... [MODERATOR S SUMMARY OF THE DATA GIVEN BELOW: 56% of those who stay three months are still active in AA at the end of a year. That first year is theMessage 1 of 2 , May 9, 2005View Source-------------------------------
[MODERATOR'S SUMMARY OF THE DATA GIVEN BELOW: 56% of those who stay three months are still active in AA at the end of a year. That first year is the hardest: the retention rates dramatically improve for those who have earned their one-year chip. The current U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau) is 296 million, with around 220 million over eighteen years of age. In the data given below, the NIAAA estimates that roughly 8% of the U.S. population over age 18 abuse alcohol (17.6 million out of 220 million), but that there are only 7.9 million true alcoholics over eighteen years of age in the U.S., which is 3.6% of the population over eighteen years of age. With roughly 1 million AA members, that means that around 12 to 13% of these genuine alcoholics (about one out of eight) is in AA at this point.]
There is a tendency of some observers to offer a pessimistic view of A.A. today. This becomes the basis for advocating return to the practices of some time in the past. Often, they back this up with a misreading of one particular graph in a summary of the 1977 through 1989 Triennial Surveys.
"Percent of Those Coming to AA Within the First Year Who Have Remained the Indicated Number of Months." It graphed the "Month" and "Dist" (distribution) columns here. Note the "Dist" column adds up to 100. It is NOT a retention percentage. For every 100 people surveyed with under a year, 13% were in their 2nd month and 9% were in their 4th month. The "New" column I added is scaled to show retention. The "3mo" column tracks retention after the usual introductary period when, presumably, only "real alcoholics" (about half) will stay.
Month Dist . New . 3mo
1 ... 19 ... 100
2 ... 13 .... 68
3 ... 10 .... 53
4 .... 9 .... 47 . 100 <=== Over 3 months
5 .... 8 .... 42 .. 89
6 .... 7 .... 42 .. 83
7 .... 7 .... 36 .. 77
8 .... 6 .... 34 .. 72
9 .... 6 .... 32 .. 68
10 ... 6 .... 30 .. 64
11 ... 6 .... 28 .. 60
12 ... 5 .... 26 .. 56
The Dist(1)=19 does NOT mean that "81% dropped out in a month." Dist(3)=10 does NOT mean that "90% leave within three months." And Dist(12)=5 does NOT mean that "95 abandon active participation in AA inside of a year." What it does show is that 56% of those who stay three months are still active in A.A. at the end of a year. Other Survey results show substantially better retention rates after the first year. Here is a typical example of misinterpretation of the table.
> "Those of us who have survived in A.A. for aThat's just not true. Another misreading of statistics is to forget that not everyone who shows up at an A.A. meeting is an alcoholic. And not everyone with "a drinking problem" is an alcoholic (yet) either. For example, in 2002 the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism said that there were 9.7 million "alcohol abusers" and 7.9 million "alcohol dependent people" over age eighteen. There are clear definitions for these two categories. Only the 7.9 million are what A.A. calls "real alcoholics." These NIAAA numbers are misquoted as:
> good many years know for a certainty the dire
> failure statistics of today -- statistics reported
> by A.A.'s own service structure:
> 81% of new members drop out in a month;
> 90% leave within three months; and
> 95% abandon the active participation in AA inside of a year."
> "And in America, there are less than a millionEighteen million is the total of "real alcoholics" and "a certain type of hard drinker." Further, most alcoholics have never tried or even visited Alcoholics Anonymous and have never made any serious attempt at recovery through any other means. With that in mind, one million sober American AAs is rather impressive.
> AAs at any given time out of an estimated
> eighteen million alcoholics in all."
It also shows the need to reach out and invite more alcoholics to try Alcoholics Anonymous. Let's hope the pessimistic message of gloom-and-doom doesn't scare away and discourage the rest of those who need help.
[ADDITIONAL NOTE BY MODERATOR: In early AA, they often said that 50% of those (as they put it) "who made a serious effort" in AA got sober the first time they tried. Careful reading of the early documents and interviews with old timers makes it clear that they were not counting those who came to a few meetings but then fizzled out when they gave their 50% success rate. When early groups gave their membership figures, they usually made a rough-and-ready but clear distinction between the numbers of those at their weekly meetings who were just coming to a few meetings at that point and the numbers of those who were much more committed members. So early success rates were not actually all that much different from the present success rate. AA is still extraordinarily effective today, just as it was in the old days, particularly when we remember that alcoholism has always been the third leading cause of death in the United States ever since the 1930's: a fifty percent remission rate for what is frequently a fatal disease is medically impressive by any standards.]
... No More Myths: Let s be sure nobody takes this statement by Bill W and trumpets, Hah! See. A one percent success rate. (I ve seen it done.) That s notMessage 1 of 2 , Apr 24, 2006View SourceSee Excerpt from the "The Exact Quote..." Thread Below:
No More Myths:
Let's be sure nobody takes this statement by Bill W and trumpets,
"Hah! See. A one percent success rate." (I've seen it done.)
That's not what it means at all!
Like someone introducing a new product, Bill was looking at how
many prospects were not reached and offers a number to emphasize,
"If we keep on going there is little doubt that much good will
result, but the surface of the problem would hardly be scratched."
In saying that "a vast procession of the world's drunks has passed
in front of us ... 25 million of them," he is putting forward an
image of how important A.A. can be.
Most Never Came to A.A.:
The 25 million alcoholics he speaks of died somewhere in the world
in the 25 years Alcoholics Anonymous had been around. Only a very
few came "through the doors of A.A.." A "mind experiment," as Albert
Einstein suggests, proves that. For all 25 million of them to visit
exactly one meeting of one group, the average group would have hosted
300+ per year. For each of them to talk with exactly one A.A. member,
the average member would have talked with 15 per year. As the robot
on Lost In Space would say, "That does not compute." :-)
My calculation is based on an estimated 75,000 group-years.
(I added up the annual census of groups for first 25 years.)
Similarly, it is based on an estimated 1,600,0000 member-years
(I added up the annual census of members for first 25 years.)
Think about it. It makes sense. :-)
Can anyone find the source of Bill's estimate of 25 million of the
worlds drunks? It sounds to me like some agency may have estimated
"one million per year" and Bill multiplied that by 25 years. That
is just a guess. Some other historian may have a real answer.
En2joy! Tom En2ger
-------------- Original message ----------------------
From: "ArtSheehan" <ArtSheehan@...>
> What is the quantitative number "of alcoholics who came to AA" at any
> particular period of time? Nobody knows, but it was likely substantial
> and likely remains substantial. In an address to the 1960 General
> Service Conference, Bill W commented:
> "I took note", the co-founder pointed out, "that in this generation
> which has seen AA come alive, this period of 25 years, a vast
> procession of the world's drunks has passed in front of us and over
> the precipice. Worldwide, there would appear to have been something
> like 25 million of them. And out of this stream of despair, illness,
> misery and death, we have fished out just one in a hundred in the
> last 25 years."