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Alcoholics Anonymous Works! Two New Studies Show Effectiveness of AA

Two research studies released this month show that AA works to help people reduce their consumption and drinking frequency – and that the more often you attend meetings, the better it works.

In one study, female prisoners with alcohol abuse problems at a Rhode Island Correction facility were introduced to AA while incarcerated. The women had consumed an average of 12 drinks per drinking day prior to treatment. Researchers followed up with each woman at one, three and six months post release to observe the level of AA involvement and how that correlated with overall levels of alcohol consumption.

  • They found that women who attended at least one AA meeting per week drank significantly less often and less per session than women who attended fewer than one meeting a week (if any at all).

In another study, Harvard researchers followed recovering alcohol abusers, checking in at 3, 6, 9, 12 and 15 months to observe how AA attendance affected spirituality and alcohol consumption.

  • They found that attending AA more frequently resulted in an increase in overall levels of spirituality and a decrease in drinking.

Explaining why AA seems to help, Harvard researcher John F. Kelly said, "We have also found that AA participation leads to recovery by helping members change their social network and by enhancing individuals' recovery coping skills, motivation for continued abstinence, and by reducing depression and increasing psychological well-being."

The results of both studies can be found in the early view section of Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research and both will be published in the March 2011 edition of the journal.

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