Archive for the Cult Aspects of AA Category

Bill Wilson and his Library at Stepping Stones

Example of husband and wife research early 1900's

To understand the inner thought processes, friends and outside influences of Bill Wilson you can gain incite from his personal Library at his home of Stepping Stones in Katonah, New York. While this is only a snap shot of the collection of books that Bill Wilson owned during his entire life, the publishing dates and inscriptions from people who gave them as gifts are available here.

Your library is your portrait. - Holbrook Jackson

Libraries are as the shrine where all the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue, and that without delusion or imposture, are preserved and reposed. - Bacon

What is nice about the site that this post links to is that the entire inventory of 96 pages can be searched using keywords which can show the manuals and text books that Bill Wilson was using to research the vast empire and influence of Alcoholics Anonymous he was building. You do have to bear in mind that the search not only searches the title of the book, but also any inscription put in it. The keyword “dictionary” brings up 29 instances which can be used to understand the definitions of the words Bill Wilson was changing. The keyword of “bible” brings up 10 hits. The keyword “spiritual” brings up 14 results. I can find no references to the keywords Jewish, Muslim or Atheist in any of Bill Wilson’s personal library. Where did Bill W get his information from to rewrite the definition of Spiritual for the non-Christian prospects he sent the fellowship out to recruit?

This guy thinks AA is a cult

When I saw that this youtuber publishes Christian videos [edited to add that his other videos are actually skeptical, posing questions about inconsistencies in the Bible], I thought he was going to have a similar position to John’s, over at My Word Like Fire. He recommends Reformers Unanimous [which is an overtly Christian recovery program] but his commentary is more about the nature of AA and its relationship with the court system. He anticipates getting some ugly responses from AA members, so I thought I’d support him and post his video here:


AA Troll Self-report 4 point Questionairre

AA Troll Self-report 4 Point Questionnaire

Guidelines: When answering remember that a “prospect” for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is someone that you think may be an Alcoholic, but you aren’t sure. Only circle the best answer and only one.

A. When you meet someone new do you?

  1. Become their friend.
  2. Immediately identify them as a prospect for AA.
  3. “When you discover a prospect for Alcoholics Anonymous, find out all you can about him.” BB p.90, Working With Others
  4. “If there is any indication that he wants to stop, have a good talk with the person most interested in him — usually his wife.” BB p.90, Working With Others
  5. Items 2,3 and 4.

B. When you find a prospect for AA do you?

  1. Become their friend and nothing else.
  2. Invite them to meet your home group.
  3. Recommend Al-Anon to the spouse and/or Alateen to the children.
  4. “Continue to speak of alcoholism as an illness, a fatal malady.” BB p.92, Working With Others
  5. Items 2,3 and 4.

C. When a prospect resists indoctrination into the faith of Bill Wilson do you?

  1. Just be their friend with no strings attached.
  2. “We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you.” BB p.96, Working With Others
  3. “Approach through a doctor or an institution is a better bet.” BB p.91, Working With Others
  4. “If your man needs hospitalization, he should have it, but not forcibly unless he is violent.”  BB p.91, Working With Others
  5. Items 2,3 and 4.

D. When a prospect is having trouble with family life do you?

  1. Tell them to spend more time with their family and work it out.
  2. Tell them to go to more AA meetings where their family is not present.
  3. Replace their family with the family of the home group.
  4. Make sure they spend ALL holidays and weekends at AA sponsored events.
  5. Items 2,3 and 4.

Scoring: Count up the circled answers above and apply to the scale below.

  • 5 – No narcissistic Bill Wilson infection detected.
  • 5-10 – Slight infection but still treatable.
  • 10-15 – Needs a 90 meetings in 90 days booster shot.
  • 15-20 – Intergroup management material. Will make an excellent Sober House Slum Lord or Addictions councilor.

Featured Comment: humanspirit

humanspirit’s comment deserves it’s own post.

In response to Bobmack, who wrote:

AA works for some people and not others. That’s the beauty. Yes we must conform, imitate, give up and just abandon our previous ways of thinking and acting. Again many of us needed the directions outlined in the program.You can’t deny it has help millions recover from a hopeless state and in many cases recreating a happy, loving family. What other means would you suggest? Like I said it’s great for some.

humanspirit wrote:

@Bobmack says: “Yes we must conform, imitate, give up and just abandon our previous ways of thinking and acting.”

I’m interested in this statement, not least because words to this effect are often bandied about by steppers as absolute truth, when there is nothing that makes sense in them at all.

“We must conform” – Conform to what? To the nonsensical religious ramblings of Bill Wilson, which do not give any advice whatsoever on how to overcome addiction? To the self-defeating evangelical rubbish and practices of the 12 steps? To the specific rules of the group you find yourself in? To the instructions of some unqualified “sponsor” who knows no more about quitting addiction than anyone else and may even give harmful advice? Continue reading Featured Comment: humanspirit

Separating From the Normies

“Last year, a close friend confided that he had joined Alcoholics Anonymous. He never seemed alcoholic, but I supported him because it was important to him. We grew even closer. Then he began pushing me away for A.A. friends, who exclude me because I’m not part of the program. I don’t want a dramatic showdown, but I can’t pretend we’re still close. We’ll probably keep drifting. What should I say to friends who ask about us and may try to mend fences?”

- From a letter to Social Qs advice column in the New York Times.

AA’s GSB Turns a Blind Eye to Child Predators in Meetings

Has anyone seen this?

It seems that in 2010, Paul E. Clearly, Trustee of the General Service Board of AA, Inc. submitted a report about child sexual abuse in AA to the GSB’s Subcommittee on Vulnerable Members in AA (I know!). He detailed several shocking instances of predation and implored the GSB to take responsibility for the safety of AA’s most vulnerable members. He concludes:

For a host of moral, ethical, and legal reasons, it’s time for the General Service Board to provide leadership in addressing the issue of child sexual abuse in AA.

Read Paul Cleary’s very revealing 7-page report, “Predators in AA,” and don’t miss the GSB’s predictably despicable abdication of responsibility on the last page. There is some reference to GSB’s response around the web, for instance here,  here and here, but I could find only one  reference to Cleary’s original report (which I was unable to download as a pdf, but could view in google docs).


AA Deception and Plausible Deniability

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.

Al-Anon forcing the Cult on Loved Ones

When a loved one has a problem with Alcohol, their family is often pressured into joining Al-Anon. Al-Anon is the under cover spy and salesmen of AA and the group is doing it for money. Upon joining they are indoctrinated and trained by the cult to do the following:

1. They have to become a member of the cult and practice the 12 steps in all of their affairs, becoming a life long member promoting not only AL-Anon, but AA.

2. They are encouraged to act as a spy to make sure the loved ones in AA “keep coming back” and to search out other people to who have family members with Alcohol to pressure them to join and make their loved ones join AA also.

3.. When one family member has a problem with Alcohol they are all considered sick and all family members are forced to confess they have a problem with Alcohol and must find a “Higher Power” to confess all of their sins to. They use the same 12X12 as AA with very little changes. The “cure” they are selling, like AA, forces religion on them and has no link what so ever to curing Alcoholism.

4.  Unlike AA where you can find vast amounts of free literature on the internet, all you can usually find for AL-Anon is links to buy it ($$$$).

AA and the Moral Inventory Roller Coaster

When you did Step 4, a searching and fearless moral inventory, did you feel like you were being put through a grueling  interrogation by your sponsor? You were, and they were using the manipulative Reid Technique to do it. This technique is designed to put you through a roller coaster ride with your emotions so bad that you will admit to anything to get out of the interrogation. It has even been banned in some countries because of the false confessions it produces.

You are not being questioned by a trained professional, you are being questioned by an amateur who has been taught a deceptive technique by AA to find fault with your moral inventory. They play with your emotions until you make something up to get away from this step.  These are the steps of the interrogation and the emotional roller coaster that an AA stepper uses to manipulate you into a  false confession. Welcome to the ride! Continue reading AA and the Moral Inventory Roller Coaster

Why We Were Chosen

Why We Were Chosen Group

Sometime in the 1980s, a meeting chairman in San Francisco gave me a wallet-sized card engraved with a portion of the text from “WHY WE WERE CHOSEN,” an eponymous speech given by Judge John T. on the fourth anniversary of Chicago’s first AA club in 1943. He said that, although GSO Conference had declined to approve the text as AA literature, the San Francisco groups had thought it such an important message that they handed it out to newcomers and visitors.

“WHY WE WERE CHOSEN” talks about drunks as prophets and saints, and places AA as a movement as important as Christianity. It’s both grandiose and inane at the same time and a real Christian might find it offensive, as Dr. Arthur H. Cain did when he called it “idolatry” in his Saturday Evening Post article. You can read both the tract and Cain’s response on Orange’s blog:

By the time I first saw the tract, I had already heard all kinds of BS, from an aging hippie explaining that Bill Wilson’s birth was the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius,” to how AA was so “cutting edge that science was trying to catch up with it.” I considered most “Meaning of AA” proclamations as either psychobabble or Godbabble, and I thought it was harmless drivel. But, twenty years later, I got to see harmless drivel in action.

A friend asked me to speak at a “Chicago” Group here in my home state. She explained that Chicago Groups follow the 90 minute format of the groups in that city using a speaker who introduced the topic, and a chairman who “calls up” responses from the group. She didn’t particularly like the group format, because she thought the men used it to exclude women. She had been going simply because her daughter attended, and now she hoped to change the group by bringing in women speakers. She wanted me to be her first speaker, even though she wouldn’t be able to be there that night. I didn’t know what a Chicago Group was, but I liked her and I thought it would be fun. I also wanted to encourage young women.

On the day of the meeting, I got a call from a man who introduced himself as the Powerfully Recovered Alcoholic who would give me the Chicago Group speaking rules. I needed to wear a “modest” dress and make-up, to introduce myself as a “Recovered” Alcoholic, to give both my sobriety date and sponsor’s name, to not use curse words, and to limit quotations either to the first 164 pages of the Big Book or to the “Other” Big Book.

Well, okay.

When I got to the clubhouse, a young woman wearing a flowered Sister Wife dress opened the door. She was in the middle of introducing me to the other similarly dressed Sister Wives when I realized she was the daughter of my friend. Her Andrea Yates thousand-mile stare had been so flat that I hadn’t recognized her. She handed me to a faded young man in a baggy suit, unpressed tie and scuffed shoes, and then she faded into the wall.

The young man was the Powerfully Recovered chairperson. He showed me to my seat, and began to read “WHY WE WERE CHOSEN” from the podium. He was near the end of the tract when I noticed that everyone wore oversized clothes.

I picked an innocuous topic and I told the usual jokes, but I just couldn’t connect with anyone. I was the only person wearing the right size and a smile in the room. I realized that looking like a normal person might very well constitute immodesty in this crowd.

After I spoke, the Powerfully Recovered chairperson began choosing men (not women) from the audience to give short responses. The gloomy men spoke about duty and privilege, and the (nearly) cheerful men talked about their new lives. They inserted “Praise God” an average of once every 90 seconds, and thanked their tireless sponsor, who was the Powerfully Recovered chairperson.

I was glad when the meeting was over and, for the first time in AA, I did not stay and talk to the crowd. I never went back.

My friend later told me that she had gotten her daughter into therapy and that the therapy had caused her daughter to leave the group. The daughter had the divorced her husband, mainly because he lost his job because he was missing work to be at the group. He then left the group and moved back to Iowa to live with his parents. Both of them blamed the group for destroying their marriage.

The Powerfully Recovered chairperson admitted that he has twice been hospitalized for depression, and he has left the group, which shrunk from a club house to a weekly meeting.