AA & Alcoholism FAQ

Here are a few answers to some frequently asked questions about recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, and this website.

Is alcoholics anonymous effective in helping people get sober?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step program that provides support to individuals who are recovering from alcohol addiction. AA meetings offer a supportive and non-judgmental environment for individuals to share their experiences and support each other in their recovery journey.

The effectiveness of AA in helping people get sober is a subject of ongoing debate among experts. While some studies have found that AA can be effective in promoting abstinence from alcohol and improving overall well-being, other studies have shown mixed results.

A 2014 review of studies published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that AA can be effective in helping individuals achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol. The review also found that AA may be more effective than other types of treatments in promoting long-term abstinence.

However, other studies have suggested that AA may not be effective for everyone and that the program’s effectiveness may depend on factors such as an individual’s motivation, commitment to the program, and level of participation.

It is important to note that AA is a support program and not a substitute for professional addiction treatment. Individuals who are struggling with alcohol addiction should consider seeking professional help, such as counseling, therapy, or medication-assisted treatment, in addition to participating in AA.

Overall, the effectiveness of AA in helping people get sober can vary depending on individual factors and the specific circumstances of their addiction. However, for many individuals, AA can provide a supportive and effective tool in their recovery journey.

Is Alcoholism a Disease?

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is considered a disease by many medical professionals and organizations, including the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization. This classification is based on the understanding that alcoholism involves a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors that can lead to changes in brain chemistry and a compulsive desire to drink alcohol.

Is there any evidence to support that heavy drinking is due primarily to genetic factors?

There is evidence to support the idea that drinking too much may be influenced by genetic factors. Studies have shown that certain genes may be associated with a higher risk of developing alcoholism. For example, one study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that individuals with a specific variant of a gene called GABRA2 were more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those without the variant.

However, genetics is just one of many factors that can contribute to alcoholism. Other factors that may increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorder include environmental influences such as family history of alcoholism, stressful life events, and cultural attitudes towards drinking.

It is important to note that while genetics may play a role in the development of alcoholism, it is not the only factor and does not determine an individual’s destiny. Effective treatments for alcoholism, such as counseling, therapy, and medication-assisted treatment, are available, and many individuals are able to recover from alcohol use disorder with the right support and treatment.

Does one have to believe in God to be part of AA and get sober?

Belief in God or a higher power is not necessarily required to recover from alcoholism. While Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a faith-based program that encourages members to rely on a higher power as part of their recovery, the program also recognizes that individuals may have different beliefs and approaches to spirituality.

But what about all the talk of “spirituality” found in AA?

Many individuals who participate in AA find that the spiritual principles and practices of the program, such as honesty, acceptance, and self-reflection, can be helpful in their recovery regardless of their religious or spiritual beliefs. Additionally, some AA groups may modify the language and emphasis on spirituality to be more inclusive and welcoming to individuals of all backgrounds.

Many in AA say that the twelve steps are the only reliable way to recover from alcoholism. True?

It is important to note that there are many different paths to recovery from alcoholism, and what works for one individual may not work for another. While AA has been effective for many individuals in promoting abstinence from alcohol and improving overall well-being, it is not the only option for recovery. Other evidence-based treatments for alcoholism, such as counseling, therapy, and medication-assisted treatment, may also be effective for individuals who prefer a secular approach to recovery.

Is the ‘Pause When Agitated’ website affiliated with any organization or recovery center(s)?

No. ‘Pause When Agitated’ is independently funded by it’s author.

Does Pause When Agitated communicate an underlying point of view in contradiction to AA’s steps and principals?

Central to ‘Pause When Agitated’ is the understanding that everyone’s journey is individualized. Both the descent into alcoholism and addiction and the subsequent path to recovery are unique for each individual. While AA underscores the virtue of simplicity, real life is often a tapestry of intricate and subtle events.

One clear divergence between ‘Pause When Agitated’ and mainstream AA teachings is the emphasis and support for those who may not resonate with the concept of a higher power. Although AA has aided both atheists and agnostics, this broad-mindedness isn’t consistently highlighted in AA circles.

As beliefs naturally shift over a lifetime, gravitating towards or away from faith, the primary emphasis, as the author advocates, should be on sustaining sobriety rather than navigating the uncertain waters of personal belief systems. Considering the waning mainstream religious affiliations in the U.S., and the increasing number of young individuals identifying as non-religious, AA might benefit from reevaluating its stress on divinity and prayer.

Reflecting on multiple state Supreme Court decisions over the years, two primary insights stand out. Firstly, regardless of AA’s differentiation between “spirituality” and “religion”, the courts generally perceive AA as having sufficient religious undertones. Consequently, mandating AA attendance as part of alcohol rehabilitation is inconsistent with the Establishment Clause, making it unsuitable as an employment condition, at least in certain states.

Secondly, while AA’s structure has religious overtones, various court rulings highlight that the religious aspect is not a prerequisite for recovery.

In light of these judicial perspectives, no fewer than six State Supreme Courts have classified AA as a religious endeavor. The author contends that for AA to thrive and extend its reach, it should embrace both the faithful and the skeptical, centering on the mutual goal of sobriety rather than delving into religious discourse.

What is the landscape of site type on the web addressing recovery?

Here are a few different types of recovery-related websites you might encounter:

  1. Rehabilitation Centers: These are facilities that offer treatment programs for individuals with substance use disorders, behavioral addictions, or other issues. Their websites typically provide information about their programs, staff, facilities, and success stories. They often have a commercial interest in attracting potential clients.
  2. Non-Profit Organizations: There are many non-profit groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and SMART Recovery, that provide resources and support without directly selling a service or product. Their websites may offer literature, meeting schedules, and other helpful resources.
  3. Government Websites: Various government agencies and organizations provide information about addiction, mental health, and recovery. These sites typically offer unbiased, evidence-based information and resources.
  4. Online Communities: There are forums, discussion boards, and other online communities where individuals in recovery or seeking recovery can share experiences, seek advice, or offer support. These communities are often peer-led and are not selling services or products.
  5. Educational Websites: Some websites are dedicated to providing factual, research-based information about addiction, mental health, and recovery. They might be affiliated with universities, research institutions, or independent experts in the field.
  6. Blogs and Personal Websites: Individuals who have personal experiences with addiction and recovery might maintain blogs or websites to share their stories, insights, and advice. While some of these sites might contain affiliate links or promote certain products/services, many are just personal platforms for sharing and connecting.
  7. Directories: Some websites serve as directories for rehabilitation centers or therapists. While they might earn referral fees for directing visitors to certain centers, their primary function is to provide a consolidated list of available resources.

It’s important for users to critically evaluate any website’s content, especially in the realm of health and recovery. Some websites might have commercial interests that could bias the information they present. Always seek information from multiple, reputable sources and consider consulting professionals before making decisions about treatment or recovery.

What type of website is Pause When Agitated?

PWA is a blog, personal website.

What are some reputable and widely recognized organizations related to alcoholism, addiction, and recovery who provide ad-free resources and valuable information for individuals seeking understanding on the topic?

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
    • Website: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/
    • About: A U.S. government agency that provides research and information on alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    • Website: https://www.drugabuse.gov/
    • About: A U.S. government agency focused on drug abuse research and education.
  3. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
    • Website: https://www.aa.org/
    • About: An international fellowship offering a program of recovery for alcoholics.
  4. Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
    • Website: https://www.na.org/
    • About: A community-based association helping people with drug problems.
  5. SMART Recovery
    • Website: https://www.smartrecovery.org/
    • About: Offers a secular, science-based approach to recovery with free, self-empowering, science-based mutual-help groups.
  6. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)
    • Website: Typically found through the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) main site: https://www.samhsa.gov/
    • About: Focuses on addiction treatment and recovery services.
  7. The Partnership to End Addiction
    • Website: https://drugfree.org/
    • About: Provides resources, guidance, and support to families affected by substance use or addiction.
  8. Al-Anon/Alateen
    • Website: https://al-anon.org/
    • About: Provides support for families and friends of alcoholics.

While the websites of these organizations are generally ad-free and focused on providing valuable information, always exercise discernment when exploring any resource. There’s also a chance that over time, these websites may undergo changes, so it’s a good idea to visit and evaluate them yourself. If you’re looking for professional advice or treatment, it’s best to consult with healthcare providers or addiction specialists directly.

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