Positive Emotions and the Success of Alcoholics Anonymous

  title={Positive Emotions and the Success of Alcoholics Anonymous},
  author={George E. Vaillant},
  journal={Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly},
  pages={214 - 224}
  • G. Vaillant
  • Published 30 June 2014
  • Psychology
  • Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) works because it discovered the use of positive emotions as a therapeutic tool 50 years before academic psychology discovered positive psychology. First, AA's emphasis on admitting dependence on and attachment to others, leads to the positive emotion of love and second, the recognition that to keep it you have to give it away, leading to the positive emotion of joy. The first three Steps of AA involve turning oneself over to a trusted other as long as it is not “me… 
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