Beating Addiction through Self-Help – An Alternative to AA

Stanton Peele By: Dr. Stanton Peele

Posted on July 2nd, 2019 - Last updated: October 2nd, 2023
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In a famous research piece, Barry Tuchfeld interviewed people who strove to lick a drinking problem on their own. These individuals rejected the value of AA and treatment in their lives. Here are some of the statements made by Tuchfeld’s subjects in which they explain why they wouldn’t enter treatment or join a support group:

“The one thing I could never do is go into formal rehab. For me to have to ask somebody else to help with a self-made problem, I’d rather drink myself to death.”

“Formal treatment seemed to be a sort of a pigeonhole that I didn’t want to be put in.”

“I’d never consider going to a doctor or minister for help. Good Lord, no! That would make me drink twice as much. I’m the kind of person who has to do things on his own.”

“But as far as I . . . was concerned, AA was absolutely of no attraction to me at all, absolutely not. And as far as a doctor is concerned . . . And preachers—boo—I’d rather go out and talk to my donkeys than a preacher.”

“Who wants to get up there and listen to somebody else’s problems when they’re sitting there with so many of the problems on their own shoulders . . . ?”

These voices clearly illustrate that some people are eager for an alternative to AA. And independent, ‘self-help’  recovery is a valid option—especially when we consider that the large majority of addicts do quit on their own.

It is entirely possible that the repeated alcoholic or addictive relapses of people such as Joan Kennedy, Robert Downey Jr., Calvin Klein, Kitty Dukakis, and others are due at least in part to their continuing reliance on someone or some group outside of themselves to solve their problems.

If they were counseled more about self-reliance, they might be more successful in fighting addiction.

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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