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Customer Review

30 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Sober thoughts on Addiction and Treatment, February 15, 2014
This review is from: The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry (Hardcover)
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The Sober Truth
Thank you! I really enjoyed this book. Oh, I've seen A.A. work. I've also seen it not work. And even when it works I'm sometimes left scratching my head wondering if seven demons haven't passed through the waterless places to set up house where previously there was one.
This book answers a lot of questions, and confirms some suspicions I have had, about the negative effects of A.A.
I won't fault the authors for a negative critique of the religious aspect of A.A. But as a pastor this has often been my greatest concern with the program. It's dogma. The authors say it is essentially Christian. I would argue that it is not. It at best represents one branch of Christianity, and it isn't a branch I have ever been very fond of. Ultimately I think the close relationship "Christianity" has had with A.A. has given many a negative view of Christianity. Or to put it another way, has made many feel unwelcome in church because of their failures at being sober. It was concerns like this that led men like Bo Giertz, (an influential Swedish theologian and author of books such as "The Hammer of God") to break with the Oxford Movement. All this to say, that perhaps even "religious" people should take time to investigate these religious principles a bit more closely before endorsing them.
I also found that the definition of success in breaking addiction of "being able to drink in such a manner that was no longer harmful" is perhaps a better one than making a person think if they have a beer they have lost their sobriety and may as well have fifty. That always seemed to me a bit like setting a man up for failure.
Yes. A.A. works for some people. And it's really good to see it working for some. Especially when alcoholism can be so destructive in a person's life and the life of those they love. But it would be nice if it wasn't billed as the only treatment method, so that others might have more inclination to try other routes if A.A. isn't what works for them.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 16, 2014 2:45:17 PM PDT
Clara says:
What confuses me is that anyone would think that just because you have a beer, you may as well have fifty. I haven't been to an AA meeting that espouses the "if you go out, go out large" notion that people like to push. If you want a drink, all I ask is that they call me first. If they still want to, fine. Call me back after the first one. Who knows? I might be able to help keep the damage to a minimum. What I find interesting is the current vogue attitude that people can be taught to drink correctly if they just have the right counselor to show them how. I cannot believe addictions counselors take this position. If I could have moderated, I would have - and often! I couldn't, didn't and I don't care to try now that I have won the battle. What I find when I talk to these people about moderating an such, they seem to think they are striking a blow against AA. What they should perhaps consider is that some people cannot drink appropriately and instead of holding out some carrot in the hopes of making some money, they should listen to them and their drinking history. It seems unconscionable to me.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2014 7:16:40 PM PDT
I'd encourage you to read the book. I think the author is aware that there are many who will never be able to drink a drop again. On the other hand, not everybody is the same or dealing with the same problem or degree of it.

Posted on Mar 23, 2014 4:27:03 PM PDT
Hi, Bror -

Alcoholism is a confusing issue, largely because it is defined in many different ways, usually by those seeking to make a buck off of a particular method of recovery. For me, a "medical model" rehab convinced me that my own alcoholism was physiological and hereditary, and that I will never be able to safely consume alcohol. Perhaps that conclusion was incorrect, but after 30 years of not drinking, it's just not something that I would even consider. I found about a year after I got sober that AA meetings were becoming annoying and/or depressing, so I stopped going. My failure to regularly attend meetings appalls many AA true-believers.

I look forward to reading this book. I also recommend the much older "Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism".
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