Is AA More Effective Than Rehab?

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There are a variety of different rehab program options available for individuals in need of substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment. Rehab programs are often structured as either inpatient treatment programs or outpatient treatment programs. Inpatient rehab programs require their participants to reside at the facility for the duration of the substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program. Inpatient treatment programs can last between twenty-one days long to six months long, and in some cases longer. Outpatient treatment programs do not have a residential component; rather they require individuals to attend a certain number of treatment hours, daily over a specified period (typically ranging between twenty-one days long to three months long, and in some cases longer). Each rehab program is different, and they can range from extremely modest to excessively luxurious, and everywhere in between. They can differ in specializations (e.g., individuals with a dual diagnosis), geographical location, facility, amenities, duration of the program, size of the program, types of therapeutic treatment offerings, cost, and more. It is not uncommon for individuals in recovery to participate in both Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and rehab. Approximately seventy-five percent of treatment centers in the United States are twelve-step based.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international, nonprofit organization that was founded in 1935 by Bill W. and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. There are no age or education requirements. The sole membership requirement is to have a desire to stop drinking. According to Alcoholics Anonymous traditions, its purpose is to enable its members to “stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.” Alcoholics Anonymous is based on realizing personal recovery from the effects of alcoholism by utilizing the Twelve Steps. Each of the twelve steps builds upon each other and is individually and collectively, intended to help people foster and cultivate the ability to lead a satisfying life without alcohol.

The AA program is carried out through support group meetings (AA meetings) and individual peer-mentorship (sponsors). The format of Alcoholics Anonymous enables individuals to share their experiences with anyone seeking help with a drinking problem. Members of AA often select a sponsor (an individual, often further along in recovery) to provide support and help work through the Twelve Steps. AA meetings are typically discussion-based and consist of a facilitator who provides the discussion topic. AA meetings provide a platform for individuals to talk about the work they have accomplished, work they are about to embark upon, and listen to other people’s experiences. 

It is impossible to conclusively postulate that AA is universally more effective than attending rehab, as each person is unique with nuanced and distinct recovery needs.

The recovery process is entirely personal, and it will be directly informed by one’s personality, mental health, and emotional needs. Not all individuals will find AA helpful, and conversely, some individuals may view AA as an invaluable component of their recovery process and integral to continued success. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment-related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at 

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