Alcoholics Anonymous: Mutual Help In Recovering All Kinds Of Addictions

You all want to know what is AA?Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international community of mutual help against alcoholism. Its members meet in groups where they share their experience, strength and hope to recover from the disease and help others recover.

Its beginning dates back to 1935 when its founders held its first meeting Bill W (a New York stockbroker) and Dr. Bob S (an eminent surgeon who had drunk his last drink that day): “When two or more individuals meet they meet with the sole objective of achieving sobriety can define themselves as a group of AA ”.

More than 5 million people gather in Alcoholics Anonymous in 181 countries around the world

The basic structure of AA is the group and is governed by 36 principles, divided into 12 steps, 12 traditions, and 12 concepts. Today, this fellowship has more than 5 million members and operates in more than 181 countries, according to data from the Cochrane Library in 2017.

Does This Program Work?

A recent meta-analysis, with studies conducted in the last 25 years has concluded that AA can be an effective ally outpatient treatment programs.

Do AA groups help, even if alcohol is not the substance of choice?

When an individual has identified himself as an addict and wishes to embark on the path of the recovery of the 12 steps, it is usual to address those groups of mutual help of his substance or behavior of choice.

If it is alcohol, you will attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, if they are other substances, you are likely to attend Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or if you are addicted to Gambling Anonymous (GA), just to name a few examples.

AA can be an effective ally to clinical and public health interventions.

In large and cosmopolitan cities like Madrid, this is not a problem, but in smaller populations, it can be. That is why for many addicts who begin the road to recovery, such as those in my hometown of Santa Clara (Cuba), the closest mutual aid group is likely to be one of AA. “Why should I attend an AA group if alcohol is not my substance [or behavior]  of choice ” is a frequent question I usually hear.

The benefits of participating in AA meetings in Philadelphia for individuals with other addictions can be seen even in the literature on Compulsive Eaters (OA). The testimony of one of its founders in the 60s of the last century reflects this.

Is There Scientific Evidence To Support This Idea?

I would like to use as a reference a study carried out by researchers from the Center for Addiction Medicine, attached to the Harvard Medical School. The study was published in 2014 in Alcohol and Alcoholism

The study took place between October 2006 and March 2008. The sample was made up of 279 patients from more than 600 who received treatment during this period of time.

The researchers conducted assessments at the beginning, 3, 6 and 12 months. Of the 279 patients, only 81 reported alcohol as the substance of choice and those who reported other substances were divided into cannabis users (81), opiates  (65) and stimulants  (56).

Within the group of other preferred substances, opioid consumers tended to attend more meetings (AA or NA) than cannabis users, but at 6 months it was stimulant consumers who had greater attendance at meetings (predominantly those of NA). Within the group that only attended AA meetings, the same difference was observed at the beginning, but none other.

AA groups are a valid recovery option for consumers of other substances.

However, for the consumers of other substances, no differences were observed in the number of meetings or clean days when those who attended AA and those who attended NA were compared.

This suggests that, although AA is not the primary group of consumers of other substances, it can be a resource as valid as the NA groups if we take into account the indicated indicators.

In conclusion, the researchers pointed out that AA groups are a valid recovery option for consumers of other substances. They suggest that these patients may be referred to AA groups when assistance to NA groups is difficult. It is important to remember that 12-step groups work best in conjunction with a supportive sober living environment. For more information regarding sober living homes visit designforrecovery.com.