Is Alcoholics Anonymous a good "treatment" or "aftercare" that the US Courts system often coerces through sentencing? A case study of Shropshire, England.

We have all read about these incidents, an AA member leaves a meeting drunk and does something harmful. In the US this is very prevalent and it is often found out that the AA member in question was ordered to go to AA either directly through a "Drug" or "DUI" Court or by proxy through the ordering of a substance abuse evaluation as part of the sentencing in a regular (non-specific) court. In the UK, this is not done to a great extent, but people are trying to change that and people in the UK often try to emulate the AA get out of jail card that has become so prevalent in the US. When we hear about people being sent to AA or NA in the UK, it is often only mentioned because the accused claim they are using a 12 Step "treatment" and the Magistrate adds that to the sentence to make sure that they keep seeking this "treatment." In the UK there is an incident that happened this year on February 1, 2014 of an AA member and mother of three who left an AA meeting drunk and got on a bus where she assaulted some school children and was arrested for it. In the US, this would most likely have caused her to be ordered back to Alcoholics Anonymous by the court systems directly or through proxy. This example highlights why it is not a very good idea to start coercing 12 Step "treatment" in the UK, because it is not "treatment" or "aftercare" and it has no structure to facilitate this, it is just a bunch of people getting together to swap horror stories and hopefully learn from other peoples mistakes. The courts on both sides of the ocean should not be coercing it and the lawyers (or solicitors in the UK) should not be suggesting it.
Drunken Shropshire woman in attack on children April 9, 2014 09:59 An alcoholic mother-of-three launched an unprovoked attack on six children at Shrewsbury bus station. Kerry Oakley slapped, punched, and tripped a group of children at the station, magistrates heard yesterday. In a separate incident she also assaulted two police officers called to her house in Bomere Heath, after her elderly neighbours complained she had been shouting abuse at them. Oakley, 31, of Magnolia Close, Bomere Heath, was sentenced to six months in prison after admitting 10 charges in connection with the two incidents. She admitted six of the charges were for assault by beating the children at Shrewsbury bus station on February 1. She also pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting two police officers on March 15 as well using threatening words and behaviour towards her neighbours on the same day. Oakley admitted a further charge of failing to surrender to custody at Telford Magistrates Court on March 20. The court heard how Oakley attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with her friend Samantha Evans, before going out drinking on February 1. The pair then decided to get the bus home to Bomere Heath, when Oakley attacked six schoolchildren. Prosecutor Miss Sara Beddows told magistrates in Shrewsbury how Oakley "punched" one child in the eye, "pulled the hood" of a child's coat which caused it to "tighten round her throat," and "pulled the hair" of another child. She was allowed to board the bus but was verbally abusive on the journey, despite been told by the bus driver to be quiet, and "slapped" a fellow passenger in the face "causing pain," Miss Beddows said. In a separate incident, Oakley hurled abuse at her elderly neighbours, which they found "alarming and distressing" before going on to assault PC Coote and PC Owen who were called to the property following the disturbance on March 15. Defence Solicitor Gavin McKenzie said Oakley was "ashamed" of her behaviour because she herself has children and elderly relatives. He said: "The first thing to say is that she is ashamed of her behaviour. "You do not need me to tell you of her clear abuse of alcohol. What you may need me to tell you is that when sober, she is fine. She is the kind of person you would be happy to meet." Mr McKenzie described Oakley's downward spiral into alcohol since the breakdown of her relationship, where she was the victim of domestic violence. He said: "She married and had three children and she was the victim of domestic violence. "She then turned to alcohol during that relationship and she cannot control that – she has not been able to. "Until the age of 26 alcohol was not a problem though." Oakley was sentenced to six months in prison in total, for what presiding magistrate Mr Peter Eardley described as "prolonged attack".


Orange's picture

Thanks for the post.
JR Harris's picture

We can't be sure if she was with her Sponsor, but aacultwatch just wrote a glaring expose' on the practice called "Questions and Answers on Sponsorship" . You see the main problem with AA I believe is the notion that your life should be guided by someone else. Many holes are left in this story and it has not been covered fully. What is particularly obvious about this incident is that she arrived at the AA meeting drunk with a "friend" that is named in the article. The problems didn't start at the meeting, it started on the way home. We don't know what happened at the meeting, but it is obvious that she left the meeting in a worse state than she arrived seeing that these incidents didn't start on the way there, it happened on the way back.

~You can not moderate the truth. Just don't lie, steal or make stuff up out of thin air and try to minimize the people hurt by AA without it being pointed out to you. It's really very simple.~