anonymous Asks ...
What percentage of people that try AA actually get and stay sober for a long time. Do you think there is anything special about what happens in AA exactly or is just that meeting with a bunch of other people who are also trying to stay sober is helpful support?
Anna Deeds Says ...
Thank you for your question. I did some research and couldn't find any reliable statistics about the percentage of people who stay sober from Alcoholics Anonymous. Wikipedia has some information about research but the results were inconsistent. AA publishes a survey every three years but it is more about how many people remain in the program. I can tell you from my personal experience that AA really works for the people who go on a regular basis, get involved with the program and work the 12 Steps. I have seen the results of many alcoholics who stay sober by following the program. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't remain in the program and give it a chance to work for them.
To answer your second question, I believe that something special happens any time an alcoholic person gets sober. Since I know this happens in AA, I'd have to say there is definitely something special about AA. It is a bunch of people who support each other and that is something pretty special too. Who could be more supportive of recovery than another alcoholic? They understand each other in a way someone without a drinking problem could never understand. They help each other make changes to their lives that will help them maintain sobriety and live a happier life as well.
It is your decision whether you make AA a part of your recovery or not. People do stay sober without AA. However, I wonder how many of them make the changes they need to be happy with their abstinence. I think this slogan says it best: Abstinence + Change = Recovery. Without change, an abstinent person ends up miserable because they still want to drink. Life changes will help you be happy without a substance.
I hope this answers your question. Good luck in your recovery!