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Jun 24, 2015

Alcoholics Anonymous is a media endorsed and popularly recognised remedy for problem drinkers. Yet while AA’s social worth is rarely challenged its efficacy rate, estimated by some to be less than 10%, appears comparable to that of spontaneous remission. Can a non-existent "Higher Power" really offer meaningful solutions to the debilitating and potentially fatal condition of alcoholism? If so, what happens to all those atheist and skeptic alcoholics? 

AA’s famous 12 step recovery programme, drawn from a long-forgotten 1930s Christian fundamentalist mass movement, has not changed in eighty years. How did such out-dated mental health technology become the primary self help option for what is arguably the great social health scourge of our age? In the second decade of the twenty first century, is this the best we can do?

Jon Stewart was guitarist for platinum-selling Britpop band Sleeper, with whom he enjoyed three UK Top 10 albums and eight UK Top 40 singles. He now lectures in cultural history at BIMM Institute in Brighton and is a PhD researcher at University of Southampton. Jon was an enthusiastic and grateful member of AA for fourteen years. He now campaigns for more up-to-date and evidence-based secular treatment options via his blog “Leaving AA & Staying Sober” at