They really sugar coat Alcoholics Anonymous in this puff piece about AA and young people. The article offers no possible options to AA other than the 12 step program. No mention of the fact that courts are mandating criminals in droves to these meetings without warning anyone. Typical media bias.
Young people turn to AA to break the grip of alcohol and drugs
BY ERIC ADLER
The Kansas City Star
• 69 percent of college graduates were current drinkers (at least one drink in the past 30 days) in 2010. That compares with 37 percent of adults with less than a high school education.
• Among full-time college students ages 18-22, 63 percent were current drinkers in 2010; 42 percent were binge drinkers; and 16 percent were heavy drinkers. Those numbers are higher than those for other adults ages 18-22 (non-college students and part-time college students): 52 percent were current drinkers, 36 percent were binge drinkers and 12 percent were heavy drinkers.
Names in this story
The Kansas City Star does not publish stories quoting anonymous sources unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Some of the subjects in this story were willing to use their full names, but because the guarantee of anonymity is such a bedrock part of Alcoholics Anonymous’ ethos, The Star agreed to abide by AA’s tradition of identifying individuals only by single, but actual, names.
LAWRENCE — Tall and lithe, 23-year-old Suzanne — once known to her University of Kansas sorority sisters as “Boozin’ Susan” — carries a load of folding chairs into a Sixth Street mini-mall storefront and arranges them in a circle.
Ten young people amble in and, over the next hour, tell why they’re here.
“Hi, I’m Claire, and I’m an alcoholic.” Age 23.
“Hi, I’m Matt, and I’m an alcoholic.” Age 25.
“Hi, I’m Jean, and I’m an alcoholic and an addict.” Age 17. She first got drunk on vodka when she was 8.
There is Stephanie, 20, and two seats away a 19-year-old addict fresh to sobriety. There are Mike and Will, both under 26.
Two sorority girls. A couple of athletes. Gen-Y’ers, children of affluence and of poverty. One young man’s abstemious parents never raised a bottle. Others barely remember mom or dad without a drink or drug in hand.
At a time when binge drinking remains at epidemic levels, and as tens of thousands of high school and college students begin packing for spring break destinations where alcohol flows freely, thousands of other young people nationwide will flow into meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, having concluded that what they once thought was a rite of youth is an addiction.
Young people in their 20s and even late teens have been part of AA from some of its earliest years, not long after Bill Wilson founded the fellowship in 1935 on a 12-step approach.
At the core of AA is a shared belief that, powerless in the face of their addictions, alcoholics and other addicts work to remain sober one day at a time, lean on others for support and rely on what in AA parlance is one’s “H.P.,” or higher power, or God.
Because of AA’s ways — no dues, no fees, no formal membership rosters and only periodic surveys of attendees — it’s impossible to say exactly how many young people are attending the fellowship’s meetings.
What is clear, researchers say, is that although AA does not work for everyone, for young people who stick to its tenets, it can offer a lifeline in a culture where the pressure to drink is often overwhelming.
“Basically, young people benefit from going,” said Harvard University’s John Kelly, an addiction recovery researcher at the Massachusetts General Hospital who in 2008 published a study that followed 16-year-olds from a San Diego rehab clinic for eight years.
“The strongest predictor of recovery was attendance at AA,” Kelly said. “For every single meeting they attended, they gained an extra two days of abstinence.”
There is testament: Shirley, 58, of Kansas City entered 37 years ago at age 21 and has never relapsed. She knows others, at 40 and 50, who came in at age 18.
“It is absolutely doable,” she said. “The simple point of it is whether you no longer want to live that way. We all have to grow up. That’s part of life. In a way it’s an advantage (entering recovery early). I had to grow up anyway. I had help.”
Come September, the 54th annual International Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous is to be held in St. Louis. Some 3,000 young people are expected to attend.
Now this is rich, some AA members are actually showing concern for minors at meetings and wanting to do something about it. Yet they are shot down, because of liability concerns. If they admit there is a problem with minors not being safe at AA meetings, then you are looking at liability concerns. For anyone reading this in AA, let it be known that MANY people are aware of this problem including AA headquarters In New York City. We know you know! There is no way to pretend that you do not know. It is an outrageous statement to come back with. They put it all on the groups themselves. To protect minors in AA should be a priority that includes AA headquarters. Of course anything each group decides to do to protect minors in meetings would be helpful.They can stop inviting minors, not allow mandated minors and stop having youth outreach campaigns to have minors come to adult AA meetings! You need to look at what Alateen does to protect minors.
Here are some of the highlights presented by our Southeast Regional Trustee
The General Service Board received a request to develop a policy on making the rooms safe for young people who are coming to AA. They wanted to be sure minors are being protected. We received all kinds of background material as to why our rooms aren’t safe from predators. The idea was sent to the General Service Board, and the board sent it to a committee. The committee deliberated and said we want the rooms safe for everybody. The question is, is that just in the AA meeting room or is that outside the meeting room’ The Board had a discussion as to what do we do’ The decision was that it was the responsibility of each group. All that we could do as a Board is to say that it is the responsibility of each group. Part of that is because we have no authority to tell groups how they need to function or what they need to do. That’s the groups’ autonomy. The other part is that we may not know what the issues may be in your group or your community. We need to work hard to make sure the rooms are safe.
Question ‘ Would it be reasonable to have a service piece on the safety in the rooms of AA that might open the eyes of the fellowship’
Answer ‘ I am not an attorney but we have had counsel indicate that if you say there may be a problem and you don’t do something about it, and there is a problem, then you may be liable because you have said there may be a problem. The best way of saying it is, if we print anything that says there may be a problem then if there is a problem then we got a problem. We not only struggle with the spiritual responsibilities but the legal responsibilities in providing information. So the board decided to send people out, like me, and you to do something about it. If your Area feels like we need a written piece, then that is where the voice needs to come.
Young peoples groups in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are extremely dangerous events from a personal safety stand point. ICYPAA events are organized by older members of AA who are and continue to remain Anonymous. You have a hard time running background checks on people who remain anonymous, something that is normally done in choosing a daycare, nanny or house keepers. Unfortunately because of publicity many parents and schools will help to send children and young adults to these events run by older AA members who may have a history of sexual assault or violence that is not known because they hide under the cloak on anonymity that AA provides. You would not hire a daycare, nanny or house keeper to take care of your family if you could not find out about them.
In 2007-2008 a classic example of the stalking and sexual assaults present in Young Peoples Groups in AA was uncovered in the MidTown expose of the Q Group in Washington. The links are still there and can be easily found by a search engine. The sexual perversion of this rogue AA group was especially dangerous to the youth attending AA in their Young Peoples Groups. When the legal implications of what this rogue AA group was doing to the youth under their care became too much, they moved their operations to Tampa Florida and California to the San Diego and San Francisco areas. Washington has calmed down with sexual predators in AA for the time being because of this. Any AA young peoples groups in Florida or California should be looked at carefully to determine their link to MidTown. Remember, you are dealing with a group of older people organizing an event that are Anonymous and could very wellbe tied to the MidTown group or a sexual predator. Care should be taken when sending any of your loved ones to any AA Young Peoples events in Florida or California.
Local citizens have witnessed children and teens of all ages attend Daytona Beach AA and NA meetings.These minors are exposed to very detailed horror stories of drug and alcohol abuse. It is not healthy emotionally for children to be exposed to the adult nature of these meetings. Many people who attend are felons who have committed violent crimes, and even sexual predators that are mandated by the court system to go to Daytona Beach AA meetings.This is putting members at risk-but what is even worse is putting children and teens in harms way. Daytona AA and NA need to do what is in the best interest of children and teens, and protect them from emotional and physical harm. It is outrageous this is allowed to go on. These organizations know of the dangers minors are exposed to at meetings. Yet they turn a blind eye to this harmful practice of allowing young children and even encouraging teens to attend adult meetings. Your children or teenagers are NOT healthy or safe at Daytona Alcoholics Anonymous or Holly Hill Narcotics Anonymous meetings.Please do not take them to meetings.