How alcoholics anonymous (AA) and narcotics anonymous (NA) work: Cross-disciplinary perspectives

Amy R. Krentzman, Elizabeth A R Robinson, Barbara C. Moore, John F. Kelly, Alexandre B. Laudet, William L. White, Sarah E. Zemore, Ernest Kurtz, Stephen Strobbe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Evidence from multiple lines of research supports the effectiveness and practical importance of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Conference presenters discussed the relationship between 12-Step participation and abstinence among various populations, including adolescents, women, and urban drug users. Insight from the arts and humanities placed empirical findings in a holistic context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-84
Number of pages10
JournalAlcoholism Treatment Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author’s research was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It was funded by the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center.

Funding Information:
This report summarizes the proceedings of a conference held on September 25, 2009, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, titled, ‘‘How Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Work: Cross-disciplinary Perspectives.’’ The conference was sponsored by the University of Michigan’s Substance Abuse Research Center, Addiction Research Center, Depression Center, Department of Psychology, and School of Social Work. The conference presented empirical evidence of the effectiveness of AA and NA and provided perspectives through the additional lenses of historical context and philosophical inquiry. The presentations and presenters were as follows: (1) Sarah Zemore, PhD: Alcoholics Anonymous Effectiveness: Faith Meets Science; (2) Alexandre Laudet, PhD: Twelve-Step Participation Among Polydrug Users: Longitudinal Patterns, Effectiveness, and (Some) Lessons Learned; (3) William White, MA: The Varieties of Recovery Experience: AA, NA and the Diversification of Pathways and Styles of Long-Term Addiction Recovery; (4) John Kelly, PhD: From iPod to iGod: are 12-Step Groups Hip Enough for Adolescents?; and (5) Elizabeth A. R. Robinson, PhD: Alcoholics’ Perceptions of AA’s Helpfulness: Qualitative Responses and Association with Drinking Outcomes. Presentations were followed by a panel discussion. Panelists included the five presenters as well as a presentation by Ernest Kurtz, PhD, and a summary of the presentations by Stephen Strobbe, PhD. The current state of social science research on AA and NA’s effectiveness was presented. This article summarizes the conference presentations including recommendations for treatment and further research. The original presentations can be streamed online at

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • 12-Step
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • adolescents
  • effectiveness
  • mutual help
  • services

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