Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid fellowship[1] whose stated purpose is to enable its members to "stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety."[1][2][3] It was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. With other early members, Bill Wilson and Bob Smith developed AA's Twelve Step program of spiritual and character development. AA's initial Twelve Traditions were introduced in 1946 to help the fellowship be stable and unified while disengaged from "outside issues" and influences.
There are many kinds of counseling and psychotherapy that can be helpful for the person with addiction, beyond non-specific “supportive psychotherapy” that can be offered in any setting, along with medication management or apart from such an approach. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is arguably the most widespread ‘evidence based practice’ offered to persons with addiction. This approach challenges irrational thoughts, understands automatic thoughts and thought chains, understands the thoughts and feelings that can lead to relapse behaviors and seeks to minimize relapse by specifying unhealthy cognitions and providing practice in decoupling an unhealthy thought (“stinking thinking,” as some people say) from an unhealthy action. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness Meditation are two approaches that have enjoyed increased popularity in addiction treatment in this century.
Many newcomers who attend 12-step meetings find personal validation in the stories of other addicts. Substance abusers who have been isolated by their disease have the opportunity to relieve their pain by sharing their experiences with others. Alcoholics who have lost their jobs, families, and dignity can recover their self-respect and restore broken relationships with the help of the fellowship and the 12 steps.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide, short-term residential programs developed the idea of using a modified 12-Step approach to provide a shorter stay in treatment that included follow-up through a 12-Step fellowship. This is seen as a way to provide the important post-treatment structure that helps people maintain long-term recovery. Other programs have also incorporated the 12 Steps, both by encouraging clients to attend 12-Step fellowship meetings, and by incorporating 12-Step ideas into their practices.
Five stages of alcohol and substance abuse disorders have been identified. The first stage is described as having access to alcohol rather than use of alcohol. In that stage, minimizing the risk factors that make a person more vulnerable to using alcohol are an issue. The second stage of alcohol use ranges from experimentation or occasional use to regular weekly use of alcohol. This or any of the more severe stages of alcoholism may involve binge drinking. The third stage is characterized by individuals further increasing the frequency of alcohol use and/or using the substance on a regular basis. This stage may also include either buying or stealing to get alcohol. In the fourth stage of alcohol use, users have established regular alcohol consumption, have become preoccupied with getting intoxicated ("high") and have developed problems in their social, educational, vocational, or family life as a result of using the substance. The final and most serious fifth stage of alcohol use is defined by the person only feeling normal when they are using alcohol. During this stage, risk-taking behaviors like stealing, engaging in physical fights, or driving while intoxicated increase, and they become most vulnerable to having suicidal thoughts.
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Research from NIAAA also suggests that alcoholism can stem from genes. While the specific “alcoholism gene” hasn’t yet been identified, there are known genes that can boost the power of alcohol and reduce the impact of a hangover. People with these gene combinations may get a bigger high from drinking, and they may not feel ill or sick after a long day of drinking. Their bodies just seem primed for alcohol abuse, and that can make them more likely to develop alcoholism.
Functional subtype: Representing about 19 percent of those struggling with AUD in the study, this group is typically middle aged and, on the surface, appears to have their lives together. They have higher income, more education, and stable relationships compared to other adults struggling with AUD. They drink, on average, every other day, and tend to binge drink on those days.
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Dr.Miller, if it were that simple, we wouldn't be discussing the issue at all. I have experienced both sides of the fence so to speak. I've been the guy in the back of the room who couldn't put 24 hours of sobriety together, life in shambles, family gone, and without the ability to function in society.   On the other hand I have worked in the treatment field, worked the program in every aspect of my life, as well as sponsored countless people.  The sponsorship is where I have the "BEGINNING" of difficulty, not that it's all bad. Especially when it comes to forth step.  A person who has resentments should be made to see their part in their resentment. All to often though the addict is made to blame.  A sponsee of mine was raped in jail and he had put it on his forth step.  So he had sexual issues, self worth issues, ECT.  I deferred to my sponsor on how to deal with such a resentment. He and his sponsor both told me to tell the kid, yea, it was bad, but you put yourself In jail, so it your fault. I've taken enough psychology to know you never under any circumstances  tell a rape victim it's their fault that they were raped. I told him to defer to a mental health professional, and for a time he improved. Later after being forced back into AA by the legal system he was again told on a fourth step that it was his fault for being raped. But this crazy "tough love", "it's your fault"  "now learn some humility and fix it", kind of thinking permeates AA to it's core.  The kid did stay sober, his determination was so strong the police found him with both barrels of a shotgun in his mouth and the back of his head splattered against the wall. Next to him they found and unopened bottle of wiskey and a note saying "this is how bad I don't want to drink". You see, he had floundered in AA and so of course the finger was pointed  at him for failure, by his family, by the program, and most people he knew. This is just one of countless horror stories. If you look at the founder. I realize that most believe AA  was co founded by Dr. Robert Smith M.D.  In reality, Dr. Bob was the first person to have tried the program and had any success. Everyone Bill Wilson tried his program on previously failed miserably. But looking at the heart of the origins of the program, and I dont mean the Oxford groups of whom Bill Wilson would derive his 12 steps from their 6 step program, I mean at the thinking of Bill Wilson himself. He says in his biography that he had a literal disease that left him virtually powerless over every vice and compulsion he indulged in.  AND I don't say this to degrade In anyway the hardworking and caring people of AA. Heaven knows, the vast overwhelming majority of AA's have their hearts in the right place, but the whole thing is based on an excuse. The idea of having a disease took the heat off of Bill.  The program  slowly built up around that notion that there's a disease to blame. After 20 years of life experience, and a lot of academia,  I believe the problem lies in unintentional conditioning. Really a learning disorder to put it in other terms. Susceptible individuals, usually because of one form of trauma or another seek out relief. By repeated chemical administration the brain slowly starts to think that chemical is necessary for survival. Probably because the instinctual systems become involved. When a compulsion is more powerful than a individuals desire for oxygen, and food ECT.  Words are useless, consequences will have no effect. Mostly because a person can't directly access the sub conscience.  But you can unlearn something. Email me for the real solution

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Up to 30% of children are offered drugs before graduating high school, and for alcohol, it’s three out of every four kids who are offered. Peer pressure is a beast. Fitting-in is extremely important in high school, and unfortunately drinking alcohol is a common marker of ‘being cool.’ Peer pressure does not end after 12th grade, though. Oftentimes adults are pressured into drinking at social events when they don’t want to. Over time, this can be habit-forming.
Auxiliary groups such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon, for friends and family members of alcoholics and addicts, respectively, are part of a response to treating addiction as a disease that is enabled by family systems.[4] Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA or ACOA) addresses the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional family. Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA) addresses compulsions related to relationships, referred to as codependency.
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