Posted by Elizabeth on November 10, 2001, at 23:18:41
In reply to Re: addiction and recovery, posted by galtin on November 10, 2001, at 6:04:41
> Some AA members have strong opinions, but there is no AA "dogma." Dogma is a belief or set of beliefs required for membership in a group. AA has no such beliefs.
Isn't there a "big book" or something like that? I know that some meetings don't adhere to the exact formula for what AA is supposed to be, but those that do can indeed be very dogmatic.
> Can people be "indoctrinated" when their attendance is voluntary?
People are often ordered by the courts to attend AA as an alternative to prison (for such offenses as DWI), and in such cases I would say it's coercive. Also, a lot of people don't know about the alternatives like RR and SMART (both of these are self-help groups with a cognitive-behavioral approach); they think AA is the only group that can help them.
> The term "alcoholic" is not a medical or psychiatric term.
This is true. I usually just assume it's roughly equivalent to DSM-IV "alcohol dependence."
> Researchers like Stanton Peale believe they have demonstrated that "heavy" and "problem" drinkers can be taught to drink moderately. They have not claimed this of alcoholics, since alcoholics are not heavy drinkers, problem drinkers, alcohol abusers or dependents. They are those who have adopted the term alcoholic as a self-designation defining themselves precisely as those unable to drink moderately.
Okay, you have a point there. But I suspect that some people who abuse alcohol (but are not alcohol-dependent) are identified as "alcoholics" by family, friends, or others (I believe there is even a ritual known as "intervention" for this), and encouraged to go to AA meetings.
But anyway, it's not true that alcohol dependence is necessarily a lifelong condition, although it often is. People who have been dependent can sometimes -- and perhaps more often than we realize -- learn to drink moderately after having abstained or a while.
> Alcoholics are often members of AA, but not always.
Well, like I said, often they aren't offered alternatives -- they go into rehab, and the only treatment they're offered is 12-step based.