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Anaheim Lighthouse Defends 12-Step Program’s Use in Addiction Treatment

Anaheim Lighthouse, a drug and alcohol treatment center that successfully uses the 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous as a key component in its recovery program, has publicly responded to an article in the April 2015 issue of The Atlantic. The article, titled “The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous,” written by Gabrielle Glaser, raises questions about the lack of scientific proof to support the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a recovery method. It cites the story of a young lawyer who failed to achieve long-lasting sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous and therefore questions the organization’s reputation as the only source of long-term recovery. The article also turns to examples from the country of Finland, where doctors prescribe a drug called naltrexone to alcoholics. The drug allegedly works on the body chemistry in such a way that lessens alcohol cravings and allows an alcoholic to learn to drink without excess.

The lawyer, whose story is shared through the article, claims to have tried the program of Alcoholics Anonymous more than once, but was unable to sustain sobriety. He is quoted as saying, “And according to AA doctrine…when the 12 steps don’t work for someone, Alcoholics Anonymous says that person must be deeply flawed.”

Peter Davidson, President and Chief Operating officer of Anaheim Lighthouse, disputes that claim.

“A person is not flawed if AA has not worked for them, as AA has no monopoly on recovery,” Davidson said. “The 12 steps don’t work for everyone, and certainly not for anyone unwilling to take a hard look at themselves. He adds, “Research shows that people who attend 300 or more meetings and who sponsor at least two other people have a 92% chance to maintaining long-term sobriety. This takes three to five years.”

In another instance, the article criticized AA for constructing a belief that there are no other options besides AA. In response, Davidson points out that AA clearly invites people to seek other solutions and does not promote itself. The program is based on attraction rather than promotion. Time and experience have shown that Alcoholics Anonymous does provide a solution for those who choose to follow its suggestions in as ongoing way of life.

“Most people are at an AA meeting for a reason, and if there were a better solution, they would not be there. It also offers the best bang for your buck, it’s free,” Davidson said.

About Anaheim Lighthouse
Anaheim Lighthouse offers drug and alcohol detox, residential treatment, outpatient and sober living services for men and women in a clean, safe, loving and structured environment. Situated in six buildings on a tranquil neighborhood street, Anaheim Lighthouse offers quality treatment in a setting designed to help people restore their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. The Anaheim Lighthouse is licensed and certified by the California Department of Healthcare Services. The facility also is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (“CARF”). Anaheim Lighthouse is dedicated to the highest standards of recovery from alcohol and drugs through offering evidence-based addiction treatment and therapy to clients. For more information, visit

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