Sunday, March 6, 2011

Charlie Sheen claims AA has a 5% success rate -- is he right?


I posted this because Stinkin Thinkers, Ex-AA'ers, ex-spouses of AA'ers and just about every other uneducated, uninformed and non-sober individual propped up Charlie (probably literally) as their poster boy. It also gave everyone one a reason just to complain because living by principles is hard and they don't want to. Thinking about the spirituality is complex for some just better to not care.
Many of our brethren spoke out on this thread, I found it to be enlightening.


  1. You say that some Stinkin-Thinkers are spouses of A.A.ers who got sober and dumped them.

    Wow. That makes sense and I never thought about it. Then they see a proA.A.er, and try to use the Principles against them. How true.

    I'll check that site out when I get to a computer.

  2. The key words in that article are from Dr. Drew (Celebrity Rehab, what a fucking credentials) that the program is pretty successful for those who work it. No shit?

    But before I go on my rant here, realize that you can't measure success in sobriety. What is success? 5 years? 10 years? If I relapse after 10 years am I still a success? But lets pretend we can and go back to those who work it...

    That's the problem with every fucking statistical argument I read, especially coming from Orange and even Peele. (Both of whom are real fuzzy on how they define "alcoholic") The studies measure the success rate of people who walk in the door for the first time. If you begin your study using them as a baseline, then 5% is probably pretty accurate.

    We all realize that among that group, few are gonna stick around. Most realize they don't want to do any work, actually they don't want to stop drinking. Yeah, a few are turned off by some asshole groups or the word "God", but I don't think that many fall into this category..

    But let someone do a study of those who go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the steps as they should be taken. How many of those people succeed? My guess is that probably most of them stay sober for a while. Can't prove it though, as no fucking study has ever been done with that baseline.

    Granted, not all who get a sponsor and start the steps make it very far, probably less than 1/2 get past step 4. But again, is it the program that fails or the people? Why not make that part of some study? Why did you drop out of AA?

    We have a pretty good idea 'cause we see this shit every day. Best words ever spoken: "Here's $5, go buy yourself a drink and come back when you're ready." It's a hard attitude but this shit needs to be said. You're just not fucking ready to get sober. You don't want it badly enough.

    AA succeeds when the alcoholic is in enough pain that they're willing to do anything to stop. It's pain that causes them to want it, not some fucking "feel good about yourself" behavior modification group grope. You'll never get a drunk to stop drinking by offering him $100. But promise you'll take that blowtorch away from his bare foot....?

    And the success rate of other programs? Depends on how they define alcoholic. As most will lump the problem drinkers in with the "real" alcoholics, their rates are impressive. I have a degree in mathematics. I can make statistics say anything you want them to and I'll even throw a multi-color complex graph in there for free.

    But if you separate out the real alcoholic, then rates fall a lot. This isn't to say that other programs aren't as successful as AA. but we'll never know until some meaningful studies are conducted. We know AA isn't for everyone, and that's fine. Let them go to another program.

    What we do know is that AA has to have something going for it to have been around 75 years and have 2m members. We all know from personal experience that it works for us.

    I look at the hands raised at the end of every meeting when the chair asks who's been sober for a year or more. The majority of people raise their hands. That says success to me.

    And if ex- spouses whine? Then the program is very, very successful.

  3. Oh, and love your comments, Diablo... But don't you think it's a little unfair to mix it up with such intellectual giants as Gunthar? He would come by here once in a while, but when some intelligent words were addressed to him,he disappeared.

  4. Joe thanks for all this info. I wanted to acknowledge you before I went off to bed. I will have much more to say tomorrow.
    Great to be here guys.
    Gunthar is one of those special guys, you always need a hanky when your talking to him because he cries a lot.
    The gathering of statistics(triennials)was always for the purposes of the DCM's, GSR's and State Delegates including GSO. It is completely misinterpreted for selfish gains outside of this arena. Hence no more studies. AA knew they could not possibly ask there brethren to subject themselves to studies, then why have the spirit of anonymity.
    Joe as you pointed out above how can anyone account for success. Almost a arrogant proposition to undertake.

    Talk Tomorrow