The Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse at NYU is the national leader for medical research on Twelve-Step based recovery from addiction. One major aspect of this research has been collaborative work with international Doctors in AA, NA World Services, and Young People in AA. They undertook this because of an appreciation that such research can open up the medical community to more effective referral to the fellowship.

Our Objective

Over the years there has been considerable support from independent foundations to study and improve addiction treatment. The government and private foundations, however, attribute surprisingly little importance to research on Twelve-Step recovery, in direct contrast to the appreciation of many in the recovering community of the role of AA and NA in saving countless lives. It is now important to undertake research in a number of areas of particular importance to validating the Twelve Step approach to recovery, for which conventional funding is not available.

Potential Research Projects

1. The Importance of Prayer in Stabilizing Abstinence: Step 11 makes clear how central prayer is to addiction recovery. Most doctors have no appreciation of the very real value of this prayer in stabilizing abstinence and facilitating spiritual renewal. If anything, the idea that prayer can be central to recovery is alienating to many physicians, as they are oriented to a narrowly defined biological model of the person, and have never been given research-based findings to support the value of prayer. Because of our Division’s unique collaboration with the NYU Neural Research Institute, we are in a position to demonstrate, by means of contemporary neuroimaging techniques (fMRI), the biologic validation of how recitation of prayer leaves people in Twelve-Step recovery less sensitive to triggers for addiction and relapse. We have already published the basis of this in recent findings in neuroscience, piloted this project, and have received institutional approval to go ahead when we have support for the full project.

2. NA as a Resource for Veterans for Combined Addiction and PTSD:
There is increasing public recognition of the toll taken by this combined illness. But recent attempts to develop appropriate treatment draw on complex staff support, and cannot begin to fully address the actual dimensions of this widespread problem the way that NA fellowship can. There is also a lack of appreciation among the VA’s central administration and the overall medical community of what a potent role NA can (and does) play in the recovery of such compromised veterans. Because of the importance of this issue, NA World Services and I concluded that this represents a need we feel obligated to address. We have already begun doing this, and have located resources for a full-scale collaboration in the VA system in a larger and more definitive project. This involves work with a central VA network in Southern Texas, where will be able to document and follow the role of NA involvement in addicted veterans. Such a project will be invaluable in drawing attention to NA as an essential resource for bringing such compromised vets toward recovery.

3. Recovery From Addiction Without Dependence on an Alternative Addictive Drug: Buprenorphine (e.g. Suboxone, Subutex) is an opioid which is addictive, in many ways like drugs such as heroin, methadone, and Percocet (oxycodone). Its use has been taking over the practice of many physicians in the addiction field, after considerable investment by the drug’s manufacturer for training in its use. Buprenorphine can have a useful role in opioid detoxification, but this should serve as a bridge to drug-free NA-based abstinence. Such a transition needs to be understood and studied, because many people are now just being left with an open-ended dependence on buprenorphine. We have the opportunity to collaborate with the Hazelden treatment
system in order to pursue this goal. Hazelden has begun to introduce certain opioid dependent patients to buprenorphine in the context of a strong Twelve-Step recovery context. They and we want to define the best way to taper them off of buprenorphine while consolidating a Twelve-Step-based recovery. And we want to do this in a systematic way so that the results can be presented effectively to the medical profession.


Conducting such research projects is highly complex, and requires appropriate staffing. In fact, the current research in spirituality and recovery is funded at $350,000 annually. Support is needed for projects like these.

Support is needed for research that will awaken doctors to the value of referring patients to AA/NA. Doctors are mainly influenced by published research in medical journals. This research can have a huge impact on influencing Doctors to refer patients to 12 step recovery programs.


We need support for research that will awaken doctors to the value of referring patients to AA/NA. Doctors are mainly influenced by published research in medical journals. This research can have a huge impact on influencing Doctors to refer patients to 12 step recovery programs.


Who are we?

We are The McShin Foundation


The McShin Foundation’s mission is to deliver a message of hope to recovering addicts and alcoholics and facilitate their journey to a healthier life.

Founded in 2004, The McShin Foundation is Virginia’s leading non-profit, full-service Recovery Community Organization (RCO), committed to serving individuals and families in their fight against Substance Use Disorders (SUDs).  While providing the tools for recovering individuals to create positive lifestyles, we aim to spread the word of recovery and educate families, communities, and government regarding SUDs as well as reduce the stigma attached to them.

The McShin Foundation is a great alternative for drug and alcohol treatment, drug and alcohol rehab, and drug and alcohol detox we continue to have the most affordable detox, recovery and sober living residences in the country, we are the Nation’s Leading Recovery Community Center.


The McShin Foundation and the NCADD of Richmond
are located in the heart of  Richmond, Virginia.
(804) 249-1845 (Phone)
(804) 249-1846 (Fax)


NCADD of Richmond / McShin Foundation
2300 Dumbarton Road
Richmond, VA 23228

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