Does AA Work?

Everyone is different. One brain is different from the next, and no two minds are the same. For that reason, when dealing with problems like addiction, it can often be a difficult challenge; like throwing darts at a dart board with all the lights turned off. If you talk to any psychiatrist, they will tell you the same thing about treating mental health disorders. Its virtually a crapshoot; reduced almost to a guessing game. While one treatment may work for one patient, it could have the opposite effect for someone else. 

Alcoholics Anonymous is different though. It has been said in the rooms that AA works for anyone who truly approaches the program with honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness, and follows the 12 Steps to the best of their abilities. There are, of course, so many testimonies that would support how well AA works. Everything from the approach, being described in the Big Book as being “suggestive in nature” to the actual guidelines seem to have been worded so carefully that even today, almost a hundred years later, people are still finding even deeper meaning in what has been written. Some even say that the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is written from divine inspiration.

One brain is different from the next, and no two minds are the same.

Why does AA work though? It takes a real look at what happens to an alcoholic that makes them drink, and uses a systematic approach to tackle the problem. It divides alcoholism into three different parts: the physical allergy, the mental obsession, and the spiritual malady, and suggests practices that will combat all three. The 12 Steps outlined in the Big Book examines these three points, and lays out a way to address them.

An important part about what makes AA work is a certain level of understanding about addiction and alcoholism. This is what makes chapters like the “Dr’s Opinion” so important. It explains why an alcoholic drinks so much, and can’t stop. It goes into detail about the physical allergy, the mental obsession, and the spiritual malady, and explains things like the cycle of addiction, which is a cyclical chain of events that a drug addict and alcoholic gets trapped in, resulting in being unable to stop using once they have started.

In every way, the 12 Steps outline a better way to live for anyone. Not just those that are alcoholic.

Probably the biggest asset that AA has is that it addresses not only the affliction of alcoholism, but the human condition as a whole. It references selfishness and self-service, and talks about resentments and fear, all of which are struggles that everyone encounters in their life, not just alcoholics. In every way, the 12 Steps outline a better way to live for anyone. Not just those that are alcoholic. That is why there are so many adaptations of the AA in other areas, such as eating disorders, sex addiction, video gaming addiction…the list goes on. Everyone suffers from many of the common struggles that are mentioned in the Big Book, and the 12 Steps have proven to address those issues in a very effective way.

The program of Alcoholics Anonymous is described as simple, but not easy. The 12 Steps are easily read and understood, but executing them and continuing to maintain a program can be a struggle even on the best of days. Those who have their lives transformed are able to succeed because they want it badly enough, and are willing to put in the work to make the changes necessary. AA can work for anyone, even those who do not find themselves struggling with addiction or alcoholism, and can really make life a beautiful experience.  

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