Michael Lemanski observed:
In AA, the bald assumption is that following "the AA way of life" will inevitably "restore [alcoholics] to sanity."
But this is not necessarily true. In a research report called The Abstinent Alcoholic, researchers Donald Gerard, Gerhart Saenger, and Renee Wile analyzed the abstinent population. The study included clients who had managed to achieve sobriety for up to nine years. On the basis of their findings and case studies, they divided the abstinent former alcoholics into four classifications:
Overtly Disturbed (54% of the total)
Inconspicuously Inadequate Personalities (24%)
Alcoholics Anonymous Successes (12%)
Independent Successes (10%)
The authors describe these groups as follows:
1. Overtly Disturbed ... These ex-patients suffer with tension to a degree which concerns them; and/or they are angry, dissatisfied, or are resentful., projecting aggressive attitudes or ideas into their environment; and/or they are driven by anxiety so that they are restless, unable to relax, seeking to distract or sedate themselves from their conflicts by spending inordinate amounts of time at work or social activities of a community nature; and/or they are overtly psychiatrically ill, displaying disturbances of mood, thought, and behavior to a psychotic degree.
2. Inconspicuously Inadequate Personalities consist of those ex-patients whose total functioning is characterized by meagerness of their involvement in life and living.... There is nothing grossly "wrong" in their lives. They are not presently likely to go to jail or to a mental hospital, nor are they very troubled. On the other hand, there is no positive sense of excitement, purpose, or interest in life. ...
3. AA Successes... It is evident that they are as dependent on AA as they were before on alcohol. They are very active in AA. Some of them spend all or practically all of their free time at AA or in 12-Step work. Conversely, they have little or no social life apart from AA....
4. Independent Successes... These ex-patients have achieved a state of self-respecting independence, of personal growth, and self-realization. They differ from the first subgroup in that they do not appear disturbed...; they differ from the second subgroup in that they are more alive and interesting as human beings...; and they differ from the third subgroup in that their efforts at self-realization are independent rather than institutionally supported....25
During my time active within the cult, I have not witnessed anything that contradicts these findings.
(Taken from the Orange Papers Cult Test #42: Disturbed Members, Mentally Ill Followers)