It is a common misconception that Alcoholics Anonymous is an extremely successful method of treatment, however statistics show that only 3 per cent of people who take part of the programme are successful.
Genita Petralli, author of the book ‘Alcoholism: The Cause and The Cure’, attempts to explain why there is such a high relapse rate for those who enrol in an Alcoholic Anonymous course. Genita explains that many people who quit drinking continue to stimulate the brain in the same way as they did with alcohol, by consuming more sugar and caffeine to satisfy their alcohol cravings. Genita suggests that people who substitute alcohol for sugar or caffeine often relapse because the brain is not producing its own chemicals which are essential for a healthy state of mind.
Genita also argues that Alcoholics Anonymous does not work for many people because the process requires the individual to accept that they have a disease and look at themselves as an alcoholic. She says that people are unable to live a ‘normal’ life if they view themselves as having a disability or in a negative light.
Finally, Genita challenges the common conception that alcoholism is a disease, because for the disorder to qualify as a disease there would have to be a cure. She suggests that is more appropriate to refer to alcoholism as a ‘metabolic disorder’, which is something that can heal and be corrected with appropriate time and support.