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It is emotionally healthy to accept that we cannot change a particular situation but we can change the way we react to it.
It is emotionally healthy to be honest with yourself and with others, also to be open and willing to change, to experiment, to encounter new situations.
It is emotionally healthy to accept yourself as you are.
It is emotionally healthy to recognise your environment and interact with it as it is, not as you wish it would be.
It is emotionally healthy to associate or be in contact with other human beings.
It is emotionally healthy to be altruistic - to help others without question or expectation.
It is emotionally healthy to anticipate - to plan for future discomfort or crises. This is the function of the AA Step programme.
Humour and fun are emotionally healthy. Recovery is not gloom and doom. AA is full of humour.
It is emotionally healthy to be able to temporarily to suppress painful feelings or conflict and to think or work on it later when it is more manageable.
The AA programme is uniquely spiritual but NOT religious.
Spirituality and religion are different.
It is helpful to use Dr. Robert Lefever's definition of spirituality in order to understand and to explain the difference.
What is spirituality?
A continuing sense of peace and hope and love.
Recognition that there is more to life than practical day-to-day matters: these are important but not totally important.
A sense of trust that one can learn from experience, however bitter and hurtful, and place it in perspective as a past event from which one can progress to create a richer, more fulfilling future.
A sense of commonality with other human beings.
An awareness of God, as each may understand Him, or Higher Power of some kind ( perhaps "the AA group" or the "creative spirit human spirit within all people") can give one more understanding and tranquillity than one can gain for one's self in isolation and that this source of help is dependable.
Addiction seems to be about the loss of spiritual values :-
Loss of belief in self and others.
Loss of trust in self and others.
Loss of hope in a better future.
Loss of the ability to function in loving relationships.
Belief, trust and love are the great spiritual values. They are restored to people who work the programme of Alcoholis Anonymous. The programme is therefore a spiritual programme.
25% of male hospital admissions are alcohol related.
Health spending on alcohol related problems is currently estimated to be GBP150 million per year or 4.4% of the total health budget. It is probably much higher than this.
Excessive alcohol consumption is a common cause of high blood pressure, strokes and obesity.
3% of all cancers are linked to alcohol.
Alcohol is a factor in 15% of road deaths, 26% of drownings, 39% death in fires.
4,500 people are admitted to hospital each year because of mental health problems related to alcohol.
65% of all suicide attempts are linked with excessive drinking.
Maybe AA can help some of these people and help reduce the costs.
AA meetings are widely available throughout the country and are held weekly at the same venue, same day and same time.
There is no cost to the medical profession and no monetary cost to the alcoholic. ( Although the cost is high to the alcoholic who almost
loses his /her life before getting to AA ).
a) Short Term Abstinence
There is plenty of research which shows that AA is effective in the short term.There is also lots of research which shows other things are effective in stopping drinking. These include therapies and counselling, substitution of other drugs like Valium . Also use of Antiabuse.
Other drugs have become available which are used to suppress craving, these are Naltrexone and Acamprosate.They are not in the same category as Valium.
b) Long Term Abstinence
However long term sobriety is a different matter. There is no research anywhere which says that anything is superior to AA in helping people to achieve long term sobriety.
It makes good sense to introduce AA to alcoholic patients at an early stage and to use AA in combination with other forms of treatment such as counselling and the anti-craving drugs.
The National Helpline for Alcoholics Anonymous is 0800 9177 650.