12 Steps Self-Help Group Essay

Total Length: 849 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 7

Page 1 of 3

12-step programs were somewhat mixed. On one hand, I have friends who say that they would never have recovered without Alcoholic's Anonymous (AA). I have never suffered an addiction myself so I cannot presume to judge the validity of their experiences. On the other hand, I often find the language of addiction and recovery, and its insistence upon the '12 steps' to be confining, even cultish in tone.

I attended a 'speaker's meeting' for this assignment. Although meetings are anonymous and closed to observers, at an AA speaker's meeting, a speaker with a year or more of sobriety talks to an open group to relate his or her experience, followed by discussion (Garrett 2009).

The meeting I attended was consistent with the literature I had previously read on AA: "the three important steps to sobriety are admitting powerlessness to alcohol, turning yourself over to a 'higher power' and never drinking again" (Snyderman 2005).

However, I had also read that "a growing number of researchers, including Dr. Alan Marlatt, psychologist and alcoholism expert at University of Washington, believe, not that the old remedy is wrong, but that it only helps a small segment of the population. Considering more than 90% of those who seek help drop out after one meeting of AA and similar 12-step programs," this perspective also seems to have some validity (Snyderman 2005).
In addition, many people are uncomfortable with the notion of the need to believe in a 'higher power' to help them quit drinking. References to a higher power are in half of the 12 steps. But according to the meeting I attended, this higher power does not necessarily have to be God, but can also refer to a non-theological 'higher power" (Peale 2001:1).

Current research studies have questioned the validity of AA. In 1991, Diana Walsh and her colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health "assigned employee assistance program referrals for alcohol abuse either to a treatment program or to AA, or gave them a choice of treatments. Sixty-three percent of the AA assignees required additional treatment, compared with 38% of the choice group and 23% sent to a treatment program" and "Marica Ferri of the Italian Agency for Public Health in Rome, found little to suggest that 12-step programs reduced the severity of addiction any more than any other intervention. And no data showed that 12-step interventions were any more -- or any less -- successful in increasing the number of people who stayed in treatment or reducing the number who relapsed after being sober"….....

Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?