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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) offers emotional support and advocates abstinence to recovering alcoholics. The international organization, developed in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Bob Smith, depends on self-help groups and a 12-step model. AA regards alcoholism as both a medical and spiritual disease. AA purports to carry its message to alcoholics in an anonymous setting while not promoting itself or endorsing outside enterprises. AA relies on nonprofessionals who are recovering alcoholics. As such, privacy concerns may be an issue. This entry describes the AA 12-step program, discusses privacy concerns associated with the program, and presents criticisms of AA.

12-Step Program

The 12-step program espoused by AA emphasizes spiritual, character, and social development and growth. To get to an individual’s goal of sobriety, AA members work their steps with ...

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