6 thoughts on “How 12-Step Recovery Helps Alcoholics Remember What Drinking Took Away

  • January 25, 2012 at 8:35 am

    For me, I always felt very uncomfortable with 12 Step programs and they turned out to be a poor substitute for real insight, hard work, therapy, cognitive-behavioral approaches, REBT and SMART Recovery. Not, knowledge, but breakthroughs insight in early recovery.

    I find the “helping” others to keep your sobriety then convert them to the “AA Way of Life” and the constant references to God cult-like.

    Addiction/alcoholism is no joke. But, I find the Steps and as you say, “have a system that continuously reinforces what they’re supposed to do next” a sad, authoritarian type model that reduces adults to children.

    I found real insight that sparked real change in SMART recovery and gave myself a break while recovering the first year in a half way house to help buffer many of the issues brought on by years of compulsive thinking, behavior and memory problems compounded by a dissociative disorder – and, believe me, some of my friends and family members thought I was going to end up dead. I am forever grateful to the State of NY for providing this lifesaving bridge, no matter how steeped in the AA tradition.

    So, if you feel deep down something is just not sitting right about AA you have options.

    • January 27, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      One of the guiding principles in SAMHSA’s definition of recovery comes to mind: Recovery occurs through many pathways. I have seen many people recover using alternatives to 12-step programs. I also have witnessed many people build happy, healthy lives with the help of 12-step programs. I think it is important for people to embrace what works for them. Some 12-step groups do slip into dogma, but it usually this is at the local level (you can almost always find a more secular meeting somewhere). My hope is that more options open up for people as we understand addiction better and our society invests more resources in helping people rebuild their lives.

      • April 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm

        Ive been meaning to reply thank you for this response but i keep forgetting…i also have PTSD/diso ciation.

  • January 27, 2012 at 12:27 am

    That was very enlightening, thank you so much.
    My daughter has been sober for a year, for medical reasons; she has complained to me that her memory seems to be getting worse. Obviously, she is right.

    The reasons you give for some of the 12 step program components gave me a whole way of thinking of them.

  • July 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

    MD and wrote such B-S “Decades of research have shown that alcohol severely damages the brain, causing blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times and impaired memory.” blurred vision is due to weakened eyes muscle not brain

  • April 28, 2017 at 9:01 am

    It sounds like what you’re describing, in relationship to living one day at a time and the 12 steps, is anxiety. I do agree that this is often a driver of alcoholism. However, rather than just focusing on one day of sobriety at a time, would it be more effective to address the underlying cause o causes of the anxiety? Just something to consider.


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