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September 27, 1976

Alcoholics Anonymous

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Hematology, Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, Calif.

JAMA. 1976;236(13):1505-1506. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270140057030

MOST doctors have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Most doctors, including us alcoholics, do not know where it is, what it does, and how it works. We all know that alcoholism is a tough behavioral disease. We do not know how to cope with it in our friends and patients (or in ourselves), and we don't often try. Look at it this way: AA is the nation's best specialist in alcoholism, and, as with other problems beyond our competence, we should refer our cases to the specialist. But don't do it blindly. Learn about your specialist, his methods, and his competence so you can discuss referral intelligently.

It Works  Alcoholics Anonymous was begun in 1935 by two hard-core alcoholics, one of them a doctor. Today there are more than a million members organized into more than 27,000 groups that meet weekly or oftener. The numbers are not accurate because of