Multiple pathways and styles of addiction recovery are evident in the worldwide growth of secular, spiritual, and religious recovery mutual aid organizations as well as in the growing recognition of people achieving recovery outside of the frameworks of professional treatment and peer recovery support communities. Four U.S.-based organizations—Alcoholics Anonymous (181 countries), Narcotics Anonymous (132 countries),(……)

The principle of “equifinality,” which states that the same developmental endpoint can be achieved by many different means, applies well to addiction recovery. A single pathway model of recovery from alcohol use disorder (AUDs)—hit bottom, treatment, lifelong affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and sustained abstinence—has given way to multiple pathway models. We now know from(……)

Ernest Kurtz, the Harvard-trained historian best known for his landmark works on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), spirituality, shame, and the growing varieties of addiction recovery experience, died on January 19, 2015.  The published biographical essay, obituary, and tribute I penned following Ernie’s death reviewed our prolonged collaborations and identified the import of his(……)

Investigations into the efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step programs have advanced from what was once little more than popular and clinical folklore. Scientific studies have progressed through the stage of weak methodological designs to quite sophisticated studies measuring both the effects of 12-Step mutual aid participation on long-term recovery outcomes and the most(……)

This week marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous.  A.A.’s early decades have been well chronicled in both fellowship texts and in Not-God, the scholarly history of A.A. by Harvard-trained historian, Ernest Kurtz.  Ernie and I subsequently published articles on the history of A.A. (including those posted here and here), and we(……)

One of the distinctive voices within the modern history of addiction recovery is that of Harvard-trained historian Ernie Kurtz.  Spanning the 1979 publication of his classic Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous to the just-released Experiencing Spirituality (with Katherine Ketcham), Kurtz has forged a deep imprint in studies of the history of A.A. and other(……)

On June 15, 2014, AAAgnostica marked its third anniversary.  As historians dedicated to documenting the growing varieties of addiction recovery experience, it is fitting that we take a moment to acknowledge this milestone within the history of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and the larger history of recovery.   A.A. and other Twelve Step organizations exist today within(……)

Attacking Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and 12-step oriented addiction treatment has become a specialized industry with its own genre of literature, celebrity authors and speakers, single-focus websites, and promoted alternatives.  Collectively, these critics suggest that A.A. is an anachronism whose effectiveness has been exaggerated and whose time in the sun has passed.  A.A.’s institutional response to(……)

In 2006, Ernie Kurtz and I co-authored an essay entitled Varieties of Recovery Experience that was published in the International Journal of Self-Help and Self-Care. It was an early attempt to map the growing pathways and styles of long-term addiction recovery.  The proposition that there are multiple pathways of recovery has since become a central mantra(……)