What The Stanford Study Of AA’s Effectiveness Really Says

It’s all about connection

Dave Tieff


It Wasn’t News To Me

In my discussions with AA members — some of whom are not too pleased with my critiques of the program — many have pointed to the conclusion of the 2020 Stanford Study of the Effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The concluding summary of the study is as follows:

A Stanford researcher and two collaborators conducted an extensive review of Alcoholics Anonymous studies and found that the fellowship helps more people achieve sobriety than therapy does.

This conclusion did not surprise me at all.

No more than “churchgoers stay married longer” — even though I’m not the least bit religious.


Social connection to a group and/or community is a powerful thing.

Connection is key

In his groundbreaking viral Ted Talk video from 2015, Johann Hari outlines in detail why “connection is the opposite of addiction.”

This video reverberated and resonated throughout the recovery world.

There has since been sweeping agreement from therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and addiction specialists that this conclusion holds true.

Not to mention the dedicated members of AA, SMART Recovery, SOS, LifeRing, Women For Sobriety, etc., — who have had success in these support groups specifically because of the connection they provide.

My personal favorite — but that’s just me

Here’s the issue…

Many of these AA members, who haven’t read the entire study or even the summary of its conclusions, are misquoting the findings by insisting that “AA is the best way to get sober…



Dave Tieff

Alcohol Free (AF) singer-songwriter & cyber journalist. Here to discuss everything sex, drugs, rock, and culture🤘🍄🎙💋 www.davetieff.com