Maybe you have been to AA. Most of our patients have or have at least heard of AA. Most of our patients tell us that AA and 12 step programs in general simply do not work for them. While AA does work for some people, AA can sometimes be confrontational, potentially leading to dishonesty and “hiding” of actual drinking behavior, and can lead to low self-esteem.
Does AA work? Studies on the effectiveness of AA are practically non-existent. However, a meta-analysis of all available controlled alcoholism treatment studies in 1995 found that alcoholism treatments were clearly differentiated in terms of their demonstrated effectiveness, B-related services most effective. Brief interventional therapy was ranked first, followed by social skills training and motivational enhancement therapy. Ranked at the low end were confrontational types of approaches. In this study AA was found to be inferior to other treatments.
The bottom line: AA is not a reliable method to achieve sobriety, and AA does not condone alcohol moderation and responsible drinking behavior.