Singer Profits Off Song Stigmatizing AA
“Fancy Like” singer Walker Hayes has a new hit circulating the radio, this time switching out Applebee’s and Oreo shakes for a heavier topic, alcoholism. And what better time to address Hayes’s new hit “AA” than during Alcohol Awareness Month. The “dad-anthem” starts out with Hayes wishing his coffee had a little bit of jack in it before moving on to talking about his family and rounding out the chorus with “tryna write a song the local country station will play. Hey, I’m just tryna stay out of AA.”
Hayes is referring to Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), a fellowship program that encourages members to follow a 12-step process with the primary purpose of achieving sobriety.1 As the song continues, Hayes mentions alcohol a few more times including “sometimes you just need a beer,” an opinion not shared by Alcoholics Anonymous which operates with a zero-tolerance policy for its members.
Although his song might lead listeners to believe otherwise, Hayes has benefitted from A.A. in the past. Starting his journey to sobriety in 2016, Hayes has attended A.A. meetings at his local chapter and has commented that “sometimes I wish I didn’t need A.A., but I do.”2 Although Hayes’s song is poking fun at his life in a relatable way, it is perpetuating the negative stigma surrounding seeking addiction treatment. It seems “tryna stay out of AA” was catchier than “thankful for AA.”
Alcohol Addiction Statistics and Stigma
Walker Hayes is not the only one who struggles with alcohol addiction. In fact, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2019:3
- 5 million people in the United States ages 12 and up had an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
- Alcohol was the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
- Only 7.2% of people with an AUD in the United States received treatment in the past year.
- 5 million (approximately 10.5%) of children in the United States were living with a parent with an alcohol use disorder in 2017.
Even though millions of people are affected by alcohol addiction, a 2015 study found that only 5% of individuals sought treatment for alcohol dependence within the first year of disorder onset.4 Negative views on seeking treatment, as seen in “AA,” add to this overarching stigma that treatment is a punishment or moral failing and something to avoid.
Hayes intended the song to say that he is “just trying to stay the course” and not have to return to AA, but self-control is one area that can become seriously impaired due to addiction.5 Using alcohol can quickly become an involuntary behavior, but seeking help and support is a voluntary decision.
Furthermore, continued care after the completion of treatment is an essential component of lasting success. Addiction is a chronic disease, meaning it can be managed, but never cured. Individuals with alcohol addiction face challenges for their entire lives, and relapse is a common part of the disease. Instead of relapse being seen as a failure and treatment as some sort of punishment like alluded to in “AA,” relapse should be seen as a need to reassess treatment and make healthy adjustments. 6
How to Treat Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcoholics Anonymous is not the only treatment option for Alcohol Use Disorder. Recovery First Treatment Center located in Hollywood, Florida offers many treatment options for alcohol addiction to fit the needs of each individual. Whether it is inpatient/residential rehab or outpatient addiction treatment, Recovery First creates a personalized treatment program with therapeutic interventions that address alcohol use disorder including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
- Motivational interviewing.
- Pain Management Therapy.
- Process Group Therapy.
Research has found that effective treatment addresses all aspects of the individual, not just the alcohol use and Recovery First follows this holistic philosophy by also offering:
- Anger Management Therapy.
- Spirituality and Faith-based Therapy.
- Grief and Loss Therapy.
- Guilt and Shame Therapy.
- Family Therapy.
In addition, Recovery First, our South Fl alcohol Rehab facility offers a special Salute to Recovery program for veterans with addiction and Healthcare Professional Treatment for healthcare workers with addiction. Addiction programs at Recovery First range from short-term stays, month-long rehab, and 60+ day treatment.
To answer more questions on the path to recovery for you or a loved one, check out our admissions process or speak to one of our admissions navigators by calling .