Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quickcap does a nice job of explaining the 95% lie

He has a youtube channel over there and I really like the way he explains the survey.

A.A. Members' Length of Sobriety:

  • Less than one year..... 26%

  • 1-5 years................... 24%

  • 5-10 years................. 14%

  • 10+ years................... 36%

Now this seems more like it. How could this be?

First, let's look at some A.A. statistical facts that we've heard;

  • 2 million sober members

  • Average length of sobriety is 8 years

What would the A.A. haters or antiAAers have us believe?

  • 95% to 100% ineffective

Where in the hell do they even get that from?

Well, Quickcap mentions two types of AA haters;

First, you've got your weiners, or those that like to repeat something that someone else says over and over and over...

Secondly, you've got your ankle biters. They just flat out spread lies.

So... as the story goes, A.A. does an internal survey every three years and back in 1989, there were 2 key questions that were keyed in on;

5. I first came to A.A. in ...... / ..............

....................................month/ year

6. I had my last drink in .... / ................

...................................month year

So the problem is... there's a lag between the answer to 6 and 5. Some come to A.A. because they have "back problems". Some actually come to A.A. to get wives, husbands, bosses, judges, family, etc. off their back... but continue to drink or remain dry. Then they hit a brick wall and come back to A.A. and are willing to do something. But this is when the antiAAers or AA haters come in and lay down this lie. They probably cause some damage and this is exactly why I just got kicked off a recovery forum.

So the next lie on the AA haters agenda is that A.A. is a religious evil cult that is both ineffective and yet also still dangerous. As Quickcap points out, trying to control alcoholics is like hearding cats.

"How can you have a cult when you have the patients running the asylum?"

Thank you Quickcap for what you do over there on youtube. I see your hate mail. You must really be onto something.


  1. Thank you for that 95% you-tube. Never saw it before and always wondered how those numbers were arrived at when I know different.

  2. Isn't it crazy? I'd agree that most of the fellowship today knows nothing of a 75% recovery rate, nor do they want it. A.A. was so exclusive and hardcore back in the day, many of us might have continued to drink until we had gone down way further and perhaps lost even more.

    Between Quickcap and this recovery outcomes site, http://hindsfoot.org/recout01.pdf , it explains the fallacy of 5% in two interesting ways. Either way, the claim is bullshit.

    I like the chart above that breaks it down for a year and less, under 5, under 10, etc. The only bad recovery rate that I see is between 5 and 10 years, and I aim to put on my long distance running shoes and bridge that gap.

    Thx 4 the comment and welcome.

  3. OK, McGowdog. Let me explain to you how you are not understanding these numbers. This explains it using AA's triennial data.

    Take out a calculator and draw yourself out a bell curve.

    Now take the actual figures, including those who began AA and dropped out of the program. From their own internal figures, the dropout rate within the first year is 95%. The chance of success at that point is much greater, and 30% of those who make it the first year will make it to year five. Beyond that 95% are successful long term quitters.

    Now, assume a new chapter is started with exactly 100 members and a new person filling in the void left when a member leaves. At the end of year one, you have 5 one year members and 95 who have been there for less than a year. Go forward another year. You will now have close 10 successful quitters of one and two years (actually, 9.8 if you assume the average, but since you can't split an actual person, I'm rounding up). Fast forward ten years, and that chapter will have a good many permanent quitters. It looks impressive to anyone attending their first meeting. You'll have close to 70 people (70%) of the room who have quit for 6 months or more. Of those, close to half are at 5 years or longer. All of them attributing their success to AA. All of them telling you to work the steps and you can do as they did. Now fast forward 20 years, keep the same success rates of 5%, 30% and 95%, the room looks even more impressive. And if you took a survey of only those who are active members, plot them on that bell curve, you will come up with numbers almost identical to the survey you linked to has:

    35% have been sober for over 10 years.

    16% have been sober between 5-10 years.

    28% have been sober between 1-5 years.

    22% have been sober less that 1 year.

    With an average, of course, of 8 years sober.

    This is a 5% rate of successful quitters, and since that is also the rate of people who quit on their own, the effective success rate is actually 0.

  4. Why don't you just say it's negative.

    I breathe on somebody and they get shit-faced drunk.

    No, M.A. You are an Orange ankle-biter. You don't just mimic stuff that Orange spews out, you take it a step further and make shit up.

    We had this conversation on your blog. Here's what I asked you there and haven't got an answer from you yet;

    What if I come into A.A. in 1984, then again in 1994, then again in 2004 and have been sober for 6 + years now? What is A.A.’s failure rate? What is my success rate of “quitting on my own?”

    What if Joe Schmoe comes into A.A. in 1984 and then comes back into A.A. a year later and gets and stays sober for good and continues to be a member of A.A.? What’s his success rate and A.A.’s retention or failure rate?

    What if Julie Schmoe comes into A.A. on December 5th, 2008 and that happens to also be her last drink until she dies? Does that make her success rate 100% and A.A.’s success rate a + 0.000005% or 5e-7? Since she is just one in 2 million?

    Guys like McGowdog are NOT ignorant because they are the ones on the firing line, going to meetings, meeting new drunks, old drunks, nonAA punks, alanot funks, horny skunks…

    I’m an E.E. and Got an A in Calc 1 and 2, a B in Calc 3 and Diff EQ, Calc based Physics 1 and 2. Do you really want to test my math?

  5. Go back to the "dropout rate within the first year is 95%".

    That's just Agent Orange induced interjection that was and always will be bullshit.

    Stop right there with the 95%. How do you come to that?