The 12 Steps are designed to not only be read – but to be applied in our daily lives. The 12 Step approach to recovery is embraced throughout the world, so it’s always easy to find support where you are or wherever you go. Accordingly, we advise patients to keep in contact with ‘sober supports’ they make during treatment at one of our locations. We also encourage them to continue attending 12 Step groups on a regular basis after discharge. Being able to discuss mistakes or relapses, as needed, in a supportive environment helps to keep patients accountable for their actions.

AA has remained mostly unchanged since it was founded. Obviously, the world is not the same as it was in 1935, as well as addiction, how we see it, and how we treat it. While newer sober support programs like SMART Recovery make it a point to keep up with the latest in the science of recovery treatment, AA and its 12 Steps have relied on the same “one-size-fits-all” techniques for almost 80 years, techniques that may no longer be as effective in today’s world.
Alcohol use disorder (which includes a level that's sometimes called alcoholism) is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.
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Drinking too much damages the circulation by causing consistent high blood pressure. It also causes cardiomyopathy, or drooping of the heart muscle, which reduces the ability of the heart to effectively pump blood throughout the body. Nutrient deficiency can lead to anemia. Other problems with blood can lead to clots, causing strokes or heart attacks.
Newcomers are advised that in order to make serious changes in their lives, they must change their social habits and find a new source of support in the 12-step fellowship. Instead of spending time with other alcoholics or drug addicts, they are encouraged to attend meetings, find a sponsor and contact their fellow recovering addicts when they need support. The fellowship and one’s “Higher Power” fill the emotional and spiritual voids that the addict once attempted to fill with drugs or alcohol.
Young adult subtype: These individuals account for, per the study, about 32 percent of people struggling with AUD. This group generally begins to experience compulsive behaviors around alcohol associated with addiction when they are around 20 years old. While they have fewer occasions during an average week in which they drink, they tend to binge drink on those occasions.

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems.[12] The disorder was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.[1][13] In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use.[1] Risky situations include drinking and driving or having unsafe sex, among other things.[1] Alcohol use can affect all parts of the body, but it particularly affects the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system.[3][4] This can result in mental illness, Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, irregular heartbeat, liver cirrhosis and increased cancer risk, among other diseases.[3][4] Drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the baby resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.[2] Women are generally more sensitive than men to the harmful physical and mental effects of alcohol.[9]
Signs of a drinking problem include behaviors like drinking for the purpose of getting drunk, drinking alone or keeping it secret, drinking to escape problems, hiding alcohol in odd places, getting irritated when you are unable to obtain alcohol to drink, and having problems at work, school, home, or legally as a result of your drinking. Other warning signs of alcohol use disorder include losing interest in activities you used to enjoy, having blackouts because of heavy drinking, and getting annoyed when loved ones say you may have a drinking problem. Behaviors that may indicate that a person is suffering from alcoholism include being able to drink more and more alcohol, trouble stopping once you start drinking, powerful urges to drink, and having withdrawal symptoms like nervousness, nausea, shaking, or having cold sweats, and even hallucinations when you don't have a drink.
Another important point about 12 Step programs is their cost and accessibility.  What other chronic lifelong disease has an equally accessible and cost effective (free) intervention?    Like any disease, part of our job as physicians is to recommend effective treatment which our patients can both access and afford.  I'd like for my patients to be able to access and afford all useful modalities of addiction treatment, but here at least is one they can all use.   
A large body of evidence indicates that maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy contributes adversely to a fetus's development. Abnormalities in infants and children associated with maternal alcohol consumption may include prenatal and postnatal physical retardation, neurological deficits (e.g., impaired attention control), mental retardation, behavioral problems (e.g., impulsivity), skull or brain malformations, and facial malformations (e.g., a thin upper lip and elongated flattened midface). These abnormalities, influenced by maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy, are referred to as fetal alcohol effects (FAEs), or fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) if a sufficient number of effects are apparent in the child.
At each of our Southern California addiction treatment centers, we offer an unparalleled quality of care and commitment to our clients. From our renowned clinicians to our gender-specific, individualized programs in stunning locations, we ensure that every aspect of treatment gives our clients the best chance at lasting recovery.At Malibu Beach Recovery Centers, each client benefits from a highly personalized recovery plan developed by our expert, multidisciplinary team of medical professionals. Our integrative approach combines evidence-based addiction treatment with complementary holistic therapies designed to heal mind, body, and spirit and encourages an overall healthy lifestyle, free of the influence of drugs and alcohol. Please Call (844) 921-4865 for more information.
Like individual groups, the GSO is self-supporting. AA receives proceeds from books and literature that constitute more than 50% of the income for its General Service Office.[30] In keeping with AA's Seventh Tradition, the Central Office is fully self-supporting through the sale of literature and related products, and through the voluntary donations of AA members and groups. It does not accept donations from people or organizations outside of AA.

Asking Question About The 12 Steps: This introduces the steps to patients and allows them to voice any questions and concerns. For instance, The 12 Steps encourage reliance on a spiritual experience – by establishing a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves. But many groups give individuals the freedom to choose their own version of a “Higher Power.” This choice often helps patients let go of any religious resentments or pre-conceived prejudices toward spiritual practices.
In 1939, Alcoholics Anonymous published its original 12-step method of recovery from alcoholism in the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism. Many programs have started as offshoots of the original Alcoholics Anonymous program. Likewise, these problems include drug addiction, compulsion, and depression.
Substance abuse A condition characterized by a pathologic pattern of alcohol use causing a serious impairment in social or occupational functioning; also defined as a '…primary, chronic, disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by … distortions in thinking, most notably denial'; alcoholism is characterized by the regular intake of ≥ 75 g/day of alcohol Chronic effects Co-morbidity due to portal HTN, hepatic failure, hyperestrogenemia, infections–especially pneumonia, which may be due to alcohol-induced suppression of various immune defenses, psychosocial disruption, transient hyperparathyroidism with ↓ Ca2+, ↓ Mg2+, osteoporosis. See Blood alcohol levels, Standard drink.
Jump up ^ GBD 2013 Mortality and Causes of Death, Collaborators (17 December 2014). "Global, regional, and national age-sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013". Lancet. 385 (9963): 117–71. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61682-2. PMC 4340604. PMID 25530442.
Various forms of group therapy or psychotherapy can be used to deal with underlying psychological issues that are related to alcohol addiction, as well as provide relapse prevention skills. The mutual-help group-counseling approach is one of the most common ways of helping alcoholics maintain sobriety.[6] Alcoholics Anonymous was one of the first organizations formed to provide mutual, nonprofessional counseling, and it is still the largest. Others include LifeRing Secular Recovery, SMART Recovery, Women For Sobriety, and Secular Organizations for Sobriety.[127] Rationing and moderation programs such as Moderation Management and DrinkWise do not mandate complete abstinence. While most alcoholics are unable to limit their drinking in this way, some return to moderate drinking. A 2002 US study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) showed that 17.7 percent of individuals diagnosed as alcohol dependent more than one year prior returned to low-risk drinking. This group, however, showed fewer initial symptoms of dependency.[128] A follow-up study, using the same subjects that were judged to be in remission in 2001–2002, examined the rates of return to problem drinking in 2004–2005. The study found abstinence from alcohol was the most stable form of remission for recovering alcoholics.[129] A long-term (60 year) follow-up of two groups of alcoholic men concluded that "return to controlled drinking rarely persisted for much more than a decade without relapse or evolution into abstinence."[130]
The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) study suggests the transition from use to dependence was highest for nicotine users, followed by cocaine, alcohol, and cannabis users. [10] An increased risk of transition to dependence among minorities and those with psychiatric or dependence comorbidity highlights the importance of promoting outreach and treatment of these populations.

Alcohol is a depressant – probably not a good substance for someone already experiencing depression in life. Worse yet, depression and alcohol share a two-way street. Because depression causes feelings of sadness, loneliness and disinterest, many depressed people self-medicate with alcohol. Also, the NIAAA in a 2002 study published proof that 30% to 50% of alcohol abusers also have clinical depression.
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While admitting that the oft-cited success rate of 5 percent “isn’t great,” Dr. Drew Pinsky, a celebrity doctor and addiction medicine specialist argued that “the fact it, [Alcoholics Anonymous] does work when people do it,” saying the real success rate is as high as 12 percent. The American Society of Addiction Medicine speculated that approximately 10 percent of the people who become part of a 12-Step program enjoy long-term success in their recovery. In 2014, AA self-reported that 27 percent of the 6,000 members who participated in an internal study were sober for less than a year; 24 percent retained their sobriety for up to five years, and 13 percent lasted for as long as a decade. Fourteen percent of the study’s participants stayed sober between 10 and 20 years, and 22 percent reported remaining sober for more than two decades.


The same survey showed that AA received 32% of its membership from other members, another 32% from treatment facilities, 30% were self-motivated to attend AA, 12% of its membership from court–ordered attendance, and only 1% of AA members decided to join based on information obtained from the Internet. People taking the survey were allowed to select multiple answers for what motivated them to join AA.[64]
The DSM-IV diagnosis of alcohol dependence represents one approach to the definition of alcoholism. In part, this is to assist in the development of research protocols in which findings can be compared to one another. According to the DSM-IV, an alcohol dependence diagnosis is: "maladaptive alcohol use with clinically significant impairment as manifested by at least three of the following within any one-year period: tolerance; withdrawal; taken in greater amounts or over longer time course than intended; desire or unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control use; great deal of time spent obtaining, using, or recovering from use; social, occupational, or recreational activities given up or reduced; continued use despite knowledge of physical or psychological sequelae."[104] Despite the imprecision inherent in the term, there have been attempts to define how the word alcoholism should be interpreted when encountered. In 1992, it was defined by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) and ASAM as "a primary, chronic disease characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking."[105] MeSH has had an entry for "alcoholism" since 1999, and references the 1992 definition.[106]
A long-term study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that, after eight years, people with alcoholism who were part of both inpatient treatment and an AA group had a better chance of staying sober for the first three years of study. By the end of the eight years, those who received both had a much higher rate of abstinence. The researchers at NIAAA concluded that regular attendance at AA meetings had a notable impact on the viability and longevity of recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a global organization that was created, and is designed, to help former alcoholics through the process of learning to live their lives without the crutch of alcohol abuse. People who attend AA groups have made the decision to stop drinking and stay sober. Some of them join voluntarily; some attend as a continuation of their therapy; some are required to be there because of a court order. Whatever brings them there, the other members of the group act as a support network, explains the American Journal of Public Health; they share success stories and honest accounts of setbacks, and use this emotional connectedness to inspire and encourage each other to keep going.
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