Does Science Show What 12 Steps Know?
Data seem to support the 12-step program's benefits for addicts.
Even so, the grassroots 12-step program remains the preferred prescription for achieving long-term sobriety.
Since the inception of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)—the progenitor of 12-step programs—science has sometimes been at odds with the notion that laypeople can cure themselves.
Yet the success of the 12-step approach may ultimately be explained through medical science and psychology. Both offer substantive reasons for why it works.
The "miracle" of A.A. can be traced to the evening of June 10, 1935, when a struggling alcoholic named Bill Wilson, fighting to stay dry while on a business trip to Akron, Ohio, met with an apparently hopeless drinker named Bob Smith in order to quell his own thirst.
It had been suggested to Wilson, through a religious organization called the