Although Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been established in1935, many individuals still question if it is a useful tool for achieving andmaintaining sobriety. Studies indicate that AA can be a very useful recoverystrategy for many people who are recovering from addiction, even though thesuccess rate of AA has long been disputed.
So what is AA?
In 1935, two men the names of "Bill W." and"Dr. Bob S." founded the global fellowship that is today known as AA.It is a fellowship made up of both men and women who are in alcohol misusetreatment. There are no requirements for membership in terms of age oreducation level. Instead, anyone who wants to become sober is welcome to join.
Within a decade of its founding, AA had more than 6,000members distributed across Canada and the United States. As of January 1, 2018,AA estimates that there were 1,297,396 active members throughout 61,904 AAgroups in the country. There are an estimated 4,956 AA groups in Canada, with atotal of 84,558 members, and an estimated 120,300 AA groups and 2,087,840members worldwide.
The main focus of the AA process is showing up for meetings.Members of AA frequently gather in groups to support one another in gettingclean and keeping it up. The 12 Steps in the "Big Book," which isAA's literature, list the fundamental tenets of the fellowship. These 12stages, also referred to as the "12-Step Program," offer a frameworkfor introspection and serve as a manual for leading a sober lifestyle.
Another crucial component of the program is sponsorship, inwhich more experienced participants take on newcomers and offer moreindividualized sobriety assistance. In essence, the AA program is made toassist people of different ages, educational levels, and racial or ethnicbackgrounds in overcoming their addictions.
Assessing AA's Success
Given that the fellowship is designed to be anonymous andthat AA's reports could be influenced by a variety of reasons, it ischallenging to assess the success rate of AA. Moreover, what do we mean by"success"? Is it the number of participants who have avoidedrelapsing? What about people who have relapsed but have since joined AA tocontinue their quest for long-term sobriety?
It can be challenging to define and assess AA's performance,especially given the fluctuating membership figures. First off, according tothe Big Book, AA has a success rate of roughly 50%, with a further 25% ofmembers maintaining their sobriety after relapsing once or several times. Theinformation below is also included in AA's 2014 Membership Survey concerningthe fellowship:
1. 27% of AA members maintain their sobriety forless than a year.
2. Between one and five years, 24% of AA membersmaintain their sobriety.
3. Between five and ten years, 13% of AA membersmaintain their sobriety.
4. Between 10 and 20 years, 14% of AA membersmaintain their sobriety.
5. 22% of AA members maintain their sobriety for 20or more years.
6. Nearly 10 years is the typical period ofsobriety for AA members.
Nevertheless, some detractors claim that the success rate isonly between 5 and 10%, notwithstanding the survey's findings.
The success rate of AA has also been the subject of severalinvestigations. One such study examined people's long-term sustained sobrietyregardless of whether they had had official therapy, attended AA meetings, orgot no treatment at all. Overall, the research revealed:
Half of the AA members were still sober after three years,while 0.25 percent of people who had participated in formal treatment werestill sober.
- 8 years later, 49% of AA participants and 46% of those whohad participated in formal treatment remained sober.
Three crucial variables that affect the AA Success Rate
There are some variables at play, just like with any othermethod of success measurement. Here are a few of the key elements that affectthe AA success rate and whether a person may successfully achieve sobrietythrough the program.
1. Absence or presence of formal addiction treatment:
A person's success in AA may depend on whether or not theyhave also undergone some form of official treatment in addition to theirmembership in AA. For instance, a person who participates in AA and a soberliving program will receive greater sobriety support than a person whoparticipates in AA but resides with alcoholic family members.
2. Adherence to the AA program:
A person's performance will also be impacted by how closelythey follow the 12-Step Program. It is possible to be an AA member and a drydrunk without ever going through the personal and spiritual transformation thatAA is intended to bring about. It will take effort, tenacity, and dailycommitment to the program to see positive benefits from AA.
3. Attendance at AA meetings:
Since a big part of AA is going to meetings regularly,people who don't go to one or more sessions a week might not get much out ofthe program, but people who go to two meetings a week are far more likely tosucceed in staying sober for the long run.
AA's Function in Addiction Recovery
The 2014 AA Membership Survey found that 59 percent of AAmembers had gotten therapy or counseling for their drinking, and 74 percentindicated it was a significant factor in leading them to AA.
In addition, 58 percent of members had some form of therapyor counseling after joining AA, and 84 percent indicated that it was crucial totheir ability to overcome their alcoholism.
The 12-Step Program can be extremely helpful in theaddiction recovery process, but people in recovery may have a higher chance ofsustaining lasting sobriety if they simultaneously participate in aprofessional addiction treatment program, according to these statistics.
Attending 12-step meetings is a crucial component of therehabilitation program at Eudaimonia Recovery Homes. According to studies, itis equally as successful as other therapeutic modalities like cognitivebehavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy and offers greaterchances for residents of sober living facilities to interact with other peoplewho are also abstinent.
Building a solid foundation in recovery is crucial tosustaining long-term sobriety, and AA may assist those in recovery in doing so.The 12-Step Program assists sober people in developing useful habits, and lifeskills, and maintaining a positive outlook while in recovery since it focuseson addressing character defects in addition to problem drinking.
The 12-Step Program may be tailored to fit persons of allreligious and non-religious beliefs, and one can pick anything (not just theChristian God) to become their "higher power" in recovery. Eventhough some people may avoid AA due to its spiritual character.
Call us right away to learn more about how AA and the12-Step Program relate to Eudaimonia's IOP and sober living programs. You canlearn how AA complements an IOP or sober living program and why it'sadvantageous to a life in recovery from our trained admissions staff.