Alcoholics Anonymous, behavior change, mechanisms, spirituality, 12-step



  1. Tusa, Anastasia L. MS, CRNP-PMH
  2. Burgholzer, Jill A. MS, CRNP-PMH


Abstract: Over the last 20 years, there has been an increase in substance abuse research focusing on the efficacy of 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. Results indicate that AA reduces relapse risk and works as well as cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing in reducing the quantity and frequency of alcohol use. More recent studies have focused on identifying the mechanisms of behavior change at work in AA, especially the use of spiritual practices in the maintenance of sobriety. These findings are compared with the role of spirituality described in AA literature to expand the understanding of these processes in recovery from substance use disorders.