I have always found the statement "It Works" in relation to AA, or most other treatment programs, to be distasteful. It seems to imply a level fo efficacy that is misleading. For example, if i were to say "Morpheine works to provide pain relief", that would be a medical fact. It is proven to provide pain relief, and does so (i assume) in all cases where adminstration is biologically tolerated.
But this is not the case with any method of addiction treatment. Addicts respond to different methods of treatment, and no one treatment is effective for everyone. Thus, AA members usually make the disclaimer "It works, for me". But this kind of statement is inappropriate for any treatment methodology. It either works or it doesn't. Pharmaceuticals are not approved on the basis of them working "for me". Minimum standards are required in order to claim they are an effective treatment.
A comment by genejoe on an earlier Al-Anon blog post, which said that psychological treatment may help some people, got me thinking. I think i would be more comfortable with recovered addicts saying "It helps", or "It helped me". This type of statement is not only a more accurate reflection of the subjective experience, it also points to the complexity of addiction recovery - multiple inputs are usually required.
I just wonder if 12 Step members are trying to gain some sort of credibility by claiming "It works", even though the claim is not scientifically valid.