Sane Talk About AA?
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Sane Talk About AA?


lcoholics AnonymousSo there’s been a lot of blather out there this week. People venting their opinions—some informed, some not remotely—about addiction, recovery, relapse, what it means to have multiple baggies of heroin and many needles, whether or not drug dealers should be held responsible when someone they sell to overdoses…and then, of course, there’s the Woody Allen real-time documentary unfolding before our eyes. Those with agendas to push—whether it’s to decriminalize drugs or give more opiate addicts opiate replacement drugs—have been using this occasion to do so. I don’t have any judgment myself about that. I do judge those who called Philip Seymour Hoffman selfish for “choosing” heroin over his kids but that’s because they fundamentally misunderstand addiction and therefore probably shouldn’t be opining about it.

But maybe, amidst the chaos and clamor, some unhysterical, sane concepts are being spread. There’s a piece that went up on HuffPo about Alcoholics Anonymous—an organization that is pretty much consistently misunderstood and criticized in the mainstream press—and it’s decidedly on-point and positive. The focus of it is a study which tracked the “self-efficacy, or empowerment” of members and determined:

• The more the individual identified him/herself as a recovering alcoholic (addict) the higher was his/her level of self-efficacy.

• Higher self-efficacy was associated with more months clean and/or sober.

• The more the individual leaned toward the recovering identity the less likely she/he was to report having relapsed into drinking or drug use during the pervious two years.

Look, I’m not saying we’re all going to be seeing eye-to-eye and talking about addiction in a way that’s only useful and effective now. But until now, the majority of what I’ve read in the mainstream press about AA has erroneously called it ineffective or focused on the so-called dangers of people identifying themselves by their disease, always spinning that in some way that makes it sound like this identification is used in order to keep addicts feeling enslaved. But this piece concludes that “the evidence suggests that…coming to the point where an individual is able to embrace that identity can help to solidify his or her recovery.”

Such a measured, accurate conclusion. Maybe there’s hope for us yet.

Photo courtesy of FanPop

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About Author

Anna David is the founder and former CEO/Editor-in-Chief of After Party. She hosts the Light Hustler podcast, formerly known as the AfterPartyPod. She's also the New York Times-bestselling author of the novels Party Girl and Bought and the non-fiction books Reality Matters, Falling For Me, By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There and True Tales of Lust and Love. She's written for numerous magazines, including Playboy, Cosmo and Details, and appeared repeatedly on the TV shows Attack of the Show, The Today Show and The Talk, among many others.