Alcoholics Anonymous: affiliation processes and effectiveness as treatment

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1987 Oct;11(5):416-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1987.tb01915.x.


Recent findings from the empirical literature on Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) suggest that no clear exclusionary criteria for this organization exist, except that alcohol-dependent individuals who become nonproblem drinkers appear to be less likely to affiliate with or maintain involvement in AA. Of those alcoholics who become long term, active AA members, about 40 to 50% enjoy several years of total abstinence, with about 60 to 68% improving to some extent, drinking less or not at all during their participation. Those who combine AA with other forms of treatment seem to do as well as or better than those who go to AA alone. More active AA participants do as well as or better than those who participate less actively. Compared to professionally treated alcoholics, AA members seem to achieve abstinence at a higher rate. Consideration is given to the apparent unsuitability of AA for problem drinkers who choose the goal of nonproblem drinking.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholics Anonymous*
  • Alcoholism / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis