Explained: The Types of Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

Others attend due to pressure from a loved one or because they are required by the court, such as after being arrested for drunk driving. Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, featuring multi-platinum award-winning singer Bryan Abrams, shares his sobriety journey and how he found treatment that actually worked. In 1980, the University of Toronto recruited the couple to conduct research at its prestigious Addiction Research Foundation.

what is aa?

He warned that overuse of that word would undermine the disease concept. He later beseeched AA to stay out of the way of scientists trying to do objective research. Finland’s treatment model is based in large part on the work of an American neuroscientist named John David Sinclair.

The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous

Members come into the rooms each week seeking help from the experience, strength, and hope of other members. This process can be interrupted if the group spends part of the allotted time for discussion of outside activities. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. In 1946, co-founder Bill Wilson published the “Twelve Points to Assure Our Future” in the AA Grapevine newspaper. In 1953, he published the book, “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.”

  • Individual members bring their own needs into the 12-step rooms, and each progresses through the journey of recovery at their own pace.
  • A Stanford researcher and two collaborators conducted an extensive review of Alcoholics Anonymous studies and found that the fellowship helps more people achieve sobriety than therapy does.
  • At times people studying to be therapists attend, and frequently if the meeting is smaller there are all-around introductions and those who are not alcoholic identify as visitors1.
  • You can leave the room with a sense that no matter how scary life seems, things will work out if you just keep trudging the road of happy destiny a day at a time.
  • The first part of tradition 7 makes it clear that responsibility extends to the members of each local group as it passes the basket for contributions to pay the rent and maintain its literature library.
  • One of the most important aspects of AA’s philosophy is the belief in sharing experiences and offering support in a non-judgmental and confidential setting.

For this we find we need the help and support of other alcoholics in A.A. The AA-based approach seemed to work and compared favorably with the other therapies. In all three groups, participants were abstinent on roughly 20 percent of days, on average, before treatment began, and the fraction of alcohol-free days rose to about 80 percent a year after treatment ended. What is more, 19 percent of these subjects were teetotalers during the entire 12-month follow-up. Because the study lacked a group of people who received no treatment, however, it does not reveal whether any of the methods are superior to leaving people to try to stop drinking on their own.

Cochrane 2020 review

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. Meetings aren’t based on a specific religion, they do include spiritual aspects. For some, these aspects of the program can be a stumbling block. Often, the next step is to read a passage from the Big Book and reinforcement about the importance of member privacy and anonymity. Meetings typically close with a prayer, moment of silence, recitation of the Responsibility Statement, or by reading a section of another A.A.

  • Although AA is well-known and used by millions around the world, mental health professionals are sometimes skeptical of its effectiveness, Humphreys said.
  • No other area of medicine or counseling makes such allowances.
  • This is especially true of members who feel sidelined or minimized; these are the ones who are most likely to drift away or leave the program altogether.

How they’ll make those decisions is a matter of ongoing discussion. He feels much more confident and stable, he says, than he did when he was drinking. He has successfully drunk in moderation on occasion, without any loss of control or desire to consume more the next day. And he has more at stake now—his daughter was born in June 2013, about six months before he found Willenbring. Doesn’t drink at all these days, though he doesn’t rule out the possibility of having a beer every now and then in the future. Joining AA is as simple as acknowledging that you have a drinking problem and deciding that you want to be a member.

Statistics on Alcohol Use and Addiction

Nevertheless, the results of one well-designed investigation called Project Match, published in 1997, suggest that AA can facilitate the transition to sobriety for many alcoholics. In this study, a group of prominent alcoholism researchers randomly assigned more than 900 problem drinkers to receive one of three treatments over 12 weeks. One was an AA-based treatment called 12-step facilitation therapy that includes contact with a professional who helps patients work the first few of the 12 steps and encourages them to attend AA meetings. Hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehab centers use the 12 steps as the basis for treatment. But although few people seem to realize it, there are alternatives, including prescription drugs and therapies that aim to help patients learn to drink in moderation.

All treatment calls are accepted by drug and alcohol centers advertising with the Call Affiliate LLC network. AA speaker meetings are a great way to unwind after a hard day. You can leave the room with a sense that no matter how scary life seems, things will work out if you just keep trudging the road of happy destiny a day at a time. Most of the studies that measured abstinence found AA was significantly better than other interventions or no intervention.

AA Acronyms

In 1939, the program expanded, largely due to the publication of the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, which is known as the “Big Book.” The growth of people’s interest in A.A. Increased more after a 1941 article in the Saturday Evening Post about the group. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The AA model — open to all and free — has spread around the globe, and AA now boasts over 2 million members in 180 nations and more than 118,000 groups. Other studies have analyzed the effectiveness of peer support, in general, during substance use recovery and found that it contributed to a variety of improved outcomes. what is aa? Outcomes were also improved for individuals with co-occurring substance use and mental health issues. In 1934, just after Prohibition’s repeal, a failed stockbroker named Bill Wilson staggered into a Manhattan hospital. Wilson was known to drink two quarts of whiskey a day, a habit he’d attempted to kick many times.