Were Holly Whitaker’s views on the organization Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) correct? The author of this letter to The Guardian doesn’t think so. Read on to find out why this female member of Alcoholics Anonymous says that the organization is anything but the picture painted by Whitaker.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.theguardian.com

The opinion in this letter to The Guardian is based off of this article, “Stop talking about ‘wine o’clock’: Holly Whitaker on how women can stop drinking – and get happy,” where Kim Lee interviews Holly Whitaker, author of the book Quit Like a Woman, which teaches women about the history of drinking culture and offers a guide to help them stop drinking, and founder of Tempest, an online alcoholism recovery program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) that focuses on helping women beat their addiction. In the article, Whitaker discusses her struggles with alcoholism, and how after attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a few months, she discovered they weren’t helping and she went on to develop her own program. Whitaker calls out Alcoholics Anonymous for having rules meant for men who lived during the 1930’s as they revolve around giving up the ego and turning to a higher power, not for women and other minorities. Whitaker also says the approach Alcoholics Anonymous takes, which expects members to retain abstinence and quit cold turkey, is too difficult to achieve and leaves them feeling defeated or foolish if they make a mistake. She believes this ideation was made with men as the focus as well.

 

On the other side of the argument is the author of the opinion piece, who is anonymous but is a female participant of AA who seeks to refute Whitaker’s opinion. The author writes that the AA meetings consist of attendees from all walks of life, but mostly of those from less fortunate homes that have gone through much hardship, rather than consisting primarily of upper-class attendees as Holly Whitaker described. The meetings don’t cater to the socioeconomically well off, but to the struggling, as the meetings are free. People are not berated for their relapse, but welcomed back with open arms as many times as needed. AA meetings in general have a large percentage of women participating, despite Holly’s claims that they only allowed men, or were patriarchically driven. She writes that, as a female AA member, she has never felt this tension. Instead, she sees AA meetings as a place where everyone is on an equal foothold and works together to help each other speak out, allowing men emotional release instead of encouraging them to hold it in. The author writes that Whitaker’s critiques of the program were based on weak evidence because she did not attend enough meetings and did not follow the intended program. Whitaker instead chose to criticize AA as a tactic when promoting her own recovery program, which costs $500. To read more about the anonymous author’s thoughts, take a look at the original article on The Guardian’s website.

 

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