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Home > Arhiva > 2022 > Numar: 2 > Assuming Group Identity of Alcoholics within Anonymous Alcoholics Support Groups: A Literature Review

 Assuming Group Identity of Alcoholics within Anonymous Alcoholics Support Groups: A Literature Review

  • Adriana Lavinia Bulumac (University of Bucharest, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, 9 Schitu Măgureanu Street, District 5, Bucharest, Romania, E-mail:

This literature review addresses the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) community as a way of recovering from alcoholism by means of AA affiliation, assumption of a new group identity, identification with other AA members, and development of feelings of belonging to AA through emotional connection with other AA members and the AA community itself. For this purpose, the literature can be structured into three broad thematic categories that are approaching the AA community in this way: (1) studies that analyze AA affiliation and try to define “affiliation” in order to create AA member profiles or studies that establish the link between AA affiliation and successful maintenance of sobriety, (2) papers that explain how the AA community and the AA groups work and discussing the group commitment process, and (3) studies that explain the way in which AA group identity is built and the process of transformation through which AA members pass. This paper reviews studies of AA affiliation, the engagement process alcoholics go through to become AA members, and the process of assuming the AA group identity. After reviewing the literature, we found out that although there is a relatively small number of studies evaluating the effectiveness of AA affiliation on alcohol recovery, there are no studies that examine the mechanisms by which this affiliation occurs, what this affiliation actually involves, the way in which group identity is built, how the group integration occurs in new members, and how all of these factors work together to influence obtaining and maintaining sobriety in AA.

Keywords: Alcoholics Anonymous, Mutual-help groups, AA affiliation, group identity, commitment to AA, emotional connection