Alcoholics anonymous affiliation during early recovery

Paul Elliott Caldwell, Henry S.G. Cutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


This study analyzed the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) participation of 55 patients during the 3 months after their discharge from structured treatment, when dropout is high. Three levels of meeting attendance were discerned: low, mid-level, and '90 meetings in 90 days.' Of greatest interest, the mid-level group showed mixed interest in AA practices despite substantial meeting attendance, that is, they admitted powerlessness, but had less enthusiasm for the higher power concept, and relapsed significantly; they were likely to have a sponsor, but were less involved with other AA members; and they reported working the 12 Steps, but were less interested in the AA literature. Findings suggest that individuals who are attending AA but having difficulty embracing key aspects of the program need professional assistance that focuses more on AA practices and tenets and less on meeting attendance. Barriers to affiliation can also serve as opportunities for furthering both counseling goals and affiliation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-228
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1998


  • Alcohol
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Dropout
  • Early recovery
  • Posttreatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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