Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Scam?
Alcoholics Anonymous is not a scam. In fact, it has helped many individuals change their lives for the better and put an end to their dangerous substance abuse. You can call 800-839-1686Who Answers? now to learn more about AA or to find rehab centers that utilize the program as a part of treatment.
The History of AA
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, AA was founded in 1935 and “introduced the now widely known concept of the Twelve Steps as a path to recovery.”
The program started out as The Oxford Group, which was focused on helping Christians recover from alcoholism and maintain sobriety. However when Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith developed the well-known 12-step program, AA blossomed into something much more popular that is still extremely similar to the organization we know today.
It is estimated that the group has about has about 2.1 million members worldwide, and currently, AA meetings can be found almost everywhere. Different groups sprung from the original formation of AA over time, including Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, etc., as well as groups like Al-Anon for the families of addicts (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
Is AA Effective?
Many people find AA to be an incredibly effective option for recovery from alcohol abuse. While it is not considered a professional treatment program itself, it––and other mutual-help groups like it––are sought more often than any other treatment for alcoholism (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
In truth, the program has been found to be effective through years of research as well. However, it is still important that a person struggling with a substance use disorder seek professional treatment in addition to AA.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Self-help groups can complement and extend the effects of professional treatment,” and many different studies have proven that those who attend self-help groups and addiction treatment are often more likely to have improved outcomes than those who attend only one of these programs.
What Do I Have to Do to Attend AA?
Many people believe AA is a scam because they do not understand what the program entails. However, it is important to realize that one does not have to pay to attend AA meetings, nor does the program ask for members to do anything except show up and be respectful to others.
While most groups encourage members to come to meetings as often as possible, you only have to attend meetings when you want to and you won’t be expected to do anything you are not comfortable with. For example, you don’t even have to talk at the meeting if you are not immediately ready to share your feelings.
Can AA Help Me?
AA helps many individuals worldwide with the issues caused by substance abuse and allows members to gain confidence, social support, and positive life skills that will often help them stay sober. However, the program is not always for everyone, and you may want to consider whether or not it seems appropriate for your needs.
Some individuals feel uncomfortable with the religious aspects of AA. Giving oneself over to a higher power, for instance, can be difficult for someone who is not religious. But there are ways to change the rules of the program slightly so that they fit your life. As an example, you can think of the universe, music, or another non-religious concept as your higher power.
The truth is that the best way to know if AA will be beneficial to you is to attend a meeting. Because the program does not charge members, there is little you have to lose by doing so, and you can determine more clearly whether or not AA will be helpful for your safe, reliable recovery.
AA Is Not a Scam
Though the program has carried a significant stigma for years, it is important to be aware that AA is not a scam. Many people are able to use the principles behind it to heal, and you can stay in the program for as long as you like without ever having to pay.
However, it is also important to know that seeking professional treatment along with AA is still necessary to a safe recovery. Call 800-839-1686Who Answers? now; our recovery experts are standing by, ready to help you find reliable, effective care.