I am an alcoholic

My name is Pam and I am an alcoholic.  I got sober September 9, 1987. Since that time I have seen addiction treatment change and not change.  The main focus of most treatment is still to use the 12 step model of recovery.   It is the way I was taught to stay sober and I have managed to get close to 28 years of sobriety using those principals.  I stopped attending AA meetings over 20 years ago.  So I am both an advocate and a critic of using the 12 step model.  I have learned that the use of support systems works well for many of us.  CA was my main support in the early years of my recovery, then AA and then my support network of women some in sobriety and some not.

I often wonder why do some us stay sober while others do not.  Are some people just more resilient than others? If so can resilience be taught? Do some people have more traumas and therefore have a harder time staying sober?  If so, treatment outcomes should be improving as trauma is addressed in most treatment programs now. When I got sober and you were told to wait a year and get stronger before you addressed those difficult issues.  Is success based on 12 attendance?  Or are the people who are attending 12 step meeting already more dedicated to their sobriety?

In looking at our outcome research results so far, we have found that men were more likely to attend 12 step meetings by 61% to 52%.  What accounts for this difference?  Are men more comfortable with the format than women?  Is AA more geared to a male point of view?

3 out of 4 women reported childhood emotional abuse compared to 2 out of 5 men.  Nearly half of women report childhood sexual abuse compared to 19% percent of men.  Does this affect the way a person recovers?  Should we be looking at the possibility that men and women may recover differently?  Should men and women be treated differently while in an addiction rehabilitation facility?  Should men and women be treated in the same program?  These are some of the questions we will be exploring as we move forward with our research.   We continue to hope and believe that more will be revealed.