Drug and alcohol addiction assessment tests used by AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) help to determine the level of an individual’s drug and alcohol use and determines whether or not one is an addict. The assessment questions ask simple “yes” or “no” questions and if a person can answer “yes” to any one of the questions then he or she is not an addict. The questions give reference to the AA guidebook known as the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The drug and alcohol addiction assessment test used by AA keeps it simple with questions on moderate drinking and drug use, such as “Can you stop anytime you want without reason?” If a person answers yes then he or she is not considered to be an alcoholic or addict.
The questions for hard drinkers and hard drug users are still very basic, but are more penetrating. For example, one question asks the individual if he or she hides drugs and alcohol around the house so that no one “takes your supply.” Other questions that paint a picture of someone acting out or behaving like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde follow the first question. Finally, the last question asks, “Is this you?” Of course, if one answers “yes” to those questions then one’s test results are going to indicate that the individual is, in fact, an alcoholic or addict. The individual is then encouraged to get involved in a 12-step program.
A recent study of AA and other 12-step support revealed that those groups are no more effective than Cognitive Behavioral Education and, in some cases, may be more harmful than no treatment at all. Although a great number of individuals enroll in 12-step programs each year, (there are more than two million members currently enrolled) only about five percent continue with the meetings after the first year. According to the study, most of those who leave the programs either return to active addiction or have died. In addition, some individuals who begin with AA later discover that many of the practices and the sharing of emotions in the 12-step program created in them a feeling that hindered their ability to recover within the group. The study further revealed that the majority of people recover on their own, without the help of a support group.
The study also showed that some individuals were not helped by the dualistic religious approach that AA offers. AA teaches that humanity is weak and powerless and that without turning oneself over to God an individual cannot be helped.
For many people in 12-step programs, the constant degrading, demeaning language, with emphasis on deficiency and failure, seemed to send them deeper into depression. The biggest complaint is that there is never any type of constructive, confidence building language used. Individuals who attend the 12-step meetings are encouraged to share their stories of hope, but these are more likely to be drug war stories, filled with agony, moaning and gloom, and very little hope.
While AA maintains a false theory that addiction to drug and alcohol is a disease, the truth is that individuals do have control over their substance use. The constant repetition that “one is a helpless addict” in the 12-step programs often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and keeps many trapped in substance use.
If you have tried AA or another 12 step program and stopped attending the meetings because you, like so many others, were not helped, St. Jude Retreats has a program that can help you. The St. Jude Program uses Cognitive Behavioral Education to teach our guests self-evaluation and self-change. Our guests discover that they do not have a disease and they have the power to permanently take back control of their lives from drug and alcohol use.