Alcoholics Anonymous is a commonly accepted and media endorsed "spiritual" programme of recovery for alcoholism. Yet while AA’s social worth is rarely challenged, its efficacy rate, possibly as low as 5%-10%, appears comparable to that of spontaneous remission.
We're all affected by alcoholism and addiction in some way. Can a non-existent Higher Power really offer meaningful solutions to this debilitating, potentially fatal, condition? If so, how can we help all those atheist and sceptic problem drinkers?
AA’s famous 12 Step programme evolved from the tenets of a now forgotten evangelical Christian mass movement for sobriety. First published in 1939, it remains entirely unchanged since then. How did AA become the go-to treatment modality for one of the great social health scourges of our age? Is spiritually-based health-care even ethical? It's the twenty first century, is this really the best we can do?
More than just a discussion of AA and alcoholism, this talk draws on the work of philosopher Dan Dennett and evolutionary psychologist Andy Thomson (Trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation) to present a wide ranging and humorous case study of how the internet threatens previously sacred texts and closed systems of knowledge.
Jon Stewart was co-founder, guitarist and co-songwriter for platinum-selling Britpop band Sleeper. He currently lectures in popular culture at a local HE Institution, and is a PhD researcher at University of Southampton.
A grateful sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous for almost 15 years, Jon now campaigns for more up-to-date evidence-based secular treatment options via his blog “Leaving AA & Staying Sober: New Perspectives on Recovery” http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com/