REVIEW: AA Not The Only Way | Melanie Solomon | Capalo Press

Title: AA Not The Only Way

Author: Melanie Solomon
Website of Author:
Website of Publisher:
Genre: Self Help
Publication date: 2008
ISBN: 0-9762479-8-4
Length: 152 pages
Format: eBook

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Reviewer: Clayton Clifford Bye

Melanie Solomon researched and wrote AA Not The Only Way after her own 9 year battle with addiction left her near death—again.  Why did she write the book? I’m sure she would tell you there are many reasons, but my guess (and it’s a well-founded one) is that she found out the absolutely astounding, infuriating and perhaps criminal statistics which belong to Alcoholics Anonymous. In Solomon’s words: “according to AA's own internal surveys covering a 5-year period, as well as numerous government and independent studies, AA had only a 3-5% success rate for those who even stuck around for a year, and that 93-97% of the treatment centers in the US are still 12-step based!”

I find those statistics and the ongoing use of AA’s twelve-step program extremely disturbing. I have a number of family members who have attended AA and Al-anon and Al-ateen. The treatment offered didn’t work. But it’s not just AA that can fail. I’ve seen both aversion therapy and psychiatric counseling fail miserably. What did work in that case was helping the individual to understand the results of the choices being made and then encouraging and supporting the making of different choices, to act differently, based on what was important to them.

Solomon’s book presents us with the idea that there are many different options available to the addict. Some groups offer programs bases on abstinence or partial abstinence (directly opposes AA). Others treat addiction as a complex set of behaviours based on physiology, psychology, nutrition and environment, adamantly claiming that alcoholism is not a disease (directly opposes AA). These are just a few of many alternatives presented by Solomon.

Her point, presented as an argument backed by actual studies, is that the addict needs to know and understand that he or she has a multitude of options available to them, that they can pick and choose from these organizations to find a solution tailored to their needs and that they can feel comfortable with. If you like AA, then by all means use them. If not? Help is out there. And Solomon proves it: half of her book  is composed of detailed listings of where and from whom the addict may turn for help.

While I believe AA Not The Only Way to be a little dry and formal for Solomon’s target audience—the addict, there's no doubt the book is a treasure for individuals in trouble. If you have an addict in the family, you should, at the very least, pick up a copy of AA Not The Only Way. I know my family sure could have used this book. In fact, I believe it could have shaved off at least a decade of misery.

Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye 2010

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