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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2005 Oct;29(10):1858-68.

Paths of entry into alcoholics anonymous: consequences for participation and remission.

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Center for Health Care Evaluation, Department of Veterans Affairs and Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA.



This study compared individuals with alcohol use disorders who, in the first year after initiating help-seeking, entered Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) only, entered professional treatment and AA together, or entered professional treatment only


A sample of initially untreated individuals (N = 362) was surveyed at baseline and 1 year, 3 years, 8 years, and 16 years later. At each contact point, participants described their participation in AA and treatment and their current alcohol-related functioning. They also described their reasons for entering AA and/or treatment and the perceived benefits of these sources of help


Compared with individuals who initially participated only in treatment but later entered AA, those who entered treatment and AA together participated in AA longer and more frequently and were more likely to achieve remission. Among individuals who initially participated only in AA, those who later entered treatment had poorer remission outcomes than those who did not enter treatment. Longer duration of participation in AA was associated with a higher likelihood of remission at all four follow-ups; individuals who dropped out of AA were more likely to relapse or remain nonremitted.


Compared with individuals who participated only in professional treatment in the first year after they initiated help-seeking, individuals who participated in both treatment and AA were more likely to achieve remission. Individuals who entered treatment but delayed participation in AA did not appear to obtain any additional benefit from AA.

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