That’s the question asked in a recent article in MIND—a publication of Scientific American.
The article titled, “Staying Sober Under Pressure” addresses gender differences in relapse and relapse-prevention. It says that one third of Alcoholics Anonymous members are women and while AA helps members of both sexes to recover from addiction it does it in different ways because—typically --male and female alcoholics drink for different reasons.
The article’s author, Melinda Wenner Moyer reports of the work of John Kelly and Bettina Hoeppner at Mass General who analyzed data collected over 15 months from AA members. They found that male alcoholics typically relapse when they are in social-drinking situations and that AA is very helpful by teaching members how to change people, places and things and to learn to socialize without alcohol.
On the other hand they found that it is more likely that women will relapse when they are feeling down or in an emotional crisis yet according to this article, “AA does little to help them handle emotion-driven drinking.”
Well, if you have been around a while you know what they mean but you also know that women in recovery find other women to support them when they are in an emotional crisis. Maybe not by raising a hand in a meeting but by having sober women friends and more often by connecting with them in the meeting outside the meeting.
But Moyer asks a great question, which is: If AA addressed these gender differences more actively could it become even more effective?