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Recovering alcoholics who help others in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have better outcomes themselves, a new study concludes. Helping others increases the amount of time a person stays sober, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

The findings come from a 10-year study, reports. The researchers examined the effects of Alcoholics Anonymous-related Helping (AAH). “The AAH findings suggest the importance of getting active in service, which can be in a committed 2-month AA service position or as simple as sharing one’s personal experience in recovery to another fellow sufferer,” lead researcher Maria Pagano said in a news release.

She found that participants engaged in AAH attended more meetings and did more step-work than those who did not help others. Pagano noted that “being interested in others keeps you more connected to your program and pulls you out of the vicious cycle of extreme self-preoccupation that is a posited root of addiction.”

The findings appear in the journal Substance Abuse.

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