Columnist Parker stooped pretty low to swipe at AA

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I read Kathleen Parker's column in the Sept. 2 edition ("It's Glenn's Beckapalooza"), and while I disagree with her perceptions in general, I strongly defend her right to have them.

I take exception, however, to her ridicule, as I see it, of Alcoholics Anonymous. As I read the column, and what I heard of Mr. Beck's message at the recent Restoring Honor gathering at the Lincoln Memorial, it was in keeping with the 11th Tradition of AA, which states that a member maintain his/her anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.

To my knowledge, he never mentioned AA. Ms. Parker, while she makes no direct connection between AA and Mr. Beck, seems to strongly insinuate that he is indeed a member of AA, and that his gathering was "right out of the AA playbook." "Playbook"? She goes on to say that Mr. Beck's emotional public breakdowns are "replicated" daily at AA meetings, and that "taking others along for the ride, a.k.a. evangelism, also is part of the cure."

As I view it, this is more than a criticism of Glenn Beck. It also is a not-so-thinly-veiled indictment of AA, the most successful program for recovery of alcoholism known to man. Stooping kind of low, Ms. Parker?

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raysny 09/12/10 - 01:44 am
Mr. Lennon, AA members claim

Mr. Lennon,

AA members claim that AA is "spiritual not religious" but expect the hands off approach that we afford religions. AA is not beyond criticism.

AA is not, and never has been "the most successful program for recovery of alcoholism", it's success rate is about 5%, the same as people quitting on their own. The NIAAA’s 2001–2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions reveal that:
"About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

In "Handbook of alcoholism treatment approaches: Effective alternatives" by Hester & Miller, 48 methods are ranked by effectiveness, AA ranked 38th.

chasboy 09/12/10 - 06:29 am
AA saved my life. I wasn't

AA saved my life. I wasn't able to stop until I joined. I don't debate statistics. It works for me and in turn I'm able to help others. Other than that I have no position on anything else.

Tipsy McStagger
Tipsy McStagger 09/12/10 - 08:08 am
Why do AAers believe that

Why do AAers believe that they, or AA itself, is above criticism? I wish we had more critiques of AA, which is wholly ineffective, and is cult-like. In my experience, it does more harm than good, and I don't see it doing any good. AA is truly a scary organization.

There are ways to quit drinking, as I have - and they don't rely spiritual voodoo from a god who helps who helps alcoholics for 24 hour stretches, but only when they attend a life-long sentence to meetings, and who whom He won't care about if they leave the fellowship - i.e., the AA god (or tree or doorknob or whatever inane higher power a person chooses to put in charge of their life and sobriety). Most people quit drinking on their own, as do most AAers, who eventually get fed up and leave.

If you want crazy religion (yeah, I know 'spiritual, not religious' line, which is nonsense), and you want a place filled with crazy, manipulative people; and you want a place that sounds like a slogan factory - then go to AA. If you want a life, then stay away.

So crates
So crates 09/12/10 - 10:45 am
Whatever works for people

Whatever works for people works, period. It all comes down to what you are willing to believe. Some people fight very hard to resist giving up their outlet of choice. Others come to see very reasonably that they have choices. In the case of Glenn Beck's rally, I just don't choose to believe. The guys is well meaning, I am sure, but he is obviously unstable. Fox should be ashamed of itself for exploiting his mental illness.

Willow Bailey
Willow Bailey 09/15/10 - 06:36 pm
Mr. Lennon, nice letter.

Mr. Lennon, nice letter. Actually, Ms. Kathleen Parker could use a little recovery via AA methods, herself, as can all of us. We are all addicts of something whether we admit it or not.

Not only have the principles of AA been the most successful help group for alcoholics, its' teachings have been adapted to fit numerous of other recovery programs, including drugs (prescription and street), religion, work, perfectionism, materialism, education, relationships, and codependency to name a few.

As one poster suggests otherwise; it is not the surrender of choice that this fine association teaches, rather it is the making of the right choices and the skills necessary for processing, taking personal responsibility, communicating and right relationships.

Another poster has had a bad experience with AA, no doubt. Groups are people and there are both good and bad representatives of anything. A good recovery support group, helps us to overcome our 'all or nothing' thinking that keeps us enslaved to the very things that we dispise.

Alcoholism is not my struggle. However, I do know that anything we put down of our own sheer will power, must have a substitute. The problem is we will trade one addition for another, unless there is emotional healing in that area. The addiction is not our problem, it is merely a sympton of the problem.

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