Sometimes when sorting through the small decisions we make on a daily basis, it’s easy to get overwhelmed making high-impact choices (like selecting the best rehab). We often rely on our peers. Whether reading the reviews on Amazon or asking a friend about that new coffeeshop, the source is inherently trust-worthy when it’s peer-reviewed.

Science works much in the same way, using statistics to make sure a conclusion is sound from every angle. So when one of the most comprehensive scientific publications establishes that long-term rehab programs fostering 12-step participation lead to better outcomes, it’s almost like all the addiction experts systematically looked over their notes and nodded their head in agreement. Now there is proof.

For so long, addiction science practically held 12-step programs at arm’s length. They point out piecemeal impacts that programs like AA have made on family life or impulsivity without highlighting the importance of 12-step programs in addiction recovery on a large scale. Afraid, perhaps, of blow-back by injecting notions of spirituality into science.

Certainly this is a breath of fresh air in these stuffy, quarantined rooms. Also, it’s inspiring to know that rehab communities like Riverbank aren’t just churning out statistical flukes. The peer-to-peer philosophy here plays the odds rather than beating them. Though sometimes it feels like rolling the dice when selecting your next binge on Netflix’s recommended list, when it comes to recovery, these dice are loaded.
That’s how this scientist sees it, at least.

To read a summary of the Cochrane review on the impact of 12-step programs
in rehabs, follow this link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32159228

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