Archive for the ‘Self-Help and Twelve Step Groups’ Category

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (March 17-23, 2014)

Monday, March 24th, 2014


With Sobering Science, Doctor Debunks 12-Step Recovery: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry.” Book Review. All Things Considered/National Public Radio. March 23, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (February 17-23, 2014)

Monday, February 24th, 2014


Alcoholics Anonymous, Without the Religion.” By Samuel G. Freedman. New York Times. Februry 22, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 24-30, 2013)

Monday, July 1st, 2013


Twelve Steps to Danger: How Alcoholics Anonymous Can Be a Playground for Violence-Prone Members.” By Gabrielle Glaser. ProPublica, June 24, 2013.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 11-17, 2012)

Monday, June 18th, 2012


“‘Bill W.’ Day Celebrates Alcoholics Anonymous Hero.” By Steve Zind. Morning Edition/National Public Radio. June 11, 2012. Visitors to Bill Wilson’s grave in Vermont often leave sobriety chips atop his headstone, marking how long they have been continuously sober. Alcoholics Anonymous has long been known for the anonymity of its members. But there are two key figures in AA’s history whose names are well known. One is co-founder Bill Wilson, known as “Bill W.” Beginning in the 1930s, Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith began helping other alcoholics in order to maintain their own sobriety. Wilson’s simple grave in Vermont makes no mention of his work. That doesn’t stop people from visiting it, especially on this annual Bill W. Day. But people seek out Wilson’s grave in a small cemetery near his birthplace in East Dorset, Vt., all year long.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 20-26, 2010)

Monday, September 27th, 2010


AA original manuscript reveals profound debate over religion.” By Michelle Boorstein. Washington Post. September 21, 2010. For millions of addicts around the world, Alcoholics Anonymous’s basic text – informally known as the Big Book – is the Bible. And as they’re about to find out, the Bible was edited. After being hidden away for nearly 70 years and then auctioned twice, the original manuscript by AA co-founder Bill Wilson is about to become public for the first time next week, complete with edits by Wilson-picked commenters that reveal a profound debate in 1939 about how overtly to talk about God. In the years since the Big Book was first published, AA’s 12-step program has been adopted by millions of people battling a wide range of addictions, from drugs to food to sex to e-mail. It has been embraced by the authorities in the Islamic republic of Iran and the former Soviet Union and retooled by groups ranging from Chabad (for Jews) to Rick Warren’s Celebrate Recovery (for evangelical Christians).

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 19-25, 2010)

Monday, July 26th, 2010


Alcoholics Anonymous: 75 Years Of 12 Steps.” Talk of the Nation/National Public Radio. July 22, 2010. In 1935, Bill Wilson, a failed stockbroker and hard drinker, had a vision of God in a hospital room — and created what came to be known as Alcoholics Anonymous. Not everyone who tries AA quits drinking, and not even a majority. But contemporary medicine has yet to develop a better plan. Panel discussion with Brendan Koerner, contributing editor, Wired and Dr. Marvin Seppala, chief medical officer, the Hazelden Foundation.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 5-11, 2010)

Monday, July 12th, 2010


Sobriety, Science, and AA’s Legacy; Alcoholics Anonymous at 75. We look at its legacy and its 12 steps through the lens of the latest science.” On Point/National Public Radio. July 9, 2010. Alcoholics Anonymous – AA – got its start 75 years ago this summer. Every AA member knows the story. Of how alcoholic Bill Wilson saw God in his detox room, and went on to lay out the twelve steps of the AA path. It’s been a godsend for many. Doesn’t work for all. And 75 years on, scientists are still trying to figure out exactly what it is that does work about AA.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 28-July 4, 2010)

Monday, July 5th, 2010


Bill Wilson’s Gospel.” By David Brooks. New York Times. June 28, 2010. Bill Wilson founded Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935. Today, the movement has some 1.2 million members members in 55,000 meeting groups, while 11,000 professional treatment centers employ the steps. The movement is the subject of a smart and comprehensive essay by Brendan I. Koerner in the July 2010 issue of Wired magazine. The article is noteworthy not only because of the light it sheds on what we’ve learned about addiction, but for what it says about changing behavior more generally. Much of what we do in public policy is to try to get people to behave in their own long-term interests — to finish school, get married, avoid gangs, lose weight, save money. Because the soul is so complicated, much of what we do fails.