Alcoholics Anonymous and Powerlessness

avoid alcoholics anonymousAre you considering going to Alcoholics Anonymous? If so, it wouldn’t be surprising as AA does seem to be the go-to solution for many people who are seeking help.

For example, let’s imagine it’s New Year’s Day, and people around the world are coping with yet another alcohol-induced hangover. As a result, many are starting off the New Year with a resolution to stop drinking alcohol. Countless thousands will also consider Alcoholics Anonymous and its 12-Step program to help them overcome their addiction.

You may have naturally assumed that it is helpful to the person struggling with alcohol addiction to take part in a 12 Step program. At least, the thinking goes, they are “admitting” that they have a problem. And they are now taking action to get help.

However, there are many who hold the view that 12 Steps do more harm than good. They consider Alcoholics Anonymous to be irrelevant at best, and possibly even detrimental to the health of the alcoholic. Reasons may range from the overt religious nature of the group, to the almost cult-like or group-think approach of its “members”.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Bad Idea?

I find myself firmly in agreement with the second view. Not because I object to the group’s focus on God. Nor to the strange sway it seems to hold over those who participate in its activities. Rather, I object to Alcoholics Anonymous for one reason only: the first step it requires its members to accept.

In case you don’t remember, AA’s First Step is as follows: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable”. To you, that may seem to be a fairly innocuous first step. Perhaps it is even helpful, as the addict must admit his weakness so he can start getting the help he needs. However, this first step is as dangerous of a first step as any that could be taken.

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