Abnormal Psychology: Mental Health and Mental Illness

What Do Recent Statistics Say About Drug Use in the United States?

What are twelve-step programs?

While most treatments of substance abuse depend on mental health professionals, twelve-step programs are entirely member run. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was the first twelve-step program. Started in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith, a New York stockbroker and an Ohio surgeon, AA now has over two million members in over 150 countries worldwide. AA offers support groups for alcoholics who wish to stop drinking alcohol. Members can attend daily meetings or even multiple meetings per day, depending on availability of meetings. The original publication, entitled Alcoholics Anonymous, was first published in 1939 and is now in its fourth edition. It offers specific guidelines on how to change behavior and maintain sobriety, including the twelve-step program toward recovery. The twelve steps include such measures as admitting that one is powerless over alcohol, asking for help from a higher power, taking an honest moral inventory of oneself, and making amends for past misbehavior. Numerous other twelve-step programs have arisen, such as Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, and Gamblers Anonymous.


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