I'm listening to the new book, "The Power of Habit"by Charles Duhigg. He's a New York Times reporter who has looked at all the recent research on behavior change and habit formation. Fascinating. In this book you can learn how McDonald's works, and how Cinnabon works and yeah, how AA works.
I know, you thought we'd already read "how it works" but Duhigg is writing about and interviewing brain scientists about how AA works neurologically. Now, you may not want to actually know that--it's a bit like learning how law and sausage are made but we long timers can handle it--and there won't be any real surprises in learning that AA replaces old triggers with new ones and changes the brain's reward system. We get that; we just use other words for the process. But Duhigg ties all that to cognitive theory.
It's a little unsettling though to hear AA protocols described by someone who has no personal contact with AA...kinda makes the Third Step sound weird...but ya know...
But the kicker in this--and it crosses over AA, smoking, nail biting and football strategy in this cognitive theory world: the "X" factor is belief. When I heard that part I laughed out loud in my car. the mystery key is belief.
That's the part that all of us know with out cracking a psych text book or visiting a lab at MIT.