and addict that it is one way or the highway, sends them down the road immediately.
No, the authors simply want to make some money by saying that an organization that started in 1935, that has no formal leadership, that does not seek funding, that has saved millions of people, that does not force attendance, that works if you work it, is somehow a flawed model. Why do 12 step programs succeed with all the flaws debunkers point out? Because it works. Enough said.
It is almost like the saying “that almost the only scoffers at prayer are those who never tried it enough.” Sure, there will be those who AA does not work for. The God and praying issue being cited by most as a reason for failure. Too bad AA started in a day and age when God was a big deal. Not so much now, but spirituality is the goal anyway, not God.
Still, we go on. AA works for me and countless others. I look forward to the debunkers new program. Do they have one? No, just a book detracting from something that works. Good for them. If they start a program and it works as good as the 12 steps, I will check it out. I don’t want to fall into the contempt prior to investigation group. In the meantime, I will head to an AA meeting and you, dear reader, can peruse the attached article on the resilience of AA.