Are the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous the Only Approach to Addiction Treatment?

Two men sat by a fire in Akron, Ohio, in the United States. One, a man named Bob Smith, was a doctor who was a chronic alcoholic. He had fallen ill as a result of alcoholism, yet again. His pastors and priests, as well as his wife and children thought him to be hopeless. That was until he had the infamous night of talking with Bill Wilson, a man who had been recovering from alcoholism without a drink for six months. Sharing stories of war, professionalism, and drunken debauchery, the men also told tales of recovery and hope. Before meeting, the men didn’t know each other. They also didn’t know that two alcoholics, sharing their experience, strength, and hope about alcoholism, could be the solution millions of people around the world, and thousands of treatment centers globally, would found their recovery on.

Just hours prior to their meeting, Bill, affectionately known as Bill W. was pacing back and forth in his hotel lobby across the entryway to the hotel bar. He was on a business trip and felt overwhelmed by an urge to drink. Desperate, he tried to find someone who would understand- a fellow alcoholic. By way of a local church, he was connected to who is now referred to as Dr. Bob. After Bill told Bob about the few steps he had taken, as introduced to him by his dear friend and fellow recovering alcoholic Ebby, Bob was inspired to try the same. At the time, there were only six steps as opposed to twelve. Astonished by the life changing effect of the simple program and the healing effect of simply talking with another alcoholic, Bill and Bob formed Alcoholics Anonymous.

When Bill and Bob met, there wasn’t an answer to alcoholism. After Alcoholics Anonymous began to form, alcoholics and addicts who were otherwise deemed of the “helpless variety” were finding a way to get and stay sober, abstinent from drugs and alcohol. Scientists, doctors, and physicians alike were astonished. Since then, thousands of treatment centers and millions of people have found their way to sobriety by way of the simple spiritual program of honesty laid out by the infamous twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Picking apart the twelve steps and the well written text of the primary book, Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as “The Big Book”, it is easy to see where every component of modern day treatment for drug and alcohol addiction comes from. Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve steps of any similar program are not the only means of treatment, but have been proven quite successful. Unfortunately, due to the anonymous nature of the programs, empirical scientific studies have been hard to come by. For the millions of people who have found success and lifelong abstinence from drugs and alcohol,the evidence could be no more clear.


Smarmore Castle Private Clinic brings the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous into each area of treatment for alcoholism, addiction, gambling addiction, sex addiction, and more. Clinical and complementary therapies in addition to the twelve steps educate and equip clients to make real change possible in their lives, resulting in long term abstinent recovery. For information on our residential detox and treatment programmes, call our caring staff today at +353 41 214 5111.


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