An Examination of the Cult Aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous

I’ve seen a number of examinations of whether AA is a cult or not, with each using criteria set by various cult experts. This one is a pretty good explanation, and I thought it was a good time to post it here, because we have recently had some feedback telling us why AA is not a cult, using such reasoning as “a person is free to leave whenever they like” or “if we were brainwashed, we would all think exactly alike”.

One trend I have noticed on our blog is AAs never rarely respond to posts such as this, and when they do so, it is with a “that is all bullshit” type of answer. I would love to hear some feedback from some of our AAs on the specific points of this article.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Cult? An Old Question Revisited
L. Allen Ragels

The “alcoholism cult.” That’s what Sheldon Bacon, for many years the director of the Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies, called overly avid supporters of Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous – AA as it is generally known – was started in the 1930s as a spinoff from the Oxford Group, a religious movement whose ideas were sometimes alleged to help chronic drinkers. With the aid and approval of key members of the power elite such as John D. Rockefeller, Jr., AA grew from an obscure idea to what many have come to regard as a national treasure: society’s premier (practically only) way of treating alcohol, drug, and related addiction problems. By now, AA certainly must have more than a million members, with groups organized in virtually every city, town, and village, along with numerous foreign countries. Moreover, AA’s core doctrine, the famous Twelve Steps, has been adopted by hundreds of parallel organizations with programs that address problems such as gambling, overeating, emotional troubles, and related family issues. Without question, AA and the Twelve Steps are among America’s most well known and revered institutions.
Nonetheless, assertions that AA may be a cult have been present from practically the beginning. Bacon’s chiding dates from the 1940s. By the 1960s, harsher evaluations had emerged. Evaluations that were absolutely meant to be taken quite seriously and literally. “Why has AA become a cult that many men and women reverently call ‘the greatest movement since the birth of Christianity’?” AA critic Arthur Cain asked in 1963. “AA has become a dogmatic cult whose chapters too often turn sobriety into slavery to AA,” he alleged a year later.

Cult or What?

Cain, a writer and psychologist whose skirmishes with AA were documented in national magazines such as Harper’s and the Saturday Evening Post, was perhaps the loudest, but not necessarily the first, to notice AA’s resemblance to an organized cult. “We are struck by the sect or cult-like aspects of AA,” alcohologists Morris E. Chafetz and Harold W. Demone, Jr. observed in 1962. “This is true in terms of its history, structure, and the charisma surrounding its leader, Bill W[ilson].” Furthermore, Chafetz and Demone asserted that: “In our opinion AA is really not interested in alcoholics in general, but only as they relate to AA itself.”

Nor were Chafetz and Demone indisputably the first to take AA’s cult-like characteristics seriously. Nearly two decades earlier, in 1944, sociologist Robert Freed Bales noted “potentially disturbing structural features of Alcoholics Anonymous.” Features that, in the opinion of some, might suggest a cult mentality. Foreshadowing Chafetz and Demone, Bales found that AA had little appreciation for its individual members: “it mattered little just who thought the thoughts, felt the sentiments, and performed the functions characteristic of the [group’s] structure,” he noted, “as long as somebody did.” The very perceptive Bales also saw how the charismatic quality of the Program would be retained beyond the inevitable passing of its founders. More than a quarter of a century before the death of Wilson, AA’s last surviving cofounder, Bales observed that, “the ‘magic’ has been transferred to ‘The Book,’ Alcoholics Anonymous, apparently with a considerable degree of success.”
In 1964, AA again faced the charge that it harbored covert cult-like attitudes when Jerome Ellison, writing for The Nation magazine, reiterated Cain’s analyses: “Arthur H. Cain pointed out [AA’s] tendencies toward cultism and narrow orthodoxy that limited the fellowship’s therapeutic effectiveness.” Ellison also quoted from letters to the editor inspired by the Cain critique: “The fanatics who prevail in some groups seem bent on making AA into a hostile, fundamentalist religion,” one letter writer avowed.

Writing in 1989, alcohologist and cult researcher Marc Galanter found that: “From the start AA displayed characteristics of a charismatic sect: strongly felt shared belief, intense cohesiveness, experiences of altered consciousness, and a potent influence on members’ behavior. . . . As in the Unification Church workshops, most of those attending AA chapter meetings are deeply involved in the group ethos, and the expression of views opposed to the group’s model of treatment is subtly or expressly discouraged.”

The Twelve Step Alcoholism Movement

In 1979, sociologist Robert Tournier raised a ruckus in professional circles when he noted that “Alcoholics Anonymous has come to dominate alcoholism both as ideology and as method. . . . So successful have AA members been in proselytizing their ideas that their assumptions about the nature of alcohol dependence have virtually been accepted as fact by most of those in the field.” In making this assertion, Tournier touched on an important point. AA cannot be viewed as existing in a vacuum. It is not now, and never has been, an independent standalone organization. It has always covertly supported, and been supported by, a powerful cartel of organizations that make up what historians and sociologists call the Alcoholism Movement. The original triumvirate leading this movement was AA, the National Council on Alcoholism, and the Yale Center for Alcohol Studies. Like all successful social movements, it has expanded to include many additional organizations. For greater clarification, the Alcoholism Movement could be called the Twelve Step Alcoholism Movement, after the fact that its basic philosophy is closely aligned with, and in many cases openly expressed by AA’s recovery program, the venerated Twelve Steps.
To speak of AA outside of the context of the Twelve Step Alcoholism Movement is almost certainly to invite confusion. It is not just a coincidence that many organizations adhere to the same view of alcoholism and the same Twelve Step creed. It is the result of a coordinated social movement.

Viewed as the Twelve Step Alcoholism Movement, rather than as a single isolated organization, the Program actually looks more cult-like and sinister. For example, AA per se does not seem to exploit its members financially, but AA-styled treatment facilities sometimes do. Witness the case of a family faced with having to sell their home in order to pay for the mother’s long-term addiction treatment – after she had already been through nine expensive Twelve Step treatment regimens in just two years. In a similar vein, Twelve Step treatment units and professional addiction counselors may routinely advertise their wares without giving the slightest hint that the basic treatment they are offering is an indoctrination into AA.

In 1991, Harper’s Magazine printed a modernistic article on the Twelve Step Movement by David Rieff, “Victims All? Recovery, Co-dependency, and the Art of Blaming Somebody Else.” By this time, the Movement had burgeoned to include scores of “anonymous” programs that recommended AA’s Twelve Steps for practically everyone, from compulsive workaholics to those who were told that they loved too much. As Rieff observed, “any conduct that can be engaged in enthusiastically, never mind compulsively – from stamp collecting to the missionary position – would be one around which a recovery group could be organized.”
These other Twelve Step organizations are patterned after AA and share many of its characteristics. Innocuous alternatives to AA are not to be found in me-too programs such as Codependents Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Al-Anon, and so on through dozens of other anonymous/anon groups that adhere to the basic Twelve Step ethos. To the degree that they mimic AA, what is said regarding AA may be universalized to apply to other Twelve Step programs.

Mind Control

Two book-length polemics directly addressing the AA-as-cult issue appeared in 1991 and 1992. The more strongly written of the two, the enigmatically titled More Revealed by Ken Ragge, bluntly portrayed AA as a mind-control cult. “The Twelve Step ‘support’ groups . . . will make every effort to convince the person he is powerless, insane, incompetent, the group is God and he must ‘work the program one day at a time,’” Ragged noted. “The most outstanding characteristic of these [AA] people is their intensely held belief in the goodness of AA and the badness of self.” The other publication, Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure by Charles Bufe, was more moderate. Bufe concluded that AA is not a cult, “though it does have dangerous cult-like tendencies.”

Neither Ragge nor Bufe seems to have been aware of a very pertinent article written in 1984 by two astute Californians, Francesca Alexander and Michele Rollins. Alexander and Rollins, both sociologists, went underground in order to understand the world of the Steps as seen through the eyes of actual group participants. “[B]oth investigators attended AA meetings over a period of several months,” they recounted. “In addition, one of the investigators actively assumed the role of an alcoholic . . . she admitted to members of an AA gathering that she was ostensibly an alcoholic in need of help. She then chose a ‘sponsor’ and began to attend both official meetings and informal social gatherings.” The result of this clandestine effort was a decisive study published in California Sociologist, “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult.”

Essentially, Alexander and Rollins measured AA against criteria developed by Robert J. Lifton, whose 1961 work, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, is a classic work on thought reform or brainwashing. Measured against Lifton’s standards, Alexander and Rollins concluded that AA is indeed a cult. “AA uses all the methods of brain washing, which are also the methods employed by cults,” they found. “It is our contention that AA is a cult.”
Based on their field notes of actual meetings, Alexander and Rollins provided illustrations of AA’s use of the thought reform techniques identified by Lifton. The specific techniques are these:

Milieu control

This category refers to group dominance over the individual’s environment. Wherever possible, the proselyte is put in a position where his or her reality will be defined and interpreted solely by other cult members. As examples of milieu control, Alexander and Rollins cited statements heard at AA meetings such as: “Don’t have any emotional entanglements (outside of AA) your first year.” And: “My first sponsor told me to change my job [and] move, told me that I should choose someone from the group to be my husband . . . ” Since they were studying AA itself, not the Twelve Step Alcoholism Movement in its entirety, Alexander and Rollins did not observe that the really intense version of milieu control is to be found in residential Twelve Step treatment facilities, where confined convalescents are routinely isolated from all outside contact for weeks or longer. Milieu control may also be found in AA’s strategy of encouraging neophytes to attend ninety meetings in ninety days. Needless to say, a proselyte who works every day, and attends AA meetings every night, will have little time for anything else.

Mystical manipulation

This technique also involves personal and social orchestrations, ofttimes through the use of ritual. AA’s rituals are not elaborate, but they do exist. Every meeting is opened and closed with a group prayer. Certain pages from AA’s basic text, its “Big Book,” are read at every meeting. Probably AA’s most powerful ritual is the well known “I am an alcoholic” confession. Any member who wishes to speak is required to first utter the phrase “My name is __________ and I am an alcoholic,” thereby affirming his or her identity with the group.
“Above all else,” Alexander and Rollins explained, “the neophyte is asked to trust the group.” As an example of mystical manipulation, Alexander and Rollins quoted a converted AA member: “I was in the same room with 3,100 sober alcoholics, all holding hands and saying the Lord’s Prayer. It was an extremely spiritual experience.” Had Alexander and Rollins been able to expand their study, reference to AA’s recommended literature would have revealed that far from being asked simply to trust the group, newcomers to AA are solemnly invited to regard the group as God. “You can if you wish, make AA itself your ‘higher power,’” an official AA publication counsels. (The phrase “higher power” being AA’s generic term for God.) You can hardly ask anyone to be more trusting than that.

Demand for purity

According to Alexander and Rollins, demand for purity has to do with always viewing one’s behavior through the lens of the group’s supposedly perfect doctrine. Since no one can achieve this level of observance, inevitable feelings of contrition and self-contempt are provoked. Among the examples Alexander and Rollins gave for this particular thought-control strategy are statements such as: “due to the pain of not following the steps, I came to the point where I do now . . . ” And: “You may not want to give [control] to anyone – that is a character defect thinking that you are that special . . . ” Demand for purity may also be found in the tenth edict of AA’s Twelve Steps: “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” A charge strongly suggesting that the lowly member will never completely live up to the perfection of AA’s Program.

Cult of confession

The ritual of confession, or the public admission of shortcomings, has been an important part of AA’s liturgy from the very beginning. It is a technique that AA inherited from its religious progenitor, the Oxford Group, later renamed Moral Re-armament. In fact, Robert J. Lifton himself, in his original study of thought reform methods in China, noted that a “Protestant missionary was struck by [thought reform’s] similarity with the Moral Re-armament movement in which he had been active.”

To demonstrate the occurrence of this technique, Alexander and Rollins quoted such indiscreet disclosures as: “I modeled for porno photos to get money for booze.” And: “I tried to stab people, shoot at people, hit them with a pan . . . ” In AA meetings, speakers are expected to “qualify,” or give enough of their stories to show that they, too, are “alcoholics.” In AA’s Step Program, the cult of confession is embodied in the Fifth Step: “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Some groups have made it a standard practice for the novice to take this step with an AA sponsor, a senior member of the group. Of course, this is a dramatic gesture of the surrender of self to AA.

Sacred science

The sacred science stratagem evokes an aura of irrefutable, unquestionable, correctness about the group’s central dogma. AA, for example, holds itself to be in possession of certain knowledge regarding the disposition of alcoholism and the effectiveness of the Steps. Alexander and Rollins documented this by quoting members’ statements such as: “I’ve been following the steps, and the promises about what would happen are true.”

Indeed, AA seems to be a first-class example of Lifton’s observation that in thought control, proponents contend that man’s ideas (but not man) can be God. Note, however, that AA’s techniques may be subtle. “There aren’t any ‘musts’ in this program,” newcomers are told, “but there are a lot of ‘you betters.’” A major piece of AA literature, though, puts the matter more directly. Although the program is supposedly “voluntary” and the Step mere “suggestions,” AA cofounder Bill Wilson wrote that, “unless each AA member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps of recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant . . . We must obey certain principles or we die.” Heavy stuff. Obey AA or die from drinking. The principles that must be obeyed, of course, are the invulnerable truths of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Loading the language

This refers to the technique of replacing common words with slang and clichés that are slanted to express the group’s prejudices and beliefs. Alexander and Rollins noted examples such as “He’s taking a geographic” (AA’s slang for an attempt to deal with problem drinking by moving to a new locality). And “she . . . addressed me as her baby” (AA’s belittling term for a novice). Illustrations of AA’s special lingo could practically be multiplied to infinity. For example: “Twelfth Step call” (a mission undertaken for the purpose of recruiting a new member); “old-timer” (a senior member); “bleeding deacon” (an unhappy old-timer); “stinkin’ thinkin’” (any disagreement with AA); “on a dry drunk” (being simultaneously sober and in disagreement with AA); “on the pity pot” (indulging in self-pity; not being grateful for AA) and so on. AA’s famous slogans also enter into consideration here. Slogans such as: “keep it simple”; “easy does it”; “one day at a time”; “let go and let God.”Almost everyone who has interacted with AA has been impressed by the way that these sayings manage to replace original thought, which is no-doubt why Lifton referred to their ilk as “the thought-terminating cliché.”

Doctrine over person

For practical purposes, this thought control mechanism refers to the retrospective reinterpretation of the neophyte’s past so that it conforms to the doctrines of the group. For example, Alexander and Rollins remarked on such statements as: “I find that I’m remembering little things from my past . . . that all have to do with how I became the person I was.” Likewise, it is common for AA members to say “I was an alcoholic from the first drink,” or “I was born an alcoholic.” Note how psychiatrist and Twelve Step enthusiast E. J. Khantzian reported on the progress of one of his patients: “He said he realized now that he probably was ‘an addict’ before he touched a drink.” In Khantzian’s view, that was progress; the patient was recovering. Ironically – and naively – Khantzian used this case as the basis for an article purporting to show that Alcoholics Anonymous is not a cult, although he admitted, “some aspects of AA might border on the cultish.”
In the Twelve Steps, retrospective reinterpretation is also found in the Fourth directive: “Made a fearless and searching moral inventory of ourselves.” According to Ragge, “the ‘moral inventory’ is much more than a written confession of sins. In preparation for writing out the inventory, evil is redefined according to the AA ‘world view.’ In writing, one redefines oneself, and one’s past, in the AA image.”

Dispensing existence

This is Lifton’s term for the phenomenon whereby group insiders are plainly distinguished, made to feel different, and set apart from nonmembers or outsiders. The idea that so-called alcoholics are fundamentally different from the rest of humanity is a mainstay of the Alcoholism Movement, and AA goes to great lengths to ensure that its members accept and retain their special identity. Many of AA’s rituals are aimed at reinforcing that idea. Alexander and Rollins illustrated this with quotations such as: “People not in AA are ‘Normies’” (normal people as opposed to “alcoholics”). According to Clarence Snyder, one of AA’s pioneer members, “alcoholics are different from people.”
AA members have been known to express the belief that they are a “Chosen People,” which presumably makes those who are not AA – the “Normies” – nonchosen. John C. Mellon, apparently a fervent AA member, has even written a scholarly book, Mark as Recovery Story, suggesting that Alcoholics Anonymous itself should be regarded as the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Love bombing and family substitution

To Lifton’s original eight mind control methods, Alexander and Rollins appended love bombing and family substitution. They considered these together because they found that love bombing was used as the instrument whereby family substitution could be expedited. Love bombing refers to an ostensibly absolute and unconditional acceptance offered to the proselyte. As Alexander and Rollins explained: “The neophyte is repeatedly told, ‘Only we can love you, and understand you. We are like you, and know what your life is really like. This is the only place you really belong.’” Among the illustrations cited by Alexander and Rollins are some that are particularly good examples of love bombing: “One of the incredible things about AA is the fact that you will be loved unconditionally . . . ” And family substitution: “my sponsor . . . told me that she and the others would take my sister’s place. You have to cut off from your family and turn them over to God.”

Recovery or – Mind Control?

Considering all this, is AA a cult? Does the Program rely on mind control? Those who are recovering in AA, or who have had loved ones join the Program, are understandably reluctant to see anything untoward in the organization they feel has benefitted them immeasurably. But AA has been labeled a cult, not just by its calumniators and critics, but by some of its sincerest friends and supporters. AA friend William Madsen, for example, compared AA to the nineteenth century Ghost Dance Cults and the Cargo Cults of Melanesia. George E. Vaillant, a researcher, psychiatrist and a supporter of AA acknowledged that “AA certainly functions as a cult and systemically indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the world over.” To a certain extent, this has been recognized by AA members themselves with a witticism that has become another one of their many clichés: “If AA uses brainwashing, then our brains must need to be washed.”

Does AA use brainwashing, more properly known as mind control? Is AA a mind control environment? The answer is yes. AA uses all of the methods of mind control, which are also the methods used by cults.


. Johnson, B. (1973). “The Alcoholism Movement in America: A Study in Cultural Innovation,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign, page 312.
. Cain, A. (1963). “Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?” Harper’s Magazine, February, pages 48-49. [Cain’s other works include Seven Sinners, 1961 (published under the pseudonym of Arthur King), and The Cured Alcoholic, 1964. Cain did not seem to have any respect at all for alcohol as a drug: by cured, he apparently meant a return to very heavy but controlled drinking. According to William Madsen, The American Alcoholic (1974) page 74: “I have learned from the most reliable sources that Cain’s venture ended as a tragic fiasco.” Did Cain end up drunk? Unfortunately, Madsen did not elaborate.]
. Cain, A. (1964). “Alcoholics Can Be Cured Despite AA,” Saturday Evening Post, September 19, page 6.
. Chafetz, M. & Demone, H. (1962). Alcoholism and Society, New York: Oxford University Press, page 162.
. Chafetz & Demone. (1962). Alcoholism and Society, page 165.
. Bales, R. (1944). “The Therapeutic Role of Alcoholics Anonymous as Seen by a Sociologist,” Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol 5, page 271.
. Bales, R. (1944). “The Therapeutic Role of Alcoholics Anonymous,” page 267.
. Bales, R. (1944). “The Therapeutic Role of Alcoholics Anonymous,” page 268.
. Ellison, J. (1964). “Alcoholics Anonymous: Dangers of Success,” The Nation, March 2, page 214.
. Ellison, J. (1964). “Alcoholics Anonymous: Dangers of Success,” page 214.
. Galanter, M. (1989). Cults, Faith Healing, and Coercion, New York: Oxford University Press, pages 178 -185.
. Tournier, R. (1979). “Alcoholics Anonymous as Treatment and as Ideology,” Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. 40, No. 3, March, page 230.

. Johnson, B. (1973). “The Alcoholism Movement in America, ”; Beauchamp, D. (1980). Beyond Alcoholism: Alcohol and Public Health Policy, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, pages 4-6, 11-13, 23.
. Ragels, L., (1996). “Prohibition, Alcoholics Anonymous, the Alcoholism Movement, and the Alcoholic Beverage Industry,” The Journal of Rational Recovery, Vol. 8, Issue 4, March/April, pages 22-24.
. Johnson, B. (1973). “The Alcoholism Movement in America. ”
. Anonymous. (1996). Journal of Rational Recovery, Vol. 8, Issue 5, May/June, page 7.
. Sheed, W. (1995). In Love With Daylight, New York: Simon & Schuster, page 93.
. Rieff, D. (1991). “Victims All? Recovery, Co-dependency, and the Art of Blaming Somebody Else,” Harper’s Magazine, October.
. Rieff, D. (1991). “Victims All? Recovery, Co-dependency, and the Art of Blaming Somebody Else,” page 54.
. Ragge, K. (1992). More Revealed, Henderson, NV: Alert!, page 163.
. Ragge, K. (1992). More Revealed, page 206.
. Ragge, K. (1992). More Revealed, page 220.
. Bufe, C. (1991). Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure? San Francisco: See Sharp Press, page 101.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” California Sociologist, Vol. 7, No. 1, Winter, page 37.
. California Sociologist, Vol. 7, No. 1, Winter, 1984.
. Lifton. R. (1961). Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, New York: W. W. Norton and Co.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 45.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 34.

. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 42.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 42.
. [Wilson, W., et al.] (1976). Alcoholics Anonymous, New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., pages 58 – 60.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 35.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 32.
. [Wilson, W.] (1953). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., page 27.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 42.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 42.
. [Wilson, W.] (1953). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 88.
. Lifton, 1961, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, pages 455-456.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 43.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 43.
. [Wilson, W.] (1953). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 55.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 43.
. Lifton. R. (1961). Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, page 428.
. [Wilson, W.] (1957). Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., page 119.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 43.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 43.
. Lifton. R. (1961). Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, page 429.

. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 43.
. Khantzian, E. (1995). “Alcoholics Anonymous – Cult or Corrective: A Case Study,” Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Vol. 12, No. 3, May/June, page 158.
. Khantzian, E. (1995). “Alcoholics Anonymous – Cult or Corrective,” page 161.
. [Wilson, W.] (1953). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 42.
. Ragge, K. (1992). More Revealed, page 165.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 44.
. Kurtz, E. (1979). Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Center City, MN: Hazelden Educational Services, page 238.
. Kurtz, E. (1979). Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 238.
. Mellon, J. (1995). Mark as Recovery Story, Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 37.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 44.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 44.
. Madsen, W. (1974). “Alcoholics Anonymous as a Crisis Cult, Alcohol Health and Research World, National Clearinghouse for Alcohol Information, Spring, pages 27-30.
. Vaillant, G. (1995). The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, page 266.
. Alexander, F., Rollins, R. (1984). “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult,” page 45.

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  • People with alcohol problems are more at risk for suicidal thinking and behavior. Alcohol has depressive effect on the brain. Misuse of this substances can bring on serious depression. That's especially true for some people who already have a tendency to depression because of their biology, family history, or other life stressors. In addition to their depressive effects, alcohol drugs alters a person's judgment. They interfere with the ability to assess risk, make good choices, and think of solutions to problems. Many suicide attempts occur when a person is under the influence of alcohol.

    • speedy0314

      although i've little doubt that there is a distinct connection between alcohol abuse & successful or unsuccessful suicide attempts & suicidal ideation, your pronouncements go completely without substantive evidence for your claims. they read more like (however benign [or concerned]) 12X12 opinion than the genuine facts you'd like them to be understood as.

      next time you climb aboard your soapbox offer a citation or two to back up your claims (like:….

      btw, what on earth does anything in your comment have to do with 'cult aspects of AA'?

      i believe that's what we in show business like to call a 'non sequitir'.


    • Alcohol is a depressant on the central nervous system. I NEVER experienced "depressive effects on the brain" from alcohol. Me and every real alcoholic I know speaks about drinking to get STIMULATED. Your comments well illustrate how alcoholism is misunderstood. Most people – and most people are non-alcoholic regardless of how much or how often they drink – get sleepy and nauseous when they consume EtOH. Not so we real alcoholics.We get dressed, go downtown, drink more, get laid (or at least try) and run like we have washed down a bunch of black beauties with Venti Latte at Star Bucks.


      Danny S – RLRA

      • AnnaZed

        Must be that famous allergic reaction thing.

      • M A

        I understand that I am not a real alcoholic, but I never acted like you describe here. My preference was to drink and relax until I started to drool all over myself.

      • I WAS a real alcoholic, diagnosed by a doctor, not a sponsor.

        One or two drinks may stimulate a person, they take away the little aches and pains, and loosens inhibitions. It acts like a sugar rush at first, but that feeling dissapates quickly, and the CNS depressant effects take hold.

      • AnnaZed

        Ray, that sounds more like the actual process to me, as in medical. pharmaceutical, actual process not AA sponsor confabulation. It also coincides with my own experience as well. That is not to say that I wasn't capable back then of going on long alcohol abuse binges where I kept re-medicating (as it were) chasing that original "sugar high" feeling.

  • Pinkcuda

    I took the liberty of looking at the bibliography and found that there's about a dozen contributors. Go to the internet and see who hates Mother Theresa and you'll find a longer list than that.
    Rather than debate whether AA is a "Cult" or not let's just ask, "What isn't a "Cult"
    Most Religions fall under this umbrella joined by most, if not all, spiritual fellowships. AA is on this list. The Oxford Group is still around under a different name. What about The Masons? Knights of Columbus, etc… What about Fraternal Orginizations? Moose, Elks, Rotary? Ad infinitum!!
    Who isn't a "Cult" by these standards is the question. In fact, if that's what a "Cult" is, I'll take it. A lot of good comes from these "Cults" as you call them.
    I believe if anyone has the desire to call AA a "Cult" in the same fashion that we would refer to The Branch Davidians, Peoples Temple, Heavens Gate, etc… you're really scraping for fuel to keep your torch lit.

    • M A

      A dozen references in a three page paper is not enough? If you are implying there is not a tremendous amount of people adversely affected by AA, you are sorely mistaken. You should read the feedback that we get from our little blog.

      I was really looking for some specific criticism of the points made in this paper about how AA fits into Robert Lifton's observations on thought control, and not a general "this is all nonsenset" response. Obviously, the groups you mention don't meet Lifton's criteria – as such things as confession, loading of language, mystical manipulation, demand for purity, et al – aren't applicable to the Rotary Club or the Elks Lodge. It is really an absurd comparison, but which I'm sure was thrown out as a straw man. They do apply to AA; and for that matter, they applied to the Branch Davidians, Peoples Temple, and Heaven's Gate. Those groups were simply more extreme than AA.

      I will admit that I am only vaguely familiar with the Masons, but I have read that they are a very ritualistic organization, and are cult-like in some of their activities. I don't really know enough about them to have an opinion.

      • friendthegirl

        (pssst, MA, I don't think Pinkcuda knows quite what a bibliography is…)

      • KLM

        It's doubtful that an AA'er "under the spell" is going to offer any kind of cogent reply on this subject.

        In addition to this posted article, Robert Lifton's "Lifton's Brainwashing Processes" is worth a Google. It will make you sick to your stomach when you're able to recognize AA's entire indoctrination process.

        • M A

          You are right, KLM. I was hoping I could get something, which is why I tried to spoon feed the question. I tried.

    • speedy0314


      your "let's re-formulate the question that wasn't actually asked in the original post thereby derailing the discussion" is good … but not that good. the question stands: is AA a cult?

      IMHO, i would refrain from using the 'C' word in describing AA. although its etymological origins are fairly benign, contemporary usage of the word implies a perjorative that (to my mind) might be a little heavy-handed. although i'm not really a big fan of his, i like stanton peele's description of AA as 'cult-lite'. while we don't have mass suicides (e.g., jonestown, heavens gate, etc.) or general sexual craziness & weapons stockpiling (branch davidians, et al.), we do have in AA a theologically-driven crackpot almost completely insular society that promotes 'chosen few' & 'divine knowledge' thinking.

      not terribly healthy when looked at a macro-cosmic scale socially.

      by the by, most reputable dictionaries include this (or similar language) in their extended definitions of the word 'cult':

      8. any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.
      (Random House Dictionary)

      like i said, i refrain from using the word when discussing AA. but if it walks like a duck … .

      • Interesting post, thanks.

        "Any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific."

        Kind of like when vaccines were first invented and promoted or sterilization of medical instruments began. Before these ideas caught on they must have been regarded as quite strange.

      • AnnaZed

        I have been thinking about this post and had to come back and read it again. This part:

        "…while we don’t have mass suicides (e.g., jonestown, heavens gate, etc.) or general sexual craziness …"

        Sticks in my mind.

        While I don't have real scientific research to back this up or anything (so don't jump on me speedy), I did notice an astonishingly high number of suicides in AA while I was there, and also heard so extremely callous and hurtful assessments of the lives of those who perished ("better him than me," "some of us must die so that others may live" etc.). So, while there are no mass suicides in AA there are a striking number of individual ones, or that's what I observed anyway.

        As to general sexual craziness: your mileage may vary, but I experienced an imbalanced, hot-house environment of shifting partners, dysfunctional and predatory sexual relationships, fractured marriages and never-ending sexual drama. That was all of the damn time. That old song about Harper Valley PTA would have barely begun to scratch the surface of describing this sexual turmoil. This was not in one meeting or group, but in dozens of groups over long years and in vastly different locales.

  • Pinkcuda

    "I was really looking for some specific criticism of the points made in this paper about how AA fits into Robert Lifton’s observations on thought control, and not a general “this is all nonsenset” response".

    Can't help you there. The best that could come out of that is an accusation of being a brainwashed "Cult Member" simply defending his "Cult"

    Another question is, where do we get this idea that cults are a bad thing in the first place? We have a few assorted instances of Cults making headlines but it's not the norm. Aren't the Deadheads a "Cult"?
    Here's what Webster said, (I hope seeking Webster for the ultimate answer doesn't indicate that "we that seek for an answer from Webster are a Cult Following"

    1: formal religious veneration : worship
    2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual ; also : its body of adherents
    3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious ; also : its body of adherents
    4: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator
    5 a: great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book) ; especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b: the object of such devotion c: a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion.

    So, you say it like it's a bad thing! Call it whatever you want. Doesn't matter.

  • friendthegirl

    Here are just some suggestions. No one has to follow these 2 steps, but generally things go better if you do them in order.

    1. Read First.

    2. Then Comment.

  • Pinkcuda

    Well MA, it looks kind of like you have your own little"Cult Following"
    I'm sure they'll deny it like a well disciplined follower!

    • M A

      Actually, I'm following her.

      • friendthegirl

        Oh no! We've been outclassed by the old "I know you are, but what am I?" argument again! Drat.

  • Wikipedia:

    Cult; "a cohesive social group and their devotional beliefs or practices, which the surrounding population considers to be outside of mainstream cultures."

    Under the broad definition of the word "cult", it could be used to describe many organizations- business, personal and religious. Some try to use it to in a calculated attempt to 12 step programs in with extreme fringe groups like Branch Dividians or Heaven's Gate followers. This, in itself, is a cult-like tactic- using fear to control and influence others.

    I say if you really want to know an organizations motives, follow the money. Extreme cults often try to extort or otherwise gain control of members' money and wealth. Cults and other religious groups can be obsessed with financial gain. These groups are also often very involved in outside politics and exerting their influence in government. Here the 12 Step programs differ. They are non-profit and typically have no opinion on outside issues. They are not out to get your money or your vote.

    There is a faith based aspect to them but religious belief is not a requirement to be a member or attend meetings. One could argue that 12 Step programs indoctrinate people into belief in a higher power and thereby promote religious dogma. Perhaps. The higher power is self-defined and can be nature, the universe, God, a supreme being, karma, the energy connecting everything, or none or all of the above.

    As a veiled attempt to promote a specific religion or set of beliefs, this is a pretty sloppy, ineffective system. There is even an "agnostic" version of the 12 steps for those that prefer it:

    The Agnostic 12 Steps

    For agnostics who would like to work The Steps, this version provides slightly different wording
    of the six steps that make reference to God or a Higher Power.

    This version of the Twelve Steps seems to have originated in agnostic A.A. groups in California.

    1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.

    2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.

    (Original: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.)

    3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.

    (Original: Made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.)

    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

    (Original: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.)

    6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.

    (Original: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.)

    7. With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings.

    (Original: Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.)

    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

    11. Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness, make recovery a priority and to discover the power to carry out that way of life.

    (Original: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.)

    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

    • M A

      Hi. Thanks for visiting us!

      You will find various definitions of cults in textbooks, dictionaries or from Wiki authors, but by the criteria set by virtually every model from any cult authority, AA certainly meets a large part of the criteria. No cult is 100%. The very first post in this blog contained a video that you might find interesting:

      If you don't think there is a profit motive behind AA, then you are sorely mistaken. AA shares the same board members with Hazelden, and Hazelden is the largest buyer of AA literature, and the largest producer of 12-step related books and literature. Both "for profit" and "not for profit" treatment centres have a clear financial motive, as the treatment industry generates billions in insurance payments, publishing and 12-step education. A truly staggering amount, actually.

      As for the other points, we have addressed most of them already in the blog, as it is standard AA dogma.

      • I think a distinction should be made between treatment centers, the treatment industry and many 12 step orgs. To my knowledge there are few or no treatment centers for ACAs or ACOAs (Adult Children Of Alcoholics), Codependents (CODAs), Alanons or many of the other many 12 step groups. AA aside, that kinda cuts into the profit motive theory behind promotion of the 12 step movement.

        • M A

          That made zero sense to me.

          Anyway, there may be a delay in some of your comments. For some reason they are going in as spam. Probably because of your name. We don't censor anything, so we will make sure whatever you write gets posted.

    • speedy0314


      a wholesale wikipedia lift. i guess that settles the argument.

      (in the web version of rock-paper-scissors, does wikipedia 'cut' cultwatch?)

      frankly, i don't care if it's a cult — religious or otherwise. it claims to be the primary 'solution' for a widening public health issue (alcoholism) yet eschews scientific inquiry into its efficacy & comes up absurdly short in every independently run study.

      simply put: Jesus doesn't cure cancer & AA (for the vast majority who turn to it in a time of desperate need) doesn't 'solve' alcoholism.


      • 12 Step programs don't claim to "solve" or cure anything. But for those who swear by them because it works for them they are invaluable tools.

        Wiki was randomly chosen as a resource. I'm quite sure you can find definitions of "cult" on many sites that are as broad if not more so. The point is, almost anything can be considered a cult. But the term is often used as a denigrative buzzword to take a shot at something and label it as negative without requiring the reader or listener to do much independent thinking.

        Keep up the smarm, it looks good on you.

    • "Under the broad definition of the word “cult”, it could be used to describe many organizations- business, personal and religious."

      Occam's razor:
      AA told me that if I left, I would die.

    • Agnostic 12steps? Can't take a religious program and claim it can be done without the religion.

      Oh, wait, is it for those addicted to near beer?

      Why take something that is fundamentally flawed and try to spin it so it might be more attractive to a few? No "real" AAer would take those steps or anyone claiming to be working them seriously.

  • speedy0314


    "Kind of like when vaccines were first invented and promoted or sterilization of medical instruments began. Before these ideas caught on they must have been regarded as quite strange."

    actually you couldn't have offered a more inaccurate analogy. rather than go into the details myself, i'll just suggest that you take yourself over to wikipedia & look up the history & scientific evaluation (i.e., by a plurality of professionals in the field who came to their conclusions & recommendations through research & experiment) of those two practices.

    nice try.


    • Wouldn't want you to actually bother going into the details to support your point.

      "The germ theory, also called the pathogenic theory of medicine, is a theory that proposes that microorganisms are the cause of many diseases. Although highly controversial when first proposed, it is now a cornerstone of modern medicine and clinical microbiology, leading to such important innovations as antibiotics and hygienic practices."

      • speedy0314


        again, i have to admire your persererverance — but the 'germ theory' was the first proposed by Louis & Maeie Pasteur, seconded by contemporary Joseph Lister, & the theory was finally borne out by Jospeph Lister.

        all of that scientific research, experimentation, & testing over the period of more than 30 years. not quite analogous to the "hot flash" tripping his nuts off notion of bill wilson.

        don't let my errant scientific smarminess keep you from making an abject 12X12 ass of yourself, though.

        see you soon,


  • speedy0314


    "Keep up the smarm, it looks good on you."


    you keep up the insults & false analogies, too. that's probably the extent of your debate abilities, any way. (was that smarmy enough of me? do i look any better now?)

    while you're at it, you may want to look up the title for chapter five in the book "Alcoholics Anonymous". it pretty definitively puts the lie to your, "12 Step programs don’t claim to “solve” or cure anything" poppycock. (hint: it's the final word of the chapter's title.)

    smarming & hatting,


  • speedy0314


    as far as 'definitions' for words go, i usually go with dictionaries. you may want to pick one up.

    now that's some bacon cheddar cheese smarm, baby!


  • speedy0314

    pardon the misspellings, if not the smarminess.


  • AnnaZed

    I rather like "cult lite" and until today thought that I had personally invented the phrase as applied to AA. In fact I used it a lot while I was still in AA, and thought that I was being very witty.

    The problem with this cult is that it purports to be a valid therapy for the life threatening condition of alcohol dependence when it's just a religious organization some members of which, some of the time, are able to abstain from drinking and correlate that result with their AA participation.

    If all they did was huddle in their dank meeting places and prayed at each other I wouldn't care what they did, but instead AA presides at the top of a sprawling, profit making, politically connected and all pervasive (though ineffectual) "treatment" industry. That crap about "attraction not promotion" is just that, crap.

    AA is fed by treatment centers (profit making entities themselves that offer only 12-step as so called "therapy"), insurance companies, employers, the courts and a society at large which has been lured into thinking that AA is a benign self-help system. With Kennedy we even have Congress in on the act (if that doesn't convince the doubtful that it is a sham I don't know what will).

    Many hundreds of thousands of people have washed up on the shores on AA and said to themselves (within minutes or hours or once their court cards were signed) "wait a minute, I didn't sign on to join a goof-ball religion." Then they leave and nothing, almost nothing at all, is offered as an alternative. That is the overwhelming majority of people who darken he doors of AA, more than 90%.

    So, by all means AA can keep coming back to itself ad infinitum. I don't care. What I want is real, proven, effectual treatment for people with severe alcohol problems. I want AA out of the formal treatment system, uncompensated by insurance companies and desperate families looking for help for their family members (think Hazelden), ignored by the courts and exposed for the sham religious quackery that it is. Why is that such a heretical thing to ask for?

    • speedy0314


      your question is neither "heretical" nor even mildly impolite. more to the point, it's the first & foremost question that should be on everyone's mind — from the research scientist in an academic/medical lab to an ordinary CSW to an interested layperson or one in need of help.

      "how the hell did a faith healing process which produces abysmal results by any standard become the primary method for dealing with alcohol and/or drug dependence?" is a perfectly logical, perfectly sensible question.

      it's just one that the very vocal, very persistent, & very adamant 12-step community is fairly adept in avoiding — when not feigning indignity at even having the question put to them. witness the non-responses above to ma's post:

      1 – 'alcoholism' replies that alcohol abuse can be very harmful & exacerbate suicidal thoughts & action (okay … that addresses the 'cult' issue in exactly what terms?)

      2 – pinkcuda dances around the subject by answering a question with another question: "what's NOT a cult?"; then, "aren't some 'cults' actually pretty good things?"

      3 – acoa just lifts from wikipedia, runs the tired, worn "the 12 steps are very helpful for believers & non-believers alike" woo by us, gets uppity when called on his/her intellectual laziness, & finally has the audacity to draw the 'cultist' analogy to early germ & vaccine theorists!

      your question is more than appropriate. the rub is that the real answer costs time, money, a much larger & engaged social effort, & a turn away from 'quackery' to the practice of real science & medicine for a legitimate health problem. and, no, that should NOT be read as doling out pharmaceutical solutions willy nilly. but neither it should it be a knee-jerk outright rejection of tested solutions either (e.g., naltrexone).



    • Thank you for your insightful and quite courteous post. Refreshing in the lack of ridicule and elitist condemnation that seems rampant on this blog. Certainly there may be better ways to treat addiction and alcoholism for some than just the 12 Steps. Unfortunately, the pundits here seem mostly content to use this forum as an opportunity to pummel what they disagree with into submission, as opposed to making any positive suggestions towards alternatives.

      When it comes to recovery, therapy and growth, what works for some may not be effective for others. The cause of addiction may have many factors including heredity, food allergies, stress and trauma, ADD and ADHD related issues, brain chemistry, a dysfunctional childhood environment, etc. Finding ONE answer to all this may not be a reasonable expectation. I say, if you find something that works for you- placebo, therapy, 12 steps, praying to your dog…, good on ya.

      The attrition rate of 12 step programs may be higher than some would like but in my mind, that is not a basis to reject them. How many aspiring people don't graduate from Harvard or become space shuttle astronauts or millionaire bankers? The difficulty of a dogma is not a basis to denigrate it's validity.

      I do know that there are may people working in the recovery movement, whether 12 steps or other, that will never be adequately financially compensated for volunteering their help and the good they accomplish. But that's not why they do it in the first place.

      • M A

        "Thank you for your insightful and quite courteous post. Refreshing in the lack of ridicule and elitist condemnation that seems rampant on this blog. Certainly there may be better ways to treat addiction and alcoholism for some than just the 12 Steps. Unfortunately, the pundits here seem mostly content to use this forum as an opportunity to pummel what they disagree with into submission, as opposed to making any positive suggestions towards alternatives."

        One reason for starting this blog in the first place is because AA and AAs aren't interested in other ways of treating alcoholism, and trying to create that dialog becomes a dead end. We have made suggestions ad nauseum, and we have addressed many of the comments you have made here and and elsewhere, so I would suggest you read more of the blog.

        "The attrition rate of 12 step programs may be higher than some would like but in my mind, that is not a basis to reject them."

        Higher than some would like? The success rate is the same as doing nothing at all. Faith healing simply does not work. Zero percent efficacy is reason enough to reject treatment for any condition, whether it is alcoholism or some other psychological or medical condition.

      • Uberdog

        The cause of "alcoholism" may also be caused by popsicle sticks and peach pits. AA offer no scientific proof of anything right down to the spiritual diagnosis.

        Why not tobaccoism? Why aren't we as sensitive to this drug?

        It's just bad behavior and bad behavior is a choice not a disease.

        Are the jails are full of persons with robberyism, rapism & murderism? Or people who have made bad choices?

        I can even refer to my AA experence, regularly did I heard people refer to the substance they abuse as…….My drug of CHOICE!

        I chose to quit. I choose to stay quit. Try that in the cancer ward

      • speedy0314


        more sarcasm in the face of cogent, documented criticism (however 'smarmy' you might find it), more non sequitirs in an attempt to derail the matter at hand, more false analogies, & more baloney piled high & wide.

        if it weren't for the legions of 12X12 apologists like yourself who've helped turn a [non-denominational] theological placebo into the premier medical/therapeutic treatment for alcohol & drug abuse/dependence in the country (funded both directly & indirectly by state & federal agencies & insurance companies), this blog almost certainly doesn't exist.

        as to "The difficulty of a dogma is not a basis to denigrate it’s validity." frankly, the 'dogma' has neither proven its 'validity' or efficacy in a verifiable, replicable manner. very unike the way those nutty 'germ theories' & vaccines you mentioned earlier have done for more than 100 years.

        thanks for the hot air,


      • AnnaZed

        >adult children of alcoholics, on June 18th, 2009 at 3:32 pm Said: Thank you for your insightful and quite courteous post.

        If you are addressing me, then thanks. I actually think, actually believe that there are people involved in 12-step that if they gave the whole thing serious thought would abandon AA and help us and others who agitate for rational, reasonable and scientifically proven methods of treating alcohol and drug dependency and abuse. You might be one of them someday, who knows.

        >Refreshing in the lack of ridicule and elitist condemnation that seems rampant on this blog.

        Well, I can't (or wouldn't want to) control the other posters on this site, but bear in mind that there are lots and lots of people out there who are really really mad about 12-step coercion, 12-step sexual abuse, 12-step financial abuse, rampant abuses of the "sponsorship" system, the virtual lock that 12-step and AA in particular have on the entire American substance abuse treatment system and AA's imperious and (to my mind) illegal refusal to take responsibility for those abuses and seek to reform itself or acknowledgment on the part of AA that it simply does not belong as the controlling entity at the center of a vast treatment network. There are a lot of people very angry about this, and many of them do not choose to frame their remarks in ways designed to protect the sensibilities of 12-step proponents who come to this blog to engage, they just don't.

        >Certainly there may be better ways to treat addiction and alcoholism for some than just the 12 Steps.

        You see, even you are starting to crack (just a little) from reading our logical arguments. The Big Book acknowledges no alternatives but "jails, institutions and death" for those who do not thoroughly follow the 12-step path.

        >Unfortunately, the pundits here seem mostly content to use this forum as an opportunity to pummel what they disagree with into submission, as opposed to making any positive suggestions towards alternatives.

        Check out the tabs across the top. I find that in a debate it is best to familiarize myself as much as possible with the nature of the other person's arguments; just a suggestion.

        That said, the main reason that there are so few options besides AA is that 12-step has seeped into every crevice of the culture (look at those hideous exploitative rehab shows, they are all 12-step based) and has inundated the treatment "industry" (and it is a huge profit making industry) at every level. The owners of those for-profitstarting detoxes and rehabs love AA because it's FREE. They can detox the patients and dump them in AA and cash their checks. It's a con game and many, many sick and suffering people literally die after being given the choice of AA or death and so few other options.

        >When it comes to recovery, therapy and growth, what works for some may not be effective for others.

        Again, you may want reexamine your own 12-step loyalties because AA as written does not acknowledge any such thing.

        >The cause [sic] of addiction may have many factors including heredity, food allergies, stress and trauma, ADD and ADHD related issues, brain chemistry, a dysfunctional childhood environment, etc.

        It is interesting that you point these things out. That's what I think too. In fact, I think that alcohol dependence, drug abuse and alcohol abuse have nothing to do with "spiritual sickness" at all. I don't even think spiritual sickness exists.

        >Finding ONE answer to all this may not be a reasonable expectation. I say, if you find something that works for you- placebo, therapy, 12 steps, praying to your dog…, good on ya.

        See above, though I feel compelled to add that you may find that many people (me included) find the AA "pray to a doorknob" (or in the case of your post "dog") to be insulting, puerile and disingenuous.

        >The attrition rate of 12 step programs may be higher than some would like but in my mind, that is not a basis to reject them.

        Why not?

        >How many aspiring people don’t graduate from Harvard or become space shuttle astronauts or millionaire bankers?

        None of those things (the lack of attainment of higher certifications in professional life) are life threatening medical conditions, hence those are straw man arguments and not applicable to the discussion at hand.

        >The difficulty of a dogma is not a basis to denigrate it’s [sic] validity.

        Well, thanks for acknowledging that AA is essentially religious dogma, that's sort of our point here, and (yes) it is a basis for denigrating its validity because the application of religious nonsense to serious medical conditions (or faith healing) is always invalid, there are no exceptions to this.

        >I do know that there are may people working in the recovery movement, whether 12 steps or other, that will never be adequately financially compensated for volunteering their help and the good they accomplish. But that’s not why they do it in the first place.

        I know, I meet many very kind, very thoughtful people in AA. I like to think that over my years of being of service to AA that I too came from a place of generosity and trying to do good.

        Unfortunately, these foot soldiers (volunteers "being of service") are just fodder, essentially being used by the for-profit treatment centers (like Hazelden, the biggest purchaser of 12-step literature in the world and a very, very expensive place that offers nothing but 12-step to its patients), insurance companies (who love anything free), employers (who demand that workers attend AA and get cards signed as conditions of employment and like the insurance companies simply love that it's free), the American justice system (which mandates AA attendance and demands written proof of it in lieu of actual medical care or even incarceration ~ and have met many people in the rooms that by my lights should have just been in jail ~ because it's free).

        Aren't you starting to feel the littlest bit used?

        Aren't you starting to feel any shame for being part of this con-job?

        I certainly do, I was a cog in this machine for years.

    • friendthegirl

      Right on, Anna! That comment right there is the Mission Statement.

  • Pingback: The ‘Cult’ Question & The ‘Disease’ Concept « Stinkin Thinkin()

  • ["One reason for starting this blog in the first place is because AA and AAs aren't interested in other ways of treating alcoholism, and trying to create that dialog becomes a dead end."]

    And apparently neither are you.

    What an ignorant blanket statement! HTF can anyone claim to divine what all AA and AAs are interested in? You have condemned those you claim are in or may join an unworkable program by your definition, to defeat. A such, this blog is not as much an attempt to enlighten as it is to lament, complain and wallow. Hardly a more appealing solution than the 12 steps.

    But hey, if the purveyors of this blog choose to use it to piss into the wind as opposed to being constructive or promoting something they feel is more effective, that is their choice.

    ["The success rate is the same as doing nothing at all. Faith healing simply does not work. Zero percent efficacy is reason enough to reject treatment for any condition, whether it is alcoholism or some other psychological or medical condition."]

    You assume that those who the 12 step program has helped would have improved without it. This is faulty thinking. Even if only 5% of a given group of people with cancer could be helped by a treatment, they and their families would be quite grateful. BTW faith, placebo and power of suggestion all work to some degree.

    Anyway, have fun marinating in the wankerism and reactionary negativity that is the admitted basis of this blog. I'm done here.

    • M A

      "You assume that those who the 12 step program has helped would have improved without it. This is faulty thinking. Even if only 5% of a given group of people with cancer could be helped by a treatment, they and their families would be quite grateful. BTW faith, placebo and power of suggestion all work to some degree."

      Those who have quit while using AA, quit because they chose to quit, not because of AA. AA just happened to be their faith of choice at the time. Faith healing simply doesn't work, regardless of whether you are under its spell, and want it to work.

      Goodbye. Thank you for your serenity rants.

  • "The difficulty of a dogma is not a basis to denigrate it’s validity."

    Difficulty? There's nothing difficult about AA if you're able to stop thinking, turn off the cognitive dissonance.

    So you're telling me that I could claim that wearing green socks on Thursdays keep me sober, just because it is ridiculous is no reason to reject that method?

    "what works for some may not be effective for others"
    So all methods are valid?

    I reject the green socks method as I do AA. A treatment method need to be able to show that it has some validity in order to be considered treatment. When a treatment method does not improve on the success rate of no treatment at all, you cannot consider the treatment method valid. AA is a fine example.

    • friendthegirl

      I should have included that in my list of Unofficial, Unofficial AA Slogans: "It's just too difficult for you." *snap*

    • speedy0314


      the phrase, "grasping at straws" comes to mind.


  • Winter

    If it quacks like cult and walks like a cult, it's a cult.

    When I looked for something on the web over 5 years ago about detoxing at home I ended up in a treatment center that cost $17,000 for 30 days and had super crappy food and linens, mostly paid for by my health insurance. We started with meditation in the early morning followed by beegbook studies, 12×12 studies, and meetings every night. The manager of the place is an amazingly charismatic speaker, and in retrospect as crazy as they come.

    When I was a "true believer" I said stupid shit about how gawd led me to that place because I didn't realize going in I would get to study the beegbook and get a whole new family of chosen ones (my sponsors favorite description of the inner circle) and way to live. Arg!

    If I had come across this blog 5 years ago I might still be married instead of having left my ex husband of 16 years after less than a year in the cult. "You'll either grow together or you'll grow apart" the manipulating opportunists told me.

    I'm glad this blog and places like it exist today on the web because I need to hear rational explanations of why I ended up living in my sponsor's crappy rental housing, giving a lot of my money and belongings away to her, having my kids babysit her kids for free a lot ("gratitude is action word" after all), and generally being used and abused by a bunch of narcissists and psychopaths who said I was angry and would die when I finally escaped them.

    I watched it happen to scores of others, I participated in the inner circle of my home group for 4 years, and I scoffed at people on meds (they're not sober by gawd), and shook my head over those who were constitutionally incapable and stated passionately that the deaths were necessary so I could live, along with other appalling and illogical behavior.

    I need to hear other people say that insurance and tax dollars going to the indoctrination centers is wrong, but that the fight is tough because of the entrenchment of AA in the government and in the minds of ignorant everyday people.

    Rock on donewithaa!

    • Pinkcuda

      "If I had come across this blog 5 years ago I might still be married instead of having left my ex husband of 16 years after less than a year in the cult. “You’ll either grow together or you’ll grow apart” the manipulating opportunists told me.

      I’m glad this blog and places like it exist today on the web because I need to hear rational explanations of why I ended up living in my sponsor’s crappy rental housing, giving a lot of my money and belongings away to her, having my kids babysit her kids for free a lot (”gratitude is action word” after all), and generally being used and abused by a bunch of narcissists and psychopaths who said I was angry and would die when I finally escaped them".

      Where were you when I was selling Amway??

      • friendthegirl


        Will you help me get a handle on your position? Should an alcoholic approach AA with an open mind or not? And if not, then by what standard are they to judge correct AA from bogus AA?

        • friendthegirl

          I should say "by what authority" should they judge correct AA? And if the authority is the literal interpretation of the first edition of the Big Book, for instance, how are they to arrive at this conclusion? Will they get this information from AAWS? GSO? Grapevine? Meetings? More meetings? Meetings in different towns? Sponsors? A different sponsor? Message boards? And if they are to use their own alcoholic judgement to divine the difference (before some not-real-AA joker tries to sell them a bridge), how can they (and you) then reconcile the idea that they must abdicate their self-will?


          • Winter

            The treatment center I went to had people there for booze, drugs, eating disorders and who knows what else. The "winners" I got hooked up with back at home all had over 20 years of "sobriety". They were self confessed old guard AA, hating on the "kinder, gentler AA". They too were the "if it's not in the book it's not AA" types. I was told do what we did, do what we tell you, pass everything by three members before you make a decision, etc. and so on. I went to meetings all over my state and the faces changed but the players were the same. People were asked to leave meetings for discussing drugs, minorities weren't welcomed, and service work was pushed heavily. I was treasurer at one point, secretary at another, on an activities committee, went to a regional voting meeting, and was on the foundation that owned the building home group meetings were held in. The section in the original post about milieu control is right on IMHO.

      • Winter

        Typical inner circle/true believer style response. Smart assed, poor attempt at humor, no compassion, no addressing of the first hand account of cult dynamics and a shattered family; a dismissal, in merely a few words. You have no idea how you've validated everything I know about your corrupt religion do you?

        I realize that reading about the truth is scary for you; it's hard to face that what you've been doing is not only false, but detrimental to more people that you have ever imagined. How would you justify the things you've done, the things you've lost, the fellow alcoholics you've treated like shit or silently watched get treated like shit, if what we say is true? What if you had to take responsibility for yourself and your choices instead of thinking to yourself that you have a sick alcoholic mind so that's why you're an ass and it's okay? I know how that is, I used to use that excuse too. It is frightening to you that I am neither dead nor in jail nor drunk after more than a year out of the rewms.

        You have my sympathy. Maybe one day you too can be truly happy, joyous and free, and able to trust yourself, and have original thoughts and feel your feelings and be okay with them. You know, when you're alone you're not really behind enemy lines. Or maybe you are, I can only speak for myself I guess.

        Ciao bella!

        • friendthegirl

          Hi Winter,

          Wow, we are getting some stellar comments today! Thanks!

  • "I think a distinction should be made between treatment centers, the treatment industry and many 12 step orgs. To my knowledge there are few or no treatment centers for ACAs or ACOAs (Adult Children Of Alcoholics), Codependents (CODAs), Alanons or many of the other many 12 step groups. AA aside, that kinda cuts into the profit motive theory behind promotion of the 12 step movement."

    That points more to the 12step movement being a cult.

  • Pinkcuda

    FTG said
    Will you help me get a handle on your position? Should an alcoholic approach AA with an open mind or not? And if not, then by what standard are they to judge correct AA from bogus AA"?

    When an Alcoholic enters AA there is a hint of optomism combined with fear and confusion. They are without a doubt vulnerable and willing to believe anything they hear. Knowing that, I will be the first to admit that what goes on behind the closed doors of an AA meeting is utter bullshit and does not even resemble AA as it was intended. By what standard do they judge real AA from bogus AA? They can't! That is a fact that I can't deny either. This "bogus AA" has spread like a virus throughout AA around the world and I don't see any stopping it either. I try to do my part in sending the original message of AA but I am trumped by those that promise sobriety to the newcomer if the newcomer will help paint the bathroom at someones house. (That's no lie either)
    I have invited people in public and private to un-ass their seat in meetings if they are not there to do AA as AA was intended. That makes me the bad guy when I talk like that because the kinder gentler bunch seems to think we can get sober by hugging each other and passing on catchy phrases. Not to mention giving bad advise that advises people to do anything that goes against the norms of society.
    I can not allow this kind of crap and when I witness it I feel I have a responsibility to the newcomer. All I can do is my part.
    It looks like we have something in common. We both see something wrong with AA, and we agree that AA is probably killing more alcoholics than it is helping. As things are now. Can it be stopped? I don't know. You keep doing what you're doing in speaking out against the message as it's being spread and I'll keep doing what I can to sent the right message(I'm not perfect though) and maybe people will stop getting hurt by something they turn to for help.

    • friendthegirl

      Thanks, Cuda… I guess I didn't need to rephrase my question 🙂

      Well, yes, this is the bottom line, and the point of the blog… I remember you were wondering what the point is. I think that even though we could argue to kingdom come about whether or not AA (in any incarnation) actually works, the argument would entirely moot if there were the oversight and accountability in the rooms and in the treatment industry, as Anna pointed out in her comment today.


    • Laura Johnson

      Pinkcuda says, "I will be the first to admit that what goes on behind the closed doors of an AA meeting is utter bullshit and does not even resemble AA as it was intended. This “bogus AA” has spread like a virus throughout AA around the world and I don’t see any stopping it either."

      Uh oh. Sounds like you're saying that there's a "Real AA" and a "bogus AA". If we could just get rid of the bogus AA and bring back the Real AA, people who thoroughly followed our path would get sober, and only those who didn't try and weren't honest would fail.

      Pink continues, "That makes me the bad guy when I talk like that because the kinder gentler bunch seems to think we can get sober by hugging each other and passing on catchy phrases."

      Umm, this practice has been in effect since the get-go. The Oxford Group was BIG on slogans and cozy stuff. Slogan-speak and comfy stuff has been an integral part of AA from the beginning.

      Cuda goes on, " Not to mention giving bad advise that advises people to do anything that goes against the norms of society."

      Again, this is not something new that has invaded and brought about the "bogus AA". This has been going on since what would eventually be named "AA" was still the Oxford Group. The vociferous anti-medication faction, for example, is not something new and part of "bogus AA".

      Will "The Real AA" please stand up?

      "I have invited people in public and private to un-ass their seat in meetings if they are not there to do AA as AA was intended."

      And just what was AA intended to do?

      • friendthegirl

        And just what was AA intended to do?

        I look forward to seeing an answer to this question.

      • speedy0314


        "And just what was AA intended to do?"

        now that is the $64,000 question.

        keep 'em comin',


  • Anonymous

    first, aa has to realize that it does not have a clue. second, getof the way.


    I love this blog and the comments. I spent 10 years in AA and it's taken over 2 years away from the place to get rid of some of the perculiar stuff that pervaded my thinking.

    Yes there is a definate argument for AA being called a cult. I am glad to be freee from this organisation and to be able to finally resume a normal existance where I am free to think and assess things for myself without being denigrated and undermined for it.

    AA seems great in the honeymoon stage, instant friends, instant love and acceptance but spend time there are you have to pay the piper. You have to start talking like them otherwise they reject and shun you. If you finally give in to the pressure and start repeating the dogma and incorporating it's beliefs it into your own "story", you're still not going to win because you are never good enough and have to keep doing that damn moral inventory and trying to find what is wrong with you so God can remove it.

    The funny thing was I never recognised that what was wrong with me was called cognitive dissonance… I was disturbed because I wasn't in touch with my own thoughts and feelings. Those thoughts and feelings that were negative about AA.

    Anyway it was an interesting experience but I am glad it is behind me.

    I really wish the treatment industry would wise up and stop drawing on superstiitous, religious thinking to try and help people who have lost control of their lives and were drinking heavily.

    It's all very sad.

    • Groovecat

      ex cult baby said "I really wish the treatment industry would wise up and stop drawing on superstiitous, religious thinking to try and help people who have lost control of their lives and were drinking heavily."

      nothing will make a person disregard facts so much as his livelihood depending on his ignorance of them.

      "don't confuse me with the facts," they say." i know what i know, and nothing, not even facts will change my mind!" that is real cult thinking.

      "AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the world over."
      "…in the absence of proven scientific efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure of proper separation between church and state."
      (The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, George E. Vaillant, page 266.)

      the treatment industry will never wise up because so much money is involved, and also because those who promulgate aa can't and won't admit the obvious truth that aa is basically a superstitious program, one that is based on dabbling in the occult, and one that tries to use faith healing to cure a deadly problem. too many people have too many careers in the treatment industry to admit they were duped, and are in the wrong. huge amounts of money going in people's pockets depend on maintaining the status quo, so the big lie gets repeated over and over. they are not going to say "whoops! i was wrong! this cult of personality called aa really doesn't work to help stop people from drinking and actually kills them! sorry!" (The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983, pages 283-286.
      The same text was reprinted in Vaillant's later book, The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995, on pages 349-352.)

      to do so would mean taking accountability for aa's miserable success rate of 5%. and no one will. (see Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts~ Carol Tavris , Elliot Aronson)

  • H

    The short answer to the treatment business using step is: it is cheap: no development cost; no research cost; gives jobs to steppers. And drunkards and addicts are at the bottom of the list of those who need help. Diseases like heart disease and cancer are higher up on the list. That will not change.

  • H

    I wish to add:
    It is my hope that, one day, the medical professionals, figure out what goes on in AA. But, inertia is a problem.

  • joedrywall

    When I first heard tradition 12 the words principles before personalities stood out. Principles before personalities=doctrine over person. In other words the collective dogma is more important than anyone in the rooms, and that includes its founders!

    Take care

  • H

    yes , got it in one.

    Individual human beings are expendable.

  • Luke

    Get a life seriously. Which organization is not a cult? Whether it is the worship of a religious belief, ritual love of money, success or a large corporation or other aspect of soiety such as the police force, fbi. What is not defined a cult.

    If knew anything about the structures and classifications of any organization you would not even post this thread.

    Start researching society and learn to research a little more before you claim to be an authority on anything would be my advice.

    What system of worship do you identify with?

    Where did your education come from the Cult of University?

    Where you re-educated to believe you are an authority?
    Do you swap and exchange ideas among alumin's?
    Do you worship enlightenment – the pursuit of knowledge?
    Do you engage in rituals such as wearing a mortar and pestle when you receive your degree?
    Do you believe you are the only one with the correct knowledge because someone else in a book told you its true with no experimentation on your behalf?


  • Luke

    In the pursuit of obtaining a degree does one authority in the room teach his principles and all must obey to conform?

    Does that individual have to pay for that financially whilst obtaining nothing put a seal a univer setis into a fraternity, a brother hood. Does modern education follow dogmas?

    The ten dogmas of determinism are:
    Analysis – from Pythagoras, Plato, Euclid, Archimedes, and Galileo comes the powerful train of thought that everything can be explained by analytical mathematical functions. Newton's mathematical laws of motion for celestial bodies was the crowning achievement for analysis. For William Blake, breaking things into their component parts to analyze their workings was "murder to dissect."
    Being – from Parmenides and Plato to Heidegger and Sartre, all Becoming and Time has been seen as a corrupt this-worldly illusion, preventing us from seeing the Great Chain of Being. All events are extratemporal and simultaneous in the eyes of God. Aquinas' totem simul.
    Causality – Aristotle and the great Scholastic thinkers imagined a causal chain from the First Cause to the present moment. Although David Hume said we could not prove causality from mere appearances of Regularity, he nevertheless believed deeply in Necessity.
    Certainty – Descartes' quest for an undeniable fact on which he could erect the Truth of Philosophy and the Christian Religion.
    Physical – The first great determinism was that of the earliest physicists and philosophers Leucippus and Democritus. For them there was nothing but atoms moving through a void. Later the Stoic physicists based physical determinism on the Laws of Nature or the Laws of God, since they identified Nature with God.
    Logic – Logical determinism is the simple idea that events in the future must be as true or false today as they will be after they happen. Aristotle doubted this in his famous discussion of the Sea Battle.
    Mechanism – If classical mechanics could explain the motions of the heavens as the result of natural laws, the same laws might explain human beings, including the individual mind and society. Enlightenment philosophers wrote of "Man as Machine." Planetary motions and mental processes were compared to mechanical clockworks.
    Necessity – Necessity is often opposed to chance. In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated. Nothing is contingent. From Leucippus to the Stoics, Leibniz, and Spinoza
    Reason – The idea that the universe must be rational – because its designer was rational, because thought would not be possible without reason, because natural laws must be rational, etc. – convinced many thinkers that reason allows only one future, and only one possible choice for the rational will.
    Truth – The idea that one man, one religion, or one state possesses the One Truth has been one of the most destructive ideas in the history of thought.

  • Luke

    Then there is the further question of what is the relationship of thinking to reality. As careful attention shows, thought itself is in an actual process of movement.
    David Bohm

    The quantum theory, as it is now constituted, presents us with a very great challenge, if we are at all interested in such a venture, for in quantum physics there is no consistent notion at all of what the reality may be that underlies the universal constitution and structure of matter. – David Bohm

    So what is anything. My advice is if you wish to believe AA is a cult go for it.
    But do not engage in dialogue talking about cults and mind control techniques full knowing that any dialogue or discussion sets into causation of events of thought reform based upon another's suggestion.

    Organizations such as AA's do a lot of good. Whether people adhere to such a system is theirs.

    Seriously don't claim to be an authority on subjects you obviously know little about and meanwhile quote others to gain audience perspective that you have any authority at all.

    Go live your life and stop spreading your ideologies and thought reform.

    • "Organizations such as AA’s do a lot of good."

      AA has the same success rate as no treatment at all, but the people who fail in AA tend to fail more spectacularly. Higher rates of binge drinking, more rearrests for alcohol-related offenses, more hospitalizations, and a higher mortality rate.

      Any treatment method that does not improve upon the rate of spontaneous remission is not a valid treatment method.

      I don't call AA a cult, but rather cult-like or cult lite, mainly because it only gives people like you a reason to dismiss anything else I have to say. But I first started getting the feeling something was wrong when members told me I would die if I left the group.

    • AnnaZed

      Nice effort Luke, the goggling of "quantum theory" and Aristotle (who by the way was not a "scholastic thinker") must have taken you some sincere effort. "Go to any lengths" am I right!

      For your own future reference the expression "get a life" was pretty much confined to teen aged girls in the 1980s where its scathing message resonated with the "Clueless" generation, (he recent death of Brittany Murphy may have brought it to mind) as a lead in to an intellectual argument in this millennium not so much.

  • Luke

    As the title of your site suggests "Stinkin Thinkin" if you can do a better job, go do it instead of muckraking.

  • Luke

    Start to focus on positives in life instead of focusing on what you perceive as negative and actually do something about it?

    Create a better system than AA. Create an organization that works together as one body to achieve a target.

    lol. Almost like a family… lol.. a cult. You could pay your workers. Go to work barbeques, sports events, (fellowship meetings) to create a family atmosphere at work. Re educate you employers to become better team members with a shared collective mode of operation. Use incentive schemes to get the corporations workers, team, "family" to work harder and create more goods.

    Just think if all workers all shared a common value or belief in a philosophy? ie. Religion you could write a paper on if stinkin thinkin's websites was a cult?

    You could setup a blog perhaps to share your ideologies in contrast to other opposing negative thought systems that oppose you own and label them a cult whilst implicating that yours is not?

    In this blog you could get blog members who sign up their contact details to create an information database perhaps and send this on to corporations for a profit or even continue changing public opinion whilst being in constant contact with a membership through the internet.

    We could all worship creating negativity in the world and calling each other cults.

    Hypothetically speaking of Course… and if you proved that some organisation was negative you could attract a following and write a book about it and engage in public speaking. People could worship you…

    You could get a cult following… thousands of members all wanting to hear every word.


    • I work in mental health, primarily with those with coexisting substance abuse. There are evidence-based practices already in place that yield a higher success rate than AA.

  • Kevin Dickson

    You guys are hilarious. AA is a cult??? My group has been meeting for 35 years and we have $111.00 in our bank account. If…..somebody hadn’t accidentally left the meeting place open yesterday, we wouldn’t have been able to meet, because nobody knows who has the keys for December. Our CULT leader last nite was a 77 year old Mexican man who cooks the Rotisserie Chickens at Costco. Ooooooo!!!! Scary Cult!!!!

    You’ve dedicated your lives AND a website to THIS????
    No offense but that qualifies you as CRAZY by anyone’s definition.
    You are exactly like that atheist who spent his life writing books about the NON existence of God. Nobody read them and God either wouldn't or couldn’t care less.
    Only a crazy person would not see the futility in that.

    But don’t think I haven’t any empathy for you. I know what it’s like to BELIEVE you are an intellectual giant and have some uneducated common laborer make you look stupid in an AA meeting. I just know better than to dedicate my life to nursing resentments. I’ve also learned the difference between wisdom and intelligence. Thank God for that!!

    Good luck with your little project here.

    • Uberdog

      Nice to meet you Kevin,

      As you have read a full paragraph or two, formed an opinion and chose to defend your religion so vigorously, one might believe you came to make a statement rather than discuss fact. I choose to discuss fact with you.

      Fact: Cults aren't about money. It's about control.

      Fact: AA's leadership has been transferred to the book itself as the founders are dead. No one disagrees with the book

      Fact: Some AA old-timers are skilled at cooking rotisserie chickens at Costco.

      The general feeling I get here has been, AA has cult like tendancies rather than full on cult as it were but we agreee to disagree as it should be reviewed on a case by case basis, as there is certainly a difference between the Q group in Midtown (disbanded now, I believe) and your group. We do discuss the similarities at times but more importantly we talk about the astounding failure rate of AA and the 12 step treatment industry in general. AA shares an identical success rate with nothing at all, yet has a higher mortality rate than any treatment modality and what can be done to make it better. We talk about that a lot.

      I note your reference of "time" of the group/self. 35 years you point out. Whether it is your "time" sober or the length of "time" that your group has been in existence, "time" is an interchanging commodity in AA to prove who is most right. More "time", more right. More people with more time, more right. More groups, more people, more time….you get the picture. You do, you demonstrated it.

      As far as dedicating our lives to this, hardly. I spend a lot less time on alleged "recovery" activities and enjoying life much more than I ever did in AA. I did hear quite a bit about dedicating one's life to AA or "my life is mortgaged to AA" while I was in. I would have to say that it's a lot easier over here.

      Get a cold drink, read a few posts, stroll over to the orange papers and check out all that site has to offer as well.
      Let's not practice contempt prior to investigation.

    • H

      Nice rant Kevin.
      I am underwhelmed.

  • joedrywall

    I can see why people who have not been in a treatment center wouldn't think that AA is a cult. I was never in a center and for the most part my AA experience has been pretty good. To paraphrase Anna a little, if people just met in church basements threw in a buck or two and left there would be few critics of AA. That is the benevolent side of AA that many folks think of.
    However, AA is very big on protecting the AA name and staying out of public controversy. So it has organizations that are "not AA" do it for them. Such as:

    Basically an AA member can do whatever he or she wants provided he/she does not disclose the fact that he/she is an AA member, and that includes push the AA agenda. What burns me is that members who have been around it as long as I have don't see any hypocrisy in that.

    Take Care

  • Kevin Dickson

    Basically an AA member can do whatever he or she wants…PERIOD. AA has no component for enforcing any of the traditions that it's members voluntarily comply with. What is going to happen if you get caught breaking your anonymity??? Is somebody in AA going to SCOWL at you?? Maybe even go, so dreadfully far, as to suggest you might want to…OMG….re-think your actions??? Good lord…how brutal. Your precious ego could be damaged for ever. LOL!!! There are NO jack booted AA Nazis. AA doesn't even own and enforceable copywrite on it's literature and logo. Both have been used without permission by other groups for years. Face it…you guys are suffering from paranoid delusions.

    • joedrywall

      Perhaps I should have explained myself a little better. Basically an AA member would not be considered in violoation of any traditions by joining forces in front groups. People could say that things like Hazelden is Not AA, but it is founded by AA members and moves much more of the literature than AA actually does on its own.
      We could say that Celebrity Rehab, Intervention, and things such as The Straights are Not AA either, but if you have seen anything on TV they have the steps and traditions in their original form right on the wall.
      I guess when the traditions where put into place the key word in them was "group" because they work great for an individual group that follows them, but GSO sure don't. To believe they do would really be deluded.

      The following site was put up by AA members who admit to much of the BS.

    • A person who does not possess "time" is browbeaten, verbally assaulted, and occasionally with threats of violence by those who do. You don't see it because you have it. And most likely don't care because it isn't you.

      I was never told to "rethink my actions", I was told to sit down and shut up, take the cotton out of my ears and stuff it in my mouth if I dared ask a question. I've had oldtimers screaming in my face. Not quite what I was looking for when I was looking for help.

    • mikeblamedenial

      Basically an AA member can do whatever he or she wants…PERIOD. ((((As long as they have no court slip to get signed, or job or spouse to lose, in which case, they either walk the AA chalk or lose big-time. Conditions which, btw, the majority of AA newcomers are in.)))
      AA has no component for enforcing any of the traditions that it’s members voluntarily comply with. (((Sure it does. Sponsors and others often report compliance to residential staff, parole officers, HHS agencies, and others.)))
      What is going to happen if you get caught breaking your anonymity??? (((Anonymity is a non-issue in AA, no more than a PR ploy. AA has never been anonymous)))
      Is somebody in AA going to SCOWL at you?? Maybe even go, so dreadfully far, as to suggest you might want to…OMG….re-think your actions??? Good lord…how brutal. Your precious ego could be damaged for ever. LOL!!! (((No you are just being a quarrelsome dick, and a very unoriginal, or inspiring one)))
      There are NO jack booted AA Nazis. AA doesn’t even own and enforceable copywrite on it’s literature and logo. (((Copy and distribute some 2nd, 3rd, or fourth edition free bigbooks, and let me know how it works out for you. AAWS will be on you like stink on rice)))Both have been used without permission by other groups for years. (((Simply not true, at least on the bigbook issue. Its trademark logo lawsuits were dropped when AAWSGSO realized that they would lose.)))

      Face it…you guys are suffering from paranoid delusions (((You clearly have no understanding of the meaning of either word.)))

  • H

    Nice shut down Kevin. Don't quit your day job, though

  • Kevin Dickson

    No really……I'm serious. This is a great site. It reminds me a lot of the 9/11 Conspiracy and Obama Birth Certificate websites….only with poorer graphics and worse writing. Don't have a day job…..I'm retired…but hey….thanks for caring.

    • H

      You serious? You are just an aa comedian. You all type alike. Don't know one from the other.

  • Kevin Dickson

    You know. Based on the most universally accepted criteria for a cult….AA actually scores much lower than the Unitarian Church. They have leaders. There is no place in the academic world where your site would be viewed as anything other than the angry rantings of some disgruntled former AA member. Why?? Because that's what it is….pure and simple. The fact that there are more than one of you hardly changes a thing. I'm glad you found a place you could all go to be together….LOL!!!

  • H

    Mister, do you have a reason to post here?

  • Kevin Dickson

    To uberdog:

    Friend….advising me, or anyone, to take a stroll through your site, is a lot like encouraging someone to go hiking on the Kansas plains.

    After you go ten feet you are just going to see the same thing over and over again for hundreds of miles.

    I know you can find a million ways to justify a resentment. I’ve done so…..myself. I found THAT to be a phenomenal waste of time and human effort. Especially when all I ever had to do was walk away and be done with them.

    AA is NOT my religion. But….don't bother trying to guess what my religion is. You wouldn't get it right if I gave you a hundred years. I found one thing I needed in AA. What I wanted was help beating my alcoholism. The people of AA gave me just that. They have never expected or demanded ANYTHING in return….which is a lot better than 99.9% of all other human institutions.

    You remind me of a lot of the EX Catholics I hear in meetings. They talk incessantly about WHY they left the Church….when it is obvious to anyone who hears them….that they never really did.

    • Uberdog

      Actually Kevin, it's not my site, nor is it one dimensional. Myself and others have found it most interesting. It may not be as beautiful as Kansas but beauty is in the eye of the beholder isn't it? (contempt prior to investigation is a two way street isn't it?)

      AA is a religion as found by the supreme court over and over. Whether or not you accept their decision, or not, your argument is with them, not me, this site or anyone involved in the slightest. Your choice to deny involvement in your own religion is most odd, yet remains your right.

      To be reminded of ex-catholics you hear in meetings….A resentment of yours obviously, It must be one of the million ways you have spoken of to waste your time and effort. Maybe you can find enough people with enough "time" that you can overrule their judgement and start thinking for them.

      Your "rank" of a person who allegedly hasn't drank in an extended period has no value in the real world. Only in AA. This is the true cause of the misdirected anger towards this site and it's users. I do not hold your "time" valuable and it causes you to seem less important that you would like for you to appear. This explains the trolling and puffing up of the chest to make you appear larger than you actually are.

      C'mon Kevin, time to really open up and tell us how we threaten your rudimentary belief system, built with the latest in playing card technology.

    • Well Kevin, considering that 95% of all newcomers leave within a year, and over 60% arrive under some sort of mandate, you should be able to understand where all these disgruntled ex-members are coming from.

      Why don't you do something about it? Tell the folks in AA at state and regional level that they ought to stop playing footsies with the courts and the government agencies that mandate AA. Do something productive with your time.

  • H

    To Kevin: You do an excellent job of putting people in 'their place'. Now, go back to you silly little room. And brag about big brave you told them 'aa haters ' off.

    Now, sod off, wanker

  • Kevin Dickson

    This is too much fun!! (Now, sod off, wanker???) How truly demonstrative of the character of your following.

    I guess it's like in the old days…."No Irish need apply here….sod off wanker!!!" LOL!!!

    I guess you aren't nearly as committed to truth and dialog as you claim.

  • H

    Yes, sod off wanker.
    I am being kind to you.

  • Kevin Dickson

    Well then thank you. I must infer from the FACT, that you believe you are being kind when you say so,…that YOU consider "wanking" to be a suitable use of your valuable time. Therefore In LIKE "kindness" I free you of the obligation to straighten me out so that you may return to favorite form of entertainment. I would also point out that there are far more suitable websites for people who engage in that. Perhaps one of your fellow travelers would direct you….

  • H

    sod off wanker

  • Kevin Dickson

    wow…uberdog….puffing…..honestly??? Best you can do???

    The supreme court once determined that Negroes were not human beings. In fact, that particular judgment has never been rescinded and caused the death of 600 thousand Americans.. And what are the members of the supreme court?? Let's see…in my estimation….they are pretty much, lawyers in long black robes. And we are all aware of the infallibility of lawyers….aren't we???

    My observation of Ex Catholics could just have easily been a reference to Ex Smokers. It was the person's inability to LET GO that I was pointing out. But then…you know that as well as I do. You derived another meaning solely because it better suited your argument. So much for the integrity of your position.

    I found your site…ironically enough….when I was trying to compile a list of things one might want to suggest to an AA newcomer. Your list of 12 Pseudo Rights came up by the purest of accidents. Damn you Google!!! Being an old compulsive, when it comes to poking a stick into the internet equivalent of a hornets nest…I simply couldn't resist posting. To your undying credit ……you have not disappointed… the least. On the other hand…the gentleman named H… his moniker….has been way too short to be any REAL fun.

    I suspect we could eventually come to be friends. But that would require that I return here……something I'm not likely to do after today. I admire your intelligence even AS I feel disappointment with your conclusions. You are…..sadly…one of those who came through AA…and heard everything we said….except….what we actually said. For that……I am truly sorry. Feel free to email me anytime……respectfully KD

    • mikeblamedenial

      Wow, and here I thought you were a McClown sock.

      • Kevin Dickson

        LOL!! A McClown Sock. I haven't the slightest idea what that is……and probably don't want to know either. But Merry Christmas (or happy whatever the hell it is you celebrate) to you and yours all the same.

        • mikeblamedenial

          With a hearty "Hail, Satan" to you, as well, demonboy.

    • H

      go to hell, or to a meeting. Whichever is closer. Turkey vulture

    • Kevin,

      I work in mental health. I can't let go because I butt heads with two-hatters and people who believe that AA is some kind of magic cure-all on a regular basis.

      A raging schizophrenic being tormented by devils takes a drink to quiet the voices in his head gets labeled an alcoholic and shuffled off to a 12step rehab and/or meetings. You don't want them there, they don't want to be there, but AA needs warm bodies to maintain the fiction of a million members strong in the US. How many are just filling seats, waiting to get out that door?

      You and your buddies want to sit around some church basement, bragging about what bad alcoholics you were in the day before finding Gawd, go right ahead. But the system that is in place is broken. AA does not work for most people and certainly does not work for those with moderate to severe mental illnesses.

      I'm doing my damnedest on my end, how 'bout doing something useful on your end instead of poking a hornet's nest?

  • H

    the same to you and the horse you rode in on, peckerwood.

  • Kevin Dickson

    Geez H….you'd make a great pet. I bet after a year or so I'd have ya trained so that you didn't p*ss all over yourself anymore……LOL!!! You're probably already used to a cage and restraints.

  • Kevin Dickson

    OK….now you've gone to far. A Turkey Vulture??? I've been called many things……but never that. And by a GIMP no less. How will I ever live it down. Look…..I'm just yanking your chain pal. You don't have to take it any more personal than you want to. I don't really think anything bad of you. I'm sure when they get your meds just right…….you are a stellar human being. Merry Christmas buddy!

  • H

    I don't give a damn whether you are 'yanking my chain' or not. If you are, have proved that are nothing more than arrant fool. Which is your problem not mine.

    grow up, turket vulture.

  • Kevin Dickson

    raysny…how is it that someone with such a low regard for the truth….ended up working the health care field. I pity your clients. We don't recruit people into AA through the court system. They just keep on sending them. There is no shortage of drunks out here…so if the government wants theirs back they can have them. If your problem is with government agencies…why isn't this site called "Stinking Government….Muckraking the court system."

    Your remark which states: (A person who does not possess “time” is browbeaten, verbally assaulted, and occasionally with threats of violence by those who do. You don’t see it because you have it. And most likely don’t care because it isn’t you.) is nothing other than an intentional, bold faced lie. People generally lie in arguments when they KNOW they are wrong. That's what they do.
    Since 1977, I have been NEW in AA 3 times. I have attended AA in 10 different states and just as many foreign countries. I have never seen any one treated in a fashion even vaguely resembling that which you describe. The pecking order in AA is, and always has been…sober today….and not sober today…that's it.

    The remark about being told to take the cotton out of your ears is also a lie. If you'd gone to enough meetings you would have learned that is the AA equivalent of an urban myth repeated at meetings by SOME AA old timers in regard to "How it was….way back when." It is a story often repeated but never directed at anyone. I find it totally funny, that you not only bought it, but you were foolish enough to repeat it in here. Isn't that a lot like the guy who forwards conspiracy emails without checking SNOPES first so that he doesn't end up looking like an idiot??

    So……if your going to lie to make your points…try selling that stuff to Sweeny. If you want to have an honest discussion I'd be delighted. Remember raysny…you can fool the fans…but you cannot fool the players.

    • Littlebuddy

      AA has always encouraged recruitment through the court system, read your own GSO Guidelines.
      I attended AA for twelve years, and witnessed much of the same behavior Ray describes, repeatedly.
      I largely became indifferent to it because I was compliant and it wasn't happening to me, but it was still happening.
      So, feel free to accuse me of lying too, but our experiences are as valid as yours.

      • H

        'Dickson' can accuse me of lying any time he wants as well.

    • How much of it in the US?

      If you have as much AA experience as you claim, and say you never saw any of what I described, it is you that is the liar. Or is it that now you're tired, you have selective memory?

      From a pro-AA site:

  • H

    Dickson — idle hands are the devil's workshop. Obviously you have nothing better to do with your time than to come here and type fatuous drivel.

    The relationship with the authorities is symbiotic. You do know what symbiotic means, don't you.

    keep typing here. Unto the end of time. I want everyone to know how brilliant you are.

  • Uberdog

    Wow. Your little rant has served so very well in reminding us why we chose to leave AA, publicly decry the sexual and mental abuse that goes on inside the rooms and not letting us forget what and utter failure AA has been to you and others like you.
    You have been "NEW" 3 times. Really. I suggest you were new once, had the same success rate as everybody else and had to come back a few more times before you finally "got it" . Kinda like EST. Here's what really happened. You failed. AA disavowed your actual involvment in AA. You failed and were disavowed again. Upon your success in abstinance AA took full credit. Typcal.
    You don't honestly expect us to forget what we saw, heard and experienced in AA just because you don't like it and it doesn't paint your religion in a more favorable light.
    Since you made it here doing research for your latest recruiting drive don't you think in the interest of open mindedness and honesty you could place a link to for your recruits to peruse. I mean if you are so very sure of your postion and AA being what it is, what do you honestly have to fear by presenting both sides of the argument?. It may be advantageous for you to "prep" these recruits that there are several groups out there that dismisses "faith healing" as actual science.
    I haven't see an instance in which Ray has lied. I have seen you use propaganda techniques such as "assuming the major premise" and an abundance of "slogans" that have different meanings due to "loaded language".
    Kevin, you are not reminding us of anything good that any one of us has ever seen in AA and that is the strongest testament to your "program". Remember, you are trying to defend faith-healing. No need to go to snopes.
    You CAN fool the indoctrinated and you, player, have been fully indoctrinated. You are the Mark.

  • Kevin Dickson

    Fatuous Drivel??? If it's fatuous, I would think someone like you, would have no problem simply disregarding it. As it is however…..H has his butt cheeks pinched so tight in anger….he could pull a tractor down the street with a guitar string. LOL!!!

    And symbiotic means…..a mutually beneficial relationship. It's almost always….a good thing. Our current relationship could be seen as symbiotic. I know I'm enjoying it.

    • mikeblamedenial

      You probably find the relationship between leeches, cockroaches, and their hosts to be symbiotic, as well.

  • H

    keep typing, kevin

    • mikeblamedenial

      Or not.

  • Kevin Dickson

    Raysny…I'm sticking by what I said. You are lying…not that honesty has much of a following on this site. If you were a MAN and you saw this….your story would have included what you did to stop it. Mine sure would have. I can honestly say I have NEVER stood by silently while another human being was abused. I'm sure you haven't either.

    Now let me tell you about all the wonderful things the Medical Community has done for me. If I had to rate most of the treatment centers I have been in on a scale of 1 to 10, they would all get a -8 because they essentially did more harm than good.

    There are far more nurse Ratchetts in the field of Substance Abuse than there are Dr. Phils.

    In 1996 after 16 years of good sane AA Recovery, I fell off a telephone pole and broke my neck.

    By the time I got through 4 major reconstructive surgeries I was hopelessly addicted to opiate pain medications. I stayed that way for 4 years. Wanting to get off of them I went to see my pain Doc for help. Unfortunately the same "Medical Professional" who had spent three years prescribing boat loads of Oxycontin for me, couldn't see his way clear to prescribing 7 days worth of Atavan, to help me through the withdrawals. So I voluntarily placed myself in a treatment center for detoxification.

    By the second day they had me taking 5 pills a day, two of which were usually used on patients with severe bipolar disorder. I have never been diagnosed as either depressed or bipolar. Trying to talk was like attempting to push words out of a toothpaste tube. I told my room mate I wasn't going to take them anymore. He warned me that they would use that as a means to get a county commitment and milk my insurance company. Apparently that is what had happened to him and he had been there 60 days.

    I told the nurses I was done taking their pills and they sent me to a consult with the Head Psychiatrist. 20 minutes later I was being told by some strange foreign woman with bad English and a red dot on her forehead, that I had better take my pills or they would have to have me committed. 45 minutes later I had climbed the fence, hitched a ride, and was on my way back to Corpus Christi.

    The only TREATMENT that I received there ($12,000 for 72 hours) was two one hour undirected group sessions where the chain smoking facilitator watched her watch while counting off the seconds until her next smoke break.

    I filed a complaint with the Texas State Medicals Examiners office. Not only was it successful but they told me there were 10 other similar complaints filed against that treatment facility that year. They were over medicating patients to allow them to control more clients with less staff…….there by increasing the profitability of their hospital.

    I have heard similar horror stories from dozens of people over the years. Try to get someone help in ANY city without insurance or funding and see what happens. At least AA is free. If you want to dedicate your life to fixing something…..and you are a Medical Professional….how about you clean your own side of the street.

    Since 1970 I have been in 5 treatments centers and they were all virtually the same. Usually they had a couple of the "fixer" types who thought they could talk you out of being an addict and then there were the 8 to 5 types who couldn't honesty give a sh*t less what happened to you. So don't give me a bunch of altruistic BS about working in the "Medical Field." Most of you "Medical Professional" types are worst than Fundamentalist Evangelicals when it comes to useless information and dogma.

    • Makes no difference what you claim, that phase is well known, apparently by everyone but you. These practices are well known, it shows there is something wrong with your version of reality. Even hard core steppers will admit to these practices while trying to make excuses for them, denying they occur discredits all you have to say.

      Your Great Escape scenario must wow them in the rooms, but having experienced countless drug- and drunk-alogues in the rooms I know to give your story the same respect I give bar tales. (Hey, it's just an alcoholic talking, right?)

      So you had a problem with a medical facility, that has no bearing on our discussion, nor does that have anything to do with me or my truthfulness. I said I am a mental health care worker, not a medical professional.

  • H

    None of that has anything to do with this site or AA.

    Just exactly what does that have to with calling Ray Smith a liar?

  • Kevin Dickson

    I'm sorry raysna…….I thought you had inferred, by your earlier comments, that you were a professional. Why else would you bring your vocation into the discussion??? Forgive me for giving you credit you obviously did not deserve. As for my story wowing them in AA. I don't ever mention my drug addiction in AA. That would be inappropriate and unnecessary. AA is for alcoholics. I don't really talk much at all at meetings. I save the jabber jawing for my poor sponsees.

    Well….I'm making fudge. (Native Pecan and Walnut). I'd give you some if you was here. I'll let you return to whatever it is you think you are doing here. I hope you will be big enough to allow an old "AA dick" to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

    For what it's worth to you…I've always left the boys with probation papers….alone. I could never understand why everyone made such a fuss over them. I mean..of all the people at a meeting…they are the MOST likely to come back. They have to. LOL!!! I wouldn't want AA foisted on myself, or anyone else against their will. So… the best of my ability I will go forth and make sure THAT never happens. You have accomplished that at least.

    • I'm a paraprofessional, and I work mostly with clients who have a history of substance abuse."Credit I don't deserve"? I happen to be trained to provide alcohol and drug treatment using evidence based practices that yield a higher success rate than AA.

      It's not just a fuss about people with probation papers, people are mandated to AA by all sorts of government agencies or employee assistance programs. Over 60% of new members arrive under some sort of mandate, and I'd venture that the majority of the rest didn't join without being pushed into it and any attraction they may feel for the program is based on false advertising.

      You joke about your "poor sponsees", but I feel for them. You come across as an AAhole who brags about knowledge of addiction coming from the School of Hard Knocks and AA.

      As far as your passive aggressive bullshit, calling me a liar then inviting me for fudge, I think you can imagine what I'd tell you to do with your fudge.

      Now if you ever decide to engage in a civil conversation, I'll be around. But next time bring some facts to the table and not just petty taunts.

      Oh yeah, have a nice Christmas.

  • Kevin Dickson

    See…….don't you feel better??

    So now you're a paraprofessional?? Come on….give me this one last dig. Here it comes. What's that?? A sky diving drug councilor?? LOL!!!

    But honestly. I'll admit to being an asshole…..just don't blame it on AA. I've always been an asshole. I came by it naturally. I learned it from my Dad….who was a professional asshole. Now…he wasn't a skydiving professional ass hole like some people I know…but he was definitely and asshole.

    And passive aggressive. Not hardly. Just plain old aggressive. I've worked construction all my life. It came with the territory.

    I am honestly sorry if I ruffled your feathers…….so much. I owe a lot to AA. Right or wrong….I am going to defend it. I mean…my wife can be a major irritant…..but you wouldn't want to say that in front of me. The same goes for AA.

    And, so I admit…I was totally out of line. Showed my ass, I did. I should probably be totally embarrassed. But…I am not. What I don't understand is why you feel you have to trash us….or anyone for that matter. I mean…..if you have truth on your side….shouldn't your path be clear enough without trying to clear the trail behind you. That's what I don't get.

    My Holiday wishes are sincere…believe it…or don't. I'll pray for all of us. Perhaps in the coming year we'll lose our taste for conflict….and learn to get along.

    My religion….is existentialism. The theistic type. In my belief system…we both sought this encounter as an opportunity act out our particular destiny. Neither of us can blame the other for what has occurred here…..because we both……as individuals…chose it. You do understand that….don't you??

  • H

    Kevin — what you type and why you type it is your business and your responsibility. I will not take the time and trouble to humor you.
    I am done with you.

  • When AA adheres to its tradition of "attraction rather than promotion", a lot of us won't feel the need to target AA. If people were coerced into the Moonies or Scientology, I'd be speaking out against them. (BTW, they both claim a higher success rate for alcoholism than AA and they might be right. Doesn't make it acceptable.)

    AA may not have turned you into an asshole, but assholes thrive in AA. Bragging about it doesn't show humility, guess that must be one of those character flaws your Higher Power hasn't deemed to remove, huh? And for your sponsees' sake, do you know the difference between humility and humiliation? I ask because most the the braggart sponsors I've met don't seem to know there is a difference.

    How long do you think an AA site would put up with one of us showing up? Instant banishment, we're dangerous because we're speaking the truth, backed up with stats & studies, facts & figures. The folks that run this site allow AA members to come here because as long as there is discussion, there's a chance people might learn something. We didn't come up with the slogan "there are none too dumb for the aa program but many are too smart".
    (BTW: you can find that and the 'taking the cotton' at:… , a pro-AA site)

    I'm quite used to AA members who believe they know everything who are happy to tell me about it. Takes more than that to ruffle my feathers, I deal with your kind a lot, online and real life. I only respond in kind; talk to me civilly and you'd receive civility in return; act like an asshole and be treated as one. Maybe you did learn it from your dad, still no excuse. Even if you are retired, looks to me like you have some growing up to do. Not an easy thing when you continue to surround yourself with people who will put up with your nonsense.

    "Right or wrong….I am going to defend it." That says a lot. You don't care that many who try AA and fail end up worse for their exposure to powerlessness, the disease theory, ego-deflation, 13th stepping, and a litany of other abuses? "Some must die so that others of us might live" right? Or haven't you heard that one either? Don't try to tell me "it happens everywhere" because in other places where adults congregate, people speak out when they see these things happen. In AA, people are too afraid to rock the boat, to question the magic of the program.

    AA is a combination of faith healing, magical thinking, and peer pressure. That kind of confrontational approach works for a minute few. You must be one of them, because you responded to it, and now mirror it. Telling me I don't know what I'm talking about only shows your own ignorance on the subject.

    Why not take a trip down to your local library and read something about recovery that isn't from Hazelden or pro-AA? I'd suggest Fingarette's "Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease". You might learn something.

  • Kevin Dickson

    H…even if you COULD control whether or not you responded again…..which you can't… wouldn't be done with me. I'd be living rent free inside your head for days….and you know it. So here's what I can do for you.

    I'll admit I wronged you….intentionally. I deduced a tender spot on your ego and zoomed right in on it. It didn't take a genius to figure out how to do that and It was pretty low of me to do it. For that I am truly sorry….and publicly apologize.

    • H

      kevin, you are a poltroon.
      You are not a bully, you do not have the belly for it.

  • Kevin Dickson

    How funny. I actually own the book. I also own, two almost identical thesis, by Christians who make the same argument…only their conclusion was that the core of the problem is sin and a lack of discipline. Honestly…these aren't new concepts. Fingarette's book has been around since 1988. That's a lot of years and a lot of peer reviews for a book virtually no one has ever heard of. Thanks for the advice though. After 30 some odd years of living with this dilemma, or disease, or character fault, whatever you want to call it….I've honestly given up trying to understand it. It's like trying to wrap your brain around something as inexplicable as war. It's enough that I knowledge it as part of my destiny. Anything more is just mental gymnastics

    • You own it, but did you read it? It explains what does and doesn't work in AA, backed with statistics and facts, fully footnoted.

  • Kevin Dickson

    By the way raysny…just so that we keep the record straight. Condescension is ALSO a symptom of arrogance. It would seem we are two peas in a pod. The only difference is……I'll admit it.

    • See my above post about responding in kind.

  • Kevin Dickson

    Sure I read it. But it's been years ago. What interested me most at the time was this question. What motivated those people who jumped on his Band Wagon??? Remember this was during the big (albeit short) trend in the field of co-dependency. It seemed that the prevailing notion at the time was that everyone was some kind of victim and nobody was responsible for what they did. We were all just sick.

    Maybe people in the field finally became troubled with the notion that alcoholics in AA were escaping responsibility for THEIR actions. This isn't true of course, but unless you factor in the occasional duality of human behavior it would certainly be easy to make that mistake.

    It's truly ironic that you chose Fingarette's book to defend your position. You do realize that prior to this trend in psychology most insurance companies paid for in house treatment facilities. Alcoholism in the 70's and 80's was big business and research was being funded with money by the bucket loads. After they stopped referring to alcoholism as a disease and began using the term alcohol abuse…it was just one easy step further for the government, and the insurance companies, to make massive cuts in the funds they made available for treatment. The end result was a larger number of alcoholics being outsourced to FREE programs like AA.

    I wonder what his primary motivator was. There are many who think the alcoholic should spend the rest of their sober lives wrapped in shame. Don't get me wrong. He did his research…but everybody is motivated by something. Most people who feel this way have suffered violence at the hands of an alcoholic. This was a huge stumbling block for me personally. As I mentioned earlier, my father was a real prick…and a psychotic violent one at that. Classifying my own alcoholism as a disease meant that I had to rethink my opinion of that drunken bastard. It was not an easy thing to do.

    Today, I don't pay anymore attention to the likes of Fingarette than I do the people who say that "if alcoholism is a disease then I guess Jesus died on the cross for nothing." It's basically the same premise made from another point of view. I don't know what alcoholism is but I'm damn sure I got it.

    If someone else can find another better way to deal with it……more power to him. I've done all the research on alternatives that I plan to do. For better or worse AA works. For me to go out seeking another way, would be like playing Russian Roulette with a revolver that has 8 full chambers and one empty. I just don't like the odds.

  • Why would you have to rethink your father at all? He passed the alcoholic gene onto you and you got the disease. It fits in neatly with AA thought. Hogwash. You became an alcoholic because at some point you drank too much consistently and became addicted.

    You feel AA worked for you, so you'll continue to spread the word, sponsoring people in a program that harms more than it helps. You don't care about other people because you got yours. You don't care to examine any other methods because you're afraid that seeing facts about AA might cause you to be struck drunk. And you call other methods, evidence based practices playing Russian roulette while pushing AA, the alcoholism treatment method with the highest mortality rate.

    The whole thing about government funding is a distraction. Gorski described it well, the only reason to call alcoholism a disease is for funding:

    I'll refresh your memory on Fingerette:

    Of course insurance companies don't want to pay for 12step treatment, it's a joke. Thousands of dollars to tell people they need AA. Each time. I believe the average is 4.2 times through rehab before people "get it". People do a better job of stopping when they are motivated and determined to stop. AA just wants to hang onto them until they get to that point and claim it as an AA success.

    You want to talk about funding for rehabs? How about the sneaky way Patrick Kennedy and his AA-sponsor Jim Ramstad tacked a provision to guarantee payment for 12step rehabs into the Mental Health Parity Bill, then shoved the whole thing through in the bail-out bill? Pretty slick two-hatters you got there.

    AA has been intertwined with American politics since Marty Mann, and ex-PR woman started the National Council on Alcoholism, pushing AA.

    I believe the most damaging thing that AA has done to date is convince the public that alcoholism is a disease and people cannot get sober on their own, when 80% do exactly that. People should be empowered in order to make healthy choices, we do that by educating people, not handing them some quasi-religious claptrap. And it has spread, everything is now a disease with a 12step group for it. See Peele's "Diseasing of America" or Kaminer's "I'm Dysfunctional, You're Dysfunctional".

    I recently saw a video where the chief medical director at Hazelden denounce the use of anti-craving medications because they don't fit into the "spiritual disease" teachings. Why even bother studying alcoholism if AA is the perfect program? Let's all just study the first 164 pages of the BB and the world would peachy.

    Of course AA members are escaping responsibility, that's one of, if not the most attractive aspects of AA, "It's not my fault I drink, I'm an alcoholic and that's what we do., I have a disease". I couldn't get sober until I got away from AA and took responsibility for my addiction so that I could take responsibility for my recovery.

    • Littlebuddy

      I'm sure that most of the regulars here are aware of this, but regarding that treatment boom of the seventies and eighties that Kevin mentioned, no one was more responsible for that than AA member and super-promoter, Senator Harold Hughes.
      He continued his promotional efforts well after he was out of office.

      "We are full-fledged American citizens who have survived a disease. We need to declare our recoveries and stand up for the urgent need to treat this disease. And please don't start with the anonymity issue: The Traditions refer to disclosing AA membership at the level of press, radio, TV and film. There's nothing in any of the Traditions that says we have to be anonymous as recovering people. We need to get out on the battlefield and tell America that we got well."
      Harold Hughes, 1994

  • Kevin Dickson

    Well I just finished wrapping Christmas Presents and boxing up the fudge and banana bread I made. Me and the Labrador are headed for bed.

    Listen raysny. Sometimes we have a pretty big blind spot when it comes to seeing ourselves as we really are. Do have any idea how bitter you are???? I'm serious friend. You sound awful. Maybe it's the one dimensionality of the written word….but you come across as an absolutely miserable soul. I don't think this AA thing is really your problem. I mean…dude…in the totality of life…it's a tiny, little, thing. Your angst is way disproportionate to the situation. You might want to talk to someone……seriously.

    • The man who has been digitally screaming at me accuses me of being bitter. Surprised you didn't say angry. Or a dry drunk.

      I get to deal with folks after AA chews them up and spits them out. My feelings about AA are not disproportionate to the amount of misery AA has inflicted on my clients so far and my future clients. I have zero respect for those who push AA and sponsors in general. You have no facts, only a claim that AA works because it "worked" for you, that's nothing more than a testimonial. If testimonials were true, I'd be busy making thousands of dollars a day working three hours on the internet instead of talking with you. I believe in my own experiences and facts, not testimonials of people, especially when I can't even look them in the eye.

      You imagine that I have a miserable life because you can't imagine a real life outside the rooms. Your loss, not mine. I have important work, a rewarding volunteer job, I'm married to a woman I fell in love with over 30 years ago, I get to live in the mountains where I see wildlife on a daily basis, and after struggling with depression for decades I've had it under control for several years now. Life is good.

      I'm not the one who came here spoiling for a fight, but I also didn't come here to back down from one. Your taunts and petty insults show the type of man you are. You're a bully, a self-described asshole who thinks that he should have automatic respect for simply quitting drinking. You can't argue with facts, so you have to go for personal attacks. I'm sure being a bully boy in the rooms works for you, but it doesn't wash here (probably not for you in real life either).

    • Tippy Katz

      God AAers are dicks.

      • H

        Tippy, he is all hat no cattle.

      • Some are proud to be called dicks.

  • H

    At the end of the day, they are a no show. Basically, poltroons.


    The proof is in the truth. When AA's learn about the truth of the AA program, they leave. The AA programming can be dangerous to the true believer and those who would listen. My favorite resource is the propaganda reference of The Orange Papers.

    Beware the self fulfilling prophecy of the dark promise; jails, institutions, OR death.

  • H

    LAAME, you are correct.

  • Cuda

    I thought that we discussed here that Bill Wilson never said anything about Jails, Institutions or Death as a result of not going to AA. Somebody is more than welcome to shew us where this was said, but it was not Bill W.
    Debating Technique #5 is to put words into your opponents mouth and then use those words against the opponent.
    Again Bill never said it. It was a fabrication concocted by Orange to add substance to every other fabrication he created without merit.
    In short, the truth is really boring. Since it's really boring it doesn't sell too well and isn't worthy of discussion. Therefore we need to spice it up by creating half truths and outright lies. Since we have no actual fact to back up our statement we create a diversion by pointing out character flaws of someone that's been dead for 40 years. Then we need to point out that Bill died from all those cigarettes he smoked. Why didn't God help him quit smoking?? Since God didn't help Bill quit smoking, AA doesn't work.
    Maybe Bill should go down in history as the biggest strawman of them all.
    AA kills people because Bill cheated on his wife. AA drives people to suicide because Bill has a stupid haircut!
    AA does not believe that girls should have sex anywhere other than a back seat in a bar parking lot. If they do then it must be AAs fault. Once they walk into AA they can blame their lack of values on AA . If they have sex in the back seat of a car outside an AA meeting it's the fault of AA. Then they can go see Ray and tell him how AA took away their virginity and made them want to cut their wrists.
    Orange said that alcoholics are responsible for themselves and their decisions for their lives. Orange said that Alcoholics are not powerless and we can make choices that affect the rest of our lives. This must be true since Orange said it. "Hail Orange"
    Why do we then turn into mindless mush brained zombies when we walk into AA?
    Is it "Powerless of Convenience" or do alcoholics naturally like to blame their problems on others.
    I think it's the latter. Again the real truth doesn't sell too well.

    • mikeblamedenial

      Did someone accuse Bill Wilson of originating that saying? If so, probably because it has been repeated so often for so long in the rooms of AA that it sounds like a Wilson original. It is curious that you accuse others of putting words into their opponents mouths, and then do exactly that, at length.

      • Cuda

        I was adding lib. You must admit that Bill Wilson and his actions whether real or false has little or no bearing on anything. Unfortunatley the incessant need to bring up the past in regards to Bill Wilson are the only thing that closley resembles fact. Although hard to prove as fact. Even if it is actual fact, Bill is dead. Let's move on.
        Call Orange and tell him that 90% of his web site is irrelevant ancient history and the other 10% is fabricated from skewed and manipulated statistics.
        Of course when there is absolutley no substance to back up anything presented it becomes much easier to attack the messanger than the actual message.
        I'm trying to do you guys a favor. If you insist on arming yourselves with false information to fuel your debate others might view you as foolish. I can't let you do that to yourselves.
        I call it "Service Work" so there's no need to thank me.

        • H

          Thanks for the service work. I do not think all that ill of Wilson. He was ne'er do well who had a hard life. And, drank a good deal more than he should have. So, "just like any other man, only more so".

          As for Orange: you tell him. he will be glad to print it.

          "If you want what we have". I didn't.

        • mikeblamedenial

          Bill Wilson's actions, and character, have everything to do with the nature of AA today. He was paid well to write it, then essentially copied it, , falsely claimed himself as sole author of it, stole the copyright to it, made a nice living promoting it, then spent the last twenty years or so of his life collecting the royalties off it. Would you similarly argue that Hitler has little, if any relevance when considering the National Socialists, anti-semites and Skinheads of today? Your rationale is the same.
          You are ad-libbing (a nice word for lying, in your case) Orange's claims, references, and facts, as well. In fact, you are attacking that messenger. You have been doing us "favors" for a very long time, much like a Klan endorsement of a political candidate. Thanks, but no thanks. Go service someone else.

    • We've already been over this. "Jails, institutions, and death" first appeared in NA literature, but has found it's way into the rooms and some of the readings.

      Big whoop, finding one error from one person who claimed it came from Wilson discredits this whole site? It is a common enough phrase in AA that I've heard it hundreds of times in AA rooms.

      And how exactly does that justify 13th stepping? Yes, I have had to counsel a young woman who slashed her wrists after being 13th stepped then discarded like a used tissue. Luckily, she also took a handful of downers which slowed her metabolism enough that she didn't bleed out before she was found. Last I heard, the guy who 13th stepped her is still a big shot in the rooms, while she became a joke.

      Orange simply said what most of us were feeling, he wasn't the first person to denounce powerlessness. This has always been a "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" nation. AA turns people into victims, "it's not my fault I drank heavy for so long and became an alcoholic, I have a disease."

      No, people don't relapse because ol' Bill was a womanizer, a liar, a thief, or a smoker, but all these things give a thinking person a reason to question his "spiritual program". And understanding the history gives people insight on how AA came to be what it is today.

      "…creating half truths and outright lies…"

      You have got to be joking. AA critics don't need to lie, they have facts & figures on their side, what you have is faith. You disregard any proof that what you believe is wrong.

      You and others attack Orange because he made himself a big old target, but none of you can point out any of his so-called lies. Most of his AA history comes from pro-AA sites and literature, and he footnotes where his information comes from so your accusations carry no weight. You come here to bitch about him, why not take it to the man himself? You don't because you know deep down he's right and you hate him for it.

  • H

    great rant. cuda.
    keep typing

  • doug

    Yes i totally agree , a/a was an experience to me, just like raysny i 13th stepped many women/girls and thoroughly enjoyed it,but a/a wasn't for me in the end, i saw the error of my ways and went on to become sober and free from the cult of a/a.

    It's a wonderful life today to be free of american a/a bull.


    Why would "jails institutions, death" need to be a Wilsonian statement to be a damaging part of AA? I just assumed everything that happens in "the rooms" is part of AA. (smirk, AA debate technique.)

    The AA tradition clearly protects the contrary and inconsistent magical gibberish program from taking any responsibility or stand.

  • humanspirit

    I'm a bit lost among all this back-and-forthness between AA people and others, not knowing much about it.

    But as stated on a previous post, I am very pissed off about paying $10,000 dollars for a "holistic recovery treatment" program for my seriously alcoholic partner which omitted to tell me that the "cure" was in the end about praying to God and achieving a spiritual awakening to guarantee that cure.

    If AA people have found sobriety and happiness within AA, good luck to them. I have no problem with that, if that's their preferred way to stop drinking. But the 12-step program should have no legitimacy or credence for any respectable, scientific medical practictioners in the field of addiction, and should *never* be recommended by them without a full assessment of its actual efficacy and success rates. And patients and their families should in all honesty be told in advance of what the 12-step program actually involves before people are directed towards it.

    One thought – AA might be more effective if it encouraged its members to embrace Islam. There they would get a very respectable and respected monotheistic religion (rather than a made-up cultish one) with all its spiritual aspects. And Islam also has a prohibition on alcohol! What more could AA wish for its members? (I mean this quite seriously.)

    Meanwhile, those of us of an atheistic persuasion who hoped to get some kind of rational treatment for our money are left very disappointed.

    More power to your elbow, raysny, and thanks to all for this site. It has restored me to sanity.

    • LAAME

      Wow! $10,000.00 for AA? What a rip off! You could recover in Hawaii for 2 months on that! Live on the beach in a nice hotel, go to AA meetings for free if you want. Instead most people go to some ugly poo-chute hospital in Pasadena.

      There is one statement in all the AA crap that makes sense; it is "the man must decide for himself."

      Most people I know end up in AA to escape from family or legal trouble.

      The world needs to know the truth about the options.

      If you like to drink, go to Hawaii and perfect this…

      • The positive thing 12step rehabs do is remove a person from the people and places associated with substance use for 28 days or so. The rest is confusing and contradictory busywork.

        • LAAME

          Can I get someone sober to babysit me in Hawaii for 28 Days?

          I have $10,000 cash.

          2 rooms and flight for 26 day stay $4,272.33
          (breakfast included in hotel)

          Meals and transportation @ $50 a day $1300.00

          $5572,33 expense for TWO PEOPLE
          $4427.67 profit for babysitter. ($170.00 a day)

          Or share a room @ $2,706.14 and clear $5993.86 or ($230.00 a day)

          If not, it's OK. I'll go alone, subject myself to 52 meetings in 26 days, and spend the rest of my time on the beach and at the burger shack.

      • H is good.
        Basically, it is up tp the individual.

        Some options:
        SMART Recovery
        Women for Sobriety.

  • H

    Well, human spirit, there is not very much that is rational about 12 step. It is , basically, faith healing.

    • humanspirit

      H –

      Yes, but it doesn't even do any healing! What worried me about the rehab place my boyfriend was in, with all its evangelical religious stuff, was that this was exactly the kind of absolute bollocks that would drive any sane person back to drinking!

      With the general insistence on the 12-step program, what hope is there for the alcoholic with a basically rational and scientific mind?

      You might be getting there across the pond, but here in the UK (unless you have a lot of money), it's AA programs or nothing. It absolutely sucks.

  • H

    I know. It is, basically, a cop out. For treatment centers, it is taking the easy way out. With 12 step, no thinking is required. By anyone.

    • humanspirit

      Cheers, H

      No thinking – and equally no investment for the local authorities involved !

      You don't know how much it means to me to know there are other rational people out there.


  • H

    There are. On either side of the site are links to yahoo talkboards and other good links.

    AA no longer has a free pass.

  • DJ

    I am in AA and I am willing to admit that it is a cult. The thing is, it's a relatively harmless cult. Oh sure there are AA people who freak out and kill themselves but aren't there unstable people everywhere?
    I do get tired of a lot of the stuff though. I basically just take what I need and dump the rest.

    And regarding brainwashing, some people NEED to be brainwashed. But I do think the courts should have something to offer besides AA. Unfortunately, other groups meet too infrequently to compete with AA's huge monopoly as a support group.

    • M A

      Hi DJ,

      If AA were harmless, we would not have started this blog. Taking away a person's ability to think for themselves is bad enough (notice you used variations of two slogans in four sentences), but the harm AA does in other ways is much worse. The suicide example you used is a good one. There are people who kill themselves anyway, true. There are also people who receive real, proper, qualified psychological counseling who are saved from suicide. AA provides none of that, but it does provide pseudo-counceling from unqualified, and often unstable people. This is but one example of it doing much more harm than good.

      I'm happy you have the ability see some of the AA nonsense for what it is, but let me assure that your brain did not need washing for you to quit drinking. The credit for that belongs to you. You should feel proud of yourself.

      • Dana

        I tolally agree with M A .we do not need any brainwashing that is such a scik jargon used in those rooms. No if anything its reconditioning your mind with a postive set of beliefs//
        D J how can you take what you need and leave the rest? Another jargon BS saying. You have the within power to quit addiction I did. I worked on my issues and guess what i am clean by choice. What a concept. AA is wrong in so many ways. Being an EX AAer is the best thing that has ever happen to me and believe me i have no problem voicing that. . To experince the AA and have the backbone to question it. I have learned on my own how destructive AA is and when you or if you walk away from AA those so-called friends will shun you too..You got to be in their "club"

    • raysny

      DJ writes:
      "Unfortunately, other groups meet too infrequently to compete with AA’s huge monopoly as a support group."

      That's still buying into the lie that people NEED a group in order to quit. 80% of people quit without any type of treatment or program.

      Convince people that they need a group and they'll end up in AA because of the stranglehold they have on treatment.

      • mikeblamedenial

        Troubled people need validation, hope, and positive support, which AA purports to provide. The reality soon morphs into something much different, and the cost of the "free" progam quickly escalates. Most of us are also social animals, and crave the company of others. AA provides all the company one can stand, and then some. I believe many ignore AA's lessor qualities because of the social opportunities it provides to those who would otherwise be alone.

  • wow what a letter. I , we are addressing Predators of all kinds in AA but I agree that something else is needed. So we are going to start another program.

    SO many posts here were right on. But I agree something is needed to help with Alcoholism. It is not going away. ANd AA has become too rigid, too culty , so closed minded and they think they have the answer to everything and Now people are being raped and still rampant 13 stepping by middle aged men preying on new young women. Sickening. Gay community too fed up with old timer bullshit hitting on new young men. WTF.

  • McGowdog

    "Sickening. Gay community too fed up with old timer bullshit hitting on new young men. WTF."

    Funny you mention the Gay community with regards to A.A.  I know of an A.A. meeting in my town that is one of the strongest groups in terms of health and doing steps that has several fairly openly gay members in it and it also has a stronger than normal representation of women as they represent close to 50% and not the usual 33% or less.  Do they feel comfortable in this strong group for some reason?  They serve Starbucks coffee there too.  It's in a nice church and not in the basement.  It's in a fairly nice part of town and not too far from the towns' downtown area.  Are these reasons?  IDK.

    What I do know is that they are a solid group, they do steps and are a closed A.A. group.  I know the people who started the group as they splintered off of my home group.  Some of them usually go for dinner after the meeting.  They have more diversity and more new people come to that group than any other group I've seen outside of the treatment center setting.

    If you're ever in Pueblo Colorado, look me up and I'll direct you to the meeting and you can judge for yourself.  Most of the "oldtimers in this group are in their early 40s, married, and have great and well behaved kids.  I know this for a fact because I've seen it with my own eyes. 

  • tintop

    most of the people in aa are good folks; compassionate with good intentions.  i dont think that anyone quarrels with that.   it is the people with big problems that are a difficulty.  

  • Ben Franklin

    Yes Tintop,

    The program itself is the problem too.

  • tintop

    that is another impediment

  • Primrose

    Let's have a look at how aa is not a cult; it may save time.

    No money changes hands.

    There is no living charismatic leader (only a dead and very much discredited one).

    Someome predicted 25 yrs before BW's death that the BB would replace him after his death.

    I think we all know that within the $17bn pa year 12 step industry that money does change hands and aa has a close relationship with the treatment industry.

    The Big Book is (quite apart from the deaths and destruction it has caused for anyone reluctant to join a cult) an utter mangling of both the English language and logic.  I find the message offensive enough but the folksy ol' tone and assumption that everyone is uneducated enough to stomach it is an offence to my brain.

    My (UK) view of America is quite an optimistic one; they seem to be able to make mistakes, learn, change tactic and continue in a more efficient manner.  Why not in this field?  How powerful is the vested interest?  I had a tutor at Oxford University who bludgeoned my brain into asking, of everything, 'Where is the Evidence?'.  He is no longer with us but I credit him with my long and painful refusal to join any cult.

    My partner unfortunately joined and it has taken me years to get him out, which he now is.  It literally didn't matter if I drank or not.  The most gauling thing was that I stopped drinking (and rarely drink now) and that just convinced him that his cult had cured me.  I have spent 4 years of my life getting him into a mental position where he could face what I have been put through.  I would like to get him to post here eventually.

    I got him out by talking about cults in general.  I worked for a prominent family who had just left a very prominent cult, and that was a very interesting experience.  I played him a BBC radio 4 programme called 'Fly Me to the Reverend Moon', all about John Waite (cousin of the Beirut hostage, Terry Waite), in which Waite recalled his youthful indoctrination into the Moonies, from which he managed to escape.  I got him out by demonstrating that the 12 step cult has no reason to sneer at the Moonies or the Children of God. 

    If anyone is desperate to get a loved one out, I found the cult questions were very effective.  He couldn't criticise the Moonies or Scientology when he realised his little cult was pretty much identical.

    He responded initially with all the personal abuse I had been told to expect.  I continued.  Yesterday we had a long car trip and I was telling him about the Huffington Post piece and he actually showed some (shell-shocked) gratitude that had got him out before the whole thing goes, let's say, a bit Irish Roman Catholic.

    Didn't Syanon ('the best bits of AA; God help us all) die eventually through the IRS winding it up.  I hope aa goes quietly and ignominiously like this, rather than in a mass suicide by the long time nutters?

    Could we have a 12 step counsellor commenting on here?

    Or Martha's physician?

    I imagine they won't bother talking to an audience who have the sense to call a dangerous cult a dangerous cult.

  • Figaro the Barber

    @Massiveattack: "…something is needed to help with Alcoholism. It is not going away…."

    Living with a drunk is awful; painful, difficult, exasperating at best and crazy-making at worst, BUT…

    Alcoholism (and drug addiction) in the U.S. have been steadily "going away" for centuries now. Seriously. If you look at British tax records and shipping manifestos from the American colonies, the volume of alcohol drunk by American colonists prior to 1776 was roughly 300% greater per person. In plain English, colonial Americans drank like fish. Modern Americans don't. Nor do we commonly consume enormous volumes of over-the-counter opiates as our grandparents did.

    But the public perception has little to do with demonstrable, measurable facts. We go off on these Chicken Little quests a lot, in America. Our "epic crime wave", for example; it's a paranoid fantasy. Actual police statistics show crime to be at historically unprecedented lows, but the man in the street feels himself to be in danger everywhere he goes, thanks to scaremongering by TV "journalists".

    Booze and drugs in the U.S. follow this same pattern. A trend runs its course, declines, and then, as it's fading away, Congress and the various TV "personalities" run around in circles, screaming about the end of the world.

    Congress' hysterical passing of viciously punitive anti-drug laws, local municipalities' becoming obsessed with teen drinking and DUI, all this takes place on the BACK side of the curve, AFTER the crisis has passed and the trend has already begun its long, steady decline.

    Continued declines, which were happening already without any intervention, are then attributed to "law and order policies", "court-mandated Drug Court programs", "aggressive police work", (unconstitutional) police roadblocks by "DUI Task Forces", etc., all of which mistakes correlation for causation. It's total garbage, just like the "Twelve Step Rain Dance", in which the long-term sobriety of someone who would've stayed sober and gotten his act together ANYWAY is attributed to "the Program".

  • Gordon Newman

    I've been involved with AA for many years and been director of a large recovery treatment center almost as long. I found the comments in the article to be mostly quotes from well intentioned AA members who may not have not fully recovered. . Quoting members in AA is not necessarily the best way of getting to the facts. As an expert I can tell you that recovery from years of addiction is a lengthy process. AA has many attendees who have endured an enormous amount damage due to alcohol and other drug addiction. There is an plethora of literature printed by AA and this is where all criticisms should be coming from.

    In my business I have known thousands of recovered alcoholics who have reversed the damage of their lives by going to AA meetings. The number of alcoholics I know who have recovered via the medical community is remarkably small. Its hard to dispute the numbers. Thats why there are more GM cars on the road than Ladas. If you want to find success…go where the success is.

  • tintop

    Most people who recover get no treatment at all. proof by anecdote is no proof at all.

  • SoberPJ

    Gordon, glad you are here. We need Step industry experts to give us the real scoop.

    "In my business I have known thousands of recovered alcoholics who have reversed the damage of their lives by going to AA meetings. The number of alcoholics I know who have recovered via the medical community is remarkably small. Its hard to dispute the numbers"

    As an expert, do you know of any long term study that unequivocally proves the success rate of 12 Step based treatment? You know, a real study with control groups and alternative methods included?

    Your statement of "thousands" could be misleading. Two thousand is "thousands" but that doesn't sound as grandiose or impressive as "thousands". So, it would help us all if you could be more specific. How many "thousands"?

    Temporarily reversing the damage of their lives is not the same thing as long term sobriety. So are you saying that you personally know thousands of people with long term sobriety? I have my doubts on that one.

    Since you seem to be keeping track. Do you have any idea of how many lives the 12 Step faith healing approach has ruined? It would be good to know.

    Thanks and look forward to the information.

  • mikeblamedenial

    Gordon sez " In my business I have known thousands of recovered alcoholics who have reversed the damage of their lives by going to AA meetings. The number of alcoholics I know who have recovered via the medical community is remarkably small."

    Hey, Gordon. I am so glad that a 12-step expert has finally shown up here to straighten out the rubes. I do have a couple of questions for you, tho. First, do you have any verifiable statistical data to support your "thousands helped" vs. the small number you assert have recovered via the medical community?

    Secondly, what training and education constitutes a 12-step expert? I ask because I have known highly respected 12-step authorities practice their craft with no more than a GED and lots of slogans, parroted dogma and unveriable testimonials. What separates the wannabes who receive the publicity and the true experts who understand the religion and science of steppism?

    Thanks in advance for any and all insight. Mike BD

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Hmm lots of finger pointing but but just dogs chasing their tails. The facts are that both a.a and medical institutions have the same success rates because its up to the individual. Whether they actually want to stop. A.a is dammed if it does and dammed If it dosent .in america (god help you all) and europe anyone can set up a treatment centre that says it is step based that. Does not mean that i am gonna send any profit to. A.A so. i can just blame the program for not working in the states it pays for treatment centres to fail especially if you got a nice fat insurance policy.12,000 dollars for 2 nights stay who the fuck was the shrink sigmund Freud as for the courts in the states sending its sort of a erm last chance yes go to aa or spend some time lying on your back looking at a prison ceiling what you gonna do. in britain courts dont send you to aa they put on rehab that not aa affiliated and if you break that then you go up the road their is more success rates in the uk from treatment centres because it is funded by the nhs and you have to prove or at least look like your well motivated rather. than let an. insurance company pick up the tab and if you think americans like to drink come to britain then you will see a whole country immersed in denial of alcoholism and before you can fix it you gotta acknowledge it you sound like disgrunteld members. society in case you hadent noticed is not perfect im not your not and neither is aa it sounds like you should have been a bit more forthwright protecting mentally ill people from being abused as you sat by in inertia rather than just running off and protecting yourself like a previous poster said you take what you need and dump the rest yes people do fuck each other surprise surprise yes there are 13th steppers but thats just reflection of society is there not bosses who sexually manipulate their staff i think not. Is there not sexual manipulation in most advertising grow up you lot should have been this forth wright when dealing with people in the rooms

  • I made myself read that whole comment, Jesus, and now my eyes are bleeding and my brain is broken.

  • howlermonkey

    Some of these AAs are really committed to the not-thinking thing, I guess.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Its not a question of not thinking its the opposite i often tell people to go fuck theirself i am perfectly capable of thinking for myself you say i am small minded but i have not totally disregarded everything you say. you on the otherhand paint everyone with the same brush what does that make you a facist o yes i forgot your american. do yourself a favour when your i.q gets to fifty. I bet your favorite show is americas next top model or friends doh

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    When your i.q gets to fifty sell

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    When your i.q gets to fifty sell.

  • howlermonkey

    Whoa! Check the serenity on that one! Noice.

  • Oh no, a Serenity Hornet!

    jesus, just an NB for the future: You want to learn to communicate effectively — punctuation, uppercase for new sentences, fewer insults, more substance, and also learn the definitions of the words your using — if you are going to insult someone else's IQ.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    If i wanted an english teacher I would'nt ask a septic tank or a computer expert. no i'm not a secretary but i don't sit about on a computer seven days a week making disparaging remarks about peoples ability to think you are on this site everyday commenting on everything with little originality everyday get a life. you know the price of everything but the value of nothing

  • MA

    I've never before seen anyone fit so many words into one sentence.

    Well done, Sunbeam!

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Septic tank = yank

  • AnnaZed

    Capable of thinking (sort of) writing a coherent (or even semi-coherent) sentence in English? ~ not so much.

    I've seen this before and in all seriousness I think its an indicator of some sort of residual permanent brain erosion from substance abuse and I used to be inclined (when I was a stepper) to tip toe around it and be gentle to the irrational sufferer. Now, fuck em', I call em' like I see em' ~ guy is insane.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Thank you howler that proves that iam just a normal everday bod i dont wanna be a spiritual giant, giants cast big shadows and nothing grows in the dark save. Funghi and mold in underwear if i find you breaking in my house what do you think i'm gonna do say "thats allright your spiritually sick i forgive you, am i fuck i am gonna do what normal person does and wring their neck, as frank said thats life

  • Mike

    @jesus: "Septic tank = yank"

    Holy trans-Atlantic, Batman! Has McGowDog got a cousin across the pond? Or is McowDog imitating a Brit?

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    And the best that five of you can do<del datetime="2010-10-19T20:14:02+00:00">,</del> is comment on my lack of punctuation. How sad. Is that better<del datetime="2010-10-19T20:14:02+00:00">.</del>?

    [Now it is. If you can think, you can punctuate, I always say! — Editor]

  • jesus says about us:

    dogs chasing their tails

    disgruntled members

    you sat by in inertia and protecting yourself [not sure what he thinks we're doing here.]

    grow up you lot should have been forthright [again, not sure what he thinks we're doing here.]



    when your IQ gets to fifty [we will learn to finish our sentences?]

    your favorite show is next top model or friends

    septic tank

    little originality

    get a life

    you know…the value of nothing

    septic tank = yank

    funghi and mold in underwear (good one!)

    your spiritually sick

    And then, he forgives us.

  • michael

    I remember Kurt Cobain singing "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" , but unfortunately he blew his head off with a shotgun after entering "recovery''

  • howlermonkey

    One thing going for sunbeam is that he/she's a true representative for the AA way of life. If sunbeam looks like your model for sobriety, by all means, Step it up!

  • That's why we don't moderate our comments, howler 🙂

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    No idiot read it properly, I said I am not going to forgive some one breaking int o my house. I am going to break their neck. as for ftg. the best you could come up with when someone posted that they was gonna go out using, was go for, it keep a diary. idiot. Sorry fucking idiot. your one of those health professionals who when i was 12 said that my kleptomania was caused by my meninigitis, not the fact that we lived in a house with no hot water or heating and had no money. And the best you can do is comment on my punctuation. initial post said that a.a and treatment centres dnt work for everyone.

  • tintop

    sunbeam, you know more than you let on, otherwise you would not be quoting Oscar Wilde. Do you want to back up and regroup, or do you want to continue fulminating? Your call.

  • Commonsense

    And no moderation of comments is a good policy. One can read sunbeam's uncensored comments and use them as a benchmark in the personal litmus test of "if you want what we have." Answer: nope, no way, not going to happen. No consideration of lengths is even necessary.

  • " I would’nt ask a septic tank or a computer expert"

    I feel like this is a good come back, but like, I do not get it. 🙂


    Question: If not a septic tank or computer expert (what is wrong, btw, w/a computer expert?), who would you ask? Just wondering.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Duplicitous comments, if i'm serene i'm brain washed. and if i show any sign of anger. which, as i tell my sponsor is normal human emotion i'm a serenity hornet can't win takes 8 of you to try and put me down and make your self esteem better and the best you can do is comment on my lack of punctuation ftg don't give up the day job or maybe you should. O yeah irony americans think thats a household chore. Stay here and massage each others egos your not safe in the real world

    • MA

      Jeebus – if I wanted to just make you look dumb, I would have commented on more than your punctuation. Like your misuse of the word "duplicitous", or your not knowing the possessive form "you're" (not "your").

      I'm glad you found us. Keep coming back.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    What is right with a computer expert, they have a grey sickly palour. cadit quaestio.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Wow punctuation and english. fucking hell we got a winner. You can tell your an addict you won't leave it alone

  • DeConstructor

    I vote that ST donate a "Resentful" t shirt to Jesus, for sharing the enlightenment of his serenity.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Wow an english teacher just what i always wanted. 8 english teachers only an aorrgant egotistical american would try and teach english to an englishman.quack,quack thats one of my favourite films too. The ego has landed.

  • SoberPJ

    @ Jesus …. Your "real world" comment is interesting to me. In my real world, it is a generally accepted practice to use good punctuation and appropriate sentence structure. I try to do that whenever I write something. By doing so, my thoughts and opinions are taken more seriously and I keep from appearing as if I possess an intellectual laziness. Most of the posters on this blog appear to adhere to the same type of philosophy around their written expression. For some, it seems to come naturally, for others, not so much.

    I commend you for your blatant departure from the obvious norm of expression here. It takes an undefinable something to come on here and blather away incoherently. However, I can not even remotely take you seriously and you appear intellectually lazy, with a profoundly bigoted bent. For example, I work with computers and just got back from a nice walk in the sunshine and I can assure you I do not possess a "grey sickly palour". I could lose about ten pounds, but that's a whole different discussion.

    I try to help those in need whenever I can, so here is my effort for you –

    It is actually a good resource for writers. Try it out, come on back and show us what you've learned. With a little effort, you too could become comprehensible.

    Oh, but, check with your sponsor first, you don't want to get too good too soon.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Another dictation junkie,what fun. Unlike you I don't/didnt need my sponsors permission to cross the road. what is it with americans and english, you should try teaching some of the 75 milion americans, that cannot read or write english. All you lot have come back with is my faulty english and nothing else. Your obsessive compulsives to a man.

  • humanspirit

    All – I'm a bit embarrassed that @jesusdontwantmeforsunbeam appears to be one of my compatriots.

    Not surprised that Jesus or anyone else doesn't want him/her for anything, let alone a sunbeam. We can speak English over here, despite the impression this guy might be giving.

    What local AA meeting do you go to, Sunbeam? Just out of interest.

  • MA

    Why are you calling all of us "arrogant, egotistical Americans"? That doesn't apply to all of us. Some of us are arrogant Europeans and Canadians. I believe we also have a couple of egotistical Australians who comment here from time to time, as well.

  • jesus, dear. Breathe for 5 minutes. Light your angel candle with the serenity prayer on it, or something.

    Your first post was balls-on insulting to us, on many levels. And it was unprovoked. Do you see that? You came in here accusing us of complacency in the face of sexual abuse, for instance, when the plain fact is that Stinkin Thinkin's very existence refutes that. We are actively not complacent. We are fighting abuse in AA. It is why we are here.

    You accused us of having low IQs, when you can't be bothered to communicate like an adult. We don't have exacting standards of usage, except for someone who accuses others of having a low IQ. If you're going to call others' mental capacity into question, you should be able to prove your own.

    Also, you cannot demand that a person read something "properly," when you refuse to write it properly.

    Look, jesus, if English is not your first language, then we can certainly read your comments with this in mind and make allowances for that. (If English is your first language, you should start asking yourself some serious questions.) But, if you're saying exactly what you mean to say, then you should be aware of the fact that you have also summarily closed your mind to any contradictory information. You might have had a great time with us, but I suspect you'll decide we're not worth wasting your profound metal energy on, as soon as you realize you're in over your head.

    How about you read around some and ask us questions — unless you can find all kinds of dumbass reasons not to.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    You say aa's tow a party line. well what, have you done. all picked up on faults in my grammar.sticks and stones. none of you has come back with anything else. as for friend she soon shut up when i pointed out her shortcomings in the medical field. Who tells someone who quite obviously has drink and drug issues "go for it,keep a diary what fun. Yes there are fucking loons in aa but i've never heard shit like that let alone seen it printed. o but she is the moderator she can edit it, sorry did i say edit it, i mean censor it. Condemmed ftg you should think before you speak let alone commit it to discussion forum (sic) for all times. Domine, dirge nos

  • dear jeez: "You can tell your an addict you won’t leave it alone"

    Do you think you're over generalizing a teese?

    Did you need something/want something/feel compelled to share something Or, did you just want to fight?

    I do not think this is mccowdog.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Ftg your definitely an alcoholic, your very sensitive and your experience clouds your judgement. you on and your friends are equally offensive saying that i cannot,or am not capable of thinking for myself and when i refute this i am meant to take abuse because i left school at 14 and semi -illiterate i suppose you take the piss out of people.with cross eyes as well.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Yes I am addict drugs sex gambling.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Sorry was. does that disappoint you all.

  • SoberPJ

    @ Jesus … You got a little better, then reverted back a bit. Do you really want responses to this gibberish?

    Another dictation junkie,what fun. – More of a grammar and punctuation junkie, but it can apply to dictation at times. Glad you are enjoying it. We have fun here on ST.

    Unlike you I don’t/didnt need my sponsors permission to cross the road. – OK, but I don't have a sponsor, and I'm unclear on your road reference.

    what is it with americans and english, – I assume this is a question, and if so, then we speak it and try to write it. Is there a point?

    you should try teaching some of the 75 milion americans, that cannot read or write english. – OK, now what?

    All you lot have come back with is my faulty english and nothing else. – untrue, but if you express yourself clearly, we can respond clearly. You first.

    Your obsessive compulsives to a man. – broad untrue generalization that is meant to demean.

    I'm willing to engage on specific points, but they need to be expressed in a way that is meaningful for a discussion. Do you have a specific question you want to ask?

  • jesus, you nitwit:

    No one would have mentioned your stupid-idiot grammar if you hadn't questioned everyone else's IQ. Do you see how that works?

    Probably not.

    "as for friend she soon shut up when i pointed out her shortcomings in the medical field"

    Does this mean that you are willing to hold AA up to rigorous scientific research?

    "Yes there are fucking loons in aa but i’ve never heard shit like that let alone seen it printed."

    jesus, we are devoted to keeping a record of the lunatic shit that AAs tell each other to do, including "look at your own part" when they've been raped by another member.

    "o but she is the moderator she can edit it, sorry did i say edit it, i mean censor it. "


    jesus, you know you're lying when you imply that I censor. Not a single word of yours has been censored, and every comment you've entered here has appeared. You know this to be true.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Yes sober pj, but you did have a sponsor? and your condescending inference, that i have to check with my sponsor to go on a website insults me. not everyone in aa needs to check with a sponsor to i.e cross the road. irony. totally lost on americans. check previous posts.

  • Ftg your definitely an alcoholic, your very sensitive and your experience clouds your judgement. you on and your friends are equally offensive saying that i cannot,or am not capable of thinking for myself and when i refute this i am meant to take abuse because i left school at 14 and semi -illiterate i suppose you take the piss out of people.with cross eyes as well.

    Absolutely not, jesus. We do not take the piss. You are the one who started questioning our IQ. You did that first. We do not hold anyone's education or mental capacity against them, unless they are establishing a standard themselves, which you did. You commented first about IQ. You are the one who brought IQ into this debate.

    Let me say that again: You, jesus, brought IQ into this debate. You insulted our intelligence right off the bat. That is your standard, not ours.

    We will argue with you, respectfully taking into consideration your limitations, if you refrain from accusing us of those same limitations. What do you think about that?

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Pj as you are such a font of wisdom how exactly would you put a.a which is a theological program of recovery to rigorous scientific research.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Shall I bring god to a meeting ha ha

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Sorry ftg but I have to question anyones i.q, not you personally. but some of the posters who have paid 17,000 dollars to stay in a glorified bed and breakfast, with babysitters,trained in first aid to go to un sanctioned aa meetings. please they must outright mental defectives, in full flight from reality.or just have more3 money than sense. give me 17 thou i'll baby sit you for two weeks and kick your arse up the road to meetings. Whats that old saying of mums "a fool and his money are soon parted"

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    To my new found unfriends in the wilds of Wyoming, the plains of kansas, and the coldsores of california. Oh yeah and the canuck freezing his bollocks off in banff . goodnight from london its been fun and don't take yourself to seriously.peace

  • AnnaZed

    That was fun.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb


  • SoberPJ

    @ jesus

    Yes sober pj, but you did have a sponsor? – yes, I did have a sponsor and he is a decent chap.

    and your condescending inference, that i have to check with my sponsor to go on a website insults me. – It was condescending, and insultive, I agree with that.

    Pj as you are such a font of wisdom how exactly would you put a.a which is a theological program of recovery to rigorous scientific research. – A bit of clarification may be needed. To put a theological program to rigorous scientific research is not exactly the same as measuring the results of being a member of said program. As far as results, people much smarter than I have done the studies and the outcomes for AA seem very poor. Now, trying to measure the influence of spirituality on outcomes or measure the efficacy of each step in the process is probably impossible. Are you talking about measuring outcomes/results or something else?

  • ez

    No doubt a life long Man U fan, Come on down to Millwall and learn to relax…

  • zooromeo


    Thank You for posting – your are a great example of AAs definition of "Patience, Love & Tolerance", you are also a great example of just how effective the 12 steps are in treating underlying mental health issues in people with substance abuse problems…

    "fucking idiot" is one of my favourite terms and I use it liberally – But Im allowed to – you aren't – "Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men" & Love & tolerance is your code right ? Apparently Love and tolerance is defined as angry abusive rants..

    You see, its all about how AA defines itself – If AA said – "hey we help only 5% of people stop drinking and are a religious program based on outdated 1930s philosophy and have absolutely no ability to verify any of our concepts, oh and by the way we are a bit cult like and have really unhealthy dysfunctional relationships with each other and discourage self-reliance and freedom of thought" then people would make a more informed choice…

    But it doesnt – It pretends to be a "safe place for recovering alcoholics"


    I wont shuttup and I hope the others here wont either – AA deserves to be torn down and replaced !

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    A. Ez millwall are all piss and vinegar

    B. Zoo with what do you replace it and someone seems pissed at aa, pj can answer his own questions

  • DeConstructor

    Well Jesus-

    Your typing is getting better so I am assuming you must be a little more sober now.

    Please explain to us of the benefits of the AA program, as apparently we are confused.

    I would really like to know about this alleged great program, and would appreciate if you could explain without the personal, ad hominem, time wasting derogatory remarks that waste all of our time.

    We have had several pro AA posters in past discussions here, and if they were polite they were treated with respect.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    The benefits of aa for me are not having a drink for three years. And because i'm not taking any of your shit you call me mentally unwell well. Nice. again irony not ironing must go got a tube to catch

  • zooromeo

    @ Jesus

    What to replace it with ?

    Well first of all, I dont believe in the "disease concept". I dont believe "alcoholism" is an entity of its own right. I believe the behaviour which defines alcoholism can be explained by a number of possibilities – and you noted some of them yourself, including:

    food allergies



    ADD and ADHD related issues

    brain chemistry

    dysfunctional childhood environment




    To call it a "disease" completely ignores and disrespects perfectly relevant facts regarding someones life… For example – recently I was watching celebrity rehab for a laugh – One of the girls was giving her history – she said how she was pretty moderate with alcohol but it suddenly became extreme when her father or mother died.. The "Specialist" Dr Drew 'cock-sucking-media-whore' Pinsky immediately diagnosed this as the sudden surfacing of her "disease"… I havent seen it since but i assume she became convinced she had a disease.

    THAT is disgusting !!! The girl was grieving ! She used alcohol to medicate her problem – her circumstances exceeded her ability to cope and she sought something (albeit unhealthy) to help her cope – alcohol – THAT is not a fucking disease…AAs whole stance is that alcoholism is a "malady" a permanent incurable problem which only god can cure…Well, thats pretty shitty – its also extremely naive in the year 2010 – now we know a lot more about the brain and mental health and so we have a wide variety of options to help people.

    I DO believe some people have ingrained the habit beyond the point where it is no longer changeable – but i mean once starting drinking – I believe a habit or brain pattern kicks in and that is not possible to resist continuing… BUT I believe these people are in the minority – especially when you look at the number of young people in AA>

    So the "replacement" is to treat people individually – look at their circumstances – look at their health, beliefs, mental state, are they suffering clinical depression ?, do they have an anxiety disorder ? Whatever…. And treat that…If people feel like they really need a support group – fine – but it should be policed, accountable and audited externally. And in the very least it should be continually updated to include the latest verifiable facts about the issue…

    The fact that AA people are so adamant about their "solution" prevents new information – AAs are so defensive and righteous about the program – meanwhile allowing people to suffer – I should know I was one of the assholes for 7.5 years

  • michael


    More like a Giilingham supporter – The wheels on my house go round and round!

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Good points pj and I don't disagree with alot of what you said. personally i got much better things to do, than watch t.v or celebrity rehab, masterchef or that other fucking disgrace that so called educated middle class idoits define as entertainment. filthy ,rich and homeless. I agree with You alcoholism is to readily bandied about and I would say that 75 percent of people in the rooms are not even alkies.they are not an alcoholic of my type. The girl in the show that much is obvious. grief loss so she self medicated. thats why why you get misdiagnosed people in the rooms. I.e people with severe mental health issues, etc i personally do not believe in disease theory. In all honesty i heard a woman say her life was unmanagable because she drank a quauter bottle of vodka a day and i thought fuck me if only. that was two drinks for me, let alone last a day but that is the fault of the american carebear trade of the seventies when it became de riguer to be in treatment or therapy what can i say they ain't my type of alkie and would not have drunk anywhere i drank cos they would have been thrown thru a window. Sad but true. I Take full responsibility for my actions. I fucked people up including myself

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Micheal derogatory comments insinuating I am a gypsy or pikey, will not be tolerated. if you want to have a slaging match, ante up or shut up cos I will take you to the. fucking cleaners.

    • MA

      The benefits of aa for me are not having a drink for three years.

      You're giving credit to the wrong place. You did that for yourself. All AA did was convince you that they are responsible. This very sentence you wrote is an example of what AA does to people's heads. Credit is always given to AA, where fault and blame lays in the individual. This is the nature of a cult, by the way.

      You also ask the question, "with what do we replace AA?" I would say replace it with living a normal life, without being manipulated by cult religion. That alone is beneficial, because it won't increase your chance of drinking, and you won't be in a cult. The only reason that question would be valid, would be if it actually helped people quit. It doesn't. It helps them believe that it helped them quit, as with you, but that is just brainwashing and manipulation. Break the strings, Jeebus. You been tethered to AA only in your own mind.

  • michael

    You made derogatory comments about Millwall! I suggest you get on your knees and pray before you take me on!

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Pj cock sucking media whore funny give these cunts a phd and they think there're sigmund freud. But you pays your money and take your choice or not as the case may be.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Yes but my comments on millfuckingwall no one likes us we dont care was not directed to you. You have just. Steamrollered into the discussion trying to provide a crutch for your friend but fuck. let's go. a millwall supporter who does joined up writing. Whatever next joined Up talking. Futting miwa i'm hard not. Your all piss and vinegar

  • zooromeo


    "middle class idoits define as entertainment" Whos a judgemental boy then ? What the fuck is wrong with being middle class ? I am middle class but so what… Sorry but what am I supposed oto b ? Am I supposed to fit some definition of a particular lifestyle that suits yours ? Rubbish !!


    I call bullshit on "an alcoholic of my type" I think thats is total bullshit. Are you telling me that you came from a well adjusted family ? Never had depression (before you drank) never had any other issues that MIGHT have contributed to your drinking ?

    I bet you did/do ! I would even say that labelling yourself as an alcoholic – using the word "disease" or defining it as some kind of individual entity is a cop out and it basically enables denial – ie. If i am an "alcoholic" I dont have to face any of the things that are presently or previously happening in my life – contributing to my drinking – If my "alcoholism" doesnt seem to be related to anything going on then I can neatly avoid it…

    In any case… NO-ONE is TAT fucked up that they need to be dependant on an organisation for the rest of their life. If you wanted to get really honest – Why dont you ask yourself why you REALLY go to AA ? I bet you dont really go to stay sober… aware of it or not.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    No i come from a working class extremely dysfunctional family. Have many of the "issues" hate that word that pj pointed out and more No i don't expect you to fit any definition of middle class but just don't fill up airwaves with meaningless fucking drivel


  • michael

    Actually many of the people that I do respect from AA and who were down to earth did support the Lions which you would expect a high AA membership as the New Cross area has always had huge problems with alcohol and drugs due to the level of deprivation. They would be able to take a joke and handle a wind up. The problem is that it is the mad irrational steppers would take over with the bullshit.

  • Well, id say your drinking had it's origins there but it's probably intense and continuous repetition of the behavior which caused your addiction

    But that's just a habit and dissent mean you need a 75 year old philosophy to stay sober

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Nearly a nice answer but flawed yes its a 75 year old Philosophy but your cynicism is 2000 yeats old so whos living in the day realativy speaking. O dear run yourself into a bit of a corner there will now follow discussion on the merits of fundamentals of western philosophy

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Goodbye. And as for Michael the millwall supporter as for comments about wheels on houses at least the football club i support does not have a gypsy encampent on its doorstep as millwall does on gallywall road next to south bermondsey train station. gwan the gippos

  • Zooromeo


    2000 year old cynicism – that's not even cynicism it's an observation

    You sound pretty out of touch with reality and that's exactly what aa does to people long term

    Well I don't know what corner I have painted myself into but maybe you are on the same belladonna acid trip bill w was on when he had his "spiritual experience"

    As for your western philosophy comment – um, sshh! I kuve in a westernized country so… Whatever mate

    You don't even seem to know what your own stance on all this is

    Cheers muppet boy

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    All western philosophy is based on greek philosophy i.e cynisim, stoicism etc. Yes you follow 2000 sorry 3000 year old philosophy. Mine is 75 years old. Shit head

  • DeConstructor


    Your 75 year old philosophy, by the way- is stolen……

  • michael

    Otherwise referred to as the Gillingham team hotel. There is one caravan covered in Jesus loves you stickers with little angels in the windows. In fact sometimes they can be quite entertaining.

    So not Utd or Gillingham, not aggressive enough for West Ham so that leads me to suspect Charlton or Crystal Palace judging by the low level communication skills.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Who said it wasn't iam merly rebutting The shitheads comments on 75 year old philosophy. Nothing else.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    What makes you think that i worship jesus or any other organized religion for that matter. please try something else.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    We are millwall. we fear. no foe. Except relegation and bankruptcy.

  • michael

    No that is Palace you are confused again!

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Soon to be millwall especially when jacket goes to a bigger club and lets face its not that hard is it

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Any how as your all recovered alcoholics shouldn't you lot be in the pub.

  • Zooromeo


    Childish oversensitive and Defensive

    And i bet you credit aa with helping you become a better person ?

    Well I was having a reasonable discussion with u until you took belladonna And tripped out over my 75 year comment. Fuck me talk about defensive !!!

    Oh and the age old bullshit about anyone disagreeing with aa being a drunk ? Boring !!!

    But by the way- seeing as I have dealt with the fore of my problem- YES !!! I was down the pub tonight.. I watched the Australia v India odi cricket and had 4 beers then stopped and I thoroughly enjoyed it so fuck you;)

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Zoo no your getting punchy cos you had few beers i did not mention being a drunk yes would like to be down the pub if i could drink socially unfortunatly i can't i'm a sociopath and we would not have been watching fucking cricket we would have been watching football and if you would have argued about it i would have smashed you over the head with a table/barstool/bottle delete where appropriate but i cant i never went in to the pub without coming out fucked or broke simple you can i cant. Good luck to you have a beer for me.

  • Mike

    ftg, do an IP trace on this jesus guy. I can't believe he's in England.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb


  • howlermonkey

    Now I understand what ASBO laws are all about. Though I can also see that they're about as effective as AA.

    See below for 3 predictably violent response posts…

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Asbo's trace i.p address's come round my house you waterboard me better not you may like that you sick fuck

  • michael

    This is like watching the Jeremy Kyle show, actually it's worse. You admit to being a violent sociopath and yet you can't seem to grasp while people on this site may be a little concerned over the safety of AA meetings. There is a big problem when vulnerable people join a group looking for help and they suffer abuse. Others run from the chance of recovery as soon as they hear the higher power rants of a brainwashed 12 stepper and continue to ruin their life with alcohol. They may have stood a chance in a more rational environment.

    By the way Millwall does have serious problems with part of it's support who like you are hell bent on violence and abuse but at least it recognises that many of these problems come from the underprivileged nature of the local area. It used to support people who were in dry houses after being treated in the Maudsley Hospital and give them free tickets. Mind you perhaps they thought an afternoon in the East upper was safer than the local meetings. It is going to take more than a few meetings to help the majority caught up in addiction that has had so great an impact on inner cities in the UK but when treatment centers just offer a detox and an introduction to 12 step then the results will be poor.

  • I don't have high hopes that this will actually happen, but could we move this over to the Debate section of the community pages?

  • LUCY

    Boy, what a "discussion!"

  • AnnaZed

    I think it's time for Jesus to have his own thread. I would recommend the forum but truth be told I have noticed that conversations sort of peter-out there. Maybe it's a tad to inaccessible. Don't know the solution to that, but Jesus's impressive magniloquence just calls out for special treatment.

    Maybe a nice post about AA in the UK which seriously could use some discussion around here.

    Did any of you guys see this classic AA in the UK post:

    Also, I rather liked this:

    "…Nearly a nice answer but flawed yes its a 75 year old Philosophy but your cynicism is 2000 yeats [sic] old so whos [sic] living in the day realativy [sic] speaking…"

    Seriously, that's a pretty smart observation.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    That was nice of millwall wasn't it, but millwall didn't stop giving out tickets michael did they. because maudsley nhs trust stopped taking the tickets, because of the abuse that was directed at to, quote milwall fans " fucking scummy junkie cunts" to the recovering addicts to, "how many windows have you licked today" to the mentally patients and nurses that went with them nice. A sociopath is anyone that struggles to conform to accepted "norms" whatever they are, in society, i mean look at you? your one, your a millwall supporter.

  • howlermonkey

    I kinda think jesus has done his bit here. He's ranted his rant, threatened most of us and now he thinks we're all out to get him. He really has learned the script well, but the whole point of a place like this is that we've already read that script and "binned" it.

    There's no need to censor or block him, not yet anyway. If he has a few more bombs to throw, that's fine. IMO, only if he becomes a real obstruction to other discussion should blocking him even be considered.

    So, to get on with actual discussion, I'm going to disagree with AnnaZed about the value of the 75 vs. 2000 year old philosophies quote. First, the age of an idea is irrelevant to its value in any given situation. Second, as I've harped on before, while AA is 75 years old, the ideas it's based on are at least 180 or so years old. Protestant Christianity as a social movement (as we know it in the US) dates at least from the "Second Great Awakening" of the early 1800s.

    I'm sure that you could go back farther if you wanted. The Second GA had roots in the First Great Awakening of the colonies in the 1730's and that had roots in the Anabaptist and Calvinist flavors of the Protestant movement in the early 1600s. And so on and so forth.

    The point is that everything comes from somewhere. Sometimes that history is relevant, sometimes it isn't. When we're trying to make sense of why AA is screwed up in the particular way it is (e.g. all of its guilt and fear) it makes sense to look at the history. But when we're trying to show why AA fails us as individuals here and now, the history is less important. That's when we talk about what actually happens in the rooms and how fucked up it is.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    I think the term. They use down the

    Silwood, michael is you've been bushwhacked or is it bushwanked give up i told you not start trading insults with me you would not have it.

  • AnnaZed

    Oh howler, I wasn't agreeing with him just saying that it was a pretty coherent rejoinder for him, all things being relative though.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    At least anazed hasn'_ left her sense of humor in aa with all the misery mayrters its ok for you to dig me out for having 75 year old outdated beliefs and when i point out your cynicism is sorry 2500 years old you dont like it cos you been outwited by a fucking piss artist, wholesale. At least az had the humility to say it was smart. thk you az. As for christian beliefs i could not give a fuck for them, islam, or any other dressing up, you want to give orgainsed religion. let me tell you organised religion is a con what i know is i am agnostic i do not know what god is. period.nor would i want to. Watch these words closely how do i as a human give a DEFINATE identity to a INFINITE entity i can'_ you obiously can cos all you keep doing is banging on a some poor fucking chippie that is why there is. So much confusion, "follow my god, no not his, mine." all i can say is thank fuck for henry the eighth otherwise i'd be a catholic and then i would be seriously fucked.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Sorry for the poor grammar iam taking part on a mobile phone.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunb

    Ana it is ok for you to have your own opinion.and all things considered it was a very smart instantaneous rebuttal it does not take me five days to come up with some godam peckerwood shit "love that saying" peckerwood. like micheal talking about shit he knows fuck all about. Care in the community.

  • Mike

    @howl:" I kinda think jesus has done his bit here."

    He has. This is definitely trolling … meant to clog up the "Recent Comments" trail so that site newcomers will be put off by the one-sidedness of the discussion. Block the troll, @ftg. BTW, I don't think he is overseas.

    • I'm going to close the comments on this thread until this delightful little dialog either dies or takes hold over on the debate forum. I've even created a thread for it.

      jesus, if you want to kick our asses over there, you'll have to register for an account. Don't forget to check your email (or spam filter) for your activation email.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunbeam

    Why do find that hard to believe mike.

  • jesusdontwantme4sunbeam

    Trace my i.p address you have got to be fucking kidding me what are you the fucking c.i.a control freak. You sick fuck. do like he says girl it floats his boat. And you say im in cult

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  • Pedant

    “Does AA use brainwashing, more properly known as mind control? Is AA a mind control environment? The answer is yes. AA uses all of the methods of mind control, which are also the methods used by cults.”

    The word “cult” has developed over time to convey a highly pejorative meaning in society.

    Does AA share characteristics with cults … IME I believe it does.

    Does AA share ALL the characteristics of a cult as seems generally perceived in society … IME I do not believe it does. Certainly I find it to be a strongly evangelical entity with the “Here is the truth” and “This is the only thing that works” but I have found that to be true for me. I feel I have found the answer to my alcoholism and it is so great I want to shout it from the rooftops!

    I’ve been advised to check with my sponsor on matters and I do because she has recovery and I want what she has. However I’m not “forced” to follow her advice. I’m not forced to hand over all my worldly possessions, whilst I’m encouraged to put the effort into the AA program of recovery (because if I don’t put it first and go back to drinking then I’ll lose everything anyway) I’m also reminded that recovery is a bridge to normal living …

    I fear, that as in all groups there are outriders who, based on the behaviours detailed are acting “outrageously” IMHO … but to throw the baby out with the bathwater???

  • Wanting Accountablity

    I fear, that as in all groups there are outriders who, based on the behaviours detailed are acting “outrageously” IMHO … but to throw the baby out with the bathwater???

    Yeah we need to start fresh. Look into Wilson and Dr Bob. Maybe then you will see what I mean.

  • Sum Yung Gai

    AA definitely has two distinct entities within it’s meeting. I’m sharing this as a regular attendee, (2 meetings a week) of AA. There are people who are brainwashed, there are predators, there is a cult. I don’t chant, I don’t use the AA slogans, and I sure as hell consider carefully whether any individual suggestion is coming from someone with any qualification that suggests I ought to listen to them. What I feel has happened is that AA was an initial chance at recovery for a fairly large number of people. How it worked for me was that it provided a regular venue in which I could get off the streets and carefully examine what was genuinely wrong with my life. I found out, and set about correcting it. I saw some value in the steps; particularly putting my issues down on paper and seeing if I needed to do something, or if I could. Mind you, I thought my way through these issues. That seems to be the difference between the cultists and the people who simply found a solution to their alcohol addiction. I was looking for an answer then, I’m still looking for answers today. I question what I’m told as well. So while the steps of AA did prove effective for myself, it’s my honest belief that because I was searching diligently I would have found analogous suggestions for analyzing my life and making necessary changes with or without AA.

    Back to it containing a cult though: we have men and women in the rooms of AA, some of them so deeply damaged by trauma, and some of them completely jaded by the dark underbelly of society that their indivuality had already been stripped of them. In AA, I see these people sucked into the mindlessness of solid doctrine, chanting, and furious zeal. Their ‘recovery’ is little more than the supplanting of obsession towards alcohol with an obsession for whichever of the AA deities spoke to them most deeply (home group, sponsor, Bill, Bob, AA as a whole). Never does a real spirituality develop, and never does the individual become whole. As sad as this is, keep in mind that the individual’s prior life to AA had already stripped them of any real sense of identity, leaving them vulnerable to the very real ability of alcohol to be their death. Thus, it is good that they have at least found a way to abstain from drinking themselves to death.

    As to what might be done to help these people recover in a meaningful sense, I’m not sure. AA operates mostly as a cult because that’s the easiest form of organization that can inspire a stripped individual to the basic decision to cease self destruction in the immediate sense. It was he natural tendency of an infant recovery movement. It now has a chitinous barrier between its members and a more thorough recovery of mind and personality. The question I have is whether this barrier is too great for the professional fields of society to penetrate. Can we reach individuals who would have died at their own hands without a cult, and begin to teach them how to live as whole individuals, as interdependent members of humanity rather than members of a vacuum organization? I think that as a whole, until society has more in place to help the broken and defeated to find their place in the totality of humankind, wishing for the demise of what is presently sustaining their lives is not wise of us, in spite of its serious flaws.

    My thoughts on it. Would love to hear what you think!

  • lberger100 .

    Alcohol is great; it works. It silences the screams in your head, it brings calm and confidence to those who need it. Alcohol never tells you, though, that at some point, it will stop working and start making the problems you sought to solve by self-medication, worse. Much worse.

    AA does work, and is well misunderstood, both by the subject observer out to prove that AA is a cult, to the member of AA who has strayed from the real basics of the program. The program is, simply, the directions of how to save your life. Alcoholics coming to AA in the late 30’s and into the 50’s, were immediately put into the steps under the guidance of a sponsor (or sharing partner as they were called at that time).

    Following the program as it was intended and how it is outlined in the first 164 pages of the “Big Book”, or the book titled Alcoholics Anonymous, resulted in success rates past 80%. Those rates have dropped into the toilet to around 5% success into the late 80’s and to the present, because of a terrible chasm that has been created between the original program and the current message.

    As AA spread, and entered into federally or state funded treatment centers, secularism demanded that certain social scientists be integrated into the program, to balance out the non-secular religious feel of AA. This badly watered down the AA message, but to keep AA in the treatment centers, they needed social workers and psychologists and other founts of knowledge that sprang forth in the 60’s and 70’s like never before.

    The complete psychic change that AA originally said was 100% required to both gain sobriety and to maintain a happy sobriety, was seen as embarrassing to the social workers and psychologists. Social science could solve the alcohol problem by discussing feelings, sex lives and co-dependency, poly-dependency and a host of other new words.

    Untreated alcoholism kills people. It destroys the lives of family members of the dying alcoholic. Hostility towards AA in my experience comes from people who either fail to follow the simple steps out of contempt before examination or inability to stop seeing oneself as the sole center of the universe. They point to the low rates of success now of AA, but the same skeptics and the same people hostile to the concept of a psychic change and a spiritual program are the people who demanded that a publicly-funded AA had to tone down the spiritual aspect. AA worked because of adherence to the program. Strict adherence. Watering down of AA in asylums–sorry, “treatment & rehab centers”–has resulted in an AA that is both hamstrung by those opposed to the spiritual aspect then then criticize AA for not working.

    There’s been a terrible watering down of AA’s basic message, and an immense amount of erroneous information–considering that the program deals with life and death as concerns the dying alcoholic–can be life threatening. Consider:

    AA came about from non-alcoholics;

    1. Dr. William Silkworth, a medial doctor in New York who, in the 20’s and 30’s, worked with thousands of dying alcoholics. He tried in vain to treat people who were in the death throes of alcoholism, sick and suffering, shaking from the DTs and generally in hellish shape. He said that the recovery of Bill Wilson from alcoholism came from a “psychic change”, a spiritual sea change that allowed Bill to deal with the restlessness, irritability and discontentment that every alcoholic self-treats with the calming and sedative effect that is immediately acquired by taking a few drinks. Dr Silkworth had been trying every form of chemical and psychiatric treatment of alcoholics, in vain. His comments about Bill Wilson’s psychic change were to the effect, that he didn’t know how it happened, but that Bill needed to hang on to what happened to stay alive.

    2. Dr Carl Jung. The famous Swiss psychiatrist was one of two per-eminent students of Sigmund Freud. He split from Freud, because Freud said that all human suffering could be solved by psychoanalysis. Freud said that his goal was to get people from neurotic misery to normal (normal?) human unhappiness. Jung saw spirituality as a key component in treating the human condition, making God and not man supreme. Jung also realized that an alcoholic needed to simply stop drinking, that drinking in alcoholics triggered an abnormal reaction, or allergy, where alcohol–in a chemical reaction unique to alcoholics–once taken, triggers a reaction where the alcoholic is unable to determine how many drinks they will follow with after taking that first drink.

    3. The religious group, the Oxford Group, had a plan of spiritual sea change in the mind of their members, starting by admitting there is a power higher than oneself in the universe, making a confession of past sins and a spiritual cleaning that resulted in a new perspective, followed by actions of helping others and developing a spiritual life through prayer and meditation.

    Bill Wilson blended the messages of the importance of the psychological sea-change in breaking from alcoholism, the avoidance of drinking to stop triggering the physical allergy, and the Oxford Group’s message of developing a spiritual life.

    Dr. Jung figured that an alcoholic cannot drink even one drink without triggering the phenomenon of craving, which only happens once an alcoholic takes a drink. The moderate temperate drinker can take a drink or two and, upon feeling a bit woozy or dizzy, has the desire for alcohol satisfied and stops. That’s normal. The alcoholic, upon feeling the effect, does not experience this; the alcoholic’s desire upon taking a drink is not satisfaction of the desire but rather, amplification for the desire for alcohol. And it’s Russian Roulette, because an alcoholic *may* take a drink and stop after 3; or they might wake up in another city not knowing how they got there. Not knowing how your drinking will go once started is the nexus of alcoholism.

    So the basics of AA was, to be welcomed into a meeting, be immediately assigned a sponsor, and to begin taking the steps right away, that night. You’d generally do steps 1, 2 and 3 in the first night; admit that you were powerless over alcohol, accept that there is a power greater than yourself in this universe, and make a declaration to make a change (influenced by Dr. Silkworth and Dr. Jung). The next week, you’d do steps 4, 5, and 6. You’d make a list of your character defects (influenced by the Oxford Group), admit these defects to God and another person and be entirely willing to have God (or your version of a higher power) remove all these defects of character, and in the following weeks you’d assess who you had hurt, make amends to those people (taking responsibility for your life’s actions) and move on to make prayer and meditation a part of your life as you helped other alcoholics with this message.

    People following these steps with honesty and diligence are not members of a cult. They are people who are no longer restless, irritable and discontented, and they are happy in life without the use of alcohol or chemicals to temporarily moderate the bad head spaces they had to try and make life bearable.

    If you go to a real AA meeting, a back to basics, Big Book studying meeting, you can leave anytime, no one forces you to remain. No one cuts you off from your family, no one tries to tell you how to live your life. They say, rather, that there are simple choices to make and steps to undertake if you want to deal with the root causes of your alcoholism, make a spiritual change in your life to break from alcohol, and steps to continue taking to maintain mental and spiritual health.

    To me, a cult has a goal for the group; AA has a goal for the suffering and dying alcoholic; happiness without alcohol, not just simple, white-knuckled abstinence.

    Feel free to characterize AA as a cult if it makes you happy. But there’s the question; once you’ve succeeded in your goal of exposing what you see is a cult and a horrible thing, has your behavior helped anyone you know actually transition from a suffering and dying alcoholic to a happy, living person?

    The Big Book is the operator’s manual for getting sober. Read the first 164 pages and, if you are suffering from alcoholism, consider reading the first 164 pages with a dictionary; define the specific words; “immediately” moving into action means forthwith and without delay. Every word in this manual was chosen carefully, and for a reason. Read the manual carefully, it may stop your suffering and start your living.

    Happy paths to those who attack AA. May you find your happiness in your approach in life.

    • As far as I have been able to tell, AA turns their back on the sexually exploited and emotionally abused by other AA members. AA is a dangerous religious cult that does more harm than it does good. It is responsible for murders, rapes, molestations and suicides.

      One of many happy paths for me is seeing AA finally being exposed for the fraud that it is. Also because AA is being exposed for the failure that it really is, now the options that are available to people are being discussed more. So at least some people are starting to get real help and better options that are not outdated. That makes me very happy!

    • As far as I have been able to tell, AA turns their back on the sexually exploited and emotionally abused by other AA members. AA is a dangerous religious cult that does more harm than it does good. It is responsible for murders, rapes, molestations and suicides.

      One of many happy paths for me is seeing AA finally being exposed for the fraud that it is. Also because AA is being exposed for the failure that it really is, now the options that are available to people are being discussed more. So at least some people are starting to get real help and better options that are not outdated. That makes me very happy!

  • Lauren

    So, a few months ago, I backed off going to AA meetings. I have been in the rooms for nearly 4yrs with 6mths in a long-term treatment facility, completely by my decision. I really started to think about if it were a cult, and had I been brainwashed. The longer I stayed away (meaning one meeting a week, my homegroup), my life was still the same, possibly a little better, because I wasn’t spending an hour sitting in a room where I didn’t want to be feeling out of place because I didn’t think like the group, but went because I feared the reactions of my homegroup members, I did not want to disappoint them. I have gotten out of AA what I needed and learned what to do and how to handle an urge. Also how to socialize sober and get back into society. AA is a program, and programs end. I just am so amazed at how easily I was duped into thinking exactly what was written in this article! I am looking into SMART recovery just to learn some more tools to use if an urge gets out of hand. Thank you for this article, I don’t feel like a bad person for leaving AA now, I just feel like an idiot for not listing to my gut and staying in as long as I have.