Does AA work?
The question of the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs is addressed in a 15-minute video, available at Recovery Answers, the website of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital. In the video, Dr. John Kelly and Dr. Keith Humphreys describe their meta-analysis, which concluded that people participating in AA are more likely to end up abstinent than people who do not, with some data showing that AA is more effective than other treatments, as well as less costly. Dr. Kelly also highlights the importance of a supportive social network for recovery and Dr. Humphreys notes the value of having role models in recovery. Sponsorship in AA may be a contributor to the effectiveness of AA, along with developing coping skills and maintaining motivation and commitment to recovery. The original meta-analysis is available from the Cochrane Collaborative.
Source: Kelly, J. F., Humphreys, K, & Ferri, M. (2020). Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs for alcohol use disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012880.pub2