Despite the fact that AA has a definite chain of command and an AA Corporate home office, it’s members claim that there is no controlling body in Alcoholics Anonymous and can not be held accountable for the actions of its members. It gets away with doing this because of what is called Plausible Deniability. In a nutshell they are using the AA members they recruit as prospects and the cloak of anonymity of the AA Corporate Home Office in New York, to give them a way out of any trouble they may get into. If anything bad happens because of one or more of their members, they quickly abandon that member and disavow any control over that individual or group of individuals to protect themselves using Plausible Deniability by blaming those underneath them.
Plausible deniability refers to the denial of blame in loose and informal chains of command where upper rungs quarantine the blame to the lower rungs, and the lower rungs are often inaccessible, meaning confirming responsibility for the action is nearly impossible. In the case that illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any awareness of such act or any connection to the agents used to carry out such acts.
The big problem with this command structure is that currently a percentage of these members come from the court systems as potential violent criminals who deny this because of the anonymity that AA provides. AA is set up to make its members find “prospects” for indoctrination into Alcoholics Anonymous and where to find them.
“Perhaps you are not acquainted with any drinkers who want to recover. You can easily find some by asking a few doctors, ministers, priests or hospitals.” Pg. 89 “Big Book”
The above quote is from the original 164 pages of the “Big Book” and is considered the foundation of the Alcoholics Anonymous movement. Over the years that followed the 1936 publishing of the “Big Book”, the “hospital” part of where they searched for prospects for Alcoholics Anonymous somehow changed to “hospitals and institutions” (H&I) with the institution part referring to the court system for DUI, Drug and Alcohol Courts and the general prison population.
Because of the “cloak” of anonymity and the problem of getting an accurate count of its anonymous members, it is nearly impossible to find out how many people actually come from the court systems. AA members always claim that the percentage is extremely low, but you will also hear many times during meetings that they have been arrested and put in jail where they “hit bottom” and find the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Alcoholics Anonymous and the problems that we are seeing are not going to change until the cloak on anonymity and the plausible deniability of the AA Corporate Office and its individual members are made accountable for their actions.