Rarely does a book appear that is both readable and highly informative. Such a rare gem is Gabrielle Glasser’s Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink – And How they Can Regain Control. The sub-title correctly suggests the practical value of apply evidence-based approaches. Women (and men) can use them to either control their drinking or to abstain.
The author examines the current status of drinking among women. Her fascinating look at how women’s’ drinking has changed over time is insightful and provides context.
Glaser shows that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for everyone. She explores why a program might be effective for one person. Then she shows it may not only be ineffective but actually counterproductive for another.
Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)
Her Best-Kept Secret explains why A.A. tends to be especially ineffective for women.
A.A. was developed by men. Studies show that men feel more powerful when they drink. Women, by contrast, feel calmer and less inhibited.
The program urges members to surrender egos to a higher power. This might work for men. But women don’t typically have an excess of hubris. Many of them are drinking because they feel powerless in other areas of their lives.
The logic is off. Sponsors in A.A. are not doctors. They’re simply other members. This may have made sense when A.A. formed in the 1930s. But knowledge of brain chemistry has evolved a great deal since then.
It’s not good to give other members such power. Often it leads to one of the more sinister aspects of A.A. for women. That is, the 13th step of sexual exploitation.1
Her Best-Kept Secret is great for anyone seeking help to control their drinking. Or that of a loved one.
A.A. and other 12 step programs help some people. But they fail about 95% of people. This is lower than the natural cure rate. Using no program is successful for about 36% of alcoholics. That’s according to U.S. federal government research.
There are many non-12-step options available. They help many women control their drinking.
Resources: Women Can Control Their Drinking
1. Her Best-Kept Secret.
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