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Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work?

by | Questions | 10 comments

Asking does Alcoholics Anonymous work is like asking does a specific diet work with everyone, or does everyone like carrots. The answer is no.

Will AA Work For You?

Will Alcoholics Anonymous work for you? Who knows! You are probably the best judge of that.

Would it work for me? I don’t think so. I can’t be certain. But going on my past experience I would have to say no. I’m not really good at sticking to group things, classes, courses, etc. As soon as I hear religion, or anything that smacks of religion or God, it’s a big turn off for me.Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work

There’s a lot of statistics to back up the AA method and there’s probably an equal amount that refutes it. I say if it helps one person then it’s doing some good.

How To Find Out If You’ll Get Something Out Of the Twelve Step Program!

How do you find out if it’s going to help you? Go to a session! If you have a lot of life experience and you know what is going to work for you and what isn’t, like I do, then you will more than likely know if this type of thing is going to work or not. There’s no point in getting into a quandary over it. Make the decision to do it or not to do it. Go to a meeting or move on to something else. If you have doubts or you can’t make the choice you might as well try it out and see if it’s any good for you. Action is much better that indecision. Indecision will overwhelm you and lead you nowhere.

Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards…


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  1. Anne

    Good topic. It doesn’t work for everyone but it’s worked for me for 21.5 years. I came within a hair’s breath of dying which got my attention. I was terrified because I knew alcohol = death, at least for me, and I never thought it possible to stop drinking (two bottles of wine every day for a decade). It was the fellowship that carried me along when I couldn’t stop crying during the first 90 days. I still go today because I want to help others get sober and when I cut back on meetings my addict brain takes the realm. I’ve seen people stop meetings, drink and die. Some can’t get sober when they come back. I know people with 20+ years who haven’t been to a meeting in a decade. Good for them but that doesn’t work for me.

    Saying the “spiritual part of the program” is like saying “the wet part of the ocean”. I’m an agnostic now as I was on day 1. My higher power is GOD = group of drunks. I’ve done the steps and I pray. I got sober in New York where no one touts Christianity but if I’d been around Bible thumpers I would have stopped going and probably be dead.

    So I had the “gift of desperation” and I still know I could go out. I have another drink in me but I don’t think I have another recovery.

    • Rochelle Laszczak

      Hi Anne –

      If AA has helped you & you’ve had success for 21.5 yrs., then I say keep going.

      I think a lot like Keven thinks about AA except I am a Christian and will always be. But I don’t care for sharing around the table as AA does and then moving to the next person and it’s a collection of comments that do me little good.The only place that I get any good out of that type of thing was when I had to go to Outpatient GroupTherapy. It’s so much different because it’s structured more and a therapist leads the groups and we can give and get feed back. Unlike most AA groups where you cannot politely was your hand and ask for clarification if you don’t know what the hell the other person is trying to articulate. So it’s just boring to me.

      I’ve gotten closer to people in professionally lead groups then in any AA group. I could use group therapy to satisfy the states requirement for getting my driver’s license back but I can’t afford the fee now. All my extra money goes for paying for the interlock device each month ($80-$100) depending on if I pay for 1 or 2 months at a time

      I would like therapy especially 1 on 1 because I could talk with a therapist, one I know and have been to a few times and get more help and that too would be allowed to satisfy my the AA requirement for the state. I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THINGS THAT I CAN’T IN AA – THINGS TOO PERSONAL FOR ME TO TAKE TO AA THAT I COULD USE HELP WITH. THINGS LIKE THAT WHICH HAVE LED TO DRINKING. If I could, doing that 1-2x per month on a long term basis – just ongoing, would be of so much more help.

      We all know what works for us best for us. Take care!


      • Anne

        Good comments here, thanks for your posts. Regarding sharing, it isn’t about other people, it helps me get stuff off my chest. I don’t know why, but I feel better after I’ve opened up and left the problem in the room. It’s not group therapy. For that I prefer cognitive therapy (one-0n-one). I suppose the state wants proof you’ve gone to a meeting, the reason they make some people get a signature. There aren’t any options to AA, it’s the only public program out there.


        Of course there are personal things we don’t sh
        are in the rooms. My sponsor was a huge help with those things I could only share with her …. and my therapist.

        AA is a program for people who want it, not people who need it. The majority of people get sober without AA. I believe I read that 14% go to AA. In terms of getting sober, it was the support of the fellowship that got me through the worst of early recovery. Now I help other new comers get sober (I pass it on). And since I’m still an alcoholic — denial and rationalization are ever-present — I can easily forget I’m an alcoholic. I need to be reminded.

  2. Rochelle Laszczak

    Hi Kevin – I totally agree with your comments on AA.

    It depends on the person!
    Like a diet. pick what works FOR YOU!
    I say, there’s no “one size fits all ”

    I’m at the mercy of “the system” still. So hopefully by the end of this year…and hopefully much sooner I’ll be rid of the interlock device in my car and therefore, no requirement to go to AA.

    Keep it up, Kevin and glad you are working on a book 🙂


    • Kevin O'Hara

      It’s all good Rochelle!

      • Rochelle Laszczak

        Hi Kevin –

        Yes it is. But good thing the state never made you go to AA – because you’d go stir crazy – LOL, they way you talk about it. And I understand – I forced myself to go until I just didn’t care anymore and got signatures from anyone willing to put one down for me. If “they” call any of them, they can’t prove if they’ve gone or not and that’s all they can get out of them because it’s ANNOYMOUS. So I rarely think they do unless they have been a real “Problem” case.

        I’ve put my signature on others sheets countless times w/ phone # – never once received a call from a probation officer or other. I don’t think they have time also because as you must know, there are soooo many people out there with DUI’s that it’s more than anyone thinks.

        Anyway, don’t want to get wordy.

        Thanks for using my comment on the front page of the email. I was pleasantly surprised.


        • Kevin O'Hara

          That just deserves a BIG LIKE. How do I get a like button on here. Put it on the list…
          Cheers Rochelle

  3. Jeff

    According to AA’s own data, it only works for about 5% of those who begin it. 95% quit within the 1st year.

    Ok, having said that, I am not about to denigrate it if it works for you.

    One perspective I found interesting and useful was the free iBook “AA? No Way!!!” by Charles Delaney. This is also available for Nook via Barnes and Noble. Having read this perspective, I am fairly certain it won’t work for me just as most organized religions don’t work for me — I just don’t follow the script.

  4. Anthony Parker

    I am a sober survivor of Alcoholics Anonymous which was originally patterned after a Pro-Nazi 1930s (banned in the UK for it’s Pro-Nazism and eventually banned in the US after 12/07/41 as enemy agents) Christian Evangelical Cult called “The Oxford Movement” and AAstill is an incredibly toxic and dangerous religious cult that presents itself as a viable “treatment program” for Alcoholism.

    Problem is, AA doesn’t work, never has worked (The original “100” mentioned in the AA “Big Book” ALL eventually drank), and it never will work…

    AA has a failure rate of 99.9999%. I am actually one of the 0.0001 percent that survived the pseudo-science, pop-psychology, right-wing, neo-con, evangelical fundamentalist Christian abuse, insanity, faith-healing, and outright bad behavior, that passes for “recovery” or “sobriety” in AA.

    I have managed to actually stay clean and sober 37+ years BECAUSE I went into therapy, counseling, and sought qualified, professional treatment and support OUTSIDE of AA…

    If I had relied solely on AA’s crack-pot 1930s circus tent, “snake charmer”, Fundamentalist Christian Revivalist RELIGIOUS “faith-healing” antics, I would not be alive or sober today.

    The NY Supreme Court and multiple state and US Federal Courts have ALL ruled that AA is a religious cult, and I agree.

    I left AA 2 years ago and I am still clean and sober 37+ years and my life just keeps getting better and better the longer I stay away from AA and AA members.

    I’d specifically like to link up with other “Survivors of AA”.



  5. John

    Hi. Love your site. I do what I call “AA My Way.” I read the black book and Touchdtone daily without fail. The Spiritual part of AA is the part I embrace and pretty much ignore most of the rest of it. I’m not religious, attend church rarely, but pray a lot and daily update my gratitude list. Many say AA is okay except for the God stuff, I say it’s the part that keeps me off the booze in the sober groove.


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