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Twelve Reasons Why We Need to Find Alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous

Walters, Glenn D. PhD

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: June 2002 - Volume 1 - Issue 2 - p 53-59
Original Articles

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and its professional analog, the Minnesota Model, are often the only options available to persons looking for assistance in overcoming an alcohol abuse problem. Twelve reasons why alternatives to the Twelve Steps must be identified, developed, and implemented are outlined in this article. These reasons include AA's high rate of attrition; views on motivation; religious connotations; external orientation; affiliation with the disease model; emphasis on character defects, powerlessness, loss of control, abstinence, and dependence; labeling practices; and weak operationality. In short, 12-step programs may be inappropriate and ineffective for a certain portion of people who misuse alcohol. Alternatives that more closely approximate the belief systems of clients who find AA principles or practices objectionable are consequently required.

From the Federal Correctional Institution, Schuylkill, Pennsylvania.

The assertions and opinions contained herein are the private views of the author and should not be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Federal Bureau of Prisons or the US Department of Justice.

Address reprint requests to Glenn D. Walters, PhD, Psychology Services, FCI-Schuylkill, PO Box 700, Minersville, PA 17954-0700.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.