Christian groups are starting to spring up all over the Internet explaining the dangers of 12 Step Addiction and Rehab. The Cephas Ministry was founded in 1992 in Denver, Colorado for the purpose of Christian research of aberrant teachings and is trying to show people how to cult proof your family. Their stance on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and Bill Wilson are extremely informative and this is considered a very well documented source and a good read.
Therapeutic groups versus 12-step groups: An analysis of the AA prototype
By Cathleen A. Mann
Most psychologists, physicians, lawyers and judges, and the average person have little awareness or in-depth knowledge of what AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) actually is, how it was founded, how it works, or the consequences associated with involvement with AA and similar 12-step groups. This paper will illustrate the origins of the 12-step movement, the group dynamics and pressure within and outside the movement, the structure and teachings of the 12-step groups, and discuss how 12 step philosophies and applications are, by and large, harmful to the substance user/abuser. There will also be some discussion of alternatives to the 12-step method, focusing on positive use of group psychology to treat substance abusers.
Without a doubt, the general consensus in this country is that Alcoholics Anonymous is an effective remedy for alcohol-related problems, that it should be listed as the treatment of choice, that it has good success rates, and that it is based on sound principles (Peele, 1990; Fox, 1995). However, this is an erroneous myth. In reality, AA is a faith-based, Christian evangelical group, which has modified its marketing approaches somewhat, but still retains and maintains its one-sided view of alcohol problems or other addictions (Taleff & Babcock, 1998). In terms of group psychology, AA group meetings resemble cult-like processes. AA involvement uses well-known cultic principles to recruit, retain, and maintain its membership. Using psychological coercion tactics, AA offers freedom but delivers bondage.
Alcoholics Anonymous is probably the most powerful group in the mental health and substance abuse field today, with an estimated membership of 2 million, and an estimated 90% of the addictions field treatment providers subscribing to the AA formula in their treatment centers, hospitals, clinics, and private offices (Finlay, 2000).
Definition of Terms
Alcoholism: “Primary chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. Often progressive and fatal, it is characterized by impaired control over drinking and use of alcohol despite consequences. Alcoholism has major biological markers, including elevation of hepatic enzymes, low levels of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, related endocrine problems, and hyper-responsive heart rate. Data may someday delineate the basic biological processes that predispose to alcoholism, and may lead to screening for vulnerability, which could lead to directed and permanent intervention.” (Ayd, 1998).
Alcoholics Anonymous: “Self help group founded in 1935 by two recovering alcoholics (one a physician) for the purpose of rehabilitating alcoholics. AA has been a major contributor to effective assessment and treatment of primary alcoholism, but AA counselors, as a rule, have trouble with alcoholism as secondary to primary psychiatric illnesses. Sometimes these counselors resist treatment of primary disorders with proper medications, often misleading the person into believing that all medications are addictive and equivalent to alcohol.” (Ayd, 1998).
Denial: “Mechanism in which a person fails to acknowledge some aspect of external reality that would be apparent to others.” (Ayd, 1998).
Group dynamics: “Generally, any and all of the collective interactions that take place within a group” (Reber, 2000).
Group therapy: “A very general term used to cover any psychotherapeutic process in which groups of individuals meet together with a therapist/leader. The interactions of the group are assumed to be therapeutic and in many cases more effective than the traditional client-therapist diad” (Reber, 2000).
Brief Literature Review
Physicians have played a distinctive role in the treatment of chemical dependency since the time of Hippocrates (Hayes, 1998). In the 1800s, temperance societies flourished for a time, and the issue of chemical dependency became politicized (Hayes, 1998). From 1900 to 1935, more physicians began studying alcohol as a potentially harmful substance, and research began in earnest (Hayes, 1998). In 1935, Dr. Bob (Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, 11/26/1885 to 1/24/71) and Bill W. (William Griffith Wilson, 8/8/1879 to 11/16/50) formed the 12-step group, Alcoholics Anonymous, and the field and study of substance abuse and addictions has never been the same (Ragge, 1998).
Finlay (2000) discusses the influence of Carl Jung and William James on the origin of Alcoholics Anonymous. Jung termed alcoholism as “a low level search for God” (Finlay, 2000). Even though he was considered a spiritual psychologist by many, Jung was, in actuality, the ultimate religious generalist. He dabbled in the occult, held séances, believed in alien visitations and abductions, and considered himself the reincarnation of his grandfather (Noll, 1997). Jung also used psychedelic drugs as a means to “reach God,” so perhaps he is not the best teacher and example on how to diagnose and treat substance abuse problems (Noll, 1997).
Brief overview of the addictions treatment field
According to Taleff & Babcock (1998), the addictions treatment field has several dominant themes. These themes are present in virtually all treatment approaches, and form a basis from which to study the effectiveness of addictions treatment. As delineated by Taleff & Babcock (1998), these themes are:
1. Blame the client for any treatment failure.
It is customary in the addictions field for the treatment provider to put forth phraseology such as “He’s still in denial,” “she didn’t work the program,” “he hasn’t hit bottom yet”. Since the vast majority of treatment programs are 12-step (AA) based, any failure must be due to the individual’s unwillingness to submit to AA rigor, rather than a reflection of AA itself.
2. Closeness equals pathology.
In addictions treatment, the assumption by most 12-step oriented programs is that the “disease of alcoholism” is a family disease, and it is a prerequisite that the client/patient disengage from his/her family in order to “get well.”
3. Too much knowledge is bad. Don’t think, just feel.
This approach discourages rational thought, and encourages decision-making based on emotional changes. Although it sounds reassuring, this approach tends to inhibit good reality testing, reliance on the self and one’s own observations, and encourages compliance to the group norm (Goldhammer, 1996).
4. Never trust the client, as all addicts are cons and manipulators.
Strangely enough, while maintaining that alcoholism is a disease, AA and other disease proponents ignore the standard therapeutic requirement that, ethically and responsibly, individuals be told of alternative approaches other than a 12-step approach. Additionally, while maintaining that alcoholism is a disease, AA philosophy does not permit medical evaluation and medication as part of the regimen for treatment (Peele, 1995). What AA does not want you to know is, yes, they consider alcoholism a disease, but only a disease of the soul or spirit, not a physical disease, and not a disease like any other disease (like diabetes for example) (Peele, 1990, 1995, 1998). .......
Please read the rest and check the references, this is extremely good: http://www.cephas-library.com/psychology/psychology_an_analysis_of_AA_pr...