The Benefits of Women’s Meetings in AA


Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, helps millions of people get sober and stay clean every year. There’s no doubting the good that this form of peer support does, but is it as effective for women as it is for men? Some argue that women aren’t getting as much out if it as men, but studies suggest that criticism is way off base. While women may not be getting the same benefits as men, they are still getting something out of the experience.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous Really Helping Women

Alcoholism cam affect anyone. It’s not racist and it’s not sexist. For that reason, we have assumed the same AA program will work for women in the ways that it benefits men and studies have proven that to be true…to a degree.

One study, conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, found that men and women perceive AA counseling on different ways and, therefore, they also benefit from it differently. The research found that men are more socially driven to drink, so avoiding people and situations they associate with alcohol is essential. Women, on the other hand, tend to be emotional drinkers, turning to alcohol, when they feel depressed, frustrated, or angry. The researchers suggested that women will benefit more from AA, when they can focus on those emotional triggers. By recognizing the part emotions play, women can achieve greater results from the support group.

Due to this focus on emotion, the study found that, in addition to getting sober, the women of AA also get a better grasp of their emotions. In fact, they don’t just understand their feelings better, but they become better equipped to handle them in real world situations.

When Women Take The 12 Steps

At the core of Alcoholics Anonymous is the 12 step program. While critics say this isn’t something women have found beneficial, one treatment facility, Dawn Farm, begs to differ. Based on their own clinical programs, the rehabilitation facility found that their female patients actually achieved greater success than their male counterparts. In reporting on their findings, Dawn Farm asserts that there arr hundreds of thousands of female graduates of the 12 step program. They also point to a growth of female gender specific AA groups across the country as proof that women are benefited by the support groups.

While AA groups teach humility, feminists argue that this detracts from the message of female empowerment they are trying to instill in women. Yet, it has been suggested that the non-hierarchical feelings and camaraderie encouraged by the group may be more beneficial to women.

In the end, it seems the strong sense of community and the focus on controlling emotional impulses have helped Alcoholics Anonymous bring women to a life of sobriety. Whatever criticism exists, the fact that scores of women are successfully graduating from 12 step programs every day attests to the benefits reaped by recovering women addicts. However it does help, the important thing is that AA is getting women sober all across the country.