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To compare the Minnesota day clinic treatment with the traditional public psychosocial treatment.Randomized controlled trial.Public out-patient alcohol clinic and privately funded Minnesota day clinic in Denmark.A total of 148 individuals with alcohol dependence were included in a 1-year clinical trial.Self-reported drinking pattern and the seven composite scores from the addiction severity index (ASI).A total of 42 (57%) and 45 (61%) patients (P > 0.05) completed the Minnesota treatment and public treatment, respectively. Throughout the whole 12-month follow-up period, 35% of the patients treated at the Minnesota day clinic were abstainers, while this was the case for 20% of the patients treated in the public out-patient alcohol clinic (P = 0.043). During the last month before the end of the 1-year follow-up, 53% of the patients treated according to the Minnesota model were abstainers, while this was the case for 43% of the patients treated in the public out-patient alcohol clinic (P = 0.249). There were insignificant differences in the seven ASI scores.Twelve months after onset of treatment, the Minnesota day clinic treatment does not differ in effect from the much cheaper ‘standard’ public treatment. However, patients in Minnesota treatment were total abstainers throughout a longer period.