56 Comments

Alcoholics Anonymous: Negative Affirmations

You are only as sick as your secrets.

No matter where I go, there I am.

Sit down, shut up, and listen.

I have to change only one thing – EVERYTHING.

My name is (insert name here), and I’m an…alcoholic.

Really? Wow. I could go on and on for days. This is a miniscule sample of the popular sayings you’ll hear at an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. Negativity, blame, and confessions disguised as recovery inventory and amends are the common thread.

I am an addiction counselor trained at Hazelden’s Graduate School for Addiction Studies. I’ve read Russell Bishop’s article, Soul-Talk: You Don’t Have to Be an Addict to Recover, in the HuffPost Healthy Living section and I am moved to comment. I am not surprised to see the backlash he has received. I am interested to know why those who find AA helpful need to push the program onto others.

If you go to an AA meeting they will tell you the only requirement is a desire to stop drinking. They will then require you to announce and declare to the room, God and yourself, that you are an alcoholic. You are an alcoholic who will never recover. You are an alcoholic, and you must never, never, never, never pick up a drink again for as long as you inhale oxygen on this planet. They proceed to put you in a no-win position of pronouncing that you are an alcoholic at the beginning of every meeting, and every time you speak at all, for that matter. Even if you are announcing that the cookies are running low and you need more money for the bad coffee everyone is swilling, you must announce that you are an alcoholic.

Following this pronouncement, the following passage from what is known as The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is read out loud by a member of the group. This member of the group is asked if they would like to read it. Rarely, and I mean never, does anyone decline this request.

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Mr. Bishop revealed this passage in his article and I find it necessary to publish it as well because this is what most of my clients hear: Follow us or you will fail. If you do not recover, you are a dishonest and unfortunate idiot and you were born a dishonest and unfortunate idiot. You will die painfully, full of shame for your innate inability to be honest with yourself. Even worse, if you are mentally and emotionally ill (which is highly probable), you will only recover if you follow our path completely and do not rock the boat. Again, wow.

What I found most interesting about Mr. Bishop’s article is that he received backlash at all. The first paragraph he asks whether the more sensitive among us are more prone to addiction. Innocuous enough. The second section states the definition of recovery to include anything that restores you to a prior condition, thereby pointing out that recovery does not necessarily mean something is broken or the person is flawed. Fair enough. He then points out that even this simple definition of recovery is a problem because to identify what is defined as normal is perhaps the real problem. No doubt. He finally posits AA as the best-known recovery program, using negative statements as affirmations. True. What’s the problem then? As stated above, while I am not surprised he received backlash, I am interested as to why? In the last bit he asks readers to remark on his article and asks if positive affirmations might be more helpful than negative ones. The entire article is far more objective that the one you are reading now. He even declares that he is not an expert in addiction in a clinical sense. I am an expert, and these are some of my educated and experienced thoughts.

Alcoholics Anonymous uses negative statements describing a manner of living for flawed people to recover from their flawed states of being. This is simply a statement of fact. Do we need this negation from AA, and does this program, (AA is called the program, my program, your program) really work for long? I find it interesting that the members of AA find it necessary to be defensive. One of the more positive mantras of AA is Live and Let Live. It does not diminish that AA worked for one if it did not work for another. If it worked for you, cheers! If it did not work for another, does that have any relevance on your success? Why the need to force your way onto another? Most of us know the famous quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Methinks the devotees of AA doth protest too much. Perhaps Mr. Bishop has answered his own question as to the most sensitive of us being more prone to addictive behavior. (Live and Let Live, remember?). But Alcoholics Anonymous also pushes members into believing that any deviance from the program is a slippery slope and a relapse is a slow death. Negative? You betcha. Especially since not every person who has a problem with a substance or behavior is presumed to practice abstinence forevermore. A person with disordered eating is not expected to stop eating altogether, they are taught to use food for sustenance and not for emotional comfort. Many of those who end up in an AA meeting recover on their own, many are even able to practice drinking in moderation. But AA meetings would never hear from these people since members are not allowed to talk about successful moderation or that they are now happily sober after leaving AA.  They are free from the negative labeling one must absorb as a member. They are finally genuinely happy, joyous and free.

A vitally important concept for discussion in Mr. Bishop’s article is the idea of living your life as a label that you and others place upon you. You shackle yourself to a negative label and you can only live as that person, job, or behavior. Who you are, is very different from how you behave at any given moment, or what job title you currently hold. As Mr. Bishop states, just because you are unemployed right now certainly does not mean you are forever unemployed, at least let’s hope not. If you tell a lie or keep a secret, does this mean you are forever labeled sick or a liar? If labels stuck with us, we would all be doomed for there is not one among us who has not left an office with a pen, knowing all along we were stealing. AA is affirmations of negatives all the way through the program. As Mr. Bishop states, our culture sees sensitivity as a sign of weakness and if addicts are a highly sensitive group, they are struggling and self-medicating with alcohol, food, and video games, shopping, and so on to cope with life stresses. One of the most common phrases in AA is Keep Coming Back! It Works If You Work It.  If someone finds that AA is not helping, this phrase can produce shame, inferring that they are somehow responsible for the program not working. Those struggling with addictive behaviors are consumed with guilt and shame and need no more with which to deal. I can assure you of this.

The success rate of AA is the subject of many studies. For illustration, a 5% success rate is nothing more than the rate of spontaneous remission. Out of any given group of alcoholics or drug addicts, approximately 5% per year will just wise up, and quit. They just get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and of watching their friends die. (And something between 1% and 3% of their friends do die annually, so that is a big incentive.) They often quit with little or no official treatment or help. Some actually detox themselves on their own couches, or in their own beds, or locked in their own closets. Often, they don’t go to a lot of meetings. They just quit, all on their own, or with the help of a couple of good friends who keep them locked up for a few days while they go through withdrawal. A.A. and N.A. true believers insist that addicts can’t successfully quit that way, but they do, every day.

Although I do not subscribe to the disease concept of alcoholism, (this will have to be another article), every disease has a spontaneous remission rate. The rate for the common cold is basically 100 percent, almost nobody ever dies just from a cold. People routinely just get over it, naturally. Likewise, ordinary influenza has a very high spontaneous remission rate, greater than 99%. Yes, some old people do die from the flu every year, but not very many. Most people just get over it. On the other hand, diseases like cancer have very low spontaneous remission rates, if left untreated, they are very deadly and few people recover from them. Alcoholism is somewhere in the middle. In the long run, the rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics is slightly over 50 percent. That means that the annual rate of spontaneous remission is around 5 percent. Thus, an alcoholism treatment program that seems to have a 5% success rate probably really has a zero percent success rate. It is just taking credit for the spontaneous remission that is happening anyway. It is taking the credit for the people who were going to quit regardless. And a program that has less than a five percent success rate, like four or three, may really have a negative success rate — it is actually keeping some people from succeeding in getting clean and sober. Any success rate that is less than the usual rate of spontaneous remission indicates a program that is a real disaster and is hurting the patients.

At Hazelden, 100% of clients are required to attend AA meetings. They are also required to work the steps. The steps tell them they are powerless, their life is unmanageable, they are insane and their only way to get better is to turn their lives over to a higher power. They must then take a moral inventory, confess to a stranger not qualified to keep confidences, turn their will over to a God of their understanding and ask this God to remove defects of character. They then make a list of all the horrible things they have done to others, make direct amends to said people, continue to admit whenever they were angry, resentful, jealous, envious, hurt, prideful, or full of self pity, pray and meditate for God’s will, and to sponsor a new member of the program after having a spiritual awakening as the result of the steps. (A discussion about the sponsor culture in AA will be left for another article.) In Hazelden, a client does a fifth step, Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs, with a clergy man or woman. Men work with men and women with women. But Hazelden’s success rate is no better or worse than any other treatment institution. It must be noted now that Alcoholics Anonymous is not treatment, although the two are often meshed together. AA is a fellowship. Treatment is, hopefully, evidence based medical and psychological recovery.

Entrusting a complete stranger who has no training or competency in mandated confidentiality is ill advised, and yet it is encouraged and practiced everyday in AA. That is, if the person gets to the fifth step at all. The majority of people with which I work do not make it past step three and they are vilified in AA for not completing all twelve steps. Why do so many stop at step three? The rest of the steps are about personal morality, confession, removal of character defects, discovering personality shortcomings, making amends, focusing on how you are wrong, and continually turning your will and life over to the care of a higher power because you certainly cannot trust your own thinking!  You’re nothing more than an “alcoholic” and this fact is the most important aspect of your life. They like to act as if they are somehow more worthy of god’s blessings than starving kids in India. The steps are negative affirmations that keep the alcoholic always in a state of blame and dependence on a higher power, the group and AA meetings.

Moreover, recommending AA for someone who may have abused alcohol but is not alcohol dependent, and who may have depression or other mental illness, is potentially very harmful. I would consider sending a depressed teenager to AA for an episode of substance abuse to be very irresponsible. A trained professional is appropriate, not a peer-based program for what may simply be an ancillary problem. Don’t think it hasn’t happened. Coercing teenagers into 12-step programs for simple experimentation with drugs or alcohol is not uncommon. The dangers however are more common than most people know.

For reference, gambling addiction is the next disorder set for inclusion in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). The DSM is the manual used for diagnosis for everything from autism to obsessive-compulsive disorder. These are the classifications for alcohol related disorders: Alcohol Dependence, Alcohol Abuse, Alcohol Intoxication, Alcohol Withdrawal, Alcohol Intoxication Delirium, Alcohol-Induced Persisting Dementia, Alcohol-Induced Persisting Amnestic Disorder, Alcohol-Induced Psychotic Disorder, Alcohol-Induced Mood Disorder, Alcohol-Induced Anxiety Disorder, Alcohol-Induced Sexual Dysfunction, Alcohol-Induced Sleep Disorder and finally, Alcohol-Related Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Diagnosing a client with these disorders for inclusion in their permanent medical record is a daunting task. No wonder so many addiction specialists recommend AA to their clients.  Their credentials should be revoked for prescribing 12 step meetings as part of a treatment program for anyone. Their laziness should be pointed out to them.  Their ethics need to be brought into serious questioning.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous a cult? Absolutely. It has every criteria to meet cult status.  However, AA is even more dangerous than a small fringe cult. Most cults are viewed as a small, strange groups outside of mainstream society. AA is seen as the answer to addiction for all people who are labeled an alcoholic and/or addict. If only it were revealed to be the cult that it is, perhaps clinicians as well as the general public would see the truth and find what truly helps the individual in need.  Please see link below for more information on cults.

www.orangepapers.org/orangecult_q0.html

My work is with individual needs for each client after careful consideration, evaluation, and a plan developed from established rapport. One tool brought up in Mr. Bishop’s article is positive affirmations. I use these often to great positive response and outcome. There are steps for developing individual affirmations for each client, no two are alike and they are constantly changing and being molded to the clients needs as new challenges present themselves. Positive affirmations are very different than positive thinking. Affirmations are works in progress where thinking and attitudes can negate negative feelings. We must embrace negative feelings in order to find our power. In 12 step thinking, one is told that they cannot afford a normal feeling like a resentment. Hogwash. Resentments are a natural response to distortions forced upon one by a person or group.  If you are with a group that insists you adopt a ‘disease theory’ regarding your self, run out of the door and never look back. I work with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and developing tools for repairing self-esteem, to name a few.  Bottom line – once people get to a point of understanding why they have abused themselves with one drug or another, they can use their natural power to make better choices. You are full of power. We are collectively full of power. Be very careful the group you choose to collect.

I look forward to any comments on this and will respond to all comments with respect and dignity. I highly encourage those in an anonymous program to keep their status anonymous, since anonymity is an important tradition in your program.

Laura Tompkins is a certified addiction specialist with a private practice in Pacific Palisades, California. She is also a stage manager, director, actor, and chef. You can comment here or to learn more about my work write to ldyluk47@yahoo.com.

56 comments on “Alcoholics Anonymous: Negative Affirmations

  1. Hi Laura! I really appreciated your article on the Huffington Post and here. I have a particular interest in the sending of teens to AA or NA by parents or courts. Considering the courts also mandate violent felons and sexual predators to the rooms of AA and NA, it seems insane at best to also send teens to the same meetings! Yet both AA and NA promote this along with many courts. Some courts have wised up to the dangers AA/NA/CA pose to adolescents and no longer send them. Yet there are many die hard 12 stepping judges that are AA zealots that still force AA/NA/CA on minors.

    Apart from the inherent dangers 12 step meetings pose, the negative messages and negative affirmations as you call it, does not ring true for the teens of today. They usually have a hard time getting past step 1 ! Saying they are powerless is very anti-teen language- thank goodness! Yet some teens are given no choice in the matter just like adults. Some do become brainwashed by default after awhile, with sometimes dire consequences.

    I believe professional therapy with a non-12 step therapist is better suited for teenagers.
    Also more progressive therapies would suggest the teen be involved in healthier activities, that does not mean chanting in a room saying you are in addict for life!
    It could mean swimming, jogging, various clubs, non 12 step support groups etc.

    Thank you Laura for informing the public, what seems so obvious, yet too many people are scared to speak the truth. The mental health profession has been indoctrinated as well by 12 step dogma. Thankfully there are more mental heatlh workers understanding that there are healthier alternatives like http://www.smartrecovery.org , SOS, Women for Sobriety and Harm Reduction moderation tools.

    • Yeah, shackling oneself with a negative…diseased…for the rest of one’s life is indeed not the way to go for most people. Not for very long anyway. It’s a cult, a religion, and yet doesn’t want to call itself what it is. That in itself is a problem.
      Thank you for continuing to fight the fight for teens. They absolutely do not respond well to the language of the steps, nor to the constant negative affirmations. They’re much smarter and more sophisticated than that. Thank you for continuing to fight this fight. Our teens are the future and if we have to provide them with the best start possible.

    • Anti D
      I met two people at a Smart Meeting the other day. One young man was told by his sponsor to go use more Coke when this person said they did not feel powerless.

      EVen his therapist said ” Well maybe you haven’t hit bottom” My mouth dropped to the floor.

      He should report the therapist to their board for saying such crap!

      Loved your post!

      • Holy shit that’s criminal. The therapist should not be working…unfortunately the ‘board’ are mostly True Believers and would most likely not see anything wrong with this. Thanks for sharing!

        ________________________________

  2. There are also other fellowship alternatives…as listed above by AntiDenial if AA does not work. Thank you for your comments!

  3. I get so tired of pro aa’s insinuating that someones negative experience in AA was related to the meeting’s they attended or how healthy the group was. Ive been to enough meetings in my life time to know that they all practice the same religion. A huge part of this is an endless, life long process of evaluating your many character defects and labeling yourself an alcoholic. Since this is viewed as a part of the disease; this is a life sentence. I found that if i could not relate to most of what was being said in meetings. Therefore; I did not feel comfortable sharing about the positive changes in my life that were occurring, simply because I was not abusing alcohol. I tried and was criticized for not working the steps. Not everyone comes to AA filled with shame and guilt and a history of lying, cheating and stealing. Many suffer from nothing but low self esteem. Personally, I viewed the 12 steps as nothing but an exercise in futility that would only cause me more harm. No one in AA has the knowledge to determine what might create a spiritual experience for another individual. Since leaving AA; I have found help through some professional therapy for a year and I have very wise, long time friends that serve as mentors to me. This is what finally worked for me. Just my two cents.

    • Thanks aafree2. What should be happening is harm reduction not harm inflicting…but harm inflicting is exactly what is practiced in the steps.

  4. elcac- I disagree. I think the steps are pretty harmful and useless. after I did my first 4th I felt so depressed. For God sake I was 18. SOme stupid old lady who everyone was treating like a guru heard my 5th step. I felt no relief what so ever. After 6 years in AA i realized the 12 steps were not going to help me get well or better emotionally or mentally. I now think after 37 years AA is a joke. If it weren’t for Marty Mann, Not Bill W AA would have never gotten big! She was the big ass promoter with all the rich friends, high society corporate connections and super connection in the Gay world as well.

    I read many other books, took all kinds of seminars and went to serious therapy, did rage work to address what AA did not help me with. SO many women I met in later years were lost in the rat wheel of the 12 stepping foolery.

    Im glad taking my son to AA and having a young 20 something arrive in my old home group I saw AA for the hogwash filled with predators that it is.

    You can love it all you want. However , I believe its a charade! AA WSO is negligent, and the ads on it’s website are fraudulent about who and what AA really looks like today in 2012. Not 1950

    • Of course it’s a charade…a charade that keeps people from truly growing and thriving in their lives. It enforces one to be dependent on the steps, the meetings, and one dollar at a time you get God to forgive you for being a shithead your whole life. And if you leave…you’re DEAD. Thanks Massive!

  5. I actually did not have any contact with Alcoholics Anonymous for 50 years. I had heard of it before, but never knew anyone who was a member or where the meetings were being held. Like most people because of popular perception, I was under the impression that it was a benevolent society meant to help.Unfortunatly, what I found was a very different experience. I at first thought it was just the group that I became involved with, but I have learned it is this way in many parts of the world and I am not alone in feeling this way.

    I was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous through my wife who I sent to a 12 Step Rehab because I believed that it was the only answer and I did not know of any other alternatives. Once this was done, the Rehab quickly started to make her hit bottom following the Jellinek curve, substituting the addiction to alcohol for an addiction to meetings and getting other people to join AA. Her life became obsessed with it. It wasn’t 90 meetings in 90 days, it was 280 meetings in 90 days and has continued with little lapse for the last 5-6 years. I realize that the stock answer from AA members is ,”at least she isn’t dead”, but not all “treatment” causes this type of reliance on AA meetings and growing the fellowship.

    At first I was very happy to allow Alcoholics Anonymous into my family and even praised my wife’s Sponsor for helping her, which many people do. I then became aware of the time needed to be a “good” member. Granted, my wife was way more compulsive than 90 percent of the people at the meetings, but that is where I identify the ones that “make a living” of of the “free” program of Alcoholics Anonymous. My wife quickly advanced to Intergroup and committee positions within a year. She took on many multi-year commitments. She started bringing meetings into the Rehab she graduated from, organizing people to go to the jails and prisons, manned the 24 hour hotline, carried “Big Books” and “12&12” in her car to give prospects and had about 6 Sponcees she constantly juggled. Our family life became unmanageable and everything was pointed toward growing the fellowship, not our family or retirement. I was concrned and we did go to two different marriage counselors, which both said the same thing, cut back on your commitments to AA, which she quickly dismissed as rubbish. My wife went to the “group” and her Sponsor for answers and “they” came back with, “go to another marriage counselor that is AA friendly.” This was not her speaking, it was the group. Unfortunately I let what I would call the zealots of AA into my family life and they quickly took over, giving her more commitments (which she claims she “volunteered” for.) It finally fell apart when the “group” started making decisions on my daughters futures in relation to college, etc… The family dinners became nonexistent and when my wife did show up it was constantly interrupted by calls from her Sponcees and Sponsor where she would have to run off on a 12 Step call leaving me or my daughters to eat alone and clean up.

    My wife is now using my retirement to help run a sober house, attend three meetings a day and be obsessed with AA 24/7. When I talk about people making a living off of AA, it does happen, my wife isn’t, but she has become very close friends with Real Estate agents, Divorce lawyers, Rehabs, sober homes, halfway houses, used car dealers and all of these people are making money off of the spoils of AA at pennies on the dollar by the people that help people hit bottom following the Jellinek curve. She helps people “find” the money for Rehab. Talks people into puling Interventions on their loved ones. She is enabling them to siphon off hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from the people she has talked into Alcoholics Anonymous. The worse part? These people are often “grateful” because they don’t realize they are being taken advantage of. Alcoholics Anonymous is the only self-help group that I have identified that does this. Unfortunately I didn’t know about the “alternatives” that don’t until I made the mistake of letting AA into my life.

  6. I have much to reply to you Anonymous and will do so as soon as I can. Thank you for trusting this forum with your story.

    • Dear Anonymous,

      Thank you again for trusting this forum with your story. I feel much sadness and confusion coming from you. The gift of your story is that so many can see that they too are not alone in their experiences with AA. I hope it gives you some comfort knowing that you are not alone in your predicament.

      AA is indeed sold and marketed as a benevolent society to general society that the news that the founders of AA were motivated by profit and fame and religious conversion, is unknown and shocking to most people. But letters like yours are slowly allowing the truth to emerge. Therefore, your letter is very important for the truth to be further revealed.

      You are a caring and concerned husband who did what most people would do to help their spouse..send them to rehab, because just like the AA programme, rehab (most rehab centers are in bed with AA) has been sold and marketed as the answer for most people, if not all people. This is why there are so many rehab centers around the country…they are very profitable. They all use the Jellinek curve to frighten consumers into thinking that any slight deviance from the programme of AA, is certain death. If someone reading this is not familiar with this idea it is a chart (which was later rejected by Jellinek himself) proving the disease concept of alcoholism. The curve shows a progression of a disease that is mostly unconscious for the person when they suffering. Therefore, if you became diseased unconsciously, you certainly have no control over yourself and must be controlled by the group. It is more complicated and manipulative than that, but this is the bottom line. This bottom line contains a malady of a spiritual and bodily nature only cured by continued attendance at AA meetings and ‘service’ work for those suffering as you once were. Therein lies the ‘benevolent’ proof to unsuspecting people who also have been sold the idea that they are sick and have no control over what they do. Therefore, people think they must adhere to every rule in AA and take on commitments to help others. AA is indeed a replacement for alcohol. In order to keep the programme alive, they must constantly recruit and preach.

      Your wife did not write on my blog and therefore I cannot direct any of this to her. Furthermore, you can do very little to change her…but you can do much to change you. I don’t know the situation enough to say this with certainty but your statement that your wife is more compulsive than 90% of those who attend meetings may be true, but it also may be a way for you to justify her need to be so involved…which is natural since you know her better than anyone. Also, many people may not become as involved with the intergroup and commitment positions carry around literature everywhere, but they still are consumed with AA and it’s rules…all their friends and social activities are programme centered, and they restrict their lives in excessive ways to protect themselves from themselves. Think about that…AA teaches one to protect oneself from oneself. That is truly a brainwashing of monumental magnitude and is compounded by the ‘benevolent’ marketing.

      But you know better. There is no one keeping you from seeking help for yourself. It sounds like you are an extremely generous husband and are deeply concerned for your wife and this is a beautiful way to be for her. However, if she is not open to therapy, there is little you can do about that I’m afraid. This does not however stop you from seeking help for yourself. You deserve to be happy and talk about how all this is affecting you. Just because you at one time allowed AA into your life and were happy to see your wife get some help, does not mean that your concerns now are not valid. Your concerns are extremely valid and you deserve, and simply must for your own well being, voice your concerns and make any necessary changes to protect yourself. You have every right to protect yourself both emotionally and financially. AA will beat the life out of you, if you do not seek help for you and this is no way to live.

      This is where you can draw the line…your daughter. The AA zealots are completely OUT OF LINE if they are advising you on any matter relating to your daughter. You have every right to let anyone who tries to tell you what is best for your daughter (and for you, for that matter) that it is none of their business. Dear Sir, it is absolutely none of their business. I know this may seem very strange to you but I want you to say this out loud (if not now because you are not alone then soon), “THAT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.” Say this out loud as many times as you need to feel comfortable saying it. I may be wrong, but is seems as if you have a hard time saying things like this. You seem like a lovely, generous, sensitive person to your wife, daughter, and everyone else in your life. Now is the time and the opportunity for you to be lovely, generous, and sensitive to yourself dear sir. Telling someone that your daughter’s needs is none of their business is not only your right, but it is your responsibility.

      One more area where you can draw the line is with your finances. If your wife is using your retirement funds to run a sober house as you say…this is something you can either allow or not allow. I hear you that you see these people she is ‘helping’ as being grateful because they do not realize they are being taken advantage of…and this is where you have leverage. You can let your wife know how you feel about her involvement with these folks, and that you will no longer participate…for you do not want to be taken advantage of either. It is not okay for anyone, even your wife, to spend your hard earned retirement funds on anything other than what the two of you decide together to spend it on…enjoying and preserving your lives…and perhaps leaving some for your daughter’s future. It does not matter if you have hundreds of millions of dollars…it is nonetheless your money to do with as you choose.

      In closing, you have every right to stand up for yourself and for your daughter. You have every right to use and enjoy your money in the way you choose. You have every right to have a home filled with love, and quiet family dinners, and holidays, and travel and all the things you want to do in your life from this moment on.

      It took you a great deal of courage and trust to share your story on this forum and I thank you very much for doing so. You have helped many, many people by doing this. Now please try to be as generous to yourself as you are to others. Thank you again for writing.

      This forum is always a safe place for you to come to vent and share your experiences and your wisdom…for you are indeed wise and you deserve happiness.

  7. Thanks for writing this article. AA is simply considered too infalible and unquestionable in our society. I wish real help had been available for me 20 years ago when I was trying to get sober, unfortunately mental health people seemed as clueless about treating my ongoing depression and OCD as I was. I drank to treat those when psychiatrists couldn’t help, then I ended up in AA, stayed sober and didn’t get needed medication for my first and life-long mental health issues for 18 years. AA played a part in this, once diagnosed as an “alcoholic” a person is subtly brainwashed in “the fellowship” to change their “story” to match everyone elses for approval (without that approval you are not being honest and are off the beam). In that process my other problems got pushed to the back until finally saw them as some kind of “pre-alcoholic” state that destined me for alcoholism, and I had heard too many old timers mention that you weren’t really “sober” or capable of “working the steps” if you were on “alcohol in pill form”.

    I still go to a meeting a week and am married to someone in the fellowship. I can’t see changing this with my OCD because I don’t want the brainwashing of “drinking until I die” to set in if I were to completely give up AA. It’s kind of a tight-rope with me. But I am incredibly grateful every time I read a well written piece that brings out the sing-song negativity people are forced to absorb “in the rooms”. Telling someone to take what they need and leave the rest is like telling them to walk through a rain storm and not get wet when it comes to expecting someone already in pain to be able to dismiss the negative stereotypes they are constantly told to embrace about themselves, the lies. I am working on reclaiming my own story in my own mind, like I knew it when I arrived in treatment in 1992. It’s like looking at a different person, drunk and dying and post-nervous breakdown and emotionally abused; but someone who still knew what had happened through her own eyes unedited.

    • Thank you for your patience border collie mix. Yours is a brilliantly written comment. The common perception of AA being a benevolent group that helps everyone is slowly being rightfully challenged. There are countless heartbreaking stories of which simply can no longer be ignored exposing the truth about this fellowship.
      The fact that so many are told that if they are taking medications they are not sober produces the most damaging results. There are countless stories of people going off doctor prescribed medications and committing suicide or injuring themselves and others. Those in AA who advise people to discontinue their medications should be prosecuted but AA hides under the tradition of anonymity. I advise clients to ask these people if they are doctors. That usually shuts them up. Even if they are a doctor, they are not this individuals doctor and therefore have no place to advise them at all.
      I hear you about the OCD and keeping the schedule you have in place. You are fortunate in that you know the truth of AA and their all-or-nothing mentality which will keep you safe.
      Thank you so much for trusting this forum with your story. Your comment regarding telling someone to “take what they need and leave the rest” is brilliant enough to share (aka steal). Also, thank you for your honesty and appreciation for the truth of AA. I know that although I am speaking the truth, I am also setting myself up for some violent reactions from AA true believers, further proving my points of the cultish ness of the Programme.
      Stay strong, you are brilliant.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your truth and trusting this forum with your story. I hope it is okay with you that I respond fully when I can devote the proper time to you. Soon to follow.

  9. THANK YOU! I recently left a 12 step program for food addiction for the very reasons you outline in your article. I went from being morbidly obese to anorexic. Now, I am struggling with binging because I somehow bought into the lie that I can not stop eating once I have flour and sugar. Logically, I know I can stop but I get panicked now when I eat it and end up binging. I’m overweight again and I constantly think about, “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.”

    That only makes me want to abuse myself more. The program wasn’t completely unhelpful but I do not think it is the only path to recovery from an eating disorder. This really helped validate that I am not just trying to “manipulate my way into my will” rather I need to build self esteem and not be broken down by the program.

    One issue I have with your article is that I do not believe 12-steps meet all the criteria for a cult. They aren’t trying to take your money and that is a big distinction.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing on this forum. Disordered eating is very difficult to arrest since one does need to eat to live. One does not need to drink alcohol to live although it may seem like it at times, especially when trying to stay sober through AA and the insistence that you are forever powerless. I hear you with the all or nothing of the steps and the binge/purge cycle that mentality induces. You are correct in that you are in need of building your self esteem and the programme of AA breaks down self esteem.
    As to the idea of AA being a cult. Please see this link below. The orange papers have done the work for us. A cult does not need to meet all the criteria of being a cult (although AA most certainly does) to be a cult. Thank you again for writing!

    http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult_a0.html

  11. I’ve been sober for a year. I checked myself into rehab because my drinking had careened out of control. I’m well educated, normal-ish!, decent guy. When I first started attending AA meetings, I was glad to be there. A group of people who had behaved as erroneously as me, who could laugh at my drunken foibles, and me there’s, seemed to be just the (non spirited) elixir I needed. But something changed the longer I went.

    I realized, rather quickly, that a good percentage of AAers were broken in a different way than I was broken. I say that with zero judgement or qualitative bias. I did not need, for whatever reason, a Group to tell me I was okay or bad or had no self will or was diseased or wasn’t diseased or could fly or couldn’t fly. And many of these people did need that. They needed to fit in somewhere. They were fine with negative affirmations, because that was better than no affirmations at all. I sat back in my uncomfortable fold out chair and could palpably feel the need to belong for so many men and women in that poorly lit room. It broke my heart and made me soften on them and their need to follow the strict, ridiculous, strident regiment of Steps and Sponsors (don’t even get me started on the efficacy of that fiasco) and Chants.

    When I first started telling people that AA would never be a spiritual program for me, that to name my higher power “the group” or “the ocean” or whatever, would be tantamount to bold faced lying, the looks I got were priceless. I knew then I wouldn’t stay. It seemed they would rather have me lie than simply not adhere to one component of the Group Think. But I have zero anger or resentment for AA. I truly think it serves a purpose, it gives people a sense of community and home for those that desperately need it to feel socially sated and beloved and valued in spite of their shortcomings.

    • Thank you for your thoughts JD and congratulations on your sobriety. One year is a long time.

      I too do not have anger or resentment towards the people who find AA helpful. When they lash out with ad hominem attacks, I know that their indoctrination is talking. I write for the people who are looking for help without having to focus on their so-called shortcomings. I write for people who are struggling in AA and are told, “the program works if you work it.” Telling someone to “keep coming back, it works if you work it” produces a shame/blame environment. People who have behaved erroneously, as you put it, have enough blame and shame without their past behavior continually defining them. I write for the loved one who cannot understand why their loved one can’t just stay sober … When the steps are actually causing more problems than they solve for the vast majority of people who try them. The programming of moral defects and powerlessness and character defects do one thing for people, that is, keep them is a powerless state of mind and being. I write for those who have been told that AA has helped millions and all an addict need do is work their steps and stay in AA for the rest of their lives. One of the reasons addiction has adopted the disease theory is so that insurance companies will pay for treatment. I write for those people who have defined themselves or someone they love with a pseudo disease. It’s not a disease, it’s a behavioral choice and unless you get to the underlying reasons for the abuse, you will never truly get well. Replacing alcohol abuse with a dangerous cult is not necessary and is more damaging than helpful.

      Could you imagine people addicted to nicotine being treated with such disrespect? Your experience of the looks you got when you spoke your truth about spirituality are enough to prove that these people are not well. If you cannot imagine speaking your truth, or even acknowledging your truth – you may be in a cult. Mind control does not produce happiness, joyousness or freedom. They can chant “happy, joyous and free” all they want but it does not make it so. They are chanting that they are a “grateful alcoholic” while denying their instincts to warn them of the dangers of not only negative labeling, but constant reinforcement that they are broken somehow. No, they want to stop drinking just like the nicotine addict wants to stop smoking. It is as simple as that.

      You said,”it seemed they would rather have me lie…” They would absolutely rather have you lie because that is what they have been doing and cannot imagine going against the group think. They are told that if you leave the group, or deviate in any way from the program, you will die. Of course they cannot accept your position for they have no position other than going along with the group. You state that you did not need the Group to tell you that you had no self will. It’s worse than that … They tell you that you are “self will run riot.” I agree that the program gives people who have no community a sense of one, my issue is they deserve a community that is not keeping them stuck in a state of blame and shame. They should be able to get on with their lives and have a genuine, healthy community, not a damaging cult-controlled life. They have replaced their family of origin for a more dysfunctional family. This new family is also yet another slap in the face of those from ones family of origin who may want and need a healthy ‘you’ in their lives.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts.

    • JD- thats good you got out of AA in one piece and that you have zero resentment or anger. That would mean to me that you were not buying into the AA doctrine. In my opinion AA only serves their own purpose, they do not serve a healthy purpose for anyone. Just because there are vulnerable people that are susceptible to the hardcore techniques by AA and NA members, does make what they are doing okay. Even strong people can be taken in because they feel outnumbered and know that society has always told them that AA is the place to be. I think for those people that buy into it, often do against their better judgement. That is what brainwashing does. Also like you said some people are desperate to fit in. That is what AA takes advantage of.

      Saying they serve a purpose because some people need to fit in somewhere, should give one pause. That is not a reason to put a stamp of approval on any organization. Take Scientology, many lonely intelligent people have been sucked into this dangerous greedy cult. Some Scientologists will tell you too that Scientology saved their lives. At what cost? What do you lose in order to gain what they might qualify as changing their life? Both of these cults make all who enter give up much to have what they have. Your family, friends, your money, and your time.

      AA is only as big as they are because of their aggressive marketing that says AA is the only way. When any other alternative starts to encroach on what they perceive as their territory, AA gets VERY territorial. When Drug Courts entertain allowing SMART Meetings in lieu of AA meetings, AA members are lurking around trying to do what they can to be the only option in Drug Courts. This can even include Drug Court personnel that are AA as well. They feel so threatened. They have worked very hard to try to make sure AA is the only choice. That is starting to change to some extent. They cannot stand it either. I think as they currently stand, they are pathetic and serve no healthy purpose.

    • Wow JD! Your feelings are my feelings exactly about AA. I am almost a year sober and I too liked the idea of being in a group of people with the same problem I had. And like you I also found the longer I went the less I could relate with the 12 steps and the negative affirmations (and I absolutely HATE stating “…and I’m an alcoholic” especially when I had been sober for months!) I want to always say just my name “Hi! I’m —-“. I don’t buy into the disease theory – I don’t believe people are born to drink. It’s a habit that gets out of control because alcohol is so gosh-darned socially acceptable. I really like the people in my AA group, though. They are the kindest, most honest people I know and I love the discussions we have at our meetings. But I can’t relate, or want to relate, to the 12 steps and the repetitive, negative affirmations of AA.

      • The people in your AA group are ‘kind’ and ‘honest’ as long as you never question the perfection of the steps. You can check in but you can never check out. Dangerous. Thanks for commenting.

  12. I just had my 32nd sober anniversary, and I can tell you, leaving AA after 22 years of meetings was one of the best things I ever did for myself. However, in retrospect, I can’t believe I bought into it for so long.

    I was only 22 when I got clean/sober, and I was aware that I really had a serious addition. So I went to AA of my own accord. But looking back over my life, some of the sayings I heard and admonitions I received from AA members did as much to harm my fragile sense of self-esteem as “the program” did to help me stay clean and sober.

    What’s more, when I got into AA, the saying was, “A drug is a drug is a drug.” Members indoctrinated me into believing all drugs were bad, so that when I was (finally!) diagnosed with clinical depression after some 18 years sober (something I had been trying to fight with the 12 steps for YEARS), I refused to get the help I needed. I’ll never forget screaming at a therapist, “I’m not crazy and I’m not taking any drugs!” I must have looked like the epitome of a crazy woman at the time.

    Shortly after that, I went on anti-depressants and my life became full of joy, a joy I hadn’t known since my teen years. I began to see AA for the cult it is, and I finally realized that, even though I had many many years of sobriety, even newcomers at the meetings disdained me because I refused to adhere to “the party line.” So I stopped attending meetings. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I hadn’t realized how much AA and its members had dragged me down into a cesspool of self-doubt until I got away from them. It was as freeing — moreso– than getting off heroin, etc.,had been some 30 years ago.

    Now, not only am I free from drugs and alcohol, but I’m free from the soul-killing cult that is AA. And I’ve been receiving the proper medication for quite some time. I couldn’t be happier.

    I do believe that most people who suffer from addictions have a chemical imbalance that causes them to try to “self-medicate.” And while this is widely acknowledged “in the rooms,” the “cure” for that is deemed to be meetings, meetings, and more meetings. NOBODY ever suggests that you might need another medication that actually WORKS for you, not AA meetings and the 12 steps. I have also predicted (aloud at meetings, mind you!), that AA will wither away as those medications are further developed and everyone who needs them gets them. I believe this will happen in my lifetime.

    Thanks for this article. I’m glad to see that more people are finally waking up to the dangers of this cult and freeing themselves from it. I hope more people who suffer from AA indoctrination find this page.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to write this Chris. Part of the deprogramming that takes place for all who get out is wondering what took you so long. You bought it for so long because the dogma is cunning, baffling and powerful. It is very difficult to think for oneself in this cult since they are all so convinced that their way is the only way and hammer into your head your pathetic state of powerlessness. You are told everyday that your best thinking got you to hit a bottom that took your ability to think correctly away from you and the only way to be restored to sanity, is to follow their steps and advice exactly and completely. I could go on and on but you already know it all. Give yourself a break however, some people spend their lives ‘in the rooms’ name calling themselves and anyone who is not fortunate enough to ‘have what you have.’

      You got away. You got out. You realized that you needed to be with safe people. You realized that this cult was harming you more than helping you. You deserve credit for that and have to know, because of your strength, that you are powerful, sane, morally good, your character is strong and you are perfectly capable of deciding which principles to live by … And which to ditch. You know right from wrong and are strong enough to get out from under the insane medical advice of a group who has no business advising anyone on anything. This is all greatly to your cognitive credit and for that, you can be proud and celebrate daily. The fact that you were indoctrinated into this cult at such a young age makes your ability to get out all the more impressive. Nice job! Your soul thanks you.

      There is no way to measure genetic predisposition to drug abuse. Even if there was, people will have no problems if they learn to drink responsibly or decide for themselves to abstain. Each person knows what he/she can and cannot do. Most people figure it out on their own. Once someone knows the psychological reasons they are self medicating they can adjust their behavior. Once someone knows all the underlying causes of their self-medicating can they make changes. It is only in AA where they diagnose people and sentence them to a lifetime of brainwashing. Even if we could measure a genetic predisposition (which we cannot), to discover what belief system someone who is abusing alcohol is under is more helpful for them that any other work they can undergo. When they understand and reframe and let people know their boundaries and find their joys in life is when they get better … Not when they blame their problem on genetics.

      More will be revealed as more and more people are getting their minds back as they leave the Programme and start to deprogramme. Thank you so much for taking the time to write in. Those of us who know the importance of this truth are happy to hear from you. You are brave and powerful, remember that.

  13. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for your blog…like others; I arrived at your blog while trying to clear up all the confusion of AA being the only way. I went back to AA about 20 months ago, after having spent 15 years in program and then almost 5 years away from the program.

    I say went, because I have come to the same conclusion, that AA is toxic for me. That’s where the confusion came in, and as you know…it’s the same story, it’s not the program, it is about me not working the program honestly and thoroughly.

    I just want to throw my own two cents worth in here….I never felt better the 15 years I was in AA, except for a period of 18 months when I was following the direction of a psychiatrist/psychologist and taking medication for depression and ADHD. During those 15 years and the following 5 years, I was unable to control impulsive behaviors, and did a lot of damage. During the 18 months I did take the medications as directed by the medical professionals (and since 2010 when I started following the guidance of the medical professionals), my life and relationships improved dramatically.

    In 2006, I stopped going to meetings and in 2009, I started self-medicating with pot and booze because I just wanted to die. In 2010, I went back to the original doctor that had referred me to the psychologist and psychiatrist that had previously prescribed medication for my issues.

    He sent me to a new psychologist and they put me back on one of the medications, and due to advances, instead of Ritalin they worked their way through some newer ADHD meds until we found one that really worked. This time I participated in the therapy sessions and took the meds as directed, paying attention to the results of how the meds made me feel so that the doctors could do their job and adjust them as needed. I’ve now been on the same doses almost three years and during that time, I have been able to sit down and focus on learning a new trade (coding and web design/development) that I love, stayed sober and repair my relationship with my partner).

    When these meds started working I thought that it would be best to go back to AA to quit drinking and smoking pot, because, after all, I was an addict and had a big slip!.

    The thing is that I do not have the compulsivity issues that I used to have, and I am very clear on the amount of damage I have done in my life due to the ADHD related issues, and when I was stoned or drunk. I have also had time to think back to childhood and realize that I was having ADHD issues from 4-5 years of age, and that the teachers in my schools were constantly trying to communicate this issues to my mother, who was, unbeknownst to me, an untreated schizophrenic/bipolar. Of course, she was totally in denial and I was the angel…so it was everyone else’s problem.

    That’s another whole story though. My point being, I have learned a lot about myself and the reality is that I need to stay away from mind altering substances like nicotine, alcohol, marijuana and narcotics(except when under a doctor’s care for some sort of medical issue), first and foremost, because I have been told not to use these things with the meds I am taking, and that smoking cigs are bad in general–and second because I do get impulsive when I use a mind altering substance and have a hard time in stopping. Therefore, abstinence is in my best interest.

    I’ve sat in the same meetings for the past 20 months and watched people that are extremely ADHD, depressive, bipolar or suffering from some other type of chemical imbalance issue go in and out and in and out. They never go to a doctor and every time they come back, they are loaded down with self-loathing and feel like they are bad people. However, they do not get medical help, because they believe that these chemical issues are a sign of a character “defect” that can be solved if only they work the “program” honestly and thoroughly.

    I’ve also sat there and listened to the same 10-15 people (out of a group of 100 plus) tell the same stories over and repeatedly, day in and day out, ad nauseum.
    These people have long-term 15-40 year sobriety. Nevertheless, they are extremely narcissistic, and miserable. Somewhere along the line “happy, joyous and free” got lost in translation. I really do not have a lot of respect for them because of the fact that they do ignore the rest of the people in the room, fail to have an open mind, and that after all these years of “searching” still are miserable sobs.

    I realized that this is all a mind-fuck, and that I do not have to treat myself like that anymore. Whenever I shared, such as my favorite affirmation, “I am an open channel through which the healing currents of life now flow”, or that I was having a hard time in relating the fact that medication helped me with my impulsivity, and why when I worked the steps thoroughly before that I still had the same issues, all I get is a blank stare, as if I am self-deluding. I have been told point blank by these “old-timers” not to share about how meds have helped me, that the first thing these people need to do is “sober up”.

    What I found was, out of that 100 plus people, is that the majority of them, except for that self-entertained core group, give up and cycle out of the meeting. Now I understand why, I really wanted to be accepted into this core group, but to do so would mean giving up my truth and the fact that alcohol was not the entire cause of my being out of control.

    I’ve decided to move on and take what I have learned through the years from therapy, various positive living seminars, AA, and my own reading, and stop beating myself up. This did not come lightly, I’ve stewed on this decision for the past two weeks and read up as much as possible before deciding that I needed to make a break.

    I do not have to proclaim day in and day out that I am broken and will never be fixed. Instead, it is time to embrace life and enjoy life by living positively, and to accept, that I have, as do all of us, a set of experiences from throughout my life, and that it is up to me what I make of them.

    This does not mean that I will not continue on a path of self-understanding, nor that I will fail to acknowledge those that I have hurt in the past.

    It just means that I have opted to take responsiblity for myself and live in an affirmative and holistic manner instead of adhering to any “program” or working a “program” that aggrandizes self-flagellation, founded by a man overwhelmed by the guilt of his own hypocrisy, and unable to live up to the “standards” he set for everyone else.

    In the end, none of us need to be programed, we need to be empowered…we all need to accept responsibility for our own lives, our own happiness, and our own morality.

    Love and Peace Laura!
    Will Wilson (aka Bill Wilson)

  14. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for your blog…like others; I arrived at your blog while trying to clear up all the confusion of AA being the only way. I went back to AA about 20 months ago, after having spent 15 years in program and then almost 5 years away from the program.

    I say went, because I have come to the same conclusion, that AA is toxic for me. That’s where the confusion came in, and as you know…it’s the same story, it’s not the program, it is about me not working the program honestly and thoroughly.

    I just want to throw my own two cents worth in here….I never felt better the 15 years I was in AA, except for a period of 18 months when I was following the direction of a psychiatrist/psychologist and taking medication for depression and ADHD. During those 15 years and the following 5 years, I was unable to control impulsive behaviors, and did a lot of damage. During the 18 months I did take the medications as directed by the medical professionals (and since 2010 when I started following the guidance of the medical professionals), my life and relationships improved dramatically.

    In 2006, I stopped going to meetings and in 2009, I started self-medicating with pot and booze because I just wanted to die. In 2010, I went back to the original doctor that had referred me to the psychologist and psychiatrist that had previously prescribed medication for my issues.

    He sent me to a new psychologist and they put me back on one of the medications, and due to advances, instead of Ritalin they worked their way through some newer ADHD meds until we found one that really worked. This time I participated in the therapy sessions and took the meds as directed, paying attention to the results of how the meds made me feel so that the doctors could do their job and adjust them as needed. I’ve now been on the same doses almost three years and during that time, I have been able to sit down and focus on learning a new trade (coding and web design/development) that I love, stayed sober and repair my relationship with my partner).

    When these meds started working I thought that it would be best to go back to AA to quit drinking and smoking pot, because, after all, I was an addict and had a big slip!.

    The thing is that I do not have the compulsivity issues that I used to have, and I am very clear on the amount of damage I have done in my life due to the ADHD related issues, and when I was stoned or drunk. I have also had time to think back to childhood and realize that I was having ADHD issues from 4-5 years of age, and that the teachers in my schools were constantly trying to communicate this issues to my mother, who was, unbeknownst to me, an untreated schizophrenic/bipolar. Of course, she was totally in denial and I was the angel…so it was everyone else’s problem.

    That’s another whole story though. My point being, I have learned a lot about myself and the reality is that I need to stay away from mind altering substances like nicotine, alcohol, marijuana and narcotics(except when under a doctor’s care for some sort of medical issue), first and foremost, because I have been told not to use these things with the meds I am taking, and that smoking cigs are bad in general–and second because I do get impulsive when I use a mind altering substance and have a hard time in stopping. Therefore, abstinence is in my best interest.

    I’ve sat in the same meetings for the past 20 months and watched people that are extremely ADHD, depressive, bipolar or suffering from some other type of chemical imbalance issue go in and out and in and out. They never go to a doctor and every time they come back, they are loaded down with self-loathing and feel like they are bad people. However, they do not get medical help, because they believe that these chemical issues are a sign of a character “defect” that can be solved if only they work the “program” honestly and thoroughly.

    I’ve also sat there and listened to the same 10-15 people (out of a group of 100 plus) tell the same stories over and repeatedly, day in and day out, ad nauseum.
    These people have long-term 15-40 year sobriety. Nevertheless, they are extremely narcissistic, and miserable. Somewhere along the line “happy, joyous and free” got lost in translation. I really do not have a lot of respect for them because of the fact that they do ignore the rest of the people in the room, fail to have an open mind, and that after all these years of “searching” still are miserable sobs.

    I realized that this is all a mind-fuck, and that I do not have to treat myself like that anymore. Whenever I shared, such as my favorite affirmation, “I am an open channel through which the healing currents of life now flow”, or that I was having a hard time in relating the fact that medication helped me with my impulsivity, and why when I worked the steps thoroughly before that I still had the same issues, all I get is a blank stare, as if I am self-deluding. I have been told point blank by these “old-timers” not to share about how meds have helped me, that the first thing these people need to do is “sober up”.

    What I found was, out of that 100 plus people, is that the majority of them, except for that self-entertained core group, give up and cycle out of the meeting. Now I understand why, I really wanted to be accepted into this core group, but to do so would mean giving up my truth and the fact that alcohol was not the entire cause of my being out of control.

    I’ve decided to move on and take what I have learned through the years from therapy, various positive living seminars, AA, and my own reading, and stop beating myself up. This did not come lightly, I’ve stewed on this decision for the past two weeks and read up as much as possible before deciding that I needed to make a break.

    I do not have to proclaim day in and day out that I am broken and will never be fixed. Instead, it is time to embrace life and enjoy life by living positively, and to accept, that I have, as do all of us, a set of experiences from throughout my life, and that it is up to me what I make of them.

    This does not mean that I will not continue on a path of self-understanding, nor that I will fail to acknowledge those that I have hurt in the past.

    It just means that I have opted to take responsiblity for myself and live in an affirmative and holistic manner instead of adhering to any “program” or working a “program” that aggrandizes self-flagellation, founded by a man overwhelmed by the guilt of his own hypocrisy, and unable to live up to the “standards” he set for everyone else.

    In the end, none of us need to be programed, we need to be empowered…we all need to accept responsibility for our own lives, our own happiness, and our own morality.

    Love and Peace Laura!
    Will Wilson (aka Bill Wilson)

    • Okay, so you and I have tweeted recently and with the name Will Wilson, I thought at first, I was hearing from a stepper. Then I realized that, no, this person actually knows from whence they speak. It’s just wonderful to hear from you and thank you for this comment. You’ve said it all right here. But first, is your name really Will Wilson? If so, why haven’t you changed it? ; ) So kidding.

      Anyway, thank you for taking the time to write on my blog today. Yes, the ‘program’ does insist that their way is the only way because that is the manipulation of all the mantras. As you’ve stated here, there is a minuscule number of true believers who have drunk enough of the AA koolaid to be beyond help. They have abandoned their families, friends, work, money and loyalties to the cult. They have been convinced that their most important accomplishment is their membership in the ‘program’ and any deviance (or deviant thoughts) from the ‘program’ is death, an institution, or jail. They are terrified of anything that supports what they deep down know to be true; they are incapable of imagining themselves in a positive light, they can only shut down when they see ‘one of us’ find some empowerment. Even if you actually are working the program honestly and throughly, you can not question the need to label yourself with negatives and/or question the need to stay stuck in the same stories of the past defining you for the rest of your life. You can not define yourself with an ‘I am…” of empowerment. This kind of thinking does not compute to cult members. They are terrified by your power since they have been convinced they are powerless.

      What you’ve shared here is that even after 15 years of trying honestly and throughly to work the program, you did not find the help you needed until you were properly diagnosed and treated both medically and psychologically. This path of self-discovery is not available once someone is indoctrinated into the 12 steps. I praise your ability to evolve in spite of the 15 years of struggle. I also praise your ability to trust your gut after all those years of being told that you are defective of character and somehow immoral. You can be deeply proud of yourself for finding work you love and that obviously you love (coding and web design)!! Hey, everyone needs you!

      Another lie in 12 step programs is the idea that everyone needs to be abstinent and even prescribed meds are frowned upon. The liability problems here are obvious, but the close-minded viewpoint that abstinence is the only way to live one’s life is where so much misery is caused emotionally and mentally. You clearly know that your path is to be abstinent, but you also clearly know that not everyone is chemically and emotionally the same and that if someone can successfully moderate, your hat is actually off to them. (I tell clients who are successfully moderating, who inevitably run into someone from the program who immediately ask them the ridiculous question, ‘Are you drinking?’… to next time tell them something like, “you know that part in your book that says if someone can drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to them? You can go ahead and take off your mother fucking hat.”) The question is a no win for the successful moderator and even those who have chosen abstinence but not with AA’s ‘help’ any longer. It does not compute to them. It does not compute because they are powerless and must recruit others to their way of life. Anyone who leaves, no matter what the reason is an enormous threat to them.

      Miserable narcissists are what the 12 steps creates. ‘Miserable’ is most certainly not ‘happy, joyous and free.’ You sound happy, joyous and free and that is precisely due to your ability to use your intellect and heed the warnings of your mind rather than spend a lifetime trying to fit in with a group of people who hate themselves. You obviously have a healthy sense of self-worth and self-love. You can only get better and better from here and I am so happy to know that you and your partner have survived this mess. Many, many, many couples are destroyed by the program. Good for you.

      I also hope that your mom found the help she needed and is getting proper treatment but if not, at least her child has stopped the pattern of beating of self and has decided to find empowerment and proper treatment for any and all issues. You are absolutely correct, alcohol is not the core problem. Alcohol is a beverage.

      Thank you for demonstrating a healthy and empowered mind. If you are a threat to those ‘in the rooms’ that only serves to further prove that they are brainwashed and are living a life of nothing but fear and faking it. One by one, people are coming to realize the dangers of this program and are finding their way to freedom. You are one of those fortunates.

      Please keep in touch and thank you again for all you wisdom and for taking the time to share all that you have shared.

      Laura

      • Hi Laura, Nope, it wasn’t me that tweeted you. But thanks for your quick response. Yes my mother did find some peace, she passed in 2006, and shortly thereafter I quit going to meetings. This was after seven years of pure hell for her (and me) as she had descended into dementia…and this was how I found out about her 35 years of going to psychiatrists, getting meds, and then stopping taking them after a short time…as evidenced by two 36″ wide dresser drawers full of partially empty medication bottles.

        And yes, my name is actually William A. Wilson…and I have seriously contemplated changing it…the first step was to quit going by Bill a couple years ago and using Will as a nicknamebesides, I always perceived Will’s as having a lot more fun that Bills.

        BTW…looks like I double posted…so u r more than welcome to delete one of the posts.

        Regards,
        Will

        • Huh, interesting. I am happy to hear that of your mom, I mean, that she found some peace. As for the meds, at least you know she tried right. Sounds like she left you with reasons to find the correct med at the correct dosage for yourself.

          By the way, we are all responsible for our own behaviors but, as you know, the program will hold us hostage by our ‘part’ and never allows us to set healthy boundaries with others. This is an unhealthy way to treat oneself. We have the right to let those we love know why what they said or did hurt you and to ask them for better behavior and understanding n the future. All we’re allowed to do in 12 step programs is take blame and feel shame. As if we are lacking in shame and blame. Horrible!

          Don’t change your name. Just know that the BW of 12 step ‘fame’ is nothing like you. Nothing. You are the better man, by far.

          As for the double posts, It’s so good, It should be read twice!

          Laura

  15. 12 step is cult, bondage, trap! I was in CA for 5 years until christ gave me the faith to walk away. I am now recovered, healed, saved. No longer an addict. No longer an Alcoholic. No more meetings praise God

  16. Dead on once again! Love it! “Even when you announce that the cookies are running low” hahaha! It’s so very true! They should hand everyone a bat when they walk in so they can continually hit themselves. It seems almost laughable, but you’re right…it is a negative conditioning, a process of self-loathing. And if you leave the group, the gossip lights up and you’re condemned by the very people who claimed to have cared so deeply about you.

    “Their argument is that those who depart are bound to fail altogether, since theirs is the only road to recovery. Within AA groups themselves, people who leave the program are ostracized by their former “soul mates” who predict — some might even say they hope for — the prodigals’ failure and demise. That is, unless they return to the fold.” (Stanton Peele, “AA is ruining the world”-Huffington Post)

    • I would love it if members were given bats. They could beat the shit out of each other and end all our misery. These are not people you want around you.

      I was at a private event last Thursday with Stanton Peele. He wrote a new book. It’s called Recovery. He’s a visionary. Stanton has been exposing the truth about the cult religion known as the 12 steps for over 40 years.

  17. I really like your writing style, fantastic information, thanks for putting up kebackadekcd

    • Thank you for reading and commenting! I appreciate your support of my writing style. On my blog, I try to impart the information in the exact same way I would if I were speaking. That seems to make it easier to understand. Fortunately for the reader as opposed to the listener, I edit what I write where as when I speak, I can tend to repeat myself. : )

  18. Hahahahahahaha, this politics related YouTube video is really so comical, I loved it. Thanks in favor of sharing this. aaeefcaegcdc

    • Thank you for viewing and commenting! Laughter is the best medicine. Did you know that laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. (Real disease!) Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

      Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing. Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more. Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

      Also, laughing with others is even more powerful than when alone. Humor helps you be more spontaneous. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles and let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts. Laughter release inhibitions, your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside. Laughter helps you express your true feelings. Laughter helps allow deeply felt emotions are allowed to rise to the surface.

      That’s just the beginning of how laughter truly if the best medicine. LOL.

  19. That is some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions could be this varied. Be certain to keep writing. kcedeggeefaa

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting. What follows the statement, “I am … ” is extremely powerful. It had better be an empowering statement!

  20. Thanks for this article! I recently attended a 12 step meeting for the first time at the suggestion of a therapist, and left feeling EXTREMELY uncomfortable but with difficulty articulating why. But then reading other people recognizing 12 step as a cult, and talking with trusted friends about my CREEPY experience at the meeting, was really relieving to me.

    The intense amount of brainwashing I witnessed over just that 1 hour, compared to how harmless and positive 12 steps are portrayed as, is really freaky. 12 step programs are clearly in it for the $ too, what with all the peer pressure for vulnerable people to give up their cash as “donations”! I’m glad I escaped after only 1 meeting, didn’t “give them a chance” by going to 6 meetings before deciding to quit or not (which is what they pushed for, trying to tell new people like me that we shouldn’t trust our judgment or intuition about what works for us until 6 weeks, and basically implied if we quit earlier we were failures), and didn’t give them my contact info like they tried to get me to do.

    I’ve found other ways to get support and treatment that actually help and DON’T try to erase my critical thinking skills and make me obedient. I hope to never attend another 12 step meeting in my life, and I will definitely be sharing my experience with any friends who are considering it.

    • You’re very welcome. Thank you for the example of extreme intelligence. One meeting and gone. Good for you! Please share my work every where. You are so right. The brainwashing is indeed intense. The way in which the program has manipulated the media is truly astounding.

      Unlike you, the majority of steppers are not very intelligent and are at a nerve wracking place of vulnerability. This is a mind-numbing combination. They are then slowly and methodically separated from their souls.

      Most steppers are desperate for a family since they did not have one as a child. What they fail to realize until it is too late is this ‘AA family’ is sicker and more dangerous to their level of self-love than even their completely insane family of origin. The secret to life is making your own family from chosen friends and family members who truly know and support you. Otherwise, kick toxic people to the curb. AA breaks people down, as you say, by convincing them they cannot trust their own thinking. Nothing could disempower a human being more … Especially one who has just accepted and embraced the ridiculous idea they are ‘powerless.’

      I am so happy to know that you have found what works for you. I hope you let that therapist know exactly how you felt in your one meeting.

      I do think you may have accomplished a feat that should be recognized in the book of world records.

      The most intelligent assessment in the shortest amount of time of being exposed to he dangerous cult religion known as the 12 steps. Ladies and gentleman the winner is … Leejayscribe. Cheers.

  21. Thanks for writing this! I attended AA for over two years and was sober for about a year and a half of that time (from age 18-20ish). It did not work for me for many of the reasons you talked about here. The constant negativity, the shaming, the labeling. I felt stuck with two choices, be sober or relapse, and hated living as an “addict,” sober or not. I was actually more unhappy in those two years of sobriety than I was when I was using crack every day!

    I started using drugs regularly in the wake of my fathers sudden death. I did get some good therapy and treatment for my issues, but I was always told to go to AA. The hospital psych ward even had required AA meetings. It’s nice to know that there is someone (and hopefully more addiction specialists) who believes that AA is not the correct way to treat addiction. Especially for teenagers who may not be “addicts” but are actually using drugs and alcohol to cope with mental illness.

    I’ve been out of sobriety for almost two years at this point and have never been happier! I don’t drink much or use drugs often, but if I want to I actually can in moderation now that my mental health issues are under control. It’s an amazing thing.

    Here’s hoping that there’s some reform in the mental health industry and some rethinking about AA and its usefulness. Thanks for your words.

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. You are correct — labeling a teenager or young adult (or even an old fart) an ‘alcoholic/addict’ is a recipe for nothing but a self-fulling prophesy.

      I am sorry to hear of your forced attendance in AA. This is an all too common scenario and it is illegal to require anyone to attend AA. Soon though, those of us working on this will stop this practice. Right now, employers can make 12 step meetings a requirement for continued employment. Even doctors with substance use issues are forced into AA/NA.

      The last thing a teenager needs is to be rendered ‘powerless.’

      You are obviously full of power. You recognized the toxicity of the AA way of life and got out. The difficulty is the deprogramming. Anything we tell ourselves enough ‘restore to sanity’ (as if you’re insane in the first place), for example, identifies who we are. Better to stand firmly in your power than to give it up for a pseudo ‘family’ who require an all-or-nothing path.

      Most people are self-medicating a mental health problem like depression and once this is resolved, they can and do moderate alcohol and cannibis. But steppers would have you believe you are on a slippery slope to jail, an institution or desth.

      Your case, as with the vast majority, proves them wrong. This is not a healthy way of life no matter what your age.

      You can walk tall knowing that while you were pushed into something potentially damaging if exposed long term, you had the foresight and intelligence to play that tape forward. No one wants to end up in meetings full of negative, shaming people, listening to drunkalogs for the rest of ones life.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  22. Thank you Laura! For Speaking up and out!!!

  23. You are so cool! I don’t believe I have read anything like that before.
    So great to discover someone with original thoughts on this issue.
    Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the
    web, someone with a little originality!

  24. I have been attending AA since 2008 and thank God I found your blog. I had labeled myself one of those that were “constitutionally incapable” of getting AA. I have tried to work the steps and be a good ÄAer”but I keep running into sponsors that are egofed bitches that dont care rather you stay sober or not. Just as long as you stroke their ego’s you will be golden. As long as you feel inferior to your sponsor this program will work. If you want to move forward and progress find a therapist like I did and get far far away from AA. AA will keep you down not lift you up. AA will teach you that you are to blame for everything , that your actions alone are wrong – AA teaches you to second guess everything because your an alcoholic. Thank you for backing up what I had been thinking for years .

    • You’re welcome Nicole. Thank you for holding on to your innate intuition and not becoming one of the ‘sponsors’ you describe. If anyone attempts to deny your experience, stating that their sponsor is ‘not like that’ you need not defend yourself. You are correct and they are holding on for dear life — because they have been convinced that their ‘best’ thinking is not their friend. It’s a dangerous program. The end.

  25. Hey Laura,
    I am 15 years running a harm reduction outpatient treatment center in Ca. Every week my staff and I hear from folks who are leaving AA. They often are defeated, questioning their judgment, feel like they failed… rarely enraged or indignant about the negativity and cult atmosphere. So many intelligent people who have had some episodes (or seasons )of overusing finding themselves labeled and having to surround themselves with evangelical blue book thumpers insisting they ” put the plug in the jug” and ” keep coming back”. It’s so fucked up to see them spend $40-100k for “treatment” and come out with a belly full of AA,then relapsing and having to give back their chips, starting over as a newcomer, encouraged to submit to a sponsor who has no training in boundaries, ethics or Motivational Interviewing. So much of the approach is contrary to what we know from research. I get calls from the hardcores asking me why I am teaching alcoholics to drink. ( drinkchoice program). I am insistent that not all users are impaired nor are all overusers “alcoholics “who need to stop. The word “alcoholic “has become a catchall label for anyone who admits a need to adjust their style of using. People can take responsibility for their choices and be empowered by therapists who quit giving labels, support evidenced based approaches and support the client to pursue change at their own pace and their own way.
    SAMHSA has announced a working definition of recovery..” A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self directed life and strive to reach their full potential. ” No mention of substance use or abstinence. We must NOT let AA coopt the word “recovery” and align with the assumption that it implies “clean and sober “and always abstinent or you suck and are at risk of insanity, prison or death. Anyone can assert they are in recovery. Just sayin..
    Thanks for your work, powerful voice.

    • Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to write and mostly for the work you do. No, we must NOT let AA co-opt the word ‘recovery.’ AA is a dangerous death cult and that is what my blog and your work is all about. This program harms more than it helps as you so eloquently describe above. Thank you.

      Oh, and those cult disciples who claim you are teaching alcoholics to drink are the ones who need harm reduction techniques the most. They are so afraid of their own ‘stinkin thinkin’ they cannot think for themselves and must defend their cult lest they end up in jail, an institution or dead. What a waste of life.

  26. Fantastic blog. I’m an occasional drinker and sometimes I do get a bit overly merry my partner she is a teatotal who has never drank or used so she thinks that I am in need of AA. Or at least she thought I did until reading this blog which backs up everything I have said in the past about the ‘fellow/bullyship’ and much much more!
    Thank you!

    • You’re welcome! Thank you for commenting and trusting this forum with your truth.

      Your partner has good intentions but like most people, has been fed a pack of dangerous lies about this supposed safe self-help group. The criteria for an alcohol disorder (it’s NOT a DISEASE!) does not seem to come close to fitting you and your drinking patterns. Perhaps your partner could accept you as you are and serve as designated driver and supporter. Blowing off steam with some drinks is normal human behaviors — always has been, always will be. Perhaps if she accepts you just as you are, you can enjoy your lives together all the more. Hell, a woman under the influence of hormones is far more dangerous than someone who has had a few drinks.

      Thanks again for commenting. Your instincts are correct. The last thing anyone needs in life is the bullying and abuse from steppers … Whether in need of help from drugs or not. You deserve to be EMPOWERED. Stick to your courageous place and you’ll be just fine.

  27. Our daughter has been sober for over 3 years, and still insists she needs AA. As parents we have seen her personality change since being with AA, it is like a cult, that she has to attend a meeing nearly everyday. I have been to 3 of these meetings, and will not go again, how can anyone who is going for 20years or more and talk about the same old story, feel good about this? AA should be exposed for what it really is, pack of dictators.

    • Thank you for reaching out. You are NOT alone. Husbands lose wives, wives lose husbands, friends lose friends and parents lose children … To this cult religion. Your story is sad and yet surprisingly common.

      Although people are reluctant to call this cult a cult does not change that it’s a full on cult. In fact, it’s the most brilliant cult ever invented. A pathological liar, washed up as a stockbroker joined the fundamental Christian cult the Oxford Group. The leader Frand Buchanan came to dispise Bill Wilson and kicked him and his predator scammer friends out. What to do? Plagiarize from the Oxford group, take out the “G-d” replace it with ‘higher power’ and ‘of your understanding’ and claim it as your white light revelation. That’s what.

      That your daughter has been sucked in by this subterfuge is understandable. As a parent, it is heartbreaking to see your child spend their lives dependent (or believe themselves to be) on this cult religion. They are branded with the notion that their ‘best’ thinking got them to drink (or drug) themselves into all sorts of trouble. They are forced to embrace that they are “powerless over people, places, and things” (ie. Life) and their only savior is a “daily reprieve” of meetings and service commitments for the cult. They can claim “spiritual not religious” all day long but the truth is in the insistence.

      They have also hijacked the word ‘sober.’ Sober simply means ‘not drunk.’ But to steppers, it is their number one greatest accomplishment of their lives and will always be the number one priority of their lives. AA has been proven to harm rather than help and the dogma actually PROMOTES binge drinking (using). Steppers will rail in great anger at the truth but that in no way changes the truth. In fact, their blind, mad insistence of their chanting should serve as an enormous red flag.

      Unfortunately, as you know oceangirl, if your daughter is over 18, there is nothing you can do to stop her from spending her life in the 12 step cult. If it was really a self-help program, members would be free to leave. They are not. They must get their “daily reprieve’ from their ‘stinkin thinkin.’ Otherwise, they will die, go to jail or spend their lives in an institution. The end.

      Your three meetings alerted you to the truth. Your daughter however has been scared into believing the ridiculous dogma and to look up to the ‘old-timers’ in the group. (By the way, if she is involved with a man in AA, she is most likely to have a highly dysfunctional and controlling relationship … And think all the problems are her fault.)

      But let’s look at it from her perspective. She’s terrified. She’s been made more terrified by the indoctrination into this cult. She truly believes she is powerless. She genuinely believes only her HP (higher power) can restore her to sanity (assuming she is insane in the first place). She fully believes that she is insane and selfish and self-centered and full of ‘character defects.’ Spewing the same embellished stories day after day, month after month and year after year is, in the mind of a stepper, a way of reminding them of their inability to make healthy choices for themselves. They truly believe that they must be ‘in service’ to other ‘alcoholics’ in order to stay ‘sober.’ They are convinced that they are the worst kind of sinners and must repent and take full responsibility for every single violation of their person. (In fact, the worst kind of physical attacks are commonplace in this cult and victims are routinely told to ‘find their part’ and ‘forgive and pray for’ their predator. They even have an aphorism for it … ’13th stepping.’)

      There is a book you may appreciate very much and your daughter may benefit from it as well. See the link to a review of this book below. Robert Warner won a lawsuit against the state of New York for his illegal court mandate into this cult. Robert is a strong person. He is unusual in this world of self-blame. He spells out what they do, how they do it and what to do and say when steppers insist their chanting is the only way. Steppers can claim they are free to leave anytime they want and that their cult is ‘merely suggestions’ but as you have witnessed, this is far from the truth. That is why it is the most brilliant cult ever invented. There will never be the day of redemption group-Kool-aid-drinking-lay-down-and-die moment. Each day is a sipping of the cyanide laced koolaid with hope of yet another day ‘in the rooms.’ (There are countless lawsuits won against AA and it has been deemed by the 9th circuit court to be a religion!)

      Your daughter deserves better and you as a parent deserve far better for your daughter. I can imagine you googling “AA cult” and coming across my blog. Good work! The truth will set you free and for better or for worse, the recourse for you is to stay strong. Your worries are more than valid. Your concerns are not without merit. You can be proud that you can see through this subterfuge. You can’t control others, nor does it seem you want to control her. You naturally want what is best for her. She and she alone can make choices for herself of course. You can stand proud in your assessment of the situation and continue to provide yourself access to the vast literature and articles like the one you found here. If she screams and rants about how you just do not understand, stay strong. Stay focused. Stay grounded. If you want to cry, cry. No need to hide it from her. She is witnessing dramatized, rehearsed fabrications called ‘shares’ … ‘sharing experience, strength and hope’ speeches every day. Keep expressing your concerns with respect for yourself, modeling adult behavior. There are no guarantees here but you can treat yourself with love and care and continue to stand strong in you correct observations of this cult.

      You have first hand witnessed what this cult does to formerly sane people. The good news is, at any moment a stepper can truly have their ah-ha moment when they see this cult in the clear light of day. It happens all the time. 95% of people who try to become ‘sober’ thru AA end up successfully moderating or choosing abstinence all on their own and IN SPITE of this dangerous cult religion. They do NOT become ‘one of the unfortunates’ no matter how they divorce themselves from this dangerous cult … Unless they continue to believe themselves ‘powerless’ … Then they become victims of a horrible self-fulfilling prophesy.

      Send her this. Tell her that she is in a cult religion, calmly and with power. I’ll call her Diane. Diane — you are NOT powerless. You are born with immeasurable power. There is no ‘disease’ of alcoholism. There are people with substance use DISORDERS who learn to manage them. You CAN trust your own ability to think. Your *best* thinking did NOT ‘get you here’ … Your WORST thinking did that. You are not full of ‘character defects’ and you are not a walking zombie of nothing but ‘personality shortcomings.’ Your ‘sponsor’ is wrong and this cult is doing you more harm than good. You CAN say no to an AA request. You do NOT have to bow down at the feet of ‘old-timers’ who have no life outside ‘the rooms.’ Your mother cares deeply for you. These people in your ‘program’ will drop you like a hot rock the moment you even begin to question their ‘way of life.’ Get out while you still can.

      The truth will set you free. All you need to do is walk out, never look back, knowing they are wrong and you are free.

      Oceangirl please email me anytime @ ldyluk47@yahoo.com and with anything. Your information will always be kept in confidence and you are free to express absolutely any concern you have.

      Thank you for trusting this forum with your more than valid concerns. ‘Diane’ can get out and have a great life. All she needs to do is walk our and take her power back!

      Here is the link to the recommended book. Oceangirl, taking care of yourself must come before you can help anyone else. Put your own oxygen mask on before assisting anyone else. This is good advise for life. A good life anyway.
      http://cougarblogger.com/2013/08/04/aa-how-aa-steals-your-soul-by-robert-warner-a-book-review/

      Here is yet another blog article of mine that spells out the issues inherent in this cult of self-esteem and self-sufficiency.
      http://cougarblogger.com/2014/11/17/alcoholics-anonymous-destroys-self-esteem/

      With respect and love,

      Laura Tompkins

  28. This is the first and only thing I have ever read that i could posably believe theres a single person out there i would trust to help me in all that ive chose and what hs become of my life. I was an active “member” of AA for years but never with what they consider soberiaty . I felt more sober when i was drunk then most in the rooms of any meeting with years of so caled “one day at a time” sobriaty to not be somthing fo consider ? ha rigght? then why honor so caled birthdays? just seriously in my mind a group of very ill people with huge sick egos given the power through anonimaty to go practice what ever any sad and needing help person is unfortunate enough to find themselves in a meetimg being told how they will now for ever be labled . I almost want to put an end to alowing it to continue going on. Not there yet though and what i got from my going on my own to AA meetings was to learn there are worse things out there and people who pray on others which i learned about and know with no doubt AA is a breeding ground and the perfect place for anyone who wants to use the sick and wak or hurt souls seeming help and all in the name of anonimity. Seems almost wrong to allow.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment.

      It IS wrong to allow this dangerous cult religion to survive. The problem is, the brainwashing has reached the entertainment business and the US Court System. There is not much anyone can do to expose this cult let alone shut it down.

      The best we can do is continue to try. I am so sorry for your pain and suffering. You are in good company though since 95% of people who try to be members have the exact same experience as you. The other 5% enjoy the pseud power their cult gives them. They also enjoy having the ultimate excuse for avoiding responsibility for their lives. Finally, they most certainly love the adulation they get for being an ‘old-timer’ in this cult. They get to feel like they’re really accomplished something worth while with their lives when all they’ve done is given up their power for a dangerous cult religion.

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