Pre AA abstinence

More evidence that people with more severe alcohol problems benefit most from AA (from the firewalled full text):

The current findings support the hypothesis that 12-step self-help group attendance is most beneficial for patients who have not achieved abstinence. Specifically, among patients who had not achieved abstinence 1 year after treatment, those who attended 12-step self-help groups relatively frequently (10 meetings or more in a 3-month interval at year 1) were significantly more likely to be abstinent at long-term follow-up than were those who either did not attend self-help groups or attended them less frequently. In contrast, among patients who were abstinent at 1-year follow-up, those who did not attend 12-step self-help groups (or attended only infrequently) were about as likely to be abstinent at long-term follow-up as those who attended self-help groups relatively frequently.

A similar pattern of results emerged for improvement in SUD-related problems. Patients who were non-abstinent at 1 year and attended 12-step self-help groups relatively frequently in the first year improved significantly more than did non-abstinent patients who did not attend self-help groups. Patients who were abstinent at 1 year showed similar improvement regardless of whether they attended self-help groups more or less frequently. Thus, the overall influence of 12-step self-help group attendance was consistent for abstinence and for substance use problems. Importantly, the benefits of attending 12-step self-help groups for non-abstinent patients did not appear to be due to self-selection; this finding generalized across two large samples of patients.

These findings are consistent with the idea that a continuing SUD intervention is likely to have a stronger influence on individuals with more severe than on those with less severe continuing problems. In this regard, high levels of self-help group participation were more closely related to better 6-month outcomes among patients with more severe substance use problems than among those with less severe problems (Morgenstern et al., 2003). Similarly, AA attendance had a stronger positive influence on alcohol-related outcomes for outpatients in Project MATCH who had high-network support for drinking than for those with low-network support for drinking (Longabaugh et al., 1998 R. Longabaugh, P.W. Wirtz, A. Zweben and R.L. Stout, Network support for drinking, Alcoholics Anonymous, and long-term matching effects, Addiction 93 (1998), pp. 1313–1333. View Record in Scopus | Cited By in Scopus (84)Longabaugh et al., 1998).

Makes sense, no? AA has always claimed to be one solution for people who are unable to achieve abstinence, right?