Archive for 11 August 2011

Women Really, Really Need AA

Hazelden Study Signals Importance of Twelve Step Meeting Attendance for Young Women in Early Recovery

The frequency of attending Twelve Step mutual support meetings following addiction treatment can help predict success in early recovery for young women, according to a data analysis study conducted by Hazelden’s Butler Center for Research and reported in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. Meeting attendance frequency predicted both abstinence from substance use and number of drinking days at six months post-treatment for young women studied, reports Audrey A. Klein, Ph.D., who authored the study with Butler Center for Research colleague, Valerie J. Slaymaker, Ph.D.

Analysis focused on 139 young women, age 17-23, attending Twelve Step-based residential treatment for a substance use disorder. They were statistically compared to a sample of 237 young men who attended the same treatment program during the same time period. The analysis showed young women were as likely as young men to attend Twelve Step meetings and engage in prescribed Twelve Step practices. However, whereas frequency of meeting attendance predicted abstinence status and number of drinking days at six months post-treatment for women, Twelve Step experiences—such as getting a sponsor or considering oneself an Alcoholics Anonymous member—predicted drinking days for the men.

“These results contribute to knowledge of substance use disorders and treatment among young women, a population that’s understudied in the research literature,” says Klein. “Further studies focusing on factors affecting the course of substance use disorders among young women are needed.”

Klein notes that little is known about young women and addiction even though women experience a faster transition between initiation and heavy substance use and admission to treatment, and women suffer more adverse neurological and physical abuse from substance abuse. Women are also more likely than men to have a co-occurring psychological disorder.

The Butler Center for Research, research arm of the national nonprofit Hazelden foundation, is dedicated to improving recovery from addiction by conducting clinical and institutional research, collaborating with other research centers, and communicating scientific findings. The study on substance use disorders and young women, titled “12-Step Involvement and Treatment Outcomes among Young Women with Substance use Disorders,” was published in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 29, 204-281.


Also: Why Addiction Recovery Should Be A Feminist Issue

h/t Sally. Thank you!

Blinded By Faith

An impaired driving case out of Toronto sheds light on some of the problems in relying on AA God™ to fix one’s drinking problem, and raises some interesting questions.

William Crawford, a stepper of twenty-one years, was riding his bicycle home from an AA meeting when he was struck by Jose Lugo-Alonso. Lugo-Alonso had been doing rum shots, and was convicted of impaired driving:

Guilty verdict for man who hit cyclist, leaving him partially blind

Jose Lugo-Alonso, 61, was found guilty of impaired driving causing bodily harm in a ruling on Wednesday by Ontario Superior Court Justice Harriet Sachs.

On the night of July 31, 2008, Lugo-Alonso struck cyclist William Crawford, 57, with his minivan as Crawford was waiting to turn left from Jarvis St. onto the Esplanade. The accident left Crawford partially blind and hearing impaired, forcing him to give up his civil service job.

This case brings up a number of questions. Now, we all know there are no coincidences, so this was was part of AA God’s™ plan. This makes sense from the defendant’s point of view, because AA God™ doesn’t begin to work his magic before a steppers enters AA. An alcoholic needs some sort of sign — some sort of wake up call, and this is a standard example of that. This was Jose’s wake-up call, and he will no doubt make a fine member of AA when the court makes attendance a condition of his sentence. We’ve all witnessed the heartwarming accounts of steppers praising AA God™ for His work in orchestrating incidents like domestic battery or hit and runs, so the still suffering alcoholic will be attracted* to their nearest meeting. But normally the victims in these scenarios aren’t themselves members of AA.

This case has a different twist, because the victim here had just checked in for his 24-hour reprieve. AA God™ was on the clock. I’m not good at godpuppetry**, so I can’t explain what He was thinking when He made Bill C. the victim here. Did he save Bill’s life from alcoholic despair, only so He could be hit by a drunk driver on his way home from a meeting? Or, did he technically do his job because Bill C. was sober at the time, and His job is fixing alcoholics, not playing traffic cop. Maybe He was fixated on Jose, and neglected to note that Bill C. was an AA member.

Is there anyone here with enough experience in AA mind-bending logic who can explain this? Franky, I’m baffled.


*Forced there by a judge
** the act of speaking for God, as though He were a sock puppet, and explaining how He intervened in your life to save you from alcoholic despair.