Reddit Reddit reviews The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry

We found 7 Reddit comments about The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

Health, Fitness & Dieting
Mental Health
The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry
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7 Reddit comments about The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry:

u/nivenredux · 39 pointsr/pics

Stigma toward addiction is huge and I like your overview of the (lack of) choice involved.

However, for anyone who is seeking help for themselves or a loved one I want to offer an alternative, scientific perspective to the AA (and other 12-step program - I'm going to just call 12-step programs "AA" often in this post for the sake of clarity) mindset:

> What makes it worse, is that an addict who crosses the threshold is an addict for life. They can change their entire mental viewpoint of the substance they were once addicted to, but even just one hit or drink can bring back the entire addiction even if they were clean for decades.

This may be true for some people. It is certainly not true for all, and quitting anything in its entirety is the hardest way to cut back on usage - addiction or not, really. 12-step programs may be right for some individuals, and it is sadly the only real option (in America at least) for people without much money, but there are alternatives that have higher success rates than AA.

It's really hard to study the efficacy of 12-step programs because of their inherently anonymous nature, but the research that does exist all paints a really bleak picture of how well people in the program actually do compared to those who receive personalized therapy in combination with medication, as well as a huge variety of other methods (for alcoholism specifically, AA is consistently listed by researchers as being in the bottom 50% of treatment methods by efficacy). And there are some results showing that many people treated in a more scientific manner can even go back to normal use of their once-addiction safely, making stigma easier to deal with.

This isn't to say that all people can (certainly not) or that 12-step programs are to be avoided for everyone (they may be right for some struggling addicts). But AA/NA/etc. have big problems.

If you are trying to get a loved one help, consider all your options and speak to qualified professionals who are up-to-date on addiction research, then take their recommendations. And if you yourself are struggling, don't write off AA if it is what is recommended to you, but don't assume that you will fail in something that isn't AA just because that's the cultural mindset (which, funnily enough, is largely a mindset because that's what 12-step programs teach).

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in reading more deeply on the subject. You can find a review/extremely-broad-overview of it here.


Edit to add: I think this quote from the review linked above pretty much hits the nail on the head - part of the reason we view AA as effective as a culture is perhaps because we fail to see addiction as a legitimate medical issue.

>In any other area of medicine, if your doctor told you that the cure for your disease involved surrendering to a “higher power,” praying to have your “defects of character” lifted, and accepting your “powerlessness,” as outlined in the original 12 steps, you’d probably seek a second opinion.

Saying this about any other mental illness, let alone a physical ailment, would be met with blank stares and scoffs to many educated people who trust completely in the efficacy of 12-step programs - "get over it."

u/YoohooCthulhu · 13 pointsr/betterCallSaul

Only the 12-step program focuses on total lifelong abstinence from alcohol (AA also doesn't have the greatest success rate). Most strictly medical evidence-based practices focus on abstinence during a treatment period--they need to stop killing themselves, give their body time to recover, and let their brain adjust to nondependency on alcohol again.

Actually, 12-step/AA methods have recently received a lot of criticism for being more based on faith than medical evidence.

The issue seems to be that some people may be genuinely permanently rewired as "alcoholics", others may be able to "rewire" back into a normal alcohol use configuration, and others were just problem drinkers and not really alcoholics at all (so they stop the abuse when the problem triggering it goes away).

u/kratomizer · 3 pointsr/Drugs

Well thank you and I completely agree with you here! I currently ordered this book and am extremely interested to learn about the author's perspective and the alternatives that he suggests. Should be a good read.

u/getfarkingreal · 2 pointsr/news

Based on This book AA has a success rate of somewhere between 5-10%.

If someone told you that you have a terminal disease, but the only treatment is 80 years old and 95% ineffective. Oh and by the way, if it doesn't work, it's just because you weren't "spiritually committed" enough. How much time would you devote to that "treatment"?

u/egcthree · 1 pointr/OpiatesRecovery

I stand by what i said its a christian based program.

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

You are not powerless.

Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Statement referring to God

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.


Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.


Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.


Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Him = God

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Quit living in the fucking past and move the fuck on

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

see above

Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.


Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


Dont forget reciting the Lords prayer and serenity prayer.

I have done my research and thats why I am clean now. If you want to say its a disease that the treatment should be treated as such and not have an addict shuffled off to have the idea you are powerless shoved down your throat and the only hope is a belief in GOD. Here is a good read that shows AA has no benefit

If you enjoy feeling sorry for yourself and your not at fault keep attending 12 steps, I personally think that once you wake up and realize you aren't powerless get motivated to make some changes you will clean up.

Keep trudging that road to happiness, its a long walk the AA way.

edit: if you want to throw books to read try reading Lance and Zachary Dodes’ The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry

u/fastAwake · 0 pointsr/IAmA

You're an angry drunk aren't you?

The book you mentioned uses an anecdote about one guy who quit drinking and also went to AA to make an entirely separate point.

There are an awful lot of studies that have shown AA to be a crock of shit, but here's a book you might find easier to read:

u/superjerk · -1 pointsr/eldertrees

Did they go over the origins and history of AA at the beginning of every meeting too?