This slogan is really sticking in my craw lately. It is, without a doubt, the biggest cop-out for the ineffectuality of AA: It’s a deflection of responsibility; it’s utterly unprovable; and it’s crazymaking.
If you believe that AA worked for you because you worked it, then anything at all would have worked for you. Anything. There’s nothing about the 12-Steps that addresses addiction or recovery, which means that by the sheer force of your self-will you made a decision, fixed your intention, and followed through. Congratulations! But if AA were a program of standing on your head for an hour a day, that would have worked for you, too. The power of placebo is amazing.
“It works if you work it” is just as true about turnkey businesses, multi-level marketing, and fad diets. What all these things, including AA, have in common, is that they require you to continue “working it” — abdicating your right to self-direction — for the rest of your life. And their failure rates are just as high, for exactly the same reason: it’s soul killing.