It’s likely that you’ve heard of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the 12-step program designed to help alcoholics stay sober. Alcoholics Anonymous can be very effective when used in conjunction with traditional outpatient or residential therapies, and recovering alcoholics all over the world have found support and guidance in AA.
What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?
On its website, Alcoholics Anonymous describes itself as a “fellowship of men and women” who come together to help each other stay sober and/or achieve sobriety. The self-help group works through the sharing of stories and experiences as each member follows the 12 steps outlined in the program. The organization doesn’t identify a concrete term for what alcoholism is, rather it allows alcoholism to be defined by mutable definitions that mean something different to each person.
Alcoholics Anonymous doesn’t have membership requirements for those who attend; the only prerequisite is that a person has the desire to stop drinking. Alcoholism is an illness that, once you have it, it doesn’t go away. The view of AA is that once you are an alcoholic, you will always be an alcoholic. But, this knowledge doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome the illness. By taking sobriety one day at a time (“First things first”), pacing (“Easy does it”), and acceptance (“Live and let live”), Alcoholics Anonymous posits that a person can achieve and maintain a sober lifestyle.
The 12-step program boasted by Alcoholics Anonymous does tilt to a spiritual side, a belief in a higher power – God or otherwise. And through its traditions, Alcoholics Anonymous has furthered the sense of goodwill from one recovering alcoholic to another. The group’s tenets identify the acceptance of a higher power, helping others achieve success, and remaining self-supporting.
Is AA Effective?
The program’s efficacy tends to vary between each person. For some people, the religious connotations aren’t shown to be helpful. For others, the supportive group system works very well. According to research presented in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, AA can be very effective particularly when combined with other treatments. Self-help groups, the article noted, do play important roles in positive outcomes when it comes to alcohol abuse or addiction. Patients who attended Alcoholics Anonymous for the first year after acute treatment were more likely found to be in remission at lengths up to one, two, and five years.
With over 57,000 Alcoholics Anonymous groups officially registered in the US, it’s not hard to find an AA meeting if you need one. Whether you are currently in or transitioning from a treatment program, AA might be an option for your continued aftercare.
If you are now considering treatment, we here at Alta Mira Recovery can help. We have counselors and clinicians who are here for you to support your first steps toward a sober life in recovery. Call us today to learn more about our treatment options for alcoholism.