So, I do feel like there are some aspects of AA that got slammed a bit here that actually I think do work in terms of providing yourself with a personal framework. I am not an alcoholic and have no frame of reference as to how this would help actual alcoholics but I have taken to heart a couple of the precepts of AA in my own life (granted that I agree that the spiritual stuff is meh).
First up, the deal with the "being powerless" and the "higher power" thing actually does have its uses and those things are facets that I as a person working with ADHD use to help come to grips with things. First up, don't think of it as being completely powerless in the sense of "I can't move the needle of change even a little tiny bit". The bits that we have an issue with are the first 3 and I think it's possible to re-interpret them:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
For a lot of us, we have our struggles in which we *are* personally "powerless" against these things, again, not in the sense that there's no use touching anything because it won't make a difference, in the sense that we've lived with these things alone for years and years and years and have tried to fix them ourselves and have failed. Step 1 is basically saying "I did not fail to fix myself because I lack character, I failed to fix myself because this issue is bigger than myself". This was simply beyond my ability to fix and there just plain can't be any shame in admitting this because once you let shame come through, the self-doubt comes along with it and you lead yourself back down the path to self-destruction. Just... sit back and accept that you need help, that's the point of #1.
Which leads to point #2... that "power greater than ourselves" need not be God; in fact, I think it works better when it's *not* God because even if you believe in God, your relationship with God is still a one-to-one thing and the whole point of steps 1 and 2 is that you need to reach out to actual other *people*. Yes, sure, spirituality or what have you can sometimes allow you to summon willpower or at least divert it from other places to make you achieve things you might not otherwise have achieved. But here's the thing to me: chances are, you've probably already gone through the negotiating with your higher power thing if you are religious, or working on harnessing your own mental capacity (by means of meditation, for example) if you are not. Step 2 reads a little bit like "come to Jesus" but what I think it really is supposed to mean is two-fold: one, that you are not permanently broken, and two, that you can fix yourself by turning to the community at large for help. For my own self, I am not even close to conquering ADHD by myself and I am incredibly grateful that there things beyond me that can fix this: medication, for one. My therapist, for another. A close circle of friends who care about me, for three.
Point 3 might take the most legerdemain to interpret in a secular way but I think it can be done as well. The point here is not *necessarily* that you have to give yourself to God specifically, although AA is first and foremost a Christian organization and they're going to expect that. The idea behind it, though, is that you're building on step 1, where you admit that you can't do this alone, and step 2, where you allow other people to come in and help you, and continue on to step 3, which is to be humble and accept that you don't have all of the answers. Step 3 is about accepting that step 2 has to be non-conditional to work. For me, it's accepting that whatever I might feel in the moment about my condition, doctors have studied ADHD on millions of people and I am not particularly special in that regard and so I don't get to do things like stop taking my meds when I feel "better" or something. It also means understanding that medication + therapy has been shown to work much better than medication alone in many cases and so, even when I feel very uncomfortable in a session, remaining open to the possibility that that uncomfortability means we are moving in important directions (and, at the same time, accepting that my therapist knows much more about how the mind works and about how we put up roadblocks to success, etc. than I do, no matter how smart I might think that I am). And finally, it means that I have to accept my friendships for what they are, which in turn means that I have to accept that they might know more about some aspect of life than I do and to at least consider what they have to say when they say things to me (I feel like it also means that I have to be reciprocal but that may be a lesson to take home from one of the later steps).
Again, I do not want to argue that this means that AA is good or bullshit or whatever. What I'm talking about here is essentially a personal philosophy and I don't think that you can scientifically quantify philosophy. If it "works" it does so because it provides you a framework for how to move through life. Whether that exact framework is effective for others is almost besides the point (I say "almost" because I'm not sure that a framework built around the notion that everybody is secretly a 7 foot tall lizard is necessarily going to help you much unless paranoia is something you want in your life). I think the best thing is to choose a framework, try hanging your life on it, and a few months down the line re-evaluate it to see which bits work and which ones do not.