Research proves 12-Step Facilitation works

Keith Humphries in an editorial of the prestigious journal Addiction reviews the evolution of clinical research into the effectiveness of 12-Step self-help fellowships for alcohol and drug dependence. He states that; “. . . intensive referral to 12-Step self-help groups leads to higher group involvement and better substance use outcomes, a particularly striking result given . . . the severe, long-standing addictions of the study participants. Methodologically, the study is in the vanguard of a new generation of experimental evaluations of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-Step self-help groups.” 

Additionally he says another research report showed; “. . . not only that AA could be studied in a randomized trial, but that such a project could be methodologically sophisticated enough to grace the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine. Their finding that AA, in combination with in-patient treatment, produced better substance abuse outcomes than did advice to attend AA alone.” All respected trials have treatment conditions using 12-Step principles and 12-Step facilitation. His review says; “Together these studies constitute the first wave of high-quality trials of AA and other 12-Step groups. We are now seeing the initial fruits of a second generation of trials in which randomization is intended to draw inferences about AA and its sister fellowships per se.” 

Other research he reviewed points to the powerful influence of healthcare workers behavior in referring people to AA and then supporting their efforts to gain and maintain sobriety. He states that; “Timko et al.’s (2006) trial yields a consistently positive conclusion about the benefits of self-help group involvement.” 

Further; “Perhaps the current generation of trials will ultimately show that facilitating 12-Step group involvement is less consistently beneficial after a cognitive–behavioral intervention (e.g. alcohol behavioral couples therapy) than it is after a 12-Step-based treatment (Humphreys et al. 1999), implying a need for clinical methods of referring patients to cognitive–behaviorally oriented self-help groups.”  He concludes; “. . . studies of the past 15 years have established beyond any reasonable doubt that high-quality AA trials are possible, and that such studies usually reinforce rather than undermine the excellent reputation the fellowship enjoys around the world.” 
Keith Humphreys. The trials of Alcoholics Anonymous. Addiction, 101, 617–618

 

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