The reason recovery rates are so low in AA is because,
- AA only recognizes the symptom not the underlying disease
Underlying Disease Not Known at the Time
Bill Wilson Was a Marketer
So how did AA gain such a place of privilege in American health-culture? How did a regimen so overtly religious in nature, with a 31 percent success rate at best, a five to 10 percent success rate at worst, and a five percent overall retention rate become the most trusted method of addiction-treatment in the country, and arguably the world? It’s a central question Dodes seeks to answer in The Sober Truth. And he begins at the very beginning.
Public Relations Genius
In 1951, based on what Dodes calls “the strength of self-reported success and popular articles” (The Saturday Evening Post was a major supporter), AA received a Lasker Award, which is “given by the American Public Health Association for outstanding achievement in medical research or public health administration.” This despite “no mention of any scientific study that might prove or disprove the organization’s efficacy,” writes Dodes. But it was nevertheless a marked moment AA’s history; the moment it entered the medical establishment, and by proxy, gained implicit trust from the American.
Supported by Judicial System
In 1989, America’s first drug court began sentencing “nonviolent drug offenders” to 12-step programs.You’ve been found to have a serious, Drug or Alcohol problem. In lieu of medication, psychotherapy, or a combination thereof, the Judge prescribes nightly meetings with a group of similarly afflicted individuals, and a set of 12 non-medical guidelines for recovery, half of which require direct appeals to God.
Your Medicine has become a Problem
Why is it usually a Judge who recommends treatment? Because you suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a grave and serious emotional and psychological problem, and you deny having any problems, not only to yourself, but to your family, doctors, and employers. Addiction is one of the most obvious symptoms of NPD.
They See Themselves As the Answer
This brings us to the present: an addiction-treatment landscape envisioned and engineered almost entirely by AA. The 12-Step Program is the law of the land. If you have a drinking problem in 2014, or a drug problem, or a gambling problem, your medically, socially, culturally, and politically mandated solution is a set of 12 steps. The only other options, as asserted by the Big Book, are “jails, institutions, and death.”
But Not the Solution
A report published by Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly in 2000 analyzed AA membership surveys taken from 1968 through 1996. On average, 81 percent of newcomers stopped attending meetings within the first month. After 90 days, only 10 percent remained. That figure was halved after a full year.
The Real Problem
The reason for this is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The Narcissist has a great deal of grandiosity and defensiveness, which makes it difficult if not impossible for them to acknowledge problems and vulnerabilities.
Tell Them the Truth
From their first day in treatment, the focus should be, that the Addiction is just a symptom of the disease of Narcissism. Being honest and telling people that they suffer from a mental condition, that has been classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, gives people a concrete framework of their condition, instead of propaganda and religious exhortation. Only with a diagnosis can an Addict start evaluating the cause and effects, Narcissism has had on their lives.
Diagnosis Leads To Recovery
Recovery can still follow the 12-steps format, with guidance by those who have found recovery, from this seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. .Basic Psychotherapy and Neural-Linguistic Programing techniques should be incorporated in the program or at least utilized by those who have recovered. They would be useful in helping people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder relate to others in a healthier and more compassionate way.
As always, thanks for visiting. Dave