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Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-Step Program

Addiction is not a choice. Alcohol addiction is an illness that affects individuals of all gaits of life. Professionals have attempted to pinpoint race, sex, genetics, or socioeconomic factors that may predispose someone to alcohol addiction. However, it has no particular cause. Behavioral, genetic, and psychological factors may contribute to the disorder. Alcohol use illness is one of the top preventable causes of premature disability and death worldwide, with over three million attributable mortalities every year around the universe (Legg, 2017). The economic burden of alcohol abuse is huge due to increased crime and incarceration, lost productivity, and heightened healthcare usage. The response to alcohol misuse and illness related to the problem comprises various professional services and cheap or free recovery support amenities and services. The oldest and greatest of this alcohol addiction problem and illness support services is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Therefore, this paper will discuss the Alcoholics Anonymous organization’s history and formation of the establishment in general. Also, it will lay down the twelve-step Program systematically and what it entails in each step. Alcoholics Anonymous is a great support service program that has helped many people with alcohol addiction deal with the issue. Concerning this paper, it will also discuss the effectiveness of this treatment model based on the different peer-reviewed journals and literature that has been done over the years. Lastly, this writing will give a personal view and observation based on the discovered information about Alcoholics Anonymous and the conclusion.

History of the Organization

Alcoholics Anonymous was originally initiated in 1935 by doctor Bob Smith and business personnel Bill Wilson. They were both alcohol addicts and sought ways to maintain sobriety. The notion of alcoholism as a disorder was a novel thought in 1939 when Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism was printed and documented. Alcoholics Anonymous is a global organization and a fellowship of women and men who have had a drinking issue. It comprises several million followers in 181 nations. It is a peer-to-peer support group that assists those suffering from alcoholism to abstain from alcohol, better relations with others, and heighten life worth (Erickson, 2020). In the United States, AA is the utmost typically sought source of assistance for alcohol addiction illness, attracting different membership of men and women from various racial and ethnic settings. Also, it has a considerable presence in the United Kingdom.

Given that alcoholism is prevalent worldwide, particularly in middle-and-high income states, Alcoholics Anonymous is free and extensive. Its availability makes it likely beneficial for an enormous sum of people for longer periods (Kaskutas, 2009). Perse, AA is part of the de facto care organization for alcohol addiction in several nations. Today, AA is available in over 180 countries with nearly over 2 million members. It normally operates in locally rented accommodation such as community centers and hospitals, with meetings lasting between 60 and 90 minutes. During the sessions, participants share individual stories of their alcohol addiction problems and recovery experiences and assist each other practice the principles contained in the 12-step program.

Effectiveness of the Model

The predominant adoption of Alcoholic Anonymous and its impact on the specialized treatment industry in diverse countries has prompted rising efforts to assess its medical and public health effect. According to a study done by Kelly et al. (2020) to evaluate the cost benefits and the effectiveness of the AA and 12-Step Program, they found out that the model was better in ensuring non-stop remission and abstinence than other well-designed treatments. Also, they realized that it was effective as other superior treatments in lowering the intensity of alcohol intake, alcohol-associated outcomes, and severity of alcoholism. In addition, they recognized that the program minimized healthcare costs considerably more than other treatments types (Kelly et al., 2020). Given how difficult it is to discover the differences in medical results among active psychosocial treatments, the size of the advantages supporting AA involvements for unceasing abstinence was remarkable.

Similarly, Kaskutas (2009) performed research utilizing six criteria needed for determining causation to evaluate the effectiveness of the Alcoholics Anonymous program (Kaskutas, 2009). The abstinence rate was about twice as high among those who participated in the program based on the study. The results show that higher attendance levels were associated with greater abstinence levels, and these associations were found to be different for separate samples and follow-up moments. In another research performed by Okello and Ogola (2016), they conducted the study in Alcoholics Anonymous center and analyzed data using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). They reported that Group counseling programs positively impacted the recovery and rehabilitation of the alcohol addicts in the area around the AA center. Their investigation reveals that during group counseling sessions, patients formed a support network through one another (Okello & Ogola, 2016). Thus, they indicate that the 12-step program effectively enhanced the recovery and rehabilitation of alcohol addicts.

Model of Treatment

Alcoholics Anonymous utilizes the 12-step technique. Participants complete every step on their road to recovery, usually with the assistance of a supporter. The 12 steps are as follows:

Step one is about Admitting to being powerless over alcohol. This is the main initial step and is all about being honest. It involves accepting the addiction, and it is vital toward attaining traction towards recovery. The second step consists in believing that greater power in any form will restore their sanity. Whereas some facets of this phase may imply various things for various people, the step embraces the idea that an individual cannot resolve the issue of their addiction without assistance from a higher power such as God or other supreme beings (Kaskutas, 2009). Step three constitutes choosing to turn their will and lives over to greater control. The third step means the notion of someone conceding to something more commanding than their individuality.

The fourth step is about taking an ethical inventory of oneself. The action constitutes searching within and exploring the shortcomings and wrongs within them. Following is step 5 and encompasses admitting to a higher power, to another individual and themselves the real nature of their wrongdoings. It is about developing integrity within oneself, the higher power, and the larger AA community by frankly acknowledging their wrongs in group assemblies. Next is step six, which accepts that higher power, for instance, God, will erase all these character defects. This step comprises recognizing the situation’s reality, leaving the old ways, and letting in desirable change.

The next step is step seven and requires one to humbly ask the higher power to erase all one’s shortcomings. It is followed closely by step eight, which involves noting down the people they harmed and becoming willing to compensate. Making amends to those individuals is step nine unless they may damage them or others. This phase is about establishing contact with those one has wronged them in any way and trying to seek forgiveness (Buddy, 2021). In step ten, the individual takes a personal inventory and admits whenever they are wrong. Following is step eleven, and it is about applying meditation and prayer to improve connection with the higher power. Finally, the last step encompasses carrying the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to other alcohol addicts and continuing practicing these principles in their daily existence. This program goes for near one and a half hours each day until the patients get well.

Personal Observation

The program aims to assist the members in initiating and maintaining alcohol use illness remission, advancing mental welfare, interpersonal skills, and managing stress. The meetings and groups are significant in the process and throughout recovery progress. This is because it challenges the participants to discuss addiction issues and discover a solution. I have realized that the technique also allows people to develop lasting connections with others during recovery and learn things to do for fun in times of sobriety. Given the positive results of evaluations of impacts of AA, it is no doubt that more individuals with alcohol problems should seek treatment from this organization to better their health and the overall community. Hence, the paper recommends the need for authorities to support the available AA centers and create more centers to aid in rehabilitating the alcoholics.

In conclusion, alcoholism is a real illness, and Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization that seeks to cure the problem. Several studies have proved that the 12-step program applied in the AA center is effective and can positively affect individuals and society. Abstinence and recovery rates among those who attended the programs are higher than those who failed to participate. The twelve-step program comprises twelve steps that an individual is taken through gradually to ensure rehabilitation and recovery of the individual. It is largely faith-based and involves developing a connection with greater power or supreme being, including God. Thus, every country should embrace the Program and integrate it in their health centers and rehabilitation centers to reduce alcoholism and promote community well-being.


Buddy T. (2021). The 12 Steps of Recovery Programs. Addiction Methods and Support. Very Well Mind.

Erickson M. (2020). Alcoholics Anonymous Most Effective Path to Alcohol Abstinence. Stanford Education Center.

Kaskutas L. A. (2009). Alcoholics Anonymous Effectiveness: Faith Meets Science. Journal of Addictive Diseases. 28(2): 145-157. Doi: 10.1080/10550880902772464

Kelly J. F., Abry A., Ferri M. & Humpreys K. (2020). Alcoholics Anonymous and 12-Step Facilitation Treatments for Alcohol Use Disorder: A Distillation of 2020 Cochrane Review for Clinicians and Policy Makers. Alcohol and Alcoholism. 55(6): 641-651.

Legg T. J. (2017). Alcohol Addiction. Healthline.

Okello L. M. & Ogola P. O. (2016). Efficacy of Alcoholic Anonymous Programmes on Rehabilitation and Recovery of Alcoholics at One Selected Recovery Center in Kenya. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences. 6(14), ISSN 225-0484.


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