AA Program Elements That Work

Using meta-analysis of more than 50 studies, these authors report that AA members stayed sober more if they

  • had an AA sponsor,
  • worked the “twelve steps” of the program,
  • led a meeting,
  • increased their degree of participation over time, or
  • sponsored other AA members.

The study also found that professionally treated alcoholic patients who attend AA during or after treatment are somewhat more likely to reduce drinking than are those who do not attend AA.

Membership in AA was also found to reduce physical symptoms and to improve psychological adjustment.

Emrick, C. D., J. S. Tonigan, et al. (1993). Alcoholics Anonymous: What is Currently Known? In Research on Alcoholics Anonymous: Opportunities and Alternatives, edited by Barbara S. McCrady and William R. Miller. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, pp. 41-75.


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