I have not believed that since the 1970’s. The A.A. Membership Survey shows that people often attend 12-Steps meetings heavily in the first two years of recovery, and then reduce attendance during the 3rd. thru 7th. years of recovery.
A recent study followed the A.A. attendance of 586 dependent alcoholics interviewed by telephone 1, 3, 5 and 7 years after initial referral and a starting base-line of meeting attendance was determined right after treatment. All patients were referred to A.A. as a result of addiction treatment. This referral process today is called Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF).
This following classification of recovering people based upon their patterns of A.A. attendance was developed. These were:
Group 1: Low Attendance Group: Averaging fewer than 5 meetings at most follow-ups;
Group 2: Medium Attendance Group: Averaging about 50 meetings a year at each follow-up;
Group 3: Descending Attendance Group: About 150 meetings in year 1, then decreasing steeply);
Group 4: High Attendance Group: (about 200 meetings at 1 year, then decreasing gradually by year 7).
DECLINES IN MEETING ATTENDANCE WERE NOT ALWAYS ACCOMPANIED BY DECREASES IN ABSTINENCE.
After accounting for the effect of time on AA attendance, treatment exposure was minimally related to AA attendance in all but the descending AA group, where it was negatively associated (p < 0.001).
Considering AA patterns over time highlights a different role for treatment in AA attendance than what is gleaned from analyses at single time points.
Research; Lee Ann Kaskutas, Jason Bond and Lyndsay Ammon Avalos. Addictive Behaviors, Volume 34, Issue 12, December 2009, Pages 1029-1035
Understanding The Twelve Steps