From Addiction Professional By Tom Valentino: It has existed for more than 80 years, and it now serves an estimated 2 million members. More than 60,000 groups meet under its banner across the U.S. each week, and nearly 60,000 more meet overseas.
And yet, for as familiar as the phrase “Alcoholics Anonymous” is in the public lexicon, the fellowship remains surprisingly misunderstood—both by the general population and even addiction treatment professionals.
Marc Galanter, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse at the New York University School of Medicine, is hoping to change that with his latest book, appropriately titled What is Alcoholics Anonymous? (Oxford University Press).
“In many respects, AA is underutilized by the medical community because they understand surprisingly little about it, particularly even specialists in addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine,” says Galanter, who is past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. “I thought it was important to provide them a resource to explain origins of AA and how it works.