Sexism Increases Drinking for Men and Women

Alcoholics Anonymous publishes a sexist book meant to teach both men and women how to work the AA 12 Step program.

Both women and men attend AA, but the AA Big Book Preface reads: “Because this book has become the basic text for our Society and has helped such large numbers of alcoholic men and women to recovery, there exists strong sentiment against any radical changes being made in it.”  Radical changes like removing sexism?

Even though research proves that, “higher gender equality is associated with less drinking, especially riskier drinking, among both female and male drinkers overall.”  Apparently, the Big Book is both the SOLUTION and the CAUSE of drinking problems.

Less sexism = Less Drinking in Men and Women
Less sexism = Less Drinking in Men and Women

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has acknowledged alcoholism is a woman’s issue.  This includes fetal alcohol syndrome when pregnant women drink, heart disease, suicides, stroke and liver cirrhosis.

In 1989, Julie B. wrote in “The Power of a Pronoun,” in the AA Grapevine,  “I started to change the Big Book.  Everywhere I saw he, his, him, I wrote she, hers, and her.  Within minutes I was transforming the way I looked at myself and at my program of recovery.”

AA turns a blind-eye factors exacerbated by sexism that contribute to risk factors for drinking problems:  Low self-esteem and depression as identified by the The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  These risk factors make women a higher risk group for substance abuse and addiction.  As seen on the White House website, compared to men, women become dependent quicker and “suffer consequences sooner.”

Women have a lower body water content, so when they drink the same amount as a man, they have a higher blood alcohol concentration.  Females also have diminished activity of the alcohol dehydrogenase (DHO), the primary enzyme to metabolize alcohol in the body.

When men and women drink the same amount of ethanol (consumable alcohol), women’s blood has a higher ethanol concentration, making them more susceptible to liver disease in alcoholic women.  Add a society’s sexism and a woman is psychologically set up for increased drinking.  It is known that members of AA have increased episodes of binge drinking.  The sexism in AA sets a woman up to fail.

It's simple: We can't fight sexism's effects on drinking in society with MORE sexism.
It’s simple: We can’t fight sexism’s effects on drinking in society with MORE sexism.

A book written specifically for men in mind ignores women’s unique health factors.  This is not a case of a woman being too demanding, or suffering from “Terminal Uniqueness,” this is a case of treating women in AA as second class citizens.  When left untreated, sexism leads to increased drinking by both genders.  Sexism is a problem for men as much as it is for women.

You can help! Tell Alcoholics Anonymous now is the time to make Radical Changes to the Big Book.   You can help me by signing the petition I created that will be sent to AA in New York City.

The Stop Printing the Sexist Version of the Big Book Petition

Click image to sign the petition.
Click image to sign the petition.

The following organizations use non-sexist literature addressing both men and women:
SMART Recovery
Moderation Management
Hams Harm Reduction Network

 For a program designed for women:

Women For Sobriety