Here is a link to Wired Magazine's article about Alcoholics Anonymous . I found the article both interesting and assessible, though I wonder what AA particpants think of it. Even within the field of psychology, there is an air of mysteriousness to AA, for reasons outlined in the article - a primary reason being the ananymousness of the program (and lack of research as a result). It certainly works for some people, however, and is a valuable resource, especially in this day and age when treatment for everything is increasingly expensive. Attending a dual diagnosis conference a few years ago, the presenter noted research indicating the most important aspect of treatment for those in recovery is that they are actively participating in recovery, rather than what modality they are in. If some individuals find active participation is easier in AA, then a clinician should facilitate such participation as much as possible.
Outside of the treatment efficacy issues, the article is still a very interesting read. It reviews the origins of the organization, statistics regarding participation, effectiveness, etc., and also provides a basic (but up-to-date) review of research on the issues associated with alcoholism. Defenitely worth a read.