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AA: America's Gift to the World

AL Kennedy tells the story of Alcoholics Anonymous. Founded in Akron, Ohio, by Bill Wilson and Dr Bob Smith in 1935, it has a presence in most countries around the world.

Author AL Kennedy tells the story of Alcoholics Anonymous and its methods.

Eighty years ago, Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob Smith created a route to recovery from a fatal addiction along with an enduring organisation. With more than two million members worldwide, AA is still considered by the majority to be the most effective rehabilitation treatment available to alcoholics. In an age of heavily commercialised recovery programmes, "The Fellowship" continues to work with no active promotion and a consciously anarchistic and non-commercial structure. But few of us really know what happens.

Through conversations with AA members, their partners, parents and children in Al-Anon and Alateen, AL Kennedy explores the method and treatment of the organisation, along with the story of its foundation and survival.

With statistics showing alcohol consumption in the UK on the rise in contrast with the rest of Europe, she asks whether AA is still the best 'cure' for addicts given new science and treatments.

Contributors include Professor Hugh Montgomery, Dr Andrew McQuillin (Molecular Psychiatrist), Dr Mike McPhillips (Psychiatrist in addictive disorders) and Professor Sir Ian Gilmore.

Producer: Kate Bland
A Cast Iron production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Wed 6 May 2015 11:00