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Positive Emotions and the Success of Alcoholics Anonymous – Dawn Farm Education Series

September 20, 2016 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Reception at 6:30 pm.

Presentation 7:30 pm.


A 60-year study of adult development performed at Harvard University yielded fascinating information about alcohol use disorders and recovery. This presentation by the study director will present evidence based, prospective longitudinal research on why Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is the treatment of choice to achieve abstinence from alcohol lasting more than two years. The presentation will suggest the mechanisms by which A.A. achieves these goals. Dr. Vaillant will describe factors that have been found to be predictive of an individual developing alcohol dependency, common patterns found among study individuals in the onset and progression of alcohol dependency and in the initiation and sustainment of recovery from alcohol dependency, evidence supporting the efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous, and mechanisms by which people with alcohol dependency achieve sustained sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous participation.

HandoutsPositive Emotions And Success Of AA Slides

Audio:  Positive Emotions and the Success of Alcoholics Anonymous


Related Reading Suggestions:

The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited by Dr. Vaillant.

Additional Books by Dr. Vaillant.

About the presenter



Dr. Vaillant is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital.  He is graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School; Dr. Vaillant did his psychiatric residency at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. He has spent his research career charting adult development, the importance of involuntary coping mechanisms, and recovery from alcoholism. From 1970 to 2005 he was Director of the Study of Adult Development at the Harvard University Health Service.  The study is arguably the longest (75 years) prospective psychosocial and medical study of males in the world.  At age 80 he is now the beneficiary of his own research.

More recently Vaillant has been interested in positive emotions and their relationship to Positive Psychology. In 2000 he became a founding member of Positive Psychology. He has been a Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a past Class A (nonalcoholic trustee) of Alcoholics Anonymous and is a Fellow of the International Positive Psychology Association. He has received the Jellinek Memorial Award and American Psychiatric Association Distinguished Service Award.

His published works include Adaptation to Life, 1977, The Natural History of Alcoholism-Revisited, 1995, Aging Well, 2002, Spiritual Evolution, 2008 and Triumphs of Experience, 2012.


September 20, 2016
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Dawn Farm


St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Education Center
5305 Elliott Drive
Ypsilanti, MI 48197 United States
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