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At secular meetings there is generally much more acceptance of medication-assisted recovery, much less emphasis on deficits in "moral character," and no prayer. The focus is present-centered, avoiding "war stories," and pragmatic: "how am I staying sober today? What tools am I using?" Participants are also generally not required to label themselves as addicts or alcoholics, which can be refreshing for many people new to recovery. In LifeRing, "crosstalk" is a key element of meetings, so folks in recovery are sharing their strategies for success.
AA's program is an inheritor of Counter-Enlightenment philosophy. AA shares the view that acceptance of one's inherent limitations is critical to finding one's proper place among other humans and God. Such ideas are described as "Counter-Enlightenment" because they are contrary to the Enlightenment's ideal that humans have the capacity to make their lives and societies a heaven on earth using their own power and reason. After evaluating AA's literature and observing AA meetings for sixteen months, sociologists David R. Rudy and Arthur L. Greil found that for an AA member to remain sober a high level of commitment is necessary. This commitment is facilitated by a change in the member's worldview. To help members stay sober AA must, they argue, provide an all-encompassing worldview while creating and sustaining an atmosphere of transcendence in the organization. To be all-encompassing AA's ideology places an emphasis on tolerance rather than on a narrow religious worldview that could make the organization unpalatable to potential members and thereby limit its effectiveness. AA's emphasis on the spiritual nature of its program, however, is necessary to institutionalize a feeling of transcendence. A tension results from the risk that the necessity of transcendence, if taken too literally, would compromise AA's efforts to maintain a broad appeal. As this tension is an integral part of AA, Rudy and Greil argue that AA is best described as a quasi-religious organization.
Alcoholics Anonymous is the largest of all the twelve-step programs (from which all other twelve-steps programs are derived), followed by Narcotics Anonymous; the majority of twelve-step members are recovering from addiction to alcohol or other drugs. The majority of twelve-step programs, however, address illnesses other than substance addiction. For example, the third-largest twelve-step program, Al-Anon, assists family members and friends of people who have alcoholism and other addictions. About twenty percent of twelve-step programs are for substance addiction recovery, the other eighty percent address a variety of problems from debt to depression. It would be an error to assume the effectiveness of twelve-step methods at treating problems in one domain translates to all or to another domain, therefore readers are directed to relevant sections in each group's article.
The Oxford Group’s creed was based on four principles: all people are sinners, all sinners can be changed, confession is required for that change, and the change must also change others. One of the people Hazard spread his word to was Bill Wilson, an old friend and former drinking partner. Through Hazard, Wilson (who was struggling with his alcoholism) learned of Carl Jung’s pantheistic musings on the importance of healthy spirituality; for Wilson, that healthy spirituality manifested in the form of a desperate conversion to Christianity in an attempt to quit drinking. When this happened in 1934, Wilson attributed the victory to his faith, and specifically Hazard’s intervention. He spoke to Dr. Bob Smith, a fellow Oxford Group member and recovering alcoholic who applied the same principles to his own battle with addiction. Smith had his last drink on June 10, 1935, one month after he and Wilson started working together; today, that date is celebrated as the birth of Alcoholics Anonymous, and its founders are remembered as “Bill W.” and “Dr. Bob.”
Alcoholics Anonymous is free and open to anyone battling alcohol addiction who wishes to remain sober. Meetings take place all over the world in at least 181 countries, and there were more than 2 million members of AA at last count in 2015. Over the years, other organizations have been formed to support recovery for all types of substances, not just alcohol; groups include Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Marijuana Anonymous (MA), to name a few. These recovery support groups tend to follow the general 12-Step ideology as outlined by AA, which is highlighted below. Individuals are encouraged to work through the steps one by one, with the end result being to maintain sobriety, achieve a spiritual awakening through these steps, and then carry the message on to others battling addiction.
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Alcoholics may also require treatment for other psychotropic drug addictions and drug dependences. The most common dual dependence syndrome with alcohol dependence is benzodiazepine dependence, with studies showing 10–20 percent of alcohol-dependent individuals had problems of dependence and/or misuse problems of benzodiazepine drugs such as valium or clonazopam. These drugs are, like alcohol, depressants. Benzodiazepines may be used legally, if they are prescribed by doctors for anxiety problems or other mood disorders, or they may be purchased as illegal drugs. Benzodiazepine use increases cravings for alcohol and the volume of alcohol consumed by problem drinkers. Benzodiazepine dependency requires careful reduction in dosage to avoid benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome and other health consequences. Dependence on other sedative-hypnotics such as zolpidem and zopiclone as well as opiates and illegal drugs is common in alcoholics. Alcohol itself is a sedative-hypnotic and is cross-tolerant with other sedative-hypnotics such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines. Dependence upon and withdrawal from sedative-hypnotics can be medically severe and, as with alcohol withdrawal, there is a risk of psychosis or seizures if not properly managed.
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The path to getting sober and drug-free is never exactly the same for any two people. However, anyone looking to find out more about rehab and recovery - either for themselves or their loved ones - will recognize some common steps, particularly when it comes to inpatient residential treatment programs. These steps are usually similar whether you’re looking for private alcoholism treatment or a drug addiction recovery center.
Humility is the key of Step 7, as individuals are asked to seek God’s will in how their life is to be lived. Humility is defined as the state of being humble or thinking less of oneself than of others. Humility is an important concept in recovery. Meditation is often useful during Step 7 as a method of self-introspection and learning how to apply humility to one’s life. During Step 7, individuals work to remain humble.
The support of a strong social network. In that same vein, since AA has been around for so long and is so widely instituted, its networks of support are both widespread and firmly rooted. Combined with that is the emphasis the 12-Step program places on having a sponsor to provide encouragement and motivation as well as regularly attending group meetings and finding strength through your peers.
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When alcohol dependence is mild or moderate, health practitioners commonly provide counselling or support to change behaviour. They may recommend particular strategies for avoiding situations which involve a high risk of excessive alcohol consumption (e.g. nightclubs) or coping with stressful situations without drinking alcohol. Health professionals can help identify sources of support, and suggest strategies that will help people dependent on alcohol regulate their own consumption (e.g. by having one or two alcohol-free days per week).
Based on combined data from SAMHSA's 2004–2005 National Surveys on Drug Use & Health, the rate of past-year alcohol dependence or abuse among persons aged 12 or older varied by level of alcohol use: 44.7% of past month heavy drinkers, 18.5% binge drinkers, 3.8% past month non-binge drinkers, and 1.3% of those who did not drink alcohol in the past month met the criteria for alcohol dependence or abuse in the past year. Males had higher rates than females for all measures of drinking in the past month: any alcohol use (57.5% vs. 45%), binge drinking (30.8% vs. 15.1%), and heavy alcohol use (10.5% vs. 3.3%), and males were twice as likely as females to have met the criteria for alcohol dependence or abuse in the past year (10.5% vs. 5.1%).
Excessive alcohol consumption is correlated with increased risk of stroke, liver disease, and decreased life expectancy. In fact, binge drinking during only the weekends is still enough to damage the liver, studies show, and moderate drinking interferes with sleep quality by interrupting circadian rhythms and REM sleep. However, a number of different treatment options are available to address alcoholic dysfunction.