New Book's Authors Address Need of Replacement for Alcoholics Anonymous

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According to the authors of "Phoenix in a Bottle" a brand new worldwide organisation is needed to replace Alcoholics Anonymous.

Two former alcoholics say there is a need for a brand new worldwide organisation to replace Alcoholics Anonymous, a fellowship which is now outdated and stuck in a rut that it is unwilling or unable to get out of in order to address its own self-confessed abysmal failure rate.

Lilian and Murdoch MacDonald are a married couple from Ayrshire in Scotland, whose recently published book “Phoenix in a Bottle” describes how they recovered from alcoholism without and in spite of AA, and how they are now able to drink responsibly again, if and when they so wish.

According to both an independent US government survey and AA’s own secret membership surveys as revealed on the American Showtime Channel’s Penn & Teller television programme, AA-style treatment works for only 5% of its participants.

Leading American addiction expert Dr Marc Kern commented: “These two surveys clearly show that, after 12 months of attendance, 95% of the original participants have left the programme and either resumed their destructive behaviour or hopefully – but less likely – sought help elsewhere.

"These people have not failed," insists Dr Kern. "The 12-Step approach has failed them."

Lilian and Murdoch MacDonald attribute the failure of the 12-Step programme to the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous stubbornly insists upon treating alcoholism as a progressive and incurable illness or disease, from which only remission is possible by sticking to a strict regime of abstinence from alcohol.

AA is wrong, argue Lilian and Murdoch. In fact, alcoholism is not an illness or a disease at all, but a self-harming behaviour problem with its roots in childhood. Everybody is capable of changing their behaviour. If alcoholics are willing to identify and to address their issues from the past, then they can get truly well and be able drink responsibly once again if and when they so wish. Advocating lifelong abstinence from alcohol on the other hand is merely treating the symptom rather than the underlying problem, and is just a damage-limitation exercise.

Perpetuation of the disease concept of alcoholism is aided and abetted by private rehab clinics that have piggybacked AA and hijacked its 12-Step programme for their own profit.

Alcoholics Anonymous has the solution to its problems in its own hands, continue Lilian and Murdoch. Any normal organisation would be open to new ideas, and would welcome discussion and change as new discoveries and progress were made in the field of alcoholism.

Unfortunately AA has adopted a cult-like attitude, and regards its so-called programme of recovery as set in stone forever. No changes have been made or even allowed in the 70 years of its existence, and no questioning or discussion is tolerated.

So Lilian and Murdoch conclude that a completely new organisation is the only solution.

An organisation that does not seek to perpetuate the disease model of alcoholism long after its sell-by date.

One that does not advocate lifelong sobriety as a prerequisite for recovery, but instead empowers alcoholics to alter their behaviour in the way that they choose for themselves.

One that does not insist upon dragging pseudo-religion into a situation in which it has neither use nor relevance.

And finally one that welcomes change and progress in the understanding of alcoholism, and is willing to accept diverse ways of treating it, instead of dogmatically promulgating and perpetuating a one-size-fits-all approach that is stuck in the past forever.


Lilian and Murdoch MacDonald’s book "Phoenix in a Bottle" has just been published by Melrose Books.

Reviewing the book, American addiction expert Dr Stanton Peele PhD commented: "Phoenix in a Bottle is a modern version of The Days of Wine and Roses, and tells the true story of how two people who entered a period of desperate drinking stayed with one another in a close loving relationship, and emerged from their alcoholism able to drink responsibly again.

"Both a wonderful love story and a challenge to conventional wisdom about how people can recover from drinking problems, Phoenix in a Bottle gives people hope, and helps them to confront their own demons - alcohol or otherwise."

"Phoenix in a Bottle" by Lilian and Murdoch MacDonald is published by Melrose Books price £16.99. It is available through good bookshops or online direct from the publishers by logging on to

ISBN: 1905226144

It is also available at

Lilian and Murdoch’s website:

Issued by Fame Publicity Services

10 Miller Road

AYR, Ayrshire

Scotland KA7 2AY


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