Is AA a scam, a cult or is there science behind it?

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posted on Jun, 18 2005 @ 09:53 PM
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I would like to hear from some AA members or people who know others in AA. My girlfriend is in AA and I`m not sure if it is exactly what she needs. Let me give you a little history on us because I am seeking help in a very difficult time.

I met my girlfriend in early 1997 and we were young, I 21 and she 22. We partied a lot and did a lot of drinking. Our relationship was short lived only about 3 months and I was heartbroken because I knew she was the one for me. It took me a while to get over her and then in early 2000 we started dating again. But we were both different. She was in AA and I was more mature then before. I fell for her all over again and thought she had fallen for me too. Soon into our relationship we found out she was pregnant. I was scared at first but very happy too. I was very supportive of her AA and knew that she needed it. I barely ever drink anymore and I`m the type of person that can have just one beer. So I had no problem being happy without all the partying.

About a month before the baby was born we moved in together in a house I bought in her neighborhood. I can`t express enough how much joy my little baby girl has brought me. Anyway she stopped going to meetings because she didn`t think she needed them anymore and about two years after the baby was born she started drinking again.

Now this is the part that is hard for me to understand. She didn`t drink often, mabe one to three times a month. But she got real drunk every time. I know because she told me. She mostly drank on a saturday night out with friends, but also with me at special occasions or back yard barbecues. It didn`t seem like a problem to me but she now tells me that it made her suicidal. I`m not sure if thats because she went through so much to quit the drinking once before and become sober or if it was because she was brainwashed to think it is evil.

Anyway over the past year she has started to go back to meetings. She would go for a couple of months and then go back out drinking. But this time she is taking it much more seriously. She is almost 30 days sober and practicing her steps (its a 12 step program for those who don`t know). She has the same sponser she had the first time over 5 years ago. She is working on her second step and is telling me she needs to love herself.

Our relationship hasn`t been that much like a normal couple for the past few years. Although I love her I have been feeling confused because we don`t even kiss anymore never mind the sex. But I love her and my daughter very much. So now she tells me she is leaving because she needs to be independent. She says she needs to be independent because she is 30 years old and doesn`t have anything. She has never been on her own. She also feels that her misery is the source of our relationship problems and ultimately my misery as well. She wants to leave and take a break from this life right now. She says she can`t love anyone else right now because she can`t even love herself.

I have suggested many other options such as me leaving for a while or us taking turns living at her parents house or just anything that wouldn`t be so drastic. But she is sticking to her opinion that she just needs to get away for a while. It` going to be really rough for her. She doesn`t work full time right now and then taking care of our daughter on top of working. I know its really rough for a single mom these days and I don`t want her to get more depressed if she can`t make it. Of course i would give her money to help take care of my child and pay for tuition as she starts school this year but honestly I don`t know how I can let her take my kid away from me. I love her so much. And I am very afraid that she won`t come back.

So I have been very depressed for the last couple of days now since she told me. I have been somewhat fighting her on this. Not loud arguments but rather sending her emails and then having short talks here and there. She says that mabe we will get back together, that mabe she only needs a couple of months. She says mabe the heart will grow fonder from time apart. But I am so afraid that this is it. I don`t know what to do. I feel like I wish I were dead. But I don`t have the balls to kill myself, besides I wouldn`t want to do that to my daughter, have her grow up without a Dad. She loves me very much and we have a very special bond. I`m not just saying that, I really am in tune with her and understand her very much.

I really need some help here and am not sure where to turn so that is why I ask if anyone familiar with AA can help me. She told me that she has been drinking for three years and also hasn`t loved me in three years but I don`t know which caused which. Did she discover she didn`t love me so she drank or did she drink and then fall out of love. She says she stuck around to try and make it work for the sake of our child. It`s just really hard to grasp because I kind of felt like that too, that I was just sticking around for the child. But now that I know she is leaving I can`t except it. I love her and I love being a family. I don`t care about a sex life, I`ll give it all up just to be with her and my daughter.

I`m not sure if I pushed her away because I wasn`t very supportive or what. I know now that this is the life I want and I don`t want her to leave. But she has made up her mind and she is very stubborn. I know the harder I try to persuade her not to go the worse I am making it. But I just can`t not fight for my girl, and my family at that.

The whole conspiracy theory with this is I am wondering if they (the AA members) are making her do this. If they are telling her she needs to leave me and live a sober life. I have only drank around her when she was drinking and I`m not the type to tell her what to do. I don`t know if I was wrong there. I would be totally supportive of her in her bid to live sober and I am now that I know how serious she is taking it. It seems funny to me that she would equate her three years of drinking with three years of not being in love. Or mabe I just can`t except it. But we did have so many good times together even if we weren`t kissing and making whoopee all the time or hardly ever. We went on so many trips together and I would describe the relationship as more hot and cold then just cold.

Bottom line I am a father on the verge of the worst Father`s day ever. I am so depressed and am asking for help from some of the other ATS members who mabe understand what I am going through. I am embarassed to even talk to my family about it yet, I feel like such a failure. I really don`t want to lose this family of three I have.




posted on Jun, 18 2005 @ 10:08 PM
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Originally posted by csulli456
The whole conspiracy theory with this is I am wondering if they (the AA members) are making her do this. If they are telling her she needs to leave me and live a sober life. I have only drank around her when she was drinking and I`m not the type to tell her what to do. I don`t know if I was wrong there. I would be totally supportive of her in her bid to live sober and I am now that I know how serious she is taking it. It seems funny to me that she would equate her three years of drinking with three years of not being in love. Or mabe I just can`t except it. But we did have so many good times together even if we weren`t kissing and making whoopee all the time or hardly ever. We went on so many trips together and I would describe the relationship as more hot and cold then just cold.


Well, I wouldn't say they are making her do anything, but that doesn't mean they aren't influencing her greatly. And since she obviously wasn't court ordered to be there (as some are), that's her choice.

But that's not to say that a dozen to fifty people (depending on the size of the group) telling you you're going to die if you try and have a relationship or so much as a date in the next year doesn't have an impact. It does.

Personally I hate group anything. Projects, help groups, cults, doesn't matter. At their best everyone shares a brain. At their worst, everyone shares less than a brain as they surrender their own will to the collective. But on some level, it's what she wants. Even if she's just using AA as an excuse.

When talking to her I'd focus on her feelings, not AA. Then maybe she'll be forced to do the same. And don't sweat Father's Day. You're a father for life, not just one day a year.



posted on Jun, 18 2005 @ 10:38 PM
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Ask if she'd consider couples' counseling.

I haven't seen any solid statistics on how successful AA is, but I know it's not above 80% and I know it doesn't work with some types of personalities. I hate like the dickens to ask this, but the fact that she's addictive might mean that she got into other things.

Is there a chance she's using other drugs?

She undoubtedly needs some meds and therapy, but I'm not sure how receptive your AA group would be to this. Perhaps ask her peer counselor and the counselors in the group about couples counseling options?

I'm so sorry for your problems.



posted on Jun, 18 2005 @ 10:47 PM
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Thanks for your help. But no she isn`t in to anything else, we had are fun when we were kids messing around with all other stuff. But no not anymore, its just the drinking. I have asked her about counseling but she isn`t interested.



posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 06:35 PM
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I know someone in AA, my mother.




TextThe whole conspiracy theory with this is I am wondering if they (the AA members) are making her do this. If they are telling her she needs to leave me and live a sober life. I have only drank around her when she was drinking and I`m not the type to tell her what to do. I don`t know if I was wrong there. I would be totally supportive of her in her bid to live sober and I am now that I know how serious she is taking it. It seems funny to me that she would equate her three years of drinking with three years of not being in love. Or mabe I just can`t except it. But we did have so many good times together even if we weren`t kissing and making whoopee all the time or hardly ever. We went on so many trips together and I would describe the relationship as more hot and cold then just cold.


Well I will tell you this, AA doesn't brainwash. But it sounds like you both are confused. And try not to be stereotypical because even if they are making suggestions for your girlfreind who seems to be open for suggestion that's not every AA memember in the world (Or just USA). The people your girlfreind are associated with could be a bad influence or she just decided this. Afterall people change and sometimes for completely unknown reasons.

Also since she is a confused woman, she probally has alot of stress from other things aswell. But one thing is clear, she does need some therapy or someone to talk to who is a positive influence if she is talking with someone who is a negative influence. And Byrd was right, this program or group doesn't work for everyone.

I'm also sorry for your problems and I hope that this will end happily



posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 06:43 PM
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Originally posted by csulli456
Thanks for your help. But no she isn`t in to anything else, we had are fun when we were kids messing around with all other stuff. But no not anymore, its just the drinking. I have asked her about counseling but she isn`t interested.

erf. That's difficult.

Do you think she might be clinically depressed? Is there a family history of depression? My friend whose daughter went through this was bipolar (as it turned out) and the friend herself has clinical depression and depression runs in the family.

I don't know what to suggest, beyond talking to the folks there at AA... I'm so sorry.



posted on Jun, 19 2005 @ 08:11 PM
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Thanks everyone. I`m going to try and talk to one of her friends who also attends the meetings. I`m going to see what I can gather from any information he may be willing to give.



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 11:29 AM
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I have a PhD in a fitting field and have worked a year in an alcohol treatment program mostly co-leading group process groups with an AA fellow. I was trained in that program by the retired head of the US Navy center that treated Betty Ford.

I realize that this is an old post and I don't know where things are at currently.

AA is a very solid organization but the quality of the meetings and support varies with the group and the major leaders in it.

I strongly encourage folks who can profit from it at all to continue with it and apply themselves earnestly to it's expectations and requirements. It's a powerful thing with the group insights and support. And, their buddy system is hard to beat. But I try to insure that the drinker has 4-8 buddies as it's easy to burn any one or two out. They need to be able to call them 24 hours a day whenever tempted.

Certainly you wife needs to give up drinking 100% from all you have said. It would be the loving thing for you to do so, too though that contention would get arguments from many.

The business about pulling away and 'finding herself' etc. 'loving herself before she can love anyone else' . . . probably comes from a particular person at AA. It has not been standard AA 'doctrine' from my awareness and I doubt it is now.

I don't know that it's necessary except that she now thinks it is. I doubt you will dissuade her from that and It likely would not be worth the effort.

The probability is that if her drinking progressed--as it tends to with every renewed bout of it--the distancing would be horrid anyway.

There is some truth to the issue of needing to love one's self in order to be able to truly love others.

I'm a bit concerned that she have some suitable monitoring and guidance and counsel off on her 'discovery' adventure. But that's not something one can control.

Certainly your daughter is better off with you.

It sounds like your wife needs some extensive therapy or at least a wise confident who's been there and overcome such things before.

I'm not a fan of medications in such a process. I think someone with a chemical addiction like alcohol is best learning to cope without any chemical assist. Depression and the like can be well overcome with Cognitve Behavior Therapy.

This process basically teaches the individual to rewire their thinking. In Biblical terms it might be like the Scripture about "taking each thought captive" and "as a person thinks [in his heart], so is he."

It's not an overnight learning but can be quicker or longer depending on motivation, diligence in application etc.

It IS a powerful and very effective methodology.

And, I wrote "rewire" their thinking deliberately. Neurons do get thickened with repeated use. And, she has a lot of dysfunctional thought processes that need disconnected and rewired into constructive, overcoming, optimistic, disciplined, responsible, healthy fun sorts of connections.

Will U2U you and try and see where things are now.

But mostly, I hope you have had the grace to go with whatever constructive flow you can--and to take care of your daughter and yourself and say your prayers for your wife. She has to do whatever she has to do. You can't do it for her.

I would suggest that you keep a journal--even if it's just one sentence per night.

You can write your thoughts, feelings etc. about whatever.

You could have a 2nd journal in which you wrote down ONLY THE POSITIVE, LOVING THINGS you feel and think about your wife--her traits, habits, qualities etc. that you most like and enjoy. You might send some to her in a post card or note card. And when she returns, you'd have a beautiful collection of endearing thoughts and feelings that could only be encouraging to her.

You would do well to insure that you have 2-3 closer male friends to be real with and emotionally bonded with as well. If that's not so practical or workable, then perhaps you need your own counselor--at least monthly or every other week worth. Alanon can be a helpful group but so could a counselor skilled and trained in alcohol treatment.

There are things you can learn to do better and some things you can learn to avoid.

Anyway--I hope that you are in a better space and that your wife has been overcoming since the post I'm replying to was posted.

God's best to both of you,



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 04:21 PM
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The business about pulling away and 'finding herself' etc. 'loving herself before she can love anyone else' . . . probably comes from a particular person at AA. It has not been standard AA 'doctrine' from my awareness and I doubt it is now.


This isn't what is suggested by AA. AA suggests that you don't start any NEW relationships in the first year. You're not supposed to end exisitng ones. If anything, AA is supposed to help with exisiting relationships. Unfortunately, some people after they are sober for a while change and decide they don't want to be in their exisiting relationship any longer. That actually happens a lot.

I'm no AA fanatic. I'm sober almost 6 years and haven't been to a meeting in about 3 years. I went like a madman for quite a while at first. But, I needed to. In the first 90 days, I probably went to 10 to 12 meetings per week easily and kept up that pace for about 6 months. Then I tapered down to about 5 per week and then 3 and then 1 and then I eventually grew weary of the whole thing.

Most members will tell you you have to go to meetings for the rest of your life or you will eventually drink again, etc. etc. etc. That I'm sure is true for many, but not for all. I have no desire to drink today or ever again. It almost killed me and made my life horrible. I have a great life today and would do nothing to jeopardize it. I told my wife if I ever drink again, to hit the road....but I never will. I have too much to lose!

AA helped me immensely. I learned a great deal about myself and met some fantastic people and role models. But, eventually, I needed to move on and live life on my terms instead of AA's.

Most in AA call that taking your will back. Meaning, when in AA you put your life in God's hands and His will be done. God is still in my life and it is still in his hands. I just got to a point where I didn't need or want the meetings any longer.

Back to the woman the post is about: Let her do what she feels she needs to do. You might want to consider going to AL-Anon...are you familiar with it? It is for people with friends or family members that are alcoholics, whether active or not. It helps one understand what the person you care about is going through and what she needs. Just a suggestion.

Peace!



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 04:53 PM
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Hiya,

Firstly, hang in there my friend. Life can be such a struggle at times but the things that happen to us and those we love happen for a reason. To teach us something. We might not understand it when its happening but knowing there is SOME reason for it all tends to help me get through difficult things.

My family has quite a history with AA, although not me personally thank goodness. I am not a drinker. I've seen the damage it does.

I think there are two things going on here, for you. One is that your partner has had a rough time with drinking, and feeling a failure because she has conquered only to fail again. Failure after success tends to do a lot of damage to the self esteem-hence her needing to love herself again.
I think that she does need time on her own - so she can learn she IS a success, as a person, as a mother etc - without anyone as a 'crutch'. My only advise to you during her time of learning to love herself is to be the best friend you can be. No pressure, no criticism, just acceptance of her and the choices she makes at this time. Be there when she needs you, always.
Another factor I believe will be having an impact here is turning 30ish. Every woman I know seems to go through this at around 30 yrs old. Its a feeling of "wow I'm not young anymore.....but Im not old.....so what am I? Where am I going in life....Who AM I?" kind of thing. Philosophy and life become so much more important, understanding it all etc. Its a dramatic time, more than I can say. I was a single parent at 30 - and being alone and raising a child can be tough but the feeling of strength and esteem you get from being successful doing so.....is beyond words. It is when she realises that she IS a success that she will love who she is and finally she will have control of her life. Let her grow into that. Then, she will be ready for the family you are ready for now. There are no guarantees my friend that it will be you she ultimately stays with I'm afraid. I can see how much you love her and your daughter. Just be there for her. Right now, thats all she needs. I STRONGLY suggest Al-Anon, the support group as mentioned above, it will help you enormously to understand where she is at because others in the group will be in/been in your situation. It wont just be about supporting you through this it will be a help for you to have other people who *truly* understand your pain.

AA isn't a scam - it is what alcoholics need in many cases. My aunty is an AA fanatic and we are all failures in her eyes because we don't go to Al-Anon. AA is her LIFE. BUT....she needs that to keep her sober, so, I'm all for anything that helps them get control.

Best wishes to you.

[edit on 17-2-2006 by sanse_nz]



posted on Feb, 21 2006 @ 11:25 PM
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Dude, hang in there, everything's gonna be ok.

Tell your wife that if there's any reason to give up the drink and give your relationship another chance it's the new life you both decided to bring into this world.

Is her relationship with your child as strong as yours?



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 06:39 PM
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csully456:
I was a drug/alcohol counselor for 15 years and have had many experiences with AA. I can tell you that AA members are some of the most wonderfully caring and giving people on the earth. Almost all of them are well-meaning folks. Most certainly your wife is being influenced by them. "Don't make any major changes in the first year" is something she's probably heard. But you can't stop her from leaving if that's what she wants to do.
I highly suggest Al-Anon. It, too, is a group with many selfless individuals who can help you cope with the pain that comes from being involved with an alcoholic, whether drinking or sober. I've heard many beautiful, spiritual thoughts at Al-Anon, it's really worth attending.
Good luck with everything and if you want to U2U me, feel free.

-Forstlady



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 07:30 PM
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I read a report recently (I can't recall where) that said the third year of marriage was one of the most dangerous. If a couple could make it thru the third year they would probably stay together. The second most dangerous was the ninth year. (Thats when mine tanked) So, see if you can get her to hang on for the dutration of the third year and it may just work out.

If it doesn't, tell her you will be there when she's ready and then go buy yourself a honkey tonk and name it, "The 13th Step." She'll be back in no time.

Wupy



posted on Feb, 22 2006 @ 08:25 PM
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Hi, my name is John, and I'm an acholic... AA did not work for me... guess that I was not listening.... I had to go fo a DWI about 3 years ago. I went through 3 different treatment programs, and still drink a 1/5+ a day. I went to a doctor a 'bout it about 9 months ago. He said that my body had become chemecally dependant on the alcholol.,and if I quit cold turkey I'd probably die. (Yikes). He suggested the option to me of cutting back 10% per week until I quit. I have not taken his advise, but I hope this helps someone else. BTY 200mg per day of Zoloft is definatly not the answer...
Regards,
John

PS: Sorry for the multiple edits... I'm drunker than a road lizzard flipped over on his back



[edit on 2/22/2006 by atwood71360]

[edit on 2/22/2006 by atwood71360]





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