A special issue of Journal of Substance Abuse recently published a new study that explains that recovering alcoholics, who help their fellow patients in 12-step programs, contribute to strengthening their own sobriety.

The University School of Medicine and principal investigator of the “Helping Others” jointly conducted a 10-year prospective investigation and gave these new findings.

The impact of programmatic activities in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) on long-term outcomes and its 10-year course was investigated in the study. Results showed that participation in Alcoholics Anonymous-related Helping (AAH) produced lowered alcohol use and increased interest in others at each subsequent follow-up assessment.

The study was the first of its kind.

Hasan TariqMr. Hasan Tariq is playing his part as a Counselor at Willing Ways Karachi for more than 2 years. He is a proven communicator, keen learner, and an avid reader, has been consistent in working with patients on drug addiction counseling, personal development, self-motivation, and bi-polar disorder. He has been assigned a Facebook page Willing Ways Karachi, on which he is active in posting informative material.

Editor: Wakeel Murad

The specific mechanisms of the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) mechanisms that mobilize and sustain behavior change are poorly understood, despite AA being the largest mutual-help organization for alcoholics in the world. The evidence provided by the findings suggest that recovering alcoholics who help their fellow recovering alcoholics struggling with their long term sobriety after formal treatment, are more likely to succeed in maintaining their own sobriety. Therefore the treatment professionals and therapists should acknowledge and encourage their patients to help their fellow patients in staying sober.

Such additional studies are required to discover the conducive aspects of AA that can help in maintaining abstinence. So far, very little has been done to explore the significant connection between these elements to getting positive results.

It has always been considered as a foundational stone in AA to involve oneself in service work. The philosophy of AA believes in the tremendous outcome that can be cultivated by helping fellow patients. It is this strong connection that reiterates this concept throughout the AA literature.


AA encourages its recovering alcoholics to shift their focus from self to others. Service work involves comprises of broad range of activities like sponsorship and 12-step program that promote helping fellow patients who are struggling. The concept of sponsorship clearly illustrates the reinforcement of AA teachings and principles by relationship building experiences, spreading guidance and awareness about the upcoming challenges in recovery.