Alcoholism and Denial: a Serious Problem Faced by Alcoholics

Almost everyone has heard that alcoholism and denial are related.

And probably everyone has heard the old “Have you stopped beating your wife” trick question. Answering either yes or no damns the respondent.

Similarly, the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12-step program also supports a “heads I win, tails you lose” trick question.

Question: “Are you alcoholic?”

Answer: “No.”

Response: “You’re in denial. That provers you’re alcoholic!”

People use this concept of denial to convince problem drinkers that they’re alcoholic. Perhaps the person has only abused alcohol once. But their denial only proves that they’re alcoholic!

AA Denial

However, AA and other 12-step supporters are in denial themselves. That is, they consistently deny the fact that 12-step programs are largely ineffective.

alcoholism and denialThe 5% success reported by AA itself is lower than that of people who have never attended the group. For example, the U.S. government did scientific research. It found that about 36% of alcoholics become sober without attending any program. Also, more become able to drink in moderation. Again, with no treatment. Of course, the FDA would never approve any drug with a success rate of onlt 5% or one out of 20!

In short, 12-step programs are counterproductive — worse than no program. Simply trying to either cut back or quit is more effective.

More AA Denial

AA also denies other other scientific facts shown by research. For example, 12-step supporters deny the following.

The real problem of denial is that of 12-step supporters. Their denial of the facts reduces the chance of lasting sobriety. But there are a number of free or inexpensive alternatives to 12-step programs. They include the choices listed below.

Resources on Alcoholism and Denial

Non-12-Step Programs

Moderation Management

Rational Recovery

SMART Recovery



LifeRing Recovery

Women for Sobriety

Life Process Program

Web Pages

Understanding Alcoholism

Is Alcohol an Allergy to Alcohol?

Alcoholism Self-Help and Resources

Helping an Alcoholic Loved One: Six Practical Steps

Alcoholics Drink Moderately? Is That Ever Possible?

Of course, this website makes no suggestions about drinking. For that, please see your doctor.