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Aims. (1) To examine the matching hypothesis that Twelve Step Facilitation Therapy (TSF) is more effective than Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) for alcohol-dependent clients with networks highly supportive of drinking 3 years following treatment; (2) to test a causal chain providing the rationale for this effect. Design. Outpatients were re-interviewed 3 years following treatment. ANCOVAs tested the matching hypothesis. Setting. Outpatients from five clinical research units distributed across the United States. Participants: Eight hundred and six alcohol-dependent clients. Intervention. Clients were randomly assigned to one of three 12-week, manually-guided, individual treatments: TSF, MET or Cognitive Behavioral Coping Skills Therapy (CBT). Measurements. Network support for drinking prior to treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) involvement during and following treatment, percentage of days abstinent and drinks per drinking day during months 37-39. Findings. (1) The a priori matching hypothesis that TSF is more effective than MET for clients with networks supportive of drinking was supported at the 3 year follow-up; (2) AA involvement was a partial mediator of this effect; clients with networks supportive of drinking assigned to TSF were more likely to be involved in AA; AA involvement was associated with better 3-year drinking outcomes for such clients. Conclusions. (1) In the long-term TSF may be the treatment of choice for alcohol-dependent clients with networks supportive of drinking; (2) involvement in AA should be given special consideration for clients with networks supportive of drinking, irrespective of the therapy they will receive.