Addictionland - Addiction Recovery Blog

Addictionland - Addiction Recover Blog

THE EFFICACY OF TWELVE STEP PROGRAMS

Posted by ChrisS
ChrisS
ChrisS has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 12 May 2011
in None 5 Comments

Chris is the Director of Media for C4 Recovery Solutions. In his role with C4, he has been tasked with hosting and developing the webcast show, The Afflicted and Affected, interviewing leaders in the addictive illness field and other interesting personalities revolving around the recovery world.

 

    I recently read a post on a Linked-In Group by a treatment professional I found very disturbing.  He reported that when you look at the statistics for 12 step fellowships, you will see that the success rates are in the single digits. It stated that 12 step fellowship success is at about the same rate as if you gave someone a placebo.  I completely disagree with this statement and here is why: It is impossible to quantify the spiritual experience or personality change that brings about recovery.

    One thing that becomes apparent when you actually participate in the 12 step recovery process is that those who “actually” become consistent with meetings, “actually” work/take the steps with a sponsor or spiritual advisor and then “actually” intensively work with others see almost no relapse. This work is the suggested recovery process, not meeting attendance alone. 

    In my observation of sponsoring individuals for the past 20 years, the permanent success rate for the individuals who practice these three things consistently is very high – over 90% recover and stay sober. Is this something that can be tested? Are there accurate studies or statistics on this?  Not really. The difficulty lies within the ability to quantify a spiritual awakening in a scientific way. I have never seen the data measured but the outcome is observable by someone who is experienced with the steps and can see the difference in those who actually participate in their own recovery versus those who do not. 

  Fellowship attendees are what make up the data on most 12 step studies and show a low probability of success. That is because simply attending a fellowship meeting does not mean the individual is working a 12 step program.  Meeting attendance alone is not a defense against relapse if all one does is to go to meetings.  The spiritual awakening resulting in taking the 12 steps and then following a service ethic and action is what promises to offer an individual the power to stay abstinent and recover.

  There are currently between 2 and 3 million members of AA in North America and many others still sober but no longer going to AA meetings.  Despite that, there are people who say it does not work for 90% of the people who try it.

  You cannot say someone going to meetings is “trying AA” any more then you can say people who walked into the waiting room at a hospital but walked out before they could get the operation are “trying” the medical treatment or should be part of the hospitals statistical failure rate.

 The question we could ask is “is it in the professional’s best economic interest to recommend the 12 step process?” Most treatment professionals do because they are ethical, experienced and compassionate.  Since a spiritual awakening is not measurable, its success can not be quantified but it certainly is observable.

Hits: 2510
0 votes
ChrisS has not set their biography yet

Comments

doctormarty
doctormarty
Licensed psychologist and an active participant within the recovering community,
User is currently offline
doctormarty Thursday, 12 May 2011

"Garage Logic"

Great observation. Attendance at meetings, while important, is but only one step [excuse the pun] toward continued sobriety [aka long term recovery]. The end game in working all 12 steps is a spiritual awakening and a prescription for keeping the connection.

After all, I've heard it said...."Sitting in your garage for a year doesn't make you a car"

FrothyJay
FrothyJay
FrothyJay has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
FrothyJay Friday, 13 May 2011

Thanks Chris. While I'm in agreement about the distinction between fellowship and program, and that the success rate for those who actually work the program is very high, I agree with the research that suggests AA, to the outside world, is failing. Somewhere along the line AA allowed the fellowship to become the focal point, and basically synonymous with the program. Newcomers come in the door and, as a general rule, are told to do 90 in 90 and to "not drink and go to meetings." We do not present the solution with the urgency suggested in our textbook, because we've been inexplicably conditioned to not scare off the newcomer at any cost. So people leave, or hang around and white-knuckle it until they explode.

Those of us who've had an experience with the 12 steps understand that it works. But I can't overlook the 90% of people who come to an AA meeting, don't hear that (in many cases), and disappear. I believe we need to own that failure. Our house is not in order.

ChrisS
ChrisS
ChrisS has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
ChrisS Friday, 13 May 2011

FrothyJay - I so agree with you - every problem in current AA can be brought back to inexperienced sponsorship.

Nachodaddy0828
Nachodaddy0828
Nachodaddy0828 has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
Nachodaddy0828 Thursday, 19 May 2011

While there are many valid points mentioned prior to this and it was quite refreshing. I Would not necessarily say "every" problem in current AA... I most certainly cannot take credit nor think I have any power over or responsibility for my sponsees or other members actions. I'm merely giving away what was given to me and am solely responsible for myself. In my experience... God is either all or he/she is nothing.

Stepsherpa
Stepsherpa
Stepsherpa has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
Stepsherpa Thursday, 19 July 2012

Good read, thanks.

Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Blogging Tip

It's easy, just fill out the title and write your blog.  You can select a category too.  Click "Publish Now" and you're done!

You don't have to worry about anything else, the other options are there for pro bloggers to use if desired.

This blog works best when you use Firefox as your browser.

Subscribe to Cate's Blog

Feedburner Subscription (RSS): Subscribe now

Subscription link for email feed: Subscribe to Blogs written by Cate - Addiction Blogs | Blogging Community by Email

Member Login