Archive for 8 February 2010

Explaining the 5%

I was up late last night watching the Super Bowl coverage, and I don’t feel like working. So, I thought I would take a quick moment to explain the 5% success rate to those of you who aren’t very good with numbers, like our friend McGowdog, who wrote the following in the comment section:

So there’s your strawman argument right there. Y’all learned it from Agent Orange and are spewing it out right here. The “thousands of interpretations in between” is your assessment of a fellowship that still has recovery rates vastly more successful than the dribble that Orange spews out and you mimic here. Here’s a truer retention rate of A.A.s by length of sobriety which debunks Oranges and others observation of AAWS stats;

A.A. Members’ Length of Sobriety:

Less than one year….. 26%

1-5 years………………. 24%

5-10 years…………….. 14%

10+ years………………. 36%

Yet, y’all are going to gasp with fear when you see this and you all know in your little heads that it’s 5% or less. In fact, you think the retention rate of A.A. is a negative percentage, everybody is drunk, and everybody who gets breathed on by an A.A.er is going to get drunk as well as it’s a contagious disease.

There is a reason why we don’t allow anecdotal evidence in science. It is more often wrong than right. Perception can be a crazy thing sometimes. A person walking into an established AA group might be led to believe that it really is effective in getting people off of the sauce. After all, a good portion of the room is quit, and has stayed quit for some time. Obviously, it works for some folks, right? Well, no. Not really.

The most common reason people fall for pseudoscience is because they mistake correlation with cause. Correlation simply means there is a relationship between two different things. For example, most racing horse jockeys are very short and small, and most professional basketball players are very tall. Does horse racing shorten people, and does basketball make people taller? Of course not. Do hospitals make people sick? No. The reason basketball players are tall, is because tall people congregate to basketball teams. Sick people congregate to hospitals. Likewise, people who quit drinking congregate to AA. There is no difference really. Continue reading Explaining the 5%

Straw Man Whack-A-Mole

Straw Man: A logical fallacy by where a person misrepresents an opponents position in an argument, so it can be torn down.


Among the more frustrating things in discussing AA with a twelve-stepper is that every individual has his or her own conception of what is AA. Most of the resident AAs who comment on this blog are hardcore AAs, and tend to have a more fundamentalist view of the organization. Others use AA as nothing more than a support group. And of course, there the thousands of other interpretations that fall somewhere between the two extremes. Continue reading Straw Man Whack-A-Mole

Quote of the Week

“The ‘insane’ behavior is that the person continues a certain lifestyle…a certain style of thinking about the world and interacting with it…which remains fundamentally unchanged after the ingestion of the substance ceases. Call it ‘dry drunk’, narcissism, addictive thinking, cognitive distortions, whatever.

Some here have presented convincing statements that AA is the key to progressing from rigidity and limitation to flexibility and possibility….”

-L Ron Hubbard…..No, I’m only joking. It was “Overman” – An AA fundy during a discussion of a dry drunk in the Sober Recovery forum.