Drug Courts pp 195-205 | Cite as

Self-Help and Mutual Aid Organizations

  • Anne M. Herron
  • Dee S. Owens


In the early 1900s, there was little understanding of addiction as a disease. People who suffered addictive disorders were often considered mentally ill, criminals, or morally corrupt. Often they were institutionalized. There was no generally accepted treatment, the medical community did not recognize addiction as a disease, and persons with addictive disorders were treated in what we would now consider an inhumane manner (1). By the late 1930s, there were limited options for individuals with addictive disorders or for their families. A small group of alcoholics came together to offer each other support, encouragement, and hope for a life without addiction. This small group of visionaries formed a fellowship that became known as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the best-known and most widely attended self-help or mutual aid program ever developed (2).


Addictive Disorder Step Program Alcoholic Anonymous Gambler Anonymous Narcotic Anonymous 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne M. Herron
    • 1
  • Dee S. Owens
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of State and Community AssistanceCenter for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministrationRockvilleUSA
  2. 2.Alcohol and Drug Information Center, Division of Student AffairsIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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