Why do AA/12 Step “rehab” programs pathologize “normal alcohol abuse?”

One of the many ways in which our work differs from that of the 12 Step rehab mills is that we don’t confuse “normal” – and understandable – alcohol abuse with “alcoholism.”

As we have noted in our article:

Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference

most people are abusing alcohol, not alcohol dependent alcoholics. Yet the Steppers insist that there are only two categories: alcoholics and alcoholics in denial.

That’s convenient, of course, since all they have to offer are the largely ineffectual Steps and, as the maxim goes, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem has to be a nail.”

Happily, for you, we’ve always differentiated between the “normal” misuse of alcohol and how to approach treating this symptomatic condition effectively, affordably, and very very quietly.

Looking for real solutions? First, remember that you didn’t end up abusing alcohol because you are dumb or diseased. You fell into it because it worked. Until it didn’t.

Now it’s time for a return to normal, whatever that may look like in your individual case.

No, it isn’t time to join a cult, brand yourself with the new “Scarlet Letter A,” or consign yourself to a lifetime of meetings that will only leave you demeaned and depressed, and also with your life immeasurable diminished.

Prefer to gain, or regain, your life? That’s what we’re here for. And your choice would be?

Does AA Work?

The debate over the effectiveness of AA has raged for decades and 50 years of studies suggest that fewer than 5% of those who try AA find it to be an acceptable alternative to drinking.

That’s hardly encouraging, especially given that doing nothing has better outcomes than that.

The real problem, however, is that everyone keeps asking the wrong question.

The real question we should be asking is, “Who does AA work for?”

Happily, we also answered that question. 25 years of ongoing research, using Dr. Jane Loevinger’s model and measure of adult development. Her Sentence Completion Test (SCT) allows us to differentiate between those AA actually works for, those for whom it’s irrelevant, and those who are harmed by AA.

Briefly put, the Steps primarily work for those whose emotional development ended before the age of 12, and for the 13th Steppers who prey on them.

That said, our program is designed for those of you who are either appropriately mature or even “too old for your age.”

Both our website and this Newsletter are designed to appeal to those for whom our model is appropriate. So! Congratulations – you don’t fit the AA model as a forever ten year old.

Yes, it turns out that back in the 1950s my crusty old uncles were right when they said, “AA? Hrumph, Just the Peter Pan Society for all the little boys who never want to grow up.”

But since you’re already a grown up, even if you’re regressing yourself with alcohol abuse, isn’t it time to get the help that is designed for you, not an over-age preadolescent?