“Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for Alcoholics Anonymous membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. Alcoholics Anonymous is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.” (Wilson, 1939)

The goal of Alcoholics Anonymous is to prevent substance abuse and to promote sobriety. The main ways that Alcoholics Anonymous pursues its goal is through AA meetings, sponsorship, and working the 12-steps. Typically, a newly sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous is going to get a sponsor that will take him through the 12-steps, his sponsor will strongly suggest that he goes to ninety AA meetings during his first 90 days. Alcoholics Anonymous is funded by its members through donations. A normal donation is $1-$2 per meeting. As mentioned in step twelve, the message of Alcoholics Anonymous is carried to alcoholics by its members. Members of Alcoholics Anonymous are also called “pigeons”, as a pigeon carries a message. Recovery rates of members that actually work a program and follow the principles of AA have been reported upwards of 50% after a 24 month follow-up. (Bridgeman and McQueen, 1987, p 124).

Alcoholics Anonymous works if a person is willing to get a sponsor, work the steps, do service work, go to meetings on a regular basis, get connected into the Alcoholics Anonymous community, and follow the Alcoholics Anonymous principles in all affairs. As stated in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, “Rarely we have we seen a persona fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” The main problem with Alcoholics Anonymous is that a person needs to be willing to go to any lengths to get sober. This means that he will need to do everything prescribed by the Big Book and by his sponsor. This means that he will need to humble himself and take instructions, even when he doesn’t agree.

The Genetic Model of addiction is a biological model. It is a medical approach which supports the fact that people are predisposed to develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Although it has never been proven that genetics are the cause of alcoholism or drug addiction, there is a strong positive correlation between the two. For instance, it has been found that adopted children more closely resemble their biological parents than their adoptive parents when it comes to alcohol consumption and use. If a parent is an alcoholic, their child is seven times more likely to have an addictive personality than the child of a non-alcoholic parent. Studies of twins, adopted children, kids of alcoholic fathers, and animals all supported the idea that addiction is a genetically based disorder leading to a susceptibility to developing the disease of alcoholism or drug addiction. (Margolis, 2011)

The Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) was started in 1989 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The COGA has changed their focus from attempting to determine whether or not genetics plays a part in addictive behavior to figuring out which specific genes are responsible. In other words, according to COGA genetics do play a part in addictive behavior. (Margolis, 2011)

Margolis, R. D., & Zweben, J. E. (2011). Models and theories of addiction. In , Treating patients with alcohol and other drug problems: An integrated approach (2nd ed.) (pp. 27-58). American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/12312-002

The Personality Theory Model is a psychological model. It attributes the causes of alcoholism and substance abuse addiction to a person’s personality traits. Generally speaking, alcoholics are selfish, self-seeking, dependent, immature, impulsive, emotional, controlling, and intolerant. The assumption is that alcoholics have certain personality traits and that the resolution of alcoholism requires a restructuring of the personality. (Choosing a Model of Addiction, 2004). The Personality Theory Model overlaps the Twelve Step approach to recovery in many ways. According to the Twelve Step approach of Alcoholics Anonymous, drinking is only a symptom of the disease of alcoholism. Through working the Twelve Steps, an alcoholic changes their personality from the inside. This includes believing that one’s life has become unmanageable, surrendering to a Higher Power, doing one’s inventory, asking God to remove defects of character, making amends and clearing away the wreckage of the past, conscious contact with God, and giving back. In the rooms of AA, if a person does not go through the steps and change their personality, they are said to be a “dry drunk”. I have personally witnessed the personality change that occurs when a person works a solid Twelve Step Program. Working the Twelve Steps causes a person to be outward focused, present, more mature and last but not least, the obsession to drink and do drugs is removed. Working the Twelve Steps leads to the pathway of becoming happy, joyous, and free.


Chapter TWO: CHOOSING A MODEL OF ADDICTION. (2004). Addictions Counseling (pp. 20-28). Crossroad Publishing Company.