Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-Step Programs

  • Shannon Cooper-SadloEmail author
  • Jessica L. Chou
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_581




Over 17 million individuals suffer from alcohol dependence or abuse, and millions more exhibit risky behaviors that have the potential to become an addiction (ncadd.org). In response to this public health problem, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)* was created “… to carry the message of recovery to the person with alcoholism who is seeking help in achieving sobriety,” (Barnett 2003, p. 469). Since inception in 1935, AA supports individuals and their families in the recovery process through a 12-step program. Often times, various systems of a person’s life are disrupted by alcohol use including social networks (friends, family, coworkers). Through AA a person can begin their journey to recovery and rebuilding their life.


Alcoholics Anonymous is the oldest 12-step program and has more than 114,000 groups worldwide and a membership of two million individuals in the USA and Canada (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services 2012). Groups are often held at churches,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Work, Saint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Queen of Peace CenterSt. LouisUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rachel Diamond
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Saint JosephWest HarfordUSA