Quote of the Day: Alcoholics Anonymous Ecology

AnnaZed, responding to BobR’s observation that, even though AA members have placed a stinky old coffee can full of water and old cigarette butts next to the church door, they continue to litter the ground with their butts:

Ah Bob R, you haven’t yet found the mold encrusted landmark of every AA meeting site ~ the tree base used as a dumping site for coffee grounds.

It’s there because it’s so great for the trees you know. You won’t have to look hard; it’s there. The poor tree will be encased in a five inch deep layer of moldy coffee grounds that is perpetually and eternally topped up in what is termed a horticulturally friendly effort to help the tree (AAs go green!), but is really just AA’s monumental laziness and disregard for anything and anyone around them. To properly dispose of the coffee grounds they would have to invest in garbage bags, which they will never do. Trust me, it’s there.

  • SoberPJ

    I’ve seen them look at the butt-can 2 feet away and drop the lit cigarette butt on the ground and walk in the meeting. I used to smoke when I was in AA, but I never could understand that behavior. Is it a sense of entitlement? Rebellion? Just don’t give a damn? And why is it so common amongst that specific population? At one regular speaker meeting at a nice church, they made an announcement to use the butt-can AND they still sent a crew around after the meeting to clean up a ton of cigarette butts on the grounds. I just don’t get it.

  • Actually after researching coffee grounds, I have found them very beneficial as mulch. They also act as a deterrent against “slugs”:

    “The research on slugs and caffeine shows that concentrations of caffeine as low as .01 % reduces feeding by slugs (they avoid caffeine treated leaves) but that it doesn’t kill them at that rate.

    A 1% solution can be expected to kill 60% of slugs while a 2% caffeine solution will knock out 95% of all slugs. This 2% solution is more effective than the chemical normally used in slug control. (metaldehyde)”

    Read more: http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/coffee-grounds-and-gardening.htm

  • “Cigarette Butt Litter Continues to Pollute

    According to The Chicago Tribune (June 18, 2008), 4.5 trillion cigarette butts end up as trash every year worldwide. The newspaper’s article, “How the Butts Stack up,” lists many other interesting facts about the cigarette filters that are made from cellulose acetate:

    * It takes between 10 and 15 years for a fibre cigarette filter to break down;
    * 200 cigarette filters, taken as a whole, contain enough nicotine to kill an adult; and,
    * Cigarette butts represent 30 percent of the waste found on American shorelines and waterways.

    What happens after a cigarette butt is flicked onto the street, nature trail, or beach? CigaretteLitter.org has the answer: “Typically wind and rain carry the cigarette into the water supply, where the toxic chemicals the cigarette filter was designed to trap leak out into aquatic ecosystems, threatening the quality of the water and many aquatic lifeforms. Cigarette butts may seem small, but with several trillion butts littered every year, the toxic chemicals add up!”

    Read more at Suite101: Toxic Cigarette Butts: Tobacco Filters Release Poisons Long After Use | Suite101.com http://rupert-taylor.suite101.com/toxic-cigarette-butts-a122169


    “In the 1990 documentary “The Medical Aspects of Tobacco,” Dr. Max Schneider points out that: “Cigarettes are the only substance sold, that when the user follows the instructions carefully, will result in the consumer becoming toxic, chronically ill, and dead.”

  • Sally


    That picture is just the type of thing that would make me want to leave a group.

  • I recall the few years after I entered AA, late 80’s to early 90’s, several of the churches that hosted AA meetings finally made the meetings non-smoking, and at least one I know of finally kicked out an AA group because of the mess of cigarette butts outside the door.

  • I post date you, I knew of the existence and don’t really remember ever knowing any AA members until around late 2005. Once they set their sights on me and my family they haven’t let go and continue to try to infiltrate into every part of our lives because of the financial and legal information that was divulged. I have been to the non-smoking meetings, but I have also noted that they still do have people smoking at them.They have set up a “smoking area” away from the main entrance and it is carefully cleaned up by AA members doing “service work” after the meetings and everyone leaves. I have only seen this at two meeting places (churches), but it does happen.

  • Swamibedpan

    Where I live smoking was banned in all public buildings and within 4 metres of a doorway some years ago. Even pubs have a designated smoking area. At the start of most aa meetings the chair (before the preamble) will ask people to put there phones on silent and for smokers to use the receptacle provided. Still the phones ring and that photo could have been taken at any meeting I attended here on any day. It must be a symptom of the disease.

  • DeConstructor


    AA members are quite fond of ‘gang stalking’ It is their MO and is very dangerous because newcomers are not told to keep personal information to a strict minimum.

    I have told people in the past who have been coerced to AA to never state anything they did consider public info, and never give out telephone numbers or primary email or residential addresses. I would not even use my real first name.

    These people are dangerous, even the ones that do not make our ‘keep coming back’ section.

  • Amy

    I think smoking at meetings and pitching cigarette buts on the ground is disgusting and they should be kicked out of the place where they meet. I believe this happens allot. I went to my first meeting in 1981 and recall smoking in the meetings.

    I wonder sometimes if it happens more in certain areas. Honestly, any meeting I have been to in the last 5 years, in the area I live, this kind of behavior is not tolerated. Several I attended this last time in churches, there were no smoking areas and at the end of the meeting they informed people not to smoke in the parking lot when leaving. The only meetings where smoking is accepted is at the alono clubs and there are tables and chairs with ashtrays provided. It’s very clean and if any cigarette butts are found on the ground after a meeting, that meeting is charged a fee. According to what Im reading in the post’s here, this is unusual but this is the way it should be.

  • DeConstructor – the use of a nickname is highly recommended at 12 step meetings. In my case this was a “new” set of friends that did not know my old friends or where I frequented. I quickly found out that they started to just “show up” at these places claiming to know me and my wife. I also found out later that they would talk to my friends in confidence explaining the disease that both my wife and I had. They also tried to contact my children.

    If you look carefully at the Intergroup, you will find out that the “stars” of the group often are, or have close ties to Bankruptcy Lawyers, Real Estate Agents, Sober Living Facilities and Bankers. If you are a high value prospect that doesn’t quickly join the AA juggernaut of searching out new prospects using your personal resources, they will do everything in their power to share your personal details to make you “hit bottom”, so they can swoop in and quickly divide up your assets to members of the fellowship that will use those assets in the quest to further the philosophy of Bill Wilson.

    And you are right, they haven’t made our “Keep coming back” thread ……… YET (except for Tony Ianne and Richard Mayfield of Colorado, expect many more to follow)

  • AnnaZed

    @JR ~ Properly and even quite liberally applied coffee grounds are an excellent soil amendment. It is a good practice to integrate the grounds into the surrounding soil or ideally compost them first. I know this. I am a New York State certified master gardener. That does not mean that a five inch deep moldy pile of coffee grounds around the base of a tree is beneficial. It is not.

    This is not to mention how vile, smelly and unsightly it is.

    Make no mistake, this is not some strange aberration of AA members suddenly going green and committing themselves to mulching the local trees; it’s a case of AA members being insane and monumentally selfish and lazy. There has not been one AA meeting that I have been to (not one) that doesn’t do this (unless they have been stopped as they were by a church I know of in New York City). It’s not a sound horticultural practice. If you want to do this around your own home then it could be really beneficial to your garden but you are not generating pounds and pounds and pounds of the stuff. Look out back of any AA meeting place, that’s usually where you will find the mouldering coffee grounds pile on the ground.

  • For the truly Spiritual coffee AA aficionados of Minnesota (the home of Hazelden and the Minnesota model of addiction) there is a very special type of coffee they can serve the upper echelons of AA as a treat, called Kopi Luwak ($420 a pound) and Monkey Parchment ($320 a pound):

    Animal Processed Coffee in Minnesota


    Why people in the very Religious and Spiritual State of Minnesota would even think about drinking coffee that is “eaten and partially digested by a palm civet, a small cat-like mammal” and is expelled from the animal in its feces or the partially eaten and spit out beans by rhesus monkeys is beyond me. I do believe it would make very good fertilizer though.

  • I hate the smoking AA thing. When I was in Hawaii this summer there was a note on a local beach that the fish thought the butts were food, and were eating them and it was making them sick and killing them. I know some meetings that were thrown out because of this. At ICYPAA they had a special area for them to smoke 20 feet away from the entrance to the Marriott. By the 3rd day you could see how frustrated the security was having to constantly tell them to move over there, move away from the wall, move away from the store front. I was so glad I wasnt an AA member anymore. It felt so good to not be one of them.

  • Jonny Quest

    I like what some Muslim countries do. $500 USD fine for tossing a cigarette butt on the ground. Interestingly enough, there are no cigarette butts on the ground…

  • DeConstructor

    Speaking of tossing stuff on the ground, today I am leaving for our annual vacation on the Oregon coast.

    The State of Oregon is hardcore on littering. You will not see a cigarette butt, you will not pump your own gas, and the attendant cannot ‘top’ the gas tank due to risk of spills.

    The foresite of this great state in the matter of the environment has retained one of the most specatular and beautiful pristine areas in the world. Others should learn from them.

  • Sally

    Kudos to Oregon and their residents!

  • SoberPJ

    Massive .. but wait. How does the constant and frustrating admonishment about where to smoke fit in with the constant AA urban legend that AA’s are the best conference goers in the world? According to the inbred legend, AA’s are the most kind, courteous and fun conference attendees everywhere and anywhere they congregate. You mean it isn’t so? They damn sure can’t be the best tippers.

  • In defense to complaints about Daytona AA/NA tossing cig butts all over in the park near the childrens playground-A prominent NA got up in City Hall and tried to say the residents complaining were dumping cigs to make them look bad. After that they stole sand from the childrens playground to put in a 5 gallon bucket to put cig butts in. But that still did not prevent many from throwing their cigs on the ground.

    If AA wanted to-they could at least put out literature about tips on quitting cigs and promoting it. Even give chips out for it. But no-that would make too much sense to use there power to save lives that way!

  • Jonny Quest

    AA’s will never give up cigarettes, because AA is not about quitting addictions. Why do you think they like “one day at a time” so much? Because addiction is one-day-at-a-time. In step-land, never say never to the future use of alcohol and drugs. Why do you think all those fearless moral inventories never include DRINKING? AA is about excusing your addiction without ever having to quit for good.

  • Amy

    I posted a comment yesterday about my experience regarding smoking at AA meetings. I guess I am the only one on this thread who did not attend meetings where AA’s who smoked were a group of inconsiderate, disgusting people. In fact the meetings I went to the majority of the group did not smoke. Most of the time I attended in the last 15 years, I was not a smoker myself. There are allot of smokers in this world; people who attend AA and people who never drank and never attended an AA meeting. Some being inconsiderate smokers and many who are not.

    I know several people in AA who have given up smoking and Im sure some do every day. I dont know the percentage of individuals who smoke that attend AA but im sure one many of you here on ST who is exceptionally good at research and statistics could find that figure.

    As far as AA’s dumping coffee grounds outside; this is news to me and I believe what is being said here and I think it’s wrong. The meetings i went to dumped them in the trash can. I was the coffee person myself for a couple of months and thats where I put them.

  • Jonny Quest

    I suppose in all fairness, I should note that I smoked prior to ever going to AA.

  • MA

    I used to smoke. I found quitting smoking harder than the drink quit. But once you’re done, you’re done.

    I live between four small towns, and there are four AA groups around here. I’ve been to three. None toss out coffee grounds, but two of them have that old coffee can ash tray. And yes, they toss their butts all over the place. The last place is in a private building, on an Native reserve, so they can smoke. And smoke the do. It’s a giant haze in there.

  • Amy


    I also smoked prior to going to meetings this time. AA had nothing to do with my addiction to nicotine. When I went and did not smoke, they had no influence on me either. When I was going to meetings almost a year ago (freedom b’day 10/23/10) I didnt take my cigarettes with me because the bum’s smoking outside constantly begged for cigarettes. Get a job and buy your own. I dont support other peoples expensive, bad habits.

  • Amy

    I quit smoking for 12 years. Personally I found that easier to quit than my drinking habit for 30 years. Just me!!!

  • Swamibedpan

    At least you guys were getting decent coffee. Cheap (real cheap) instant coffee was all I ever saw here. Oh and the sugar bowl, half sugar half coffee know what I mean.

  • I smoked occasionally (a pack a month if that) socially before I was coerced into going to AA meetings. I quickly realized that AA was a “trigger” for nicotine addiction and spiked up to about 3 packs a week. I worked in a secure building that very few people smoked at and only the “rebels” took the trek past security to the smoking area. I would smoke a cigarette occasionally with some of the rebels after work and actually freak them out. It would only be one, then AA entered my life and that one turned into three or four at a sitting real quickly before and after the meetings.

  • KellyRyan

    What I’ve seen over time is simply a general lack of respect for both member’s and the community. Racing motorcycle engines on quiet streets with the justification, “I’m sober and I can,” to bringing dogs on to church property where the church has specifically asked AA member’s not to do so due to increased insurance costs.

    And week after week of making announcements requesting behavior change yields zero results.