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Is AA The Only Effective Form Of Recovery Support Outside Of Treatment?

Judges order people to attend twelve step meetings. Over ninety-five percent of treatment centers are twelve-step based. Most treatment centers, sober livings, and transitional living homes require their residents to regularly attend the twelve step meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous is the founder of the twelve step method, which has been adopted by well known organizations like Narcotics Anonymous and a list of other anonymous groups. Each group uses the philosophies and principles of the twelve steps of AA as the foundation for their program of recovery. Many of the groups use Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as “The Big Book” as their primary reading text.

Scientific studies verifying the effectivity of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and the twelve step program are scarce. Due to the anonymous nature of the organization and its members, conducting longitudinal studies is difficult. Studies have been done, however, and have found that Alcoholics Anonymous is a verifiable way for someone to help themselves to recover from alcoholism. There are even studies which suggest that the prayers used in Alcoholics Anonymous help reduce cravings in the brain.

Not everyone agrees with the spiritual program of Alcoholics Anonymous and seek out other forms of support. There are more secular programs of recovery which include a widespread fellowship, regular meetings, and a series of steps to take toward recovery. A recent study looked at SMART Recovery, LifeRing, and Women for Sobriety. The study looked at self-reported outcomes compared to AA and found that these programs are just as effective as AA. Vox reported on the study, citing that “about a third of people maintain recovery from alcohol addiction due to 12-step treatment, another third get something out of the treatment but not enough for full recovery, and another third get nothing at all.”

More than 600 people diagnosed with AUD, alcohol use disorder, were surveyed for the study. At six months and twelve months, the participants did a follow up survey which examined how involved they were in their reported groups and their abstinence from alcohol. Variations in results came only from whether or not an individual was dedicated to abstinence. If a participant wanted abstinence, they had less success with SMART Recovery and Life Ring. Once the researchers controlled for goals of recovery, like staying abstinent or not, the differences disappeared.  

Villa Tranquil, a unique transitional living opportunity, welcomes women between the ages of 18-65. Independently owned and operated by clinicians, our distinct program provides women with the clinical care, compassion, and structure needed for ongoing recovery. Empowering women to live their best lives, our beautiful home in Jupiter Farms, Florida is the perfect environment for post-treatment living. Call us today for information:  214-799-3080